'Undivided': U.S. Christian Mother, Muslim Daughter Reunite after 10-Year Miscommunication

( [email protected] ) May 12, 2015 12:26 PM EDT
Christian Mother, Muslim Daughter
Patricia Raybon and her daughter, American Islamic convert Alana Raybon. Twitter/@PatriciaRaybon

A Christian mother and her Muslim daughter tell the story of their separation and struggle to reunite through a book published recently in time for Mother's Day.

"Undivided: A Muslim Daughter, Her Christian Mother, Their Path to Peace" is written by award-winning author Patricia Raybon and her daughter, American Islamic convert Alana Raybon.

The book published by Thomas Nelson last month describes Patricia and Alana's struggle to ignore the topic of religion and the pain they experience in tiptoeing over the important subject for the past 10 years, after the daughter chose to leave the Christian church, convert to Islam and become a practicing Muslim.

"The elephant is in the room, and it's big... Still, my daughter and I talk around it, pretending our ten-ton problem isn't there-insisting it will stay quiet and be okay if we just ignore the obvious and keep on moving," Patricia says at the start of the book. "But it's the day before Mother's Day. Alana has called me on the phone to say hi, tell me she loves me, wish me the best. I'm hanging on to every word, as I always do when my daughters call, ecstatic to hear their living and lovely voices."

"Yet with Alana, there's always this wish: that things were different--back to the way they once were or the way I wish they'd always been, so long ago now I can't seem to remember," she added.

Readers will get to view the two sides of the coin through the alternating narratives of the mother and the daughter throughout the book. Alana starts off her side of the story with the questions bugging her mind regarding her family and how they are divided in faith.

"Why am I a Muslim? It's the big question of my life-and the big conundrum for a mother and a father I love," Alana says. "But I can't sleep just yet because I'm staring at my computer, trying to figure out a way to explain to my mother why I became a Muslim. Her question doesn't surprise me. I know that, although we smile and go along with our daily lives as if nothing is wrong, she will probably never be at peace with my decision..."

A family, the book shows, may be divided because of faith but its members may always find a way to reunite through proper communication and understanding.

Readers will get to know how the mother and daughter will try to find hope and understanding as the conversation gets deeper between them, and whether or not they can answer the question that they both want desperately to experience, which is "Can we make our torn family whole again?"

The authors said "Undivided"  will not only touch those troubled by the broader tensions between Islam and the West, but will also enable parents and their adult children who have left the family's belief system, better understand each other.

Patricia is also the author of "I Told the Mountain to Move," a 2006 Book of the Year finalist in Christianity Today magazine's annual book awards competition; and "My First White Friend," her racial forgiveness memoir that won the Christopher Award.

Her daughter Alana is an elementary- and middle-school educator who has served third-to-seventh-grade pupils in Texas and Tennessee.

The two women were featured in a May 2011 Mother's Day reflection in Glamour magazine, and recently with Tavis Smiley on PBS.