What is it like to grow up in a family of believers from a Muslim background who live among millions who don’t yet know Jesus Christ?
When you’re a child, your own life defines normal. Your house is painted white outside, and comfortable. Other houses in the neighbourhood are white, too, and are also probably furnished with couches covered in richly coloured fabric with golden trim. Every ceiling in the neighbourhood is decorated with intricate plaster carvings with a chandelier suspended from the centre of the design. The walls around each property all keep out the same thieves. And so you assume that mothers and fathers inside all those other houses love each other, that other fathers are gone for most of the week, and that brothers and sisters are all treated equally, with older brothers being responsible to protect their sisters. And once a week they all eat mountains of steamed semolina draped with savoury orange pumpkin and carrots and cabbage and turnips and chickpeas and more, and if they’re lucky, lamb or beef or chicken buried down in the middle. Couscous.
Certainly all of our neighbours enjoy couscous the way we do. Yet over time, I notice that my family are somehow different. This dawns on me via small revelations at first. Imagine my little-girl-shock when I discover that other families eat their couscous on Fridays! We’ve been eating couscous on Sundays for as long as I can remember, though my father and mother say it wasn’t always so for them. I notice this about the time I start to go to school, and so I begin to watch, to notice. And to wonder.
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