On the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, given the nature of this blog, it only seems fitting to conduct a little poll.  Please take the time to weigh in on these two common questions about which Americans (and presidential candidates) often have strong opinions.

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Best quote I’ve heard all day: “The only death I’ll celebrate is the death of my Savior.”

Today ends the first month of this blog.  I am learning much and asking lots of questions too.  I am struck by the many similarities between Islam and Christianity, similarities usually overshadowed in the rhetoric of our day.  I am also struck by the differences and there have been a few very significant ones. 

The next twenty ayahs are very interesting and produce several questions so I have a few posts simmering but nothing is ready yet.  But given that we have been at this a month and there appears to be some new traffic on the blog I thought I would do a redux of my first post and share again the raison d’etre of this blog. 

More than half (55%) of Americans say they know little to nothing about Islamic religion or practices.  This overwhelming ignorance is precisely the problem.  A lack of accurate information allows people with anti-Islamic sentiments to propagate misconceptions about the beliefs and intentions of Muslims.  Uninformed people won’t object; they don’t know otherwise.

Vandalism of a Nashville Mosque

Some hoped that after the tragedy of September 11th people would start to learn more about Islam.  It seems all that has happened in the last decade (has it really been a decade?) is that popularized stereotypes have become even more entrenched.  As a result American Muslims feel more and more marginalized and persecuted.  These feelings are breeding grounds for loneliness, otherness and exclusion.  For some so inclined, these feelings morph into hatred or even violence.  People who could have entered into dialogue are set at odds.

And this is precisely what Osama bin Laden hoped would happen.

So I read.  I read to educate myself.  I read to understand better.  I read to fight ignorance and its correlate prejudice.  Interestingly, the first word revealed to Muhammad by Allah was in fact “read” (96:1).