Emir’s official seal
Virginia Pig Farmer Returns from Successful Pakistan Book Tour
February 6, 2009
Author and farmer, John Kiser of Sperryville, Virginia just returned from a weeklong trip to Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore where his new book Commander of the Faithful—Life and Times of Emir Abd el-Kader (Monkfish Books, Nov 2008) was greeted with much enthusiasm.
The tour’s organizer and founder/ president of the Muslim Christian Federation International A.Q. Khamosh said, “Kiser is a great ambassador for America. His revival of the life of a widely admired Islamic warrior- scholar- holy man of the 19th century should inspire Muslims to think about the true meaning of jihad. Jihad has been corrupted by so–called Muslims and has become associated only with violence and war waged in a very unkoranic, unIslamic way. Abd el-Kader knew when to wage war against “infidels” and when to save their lives. The emir’s life shows how to wage jihad in war and in peace, in prison and in exile and become a hero admired even by President Lincoln.” An Urdu version is expected soon.
Kiser’s book was presented to madrasa leaders, academics and government leaders and received wide acclaim in the local press. “ I was overwhelmed by the warmth of the reception I received,” Kiser said afterwards, “and Pakistanis' deep appreciation that an American had taken the effort to write a book that presented a different face of Islam than the usual one presented through the media or by Islamophobes. I felt like a rock star.”
Honorific awards were given to Kiser by the Sattaria and Abubaker madrasas near Karachi. No one was offended by his business cards displaying a small pig. “I wasn’t trying to sell them pig meat—they simply thought I was being authentic.”
In addition to being an author (The Monks of Tibhirine: Faith Love and Terror in Algeria) and pig farmer, Kiser is on the board of the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy, World Religions for Peace and The Cordoba Initiative. His new book has inspired Elkader, Iowa, named after the emir in 1846, to establish an annual Abd el-Kader Essay Prize for its High School Seniors. The first award will be made on May 12 2009