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Gregorian, Vartan. Islam; a mosaic, not a monolith.

GREGORIAN, Vartan. Islam; a mosaic, not a monolith. Brookings Institute Press. 164p. notes. index. c2003. 0-8157-3283-X. $12.95. SA

This book is part of the effort of the Carnegie Corporation and the Brookings Institution to address "the need to promote public understanding about the rich legacy and diversity of Islam and the need to ease the integration of Muslim citizens into US society and encourage their participation in its democracy." Warning up front of the dangers of categorization and his hope that he has dealt in a "fair and judicious" way with sensitive controversial issues, Gregorian proceeds to tell readers what they need to know about Islam and Muslims in the US. He begins with an overview of the history of Islam, proceeds with a description of two broad groups he calls traditionalists and modernists, and then talks about Muslims' experiences as they have come into contact with the modern western world. He calls, of course, for dialog, understanding, and tolerance. Gregorian knows better than most that these are not easy things to do but are absolutely essential if Muslims and non-Muslims are to live peaceably side by side.

The text is a good choice for libraries that need a brief review of Islam and its history and beliefs. Get this book if what you have on your shelves tend to be heavy histories or descriptions of Muslim belief that simplify or have little to do with how it plays out today. Edna Boardman, Libn., Bismarck, ND

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Author:Boardman, Edna
Article Type:Book Review
Date:May 1, 2005
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