Book Announcement:  Taking Back Islam: American Muslims Reclaim Their Faith * (Michael Wolfe)

Book Announcement:  Taking Back Islam: American Muslims Reclaim Their Faith * (Michael Wolfe)


Review
“September 11 forced a reckoning of sorts, and it has led us to be more self-reliant. When any religion is new to a place, as Islam is new to America, the tendency to take one’s cues from the Motherland is strong, wherever that Motherland is perceived to be. And then there comes a moment to grow up. For many American Muslims, that moment arrived in the weeks following September 11.

“This is a book by forward-looking Muslims—in love with Islam, proud of Islam, and confident enough in its strength to believe that it can stand up to honest introspection. ‘Speak the truth,’ Muhammad said, ‘even if it hurts you.’ A sometimes painful struggle, nothing less than a faith in search of its soul, informs this book.”—Michael Wolfe

 

Product Description
Islam, the least understood of the worlds great religions, is balanced on a precipice between the past and the future, between fanatical fundamentalists and progressives advocating peace. Noted Islamic authority Michael Wolfe moderates 35 expert speakers, writers, and leaders, including Muhammad Ali and Karen Armstrong, the best-selling author of A History of God and Islam. They discuss the future of Islam, tear down false stereotypes, review the historical realities that have shaped the religion, and examine paradoxes and schisms within the faith. The book includes excerpts from Beliefnet postings.At a time when every Muslim is forced to defend his faith and Americans are curious about Islams basic tenets, this book answers many questions at the same time that it ponders both the danger and promise of the future.

 

From the Inside Flap
In the months after September 11, American Muslims heard the familiar sounds of Islam being defined by others. On television, from the Capitol, from the pulpit, in the classroom, and, worst of all, on videotapes from Osama bin Laden’s cave, commentators, politicians, scholars, and wealthy terrorists were busily telling Muslims the “real meaning” of Islam.

Western Muslims knew something had to be done or Islam might be tarnished, even corrupted. In the past year, they have gathered informally to discuss the past, the present, and how things ought to be. Over time, they began to conceive, then voice, then, finally, put to paper ideas about how they might define Islam in this century. In the year since September 11, American Muslims began to do something extraordinary. They began to reclaim the core values of Islam.

Taking Back Islam is a bold collection of voices in the vanguard of the faith, voices of men and women who remain devout and utterly convinced of Islam’s power to help create a just, ordered, and beautiful world but who are also unafraid to be critical of those who would distort Islam for violent or political ends. Many of these writers are American Muslims who benefit from a commitment to democratic pluralism as well as a commitment to Islam.

“I believe in Allah and America,” writes Arsalan Tariq Iftikhar. “The Qur’an has a radical message of tolerance,” says Kabir Helminski. “American Muslims have a special obligation,” according to Ingrid Mattson. “Many Muslims suspect that Islam’s ‘traditional lands’ have less to teach us than they claim,” writes Michael Wolfe.

The unique nature and strength of these voices, fueled by a strong desire to tap the best traditions within Islam, offer hope for rescuing a faith that has been injured from within by extremists and demonized from without by Western culture.

 


From the Back Cover
Taking Back Islam: American Muslims Reclaim Their Faith

“September 11 forced a reckoning of sorts, and it has led us to be more self-reliant. When any religion is new to a place, as Islam is new to America, the tendency to take one’s cues from the Motherland is strong, wherever that Motherland is perceived to be. And then there comes a moment to grow up. For many American Muslims, that moment arrived in the weeks following September 11.

“This is a book by forward-looking Muslims—in love with Islam, proud of Islam, and confident enough in its strength to believe that it can stand up to honest introspection. ‘Speak the truth,’ Muhammad said, ‘even if it hurts you.’ A sometimes painful struggle, nothing less than a faith in search of its soul, informs this book.”—Michael Wolfe

Is it possible that the seeds of Islamic renewal are being sown in the West? Are there ways that American Muslims, combining a commitment to democratic pluralism with their faith, have the opportunity to energize Islam globally? What does this Islam look like?

In Taking Back Islam, notable figures such as Karen Armstrong, Hakeem Olajuwon, Ingrid Mattson, Kabir Helminski, and Arsalan Tariq Iftikhar take on the big questions, such as Islam’s views on violence, women, democracy, and other faiths. It gathers the voices of Muslims who are faithfully practicing a brand of Islam in defiance of extremists within the faith and critics outside of it. Here are the voices of the future of Islam.

People of all faiths, and those of none, must hear these voices and understand them in order to truly comprehend the state of the world today.

 


About the Author
Michael Wolfe is a columnist for Beliefnet and the author of books of poetry, fiction, history, and travel, including The Hadj: An American’s Pilgrimage to Mecca and One Thousand Roads to Mecca. Wolfe, a Muslim, lives in California.In 2002, Beliefnet won the Webby Award for Best Spirituality Site and was a finalist for the National Magazine Award for General Excellence Online. Taking Back Islam is Beliefnet’s third book in partnership with Rodale.

 


Google