I was raised as a Christian in the Dutch Reformed Church in Brooklyn, New York. I am not a regular churchgoer. I attended Sunday school until I was 12. I dropped out with my parents’ tacit consent.
I began reading the Bible, from time to time, about a year ago – inspired by my son Jeff’s Bible study group. I attended a meeting when visiting his home. The group met in his living room. They all carried Bibles. I decided to buy one for my Kindle reader. It is inspirational reading.
I work as a writer of novels. My goal is to make millions but, my business plan has a long timeline… but that’s another story.
In researching Islam for my new book, Hunter III, due out in fall 2013, I realized that I could download a Quran (Koran) and read the words of Mohammed and Allah for myself. A wonderful positive revelation ensued.
Newspapers, newscasters, politicians, et al, have created an image of Muslims as bloodthirsty bastards bent on insane destruction of each other and anything of value to the western world. The World Trade Center attack and the bombing at the Boston Marathon are but 2 examples of the acts we blame Islam for.
I began reading the Oxford Translation of the Quran and was taken by the fact that Allah promoted love, charity, hospitality, forgiveness, as well as fair and kind behaviour for all.
The Quran is respectful of the “People of the Book,” Christians and Jews, who share, with Muslims, many prophets including Abraham and Moses. It tells the story of Jesus and his birth in a beautiful, respectful way.
Mohammed, Prophet of Allah, lived on the Arabian Peninsula in the 6th and 7th centuries. Historically speaking, his life and death are well documented.
The will of God was revealed to Muhammad by the Angel Gabriel over a span of years. Although illiterate, he began preaching the word. He was recorded by scribes and had much to tell.
The Quran is based on his words, as recorded by scribes as he spoke them. After a little reading, I came to believe what I had been told by the few Muslims I’ve had the privilege of knowing and interacting with.
Years ago in Bahrain, Sharja and Abu Dhabi, my wife and I were in a terrible situation involving the abduction of my stepdaughter. We were treated with kindness and assisted out of dilemmas on many dire occasions by kind strangers wearing Arab-style robes and headdresses.
My knowledge of the religion was not very detailed even though we fought a child custody case in the Sharia court. We lost. The story is told in Stealing Ali.
Once upon a time ago, I sat at a table with fellow employees of The Nantahala Outdoor Center in North Carolina. The subject of the Middle East came up and a mild mannered, pleasant woman I liked very much, suddenly burst out saying, “Those bloodthirsty Muslims are terrible people!” I was moved to defend them. I told the little group about my positive experiences but I don’t think I convinced anybody.
I have had pleasant experiences with American Muslims who have told me, flat out, that their religious beliefs and practices were peaceful and benevolent. They all said that the Islamic troublemakers were equivalent to the Ku Klux Klan in America. They are also misled and mean people who did not truly understand or reflect the spiritual values of the book.
There is a lot of history in our world that doesn’t involve European or new world nations. We must try to understand and appreciate the masses of peaceful, God fearing, family oriented, members of the human family who happen to not be Christians.
Go ahead. I dare you to make a Muslim friend or to read a scholarly translation of the Quran.
Peace and love to you all.