Censored! The Banning of My Books

It’s Banned Books Week! Did you know my first novel, THE JEWEL OF MEDINA, has been banned in several countries including Malaysia and, when I went there in 2011, Egypt? Why? Because I wrote about the Prophet Muhammad and his youngest wife, A’isha. Before it was even released, the book spurred an angry demonstration in […]

Courage, Islam, the West, and THE JEWEL OF MEDINA

I remember the moment I discovered A’isha bint Abi Bakr, the youngest wife of the Prophet Muhammad. I found her in a book on women in Islam that I read after 9/11, when many of us were learning for the first time of the terrible oppression of women in Afghanistan. Nine-year-old A’isha was playing on […]

A’isha Still Inspires Me

Here is the speech I gave on Sept. 11, 2012, at the Spokane Coeur d’Alene Woman Magazine Luncheon: “Moments,” I once wrote, “are the hinges on which the doors of the human universe swing.” I’m here to tell you about some of mine. I remember the moment I discovered A’isha bint Abi Bakr, the youngest […]

Let’s take our country back!

Here’s the text of my speech against Islamophobia given at Portland State University Friday, Oct. 29: As the author of two novels about the Prophet Muhammad and his controversial bride A’isha bint Abi Bakr, I know something about hate. I know something about fear. Some people hate me because they think I’m an Islamophobe. Islamophobes […]

My Story: Finding Power Within

Dear Reader, Every writer, it’s said, has a single story to tell — and tells it over and over again. A’isha bint Abi Bakr, the most famous and influential woman in Islam, inspired me to write about her life in my novels “The Jewel of Medina” and “The Sword of Medina.” Now that I’m at […]

Coco and A’isha: Women Who Aspire, Inspire

Given in marriage at the tender age of nine to her father’s best friend, the Prophet Muhammad, A’isha relied on her intelligence and her wit many times to overcome the obstacles women faced in 7th-century Arabia. “Coco Before Chanel” shows us how, 13 centuries later, women still had to scheme and fight to achieve their fullest potential. This remains true for many women throughout the world today.

Frantic, fabulous touring!

Dear Reader, Traveling to foreign countries, being on TV and the radio, it all sounds so glamorous! And it is … but it’s also very hard work. I arrived in Stockholm at about 4 p.m., to greet my publisher Shadi Bitar of Earbooks, waiting for me bearing a sign with his own name on it […]

Does God Hate Women?

Does God hate women? I would say “no.” God is love, remember? It’s men who hate women — men who appropriate the religious beliefs of holy men (and ignore those of holy women) and, with the help of the sword and the iron fist, turn them from tools of liberation into tools of oppression.

In Denmark: Talking about free speech

Every cloud, the saying goes, has a silver lining. And so it goes with “The Jewel of Medina,” being yanked out of publication by Random House, the world’s largest English-language publisher, just months before it was scheduled to appear on bookshelves in the U.S., then being the subject of threats in Serbia and an attack […]