Books that Inform

Blogger’s note: In light of world events and the often present  ‘information gap’ in conversations on Islam – here are two books that inform!

Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think” should be a mandatory read for diplomats and administrative personnel who hold positions where communicating with those in the Arab world is a regular occurrence.  It is also a good book to recommend for those interested in learning more about this part of the world and the complexity surrounding what the west thinks ‘they’ think and should be concerned about vs. what ‘they’ say they think and what they are concerned about.  This small book with a red cover is the result of a Gallup poll that took place over a few years time.  Thousands and thousands of interviews were conducted in 35 Muslim-majority countries asking clear and pointed questions of the interviewees.  Important to note: this wasn’t the thoughts of either those with extreme views or those who speak as experts but rather regular people going about their lives.  People like many of the protesters in Tunisia, Egypt and Bahrain.

The second book that I have found to be a great resource is the book “A New Introduction to Islam” by Dr. Daniel Brown. This 269-page book with a beautiful cover is an excellent introduction and ‘go to’ book for history and a greater understanding of Muslim beliefs and practices. For coffee lovers, be sure to check out “The Coffee Debate” on page 116! Full disclosure here – Dr. Brown is my brother and an excellent writer and thinker! But lest there be any accusation of nepotism in my urging people to read I will include the recommendation from Ambassador Akbar S. Ahmed, currently the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington, DC.

“The events of September 11 and afterwards have forced us to ask questions about the nature and history of Islam, Daniel Brown’s clear and authoritative book helps us to understand this world religion now at the center of controversy, discussion, and debate…”

Both of these books are excellent ways to begin to fill the information gap and will make great additions to your coffee table or bedside stand.