My War at Home

My War at Home

  • reading group guide
Born in Kandahar in 1978, Sultan fled to the United States at age five with her family. Raised in Brooklyn and Flushing, Queens, Sultan saw her life change when she was married by arrangement at the young age of seventeen to a virtual stranger fourteen years her senior -- a marriage she struggled to maintain and then hastily fought, eventually (after three years) being granted a divorce. This very divorce would become one of the first in her close-knit Afgan community, where the subject is considered rare and taboo.

Sultan went on to graduate from college summa cum laude with a degree in economics, and in July 2001, she returned to Kandahar, to explore her family roots and find herself. There she met her relatives and surveyed the conservative provincial town where she was born. on return visit to afganistan, she discovered the tragic death of her relatives at the hands of American troops and began to seek answers.

My War at Home is her memoir of self-discovery, family tradition, and life as a Muslim and feminist with political ideals. It speaks to the younger generation of Muslims in America as they struggle to resolve the ever-present inner conflict about what it means to be an American and a Muslim, while also examining the Muslim-American identity at both personal and political levels.
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  • Washington Square Press | 
  • 272 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743480475 | 
  • February 2006
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Reading Group Guide

My War at Home
by
Masuda Sultan
Summary

A profound memoir of self-discovery, family tradition, and feminist ideals, My War at Home follows the journey of Masuda Sultan as she transforms from a traditional Afghani-American woman who at seventeen enters an arranged marriage, to her emergence as a committed feminist political activist and Muslim woman.
In August 2001, Sultan visited Afghanistan to meet her extended family and explore how she could reconcile her Afghani Muslim upbringing with her own feminist ideals. One month later, after her return to New York, September 11th devastated the world and the United States invaded Afghanistan. Resolved to find out what had happened to her family, Sultan traveled back to the devastated and war-torn Kandahar, taking a small film crew with her, determined to bring the reality of the war and what it has done to women and children to light.
Discussion Guide
1. My War at Home begins with the Islamic saying, "The pleasure of God is the pleasure of the parents." What does this mean? How does it relate to the author's feelings about her arranged marriage?
2. What are some of the positive aspects of arranged marriages, according to the author? What traits would the couples need to have to make an arranged marriage a success? What was missing from the author's marriage -- why did she eventually get a divorce? Are successful arranged marriages possible in the United States? Why see more

About the Author

Masuda Sultan
Photo Credit: Tom Biondo

Masuda Sultan

As an entrepreneur and international human rights advocate, Masuda Sultan works with a number of organizations, including Women for Afghan Women and the Business Council for Peace. Just twenty-seven years old, Masuda has a master's degree in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

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