It is truly a rare and special non-fiction book that grabs you emotionally. As avid reader of books on Middle Eastern history and current affairs, the idea of a work on the Muslim flight West intrigued us. However, upon reading Behzad Yaghmaian’s Embracing the Infidel we found an emotionally engrossing chronicle that ranks, easily, as one of our all time favorite works.
Embracing the Infidel follows Muslim immigrants from their homes in the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa, through the transitory stations and places of Europe. In nine parts, Embracing the Infidel transports the reader to stops from Istanbul to New York. Expecting something dry, more of a workman chronicle of immigration in the 21st century, Embracing the Infidel is a deeply emotional work defying the trite non-fiction reputation for habitually dull.
We read this book upon release in hardcover a few years ago and remember sitting on the subway here in Boston and gasping at the psychological complexity and depth. Each immigrants story was different, but had similar strands of hope in foregin lands and unwavering faith. Not radical. Just honest, deep and steeling.
Embracing the Infidel was unblinkingly honest.The perils and unyielding persistence of these immigrants from Iraq to Afghanistan, those who were beaten, cheated and abused is startling. Immigrant stories, especially here in an increasingly xenophobic America, are vital to our understanding of ourselves and our neighbors. And especially for Americans, who’s knowledge of the Middle East and Islam extends little further than sound bites from talking heads, laughable thrillers and bad action TV shows, Embracing the Infidel is important at educating and humanizing those seeking a better life.
Easily one of the best, if not the best, non-fiction book we’ve ever read.
So now that you’ve received bookstore gift cards and certificates for the holidays, we encourage you to go to your local bookseller or hop online and find a copy of Embracing the Infidel. For if you read this book, it will change your outlook on life, faith and the world.
Embracing the Infidel by Behzad Yaghmaian was purchased by the Boston Book Bums.