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Book review: Pakistani-British man shows courage in Orphan Of Islam

Alexander Khan spent seven years in the British army as a member of its elite Parachute Regiment, a decision that led to his estrangement from his highly conservative Pakistani-British family.

Orphan Of Islam
Alexander Khan
Harper

Alexander Khan spent seven years in the British army as a member of its elite Parachute Regiment, a decision that led to his estrangement from his highly conservative Pakistani-British family.

Despite its consequences, Khan, now a happily married telecommunications engineer, firmly believes he had nothing to lose from rebelling against the strict code of familial honour that had cost him most of his childhood.

Orphan Of Islam is a memoir by Khan of those lost years, tainted by the abuse he suffered at the hands of his own family. Born to a Pathan father and a white English mother, Khan's earliest memories of family life are of the cramped terrace house in which days were spent under the thumb of his domineering Aunt Fatima. Having already been whisked away from his "infidel" mother to be raised in a traditional Islamic environment, the death of his father unleashes a barrage of violent ill-treatment in the name of religion.

Khan's writing falls short of outstanding, but his courage is inspiring.

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