Writer Lesley Hazleton is the author of 'The First Muslim,' a new look at the life of Muhammad.

Why you should listen

A psychologist by training and Middle East reporter by experience, British-born Lesley Hazleton has spent the last ten years exploring the vast and often terrifying arena in which politics and religion, past and present, intersect. She's written about the history of the Sunni/Shi'a split, as well as books on two of the Bible's most compelling female figures: Mary and Jezebel.
Her latest book is The First Muslim, a new look at the life of Muhammad, the founder of Islam. In researching her book, she sat and read the full Koran again -- exploring the beauty and subtlety in this often-misquoted holy book. As she says: " I’m always asking questions — not to find “answers,” but to see where the questions lead. Dead ends sometimes? That’s fine. New directions? Interesting. Great insights? Over-ambitious. A glimpse here and there? Perfect."

What others say

“Very interesting perspective. Her talk has motivated me to read and learn more about the Koran and make up my own mind rather than get second hand information filled with hate.” — Alan Klein, commenting at Informed Comment, juancole.com

Lesley Hazleton’s TED talks