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Publisher's Summary

From hijabs to jihad and everything in between - Muslims down under today.

What is Halal? A country bordering Shariahland, or a method of preparing food? Do the Five Pillars of Islam comply with modern building codes? Or are they simply a philosophy for living? And if Muslims first arrived in Australia as early as 1800, can they go back to where they came from?

In this funny and informative exploration of Islam in Australia, award-winning comedian and writer Sami Shah takes us behind the stereotypes and generalisations to find out who Australian Muslims are, how they live and what they think. Along the way we meet everyone from a woman who runs a 'speed date a Muslim night' to a conservative Islamic preacher, and to the founder of a group called Muslims for Progressive Values. The result is an entertaining and fascinating snapshot of Islam down under today.

©2017 Sami Shah (P)2017 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

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  • Rod
  • 15-08-2018

Should be mandatory listening

There are few books I thoroughly enjoy that I would also deem to be mandatory reading but this is one of them.

Comedian Sami Shah is a former Muslim who let’s rip on the Islam faith, calling out what’s great and not-so-great about the religion he was born into. He doesn’t hold back and is unapologetic for expressing his understanding and views on extremism, misogyny, cultural pressures and hypocrisy. Nor does he hold back shaming the ignorance of bigots who can’t comprehend that there are numerous Islamic denominations, just as there are in the Christendom, and that Muslims are the primary target of extremists, not racist Aussies.

It sounds like a tough, confronting listen, and for many, it may be. It will confirm some beliefs we hold and dispel others. But Shah is not just an educator. He’s an award-winning Australian stand-up comedian who hailed from Pakistan until migrating Down Under. He has a way with words that entertains as much as educates. The Islamic Republic of Australia is a fun, funny lesson about one of the most misunderstood and ostracised religions of our day.

His schooling delves into the similarities between the stories of the Quran and Holy Bible. He gets a female perspective on the burqa and other headwear, while also expressing his own opinion on the matter. He openly names which denomination and which countries are behind the terrorism that hits our headlines. He talks about why he left the faith, and the wide range of responses, from praise to death threats, that he’s received from Muslims about his comedy routines.

The Islamic Republic of Australia began as a 5-part series for Radio National’s Ear Shots program before evolving into Shah’s exceptionally good book. Regardless of whether you fear Muslims, welcome them, or don’t give its followers a second thought, this is absolutely mandatory to open your mind to the truths and fallacies that bombard us from all sides.

Shah reads the unabridged audiobook himself and his acclaimed stage experience shines through. He’s articulate, passionate, forthright and droll. It’s rare for me to find a non-fiction title hard to put down but I plowed through The Islamic Republic of Australia in just over a day. It’s his combination of wow-factor and laugh-out-loud moments that make this exposé a winner.

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fantastic and thoroughly interesting book

amazing book. Sami Sha does a great job of putting forward a well thought out point without marginalising either side of the debate. I can only hope he makes more like this.