‘Silent No More’ is an American Congressman’s homage to the Muslim community and the pursuit of interfaith understanding. Written in 2001 by Paul Findlay, a man whose youth had distanced him from Islam through Sunday school and whose adult years had reconfirmed misconceptions through the Media, the book sets out to push forward greater understanding of Muslims and their religion at a time when it is most needed. Findlay describes the fateful business trip to Yemen which opened his eyes to a whole new experience . He learns from his Yemeni tour guide that women are respected, prayers are protected and the Qur’an is respected through recitation and memorisation. He is astonished to discover how similar Judaism, Christianity and Islam are and goes on to argue that the term Judaeo-Christian should be extended to Judaeo-Christian-Islamic to reflect reality. He comes to realise that prayer, patience, generosity and kindness are common themes to all and that actually Islamic history probably has one of the better track records in terms of interfaith tolerance and acceptance.
Yet he concludes with advice for the Muslim reader that change cannot occur in so long as we remain silent. He sets forth the following suggestions to improve societal misconceptions of Islam. Firstly that Muslims identify themselves publically with Islam, looking for ways to present it to Non-Muslims through good behaviour. The hijab, skull cap, rings or pins are all ways to manifest one’s ‘Muslimness’ and failure to do so out of desire to keep a low profile is ‘unfortunate and harmful, because it does nothing to eradicate false images’. He proposes offering to speak at Churches and Synagogues, giving neighbours leaflets and public advertisement as forms of education. Secondly he cites the need for public condemnation of crimes alleged to be connected to Islam. Finally he suggests that Muslims join political processes seeking to change and educate.
Findlay has excelled in writing a respectful, considered account of the world as he views it, a feat which few Muslims themselves have achieved. Though his research is generally sound, on occasion he errs, but certainly not enough to compromise the intention of the book. A mature analysis, gratefully received and recommended to all to read.