What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam

What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam

What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam

What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam

Synopsis

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, there has been an overwhelming demand for information about Islam. As a leading expert, John Esposito has found himself called upon to speak to a wide range of audiences, including members of Congress, the Bush administration, government agencies, the military, and the media. Out of this experience, he has identified the most pressing questions people consistently ask about Islam. In What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam, Esposito presents in question-and-answer format the information that most people want to know. Esposito provides succinct, accessible, sensitive, and even-handed answers to questions that range from the general--"What do Muslims believe?" and "Who was Muhammad?"--to more specific issues like Is Islam compatible with modernization, capitalism and democracy? How do Muslims view Judaism and Christianity? Are women second-class citizens in Islam? What is jihad? Does the Quran condone terrorism? What does Islam say about homosexuality, birth control, abortion, and slavery? The editor of The Oxford Encyclopedia of Modern Islam and The Oxford History of Islam, and author of Unholy War and many other acclaimed works, John Esposito is one of America's leading authorities on Islam. This brief and readable book is the first place to look for information on the faith, customs, and political beliefs of the more than one billion people who call themselves Muslims.

Excerpt

This brief volume grows out of my experiences after the tragedy of 9/11. Like many of my colleagues, I have been bombarded with questions about Islam and Muslims. So many are now trying to understand “why” and “how.” While some questions center on the attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, many are the same queries that have arisen time and again over the years in media interviews, government and corporate briefings, and presentations at universities and civic organizations: Why is Islam so violent? Does the Quran approve terrorism and suicide bombing? Is Islam compatible with modernity? Why do Muslims persecute Jews and Christians?

Reflecting on 9/11 and these persistent questions, I realized how much has changed and how much remains the same. Islam is the second largest of the world's religions globally as well as in Europe, and it is the third largest religion in America. Yet many in the West continue to function within an enormous information vacuum, the same one I myself suffered from over thirty years ago. When I first encountered Islam in graduate school, I was astonished to discover that there was another Abrahamic faith. We had always talked about the Judeo-Christian connection, but never the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition. Why? If Muslims recognize and revere many of the major patriarchs and prophets of Judaism and Christianity (including Abraham, Moses, and Jesus) and God's revealed books, the . . .

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