Theology & Religion

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To Be A Muslim

Islam, Peace, and Democracy

Author Text to Follow

This book is an incisive, personal statement about the essence of Islam by one of the world’s leading advocates of inter-faith dialogue and understanding – Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan. There is much ignorance about Islam in the West, and negative opinions of Islam feed on that ignorance. The views and attitudes about Islam in public dialogue since the Osama bin Laden-inspired terrorist attack on September 11, 2001 require a response that sets Islam in a light that shows its fundamental belief structures and humanity.
The core of the book is a statement of belief in a question and answer format that allows Islam’s basic tenets to be quickly grasped by a wide audience. In form and content To Be A Muslim reaches both a Western audience and also Muslims (who themselves can be Westerners) who are seeking to articulate their faith and to explain it to themselves and to others. The questions put by His Royal Highness’s collaborator, Alain Elkann, are those frequently posed by people not knowledgeable about Islam.

Prince El Hassan’s answers are precise and informative. He presents a persuasive argument that the beliefs and culture of the majority of the Islamic world not only are compatible with but are contributive to a world at peace – a world of diversity in which Muslim and non-Muslim nations can and should collaborate to create a more humane and just global society. He cites the Qur’an, the Hadith (sayings), and the Sunna (tradition) of the Prophet Muhammad, and describes how most of Islam during most of its history has applied the teachings of the Prophet so as to treat other ethnic groups, cultures and faiths – especially the Jewish and Christian monotheists – with respect, tolerance and fairness.

This unique book is complemented by chapters from David L. Boren, President of the University of Oklahoma and Ambassador Edward J. Perkins, who set the exposition of the Prince (who was awarded a Doctorate of Humane Letters by the University of Oklahoma) in a wide historical and political context.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-903900-81-9
Hardback Price: £19.95 / $35.00
Release Date: December 2003
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-903900-82-6
Paperback Price: £12.95 / $17.95
Release Date: December 2003
Page Extent / Format: 96 pp. / 190 x 130 mm
Illustrated: No



Introduction: Appreciating Others' Traditions and Values

To Be A Muslim

The Implications of Islam for Civil Society and Democratization

Postscript: Toward a Universal Ethic of Human Understanding

Islamic Societies and Prospects for Democratization
David L. Boren, President of the University of Oklahoma

A Clash of Civilizations? or Normal Relations with Nations of the Islamic World?
Edward J. Perkins

Further Reading

Rightly or wrongly, in a post-9/11 world Muslims are being called on to explain Islamic traditions to skeptical audiences. Unfortunately, this is bound to place them on the defensive. To Be a Muslim cuts through that dilemma by presenting an account of Islam which is concise in expression, optimistic in outlook and accessible to the general reader. Prince El Hassan bin Talal has spent many years advocating a view of Islam that is fully compatible with openness to religious plurality and dialogue, democracy and human rights, and is humane in ethical performance. In his hands, Islam is a religion that has much both to offer a changing and often confused world, and to receive from it. For this author, all the essential building-blocks for constructing an Islam that can support the values of democratic freedom, civil society, interreligious respect and international co-operation are available through the tradition carefully interpreted.
Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations

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