Daughters of Another Path Experiences of American Women Choosing Islam
by Carol L. Anway
"Mom, I've converted to Islam," Jodi told her mother Carol. Those were words that Carol dreaded to hear; she felt forsaken by her daughter, and she plunged into such grief that she cried most of the night. The next few years were difficult; it was a time of adjustment for the whole family.
Finally, Carol felt strong enough to write about what had happened, and she wanted to know how other American families had dealt with their daughter accepting Islam, and what factors had influenced the daughter to accept Islam. She sent out questionnaires to the daughters and the parents. The responses she received, melded with her own story, form the basis for this book.
There is a wide variety of backgrounds represented in "Daughters of Another Path," by Carol L. Anway. Some of the daughters came from strict Christian backgrounds. Others' families were Christian in name only, while some had no religious influence from their parents and developed their own spiritual leanings. In some cases the parents were accepting and tolerant of their daughter's decision, while other families turned away from their daughter, feeling angry and betrayed. Most families fell somewhere in between these extremes.
The majority of Americans who become Muslim are women. This is probably due to the fact that Muslim men come from their home country to the U.S. to study, then meet and marry American women. The women desire to learn more about the religion of their husband, and in the process, choose Islam for themselves. 63% of the women in Carol Anway's survey became Muslim some time after marrying a Muslim man.
But the women are careful to point out that their husbands did not brainwash them in to accepting Islam. In some occasions, the men were not practicing the religion, and it was their wife's interest in Islam that brought them back into it. There is also an attempt made to distance the cultural practices of certain Muslim countries with the pure religion of Islam. The book portrays Islam and Muslims in a positive light, balancing the negative view we get from the news media.
There is a discussion of basic Muslim beliefs and practices, and a chapter where the daughters tell what they would like non-Muslims to know about them and their religion. Another chapter is reserved for the parents to speak on how they felt when they were first told, versus how they feel now, and all the ways that the change has affected their lives. The book also discusses how these Muslim women feel about marriage and childrearing in Islam, and how their parents fit into their lives. This book will make great reading for any Muslim convert and her parents.