In the midst of the War on Terror and the increasing polarization between Islam and the West, it is important to maintain perspective. Although the idea that Muslims can be as kind-hearted and merciful as Christians is not a popular one in some circles, it is true nonetheless. There are "good" Muslims and they're not all dead...

Read more from my latest article over at the Washington Times.
 
 
I was delighted this morning to find an email in my Inbox from Yesim Erez, a Turkish writer and political commentator who lives in the US. Some of her articles on human rights and civil liberties can be found here.  She is the first and I assume only Turk to have read the novel in its entirety, unless some secret and sinister agency has spyware on my computer :-) She has posted a review at Amazon, which I encourage you to read if you want a Turkish perspective on political aspects of the book. As the author, I must admit that the part of the review I liked best was the last sentence, "I am already looking forward to this author's next novel." Thank you, Yesim, for those encouraging words!

I'm already working on the skeleton outline for the sequel...
 
 
This last week, four Turkish journalists were released from prison after being held for over a year. This should be cause for celebration, but the fact that dozens more remain behind bars dampens the mood somewhat. Maybe, this move by the government was merely an attempt to placate public outrage over the fact that the statute of limitations had run out on the Islamic fascists who burned Alevis and Turkish intellectuals alive in a hotel in Sivas in 1993. Whatever the case, we can be sure that it is not a sincere attempt to uphold justice by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey. See the following link for the full story. http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/looking-luke/2012/mar/17/playing-fire-journalism-turkey/

 
 
I was honored last week by a request from the Washington Times Communities to write a weekly column. Interested reader can find me there weekly under "Looking For Luke".  My first article is an introduction to the issue of politics and religion. Having lived in the Middle East for so many years, the issue of politics and religion is one that strikes very close to home, and it was one of the driving force behind the novel. Open question - why are the two so inextricably intertwined?  I look forward to hearing your answers....
 
 
Today, I woke up to find a message from a fan in Croatia. That was exciting. It is so nice to hear from people around the world who are reading the book and being challenged by it. However, the content of the message was sobering. Apparently, she received threatening messages from Islamic groups for "liking" my link on Facebook. These are people who haven't even read the book!! I would like to say I'm shocked, but I'm not. I lived in the Middle East long enough to know that passion often overrides judgment... It feels like an Orwellian world.

On the positive side, our website has been visited from over 30 countries, ten of which are predominately Muslim. I'm already receiving requests to translate the book into other languages (!), namely Dutch. Anybody know a good Dutch translator?
 
 
It is amazing that this website for a simple novel is still being blocked in Turkey. It is also hard for my friends in the US to understand why because they haven't lived there and don't fully comprehend the mindset or the political sensitivities in that country. The obsession some governments have with controlling information they don't approve of is mind-boggling, especially given the fact that in the end, this is doomed to fail. The penetrating power of ideas is far greater than that of water and air. You can water-proof something, but idea-proofing a society is much more difficult. Ideas are pesky, pernicious little things, you know.