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The Convert: A Tale of Exile and Extremism

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The Convert: A Tale of Exile and Extremism by Deborah Baker, book reviewThis is a story which strengthens the belief that truth is stranger than fiction. Browsing the New York library archives ‘on the prowl’ for a subject to write about, biographer Deborah Baker stumbled upon a file containing the papers of Maryam Jameelah. The sight of a lone Muslim name in those conservatively American stacks piqued Baker’s interest. She rummaged through the papers and came upon the intriguing story of Margaret Marcus, an intellectual misfit born to Jewish parents in New York State. Known as ‘Peggy’ the girl had no use for teen fashions or preoccupations like dating – instead she was obsessed from an early age with spirituality. “Even if there is a God, what sense did it make for Him to restrict His truth to a single people?” she wrote in a letter when she was eleven.


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