I wanted it to be a book that would teach Western readers about the Arab world and the Middle East. We’re a slave to our own press (like they are). So we only see the bad side of everything as the news only reports what’s bad. You probably never saw a CNN report on Muhammad the Baker in Bethlehem who makes bread day and night and gives it to the poor children in a nearby refugee camp – right? So we wanted to give you some good news.
Now, here’s what’s interesting about this – quite a few people, I’ve discovered, don’t want good news from people they thought were only bad. They don’t want us to put a human face on those who are assumed terrorists. They don’t want to know that the Hamas leader has a cute little girl that he kept hugging and tickling during our interview. That ruins their stereotype and they are quite fond of their stereotype!
I am constantly in communication with people here in the states who are Middle East “experts.” How do I know they’re experts? They tell me! Radio and TV interviews. During and after speaking engagements. And just out on the streets. Whenever I tell people what I do, they have an opinion – and a strong one – about the Middle East and how things are and how they should be. It’s a lot of fun. So I wanted to help paint another picture for these people. Not just the “right one”, as if there’s only one version of the facts, but simply another one.
And the book has done just that. It has created a huge discussion in a bunch of different circles about the issues we deal with in the book. Terrorism. Islam. Middle East peace. How Christians relate and should relate to Muslims. Shared humanity. Simple things like that!
And the last one – tomorrow is possibly the most fundamental reason, but also the most controversial. Come back…