Summary: Muslim author Zarqa Nawaz overcame many obstacles to publish her humorous memoir, “Laughing All the Way to the Mosque.”
Zarqa Nawaz, journalist and television writer, humorously tells her experiences as a Muslim living in Canada in her new memoir, “Laughing All the Way to the Mosque.”
Though the memoir focuses on the experiences of Nawaz’s life, specifically as a Muslim woman, broad themes of cultural confusion, overbearing parents, motherhood, and faith still emerge, all written with a humorous tone.
Nawaz said it was difficult even getting her book published, though it did eventually get picked up by HarperCollins in Canada and Virago Press in the UK. Editors often remarked that the memoir was too happy, and Nawaz said she has always felt that, as a Muslim female comedy writer, the odds have been stacked against her.
“Tina Fey never would have been told that her book was too happy, and therefore it was lightweight, because she’s white,” Nawaz said. “And white women, it’s a given that their lives are happy. But if you’re Muslim and brown, that’s not the narrative that people want to hear … The only narrative that works for Muslim women [is] ‘the oppressed Muslim woman gets beaten by her abusive, patriarchal, Muslim man.’ If it doesn’t follow that linear line, then people aren’t interested in your story.”
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