Children of Abraham : An Introduction to Islam for Jews

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9780881257243: Children of Abraham : An Introduction to Islam for Jews

Book by Duran, Khalid

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From Library Journal:

Most American readers will welcome the venture in interreligious dialog undertaken by these two books, copublished with the Harriet and Robert Heilbrunn Institute for International Interreligious Understanding of the American Jewish Committee. Written in a clear manner for a popular audience, both are arranged by key topics that address some of the great controversial issues of our times. Firestone (Jihad: The Origin of Holy War in Islam), a professor and the director of the Graduate School of Jewish Studies, Hebrew Union-College Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles, offers a thoughtful introduction to Jewish religion, history, and thought. He stresses how both Jews and Muslims have greatly benefited from peaceful relationships through the ages. Dur n, the author of five books on Islam and the editor of TransIslam, a journal devoted to an analysis of Islamic developments, has the more difficult task, as few would argue that Islam is viewed in a distorted way by Americans. He presents a critical, historical, and religious overview, devoting much of his book to the tensions and challenges found today, such as how Islam is perceived by different national leaders. He also writes about the role of women, for whom he believes "a change for the better is underway." Even before publication, Dur n's book has raised a firestorm among scholars. Many feel that he does not offer a balanced view of his subject, pointing out, for instance, that Dur n equates fundamentalism with fanaticism. The book does read like a polemic in many ways and is far less suitable as a basic introduction than Firestone's. As a result of the controversy, readers will ask for these books, and Dur n's will certainly stimulate discussion. Ultimately, however, American readers are likely to come away from these books with a more positive view of both religions. Libraries should make sure to consult "Bridging the Gap: Islam in America" (LJ 10/1/98) when building a collection. Paul Kaplan, Lake Villa Dist. Lib., IL
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Publishers Weekly:

Duran, editor of the journal TransIslam, misses a great opportunity to educate his Jewish audience about the extensive similarities between Judaism and Islam. Pockets of the book are enlightening. He accurately describes the archaism of Shari'a (Islamic law) in the modern world, and makes a strong point that Islamism, or fundamentalist Islam, is a political, not religious, movement. However, Duran spends the bulk of the text on Islamists, belying their small population. He writes that "the history of Jewish-Muslim relations is so complex that one can list as many positive as negative examples of their interaction," yet he relates mostly the negative ones, sabotaging his ostensible purpose. He also misstates facts about Islam and women in Islam, and mishandles the description of dhimmi (minority status) in Islam. His many controversial assertions lack supporting evidence. He presents far-fetched, incendiary theories, such as, "the culprits in the Oklahoma City bombing [the Euro-American Timothy McVeigh and his fellow militia members] had an association" with the terrorist Osama Bin Lfdin. He also absurdly claims that many Muslims regard Bin Ladin He also absurdly claims that many Muslims regard Bin Ladin "as a revolutionary hero, a Muslim version of Che Guevara." The Islam described here is ritualistic, suspicious, misguided and overpowered by Islamists. Duran dismisses Jesus and his mother Mary's appearances in the Qur'an as merely "a courtesy to Christians," a dubious assessment. Most troublesome is his habit of analogizing Islamic behavior to Nazi behavior. The juxtaposition, like the book, treads an unwise path.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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