Doug Howard, professor of history at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mi., writes in Books & Culture an incisive review of a strange book published last year in the US.
The author is Kamal Saleem (not his real name) and the book is called The Blood of Lambs. A Former Terrorist’s Memoir of Death and Redemption. I reproduce here a few excerpts from the review, as a teaser, for a text worth reading, because it exposes in a lucid manner the kind of Islamophobic hysteria that dominates much of American Evangelicalism.On Christmas Day 2009, our youngest son, Jay, found himself on Delta Northwest Airlines Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit. Toward the end of the flight, Jay’s seatmate, a Nigerian Muslim about his age named Umar abd al-Muttalib, tried to blow up the plane using a bomb hidden in his underwear. Reflecting on Jay’s experience, and on Umar and the failed efforts by his father to warn authorities, has helped me clarify my attitude toward American Christian anti-Islamic literary polemics, including Kamal Saleem’s “memoir,” The Blood of Lambs. The book fits the familiar pattern of reassuring Christians of the superiority of their own faith tradition by negative comparisons with a dehumanized Islam. But Kamal Saleem’s titillating dance with violence and fame makes the book more complicated and more uncomfortable than most like it. By embracing the glamorous violence it claims to abhor, it raises readers’ hopes of touching secret human meanings through it.
I first encountered Kamal Saleem when he appeared at Calvin College in November 2007. A look at his website told me immediately that he was not who he said he was. The signature of his deception was his statement that “in my family was the Grand Wazir of Islam.” The term is ridiculous, a spurious title meant to mislead the innocent with an aura of authority.
Authentic experience comes when we see a man or a woman before we see a Muslim, a Christian, a Jew; when we hear a human voice before we hear “a thick Middle Eastern accent”; when the person next to us on the plane is a young man—with a father and a mother waiting for him—before he is a Nigerian or an American. Anything else leads down the road toward extremism. Although Kamal Saleem has forsaken much, he has evidently not yet forsaken that.
Read HERE the whole article.