Matador Network Editors Matt Hershberger, Ana Bulnes, and Morgane Croissant selected 5 books that we will help readers establish the truth about the values of Islam and the humanity of Muslim people.

Midaq Alley, Naguib Mahfouz

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Take any street in any city where people still know their neighbors, where small businesses both thrive and struggle, where you can still fall for the girl or boy next door, and you have Mahfouz’s masterpiece, Midaq Alley. Sure, we’re in Cairo during World War II, but it’s easy to recognize the different characters and their feelings and motivations. Their daily life, as distant as it may seem from ours (I mean, Zaita’s profession is crippling people so that they can become beggars), is driven by the same universal forces — love, ambition, desire, trying to meet the society’s expectations (or escape from them), looking for happiness, or just longing to live a calm, normal life. A great book to remember we are, at heart, all just the same. —Ana Bulnes

The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini

Khaled Hosseini’s 2003 book The Kite Runner deftly shows that much of what’s happening in this Central Asian country is not, as we often reductively assume, a matter of the West vs. Islam, but is more often a matter of tribe vs. tribe and brother vs. brother. As a child, affluent Pashtun boy Amir betrays his closest friend Hassan, and decades later, when he’s fled to the US, he discovers there’s a way he can return to the nation — now run by the Taliban — and redeem himself. Most incredible about this book is how Hosseini takes us into what is for most of us an alien culture and makes us feel the humanity of the Afghans — something uncommon in these reductive times. —Matt Hershberger

Laughing all the way to the Mosque, Zarqa Nawaz

Although Zarqa Nawaz is famous in Canada for writing the very funny television series “Little Mosque on the Prairie” (a comedy about relations between Muslims and non-Muslims living in a fictional Saskatchewan town), those who don’t know her should start with her book, “Laughing all the way to the mosque“. Her collection of personal essays are not only a window into what it is like to grow up and live as a Muslim in North America, but it also explains the rituals and traditions of the Muslim faith in a simple and hilarious voice. There are chapters of this book that make your heart ache (her description of the events of 9/11 is one of them), but it’s mostly a very positive and casually informative book for those who wish to learn more about Islam and have a belly laugh while doing so. —Morgane Croissant

Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi

This graphic autobiography takes us through the author’s life, from her childhood during Iran’s Islamic Revolution, to her high school years in Austria, to college back in Iran, to moving out of the country for good and settling down in France. It’s at times hilarious (like when at age six she decides to become a prophet to end all injustices) and at times heartbreaking, deeply moving, and ultimately human. It’s also an entertaining, informative read, perfect if you’re not familiar with Iran’s recent history or wonder whether Islam and modern society are compatible (spoiler alert: they are). —Ana Bulnes

Midnight’s Children, by Salman Rushdie

Before Rushdie became famous for his blasphemy in The Satanic Verses, he wrote the Booker Prize-winning Midnight’s Children. It is basically the story of postcolonial India, told through the eyes of Saleem Sinai, the boy who was born at the stroke of midnight on the day of independence. Sinai has a huge telepathic nose, which he uses to bring together all of the other children born at midnight, who also have superpowers. It’s a huge, sprawling allegory for India’s independence, and it gives color to the conflicts between Hindus and Muslims during the country’s tumultuous early stages. If you like magical realism, it’s a must. —Matt Hershberger