The ability to live freely, according to a chosen faith, is a core American value. But for US Muslims, there is an inherent conflict between religion and citizenship, given hostility toward Islam. Threading My Prayer Rug adds a deeply personal—and uniquely Pakistani—twist to resolving this dilemma.


Threading My Prayer Rug (Affiliate Link)
One Woman’s Journey from Pakistani Muslim to American Muslim
Sabeeha Rehman

Muslim immigrants in American commonly fight two biases. One tied to their faith; the other tied to their national origin. Threading My Prayer Rug is about both. The narrative offers an inside angle on how one family struggled to find their home in the United States, amid a hostile political background. Readers will appreciate the author’s ability to poke fun at herself and her family.


With this heartfelt memoir, Sabeeha Rehman actually wrote three books, which are masterfully intertwined. One centers on the impact that 9/11 had on Islam in America. Another offers insight on how Pakistani society has changed since the country was founded in 1949. And a third delves into the pain and joy of being an immigrant family in the United States. It is easy to be entranced by her analysis of how the Muslim community should handle Islamophobia. “Use the Qur’anic text to take away from the extremists what they took away from us.” Yet that reader bias is a discredit to her rich descriptions of her Pakistani heritage and her often-charming insight on raising her children in the West. Admittedly, there is a lot of geographic shuffling in the book between New York and Rawalpindi, suggesting that the memoir may only be of limited interest to a broader international audience. But her wisdom highlights a universal message about finding faith in a complex marketplace of ideas.

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Image: Lahore’s Wazir Khan Mosque was built in the 17th century. Credit: Homocosmicos at Can Stock Photo Inc.

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