Islam is one of the largest religions in the world, yet it is also one of the most misunderstood—especially in the West. Particularly since 9/11, critics of Islam have attacked the faith and attributed violence by extremists to its holy book, the Qur’an. This leaves many people with questions about Islam: How could a so-called religion of peace advocate violence? What does Islam truly say about violence, war, and peace? And how much of what the critics and the extremists claim is true?
Does the Qur’an (Koran) Really Say That? attempts to answer such questions by addressing some of the myths, misrepresentations, and misunderstandings often propagated by critics who assert themselves as experts on the faith. Interestingly, this includes extremists who claim to be experts on the faith as well. Author Naqi Elmi offers an analytical and balanced approach in explaining and addressing topics especially related to Islam and issues of peace and violence.
To transcend the many misconceptions about Islam, there must be mutual understanding—for we do not have a clash of civilizations, but rather a clash of perceptions. Therefore, for peaceful coexistence, there is a greater need to understand world religions objectively and to explore common ground so we may promote solidarity and world peace.
A defense of Islam that challenges Western myths and stereotypes.
In his debut book, Elmi hopes to provide skeptics and critics of the Muslim faith with a scholarly and faithfully Islamic
defense. One can argue that Western perceptions of Christianity as a religion of peace and democracy, and of Islam as a religion of violence and war, will inevitably only lead to future conflict. For this reason, Elmi focuses on Islamic beliefs regarding violence, war, and peace. Central to his argument is the notion that Westerners often “confuse Islamic
teachings with the social and cultural practices within Muslim communities,” and unjustly blame a religion of peace for the
warlike actions of its worst adherents. He points out that Islam’s history features the acts of virtuous men and women, the forging of a sacred community, and the formation of organizations that promote social justice, as well as warfare,
persecutions, and violence—just as Christianity does. And just as contemporary Christians believe the Crusades to be
counter to the message of Jesus Christ, Elmi notes, so too should the West distinguish between true, peaceful Islamic
ideology and those who falsely act in its name. The author is cleareyed about the violence of history, but he’s also careful
to emphasize the fair treatment of Christians and Jews in the early history of Islam. Elmi is at his best in later chapters, in
which he defends verses from the Quran that seemingly endorse violence—and which are often cherry-picked by critics of the faith. By providing historical context and scholarly analysis, the author convincingly shows Islam to be a religion that“ promotes peaceful coexistence with non-Muslims.” The book is written with a general Western audience in mind, so
Islamic scholars will not find much that’s new here. However, non-Muslims will find an accessible, reasoned case against
A concise and effective work about Islam as a religion of peace