Islam for Dummies
by Renee in Ohio
Sat Jun 4th, 2005 at 17:27:00 CDT
Islam for Dummies, of course, actually the name of a book explaining Islam to the uninitiated. Most of you are probably familiar with the many "for Dummies" and "Idiot's Guide" books out there. Truly, it's a hugely popular phenomenon, and although I'm sure there are some that disagree with using the words "dummies" and "idiot" in the book titles, see it as being sort of tongue-in-cheek. And, if you see a book with a title like that, you know that you can, as someone who is utterly without a clue about the subject matter, pick it up and learn something. There is something I find utterly refreshing--endearing, even, about the ability to say, "I really don't understand this, but I want to. Please help me."
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Reading the various reactions people have had to the news article about the desecration of the Quran, I am really disheartened by the arrogant ignorance of anything related to Islam. I am by no means an expert in this area, but I recognize the need to learn more. I think Americans, in general, need to become more interfaith and interculturally "literate". Think of it this way--we have often heard that there are certain skills needed to compete in a global economy. Well, not just the economy is global--everything is. It's a small world after all. (Did I get that song in your head now? Sorry.)
Anyway, I don't think we can afford to walk blindly into interactions with other faiths and cultures, oblivious to the fact that certain actions mean different things to them. And, hate to say it, but as Democrats (or liberals or progressives, or whatever you personally call yourself), it generally falls to us to call for education and tolerance in the face of ignorance and intolerance. We need to know this stuff, and have this information at our disposal when we write letters to the editor or gently correct the misinformation people share with us in casual conversation.
So, how about we swap the resources we have found helpful. I'll share a few that I'm aware of, and hopefully others can do likewise...
Beliefnet Understanding Islam page
The Council on American-Islamic Relations
From Tolerance.org: The Relgion of Islam (warning, lots of ads, but it's a really useful site in general)
Daily Kos :: Islam for Dummies
When everything seems like the movies
Yeah you BLOG bleed just to know you'r alive
Islam for Dummies