Dayton Daily News: Centerville grad writes about Muslims (By Jim DeBrosse)

Melody Moezzi, a Muslim of Iranian descent who grew up in the Dayton area, would like the world to know she doesn't know any terrorists. That's one reason her new book, The War on Error: Real Stories of American Muslims, doesn't feature any.

"The bigger picture is the 99.99 percent of us who are just normal average Americans," she said in a phone interview from her home in Atlanta. "They're your doctors and dentists and lawyers and everything else."

A 1997 graduate of Centerville High School, Moezzi said she set out in her first book to "humanize Islam" for the many Americans since 9/11 who have come to equate her religion with intolerance and terrorism.

"What I love so much about Islam is that it accepts other religions, and says that God is big enough to accept us all," she said.

Of the 5 million Muslims in America, War on Error brings together the stories of 12 young Americans with very different approaches to Islam: from a rapper of Korean and Egyptian descent to a bisexual Sudanese American to a converted white woman from Colorado living in Cairo and wearing the hajib.

All have made their own decisions about whether or not to fast, how often to pray and what to wear.

Moezzi, 28, said her book was rejected by a series of publishers who insisted she interview a terrorist to make it marketable.

She held fast until hearing from the University of Arkansas Press.

Moezzi's parents, both Daytonarea physicians, have a compelling story of their own.

After emigrating from Iran to Chicago in the 1970s, they were forced to leave the country during the Iranian hostage crisis.

They later returned to Toledo, then to Dayton to escape the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.

Moezzi will speak to students at Centerville High School and the Dayton Early College Academy this week and will sign her books Monday night at Books & Co. at The Greene in Beavercreek, starting at 7 p.m. Call 429-6302 for more information.