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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Islam
06:56:25 PM Wednesday Feb 1, 2006

I never heard of this book until one of my convert friends showed me her copy today. I laughed at first when she mentioned it, thinking it was just a joke. but then she pulled it out of her bag, and lo and behold, sure enough there is a complete idiot's guide to Islam! I started skimming through it and noticed a few things were right-on but didn't see any direct quotations from quran or hadith, which always annoys me. Anyone can say anything about any religion, but to have their books be considered a reliable source of information, they should back up their statements with supporting literature from that religion's holy books, prophets, and scholars. Anyway, I haven't read the whole book yet, so I do hope there are verses and hadiths in there somewhere. Maybe I just have to find them. The author's name (Yahiya Emerick) sounds vaguely familiar. Maybe I read somethign by this guy in the past. Can't remember right now though..

So anyone else hear about this or similar books? I wonder if there's a forum online somewhere or maybe a website dedicated just to staying on top of all the latest books that are being published on the topic of islam. It would be a great resource. Anyone know of any such thing?

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9:58 am    February 2, 2006

Rasta Gnawi message
There are groups that monitor content of textbooks, particularly in California. They tend to send their recommendations to the state, then the states submits proposed changes to the publishers. The publishers usually make the changes since they don't want to lose the state's business. Most states follow California's lead in textbook selection. I know that Muslim and other religious groups have been successful in getting some changes approved. The problem usually arises when an academic, historian or an expert in the subject matter, is able to refute the group's finding. Happens a lot. Most recently it happened in California where a Hindu group got the publisher to take out language that hinted that women had a lower class status in hte past. Instead, I think they phrased it as women having different role or something like that. There was a Wall Street Journal article on that a few weeks ago.

There is also a committee that monitors copies of the Quran. There aree many groups that circulated falsified copies of the Quran in Africa to paint it in a bad light. Not sure what the committee's name is.

If there are inacuracies, poeple will probably just write letters to the publisher. It does not strike me as textbook material.


9:45 am    February 2, 2006

hudhud message
no i didn't but i actually was wondering if they had a "for dummies" book on islam. i saw similar ones on other religions before. thanks souhaima for telling me :)

i don't know if any such committee or group exists, either. most likely not here in the usa nor in europe, b/c most western countries may consider that a type of censorship. in any case, i believe in freedom of speech and press, so i don't care if people write whatever they want to write. my bottom line is that when they make statements about a religion they do need to back them up with supporting evidence. at least if we had a website or forum where people can post which books are newly published on this topic, and if someone read it they can post their reviews, i think that would be really helpful and interesting.

there is a volume i saw in an arabic bookstore once, called something like "almawsou3aa almouyasarah fil firaq wal adyan" or something like that. it was basically a big encyclopedia-type book about most of the known religions, and sects within different religions, as well as other ideological groups or philosophies. it explains what the main beliefs of that group are, based on what their own books/prophets/scholars/leaders said and did, and then it explains what the Islamic perspective is on that group's ideology based on quran and hadith. it was at least 2 volumes i think, expensive but an interesting resource.


7:32 am    February 2, 2006
Hudhud, you're pointing to a very important problem. I wonder if there is any Islamic committee that reviews books and approves or disapproves them. I don't know about that book but the general misconception of Islam in the west tells me there is some source of information that's misinterpreting our religion. Did you see the ?Islam for dummies? by Malcolm Clark?

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