In this day and age, where the world has progressed significantly, it is rather unfortunate that we still witness numerous cases of discrimination and hate crimes in almost every part of the world. Muslims in particular have taken the brunt of it, with a surge in Islamophobia after the terror attack of 9/11. While many turn a blind eye to it, Dr. Kamal Khan refused to remain silent and addressed this grave issue that countless Muslims face around the world through his book “Common Ground”. Let’s get acquainted with Mr. Khan’s life in an attempt to understand his perspective and motives.
About Kamal Khan
Dr. Kamal Khan is an experienced IT Executive by profession. Along with being a published Author, Poet and an eloquent speaker on Humanitarian issues, his accolades include Masters and Doctorate degrees from top academic institutions in New York. Other than writing books, he enjoys playing cricket and basketball.
Khan’s journey to “Common Ground”
Dr. Kamal Khan’s journey as an author began when he moved to New York from Karachi 30 years ago. Starting with short stories, couplets and ghazals in his college years, he published his first book “Aadha Gulab” in 2005. It was a collection of Nazm, Nasr and Ghazal in both Urdu and English languages. After this, he wrote “Barsaat kay Mausam May” and “Ishq ka Kamal hay” which were published in 2009 and 2012 respectively. This creative writing work continued till 2019 when Kamal Khan published his own dewan by the name of “Kamal Ki Shairi”. It gave a unique and historic flavour to Urdu Shairi.
Upon being asked, “If you had to do something different as a child or a teenager that you think would have made you a better writer, what would it have been? How did your childhood shape you as a writer?” Kamal Khan replied:
“Although I faced several hardships during my childhood and teen years, I don’t think I would do anything different that would make me a better writer or a person. I gained wisdom, became more responsible at an early age. Experiences during Childhood and teen years made me sensitive to other people’s needs and more empathetic towards the people around me.”
Thoughts, creative process and inspiration
8 Years ago, Mr. Khan started researching and reading through different religious scriptures in an attempt to draw parallels between them and address the ongoing Islamophobia. Living in New York and experiencing it first hand, he witnessed the hate towards Muslims all around the world. Hence, he wanted to create an authentic book that provided a comprehensive understanding of Islam and brought people together to a Common Ground. He terms the false propaganda by the western media as his biggest motivations for “Common Ground”.
After seven years of hard work, he was able to come up with a book which described the true teachings of Islam, addressed islamophobia and questioned the persecution of Muslims around the world. He uses religious scriptures as his basis to explain the true message of God. This book also explains in detail what Sharia really is. Available on amazon and www.kamalwkhan.com, Dr. Khan thinks that this book should be a part of every household.
The Art of Language
Talking about the art of writing, Dr. Khan stressed on the importance of having an engaging and convincing story, making the reader fall in love with it. He explains how writing a religious book is comparatively difficult as the author is under constant scrutiny. The most difficult part of the writing process for Dr. khan was to organize his work in a sequential and informative manner, so that the reader not only gets the correct information but also understands the history and background of the facts and arrives at their conclusions without their pre-established biases. With “Common Grounds”, it is safe to say that he accomplished this task very well.
A book that talks about Islam, written by an author who is not well known became difficult to publish and be distributed in USA. Hence, Dr. Khan had no choice but to publish it through his own website and make it available on amazon widely. He urges the Muslim community to help him in his goal to create awareness about Islam. Dr Khan wants people to read and recommend it to their non-Muslim friends.
Favourite extracts from the book
“The lack of understanding of any individual, group, or faith causes confusion and differences. You have been deceived and kept away from the truth about Islam for too long. An extremist squad of politicians, authorities, bloggers, and “religious” leaders have been hard at work convincing the world that Muslims are the enemy.”
“In Islam, life matters. Islam forbids war and killing unless it is to defend your life, family, and home. In this 21st century, billions of dollars are being spent to find life or signs of life on other planets. Shouldn’t we spend that to save the many lives dying of poverty, hunger, and illness on Planet Earth?”
“Islam erases systemic racism and inequality from society.”
“Striving for quality education, and acquiring knowledge enables us to distinguish right from wrong, love from hate, merit from nepotism, and justice from prejudice. It lights the way to goodness and happiness.”
“There is a simple solution to the problems that the Muslim World is facing today. Muslims should seek guidance from the Quran and Sunnah, hold fast to the covenant of Allah, get united, make peace amongst the Muslim nations, and help the people in need. They will succeed and can rise to glorification again.”
You will feel the peace-loving heartbeat of a man who is deeply committed to his faith. Khan writes not from the perspective of a professional imam or teacher of Islam but from that of a lay Muslim who reads and understands the Quran for himself. He offers a unique opportunity for Americans to hear a voice that has been silenced for too long. The importance of his book cannot be overstated. I highly recommend it.
Steve Slocum, A peace activist, writer, and founder of “SalaamUSA.org”. Author of Why Do They Hate Us? Making Peace with the Muslim World.
In the contemporary scholarship on Islamophobia, such comprehensive logico-empirical efforts are quite rare rather virtually non-existent. References to the verses from the Holy Quran appear very pertinent and represent the true spirit and the intent of Islam as a deen (religion). Duplicity of the Western media has been skillfully exposed, and conclusion flows naturally out of the material evidence provided. Comprehensive use of anecdotes both from history and from the contemporary life and political and social context provides a strong prop and logically an unassailable foundation for the central thesis of the book and should make it quite appealing to the Western, particularly, the American mind. Congratulations and hats off to Dr. Khan for such a well-researched and a painstaking effort.
Prof. Fazal Rahim Khan, Dean of Arts & Social Sciences, Foundation University Islamabad.