Tuesday, March 14, 2017

In the Land of Blue Burqas

  BOOK REVIEW:   "I've lived in Afghanistan for five years. I learned the rules--I had to."    The gray-bearded and black-bearded men in the back of the rickshaw eyed me. The gray-bearded man asked me, "Are you a Muslim?"
   For him, the word Muslim had a very clear definition. He did not just mean "Are you submitted to God?" To which I could have said, "Yes, of course." He meant something much more precise: "Do you submit to the laws of the Prophet Mohammad as recorded in the Holy Quran and Hadith and as taught by the mullahs?" Whatever true response I could give would not be welcome.
   Still, I could give a true response. I answered the gray-bearded man's question softly without arrogance or apology. "No, I am not a Muslim. I am a follower of the Honorable Jesus Messiah."
   The black-bearded man scowled, brows furrowed. He leaned too close to my face and glared directly into my averted eyes. his words came out as a command, short and abrupt: "You should become a Muslim. It would be better for you in this life and the next."

   MY REVIEW:  Kate McCord is a protective pseudonym for a woman who spent five years ministering to the Afghanistan people. She had to learn the language, follow the dress code, and figure out the numerous and detailed "rules". She was non-government funded, and organized many outreaches to the poor Afghans. 
   I found it particularly interesting to read about the social rules of the Afghans. Women there are meant to be seen and not heard in public--they go about their errands with voluminous cloaks and blue burqas, which are veils/head scarves that cover all but their eyes. They can only entertain at home, and that is a big deal for them. Every visitor is invited in for tea and treats and 20+ min of conversation. 
   Another big deal among the Afghans is arranged marriages. The girls are married off as young as 10 to men they often don't even know. Kate asked around and discovered that their wedding day is the happiest day for most men, but the saddest for most women. 
   Afghanistan is a deeply Muslim country. They believe that all people are supposed to be Muslim, and they condemn those who are not. Kate was often told that she should become Muslim, and also told that she should marry an Afghan man, as she was single. When asked if she was a Muslim and did she pray namaz, Kate answered that no, she did not. She was a follower of Jesus Messiah, and as He did not pray namaz, she did not pray namaz. 
   I was impressed by Kate's ministry. She was there for the women. She made many friends, and had many meaningful conversations with them about many things--both religious and not. She was able to help many of them, and made a huge impact on their secluded lives. After five years though, it was no longer safe for her to remain there. 
   I really really liked this book. It was wonderfully written, and the message is incredible. Though she is telling her story about Afghanistan, she is also witnessing to all those who read her book--this is definitely a book worth reading!

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