With Letters to a Young Muslim, written with his own sons in mind, the UAE ambassador to Russia suggests a new way to view Islam
Omar Saif Ghobash is the United Arab Emirates ambassador to Russia. He studied law at Oxford University. In 1977, when he was six, his father, Saif Ghobash, the UAE’s first foreign minister, was shot dead at Abu Dhabi international airport by a young terrorist whose target was a Syrian minister with whom Ghobash was travelling. In his father’s memory Omar has established a prize for Arabic literary translation, and is a sponsor of the Arab Booker prize. He is on the advisory body of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence at King’s College London. His book Letters to a Young Muslim, published this month, confronts the broader education of children in Islam, and proposes a more open and free-thinking model. He wrote the book with his own sons, Saif, aged 16, and Abdullah, 12, in mind.
What do your boys make of the book?
My younger son is enjoying it. My older son, for whom the book was really written and to whom it is directed in my mind – well, I like his reaction. He has read a couple of chapters, but at the moment he is not reading it. I am fine with that. I really don’t want to burden him with my own projections. He is free to read it whenever he wants, but I don’t want to pressure him if he is not ready for it just now.
We need to tell young Muslims they can raise the flag of Islam without running about in the desert in flip-flops with a gun Continue reading...