Ali Eteraz is many things to many people – rebel, Muslim visionary, humorist – but we always knew him as a talented writer who, while sometimes controversial, always elicited a reaction and sparked a debate. He is the winner of numerous Brass Crescent Awards for his early work in the Muslim blogosphere, peaking with his prolific output on eteraz.org, the Guardian’s Comment is Free (home of his groundbreaking series on the roots of Islamic reform), the Huffington Post, Jewcy, and many other places.
The arc he cut in public, from analyst to reformer, has settled into introspection after some time away from the Internet, resulting in his eye-opening memoir that parallels the experiences of more Muslims in their Islamic-Western culture clashes than some would like to admit. With his work, we see a plea for rationality in coming to terms with a world that is pluralistic by nature – not just by race and religious ideology, but in the spiritual approaches Muslims take when they look at Islam with an open mind. Now, in his first book Children of Dust, released this week by HarperOne, he shares a long-awaited memoir of his life growing up in Pakistan and America’s Bible Belt. While we’ll have more soon on Children, Ali tells us here about the experiences that led to its publication.