In American Dervish, Galeb Chatha is the wealthiest member and unofficial leader of the Pakistani community in the Milwaukee suburb where Hayat grows up. Chatha is a deeply religious Muslim, while Hayat's father dislikes and distrusts religion, so the families have little to do with each other. However, Hayat recalls one evening at the Chathas' house when he was nine years old. Chatha talked about Allah's anger towards the Jews, saying that they were a cursed people and that the Holocaust was predicted in the Quran. Sonny Buledi, another of the guests, pointed to a later passage in the Quran which contradicted this.
At this stage in his life, Hayat knew almost nothing about Islam. When he came to study the Quran, it was with his mother's friend Mina, who took a liberal approach and told him that Allah loved everyone. However, when he was separated from Mina and started to study the Quran on his own, Hayat recalled the argument between Chatha and Buledi. Since Chatha was a pious Muslim, whereas Buledi was an atheist arguing that the Quran continually contradicts itself, Hayat sided with Chatha and condemned the Jews. His memory of the argument is one of his reasons for adopting a narrow, literal view of Islam in which Allah is always punishing the unbelievers.