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If the Oceans Were Ink is Carla Power's eye-opening story of how she and her longtime friend, Sheikh Mohammad Akram Nadwi, found a way to confront ugly stereotypes and persistent misperceptions that were cleaving their communities. Their friendship - between a secular American and a madrasa-trained sheikh - had always seemed unlikely, but now they were frustrated and bewildered by the battles being fought in their names. Both knew that a close look at the Quran would reveal a faith that preached peace and not mass murder, respect for women and not oppression. And so they embarked on a yearlong journey through the controversial text.
A journalist who grew up in the Midwest and the Middle East, Power offers her unique vantage point on the Quran's most provocative verses as she debates with Akram at cafés, family gatherings, and packed lecture halls, conversations filled with both good humor and powerful insights. Their story takes them to madrasas in India and pilgrimage sites in Mecca as they encounter politicians and jihadis, feminist activists and conservative scholars. Armed with a new understanding of each other's worldview, Power and Akram offer eye-opening perspectives, destroy long-held myths, and reveal startling connections between worlds that have seemed hopelessly divided for far too long.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By teri_novabern on 07-30-16
WAY TOO LONG-but good material
What would have made If the Oceans Were Ink better?
It should have been 1/3 the length--it was so repetitive. When a book doesn't really have a story--and it is presenting a viewpoint or perspective, as this one is--it needs to be short.
What could Carla Power have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?
Stop repeating herself! Polygamy, child brides, Koran 4: 34 Women, politics of Muslim countries. Over and over again. Pages and pages on headwear. She made the point about piety vs the show of piety! She should have edited like crazy. Also, she seemed very opinionated and self-important. There was no movement or growth in either main protagonist.
Did Kate Reading do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?
Yes. The voices were distinct and believable.
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
Compassion for the majority of Muslims. Honor for the values of modesty in all things, and devotion.
Any additional comments?
If I listened to it again, I would listen at "double speed" on my iPod. Really, I was so bored by about 2/3 of the way through I was sorry I had started the book--even though it taught me a lot.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Mohammed Sulaiman Wilkinson on 04-23-16
I learned some new things and some added perspective on various topics the book goes through such as Aisha, Jesus, Mary, Jihad and essentially everything else the book deals with. I learned something in all those topics.
I have to say that I was utterly uninterested in both the lives of Carla and the Sheikh Akram as they were for the most part irrelevant.
This book is good for anyone who had no idea how muslims view the quran and how we take our teachings from it.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
By G Varsani on 02-17-18
Thoughtful and insightful
I really enjoyed listening to this audio book. I feel I am better able to understand Carla Power's view on looking at Islam from a non believing perspective. I have also developed a deep appreciation for the scholarship of Sheikh Akram Nadawi.