Abdul Rahman Azzam has a BA and PhD in History from Oxford University. He is the author of Rumi and the Kingdom of Joy (2000) and the bestselling Saladin (published in English in 2007 by Longman), which was selected in Jordan as one of the top one hundred books on Islam.
The first known inhabitant of St Helena - long before Napoleon - was a 16th-century Portuguese renegade. In 1506 Fernao Lopes, a member of his country's minor nobility, travelled to Goa in search of honour and wealth. There he converted to Islam, married a Muslim, fought his former countrymen, and was eventually captured - his nose and hands publicly cut off for treachery. Eventually sailing for home, he jumped ship at St. Helena, becoming the island's first inhabitant, with only a black cockerel for company. News of Lopes reached the King of Portugal. Picked up by a ship sent especially for him, Lopes so impressed the King, and the Pope in Rome, that he was granted one wish. He requested his return to St Helena.