A groundbreaking book about Americans searching for faith and mutual respect, The Faith Club weaves the story of three women, their three religions, and their urgent quest to understand one another.After September 11, Ranya Idliby, an American Muslim of Palestinian descent, faced constant questions about Islam, God, and death from her children, the only Muslims in their classrooms. Inspired by a story about Muhammad, Ranya reached out to two other mothers to write an interfaith children's book that would highlight the connections between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. After just a few meetings, however, the women realized that they themselves needed an honest and open environment where they could admit-and discuss-their concerns, stereotypes, and misunderstandings. After hours of soul-searching about the issues that divided them, Ranya, Suzanne, and Priscilla grew close enough to discover and explore what united them.A memoir of spiritual reflections in three voices, The Faith Club has spawned interfaith discussion groups in churches, temples, mosques, and other community settings. It will make you feel as if you are eavesdropping on the authors' private thoughts, provocative discussions, and often-controversial opinions and conclusions.As the authors reveal their deepest beliefs, you watch the blossoming of a profound interfaith friendship and the birth of a new way of relating to others. Pioneering, timely, deeply thoughtful, and full of hope, The Faith Club's caring message will resonate with people of all faiths.
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Ranya Idliby was raised in Dubai and McLean, Virginia. She holds a bachelor of science from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, and earned her MS in international relations from the London School of Economics. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.
Suzanne Oliver was raised in Kansas City, Missouri, and has worked as a writer and editor at Forbes and Financial World magazines. She graduated from Texas Christian University and lives in New York City and Jaffrey Center, New Hampshire, with her husband and three children.
Priscilla Warner grew up in Providence, Rhode Island, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, and spent many years in Boston and New York as an advertising art director, shooting ads for everything from English muffins to diamond earrings. Priscilla co-authored The New York Times bestselling memoir The Faith Club, then toured the country for three years, hyperventilating her way through an extended book tour. Finally, in the skies over Oklahoma, she vowed to find her inner monk, and began meditating her way from panic to peace.
*Starred Review* Ranya Idliby is a Palestinian Muslim; Suzanne Oliver, an ex--Catholic now in the Episcopal Church; and Priscilla Warner, Jewish. Initially, the idea behind establishing a faith club was simple--the three women would collaborate on an interfaith children's book emphasizing the connections among Judaism, Christianity, and Islam that would reinforce the common heritage the three religions share. In post-9/11 America, however, real life began getting in the way. Almost from the start, differences that culminated in conflict emerged; at one point, the tension even jeopardized the project altogether. Prophetically, while searching for a story to help illustrate connections among the religions, Suzanne chose the Crucifixion, which immediately set off alarm bells for Priscilla. Yet they persevered. All three agreed that to work together they had to be brutally candid, "no matter how rude or politically incorrect." Eventually--and as they make abundantly clear, not easily--conflict and anger gave way to a special kind of rapprochement that merged mutual understanding and respect. Each woman brings to the table her prejudices, unique faith stories, and personal stereotypes and misconceptions (Priscilla, for example, had those of one who had never before met a Palestinian woman). Brimming with passion and conviction, and concluding with suggestions for starting a similar faith club, this is essential reading for anyone interested in interfaith dialogue. June Sawyers
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