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Publisher's Summary

An arresting and emotional memoir about a family’s indoctrination into a religious cult, a daughter coming to terms with a parent’s devastating choices, and the trials ahead in post-9/11 New York.

In 1978, when Jamiyla was two years old, her mother, Ummi, quit her job, converted to Islam with her husband, and moved into an exclusive Muslim society in Brooklyn. Once inside the Community, the family was separated by its powerful and charismatic leader, Dwight York, who was hiding behind the name Imam Isa. Instead of the devotional refuge they’d imagined, the Community was a nightmare of controlled abuse and unspeakable secrets.

Forty years later, Jamiyla was ready to excavate and understand a past buried in bad dreams, disturbing memories, and inexplicable rage. It was a place Ummi never wanted to return to. Jamiyla had to.

Jamiyla’s emotional memoir tells her family’s story of life inside and outside the cult, and of escaping into new challenges as conservative Muslims in the secular Brooklyn they left behind. A harrowing and deeply personal history fraught with racial tension and devastating personal betrayals, The Community is also a hopeful story brimming with Black pride, justice, and the long-overdue healing between a daughter and mother.

©2022 Nicole Jamiyla Chisholm (P)2022 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

“Journalist [N. Jamiyla] Chisholm debuts with a transfixing look at the secretive Muslim commune her family joined in 1978…As Chisholm untangles their complicated past and the trauma her mother refused to acknowledge, what emerges is a compassionate interrogation of the ‘universal emotion of desperately wanting to belong’ that her family fell victim to. In its striking search for redemption, this uncovers a uniquely human tale.”Publishers Weekly

“The author expertly balances passion with compassion, and her vulnerability electrifies the often harrowing narrative…A heart-wrenching memoir about surviving a religious group helmed by an abusive leader.”Kirkus Reviews

“Chisholm, a journalist, offers a nuanced examination of how and why people make decisions that harm them, and of the difficulty in extricating oneself from destructive situations.”Booklist 

What listeners say about The Community

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Misleading description

I did enjoy the book overall, however the description was a little misleading. I thought it was supposed to be about the author's time spent in a cult. While this was covered, the author also gives significant time to political views, going as far as to liken President Trump's supporters to a cult, and stating that The Community was an early Black Lives Matter. Meaning that people joined the cult because people of color did not feel valued by the "white man." It almost sounded like they were forced into it instead of making a choice to live that lifestyle. She also goes on to say how she left the country for a year, becaise of anti-American feelings.The book was well written, and I applaud the author for sharing her story. I just feel that the reader/listener should be informed about the political rhetoric before reading/listening.

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What a troubling story!

Beautifully told, but such a sad and complicated life this brave woman has lived! She seems to have survived her experiences in “the community” but how many others have suffered because of this cult-like organization and its evil leadership? She was very bold to write this book, and I hope no harm comes to her because she had the courage to do so.

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Hardly believable

This book is hardly believable but not because it can't be believed, rather it boggles the mind to think that people would willingly sunny to a community that would deprive them of freedom and rights, not realizing how it would permanently affect them. interesting read.