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October 27 , 2010

We Are a Muslim, Please

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For Zaiba Malik, growing up in Bradford in the '70s and '80s certainly has its moments - staying up all night during Ramadan with her father; watching mad Mr Aziz searching for his goat during Eid; dancing along to Top of the Pops (so long as no-one's watching). And, of course, there's her mother - whether she's writing another ingratiating letter to the Queen or repeatedly referring to Tom Jones as 'Thumb Jone'.

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But Zaiba's story is also one of anxiety and seemingly irreconcilable opposites. Growing up she is constantly torn between two identities: 'British' and 'Muslim'. Alienated at school and confused at home, the racism she encounters as a child mirrors the horrors she experiences at the hands of Bangladeshi interrogators
as a journalist years later.

We Are A Muslim, Please is a stirring and enchanting memoir. We see, through Zaiba's childhood eyes, the poignancy of growing up in a world whose prejudices, contradictions and ambiguities are at once distressing and utterly captivating.

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