Idliby, Ranya 1965-

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Idliby, Ranya 1965-


Born 1965, in Kuwait; married; children: two. Education: Georgetown University, B.S.; London School of Economics, M.S. Religion: Muslim.


Home—New York, NY. E-mail—[email protected].




The Faith Club.


(With Suzanne Oliver and Priscilla Warner) The Faith Club: A Muslim, Christian, Jew—Three Women Search for Understanding, Free Press (New York, NY), 2006.


Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver, and Priscilla Warner are the authors of the 2006 memoir The Faith Club: A Muslim, Christian, Jew—Three Women Search for Understanding. After the tragic events of September 11, 2001, Idliby, a Kuwait-born Muslim living in New York City, began writing a children's book highlighting the commonalities between the Abrahamic religions. She invited Oliver, an Episcopalian who was raised Catholic, to join the project, and Oliver in turn recruited Warner, a Jewish friend who had attended Hebrew day school, to help with the work. The children's book never got off the ground, however. According to Washington Post contributor Naomi Harris Rosenblatt, the women "quickly came to realize how little they knew about each other's traditions and how much they needed, initially, to deal with their own prejudices and stereotypes."

Idliby, Oliver, and Warner began meeting regularly in each other's homes to discuss religious practices and traditions. "Things got pretty heated after just a few meetings," Warner recalled on The Faith Club Web site. "We were forced to examine a lot of things I never in a million years thought we'd have to address." Warner and Oliver, for instance, engaged in a fierce debate of the Crucifixion story, and Idliby created waves by aggressively defending the Palestinian cause. "Eventually—and as they make abundantly clear, not easily—conflict and anger gave way to a special kind of rapprochement that merged mutual understanding and respect," wrote Booklist reviewer June Swayers. "As we pursued the adult dialogue, and we became the Faith Club, our conversations came about organically," Idliby remarked. "Life was our biggest source of material, from aging parents and curious children to cocktail parties and Easter bunnies."

Compiled from four years of the women's taped conversations and private journal entries, The Faith Club provides an "engaging account of their interfaith dialogue," observed a critic in Kirkus Reviews. "The dialogue among the three friends comes across as genuine and thoughtful," Rosenblatt commented. "They try valiantly to be frank with one another, which becomes easier as they learn to trust one another's motives and to respect each other's integrity." In the words of Kendra Nordin, writing in the Christian Science Monitor, each woman "grows in her understanding of faith and doubt, life and death, individualism and community. These moments of conviction and real friendship offer tangible hope for a peaceful humanity." World & I contributor Surekha Vijh similarly noted that "the trio has done a tremendous job in modeling a positive step toward understanding people of different faiths at a time when the United States is becoming an increasingly multi-religious society. The Faith Club creates peace and strengthens the hope that individuals can take their own similar steps to directly advance that cause."

On the Web site, Oliver stated, "The Faith Club is a book about people challenging themselves and challenging each other about the meaning of life, the meaning of being human today, being American today, of being religious or non-religious, believing in God or not believing in God. It's about people exploring the opinions they have about other people—opinions that we walk around with every day but don't really recognize. It's about understanding the stereotypes and prejudices that have influenced us since childhood and recognizing that those attitudes influence the way we view the world today. And that's something that every person … can benefit from."



Idliby, Ranya, Suzanne Oliver, and Priscilla Warner, The Faith Club: A Muslim, Christian, Jew—Three Women Search for Understanding, Free Press (New York, NY), 2006.


Booklist, September 1, 2006, June Swayers, review of The Faith Club, p. 25.

Christian Science Monitor, November 7, 2006, Kendra Nordin, review of The Faith Club.

Contra Costa Times, December 17, 2006, Rebecca Rosen Lum, "Mothers Question, Embrace Their Faiths," review of The Faith Club.

Jewish News Weekly of Northern California, November 10, 2006, Stacey Palevsky, "Book Explores Common Ground of Different Faiths," review of The Faith Club.

Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2006, review of The Faith Club, p. 664.

Library Journal, September 1, 2006, Carolyn M. Craft, review of The Faith Club, p. 153.

Publishers Weekly, August 14, 2006, review of The Faith Club, p. 198.

USA Today, September 27, 2006, Cathy Lynn Grossman, "Moms Find Spiritual Friends in Faith Club," review of The Faith Club.

Washington Post, October 12, 2006, Naomi Harris Rosenblatt, "Getting Religion," review of The Faith Club, p. C4.

World & I, winter, 2006, Surekha Vijh, "Uniting Abraham's Daughters," review of The Faith Club.


The Faith Club Web site, (February 20, 2007).

Washington Post Online, (November 17, 2006), "The Faith Club Chat."