http://www.examiner.com/article/u-s-city-named-after-muslim-hero-biography-of-emir-abd-al-qadirU.S. City named after Muslim Hero: Biography of Emir 'Abd al-Qadir
RELIGION & SPIRITUALITY JUNE 8, 2009BY: J. SAMIA MAIR
According to the official website of Elkader, Iowa
(founded in 1846), the town was named after Emir 'Abd al-Qadir, whom they describe as "a young Algerian hero who led his people in a resistance to French colonialism between 1830 and 1847."http://www.elkader-iowa.com/History.html
Emir 'Abd al-Qadir was an amazing person from what I have read. He responded to French savagery with incredible magnanimity, becoming the personification of Islamic virtues.
Reza Shah-Kazemi writes in his article about Jihad:http://www.zaytuna.org/seasonsjournal/seasons4/45-68%20Spirituality%20of%20Jihad--Reza%20Kazemi.pdf
"At a time when the French were mutilating Arab prisoners, wiping out whole tribes, burning men, women, and children alive; and when severed Arab heads were regarded as trophies of war--the Emir manifested his magnanimity, his unflinching adherence to Islamic principle [by refusing] to stoop to the level of his 'civilized' adversaries.'"
When the Algerian resistance failed, the Emir eventually was exiled to Damascus where he saved the lives of thousands of Christians against Muslims whom he believed were acting against Islam.
During his lifetime, the Emir achieved somewhat of a celebrity status. His noble character was celebrated around the world by French prisoners, Christians, Muslims, and others--and apparently the founders of Elkader, Iowa.
Author John W. Kiser recently published a biography about the Emir, Commander of the Faithful: The Life and Times of Emir Abd el-Kader (2008). The book has been well-received by Muslims and non-Muslims alike.http://www.amazon.com/Commander-Faithful-Times-el-Kader-1808-1883/dp/0979882834/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1244374603&sr=1-1
For example, Daisy Khan, Executive Director, American Society for Muslim Advancement, writes "an extremely important book for both Muslim and non-Muslim audiences...in Abd el-Kader, we can look to a leader--as scholar, spiritual master, and warrior--who struggled for justice in his own society without transgressing the limits of a just war."http://www.asmasociety.org/about/b_dkhan.html
Kiser notes in his book that "Abd el-Kader's humanitarianism, and specifically, his rules for the treatment of prisoners anticipated the Geneva Code of 1949." (p. 322, fn)
I did not agree with everything Kiser had to say or his characterization of some events. For example, Kiser writes, "There was only one compass for the emir: Islam." (p. 264). Later, he mentions a couple of reports that the Emir had 5 wives, but notes that it "would not have been characteristic of the emir to violate the limit of four wives permitted in the Koran, yet neither was he perfect." (p. 321) While no human is perfect, it seems extremely unlikely that the Emir would have had 5 wives, given his strict adherence to Islamic law.
Kiser also includes an improbable story of how the Emir met his first wife. The story includes a secret rendezvous, an embrace, and a voyeur, whom the 15-year-old Emir tracks down and apparently kills in a river struggle. Although Kiser questions its veracity, nevertheless he states that the story is conceivable. (pp. 22-23)
Overall, I tremendously enjoyed reading about this great man and his adherence to Islamic principles when faced with abominable horrors. His exemplary character is a testament to the beauty of Islam.http://www.amazon.com/Savage-War-Peace-1954-1962-Classics/dp/1590172183/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1244382755&sr=1-1