Religion should be a unifying force and accepting each other really works…


On July 11, 2015 Multicultural Mosaic Foundation hosted a book signing and discussion event followed by a fast breaking dinner. About 85 people participated in the event. The moderator of the program was religious studies researcher and academician Dr. Sophia Arjana, and the discussions were the authors of the book Undivided, Patricia Raybon and Alana Raybon. The night started with a presentation of the foundation and an interview that was conducted with the authors earlier on Today TV show.


Author-journalist and retired academic Patricia Raybon belongs to a Christian family whose daughter Alana later converted to Islam during her college years. The book is based on the development of the couple’s relationship after Alana’s conversion. Alana met with Islam at the University of Northern Colorado and found Islam’s monotheistic approach convincing against the backdrop of her questioning the concept of trinity in Christianity. One day she called up her mother and told her about her conversion to Islam. This decision was at first devastating to her mother, and their relationship remained shallow and conflictual for about ten years due to the shocking effect of this unexpected event. Patricia was worried about her daughter’s new life style with new practices such as covering of her head, praying and fasting. At the beginning, Alana was defensive towards her mother, trying to convince her about how Islam is similar to Christianity. Later they both realized that this confrontational relationship did not work well. They started to accept each other as they are, and gradually their relationship became more peaceful.


“Religion should be a unifying force” and “accepting each other really works” they said, adding their hope about their book becoming an inspiration for people like themselves. Even after ten years, they still experience difficulties especially around holidays when, as Muslims Alana and her family, do not celebrate Christmas and their parents do not celebrate Eid. Alana is married to a Muslim American and lives in Tennessee, and their children feel the absence of their grandparents who live in Colorado.


After the interview ended, participants enjoyed a video about fasting and Ramadan. Muslim participants broke their fast with the call to prayer sharing their dinner table with followers of different religions and felt the happiness of sharing the blessings of Ramadan. Participants enjoyed the delicious Turkish food and tea. After the fast breaking dinner, the authors signed their book and answered questions from the participants.