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Book shatters stereotypes about Muslim women, sex and love

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While the book is full of sexually liberal women, it also has many conservative women, as well as surprising takes on institutions such as arranged marriage and polygamy.

In the essay "Leap of Faith," Aisha Saeed, a high school English teacher in Florida, makes clear that while her parents searched out potential suitors and ultimately found the man she would marry, it was her decision to fall in love with him.

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"I knew all I needed to," Saeed writes of accepting her husband’s marriage proposal over the telephone, after only one meeting and several weeks of phone calls.

"The idea of sharing a husband had never bothered me," said Asiila Imani, a doula (pregnancy coach) who shares her Muslim husband with another wife. "I believed women should be confident enough in themselves that they wouldn’t need to be the sole object of a man’s affections."

For many of the women, one of the biggest hurdles was writing about such personal issues with the risk of angering parents who disapprove of their daughter’s lives and don’t appreciate being criticized in public.

"That’s one of the reasons we included our stories," Mattu said. "We wanted the writers to know that weren’t asking them to do something that we weren’t willing to do ourselves."

Even though she’s bared her heart once, Maznavi is not quite ready to bare it again, at least not yet. When asked if she’s ever been intimate with her new fiancé, she replied with a laugh.

"I’ve decided I’m going to save that story for the sequel."

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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