Not that I’m an expert but my current research is on Islam. Why? Because I’m writing another book, why not? So, for this book, I need to know all I can about Western Monotheism. Being an idiot savant in Judeo-Christian tradition, I’m all too aware of my weaknesses in Islam.
First: If you want to read a fabulous book set in Islamic Pakistan, read Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. It is one of the (so-far) two books on my books-everyone-should-read-to- be-a-compassionate-and-informed-human-being list.
Now some facts:
Islam means submission to God. Basically this is the same message given by Moses and Jesus. I dated a Muslim years ago and was told that God sent Moses and folks didn’t listen. Then God sent Jesus and not only did people not listen, they put him on a pedestal and worshipped him. I have opinions about this but that’s for later. Finally, God sent Muhammed and said get it right this time.
Islam is not about terrorism or jihad. Nor does jihad mean what you think it does. Assuming you are not my Muslim friend Mike. He DOES know what jihad really means. Yes, a real live Caucasian American Muslim convert. I even eat with him! Live with it. Chances are Islam is growing faster in your neighborhood than your religion is. It’s one of the fastest growing religions in America and with good cause. It’s a good religion.
Madras means school. Unfortunately, while we’ve been bombing the hell out of innocent people, folks like the Taliban are building madrassas to indoctrinate kids into a perverted version of Islam. Think of school run by the likes of Jerry Falwell, or Rush Limbaugh, or George W. Bush. A TRUE madras is a place where everyone is taught all the best that there is to know…sort of like a good university except it takes little kids too. Madras is not a bad thing anymore than PS 12 is a bad thing. But extremist madrassas are very bad things just like Christian extremist schools. Oh yeah, the Qur’an REQUIRES the education of girls.
Allah means God. So does Dieu (that’s French, the only foreign language I’m actually conversant in). Guess what Christians and Jews in Arabic-speaking countries call God. Allah. Same God.
Like women in Judaism before Jesus and Paul, women in pre-Islamic centuries were devalued and mistreated. Jesus, Paul (yeah, I know, another subject some other time), and Muhammed all taught equality for women. If you don’t believe me, do your homework in Scripture and history. Unfortunately, the powers-that-be in the status quo don’t give up easily. So, a perversion of Islam has been perpetuated and AMERICANS, being basically illiterate and lazy, believe whatever Fox News tells us to believe.
Read the Qur’an. Now, it’s not the easiest reading, but it is amazing. (And you can download it free for your iPhone or iPod Touch).
I will be posting other facts about Islam as I go along, and will recommend some books for you to check out. Check your prejudices at the door, please, and open those minds.
BTW, the book is a mystery and that’s all I’m going to say. Well, it has lesbians in it, too. If you want an advance read, you have to be in my writer’s group. Not even the Adored Jenny gets to read it until it’s done.