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Very clear and surprisingly entertaining

  • Nov 19, 2008
  • by
This gracefully written book combines history, philosophy, theology, and humor to explain the central concepts of Islam and its relationship with other populations.

Lewis explains the sometimes confusing varieties of Islam, as well as the changes in political and theological positions over time. He approaches difficult topics such as the place of women in Muslim society, suicide bombings, the concept of the jihad, and radical Islam. Throughout, the tone is compassionate and respectful.

The level of detail is sufficient for comprehension without becoming overwhelming. Readers will enjoy the book, and will come away with a greater understanding of Islam, and of the people of the Muslim world.

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review by . November 17, 2008
Of the making of books about Islam, there is no end, especially not in the post- 9/11 environment. Unfortunately, books about Islam published to a popular readership too often fall into the mutually exclusive categories of hagiography (e.g., those by Karen Armstrong) or demonology (e.g., those of Robert Spencer). Well, almost mutually exclusive. Stephen Schwartz manages both to sanctify Sufism and demonize Wahhabism in the course of one book (The Other Islam). What is needed is a just-the-facts-ma'am …
review by . November 09, 2008
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Lewis (Near Eastern studies, emeritus, Princeton Univ.;The Crisis of Islam) and Churchill (former president, World Affairs Council of Philadelphia) offer an accessible introduction to Muslims and their faith. In clear language, the authors cover the faith's development, its five pillars, Scripture and tradition, law, the mosque, diversity, sectarian divisions, government, economics, women, dress, language, war and peace, and radicalism. There are three particular strengths. First, Lewis and Churchill insist that Islam cannot be reduced to extremes as either a bloodthirsty creed or solely a message of peace. The Qur'an advocates a range of responses according to specific circumstances. Second, the authors humanize Islam by including insets on "Islamic humor" in every chapter. Third, the book replaces dangerous characterizations of Islam as an enemy with an understanding of Islam as a faith intimately connected to Christianity and Judaism. Through understanding Islam, readers may see that the minority who espouse a radicalized totalitarian version of Islam represent neither the faith nor most of its followers. Highly recommended for all libraries.—William P. Collins, Library of Congress
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ISBN-10: 0132230852
ISBN-13: 978-0132230858
Author: Bernard Lewis
Genre: Religion & Spirituality
Publisher: Wharton School Publishing
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