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Monday, October 3, 2016

Someone Has to Die: Author Interview with Jim Baton

Author, Jim Baton, has penned some very pertinent and riveting novels that illustrate  great insight into contemporary  issues in global terrorism. We are fortunate to have access to the following interview in which the author shares his insights into one of the hot topics of this day!.

Author Interview for Jim Baton, whose thrillers SOMEONE HAS TO DIE and A WAY OUT OF HELL will forever change how you view Muslims, terrorism, and our hope for peace.

Q: Though your books are fiction, I understand they’re based on actual terrorists, their organizations and their plans. Do you believe that Islamic terrorism is a topic Americans need to learn more about?
Yes! According to data from both the FBI and International Security, not only have the number of Home-Grown Extremists (HGEs) shot up since 9/11, but nearly 70% of jihadist attacks in America were perpetrated by US citizens—not refugees or illegals as we’ve been told to think. There is a tremendous amount of fear being propagated by certain politicians and the media about the need to close our borders to terrorists. The fact is they’re already here. The better approach is for us to engage with our immigrant populations, pay attention to the needs of our minorities, make sure that every American feels they’re valued and belong in their communities.
Q: Backup and give us some background on how you got interested in this topic.
I’ve spent the last 20 years living in the world’s largest Muslim nation, working with both Christians and Muslims who desire peace. I’ve been involved in a variety of peace and reconciliation activities including interfaith dialogue, training elementary through university students in peace principles, and bringing Christians and Muslims together to pray. The tremendous success we’ve seen sparked me to consider how I might inspire my American countrymen to do the same.
Q: What kind of hope do you offer readers?
My first novel, SOMEONE HAS TO DIE, explores the roots of the Muslim-Christian divide going back to Abraham’s broken family. In the Biblical account, Abraham’s firstborn son was banished, while his second-born received the inheritance. I began to imagine, what if I were called in to counsel Abraham’s family back then—how could I lead them to healing and family restoration? And if it were possible at the nuclear family level, what would that look like on today’s macro-level?
Q: Can you explain more what healing Abraham’s broken family might look like today?
As I was writing this book, God challenged me to live what I was writing. He led us to a young Muslim man sleeping on the street but with a dream to be the first in his family to finish high school. He had been raised in an extremist boarding school, taught to hate Christians, that it was acceptable in God’s eyes to steal from or rape a Christian because they were infidels. We invited him to live with us, and watched God transform his life. He’s now a college graduate and active in our work. Opening the doors of our homes, our businesses, and our hearts to Muslims is the best way to reunite our broken family.
Q: You’re second novel, A WAY OUT OF HELL, is about “when ISIS comes to your city”—is this something Americans should be concerned about?
ISIS is no longer confined to the Middle East. The front page of our local newspaper in Indonesia announced last year that ISIS had entered our city. Their sympathizers have taken action in Paris, Brussels, even San Bernadino. That’s why it’s essential that Americans no longer ignore the Muslim populations around them, or choose to only visit a mosque to join a protest. We need to move towards the Muslims in our communities and build authentic friendships, help them with learning English and finding jobs, get their kids playing on our kids’ sports teams, so that when the extremist recruiters come looking for suicide bomber volunteers, our Muslim friends will close their doors and call the police.
Q: We hear in the media some experts proclaiming that true Islam is a peaceful religion, while other experts claim that the deeper Muslims go in their faith, the more likely they are to become violent extremists. Which of these reports is true?
With 1 billion followers, each person will interpret “what Islam is” based on their own teachers and contexts. And like most Holy Books in most religions, people will read into it what they want to believe.  Those who have a desire for violence and hatred will find Quranic verses to support it, and those who desire peace will find equally valid support in the Qur’an.  Some of the best peacemakers alive today are true Muslim scholars who explain the jihad verses as being confined to specific contexts, much as Christians would confine the Old Testament genocide of the Canaanites at the hands of the Jews as a judgment of God in that context which we shouldn’t apply to ethnic tensions between peoples today. When we meet a Muslim, we should never assume we know what he believes, but ask him. We might be surprised at what he believes about jihad, prayer, heaven, women’s rights or Jesus.
Let’s remember the wide variety of those claiming to be “Christians” too, including some who have used the Bible to support the Crusades, slavery, the Ku Klux Klan, and a host of other evil beliefs.  That’s why it is essential for Christians to look at Jesus as our most perfect theology, and look to the Holy Spirit to be our teacher of the written Word.  Then instead of using the Bible to justify our opinions, we’ll be able to read it and find the heart of God.
Q: What’s been the response to your books so far?
Probably the most common comment I’ve received is, “Your book totally changed how I see Muslims.” Much of our news and entertainment has sadly led to the dehumanization of people who are wonderful human beings and terrific friends when we take the time to get to know them. I hope my readers will respond by taking a risk to make a new friend.
Q: What other authors are you reading on this subject?
There are some excellent books out there written by both Christians and Muslims who are building bridges and pursuing peace. Carl Medearis and Ted Dekker’s book Tea with Hezbollah comes to mind, as does Mark Siljander’s A Deadly Misunderstanding, Brother Andrew’s Secret Believers, Christine Mallouhi’s Waging Peace on Islam, Dave Andrew’s The Jihad of Jesus, and Ed Husain’s The Islamist.
Q: Do you currently have a new novel you’re working on?
My new book, A VIOLENT LIGHT, should be out by Christmas. It's about prejudice and terrorism in America. It's easy for Americans to point the finger at those nations on the other side of the world and not take an honest look in the mirror at our own dark side. But in the acknowledging of our darkness, we set the stage for the brightest light to shine. This book will be much heavier than the previous two, but I think that especially in the fear-crazy environment of our nation facing this presidential election, it will hit home for Americans deeply and profoundly.

For more Q&A with Jim, check out his blog: www.jimbaton.com
Jim’s books are available on Amazon, iBooks, Nook, Kobo, etc.

Someone Has To Die

In the midst of a global clash between international terrorism and an American congressman’s peacemaking effort, a poor Muslim-majority neighborhood in Indonesia holds the keys to victory. While some in the neighborhood are making efforts to understand the truth behind the Muslim-Christian divide and build new bridges across it, others are determined to perpetuate and intensify the hatred that has plagued the region for years.

When a tragedy reveals an unexpected villain, it will be up to two unlikely heroes to set aside their differences and save the day. What will it take to keep hope alive? And who will be willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of peace?

This intense thriller will encourage you to reexamine your understanding of love and forgiveness, and reconsider what it means to be a true peacemaker.



Umar wiped his mouth on his sleeve and met Saifullah's eyes. "It's time."
"It's time for what?" Saifullah asked cautiously.
"It's time for redemption."
Could it really be? After over a year of hiding in Moro, hiding from his failure, could his day of redemption finally be here? No one at the camp but Umar knew. But he knew.
"Talk to me."
"In four months’ time there will be an event in Jakarta. An American Congressman, a Christian, will be meeting with that swine traitor Ramadani. Other foreign diplomats are likely to be present. And hear this—the event will be held in the very building of your previous...disappointment."
Failure. Just say it, Umar. My previous failure.
"Am I in charge of the operation?"
"Yes, we have a sleeper in place, and a safe house with all the...necessities. All you have to do is coordinate the mission and recruit the "bride."
"This isn't much time."
"I know, but because of the location, this is too good a chance for you to miss. We just got word on this today, and I've already arranged a pump boat to standby for you in South Mindanao. Fifteen hours to Sangihe, on to North Sulawesi, and by the end of this week you'll be recruiting a "bride" already. My suggestion is you recruit in Sulawesi—Java is too hot right now. Densus 88 has spies everywhere. Bring in someone from outside Java and they'll attract less suspicion. Of course all this I've arranged assuming you'll say yes."
"Thanks, Umar. I've waited a long time for this."
"Redemption, my friend."
"Al-jihad sabiluna."
"Al-jihad sabiluna."


Jim Baton (pen name) has spent the last 20 years living in the Muslim world, where he’s been involved in a variety of peace and reconciliation activities including interfaith dialogue, training elementary through university students in peace principles, and bringing Christians and Muslims together to pray.

Jim also speaks internationally on the peacemaking themes he's presenting through the thrillers he writes. These books contain a depth of understanding regarding the roots of the Christian and Muslim conflict, how to bring healing to Abraham’s broken family, how to combat terrorism with non-violence and love, and how to become a true peacemaker.

Learn more at www.jimbaton.com


When ISIS turns your city into a living hell... 

ISIS unleashes a reign of terror across Indonesia. As a former jihadist, Abdullah knows all too well the high cost and absolute ineffectiveness of fighting such violence with violence. He accepts the impossible challenge of finding the ISIS cell hidden in his city, and disbanding it non-violently. But time is running out, and there may not be any city left to save. Meanwhile, he has to protect his adopted daughter Sari, a Christian university student, who is one of ISIS's targets. Together they come face-to-face with the holy warriors of mass destruction and strive to overcome that evil with good.
In this riveting sequel to Someone Has to Die, Jim Baton introduces us to the real people caught in the web of terrorism, with their wide variety of backgrounds and motivations, and the possibility that they, too, can change.


   “Just tell me what you want me to do.” Abdullah braced himself for the worst.
   The Intelligence agent leaned back in the chair with his hands pressed together tapping his lips. “If ISIS is indeed here, I want you to find their terrorist cell and take it down. And I want you to do this…” he paused, “…non-violently.”
   Was this old guy insane? “How am I supposed to do that?” Abdullah asked.
   “I can’t tell you who they are and I can’t tell you how to stop them non-violently, though I have some ideas I’ll share with you as we go along. But I can tell you why—because taking them down violently isn’t working. If we kill them, the radicals’ anger grows, and ten more volunteer in their place. If we capture them, our prisons become fertile ground for jihad recruitment. There has to be a better way.”
   Abdullah’s mind was spinning. “Has anyone ever tried this before?”
   “Actually, yes,” Joko answered. “While our American counterpart, the CIA, with its inhumane prisons and interrogations, has created one of the most effective marketing campaigns for terrorist recruiters in history, resulting in an over fifty percent increase in radical groups since 2010, there are a few dissenting voices, and the FBI has tried some softer tactics with cells in America and had some success. I’ll share the ideas I’m gleaning from them at another time.”
   Joko tipped his cup to drain the last coffee drop before continuing.
   “Here in Indonesia we have a similar conundrum: the more ‘hard power’ the Detachment 88 Special Forces use in combating terrorism, the harder it is for the moderate majority to discern who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. Well, eventually Detachment 88 will get access to the intelligence we have, and they’ll show up in Banjarmasin, guns blazing. I’m sure you’ve seen the footage of Israeli soldiers combing Gaza for Hamas fighters? If ISIS is truly here and planning something, Detachment 88 could turn this city into a war zone where both sides cause civilian casualties. This is not the Middle East yet, where defeating ISIS requires all-out war. ISIS is just beginning their invasion of Indonesia. We have a limited window here, to find these groups and motivate them to disband before they feel it’s ‘kill or be killed.’
   “That’s why we need you. You know this city. You have the background to understand what motivates these men. You speak their language. You’re also committed to non-violent resolutions to problems. You’re our best chance for peace.”
   Abdullah shook his head and ran both hands through his short-cropped hair. “I still think it’s crazy. So are you offering me a job under BIN?”
   “Actually, no. My theories are still unproven, so I have limited official resources here. I’m asking you to do this as a civilian. You need to understand that you’re basically on your own—I can’t call in Special Ops to rescue you. But I will give you all the intelligence leaks I can, and maybe a foot soldier or two if I can wrest them away from other duties.”
   “On my own,” Abdullah mumbled. What else is new?