In the Name of Allah
Most Gracious-Most Merciful
Balqees Mohammed (pen name)
Samira Van Fossen (legal name)
Born and raised in a Christian family in the US, Balqees Mohammed became a Muslim in 1979 and then shortly afterwards married a man from Saudi Arabia, and has lived there since 1982. She has been privileged to learn the language of the Quran (Arabic), thereby providing for her the opportunity to learn and understand the religion from its original sources.
Since the entrance of the internet into the public arena in Saudi Arabia in 1999, she has been active working in the field of spreading the message of Islam and attempting to qualm the many misconceptions worldwide of this universal religion.
With writing as a favorite pastime since childhood, she is consistently honing her talent and love for the craft to mold it into a service to Allah by trying to spread His message across the world.
A wife of 30 years, mother of 3 grown children, grandmother of 6 and more on the way, she manages to squeeze time for herself and the love she has for Islam in order to produce articles, stories, poetry and much more in the area of quality Islamic literature for all. In her writing, she draws upon her past experience as a non-Muslim as well as her ongoing experience as a Muslim.
Organization and Group Membership/Affiliations
-Founding member & Co-Admin since 1999: IWC (Islamic Web Conference), www.myiwc.com
-Contributing author & official representative since 2005: Abha Communities Center website, under the supervision of Saudi Arabian Ministry of Islamic Affairs: www.islamunveiled.org
-Official extension member & English-language advisor since 2006: Translation Dept., Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Saudi Arabia
-Member since 2007 & Secretary 2009-2012: IWA (Islamic Writers Alliance, Inc.)
A short Islamic Fiction story “A Chance for Reward” and two poems “Love for Allah, for the Sake of Allah” and “A Balanced Balance”, which are published in the Islamic Anthology, Between Love, Hope and Fear, by An-Najm Publishers of UK, 2007 (www.an-najmpublishers.co.uk).
Two short Islamic Fiction stories “Ta’ibah and the Ants” and “Troubled Waters Can Be Sailable”, which are published in the Islamic Fiction Anthology of the IWA, Many Voices, One Faith II-Islamic Fiction Stories, by Muslim Writers Publishing of US, 2009 (www.muslimwriterspublishing.com).
Two poems “Faith Comparison” and “Hopeless”, which are published in the Islamic Poetry Anthology of the IWA, Many Poetic Voices, One Faith, by Muslim Writers Publishing of US, 2009 (www.muslimwriterspublishing.com).
Feature article, titled “Timbuktu” for the Ramadan/Eid 1430/2009 edition of Iqra! – an Islamic newspaper published in Houston, Tx. The online edition can be viewed at: http://issuu.com/iqranewspaper/docs/iqra-ramadan1430.
Co-wrote several articles and did other rewrites as well as copy-editing of the Ramadan/Eid 1430/2009 edition of Iqra! Islamic newspaper. All can be viewed by logging onto: http://issuu.com/iqranewspaper/docs/iqra-ramadan1430.
Authored a short Islamic fiction story titled “From Dan to Dawood”, published in the April, 2009 issue of Islamic Ink, the free online quarterly magazine showcasing the talent and news of IWA (Islamic Writers Alliance).
Authored a book review, titled “Promoting Between Love, Hope and Fear”, published in the October, 2009 issue of Islamic Ink, the free online quarterly magazine showcasing the talent and news of IWA (Islamic Writers Alliance).
Detailed Editing Experience:
1. My Great Love for Jesus Led Me to Islam by Simon Alfredo Caraballo. Published by Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Saudi Arabia-Translation Dept.
2. Back to the Quran by Abu Hurairah Abdalrahman. Published by The Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Saudi Arabia-Translation Dept.
3. Have You Discovered It’s Real Beauty? by Dr. Naji Ibrahim Al-Arfaj, published by Al-Ahsa Modern Press, K.F National Library Cataloging-in-Publication Data, 116 p., 18cm, ISBN: 9960-56-904-7/Legal Deposit No: 1427/6893/ISBN: 9960-9345-0-0 Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Saudi Arabia-Translation Dept.
4. Is Allah Three or One? by Dr. Munqidh As-Saqqar, published by Muslim World League.
5. Become Acquainted With Islam by Dr. Munqidh As-Saqqar. Published by Muslim World League.
6. Women In Islam published by Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Saudi Arabia-Translation Dept.
7. Human Rights in Islam published by Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Saudi Arabia-Translation Dept.
8. A Guide for the New Muslim by: Dr. Jamal Al-Din Zarabozo, published by Muslim World League
9. What Is Islam? by Dr. Jamal Al-Din Zarabozo, published by Muslim World League.
10. A Concise Reply to Christianity: A Muslim’s View by: Dr. G. Miller (Abdulahad Omar) Ordinary Press, 1983, Ontario, Canada. (this work was done as a review before re-printing)
11. Jesus In the Quran and What Muhammad Said About Jesus, each by: Ali Shawkat, pbl: Kenanga Permai Sdn. Bhd, Malaysia, 2006. (this work was done as a review of these two books for recommended reading promotion)
12. Life is an Open Secret: You, Me & We by Zabrina A. Bakr of Malaysia.
13. Quraniyun (working title-editing finished in 2009, pending publication & printing sometime in 2010), written by Emad Hamdeh.
14. Human Rights and Islam, by Dr. Jamal al-Din Zarabozo, published by Muslim World League and Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Saudi Arabia, Department of Translation.
15. Did some editing and consultation (2009) for post-graduate students’ (students working on their masters degree) term reports.
16. Worked (2009-2010) as editor and consultant for a Saudi student working on his masters’ thesis in English language studies, concentrating on the theme of social interaction of initial meeting greetings.
17. Did copy-editing of the Ramadan/Eid 1430/2009 issue of Iqra! Islamic newspaper, http://issuu.com/iqranewspaper/docs/iqra-ramadan1430
18. A novel by Javed Ali, revolving around the tragic genocide that took place in Bosnia during the revolution which eventually resulted in the breaking up of the Yugoslav region into separate states. Pending publication and printng (completed editing and a second re-editing in 2009).
19. Rites and Selected Etiquettes for Intending Performers of Hajj and ‘Umra and Visitor (working title), by Abdullah ibn Sa’id ibn Jarrash, published by Darussalam, pending final publication and printing, after completion of editing and corrections applied. This work entailed comparing the English translation from the original Arabic work, making necessary corrections in the area of the translation as well as main editing of grammar, spelling and punctuation (basic copy-editing as well as translating). It also entails ensuring correctness of quotations from the Quran and hadith, and their reference numberings as well as that of other references used. The work is currently 134 pages.
Concerning the following works, I was requested by the Translation Department of the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Islamic Affairs to review and give my thoughts/advice as to possible benefit from reprint and distribution:
1. Bearing True Witness by Laurence B. Brown, MD, Publisher: Maktaba Dar-us-Salam, Riyadh, 2005 ISBN: 9960-732-36-3 L.D. no. 1426/849
2. The Eighth Scroll by Laurence B. Brown, MD, Copyright 2007 Dr. Laurence B. Brown ISBN: 1-4196-7323-8 ISBN-13: 978-1419673238 2007
3. MisGod'ed by Laurence B. Brown, MD. BookSurge Publishing, February 22, 2008; ISBN-10: 1419681486 ISBN-13: 978-1419681486
4. God'ed by Laurence B. Brown, MD. BookSurge Publishing, February 22, 2008; ISBN-10: 1419684604 ISBN-13: 978-1419684609
5. Muhammed Man and Prophet: A Complete Study of the Life of the Prophet of Islam by Adil Salahi, Published by: The Islamic Foundation, UK; ISBN: 0-86037-327-4