TheDC Interview: Thriller author Brad Thor

At least one of your books was reportedly banned in Saudi Arabia and your life has reportedly been threatened for allegedly mocking the Muslim prophet Muhammad in one of your books. In what ways has your life changed because of these threats? Do you travel with security?

Man often defines himself by what he is not. After the Berlin Wall came down and Communism was on the run, I looked around and wondered what the next threat to the United States would be.

I had been fascinated with Islam since college – particularly how it could inspire such fervor in our modern age and move a significant number of its followers to horrific acts of violence. That invisible hand moved me to study more and more about Islam. As I did, I became convinced that the next great war we would fight would be with Islamic fundamentalists and it wouldn’t be a cold war either. It’d be hot – very hot.

What fascinated me the most about Islam were the inconsistencies in the religion and how its founder took great pains to paper them over. Most people are not aware that the Koran isn’t organized chronologically; instead it is assembled based on chapter length. If it had been organized chronologically, you’d find the first half of the Koran – when Muhammad was in Mecca trying to woo Jews, Christians and pagans to his new religion – to contain the most peaceful verses.

When Muhammad moved to Medina, the second part of his prophethood started and he grew into a powerful warlord and not so coincidentally, increasingly intolerant of those who wouldn’t follow his new religion. This part of his life is where he committed some absolutely horrific violence, and some of his most horrifically violent chapters for the Koran were revealed.

This created a problem for Muhammad as his followers noticed a disconnect between the old Muhammad and the new Muhammad. “How can Allah convey such contradictory messages,” his followers wondered. To handle the dissension on the ranks, Muhammad came back to his people and told them that if the Angel Gabriel revealed something to him today from Allah, that contradicted one of Allah’s previous revelations, that today’s should take precedence. It is know as abrogation.

The only problem for the rest of the non-Muslim world? Muhammad’s last set of commandments to his followers are some of the most violent contained in the entire Koran and “abrogate” all of the peaceful verses Muhammad ever voiced.

That got me thinking. What if there was a final revelation that Muhammad shared with his disciples that would upend the entire religion and over which his closest followers would be willing to kill him to keep secret?

It seemed like a very good backdrop for a thriller, especially considering that there’s evidence the Koran is incomplete and that Muhammad was in fact murdered. What if this missing chapter could be found today? Think “Indiana Jones” meets “Mission Impossible,” and sprinkle a little Thomas Jefferson and the Barbary Pirates in and you have a perfectly potent cocktail. Cool, right?

As it turns out, for certain “misunderstanders” of Islam (as the Muslim apologists like to paint them), they don’t like the premise of “The Last Patriot” at all. Apparently, Islam is a peaceful and tolerant religion, but if you fictionalize it – “we’ll kill you.”

“The Last Patriot” has been banned in Saudi Arabia, which is a shame because there are some really, really good Muslim characters in the book. As for death threats yes, I’ve had many and therefore we have security. We have it wall to wall. It is very expensive, but they’re great guys who I am grateful for and proud to have around my family.