BEING MUSLIM (short version), Haroon Siddiqui

As Canadians living in a land of freedom and equality, it is important each of us learn about fellow Canadians when the opportunity presents itself.

I am currently learning about Muslims and Islam. Would you like to know why?

 I moderate a seniors discussion group every week where we discuss issues in the media.” We talk about news events which are occurring currently, local events, national and international as well.

Acts of racism, hate and violence seem to be increasing nowadays. With a little research, it is easy to point a finger at the media which lives on sensationalism based on negative emotions, fear and hate. As a Canadian, like so many others, I value and hold our country in the highest regard. Canada is the best country in the world, weather notwithstanding. So I was curious as to why there is so much Islamophobia in our country today even though we support and pride ourselves on being multicultural and inclusive of all cutures. This led me to doing more research which in turn led me into meeting with an imam, who I will write more about in due time. The imam gave me a terrific book to help me learn more about Muslims. I offer a short review of the book below and offer a more detailed summary elsewhere on the site.

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Haroon Siddiqui is a Toronto Star journalist who usual beat seems to be Muslims and the politics of liberalism and human rights. I have read his columns intermittently with tepid interest as the topic had less importance to me then.

However, as I saw racism and hate crimes increasing in Canada, I began to wonder about the causes.

Siddiqui’s book is a great educational tool opening the door to a better understanding of the world behind the hijab.

Siddiqui covers the gamut on the topic, from its historical roots to its hope for the future. It is a revealing book, well written as would be expected of a career journalist, and packed with much information about the Muslim world.

There is no proselytizing, no push to accept certain beliefs, no arguments of culpability or who is right or wrong. It is simply an excellent exposition of the world of Muslims. The brevity of the book should not lead one to premature conclusions for this short book packs a lot of punch. Siddiqui covers all the bases, cultural, political, religious and philosophical and he does so in an easily read, comfortable style.

Reading it you learn about the cultural basis of Islam, the roots of terrorism and radicalization, the relationship of Islam and Muslims to extremists and autocrats like Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. Siddiqui removes the veil of misconceptions and inaccuracies believed about Muslims and Islam. He helps the reader reach the reality of that world with an exposition of the facts, with description and analysis of historical events and with explanations as to how we arrived at what we believe about the Muslim world.

The book is a quick but very valuable read.

For a comprehensive summary: SUMMARY

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