Many years ago I read one of my daughter’s diary. I was standing right in front of her and started reading her thoughts from grade five up to seven.

It was honest, touching and in places, hilarious!

The kind of writing one does when they don’t expect anyone else in the world to be reading it.

And I felt humbled. I thought she was such a better writer than I. She’d captured the ups and downs and little turmoils of life in that time so perfectly when I’d been struggling for ages to do so.

It was my husband’s idea for me to even work with her over the summer and turn it into a book we’d submit to publishing. It really was that good.

She found some things embarrassing now that she was taking her Islamic dress requirements more seriously. She was even thinking of burning one of the journals. I begged her not to.

I was more than willing to help her turn it into a book, but she refused.

She decided that they were too personal, and that they reflected a time she had outgrown and she wanted to concentrate on more serious things like memorizing the entire Quran. Studying the finer points of Aqeedah (the oneness and attributes of God) and other fine points of Islamic jurisprudence.

I think I mentioned before that all three of my daughters have become more strict and even stringent in their practice of Islam than myself. For instance, all three of them wear the niqab (face covering veil).

I don’t think she destroyed that journal. At least I hope she didn’t. Perhaps one day when she mellows a little she’ll look back fondly and remember what it was like to be little.

I think it will help her with any children she might bear.

She was the last to get married and although we had our battles when she was growing up, we’ve become quite close, even in proximity.

She moved into a condo about three hundred metres away! (On the other side of the high school she went to.) She told her husband at one time that she really wished she’d moved a little further than a stone’s throw away. She’d been born in our house.

But the nice thing about it is she comes over for tea about once a week. I consider it a compliment that she still wants to have tea with me. We did a lot of bonding over tea.

This afternoon she said something interesting. She’s said it before, and I’ve really come to realize how astute an observation it is.

She said that all she ever had to do to become rich and famous was to take off the niqab/face veil, whip out her hair, put on a bikini and write a book about how she went from niqab wearing ultra-conservative Muslim to liberated Western hottie.

The book would sell like hotcakes.

I agree.

It shouldn’t be surprising that people in the West are comforted by stories of conformity. Of immigrants or minorities coming to this land of plenty and adopting all their ways.

Of course imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

There are a number of ‘Muslims’ who’ve had bestselling books they wrote at the expense of the religion their were born into: Salman Rushdie, Irshad Manji (who some like to call Rushdie-lite because she doesn’t have his penchant for scholarship), Ayaan Hirsi Ali to name a few.

There will be more, I’m sure.

At first I resisted the impulse to reveal this recipe for what I believe would be instant success because I thought some hungry young Muslim writer might just decide to do it. But so what if they do?

It’s a free world. They can do whatever they want.

Very early in my career I made a conscious decision of the type of writer I want to be. I’ve seen people lose their faith, sell the hereafter for the life of this world, betray every principle they once held sacred, and it scares me to death.

If the whole world turned their back on me, and I still had my faith and the pleasure of God, I’d like to think I’d be just fine. To me, that’s what it means to submit yourself to the will of God. (the definition of Muslim)

By the grace of God I married a man who feels the same way.

And I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I’m just grateful that despite the way I look, the clothes I wear, and the religion I belong to, I can make a pretty decent living in the country I call home.

Decent is more than I ever imagined.

And I’m doing it with my principles and faith, intact.