Muslims Fighting For Understanding (And The Survival) Of Their Faith

For centuries, Muslims have been fighting for understanding and the survival of their faith. Numerous books on rebellion, revolution and resistance offer an intimate portrayal of an isolated people struggling to change and grow and connect.

As I was growing up, I was fascinated by women in conflict. My mother told me stories of her war-time days in Pakistan when she joined the Army. And then in school, I read about non-Muslim women leading battle including Joan of Arc. 

Women everywhere fight for their basic rights and the need to exist.

In time, I focused on conflicts and their effect on local communities. For example, I discovered award-winning reporter Jon Lee Anderson, who has the courage to write about left-wing groups in his book, Guerrillas–his work includes the the suffering of Muslims at war with real and perceived enemies.

With political and religious rhetoric, all groups express a longing for freedom. 

While fighting for an ideal, groups do whatever they can to hold onto life in this world and yearn for the After-world. My new book Invisible Martyrs explores the same theme of freedom, feminism, and the fantasies of belonging, family, identity, and much more.In my own writing about girls and women in violent groups, I have come to believe that the conflicts in the Muslim world which create the conditions for recruitment is a struggle bigger and bolder and stronger than we once imagined.

Even as violent groups are destroyed, it is a temporary solution to their black fury and fierce longing for the next battle.

At the heart of this battle is a return to Islam. And it is an ongoing challenge.

A Timeless Story

My new book, Invisible Martyrs, is a book I didn’t think I could write. Here’s why: it’s deeply personal and political; the characters are real and reactionary; and the process of writing about my life in the world of counter-terrorism and beyond is an emotional journey.

This is a book of ideas and feelings, so much invention and humanity. A story of conflict that is not yet over.

Three years ago, with a kind-hearted editor and a supportive publisher, I began to write a story that I believe needs to be shared. After I put down the final draft, I found the courage to publish the truth of women in violent groups.

The book speaks urgently to the moment in which we live–not least in its warnings about violent extremism and the conditions that give rise to conflicts raging in the Muslim world today.

Invisible Martyrs reveals a new world order as groups continue to fight for a glorified past and create a future fantasy. It’s an old tale set in a new time. Through the characters’ fear and fury, their degradation and dignity–as well as my own longing for answers–I have found a faith rooted in the principles of love, mercy and compassion. 

Yes, that’s right, Islam is a religion of peace, even as extremists continue to obscure a glorious religion. 

The Book Is Available On Amazon

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