I do have much love and respect for the Muslim people, especially the women. But I also have serious concerns about the fundamental teachings of the religion. There are many beautiful parts of Islamic culture, and there are many troubling aspects as well. Not to mention that, of course, there are as many different types of Muslims as there are different types of Christians, and there is no easy way to compartmentalize them and put them in a box.
So for me, fiction is the best way to explore this subject. The book takes a three dimensional look at the Islamic belief system and culture, while also exploring Christianity and the typical non-Christian American beliefs. My Christian character in the book must struggle with how to share her faith and still be authentic. This is not a rah, rah, Christians are great and everyone else is bad book. Rather, my three girls learn from each other's strengths.
And yes, this is a book about a Muslim who converts to Christianity. I realize that some people won't like this, but it is a valid story, and it deserves to be told. Although Layla is a fictional character, she is a conglomerate of the many former Muslim women I have met in my life who have turned to Christ, and her decision reflects their searching and reasoning. The book contains a good bit of religious contemplation, but also plenty of romance, action, and even a bit of suspense. I think that there is something in here for everyone.
Here's the blurb:
Despite her conservative Muslim heritage, Layla Al-Rai longs for a chance to earn her degree in engineering and perhaps even…dare she dream…to choose her own husband. But young women from her background rarely enjoy such freedoms. When she finally talks her parents into letting her attend college, she is drawn to fellow twenty-something students, Allie and Rain, over a class project. Allie, the blonde ballerina, faces her own struggles as she deals with an ex-fiancé and a church she had hoped to leave behind. Rain, the bi-racial hippie chick, longs for something to believe in, but her questioning could cost her the love of her life. When Layla’s childhood sweetheart reenters her world, it seems her dreams might become real. Until everything falls apart. When she meets truth face to face, will she find the courage to accept it—even if it requires the ultimate sacrifice?
WhiteFire has already designed a rough version of a gorgeous cover, featuring the three girls along with a worship dancer on the beach. I hope to share with you soon.
And if you have a heart for this issue, come back next week when I will be sharing about a CD of songs and prayers concerning the Muslim people that I wrote, and which is in the process of being released. The hard copy is now available on amazon, with MP3 versions on the way.