November 17, 2009 | Book Beat
Like others who felt compelled to make something good out of so much evil, Paul Moses turned to religious history after 9/11 as he struggled to make sense of the senseless. As a reporter for Newsday, Moses wrote the main story on that horrific day. Not long after, he read a story about Saint Francis of Assisi that would become the kernel of a book. Eight years later, “The Saint and the Sultan: The Crusades, Islam and St. Francis of Assisi’s Mission of Peace,” captures a meeting between St. Francis, who crossed enemy lines to gain an audience with Malik al-Kamil, the sultan of Egypt, in 1219. “If, in the middle of a Crusade, Francis and the sultan can speak to each other with great respect, than we, today, should be able to sit down and talk to each other, as Christians and Muslims,” said Moses, now a professor of journalism at Brooklyn College. In a discussion about his book, Prof. Moses draws lessons from the past and sees a future where dialogue can triumph over war.