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Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced…
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Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and…

by Nonie Darwish

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This book ends much better than it starts, and it is the first book for which I considered punctuation, paragraph transitions, and chapter allocations to be a signification part of a review. It is not enjoyable to have to do a drill-down on how a book is edited, but it is the poor editing of this book that originally lowered my rating of the text. Had it not been for the subject matter combined with both the intent and voice of the author, this book would have received a one-star rating and placed on my "discards" shelf. It is with the aforementioned in mind that I wish to touch on the most blatant things that have been considered in my review.

Mis-use (or lack thereof in some cases) of punctuation made this book a challenging read...so difficult, in fact, that I opted to see which company published it. The publisher was Penguin Books, and one would expect a higher caliber editing job from such a well-established entity. Several sentences had to be re-read, and I imagined punctuation in other parts of them in order to understand what the author wished to convey. It was amazing how significantly a comma changed the meaning of a sentence! Flow of ideas from one paragraph to another consistently lacked cohesion, making it choppy and challenging to follow a storyline. Ideas that clearly belonged in separate chapters created pause for the reader because I didn't always understand their placement within the context of a specific part of Nonie Darwish's story.

It was the author's voice and intent that pushed me to read further. The disconjoined details of early parts of the book finally came together enough to understand her over-arching theme: radical Islam is born overseas and is becoming homegrown in the USA; these people are very determined and will do anything to destroy anyone/anything that they consider to be of infidel nature. The author's history, as well as that of her native Egypt, was/were detailed so that the reader could understand and appreciate Darwish's political, humanitarian, and moral position. She emphasized how thankful she was to have become an American and that her sentiment was an atypical one. People she once knew as moderate Muslims had become radicals once they arrived in America. The author explained that it was not unusual to find professional students (ie: a student of 12 years without a degree) that had become leaders of Muslim Student Associations and were backed by Saudi oil money to stay on college campuses; and, they were (are) using the universities as conversion centers for jihadism.

The author expressed a deep amount of respect for people of other nationalities, cultures, and faiths and made it clear that radical Islam demonstrates no tolerance nor respect for anything outside of itself and very little variation within its religion. The reading of "Now They Call Me Infidel" definitely required persistence. What pushed the rating of this book up to a 4-star one was the fact that the author made me want to learn more about the topics she addressed. If you put down this book because you found it unreadable, I ask that you consider making another attempt at reading it; once you are well into the text, everything eventually makes sense. It offers a solid education that cannot be ignored. ( )
  LibStre | Feb 14, 2014 |
Overall: some interesting insights into Egyptian culture and definitely worth a read. However, not as strong as Ayaan Hirsi Ali's "Infidel".

Strengths: Reveals how Muslim politicians manipulate populace into blind hatred of Israel, America and the West. Also shows how poorly women are treated in modern Muslim society and attempts to provide answers as to why moderate muslims in the west don't speak up against the Wahabbists. The most powerful part is how she's able to forgive and love those who killed her father. She's also able to objectively evaluate his role in this whole process.

Weaknesses: Like I said, definitely not as riveting or moving as Ayaan Hirsi Ali's "Infidel" nor as well written. Overall, the book didn't flow as smoothly as I would have hoped and also more religious theory/background would have been useful.
  lindend | Aug 1, 2012 |
They say that there are two sides to every story. When it comes to terrorism, there are many more than two sides. Nonie Darwish's father was a Muslim Shahid who was the head of Egyptian military intelligence in Gaza when he was killed in 1956. She grew up in Gaza and then Egypt and was educated in British and American schools there and moved to the US at age 30. She shares about the extreme poverty in Egypt and the many problems caused by the government, the Muslim religion and the culture of the Arabs. She calls for a change in the way Arabs conduct themselves and how they react to the terrorism that arises out of their culture. This book is very revealing and enlightening and I highly recommend it. ( )
  herdingcats | Jul 5, 2012 |
The author is billed as a woman who converted from Islam to Christianity; if so, that isn't reflected in the book. The author left Egypt for the United States, and has joined the ranks of conservative Republicans. It's an interesting book, but the author gets so much wrong about America and Christianity that it's hard to be sure if she is equally wrong about Islam and Egypt. Worth reading, if it's not the only book you read on Islam. Much less than the books by Ayaan Hirsi-Ali, because this author seems much less willing to reach down inside herself and put herself into the story as thoroughly as Hirsi-Ali. ( )
  quantum_flapdoodle | Apr 15, 2011 |
Darwish has important points to make for an American audience. She points out how major mainstream media outlets do little more than repeat Islamist propaganda. Organizations such as CNN put little time into research and uncritically repeat Middle Eastern Arab sources. She issues a warning in this volume that Muslim elements in the U.S. are aggressive and seek to supplant Western political traditions and the Christian religion.
  gmicksmith | Jan 4, 2009 |
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When Darwish was eight, her father died leading a Fedayeen raid into Israel. Her family moved back to Cairo, where they were honored as survivors of a martyr for jihad. She grew up learning the same lessons as millions of Muslim children: to hate Jews, destroy Israel, oppose America, and submit to dictatorship. But Darwish became appalled by the anger and hatred in her culture, and in 1978 she emigrated to America, where she lectures and writes on behalf of moderate Arabs. Extremists have threatened her life. Here, she speaks out against the dark side of her native culture--women abused, the poor and uneducated mistreated by the elites, bribery and corruption as a way of life. Her former friends and neighbors blamed the their troubles on Jews and Americans, but Darwish rejects their bigotry and calls for the Arab world to make peace with the West.--From publisher description.… (more)

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