Children of Dust: A Memoir of Pakistan
Harper, Oct 2009, $25.99
Ali Eteraz was born in Pakistan but raised also in the United States where his family moved to when he was ten years old. His father prayed to Allah that if God granted him a male offspring, he pledged that son would be a servant of Islam. As a child he is taken to Mecca where is further pledged to God and attends the Madrassa Islamic school where teachers abuses the children in the name of Allah. Ali rebels as a teen, but also begins to embrace his religion. However, as he grows into adulthood, he begins to understand his religion is also a culture, but struggles with how strict should one adhere to scripture in a shrinking world?
This is a fascinating intelligent memoir that focuses on the author finding his identity in a western culture that thrives of individual freedom that on the surface seems contradictory to the dogma of religion, in Ali Eteraz case Islam, but could have been the other major religions too. Mr. Eteraz feels his niche is to fight from the pulpit the two extremes of Taliban-al Qaeda deadly extremism and the uninspired event worshipper. How he reached his conclusion is a terrific personal journey of the soul that is easy to follow and admire.