It was a trip to the bookstore and a classroom encounter that prompted the Hafiz family of Paradise Valley to write a book to educate Muslims and non-Muslims about Islam.

Dilara Hafiz, 42; her son, Imran, 15, a sophomore at Brophy College Preparatory in Phoenix; and daughter Yasmine, 17, a senior at Xavier College Preparatory in Phoenix, are co-authors of The American Muslim Teenager’s Handbook. It is a basic guide to Islam written from a teen perspective.

“It’s short enough so that you could read a chapter pretty quickly. It’s not like a textbook,” Imran said.

Yasmine said the book also is designed to provoke discussion.

“We’re not trying to be the final authority on the religion. We’re trying to tell people go read the Quran (Islam’s holy book) for yourself and communicate with your parents,” she said. “Talk with religious leaders about your values, but don’t just blindly accept something.”

The 144-page primer is a labor of love for the family, which includes proud dad Hamid, 53. He provided logistical support and participated in discussions.

“Many people don’t realize what goes into writing a book,” he said. “It’s not something that’s done on a Sunday afternoon. It took actually years of collaboration.”

2 key incidents

Two incidents prompted the book. While browsing through a bookstore, Yasmine noticed there were no books written for Muslim teens. A few weeks later, some of Imran’s classmates called him a member of the Taliban, believing all Muslims are extremists. He wished there was a book he could give them to explain Islam in an interesting way.

As part of their research for the book, the family sent surveys to teens attending more than 40 Islamic schools in the United States. They got 150 responses back, and many of them are included in the 15-chapter book. Topics of interest include dating, dancing, drinking and drugs, peer pressure, and the hijab issue. (MORE)


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