Fighting Ignorance

Attacking Muslims seems to be the popular fashion


Fighting Ignorance
by Ghahremani

While reading War on Error by Melody Moezzi, I was overcome by awe for a young Iranian-American woman who is brave enough to take a chance and defend a topic that has caused much animosity. This may be the most difficult time for Muslims around the world to raise their voices, but it’s ten times more so for those in the US. In the words of one interviewee, “It has just become such a Pavlovian response in this country: if terrorism, then Islam.”

Disregarding our hostile times, Melody Moezzi takes it upon herself to clear out a few misconceptions about Islam, a religion that has received more negative propaganda than any faith deserves. Like a firefighter unafraid of flames, she is set to rescue what she can.

Moezzi is an American writer, who feels very comfortable in her Iranian not-so-white skin. Unlike those of us, who’ve either converted or forsaken religion altogether, she finds peace in the faith she was born to and shows pride in being Muslim. Mindful of the fact that every religion has its flaws, she not only practices but also rises to Islam’s defense.

I have no interest in organized religions, but from time to time make an attempt to read up on current issues. When my daughter gave me this book, I loved the cover design but could not imagine what aspect of a fact-based book about Islam might appeal to the fiction reader in me. What was left of my interest in religion had vanished decades ago with the aftermath of Iran’s Islamic revolution. Witnessing the brutality of the new regime, I abandoned what little I knew of Islam. However, I found the author’s strong prose and incredible honesty simply irresistible. Just three pages into the book she mentions, “Sometimes even words fail you . . . Still, as words are all I have, I can’t help but try.” And as she went on to “try” in her eloquent fashion, I knew I was hooked.

The book contains interviews and true stories of twelve Muslims in the US. These characters are carefully selected to represent different segments of our society. Moezzi offers her motive for writing the book with optimism. “As an American, if you’re unsatisfied with the system, you can change it . . . On top of that, you can count on the great majority of your fellow Americans to be just as curious, freethinking, kind, and open-minded as you are.” It is with such positive outlook that the author defends a subject that is ostracized by most.

She begins with sharing some of her own experiences. That alone hints at her fairness as will as valor. “I ran across only a few people who actually hated me for having this background or belief. The great majority just didn’t know what being Muslim meant.” However, further into the book her encounters reach a level of ignorance so offensive that even the non-believer in me feels the insult.

Not only is she open about her own experience, but she also includes an interview with her American husband - also a Muslim. “He is determined and patient with those who insist that he must have converted – to Islam - as a prerequisite for marrying me, and who cannot fathom that anyone in his right mind would choose to become a Muslim, any more than he would choose to become a paraplegic.”

The bitter humor carries throughout. “When people tell me that I don’t look Muslim, either because I don’t wear hijab or because I don’t fit one of their fifty present stereotypes, I usually respond by telling them that they don’t look stupid.” Still, her understanding and knowledge of the verses in the Quran open a whole new door for those of us who are influenced by the media and never take the time to gather facts. I remember when I was just a child, my grandmother told me that no one can fully understand the depth of Quranic verses, that the meaning is too deeply hidden and that it is written in such a way that a wrong analysis can easily distort its meaning. As I read Moezzi’s take on Islam, I began to realize that perhaps the harsh tone in what I had heard before was the result of such misinterpretations.

Moezzi, fully aware of the crimes committed in the name of Islam, doesn’t allow the wrongdoings of a few to rob her of her faith. “Roxana watched firsthand from several blocks uptown as total strangers managed to take her faith hostage just long enough to kill thousands of innocent civilians and tarnish the name of Islam.” And she expresses a similar sentiment in, “Today, the misguided minorities within Islam are gaining the undeserved privilege of defining Islam for the rest of the world simply because they are yelling the loudest and behaving the nastiest.”

Moezzi knows the flaw in those of us who have turned away from religion, though I’m not sure she respects it. What becomes evident throughout the text is her liberalism and understanding of man’s differences. By no means does she intend for her book to be Islamic propaganda, nor is it an attack on other faiths. Her observations clarify the huge confusion that surround a religion peacefully practiced by billions of people. Had I known these facts years ago, I might have become a true Muslim. However, at this age and with my comfortable level of spirituality, I’m not likely to change.

At a time when attacking Muslims seems to be the popular fashion, Melody Moezzi not only enlightens her readers, but she also manages to raise deep respect for a faceless, nameless majority. I have noted some of the harsh comments addressed to her by random readers on both Amazon and Huffington Post. No doubt she could foresee such reactions, but wouldn’t abandon her goal just to protect herself. In the words of Faisal - one of her interviewees, “True heroism requires actions that are not based on self-preservations, actions that will almost inevitably make you unpopular and the object of persecution.”

And so it is that I find my true hero through the written words of a writer I’ve never met and learn a lesson from someone who is young enough to be my child.


Zohreh Ghahremani is the author of Sky of Red Poppies.


Recently by GhahremaniCommentsDate
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more from Ghahremani

As a Muslim

by عموجان on

Oh sorry, I meant as a former Muslim

First rules of being a good Muslim is to lie, cheat, and kill other Muslims when you can’t get them to agree with you. Mohammed him self used sword to spared his religion. Look at Khomeini he had to lie in order to come to power and then executed all those who helped him.

These Days all the killing of Muslims are done my their Muslim government Libya, Suriy,Bahrain, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Arabestan and so on( I forgot Iran). Even none of these Muslim countries have an economy to help their citizens make a living they always beg West for money and this is all because of that stupid book Ghoraarn.

Islam is good only when you live among Christian.

I like to say F12k Ghoraan and who ever wrote it

I guess now,that makes me fashionable and trendy. 


Dear JJ

by varjavand on

Please fix the format of my comment below


May Creator give her big brain

by hashtpar on

Religion of Islam based on Quran and Hadis. I understand Moezzi is ignorant about Islam and what is it about, Terror, terror and terror.Before she picks paper to writes, she has to educate herself about Mohammad, Quran and Sonant, then start to look for fame. One thing is clear, she is after becoming famous that is why she is summing agents current, by this mean she thinks will be noticed faster. Praying, Creator gives her big brain.


Even though I haven’t read

by varjavand on

Even though I haven’t read this book, it seems it is another
attempt by a Muslim writer to patch things up, trying to mend the damaged
reputation of Islam in her book, by trying to show how pacifist is Islam the
way it is. Although such an undertaking is a good start, it is not productive per se in my
opinion especially in the long run.
To be practicable in modern societies, Islam need due
reforms. It has been unfairly denied flexibility by the Muslim leaders who have
vested interest in keeping the adherents in the dark-age mentality. These
people sift through the Quranic verses, or medieval Islamic texts, and hadiths
to muster validation for their unbending ideology or to find excuses to
instigate mob actions.
many times we have seen images of violence and atrocities being committed in
the name of Islam such as the killing of innocent people in Afghanistan in
reaction to Quran burning. The problem is that none of the inflectional Muslim
leaders in Islamic countries have the guts to openly condemn such violent
behaviors. On the contrary, they boast about their warrior leader (Imam Ali)
who they claim to have beheaded 700 people in on day.


progressive Islamic thinkers who live in the United States have tried
rightfully to condemn violence and try to distant themselves and Islam from
extremism. They place a tactful mask on Islam by trying to promote a pacifist
version of it made in the West and especially in the U. S, Islam made in America
if you will. Although a welcoming initiative, doing so, I believe, may divert
the attention from a much deeper and structural reform Islam needs. That is,
getting rid of medieval Islamic texts that seem to promote violence, urging the
government and influential religious leaders in Muslim countries to break their
sarcastic silence and censure such violence, and pushing the extremism to the
sideline and refuse to give them a voice and legitimacy. We
need extensive reforms in the countries in which religious extremism is popular
and is in power and not in the U.S. The thugs in the streets of the cities of
Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, and other Muslim countries are beholden to the
Mullahs not to the moderate Muslims living in the West. Unfortunately, they do
not take their orders from the progressive Muslim leaders in the US, but from
the regressive mullahs who ridicule any version of Islam they do not sanction, have
no appreciation of modernity, do not respect human rights, social justice, and
human dignity. Mullahs have vested interest to incarcerate their constituency
in the cocoon of backwardness and they have plenty of verses from Quran and
other Islamic texts they can invoke to instill violent mentality in them. They
have been using that chicanery that for 1400 years and they will continue doing
the same even in 21st century. We will see reoccurring slaughter of
human beings and continued violence unless there are structural reforms in textual
Islam. I
believe Muslims in the US are peaceful and open-minded not because they are
Muslim, many by default, or because there is something in medieval Islamic
scriptures that goads pacifism, but because they live in the society founded on
the pillars of respect for individuals’ life and self-respect, mutual
coexistence, tolerance, and outmost respect for human rights. Some of them, if
given the chance, do not mind to install the rules of Sharia (the system of
governance totally based on Islamic laws) in this country.

Muslims, are partially responsible for Islamophobia in the US. We must have
given them reasons to fear us and our religion. Why they are not fearful of other



Your are not victimes !

by Shemirani on

"...who is brave enough to take a chance and defend a topic that has caused much animosity. This may be the most difficult time for Muslims around the world... " ??!!!!!

there is nothing brave in this !! really fed up  with muslim victimizing tactics !!!!  if you feel some animosity, you should ask yourself where its coming from. its not coming out of blue ! extremist muslims are responsible of this situation ! having courage and bravery is to stand up and raise voice against all this horrible crimes commited by muslims in the name of your allah !! stop them or at least show your difference ! Free world had nothing against muslims  before all this hijacks, bomb attacks, kidnappings.....

Your religion need a rennaissance (like others religion did it) and Its your job to do it not others people in the world!!!! If you keep silent about muslims crimes you will be stigmatize and blame yourself and only yourself for it !

haam khoda haam khorma nemishe !

Soosan Khanoom


by Soosan Khanoom on

that is funny ... thanks for the laugh  : )

I  may blog about science and God ..... I have a few things on it that I would like to share  ..... well  sometime later 

now check this blog I posted log time ago

God did not create the universe, says who?








Soosan khanoom

by Paykar on

How can you say this? Everywhere you look in Koran you see the beauty of the beloved! don't the Jens spook you?:)

You are welcome to substitute erfan with Koran, but that's just cheating:-)

You know that I differentiate between those who are spiritual and those who rigidly follow superficial rituals. One group is dangerous and can become foot solders of a repressive regime; the other just complains that 'it" is not the true religion.

The late night posts are special because I get to insert in a little fun.

As usual viwer discretion is advised.



Soosan Khanoom

There is no ugliness

by Soosan Khanoom on

everywhere I turn I see the beauty of the beloved .... 




That is a law of nomad tribes of arabs 1400 years ago

by Siavash300 on

Why we are trying to deceive ourselves by fansy words and legitimizing something that is cruel,savage and barbaric.? Sound like some people are hoping to go to heaven after they die by legitimizing something that is cruel and savage. No, my dear. This is not the way life works, if and only if there is heaven and hell after we die, Ms. Moezzi choosed the wrong track. Puting people alive in grave and stoning them to death and believe in such a cruel, barbaric idea never get anyone to heaven. In fact, if heaven and hell exist,  believe and act on such a cruel idea would put them in hell. That has nothing to do with these criminal gangs who took power in Iran for last 32 years ago and imposing those barbaric idea to our people. The foundation of believe is barbaric and savage and doesn't fit with modern world. Idea of lizard eater arabs originated 1400 years ago in Arabian peninsula, perpertuated throughout centuries and lashing out in our modern time. 9/11, explosion in Madrid train killing 200 innocent people, explosion in buses in London, massacre of 30,000 of our brothers and sisters in summer of 1998 according to the law of FATWA by Khomainie,  all and all are vivid examples of lasthing out barbaric idea of lizard eater arabs in our modern time. These laws may and only may be attractive to some nations such as Pakestani, Indians or Arabs, but NOT for Persians. We have had great civilalization. How anyone dare to claim they are Persians with such a rich culture and history and at the same time put Persians in the same category of Arabs or Pakestani. No way jose.

Unlike the writer of this literature who view westerners and their differences with middle easters in their color of skin, I view them as smart people that sooner or later take care of this issue in our modern world. They are smart enough not to allow these monstes grow anymore.




Soosan Khanoom

by Paykar on

It's nice to see that you were able to discard the ugly parts of the faith. Miracles do happen!


More Secular and Democratic Islamic Republic.

by Paykar on

"Middle East (whether they recognize it or not) are turning toward more genuinely Islamic states.

If Western nations understood what a true Islamic republic looked
like, I expect that they wouldn't be nearly as jarred or frightened by
the recent wave of popular protests spreading across the Middle East. A
bona fide Islamic republic is one that respects the rights of ethnic and
religious minorities, one that doesn't torture, one that eschews
institutionalized sexism and honors human rights. But above all, an
authentic Islamic republic is one that is both democratic and secular.

The Holy Quran, the only uncontested source of revelation for all
Muslims, explicitly states that there should be "no compulsion in
religion" (2:256). Key to all Islamic belief and practice is the concept
of niyyat or "intention." And no full, pure and independent
intention can be achieved under a theocratic regime, especially (as is
the case in Iran) when that regime is trying to force its adulterated
interpretation of Islam down its people's throats."


The above text is selected from what Moezzi wrote in Huffington Post.

In her opinion,  a true Islamic Republic is more secular and more democratic. If this were true at all, why call it an Islamic Republic?

There is no secularism or democracy discussed anywhere in Koran. These notions did not even exit in the Arab world of the time. So what she is forced to do is cherry pick a verse from Koran, denoting how tolerant Islam is.

Koran is not written in a chronological format; but we know all the peaceful verses belong to the time when the prophet was in Medina, i.e. Islam does not have political power yet.

If Moezzi where to be honest and represent Islam in a balanced way, she would recite verses that instruct the prophet to kill the infidels.

Her knowledge of Islam is selective and self-serving. She also claims that what we see in M.E. today is a mass movement towards more Islamic State. It's nice to see she echoes what Velayat believes.
Ms. Moezzi  fails to understand the basics of a secular/democratic state and her understanding of history of Islam is even worse.

Soosan Khanoom

I also have found peace in the faith that I was born to

by Soosan Khanoom on

I shall purchase this book and read it. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us. Your honesty is highly appreciated. 



Ms. Ghahremani

by Paykar on

I don't think you meant to start anything of that nature. What I found disappointing is that you seem to share the same atitude towards non-believers as the author of the book did. You did not attempt to question her assertion of the 'Flaw", it seems you are feeling guilty about your rejection of Islam, I do not. That is all.


Wow! This wasn't meant to

by Ghahremani on

Wow! This wasn't meant to start wwIII. I just shared a book I happened to enjoy and listen to all of you! Too bad for those who gave it up too soon as the latter part is more intriguing. 


Ufff, half way thru and gave up

by Rea on

Do away with religion. Keep your faith for yourself. And you won't need 1050 words to say nothing.


A very good book review, however...

by Bavafa on

I don't mean any disrespect to any one's faith or religion but

"and who cannot fathom that anyone in his right mind would choose to become a Muslim, any more than he would choose to become a paraplegic.”

as a person who believes religion is only a tool to control one's mind, I do often wonder how any one can choose to become religious (any religion) as I see little to no difference between Christianity, Judaism, or Islam only minor differences in its implementation



Comrade Vildemose?

by Paykar on

These opinions and subject at hand have been talked about enough times that one really gets tired of such ignorant statements.

Thanks for the link.




Paykar...LOL, that's exactly

by vildemose on

Paykar...LOL, that's exactly where I stopped reading too. ah, the irony...

Moezzi by no means is an expert on Islam, read the article below to see what I mean. The commenters on that article were actually much more helpful in defending Islam.



Not impressed

by Paykar on

"Moezzi knows the flaw in those of us who have turned away from religion, though I’m not sure she respects it."

You were losing me already, when you got to this assertion, I lost respect for both of you.