How does it relate to the broader themes of the novel?
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Eggers devotes significant space to describing Kathy’s conversion to Islam.
It is notable that she leaves one deeply religious culture to move directly into another. It is clear that she values Islam not simply for its theology (in fact, she emphasizes its similarities to Christian theology over its differences), but also because of the culture. A faithful woman, Kathy was disheartened by the evangelical church she attended during a period of soul-searching following her divorce. She approached the culture around the church with distaste, reacting negatively to the materialism and bigotry she was subjected to. Kathy ultimately embraces Islam because of its values and bent towards social justice, attracted to the culture of decency she felt lacking in her own life. The religious conversion is also a cultural conversion. This exploration into Kathy's faith, especially with the attention paid to similarities between Christianity and Islam, serves one of the overall themes of the book - Islamophobia. It offers a Western point of view to an predominately Eastern faith devoid of the sensationalism usually trumped up by the media. Zeitoun can be viewed as a tale of tolerance.