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By Pearl Abraham

Develop Uncorrected evidence, American Taliban, a singular, Pearl Abraham, Random condominium, writer, 254 pgs., "an intimate portrait of ways a kind of traditional American boy should be seduced by means of the assumption of filing to Islam". . .

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But you know, Noor interrupted, the details and especially the chronology are only important if you interpret the stories literally. I think of them as ancient myths that are useful to explain why we do things, sort of like fairy tales. Hagar’s quest for water, for example, is now part of the hajj ritual. My mom says that the reenactment of her desperate search celebrates Islamic motherhood. No one responded to Noor’s comment, perhaps because she was new and they didn’t know her yet. Noor dropped out, the conversation drifted to other things, but John wished she’d stayed, and that the discussion had gone further.

To do that, though, he needed air. He had to breathe. He emerged with the skin on his shoulders raw. He emerged with a prayer on his lips, an invitation to his soul. He would become as he would become. ———— THEY STAYED for three hours, until tide, when the waves broke into choppy chaos. Fatigued, arms and legs scraped and jellied, they were prepared to call it quits, but then Jilly caught a lefthander and they stopped to watch. She’s scaring me today, Sylvie said. It’s like she’s operating in another dimension, Katie said.

Eventually. But first he would take a year off. To learn and know. To remain eternally in process, to forever become though he doesn’t yet know what. Therefore his policy is to pursue only what is of immediate personal interest, a commitment to the present. So he is fortunate. So he surfs the Atlantic. On December 8, 1981, a woman pulls up to the stoplight at California and Eighteenth Streets just as the radio announcer pauses to remember John Lennon. So she names her son John. On the radio, Hey Jude is playing, and she stays and listens all the way to the end, for seven long minutes.

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