Author John Kiser discussed his new book "Commander of the Faithful ... The Life and Times of Emir Abdelkader: A Story of True Jihad," as well as the book's namesake and his impact on today's world.
"The story of Abdelkader, can be seen as an anti-Islam fear pill for the world," Kiser said. "As well as an anti-radicalization pill to Muslims who may not have had good role models on what it's like to be a good practitioner of Islam."
Kiser has an M.A in European History from Columbia University as well as an M.B.A from the University of Chicago. He spent 15 years as the president of Kiser Research and worked as an international technology broker before becoming a researcher and writer.
He is also the author of "Communist Entrepreneurs"; "Unknown Innovators in the Global Economy"; "Stefan Zweig: Death of a Modern Mani" and "The Monks of Tibhirine: Faith, Love and Terror in Algeria." That last book won the 2006 French Siloe Prize for best book on a humanistic topic.
His book follows the life of Emir Abdelkader. A war-hero from the French invasion of Algeria in the mid-19th century, he became known throughout the world for his grace and honorable attitude, Kiser said.
Kiser said this attitude stems from his deep understanding and love of his religion. He spent a large portion of his early life studying Islam and it had a major impact on his life.
While Abdelkader led the resistance against France, he treated his prisoners extraordinarily well and even instigated one of the first prisoner exchanges. These actions earned him the admiration of his enemies in the French army.
Near the end of his life, he saved thousands of Christians in Damascus who were being killed for not paying their taxes. This outraged many Muslims who had fought with him against Christians when the French invaded.
Because of his heroism and grace, he was praised by great people such as President Abraham Lincoln, Queen Victoria and Pope Pius IX.
"Abdelkader symbolized what a true Muslim was supposed to be," Kiser said.