Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Being Muslim

This book could be a useful introduction to the Islamic faith for young people who don't know much about it, but author Haroon Siddiqui disappoints by not telling us nearly as much about the religion as he does about his own political views. (He is a well-known Canadian political columnist for the Toronto Star.) Only a short section in the middle of the book concerns Muslim holidays, beliefs, and traditions; but a good deal of Being Muslim blames the United States and other Western countries for problems in the Muslim world, and there are times when the author completely sidesteps important matters. He says, for example, that when Islam was an expanding faith "the majority of people ruled by Muslims remained non-Muslim," (p. 131) without exploring what this might have meant to those being "ruled." He also implies that the freedoms Western countries enjoy came from Islam: in a famous sermon, he says, the Prophet "Muhammad proceeded to lay down a series of rules, which have since evolved into the basic prnciples of many civil societies today -- the right to life, liberty, and security of person ... and the right to private property" (p. 87).

Being Muslim will tell you a lot about Haroon Siddiqui, but some more informative and interesting books in the Youth Services department about the many epic centuries of Muslim faith and history are:

The Sword of The Prophet, by Richard Suskind;
Islam, by Matthew S. Gordon;
Muslim Holidays, by Faith Winchester;
Muslim Mosque,
by Angela Wood; and
Salaam: A Muslim American Boy's Story, by Tricia Brown.

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