Never mind any of those things. Because history isn’t easy to overcome. Neither is religion. In the end, I was a Pashtun and he was a Hazara, I was Sunni and he was Shi’a, and nothing was ever going to change that. Nothing.

Amir’s thoughts, expressed early on in the novel, highlight the religious tension inherent in Amir and Hassan’s relationship over the course of the book. When Amir says that “history isn’t easy to overcome” and “neither is religion,” he makes a statement about the divides that religion and history can create. The bonds of family and friendship that Amir and Hassan share might be natural and deep, but Amir believes their cultural and religious heritage still permanently divides them.

You don’t know the meaning of the word ‘liberating’ until you’ve done that, stood in a roomful of targets, let the bullets fly, free of guilt and remorse, knowing you are virtuous, good, and decent. Knowing you’re doing God’s work.

Assef, who has become a Taliban official, explains his version of “liberation” to Amir during their final confrontation. Assef is on a mission to “rid the Afghanistan of garbage” in the name of the Koran. His belief that true liberation comes from showering a room full of bullets, “knowing you are doing God’s work,” reveals the perversion of the Muslim religion by the Taliban. Assef believes his murderous actions are virtuous and good, and his words highlight how the Taliban is merely a radicalized version of Islam.

I see now Baba was wrong, there is a God, there always has been. I see Him here, in the eyes of the people in this corridor of desperation. This is the real house of God, this is where those who have lost God will find Him, not the white masjid with its bright diamond lights and towering minarets.

Amir reflects upon religion and God while recovering in the hospital from Assef’s brutal beating. Up until now, religion has largely played into the characters’ lives as a force of division and strife. At this point, after Amir has been “redeemed” by Assef’s attack, Amir sees God as a force of healing and closure. Though not an outward image of “bright diamond lights,” he sees that God is not someone whose will is to kill. God has always existed, especially in those who have lost a sense of God through suffering and desperation and have restored that sense through redemption.