Oct 21, 2014

We have A winner - Mystery Book Tour & Giveaway: God on Trial by Sabri Bebawi 9/22/14 – 10/20/14

God on Trial Sep Tour Banner


Genres: Mystery, Suspense,  Fiction, Philosophy




Blurb:


Convinced that God is a negative force, tormenting the helpless human  race, an ailing English professor becomes determined to put the deity on trial.
But when he’s diagnosed with schizophrenia, he soon succumbs to  the damning madness and brutally stabs and kills his wife. And in the  deadly manhunt that ensues, he is ultimately shot dead by the police.
This prompts his grieving sister to follow through his life’s mission to bring God to justice.

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Excerpt:

He’s now back home in California. It is another night. That  tantalizing sensation overtakes his natural senses again. Growing up, he always felt a sense of discomfort that was unrelated to his illnesses,  and he still feels it now. He never has been able to identify the source of his severe and unusual discomfort. He wonders whether it was his  family, religion in general, or society, with its unscrupulous culture.

He thinks of his parents. “Sadly, They were at odds,” he hears himself utter. “And rightfully so.”

His mother was at home, taking care of five kids, and his father was
either working or endlessly playing. His mother had a tender soul. She was simple, affectionate, and caring, and loved her children dearly. The child in him sees her before him as a pretty young woman with fair  skin, brown hair, and large brown eyes. She stands by his bed; she is  neither too tall nor too short and neither too slim nor too heavy, but  she is mysterious. Though his mother probably never knew it, she has had an immense impact on his life that continues with him until this moment of certain hallucination.

He becomes fully awake. It is 2:25 a.m. He gets up and decides to make a cup of espresso forte. After breaking a couple of coffee cups, spilling coffee all over his kitchen counter and floor, and mumbling a few  expletives, he cleans up. Now he is calm; now he will taste the fruit of his coffee-making adventure; he places the cup on his desk and starts to write.


I’m not sure my parents’ odd relationship had any effect on me. I was a happy child tormented by religion and religious people’s  hallucinations. I was tormented by Egyptian hypocrisy. I’ve seen a great deal of hypocrisy, child abuse, infidelity, abuse of women, and abuse by the government, churches, and mosques.


He hears the voice of his mother; during his childhood she always  read to him in bed before he went to sleep. Now she reads from the  Bible. In both her wisdom and lack of awareness, she reads from the Book of Genesis and the Book of Revelations. This exposure to apocalyptic writing at a very young age has had a profound effect on him.

Being imaginative, and in this phantasmagoric state, he now experiences  the same fright he experienced as a child. He returns to bed and  suddenly falls asleep but is soon awoken by one of his many epileptic  seizures. His body shakes uncontrollably, and his tremors seem to have a mind of their own.

As his attack gradually dissipates, he thinks of the savagery of God and questions why a peaceful God would be so cruel and nasty. These  thoughts make him feel even more terrified. Since childhood he has been petrified of that entity referred to as “God.”

At age seven or eight, he developed an obsessive-compulsive disorder.  He’d repeat the phrase “God forgive me” to himself all day until he went to bed. He kept this a secret because he had no idea how his mother, siblings, or Zakia would react. He remembers that he often went to Zakia, who was a Muslim, and asked her to hold him. She would oblige, and he would feel protected, even from that savage God.

He gets out of bed. It is 3:42 a.m. He makes another cup of espresso forte and sits at his desk, thinking. Again he writes.


This phase simply shaped my feelings about whether God does indeed exist. I often thought I’d be better than him or her or it, for I would not be as cruel, brutal, or malicious. Today I am an agnostic, and I can’t get myself to understand why anyone would believe in such a God asdepicted in the holy books, including the Bible.

In addition to the Bible, there were other sources of great damage.  Egypt is an Islamic country. I was exposed to and forced to learn about Islam and its holy book, the Quran, which is like the Bible in its catastrophic content. I was forced to learn about the Islamic laws, Sharia, even though I was a Coptic. I did so in schools, and I did so ineveryday affairs. I was even forced to memorize and recite verses from the Quran, which also had a negative impact on me.

The daily prayers announced over loudspeakers, and coming from all directions, were a frightening experience for me. Everywhere in Egypt, between each mosque there is a mosque, and even that wasn’t enough. The radio broadcasted Quran readings repeatedly. Even today the memory of these sounds brings a deep downheartedness to my soul.

I remember Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, the blind cleric who’s in a North Carolina prison now for conspiring to commit terrorism. His mosque was right behind our house. I remember Abdel-Rahman’s Friday sermons. He’d curse the Christians, Jews, and Americans (I don’t know why he cursed Americans) publically over a loudspeaker that echoed miles away. The sheikh would scream in a screeching, deafening voice, “May God burn them and displace their children, and may God burn their houses.” The congregation would repeat, “Amen.” And the pattern would continue.

This persisted for a long time. We were so used to it, however, that it
didn’t bother us much. The amazing thing is that Sheikh Abdel-Rahman was a friend of my father’s. He often visited my father at his law firm and spent hours talking with him. My father considered him a harmless, kind man.

Well, for once my father was wrong. The sheikh always has been a  terrorist, and he put his evil spirit into action. Fortunately he’s in  prison now. I hope he never gets out. He stops writing for a minute and wonders how the United States allowed that savage man to enter this country. Where was American intelligence? 
Didn’t they know how radical Abdel-Rahman was? This was simply bizarre. But the United States government overlooks such things so often that he wonders whether the word intelligence is fitting at all.

His mind is racing, and he grows exhausted with the burden of thoughts. Hoping for a few minutes of sleep, he goes back to bed. His hope materializes, or perhaps he thinks so; at the very least, he is semi-asleep.


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About Sabri Bebawi:


The middle of five children, Sabri Bebawi was born in 1956 in the town of Fayoum, Egypt, where he attended law school at Cairo University. He then left Egypt for the United Kingdom. He was invited by Oxford University, where he spent some time, and never  returned to Egypt. A few years later, after living and working in England, Italy, France, and Cyprus, he took refuge in the country he loved most, the United States.


In California he studied communications at California State University, Fullerton, then obtained a master’s degree there in English education. Later he worked at many colleges and universities teaching English as a second language, freshman English, journalism, and educational technology. He did further graduate work at UCLA and obtained a PhD in education and distance learning from Capella University.


Although English is his third language, he has published many works in English on eclectic topics. It has always been his ambition to write novels, and this is his first attempt. As English is a foreign language to him, the task of writing a novel has been challenging.


As a child, Bebawi struggled to make sense of religions and their contradictions; in fact he grew up terrified of the word God. As he grew older and studied law, as well as all the holy books, he developed a more pragmatic and sensible stance; the word became just that—a word.


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BOOK DESCRIPTION

This novel is a study of the human condition and the role religions play in our existence.  I do not see religions and faith to have any positive effect on humanity; in fact, the opposite is true.  The teachings of the so-called holy books are fundamentally flawed and immoral in nature; hence, the writer ought be brought to justice.  God incites his followers to murder, cause mayhem, hate, judge and cause the atrocities that humanity has been seeing up until today with Islamic terrorism.  Since my childhood growing in a religiously fanatic country, Egypt, I have believed that someone had to stand up and question these centuries old beliefs.  I did.  And I did it well.  The concept is presented in the following theme:

Convinced that God is a negative force, tormenting the helpless human race, an ailing English professor becomes determined to put the deity on trial.  But when he’s diagnosed with schizophrenia, he soon succumbs to the damning madness and brutally stabs and kills his wife.  And in the deadly manhunt that ensues, he is ultimately shot dead by the police. This prompts his grieving sister to follow through his life’s mission to bring God to justice.



What is the genre?

Mystery Fiction within a philosophical context

INSPIRATION

Having been born and brought up in the Middle East, a region in turmoil, I have always believed that god was the real enemy because of his/her/its teachings of hate and prejudice.  Also having been brought up as a Coptic Christian in an Islamic world, and having studied religions thoroughly through my law education, I have known that one day I would expose god and religions as evil forces that torment humanity at large.  Finally. I did it.


 MESSAGE

The main message is to advise people to think before they believe, to ask that they use their own judgment not that of a priest, a sheikh, or rabbi.  If anyone reads these not so holy books with a critical mind, one could easily see the malevolence of god and how malicious his/her/its writings and messages are.  One could easily see how vindictive the writer is; and how contradictory his messages are.

OBSTACLES

This is my first novel, though I have written many other books including college textbooks, memoirs, poetry and short stories.  I have often read what novel writers say about writing; they often tell us that a novel takes a life of its own; I had never quite understood this until I write “god on Trial” – the novel indeed took a life of its own.  My initial idea, being a lawyer, was to write an actual trial at the Hague, then the novel, as I started writing, took the form it is now.  My obstacle was to be as pragmatic as possible and provide factual evidence that god is not holy; to do this, I had to re-read the not so holy books again for the 20th time to select versus that support my argument that god’s writings are evil and incite violence.  Then, considering how insane religious people are, especially Islamists, I was alarmed.  I had to create a context that keeps me safe from the people of god.  So the idea of a mentally ill man came to mind and I thought it was brilliant. Making connections and showing the dynamic nature of the protagonist gradually and logically was not an easy task – considering English is my third language , it was quite difficult to penetrate the English speaking minds.





ABOUT DR. SABRI BEBAWI



         The middle of five children, Sabri Bebawi was born in 1956 in the town of Fayoum, Egypt, where he attended law school at Cairo University. He then left Egypt for the United Kingdom. He was invited by Oxford University, where he spent some time, and never returned to Egypt. A few years later, after living and working in England, Italy, France, and Cyprus, he took refuge in the country he loved most, the United States.

            In California he studied communications at California State University, Fullerton, then obtained a master’s degree there in English education. Later he worked at many colleges and universities teaching English as a second language, freshman English, journalism, and educational technology. He did further graduate work at UCLA and obtained a PhD in education and distance learning from Capella University.

            Although English is his third language, he has published many works in English on eclectic topics. It has always been his ambition to write novels, and this is his first attempt. As English is a foreign language to him, the task of writing a novel has been challenging.

            As a child, Bebawi struggled to make sense of religions and their contradictions; in fact he grew up terrified of the word God. As he grew older and studied law, as well as all the holy books, he developed a more pragmatic and sensible stance; the word became just that—a word.


THE TITEL

It is simply what I truly want: to put god on trial.

TIME IT TOOK

About two years or so

Giveaway:

Enter to win one of three e-book copies of God on Trial. To enter, simply leave a comment with your email address on the tour post.
The giveaway will be open 9/22/14 – 10/20/14. To increase your chances of winning, simply follow the tour and comment at each stop!
Winners will be randomly selected and contacted by the author after the tour is over.

Congrat ! The winner of this giveaway is April Wood


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