Two sisters is a book written by Norwegian author/journalist. It’s a real story about two Muslim sisters, 16 years old Leila and 19 years old Ayan, who in 2013 decided to leave their lives in Norway and travelled down to Syria to help „as best as they can.“ Their father Sadiq is going to find them and bring them home because he doesn’t believe they went by their own will. We read a story about family who had no idea their two daughters have been radicalized without their knowledge, spent entire year preparing for the journey and planning to never come back home.
The book follows the story of Sadiq who travelled to Syria to find them, made new friends, got captured and tortured for days. We read about mother Sara, who tried to copy with loss of her daughters by moving back to Somalia with two youngest sons. Big part of book is dedicated to oldest son Ismael who lost his faith in Allah after his sisters left.
We read a lot about women living in Syria whose main purpose is to be housewives, cooking and cleaning for their warrior husbands.
We also get to know better history of Syria, ISIS, radicalized Islam, because author did a deep research on Norway Muslim communities, Islam net, politics of Syria and IS, she interviewed family members, teachers, friends, she read online conversations that girls had with their younger brother. The length of book is reasonable due the fact that girls never spoke to author themselves so she wrote the story from others.
Sadiq and Sara are telling a story that happens to many Muslim families in foreign countries.
Week after week the girls are moving the line of what’s allowed and what’s a sin in traditional Islam. Having a crush on a boy? That’s a sin. Music? Sin. Science? Sin. After few months they already bought niqabs and wore them to school even after parents and head-teacher told them not to. Ayan and Leila themselves did a research about what’s allowed in Islam and what’s not and it wasn’t so hard to find extremist opinions. Those slowly shaped them and in matter of months they realized that living in non-Muslim country is sin as well.
Ayan used to be a girl who wrote school essays about feminism and about how religions use god as excuse to oppress women. And few years later she’s on side of ISIS saying things such as „I hope I have many sons, because if war goes on for long time, we are going to need more warriors“ or „I think it’s okay if Muslim men rape captured female enemies, because according to Qur’an it’s not considered a sin.“
Book itself was highly entertaining, every page was fascinating and I’ve read it in couple of hours. It provides so many interesting information about radical Islam and war in Syria, it says stories about terrorists and lives in war zones. When you think it can’t get more captivating – it does.
It’s an amazing book and I recommend it 100% because it explains motives behind young Muslim immigrants who are slowly convinced that fighting in a war is the best thing they can do for their religion.
The only thing that I mind about the book is that it’s clear who is target audience for reading it. It’s people who know what Twitter is, what apps are, how internet works. So even if I know my dad would be interested in reading it, he wouldn’t understand all the „modern“ expressions.
In conclusion: 5/5, no matter what your opinion on Islam and religion is, this book would fascinate you.