Written in an accessible, journalistic style, Jihad in Paradise focuses on Southeast Asia's struggle to deal with Islamic extremists and terrorism at the hands of Jemah Islamiyah, al Qaeda's Southeast Asian arm. Although the book gives particular attention to Singapore's attempts to deal with these issues, the story extends into Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. All of these countries have significant Muslim populations, and recent violent events have affected the business environment, tourism, and the region's tradition of religious tolerance. The author draws on personal interviews with experts in the field as well as key political and religious figures in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia, including Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, Minister for Muslim Affairs Jaacoub Ibrahim, and expelled Muslim dissident Zulfikar Mohamad Sharif. Millard examines the Bali bombing, Malaysia's conservative Islamic party PAS, the Malaysian province of Kelantan which is a Muslim political hotbed, Abu Saayaf of the Philippines, and Fateha.com and the use of the Internet. He also provides a glimpse of how Singapore, the region's most developed nation, has engineered its society in order to impose a degree of racial and religious tolerance.
"Jihad in Paradise is Millard's paean to the multi-ethnic pluralism and tolerance he has come to savor in his new home in Southeast Asia, a book brimming with his love for the region and its peoples with their diversity as warm and lush as the lands in which they live. It is above all, however, the author's alarm bell as to how all this is placed in jeopardy by the rise of radical Islamism with its instrument of terror and its goal of a region-wide theocratic state."