In This Review

What's Right with Islam: A New Vision for Muslims and the West
What's Right with Islam: A New Vision for Muslims and the West
By Feisal Abdul Rauf
336 pp, HarperOne, 2005
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Nearly a decade after 9/11, communications between Muslims and the West (including Muslims in the West) remain plagued by mutual suspicion and ignorance. Efforts to remedy this have been useful in generating dialogue and good ideas, but there is still a long way to go. Rauf gets to the heart of the matter in What's Right With Islam Is What's Right With America. Of Egyptian heritage and now based in New York, Rauf is well positioned to identify principles that are common both to the United States' founding documents and to the Abrahamic religions. His thesis is that the Islamic ideal is far closer to the democratic thesis than to the dynastic doctrines that hold sway in many Muslim-majority states. This reality, if understood more broadly, could open the door to improved policy outcomes in areas of conflict, more accurate media depictions on all sides, and a healthier understanding of religion's role in public life. Rauf explains, better than any other commentator, why so many Muslims proclaim simultaneously their desire for democracy and their opposition to the United States' international actions. He also provides valuable insights into the nature of Islam, the lessons of history, and the failure of Muslim and Western leaders to live up to their professed beliefs. Whether or not one agrees with every conclusion, Rauf offers a basis for intercultural and interfaith dialogue that extends far beyond the discussion that has taken place thus far. This may not guarantee a brighter future, but it can certainly help the world avoid a bleaker one and set it on a better path.

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