Well, a very small step.
But Parvez Sharma’s book, A Sinner In Mecca: A Gay Muslim’s Hajj of Defiance, will be released next month, and if enough of us pre-order it, we will help initiate the virtuous cycle that makes books successful. Success begets success.
You don’t even have to read it! Give it to your local library if it doesn’t interest you. (“Putting his own life at risk, the author takes us on a surprising and compelling journey through the front lines of his much-contested faith.” — Reza Aslan, author of the #1 New York Times best-seller Zealot.)
It’s the story of his film by the same name. (“Brilliant . . . rare . . . takes aim at Wahhabi Islam” — Vice. “A rebuke of Saudi Arabia” — Yahoo News. “A swirling, fascinating travelogue and a stirring celebration of devotion.” — New York Times Critics Pick. “Revelatory.” — Washington Post.)
Islam can go two ways, as most of us can: peace and love and light . . . or, if sufficiently misled, desperate, or disrespected, something inhuman and horrifying. Kind of like me: most of the time, a teddy bear . . . but make me crazy enough, as the local FedEx did recently, over nothing (which was part of what made me crazy!), and Dr. Jekyll becomes Mr. Hyde. May you never see my dark side.
Parvez is on the side of sweetness and light. And gives heart, and spiritual support, to those who would modernize the faith and condemn barbaric Wahhabism.
So let’s see if we can get his book picked up here and around the world. Click.
MILLENNIALS SAVING FOR RETIREMENT
My pal Bob Pozen wrote this piece for The Hill on the savings habits of millennials — those aged 20 and 36. They’re saving at a pretty good clip, which is great — but more for rainy days and nice vacations rather than for retirement. One structural reason is that half aren’t offered a retirement plan at work. Sure, they could open an IRA on their own (a Roth! read all about it!), but most don’t. Bob urges Congress to adopt the Automatic IRA, which would require employers with over 20 employees not offering a plan of their own to hook up their payroll systems to an IRA provider (Fidelity, Vanguard, whomever) and send regular IRA contributions from their employees paychecks — unless they opted out.