Taking Back Islam (Michael Wolfe)

Posted Mar 6, 2006      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version Bookmark and Share

From Publishers Weekly
This intelligent, thoughtful collection of writings from dozens of contributors is the thinking person’s guide to Islam in a post-9/11 America. It is only fitting that a major world religion be represented by multiple voices. Wolfe (One Thousand Roads to Mecca) gathers excerpts from postings to the Beliefnet Web site, as well as brief essays from established authorities such as Karen Armstrong, practitioners like Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) and new voices such as Asma Hasan and Aasma Khan. Some writers describe specific organizations they have founded to foster interfaith communication and human rights. With only a few exceptions, they do not write as apologists, but willingly grapple with the complexities and paradoxes of Islam. The book works well for both Muslim and non-Muslim readers. It is both an exploration of contemporary Islam (Has it been hijacked by extremists? Is it violent? Can Islamic states be democratic?) and a call for Muslims to reclaim their faith by mobilizing the moderate, seemingly silent, majority. There are also short personal essays about various aspects of Muslim life (art, humor, conversion, pilgrimage and more) that stand as small windows into daily practice. These American Muslims and Islamic scholars are devoted to the faith, but passionate about finding ways for Islam to divest itself of its associations with violent terrorism and sexism. It is an eye-opening survey of the minds and passions of progressive Muslims in the United States and offers hope for greater interfaith understanding.
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