Islam: Its Prophet, People, Politics and PowerWritten by George W. Braswell Reviewed By Craig Blomberg
With the burgeoning numbers of Muslims in Western Europe and North America these days, no one may dare ignore the influence of Islam. Christians living in more historically Muslim-dominated areas already know this. But where can one find an up-to-date, accurate and sensitively written description of this religion that ranges widely at the introductory level across matters of history, belief, ethics and Christian interaction with the movement? Here is one book that does all this.
The author is uniquely qualified to write a Christian introduction to Islam, having taught in the Faculty of Islamic Theology at the University of Teheran from 1968 to 1974. He currently teaches world religions at the Southeastern Baptist Seminary in North Carolina. In addition to the topics one would expect to find treated, the reader is pleased to see a country-by-country survey of the distinctive features of Islam worldwide, a particular focus on the controversial role of women in Islam, a detailed discussion of the influential Nation of Islam in the United States and its provocative leader, Louis Farrakhan, a focus on the varied uses of the concept of jihad, and insightful analysis of the issues facing Muslims when they migrate to democratic or historically Christian countries.
Braswell does not leave the reader without occasional, important critiques of this religion, but there are times when he presents its positions so sympathetically that one wonders if he really believes Muslims are lost people in need of conversion. Elsewhere he makes it clear that he does, so the sympathetic presentations are actually a sign of his remarkably fair and courteous treatment of views with which he disagrees. That feature alone, rare enough as it is in some Christian circles these days, makes the book well worth reading.
Denver, Colorado, USA