Monday, August 29, 2011

Author Interview: Naima Robert

I Interviewed Na'ima Robert as part of The Teen Book Scene blog tour. We chatted about things that really effect her latest book's character, Boy vs. Girl. You can follow this link to check out my review for the book. 

1.Farhana did her own list to be accomplished during Ramadan, what is
your own list for Ramadan?

My intentions were to complete reading the Qur’an (Koran) in Arabic, increasing in remembrance, reading more religious material, sharing this
 spiritual experience with my family and purifying my soul - phew!

2.Faraz has gotten himself in trouble, what do you think the
government, community, etc should do to help teens like Faraz keep away
from streets?

Wow, what a question! Well, my personal view is that it starts in the home: an open yet principled and morally sound upbringing, parents who set clear boundaries while listening to their children, encouragement in ‘halal’ outlets for young people’s energy. And discussion about why these limits are there - is it cultural, community, reputation or faith-based?

The community should take responsibility for the nurturing of the youth by providing programmes for young people. Our societies need to take a long, hard look at what choices and role models we are offering young people like Faraz, as the recent riots in the UK have shown.

3.What is your advice to girls who are struggling to wear Hijab
fearing their peers' reaction to it?

I’d ask her to examine why she is wearing it, the true reason. If it is for the sake of Allah (God), she should hold on to that and make that her focus. There will be difficulties, no doubt, as Farhana realises in Boy vs. Girl, but if you renew your intention and remind yourself of the reason you are wearing hijab, praying or any other Islamic duty, you will become stronger and more able to deal with the tests that come your way.

4.What is the main message you want your readers to get out of this book?

For Muslim readers, I wanted to show that you can be strong enough to do what you know to be right, that faith is more important than popularity, and that you are not alone in your struggles - others are going through them too,
For non-Muslim readers, I hoped to share a little of the flavour of life as a young Muslim, to show some of the challenges they face, some of the ways in which they are similar, in order to aid in understanding the diversity of the societies we inhabit.

5.What are some titles you are planning to read this fall?

Umm Zakiyyah's 'Heart we lost' and Leila Aboulela’s award-winning ‘Lyrics Alley’ (I am a big fan of her other books) are on my list. My younger reading list includes ‘Guantanamo Boy’ by Anna Pereira. I'd also like to read the rest of the Noughts and Crosses series by Malorie Blackman as well as Keren David's new book 'Lia's Guide to Winning the Lottery'.
On the non-fiction side, I have a book about on the sciences of the Qur’an, a biography of Usman dan Fodio, the Hausa leader of Northern Nigerian and ‘7 Habits of highly effective families’ on my bedside table.
I am also working on finishing up my next novel about young Black British teens accepting Islam in South London - so I will have to curtail my novel reading, especially as I will be going back to full-time Arabic studies in addition to running SISTERS, a magazine for Muslim women :)

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