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Salt Houses


From a dazzling new literary voice, a debut novel about a Palestinian family...
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Discuss Salt Houses by Hala Alyan:
What do you think influences Mustafa to become involved in increasingly violent politics?

Created: 05/25/18

Replies: 10

Posted May. 25, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1584

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What do you think influences Mustafa to become involved in increasingly violent politics?

In the one chapter narrated from Mustafa's perspective, we see him gradually become inspired (or radicalized) by Imam Bakri. But he also acknowledges that his belief in Allah is "flighty" and that "if there is ever a sweeping of believers into one room and the rest into the other, he doesn't want to be on the wrong side of the door" (page 31). What do you think influences him to become involved in increasingly violent politics?


Posted Jun. 03, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Marcia S

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 169

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RE: What do you think influences Mustafa to become involved in increasingly violent politics?

He saw horrible things happening in his country. Then, when he was at the mosque he overcame his fear and was someone be looked up to. That made it easy to be a part of the political rhetoric spread by the mosque. However, when he wanted to leave with his family and not be a part of the violence, Atef chided Mustafa into staying when his heart really wasn't in it.


Posted Jun. 04, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 59

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RE: What do you think influences Mustafa to become involved in increasingly violent politics?

Mustafa's father was not a big part of his life. He was very young when his father died. To some extent he was indulged by his mother. Mustafa was unsure of his direction in life. He wasn't certain about school or what kind of work he wanted to do. After his family left Nablus he had even less of an idea about who he was. He was in love with a woman he would never be able to marry and his home was falling down around him. He could not act decisively. The mosque was a part of his social life, but the Iman seemed to sense that Mastafa could be easily baited or manipulated. Because he did not know who he truly was, Mustafa allowed himself to be goaded into remaining in Nablus and fighting during the Six Day War by his friend, Atef. Young men often feel they are invincible--that bad things happen to other people. I do not believe Mustafa was radicalized; he just wanted to have a close connection with other men that he did not have with his own father.


Posted Jun. 04, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
janeh

Join Date: 06/15/11

Posts: 165

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RE: What do you think influences Mustafa to become involved in increasingly violent politics?

I agree with all responses to this point. I think we have all been aware that the religious extremists who participate in violence tend to be those searching for a sense of worth, much like the kids involved in gang activity here in the US larger cities.


Posted Jun. 07, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JLPen77

Join Date: 02/05/16

Posts: 229

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RE: What do you think influences Mustafa to become involved in increasingly violent politics?

I agree with what everyone has said here. Mustafa was at an age when he needed to sort out where he fit into the world of men, and all he had to go by was his memory of his father's rage, and then his father's death. There was a void. He wanted to have faith, he felt the lack of some clear and direct experience of God that would clarify his sense of purpose. and that made him vulnerable to a charismatic imam, who played on Mustafa's inherent desire to please and his tender heart.

Mustafa also wanted to please his friend Atef, his closest male influence and guide -- and Atef also pushed him to become more involved in this radical group. Mustafa knew it wasn't right for who he was at heart -- he struggled with his speech; he called himself a "roar without a bite." His heart wasn't in it, as strongly as he feels the injustice done to his people; but he felt he had to live up to what was expected of him as a man by the only men he was close to. He wanted to belong. And he felt a sense of obligation to others. And no one to show him a different way forward.


Posted Jun. 10, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
reene

Join Date: 02/18/15

Posts: 311

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RE: What do you think influences Mustafa to become involved in increasingly violent politics?

Mustafa's desire to grow as a man and to prove to himself and others that he is strong pushes him to become involved in violent politics. He does not yet know himself. He is questioning his own beliefs, but at the same time wants to please others. He was just at the right stage for the imam to influence him. He was ready to leave with his family, but his desire to be liked and not to disappoint convinced him to go along with Atif.


Posted Jun. 10, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dorothyh

Join Date: 01/23/15

Posts: 107

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RE: What do you think influences Mustafa to become involved in increasingly violent politics?

He was young, impressionable and wanted to make things right.


Posted Jun. 13, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
taking.mytime's Gravatar
taking.mytime

Join Date: 03/29/16

Posts: 97

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RE: What do you think influences Mustafa to become involved in increasingly violent politics?

Atef was the final straw. But Mustafa was young and wanted to be a hero and a patriot for his country. He was looking for a way to belong.


Posted Jun. 13, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dianaps

Join Date: 05/29/15

Posts: 256

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RE: What do you think influences Mustafa to become involved in increasingly violent politics?

Mustafa was lost and adrift in his young life. He had no ambitions or dreams of his own and seemed to lack self confidence. He was a perfect target for radical groups.


Posted Jun. 23, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
audrey1

Join Date: 09/02/13

Posts: 29

RE: What do you think influences Mustafa to become involved in increasingly violent politics?

First of all he was very young and the times were chaotic. Second, I agree that the fact that his father was not around and he did not have uncles to turn to reinforced his sense of self righteousness. I was an activist in the 1960s and 1970s. Although I still am proud of my involvement, my priorities have shifted since them. Mustafa's only outside influence was the iman and he was caught up with the same zeal. But he was ready to leave before Atef influenced him to leave when he wanted. If Mustafa needed the iman and other men at the mosque to reinforce his youthful zeal, Atef needed Mustafa to justify his zeal. If not they may have been able to get o ut in time for both of them to have a second chance at a long life.


Posted Jun. 26, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
scgirl

Join Date: 06/05/18

Posts: 34

RE: What do you think influences Mustafa to become involved in increasingly violent politics?

Many radical people are those who are, in fact, wealthy and/or middle class. Poor people who are working hard to survive often do not have the time to engage in radical activities. They are too busy just trying to live.


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