The Wrong Kind of Muslim: An Untold Story of Persecution & Perseverance (Print and Kindle e-Book) launches on June 19th and begins with this Rage Against The Machine lyric: "Now renegades are the people, with their own philosophy, they change the course of history, everyday people like you and me." This is because some 20 million members of faith minorities in Pakistan are dying to introduce themselves to every day people like you and me -- pun intended.
Since 9/11, terrorists in Pakistan have killed over 40,000 people -- and counting. The Wrong Kind of Muslim is the true story of the journey into the heart of that terrorism to unearth the untold story of those faith minorities silenced by Taliban suicide bombings, secret police torture, and state sponsored religious persecution. It is the horrifying truth about growing radicalism in Pakistan and its impact on Western security. But most importantly, it is the inspiring, untold, and finally uncensored story of the millions fighting back -- and winning.
This book comes after too many have paid an irreplaceable price. Over 125 Ahmadi Muslims have been martyred in cold blood in just the past three years alone. The government and vigilantes have championed every form of discrimination against Ahmadi Muslims, even exhuming deceased Ahmadi Muslims -- only because of their faith. And most horrifically, the persecution of Ahmadi Muslims is just the beginning.
As The Wrong Kind of Muslim reveals, this terrorism is not limited to just the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. The body of a murdered eleven-year-old Christian boy in Faisalabad is uncovered -- lips and nose sliced, and stomach removed. Every day, another Hindu woman is raped, "converted" to Islam, and forcibly married. Shia genocide shows no sign of ending. And as far as atheists in Pakistan are concerned, I've been advised they "don't exist."
These are our fellow human beings.
This is where The Wrong Kind of Muslim fights back and says enough is enough. This book is a call to unite those of all faiths and of no faith to conquer the common enemy that is oppression of conscience -- to conquer terrorism. This is not just a story of what has gone wrong in Pakistan; it is also the story of what is going right in the world; a revolution to free the billions oppressed worldwide, a revolution to end terrorism.
And sure, I could tell you to read The Wrong Kind of Muslim because U.S. Senator Tim Kaine's back cover endorsement reads, "Rashid's heartfelt story compels admiration for him..." Or because leading American scholar of Christianity and Islam, Butler University Professor Dr. Philip Jenkins, calls it "A significant and alarming book that demands attention as a passionate call for peace and toleration." Or because former Harvard human rights fellow Beena Sarwar describes it as a "must-read for anyone who cares about human rights in Pakistan and worldwide." I am even privileged to have Princeton University Professor Dr. Atif Mian write the foreword (he describes me as "A bigot's worst nightmare.")
But as privileged and grateful as I am to have these, and other, gracious endorsements -- they are not the primary reason you should read The Wrong Kind of Muslim.
You should read The Wrong Kind of Muslim because there are millions in Pakistan and billions worldwide who need their stories heard -- who are dying to introduce themselves to you. And unless we listen to and act upon these countless (previously censored) voices, we risk condemning not only their future -- but also our own.
For this is not a story of just them. This is the story of us all. And in the global village we call Earth, our only hope at survival is to work together against the universal problem that is oppression of conscience. Some 5.25 billion people worldwide live under some form of oppression of conscience. That means that in 2013, only the minority enjoys true freedom of conscience.
Thus, The Wrong Kind of Muslim sets out to make today's minority tomorrow's majority. We can do this. But first we must be renegades with the philosophy that we will change the course of history. And we shall do it through ordinary people like you and me. Together we will end terrorism. So when anyone asks you why you read The Wrong Kind of Muslim, it really is simple.
Because countless suffering people needed someone to hear their voice, and unlike billions worldwide -- you had the unique freedom to listen.