Coming out Wednesday, The Wrong Kind of Muslim is a book the author characterizes as "a call to unite those of all faiths and of no faith in the struggle for universal freedom of conscience."
The Wrong Kind of Muslim explores violence in Pakistan, where terrorists have killed more than 40,000 people. Often risking his own life, author Qasim Rashid unearths the untold story of those silenced by Taliban suicide bombings, secret police torture, and state sponsored religious persecution.
Rashid exposes what he calls "the horrifying truth about growing radicalism in Pakistan" and traces its impact on Western security.
But what he considers the most important story is that of the millions fighting back—and winning.
Muslim Voices Managing Editor Rosemary Pennington spoke with Rashid about his book, asking what it's about and who it's for.
Rosemary Pennington: What is the "wrong kind of Muslim"?
Qasim Rashid: Due to blasphemy laws, Pakistan has defined what it considers the "right" kind of Muslim. Hence, the "wrong" kind of Muslim is anyone who doesn't fit into Pakistan's state approved definition of a Muslim. The wrong kind of Muslim could be an Ahmadi Muslim, a Shia Muslim, a Christian, a Hindu, even an atheist or agnostic. It is anyone in Pakistan who is persecuted for his or her belief, while the government stands idle and approves of that persecution. This book is the story of those oppressed for their beliefs. It serves to give voice to those silenced for too long because they are the wrong kind of Muslim.
Why did you feel compelled to write this book?
To support those suffering from terrorism, to educate and inform those who want to help on how they can help, and to build interfaith bridges to unite against extremism. Too few are aware of the religious persecution horrors millions face in Pakistan, and billions face worldwide. This is not a story about a problem "over there" because what happens "over there" affects us directly in the West. This book creates a dialogue to recognize that peace on Earth cannot exist anywhere until universal freedom of conscience exists everywhere. This book gives voice to those silenced and hopefully inspires those who are able to take action–to take action and help make a difference.
You can follow Qasim on Twitter @MuslimIQ, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and buy The Wrong Kind of Muslim at Amazon. He says, "I do my best to respond to each email I receive and look forward to responding to your inquiries."