Mr. Siddiqui is the award-winning editor and columnist of Canada's largest circulation newspaper, the Toronto Star and author of Canadian best seller, Being Muslim. He is a former president of the very prestigious PEN, Canada, as well as a Hafiz-ul-Quran, which means one who has memorized all 114 chapters of the Quran. Mr. Siddiqui has been awarded the Order of Canada, the nation's highest civilian honor, for his journalistic contributions as well as for his volunteer work. His book Being Muslim is targeted at adults and youth, and his columns in the Toronto Star can be read online at http://www.thestar.com/comment/columnists/94618

Why do I think his work is so relevant? Well, we live in dangerous times. The decision to have him speak to an audience would have far reaching benefits, because it is an alternative, a pre-emptive move to appeal to Muslim youth and adults alike, with balanced, informed insights. Let there be no mistake, there are those in our very midst, who believe that violence is justified, and that distorting religion to fuel violence is justified. They exist and they recruit our vulnerable.

While American Muslims, by and large, have not indulged in the kind of terrorism that UK has witnessed, we need to make sure our communities have balanced perspectives made available to them. Views such as Mr. Siddiqui’s would counter-balance talk and opinions based on skewed observations, that can rile up passions to the detriment of Muslims at large. By God’s grace, we in the US, still have time to take a pro-active stance in educating the community, and the likes of Mr. Siddiqui, are the arrows in our quiver. He represents Muslims whose voices often go unheard amidst the Islamophobic ravings of the likes of Irshad Manji and the violent rhetoric and actions of extremists, both of whom have come to define Muslims and Islam in the public mind.

Being Muslim has been internationally recognized as a bridge to create a better understanding of Muslims and Islam amongst Non-Muslims. Amongst Muslims, it provides an overview of key contemporary political and social issues affecting us. A voice of moderation and wisdom in the post-9/11 world, Siddiqui has a readership that includes people from many cultures. According to the American Library Association review on Amazon.com:

“While clearly concerned about terrorism and other dangers, Siddiqui attacks the propaganda of collective guilt. Without preaching or political jargon …., he shows that the extremists are being challenged by a new generation of Muslims, and welcomes the current internal reformation.”

Based on Br. Siddiqui's interviews with scholars and other experts and his travels in Muslim lands and in the West, Being Muslim summarizes the impact of terrorism on Muslims; explains how Islam is interwoven into the daily lives of ordinary Muslims, regardless of where they live; dissects Western discourse, especially the media's, on Islam and Muslims; and tackles all the controversial topics, from terrorism to the treatment of women. It ends with the hope that, despite the current misunderstandings and anger, there are reasons to expect a future of mutual understanding.

On that note, I hope you shall buy the book. You can browse through it on Amazon and read excerpts, too. If you’re a distributor, I hope you’re thinking of purchasing the book and stocking your stores. And if you’re a university, or a school principal, I hope you’re thinking of booking Mr. Siddiqui for a lecture. Between his speaking engagements in Malaysia, Singapore and cities across the globe, I’m sure he’d love to visit your city, too. And if you think of doing any of the following, do remember to email me too, or tell his publicist that you read about his book in my column. Like my engineer husband says, it doesn’t matter how hard you tried, the only thing that matters are the results you can produce!