#Review #AJihadiForLove by Mohamed El Bachiri #Memoir #NonFiction @HoZ_Books

A Jihadi For Love by Mohamed El Bachiri with David Van Reybrouck

Mohamed El-Bachiri is a Muslim. He lost his wife Loubna in the Brussels bombing of March 2016 – a young woman murdered by a fanatical jihadist. Mohamed was left to bring up their three sons on his own.

Instead of hating or collapsing into grief, he put together a short book of reflections on love, loss and the ways in which we can live together despite differences of religion and ideology.

It is a plea for tolerance and compassion, a rejection of fanaticism, and it is a heartbreaking book. Mohamed El-Bachiri shows how an argument for treating each other with kindness and respect can survive even the most brutal atrocity.

For him, Islam should be a struggle for love, and the struggle for love should involve us all.

My review:

If I could quote this beautiful, moving and inspirational non-fiction memoir once, I could quote it a hundred times! The writer has clearly written about a personal tragedy, with exceptional honesty and in doing so, has produced a memoir that is thought-provoking and emotive. The synopsis details the tragedy that has left Mohamed as a single father to three boys aged just 10, 8, 3yrs old. This memoir details before the event and the writer’s recovery in the aftermath.

“By writing about love, I came closer to your shining face”

The memoir opens with the writer giving the real meaning of the term Jihadi. I was already aware of this due to reading Qasim Rashid’s non-fiction books, in which he speaks of the ‘jihadi of the pen’. But I think it is important for readers and it serves to clarify the title of the memoir. Mohamed talks of his upbringing in Belgium, being Belgian by birth right. He talks of his parent’s immigration into the country. He speaks French and knows limited Arabic. He states he is Muslim by birth, then by conviction. Mohamed comes across as a modern Muslim man, dealing with an incredible loss.

“Just consider me a dead man. A dead man giving a lesson in life”

He talks of Islam with love and details how it defines him as a man. He talks the reader through the moral values such as: uprightness, friendliness, sense of honour and keeping one’s word. He talks about attending a Catholic primary school and recalls the first time he ever was on the receiving end of racial abuse. I really admired this author, I considered his memoir to be brave, inspirational and emotionally intelligent.

“You may criticise the Koran, but as poetry it is without an equal”

“Wisdom begins with curiosity”

“The Future? It starts with history”

He talks of meeting his wife for the first time and how he fell instantly in love. Loubna was also Muslim, although she wore no headscarf and took a progressive outlook towards Islam. Their relationship struck me as one based on love and respect, even from a young age! I felt I could relate to their marriage, despite the cultural differences to my own.

“Her face radiatd so much love, so much goodness………..Loubna”

“Loubna, in fact is speaking through everything I say here”

Mohamed talks more in-depth about his faith and the area of Belgium he lives in, Molenbeek. An area which has sadly been home to radicalised Muslims. But he describes the community with such love and is determined to separate his community from those whom seek to harm others.

“If you think taking innocent lives and creating traumas is a form of justice, even of god’s justice, then you and I don’t belong to the same religion”

“Beyond everything that divides us and separates us, all inhabitants of this earth are bound together black people, white people, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims and atheists”

Mohamed talks about his connection to humanity, claiming he is a human first and a Muslim second. As an atheist, I do not conform to any religious standard. But that doesn’t mean I don’t admire religious practices. Having friends of various faiths has granted me the opportunity to ask freely many questions. This I personally consider a gift.

“You can lose your culture, your faith, your country, but you don’t lose your humanity”

He talks about the separation of religion and state; of which I completely agree. It is rare to want to meet an author and tell them you whole-heartedly agree with every word they have written; with this author I do! 5*

“I am a jihadi for love. Don’t ask me to hate, I would rather die”

*I Couldn’t find out much about the author, himself. So I have added some links that reference the book. The memoir is short at only 96 pages. But I highly recommend it!

Article from the Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jul/29/mohamed-el-bachiri-brussels-jihad-love-suicide-attack-wife-killed-islam

YouTube Video of the authors speech (with subtitles): https://youtu.be/OW28KPPOiok


#BlogTour #NoAccident by @robertcrouchuk #GuestPost #HealthyRespect @CarolineBookBit

No Accident - Robert Crouch - Book Cover
No Accident by Robert Crouch

Nothing happens by accident, according to Kent Fisher, an environmental health officer with more baggage than an airport carousel. When he ignores a restraining order to investigate the death of Syd Collins in a work accident at Tombstone Adventure Park, he clashes with the owner, playboy millionaire, Miles Birchill, who has his own reasons to block the investigation.

Determined to uncover the truth, Kent casts aside procedure and defies suspension when he becomes convinced that Collins’ death is no accident.

But as Kent rushes to identify the killer and prevent more deaths, he faces even more unpleasant surprises when his professional and private worlds collide with devastating consequences.

Set in and around the beautiful South Downs of East Sussex, No Accident is the first novel in a new series that brings a fresh and irreverent twist to the traditional whodunit.

Guest Post:

Healthy Respect by Robert Crouch

Many years ago, I asked myself a simple question.

‘Could an environmental health officer solve a murder?’

Inspired by the likes of Columbo, Miss Marple and Inspector Morse, I was desperate to write crime fiction, but keen to avoid the cliché detective with a failed marriage and a drink problem. And what did I know about police procedures?

More than I realised, as it turned out, having worked on investigations with the police. And as environmental health officers (EHOs) are also law enforcers, we work to many of the same codes and procedures – but not enough to write confident, credible murder mysteries.

Then I wondered why an environmental health officer would investigate a murder.

Picture the scene as the family settle down at the breakfast table.

‘Darling, I hope you don’t mind, but I was so fed up with all those hygiene inspections, I quit and set up as a private detective. Someone’s bound to have a murder that needs investigating.’

While you can stretch reality in fiction, it was clear that investigating a murder had to be either a sideline or happen by accident. A workplace accident as it turned out.

But that idea took a few years to reach my fingertips.

Those eager fingers were already typing, plunging EHO, Kent Fisher, into murder investigations, taking advantage of the endless possibilities that his work offered. You may not realise it, but almost everything in the world immediately around you is influenced by environmental health officers.

Most people know us for the hygiene inspections we make to ensure food outlets and factories are producing and serving safe food. But environmental health departments licence pubs and clubs, taxis, cinemas, zoos, pet shops, sex establishments, riding stables, kennels and animal boarding, mainly to make sure they’re safe.

Think about the possibilities for murder – a zookeeper bitten by a venomous snake or a taxi driver preying on young women.

Then there’s pollution control – everything from bonfires, dust, sewage, and light nuisance to noisy neighbours. How many times have you wished you could murder the people having another all-night party in the flat above?

We deal with poor and unsafe housing conditions, including houses divided into bedsits or flats, making sure landlords meet their legal obligations. We licence caravan sites, whether people live there or visit for holidays, as you’ll discover in the fourth Kent Fisher mystery, which is little more than an idea at present.

We investigate cases and outbreaks of infectious diseases like E. coli O157, which can kill vulnerable people. The aim is to trace the source, contain the spread and hopefully prevent a recurrence. Add in a dodgy mobile caterer, who repackages out-of-date supermarket sandwiches to sell as his own, and you’re on the trail in the second novel, No Bodies.

We visit and inspect any place that produces and serves food. But forget about restaurants and pubs for a moment, and think about care homes, populated by vulnerable elderly residents. What if a resident believes he’s going to be killed? What if he dies a couple of weeks later?

This is how No Remorse, the third novel, begins. In this case, the victim dies without relatives, which means the local council has to bury him – another duty that often falls to environmental health.

You might be surprised at how many businesses, places and homes EHOs visit. You might also be surprised to learn about the powers we have to protect public health and the environment.

I’m simply thankful for the abundant opportunities and murder plots my work gives me. Not only can I share the stunning beauty of the South Downs as a backdrop for my stories, I let readers into a world they may know little or nothing about.

But like Mike Turner, Kent Fisher’s friend in the stories, you may be put off eating certain foods.

And it all happened by accident, of course. A workplace accident as it turns out.

Accident investigation was a key part of my work around health and safety in the workplace. While I helped employers to improve standards and protect employees, I also wondered whether a murder could be disguised as a work accident.

The answer lies within No Accident, the first Kent Fisher mystery.

Robert Crouch Author Image
Robert Crouch
Author bio:

Inspired by Miss Marple, Inspector Morse and Columbo, Robert Crouch wanted to write entertaining crime fiction the whole family could enjoy.

At their heart is Kent Fisher, an environmental health officer with more baggage than an airport carousel. Passionate about the environment, justice and fair play, he’s soon embroiled in murder.

Drawing on his experiences as an environmental health officer, Robert has created a new kind of detective who brings a unique and fresh twist to the traditional murder mystery. With complex plots, topical issues and a liberal dash of irreverent humour, the Kent Fisher mysteries offer an alternative to the standard police procedural.

Robert now writes full time and lives on the South Coast of England with his wife and their West Highland White Terrier, Harvey, who appears in the novels as Kent’s sidekick, Columbo.

Authors Links:
Website:            http://robertcrouch.co.uk/
Twitter:            @robertcrouchuk
Facebook Author Page:      https://www.facebook.com/robertcrouchauthor/