WHAT'S RIGHT WITH ISLAM: A New Vision for Muslims and the West

Feisal Abdul Rauf, Author, Karen Armstrong, Foreword by . Harper San Francisco $21.95 (314p) ISBN 978-0-06-058272-2

Rauf, a Manhattan imam whose mosque is only 12 blocks from the World Trade Center site, argues that what keeps the Islamic world and America apart, and what fuels Islamic terrorism, is economics, politics, Muslim defensiveness—everything but religion. In fact, Rauf believes that America best represents Islam's true values. His major theme is the existence of an "Abrahamic ethic" which undergirds all the monotheistic religions and extols equality and justice. If Muslims, especially American Muslims, harness this Abrahamic ethic, Rauf promises Islam will once again contribute to the universal striving for a better society. In countering Bernard Lewis's What Went Wrong?, Rauf raises numerous valid points: the U.S. overthrow of democratic Islamic regimes in Iran and Indonesia; U.S. creation and sponsorship of Afghan mujahideen to fight the Soviet Union; the anti-Muslim bias of American media (a point echoed by Karen Armstrong in the foreword); the massive, debilitating effect colonization had on most of the Islamic world; and the "drawing [of] lines" in the Middle East and South Asia by European powers after WWI and WWII, dooming countries with wildly diverse populations to perpetual unrest. However, Rauf presents these points sporadically and less eloquently than some previous commentators. The book's strengths include a concise history of Islam as well as brief but valuable insights into the American Muslim community. The few references to his own personal story also resonate: "Like many immigrants from Muslim lands, I discovered my Islam in America." (May)

Forecast: National advertising, a radio tour, and a foreword by Karen Armstrong will help push this title.

Reviewed on: 04/12/2004
Release date: 05/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-06-149720-9
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 336 pages - 978-0-06-149723-0
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