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Based on the largest study of its kind, this book is the first to present the fascinating findings of the Gallup Poll of the Muslim World. Are we on the verge of an all-out war between the West and 1.3 billion Muslims? When the media searches for an answer to that question, they usually overlook the actual views of the world’s Muslims. Who Speaks for Islam? is about this si Based on the largest study of its kind, this book is the first to present the fascinating findings of the Gallup Poll of the Muslim World. Are we on the verge of an all-out war between the West and 1.3 billion Muslims? When the media searches for an answer to that question, they usually overlook the actual views of the world’s Muslims. Who Speaks for Islam? is about this silenced majority. This book is the product of the Gallup World Poll’s massive, multiyear research study. As part of this groundbreaking project, Gallup conducted tens of thousands of interviews with residents of more than 35 nations that are predominantly Muslim or have significant Muslim populations. Gallup posed questions that are on the minds of millions: Is Islam to blame for terrorism? Why is there so much anti-Americanism in the Muslim world? Who are the extremists? Where are the moderates? What do Muslim women really want? Grounded in Gallup World Poll data, not in contentious rhetoric, Who Speaks for Islam? brings data-driven evidence — the voices of a billion Muslims, not those of individual “experts” or “extremists”— to one of the most heated and consequential debates of our time.


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Based on the largest study of its kind, this book is the first to present the fascinating findings of the Gallup Poll of the Muslim World. Are we on the verge of an all-out war between the West and 1.3 billion Muslims? When the media searches for an answer to that question, they usually overlook the actual views of the world’s Muslims. Who Speaks for Islam? is about this si Based on the largest study of its kind, this book is the first to present the fascinating findings of the Gallup Poll of the Muslim World. Are we on the verge of an all-out war between the West and 1.3 billion Muslims? When the media searches for an answer to that question, they usually overlook the actual views of the world’s Muslims. Who Speaks for Islam? is about this silenced majority. This book is the product of the Gallup World Poll’s massive, multiyear research study. As part of this groundbreaking project, Gallup conducted tens of thousands of interviews with residents of more than 35 nations that are predominantly Muslim or have significant Muslim populations. Gallup posed questions that are on the minds of millions: Is Islam to blame for terrorism? Why is there so much anti-Americanism in the Muslim world? Who are the extremists? Where are the moderates? What do Muslim women really want? Grounded in Gallup World Poll data, not in contentious rhetoric, Who Speaks for Islam? brings data-driven evidence — the voices of a billion Muslims, not those of individual “experts” or “extremists”— to one of the most heated and consequential debates of our time.

30 review for Who Speaks for Islam?: What a Billion Muslims Really Think

  1. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    A straightforward presentation of the results and the implications of the results from a worldwide Gallup poll of the world's Muslims. I found this book a much-needed counterbalance to the prevailing Islamaphobia in so much of the public discourse of the USA. Among the points that this books makes are: jihad doesn't mean holy war; radical militant Muslims are better educated, richer, and less religious than moderate Muslims; sharia is not inherently anti-democratic or discriminatory; Muslim men A straightforward presentation of the results and the implications of the results from a worldwide Gallup poll of the world's Muslims. I found this book a much-needed counterbalance to the prevailing Islamaphobia in so much of the public discourse of the USA. Among the points that this books makes are: jihad doesn't mean holy war; radical militant Muslims are better educated, richer, and less religious than moderate Muslims; sharia is not inherently anti-democratic or discriminatory; Muslim men and women around the world favor democracy and women's rights and consider that these goals can best be met through a fuller understanding of Islam, rather than by moving towards secularism. In the end, this book presents a picture of terrorism as politically, rather than religiously, motivated and of the abuses of Islamic law as being miscarriages of justice, rather than products of an intrinsically barbaric justice system. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning about the perspective of actual Muslims around the world. However, this book is based on a poll, and you know what they say about lies, damn lies, and statistics. So the facts in the book may or may not be considered objectively true, depending on how much you credit polls. I consider it at least as accurate as anecdote, assumption, and the Washington Post-- which is to say, as good as it gets.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Khalid

    "Who Speaks for Islam?" is a gem; just plain simple: You should read it. The world sees Islam through the most visible actions of the most extreme people, but this is not who we are. Muslims are so diverse and, when looked at scientifically, we are so peaceful, friendly, and very normal. Numbers are so beautiful, because they tell you the plain truth with no embellishment. This book uses statistics generated by Gallup's World Poll (A global poll by a very renowned polling institute) to identify wh "Who Speaks for Islam?" is a gem; just plain simple: You should read it. The world sees Islam through the most visible actions of the most extreme people, but this is not who we are. Muslims are so diverse and, when looked at scientifically, we are so peaceful, friendly, and very normal. Numbers are so beautiful, because they tell you the plain truth with no embellishment. This book uses statistics generated by Gallup's World Poll (A global poll by a very renowned polling institute) to identify what we, the normal everyday Muslims, think about different things: How we look towards the west, towards ourselves, towards terrorism, and toward issues. It does it very beautifully in an easy-to-read well researched fashion (Do not expect to see boring unreadable scientific lingo here. It's based on scientific data, but it's totally written in a properly analyzed interesting style). It starts out by giving a brief introduction about who Muslims are. What do we believe in and do, and what is not really part of Islam. It also addresses the misconception of Jihad as "Holy War"; all of that while citing polling data. It then addresses very interesting subjects including what makes a person a radical, whether Muslims favor a democracy or a theocracy, what do women Muslims want really, and how Muslims look upon the west and what are their hopes in this regard. It also in a very interesting way demonstrates that the West and the Islamic world are not real monoliths and that a lot of diversity exists inside each, and towards each. For instance, the way Muslims view the actions of a certain western country may defer than the way they view another's, and the way Muslims perceive a leader of a nation may not exactly match the way they perceive the nation itself. Other interesting revelations are the comparisons between the views of Americans and those of Muslims. In many religion based issues, it is noteworthy that the results of Americans fall in the same statistical margins in which Muslim's fall (And yet Muslims are said to be more radical). In fact, sometimes, the views of Americans are far more radical (You'll find that 46% of Americans do not believe that acts against civilians are "never justified", making the majority actually accept acts against civilians in some cases; a rate you will not see in Muslim countries). There is a lot to say about this book, but I guess the best advice to give is: Go read it if you want to learn more about the way real Muslims think, or you are a Muslim who deals often with westerners who may want to learn more about the way real Muslims think.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Aban (Aby)

    I was SO impressed with this book! It is based on the results of a mammoth Gallup Poll research study between 2001 and 2007 which surveyed a sample representing 90% of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims. The survey (conducted through tens of thousands of hour-long, face-to-face interviews)covered such questions as: what Muslims like and/or dislike about the West, how they feel about terrorism and attacks on civilians, their views on women's rights, religion, government and legislation. The response I was SO impressed with this book! It is based on the results of a mammoth Gallup Poll research study between 2001 and 2007 which surveyed a sample representing 90% of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims. The survey (conducted through tens of thousands of hour-long, face-to-face interviews)covered such questions as: what Muslims like and/or dislike about the West, how they feel about terrorism and attacks on civilians, their views on women's rights, religion, government and legislation. The responses and the analysis of the survey make for fascinating reading. Since 9/11 and the attacks on the Twin Towers, there has been so much focus on Western/Muslim conflict with the emphasis in the press on extremist views. It's valuable to read what the majority of Muslims feel about the above-mentioned topics. To me it was, above all, reassuring in that the people surveyed admired the West for its technology and its democratic principles (freedom of speech, human rights, rule of law). Moreover the vast majority opposed terrorism and attacks on civilians. It was also interesting to read that the authors of the survey (their credentials are impressive) felt that spread of terrorism against the West is not caused by Islam, but by by the perception in the Muslim world that the West (especially the USA) is trying to dominatate their countries. They feel that the USA is not really interested in Muslim self-determination but in bolstering authoritarian regimes in the the Middle East and in promoting its own brand of democracy. The section on women's issues was riviting. It was interseting to read that Muslim women, while they admire much about the West, do not yearn to be like their Western counterparts. They favour gender parity, but on their terms and within their own cultural context. They do not see the veil as a symbol of inferior status. (On the contrary they view Western women's "immodest" clothing as a sign of their degraded status! - Interesting perspective!) They also feel the Western advocacy of women's issues is an attempt to justify colonialsim and domination. I could go on and on; there was so much of interest in the book. I would recommend it to anyone who is intersted in reading about the Muslim world and also to those who have concerns about terrorism and the spread of Islam.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Larry Taylor

    There are so many books being passed around among my fellow evangelicals these days, the basic theme of which is "Islam is a terrible, hateful religion full of terrorists". This book is refreshing for its careful research and balance. For example, did you know that 80% of Iranians, 81% of people from Bangladesh, and 86% of Pakistanis say that it is never justifiable to intentionally target innocent civilians in order to achieve political or military ends? Only 46% of Americans say never; 24% of Am There are so many books being passed around among my fellow evangelicals these days, the basic theme of which is "Islam is a terrible, hateful religion full of terrorists". This book is refreshing for its careful research and balance. For example, did you know that 80% of Iranians, 81% of people from Bangladesh, and 86% of Pakistanis say that it is never justifiable to intentionally target innocent civilians in order to achieve political or military ends? Only 46% of Americans say never; 24% of Americans say attacks on civilians are sometimes or often justified, and 6% say they are completely justified. Moreover, most Muslims do not hate our way of life or our freedom. They admire freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and our technological advances. What they dislike are our deteriorating family life and casual attitudes towards sex. (Figures are based on the largest Gallup demographic poll ever launched, between 2001 and 2007. Their sample represents the views of over 90% of Muslims in the world.) I find this book eye-opening and challenging to my preconceived prejudices.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Summers

    This is definitely worth reading. I learned so much and have a greater respect for Muslims as a whole, and will no longer buy into the prejudices and stereotypes. This book does not try to deny that terrorism exists, but it puts it perspective relative to mainstream Muslims and relative to the Islamic teachings (which do not teach murder and terrorism). For example, the majority of Muslims do not live in Iraq & Afganistan, but whenever we think of Muslims, those are the countries we think of so This is definitely worth reading. I learned so much and have a greater respect for Muslims as a whole, and will no longer buy into the prejudices and stereotypes. This book does not try to deny that terrorism exists, but it puts it perspective relative to mainstream Muslims and relative to the Islamic teachings (which do not teach murder and terrorism). For example, the majority of Muslims do not live in Iraq & Afganistan, but whenever we think of Muslims, those are the countries we think of so we assume all Muslims are like them. Only 7% of all Muslims believe terrorism is the answer -- and these studies found that it is for political reasons and that the majority of terrorists are NOT actively religious (they drink, do not say prayers 5 times a day, etc.). Mainstream Muslims hate the terrorists just as much as the rest of the world and suffer more because of them. Much, much more contained in this book, especially talks about political and economic disputes. Very good and definitely a good read!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rona

    Results of an exhaustive survey of Muslims throughout the world. 1.6 billion people call themselves "Muslim." According to this study, Muslims are practicing a religion that does not support terrorism. If you want your prejudices eroded, read this book. Results of an exhaustive survey of Muslims throughout the world. 1.6 billion people call themselves "Muslim." According to this study, Muslims are practicing a religion that does not support terrorism. If you want your prejudices eroded, read this book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Cris

    False information, even in quotes, makes it hard to trust the Islamic experts writing this book. When you begin by defining Islam as "a strong commitment to God", (pg.7) instead of by its literal translation: submission and surrender, you already lose my trust. Indeed, if you want to engage in a discussion of what that term means in religious terms, peachy, but be upfront about the naked truth because otherwise you are cooking the data, as it is easy to see that interpretations of that phrase ca False information, even in quotes, makes it hard to trust the Islamic experts writing this book. When you begin by defining Islam as "a strong commitment to God", (pg.7) instead of by its literal translation: submission and surrender, you already lose my trust. Indeed, if you want to engage in a discussion of what that term means in religious terms, peachy, but be upfront about the naked truth because otherwise you are cooking the data, as it is easy to see that interpretations of that phrase can vary. With that initial red flag, I read Esposito (professor of Islamic Affairs at Georgetown) and Mogahed's work super-closely, checking figures and oh yes, assumptions. Googling the Gallup poll that they draw on for attitudes toward Muslims, I am struck by the small sample of that poll: 808 people. This is something which Mogahed, a Director of Islamic Polls at Gallup should have taken with a grain of salt, should have been more upfront about. Other bikini polls are usually around 2,000 respondent. A surprising assertion in chapter 2, that cried for clarification was the comparison between Muslims and Americans' desire for religion to influence law. The book says that 46 percent of Americans think the Bible should be a source of legislation. This is put there to show that Christian Americans are just as 'nutty' as Muslims, I think. Now if you follow that footnote, 41, to the Gallup indicated you are not led to a discussion of religion in America, only to the original poll on attitudes towards Muslims. Fortunately for me, I can Google those exact words and see that a later 2007 poll does does have those numbers and words. A footnote mistake surely. I think its fair for the book to bring up religion as a source of law for a culture. Most societies base their law at least partly on religion, a fact that we forget. This is a meaningful discussion that the book completely misses and I would have loved to see developed. However, the book does not closely look at the one statistically significant difference in that other poll. It says: 46 percent of Americans think the Bible should be a source of law "but not the only source" compared with 23 percent of Muslims who think Sharia should not be the only source. That's a bit of a difference statistically, but if you are unintentionally cooking the facts probably not one to bring up or have people look at. And again, I empathize with their problem. You can't prove anything from two different polls that compare one country to several and that compare such differently compiled religious texts (the bible reflects an oral tradition that stopped being compiled around the first century, whereas Sharia, depending who you ask reflects an evolving study of law upto the present). I think this book is written from a perspective, which does not let deep thinking or unruly facts get in the way, but hey at least it starts from something we can ascertain the truth of: facts. Now I do get this undercurrent of political partisanship, when the only president discussed is W. Bush and his support of less democratically minded rulers in the Islamic world, but the author could be excused because he was focused on writing about a precise moment in the American/Islamic interaction. They are just not thinking how others will read it. Same for the discussion of the neocon Francis Fukuyama's comments that Democracy has its roots in countries with a secularized Christianity. It is fair to note that he is an avowed neocon, but it would also be a good thing to look at his specialty, the study of democracy, and note that even Gallup concludes that all the countries interviewed want democracy, "except 10", (pg. 58). So no, despite the helpful bullet points at the end of chapter 3, no they didn't prove at all that Islamic countries want democracy. I did appreciate the nugget that the majority of people holding a radical view of Islam, were interviewed in Asian countries and not in the Arab Street. Food for thought. And I appreciated the passages from the Koran where Muhammed calls for toleration of non-muslims, but respectfully decline to take their word that most Muslims believe that this must translate to peace. Early Muslim texts are historical we are told by muslim experts, even if they describe battles, we are told. Fine, but you can't have it both ways. A better way of ascertaining how Muslims ideally interpret those texts is through works of religious exegesis, just as it is with other religions. Again, the authors are not analyzing deeply. In looking at the chapter on women, I tend to agree with Muslims, if not exactly these authors, that the radical position is the American feminist one. Muslim women are perfectly free in western worlds to veil or not, only bound by family ties as thong wearing westerns. Their desire for modesty is not a sign of oppression, even I would say in those countries that enforce it by law. We rarely hear stories of moderation in law I'm sure. I join Muslim women in rolling my eyes at near-naked American women carping about exploitation. It was interesting to read about the stir made by Pope Benedict's comments, calling for Muslims to embrace peace, but I was surprised no mention was made of those Muslims who defended the Pope's words like scholar Ahmad Vincenzo: "We totally agree with Benedict that it is not possible to advance dialogue between religions that plays down the specific doctrines and rituals of individual faiths." Well, maybe I'm not surprised. The Coexistence chapter, had me cracking up. Obviously, Muslims are annoyed by the idiotic coexist car bumper stickers as I am. They really reflect a simplistic position that religion alone is the cause of war, which flies in the face of a lot of history and a lot of better-informed books by atheist-evangelists. For the record, here I tend to agree with the authors of his book and the atheist historians that religion in general is not the cause of war, I just don't think they prove it about Islam at all in this book. (And I reserve judgement on other less tangible things like culture for sure.) I still don't know what the nugget source of that terrorism is, other than evil, but I haven't given up finding out.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    I plan to re-read this book as soon as possible and then write a proper review. Until then, I will say this book is AMAZING. Instead of merely anectodal experiences from my time in the Middle East, I now am armed with facts and intelligent analysis about the beautiful religion of Islam, so often misunderstood and even feared. I wish I had enough money to purchase this book as a gift for all our family and friends! As Americans, we have an important duty to overcome our ignorance and learn about I plan to re-read this book as soon as possible and then write a proper review. Until then, I will say this book is AMAZING. Instead of merely anectodal experiences from my time in the Middle East, I now am armed with facts and intelligent analysis about the beautiful religion of Islam, so often misunderstood and even feared. I wish I had enough money to purchase this book as a gift for all our family and friends! As Americans, we have an important duty to overcome our ignorance and learn about the billion Muslims in the world. Read it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Johanna

    Meh. Great in theory, but I wanted this to be a lot better. And a lot less 3rd grade.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Steve Slocum

    Very, very eye-opening look at the real opinions of mainstream Muslims around the time of 9/11. At the very time George W Bush was asking the question, "Why do they hate us?" And answering, "They hate our freedoms," Muslims all over the world were answering survey questions and indicating that the thing they admired most about the US was our freedoms. Book is a bit dry inherently as a summary of survey results, but hugely informative. Very, very eye-opening look at the real opinions of mainstream Muslims around the time of 9/11. At the very time George W Bush was asking the question, "Why do they hate us?" And answering, "They hate our freedoms," Muslims all over the world were answering survey questions and indicating that the thing they admired most about the US was our freedoms. Book is a bit dry inherently as a summary of survey results, but hugely informative.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Skylar Burris

    (Read 7/2008; review edited and reposted 12/2013) This book has its virtues. It provides a helpful overview of Muslim denominations and the history of western/Islamic relations. It reminds the western reader that Islam is not a monolith and dispels the myth that inside every Muslim is an American dying to get out. It cautions westerners that if they hope to improve the lives of Muslims, reform should be promoted within an Islamic framework, since Muslims may resist changes that seem to imply West (Read 7/2008; review edited and reposted 12/2013) This book has its virtues. It provides a helpful overview of Muslim denominations and the history of western/Islamic relations. It reminds the western reader that Islam is not a monolith and dispels the myth that inside every Muslim is an American dying to get out. It cautions westerners that if they hope to improve the lives of Muslims, reform should be promoted within an Islamic framework, since Muslims may resist changes that seem to imply Western cultural superiority. And it reminds liberals who are concerned about how Americans appear to Muslims that the number one thing Muslims dislike about us is our sexual liberalism. Now onto my difficulties with the book… The message Esposito and Mogahed ultimately communicate is this: stop being such and Islamaphobic bigot. Stop suggesting that fanaticism is a bigger problem in modern Islam than it is in modern Judaism or Christianity. It’s not. To prove their point, they use a set of Gallup Poll data that is not available to the public for examination. (That's okay. They'll be happy to interpret it for you.) Yet for a book on polls, "Who Speaks for Islam?" contains a surprisingly limited number of raw statistics. The most frequently used word in the book is the vague "many." Sometimes the authors will make a statement and then support it not by reference to the Gallup poll, but by reference to a single anecdote. When the data is contradictory, they don't notice or comment. What we really need to comprehend, the authors tell us, is that Muslim reactions are the result of a Western lack of respect for Islam, and Muslim actions have to be "understood in context." When, for instance, the Pope makes a negative statement about Islam, and a number of Muslims in several different countries react by beating Christians and setting their churches on fire, those beatings and burnings are the fault of the Pope's insensitivity, and not any reflection whatsoever on the state of the Islamic religion today. When a cartoonist ridicules the Prophet, and a number of Muslims react by setting cars on fire and damaging property and calling for deaths, we have to understand that the vandalism and destruction is the fault of western rudeness, and not any reflection whatsoever on the state of the Isalmic religion today. Esposito and Mogahed offer the reader’s this reassurance: only 100 million of the world’s Muslims are “radicalized.” Only 100 million think the 9/11 attacks were “completely” justified. The rest are moderate. (The book speaks of this "silenced" moderate majority, but if the moderates are "silenced," they aren't "speaking" for Islam, are they? ) However, it’s somewhat unclear how the authors are defining “moderate.” They never give a concrete, descriptive definition. Nevertheless, it's clear from piecing together the scattered information that a "moderate" can potentially include any of the following: a Muslim who wants to see the imposition of sharia law; a Muslim who believes women should not have equal legal rights as men; a Muslim who believes suicide bombings of civilians is justified, or a Muslim who believes the 9/11 attacks were "partially justified." When the term “moderate” is applied to a Christian or Jew, it typically means something quite different. How many Muslims fit a more moderate definition of moderate? That would have been an interesting question for the authors to answer, but they don’t. The authors make some surprising claims about Christians, such as this remarkable accusation: "The vast majority of terrorist attacks on U.S. soil have been perpetrated by Christian terrorist groups in the past 15 years." I had hoped they would name these Christian terrorist “groups" who had committed “the vast majority” of “terrorist attacks,” because I wasn’t familiar with them, but they don’t. In fact, the only name they mention at all is and individual, Timothy McVeigh, whom they classify as a "Christian terrorist," despite the fact that he never committed his acts in the name of Christ, never claimed to be motivated by religion, and described himself as an "agnostic," telling his friends, "Science is my religion." How does one explain the occasional problem of honor killings, genital mutilations, filmmaker stabbings, suicide bombings, or airplanes flying into office buildings? I'm not sure, but from reading this book, I think it has something to do with the fact that Americans are all a bunch of arrogant, smug, small-minded meddlers, and if we would just stop criticizing Islam and instead start miraculously fixing the economic infrastructures of all Muslim countries without, at the same time, interfering in the internal affairs of Islamic states, we wouldn't have to worry about such things.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Shawn

    So far a lot of this is common sense stuff. The surveys from different countries are very interesting, and the explanation of the array of factions regarding Islam is interesting as well. The bit about Jihad seems to be speaking to an audience that would otherwise be convinced that the Koran/Islam/Jihad are totally violent, but this section serves a purpose regarding the different interpretations of the meaning of Jihad. The book also highlightes passages that are often taken out of context of t So far a lot of this is common sense stuff. The surveys from different countries are very interesting, and the explanation of the array of factions regarding Islam is interesting as well. The bit about Jihad seems to be speaking to an audience that would otherwise be convinced that the Koran/Islam/Jihad are totally violent, but this section serves a purpose regarding the different interpretations of the meaning of Jihad. The book also highlightes passages that are often taken out of context of the Koran for specific purposes and political purposes. Finished. It got a bit repeititive near the end, but I think it was emphasis not repetition that was the intention. I have tutored refugee immigrants, many muslims, who solidified my esteeemed view of their religion before reading this text, but it was a welcome addition to my criteria of knowledge about the Islamic religion.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    This book is wonderful!!!! Unfortunately it's not terribly current because it was written while George W Bush was still the president and before the 'Arab Spring' however it's still completely applicable. This book is great for people with little to no knowledge of Islam but is also an interesting read for those with background in the subject. It is mainly an analysis of the largest survey of Muslims world wide (from when it was published, there's been another larger since), and is pretty eye ope This book is wonderful!!!! Unfortunately it's not terribly current because it was written while George W Bush was still the president and before the 'Arab Spring' however it's still completely applicable. This book is great for people with little to no knowledge of Islam but is also an interesting read for those with background in the subject. It is mainly an analysis of the largest survey of Muslims world wide (from when it was published, there's been another larger since), and is pretty eye opening. I don't necessarily agree with all the interpretations the authors made with the statistics but it was still one of the best books I've read on the subject.

  14. 5 out of 5

    l a u r e n

    Unfortunately, Who Speaks For Islam? had little to say in such an important conversation. Many topics were not covered with enough depth, and a number of poll results were interpreted in a manner that didn't seem to fit the data itself. I admire Gallup's initiative to conduct such a comprehensive poll. It is so important that the quieter voices are heard. Unfortunately, Who Speaks For Islam? had little to say in such an important conversation. Many topics were not covered with enough depth, and a number of poll results were interpreted in a manner that didn't seem to fit the data itself. I admire Gallup's initiative to conduct such a comprehensive poll. It is so important that the quieter voices are heard.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Olivia

    Useful teaching tool for an intro-level college course on Islam/the Muslim world. I assigned chapters from this text to my Intro to Political Islam students this semester -- most found the writing accessible and the poll data thought-provoking.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Leasha

    Fascinating combo of helpful information and misrepresentation. Causality is both implied and ignored where it shouldn't be. Causality/purpose/result missing, confused, undifferentiated. Fascinating combo of helpful information and misrepresentation. Causality is both implied and ignored where it shouldn't be. Causality/purpose/result missing, confused, undifferentiated.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Muhammad T

    A nice report on a worldwide research on Islam, in particular on what people think about Islam

  18. 5 out of 5

    Heather Reads Books

    This is an excellent and concise book that blasts through numerous myths and misconceptions about Islam, Muslims, and the Muslim world as a whole. For a layperson, this is the perfect place to start to understand the global issues that are attached to the Muslim world, as well as the threat of international terrorism. I found the statistics especially impressive, and the whole thing extremely easy to understand. My only critique is that the data at this point is about ten years old; while it give This is an excellent and concise book that blasts through numerous myths and misconceptions about Islam, Muslims, and the Muslim world as a whole. For a layperson, this is the perfect place to start to understand the global issues that are attached to the Muslim world, as well as the threat of international terrorism. I found the statistics especially impressive, and the whole thing extremely easy to understand. My only critique is that the data at this point is about ten years old; while it gives an excellent snapshot of the immediate post-9/11 years, I would be interested in seeing an updated version or a sequel to see what the data says in 2017 (and perhaps there is one, but it's not in this particular version). I also experienced an element of sadness, in that the current U.S. administration is not heeding any of the recommendations put forth by this book, and are instead racing in the other direction – all but guaranteeing the West vs. Muslim world split will widen, and extremist groups will have myriad opportunities to use American policy blunders to fuel their propaganda.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cyndie Courtney

    An assumption shattering read. This fascinating book explores the depths of assumptions about "what Muslims believe" by getting answers from the very people who live in Muslim majority countries. Instead of what many Americans may believe, the majority support democracy, opportunities and rights for women, and the more religious someone is, the less likely they are to support terrorism. However, a lack of basic resources and international interference leading to a lack of autonomy (and sometimes An assumption shattering read. This fascinating book explores the depths of assumptions about "what Muslims believe" by getting answers from the very people who live in Muslim majority countries. Instead of what many Americans may believe, the majority support democracy, opportunities and rights for women, and the more religious someone is, the less likely they are to support terrorism. However, a lack of basic resources and international interference leading to a lack of autonomy (and sometimes interfering with democracy) often gets in the way. Think this is an extremely important book for anyone who wants to discuss this topic.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Neil Harmon

    This is a wonderful source of factual, and often surprising, information. It shows much more clearly what is going on in Islam and how it is both the same and different in different parts of the world. The book is easy to read and is well worth it. Especially interesting is information on how Muslim women feel in different countries. There are issues but not always the ones that we imagine. There is so much unsupported opinion going around that it is refreshing to see a book built on facts along This is a wonderful source of factual, and often surprising, information. It shows much more clearly what is going on in Islam and how it is both the same and different in different parts of the world. The book is easy to read and is well worth it. Especially interesting is information on how Muslim women feel in different countries. There are issues but not always the ones that we imagine. There is so much unsupported opinion going around that it is refreshing to see a book built on facts along with the numbers to back them up.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Aly

    Esposito and Mogahed grapple with contemporary beliefs and opinions centered on global perceptions on Islam and Muslims. This is a very accessible text that everyone should spend some time with. The data collection generated by Gallup really hits hard at the underlying biases many in the West hold about our Muslim neighbors.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Who Speaks For Islam?: What a Billion Muslims Really Think (Hardcover) by John L. Esposito AND Dalia Mogahed ordered from the library Nov27 heard DM on TEDnpr.org https://www.npr.org/templates/transcr... https://www.ispu.org/dalia-mogahed/ https://www.ispu.org/staff/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalia_M... Who Speaks For Islam?: What a Billion Muslims Really Think (Hardcover) by John L. Esposito AND Dalia Mogahed ordered from the library Nov27 heard DM on TEDnpr.org https://www.npr.org/templates/transcr... https://www.ispu.org/dalia-mogahed/ https://www.ispu.org/staff/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalia_M...

  23. 5 out of 5

    Wes F

    Good info, though a bit dryly presented. I wish more Americans would read this book in order to have a better idea of what most Muslims really think. There is some good food for thought here that cuts through the stereotypical media presentations. Read on iPad.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mary Tufts

    I read this book and did not enjoy it's dated material because it was just that; OUTdated. It needs fresh material but the concept is wonderful. I read this book and did not enjoy it's dated material because it was just that; OUTdated. It needs fresh material but the concept is wonderful.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kyle Boomhower

    Provides a useful - and essential - narrative against prevailing notions of Islamophobia and anti-Islamic thought through a deep analysis of polls conducted across the Muslim world.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Isobel

    Extremely enlightening, factual study. An easy read that changed my perception on a number of things.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Shiva

    I read this book to continue to chip away at any unconscious bias I might have. Loved the book. I put this in the same category as Hans Rosling's Factfulness...but for Islam and Muslim's. I read this book to continue to chip away at any unconscious bias I might have. Loved the book. I put this in the same category as Hans Rosling's Factfulness...but for Islam and Muslim's.

  28. 5 out of 5

    3DIndian

    Contains a lot of data from a worldwide poll conducted by Gallup. Good for understanding the American pov on Islam & Muslim pov about west (especially Americans).

  29. 5 out of 5

    Louis

    "Critical to the fight against global terrorism is an ability to move beyond presuppositions and stereotypes in our attitudes and policies and to form partnerships that transcend an 'us' and 'them' view of the world." (p. 135) "Who Speaks for Islam?" is by far the best book I have read on Islam. I believe that if a large number of people would read this book and take it to heart, maybe some progress could be made toward peace. The primary basis of the book is reviewing portions of the largest res "Critical to the fight against global terrorism is an ability to move beyond presuppositions and stereotypes in our attitudes and policies and to form partnerships that transcend an 'us' and 'them' view of the world." (p. 135) "Who Speaks for Islam?" is by far the best book I have read on Islam. I believe that if a large number of people would read this book and take it to heart, maybe some progress could be made toward peace. The primary basis of the book is reviewing portions of the largest research project ever done on the beliefs of Muslims around the world. Many in the media, politicians, and religious leaders in the West have made claims about what Muslims believe -- this demonstrates it. In doing so, the research clearly debunks many of the prejudices that serve as the basis for Islamophobia and hate messages against Islam. One interesting thing the book does is frequently compare two groups: the politically radicalized and the mainstream or moderate Muslims. The politically radicalized are a minority of 7%. To be clear, these are not the extremists or terrorists, but rather individuals more radical than most Muslims. Those that would support or engage in terrorist acts, as hopefully is evident, is far less than the 7%. One finding that was demonstrated over and over was that there were not significantly different religious beliefs between the moderates and the politically radicalized. Instead, the difference was in their political beliefs. This alone provides strong evidence to show the more extremists views are not due to religion, but rather politics. In supporting more radical views, these individuals appealed to politics, not religion. It is quite clear that Islam has been falsely blamed for terrorism. This, too, is demonstrated by the simple fact that more terrorist acts in the the last 10-years in the United States have been committed by Christians claiming religious reasons for their actions than by individuals who were Muslim. The authors, too, are deeply aware of the attempts to paint Islam as a hateful and violent religion. There are some verses in the Qu'ran that encourage violence against non-believers. However, they point out that this is true in other religions, too. In the Old Testament of the Bible, God commanded genocide against people from other cultures to protect the Israelites from the beliefs of these groups. Christians, in responding to this, say it is different and that you have to understand the meaning of these verses from inside (i.e., as Christians versed in Biblical interpretation) and that the theme of the Bible is love and justice. However, when reading the Qu'ran, they assert their authority to know what is meant even when Islamic scholars provide different interpretations more informed by a knowledge of the history of Islam and its theology. This is a very clear double standard. The Bible and the Qu'ran have difficult statements that, if read literally, demand violence against those who are different. However, the more dominant theme of both books is peace, justice, and love. Another common misunderstanding is that "they hate us for our freedom and democracy." This statement was used as regular rhetoric by the Bush administration and has continued to be used by many in political and religious settings. However, the results of this study shows that Muslims around the world would like democracy and more freedom, especially freedom of speech. However, they do not necessary want an "American Democracy." Many Muslims see the democracy of the United States as one that is quite corrupt. From the viewpoint of Islam, the United States democracy has a bloody history of colonization and occupation of other countries for selfish motives, such as oil and exploitation of the resources of other countries. They also are concerned about many "American" values, such as sexual promiscuity. Furthermore, and quite interestingly, they are concerned about the mistreatment of women. While many view Islam as not respecting women, many Muslims see people in the United States as disrespecting women by treating them as sex objects and dressing scantily for the pleasure of men. It would be easy to go on and on about the importance of this book, but instead I hope many would choose to read it. It only takes a few hours to read z(even with excessive underlining) and it is quite enlightening. It is evident that if we want to improve relations between the Unites States along with the rest of "the West" and the Middle East and Islamic countries, we need to begin with more interest in who they are, willingness to work past prejudices and stereotypes, and demonstrate greater respect.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mona

    Based on Gallup World Polls conducted from 2002 through 2006, the book takes a scientific, methodological approach to understanding Muslims. Interviews were conducted both by telephone and face-to face in more than 35 countries with significant Muslim populations. The book has an introductory chapter first explaining who Muslims are (where do they live? what do they believe? etc.), followed by a few chapters focusing on specific topics. The data are often separated by country and compared with r Based on Gallup World Polls conducted from 2002 through 2006, the book takes a scientific, methodological approach to understanding Muslims. Interviews were conducted both by telephone and face-to face in more than 35 countries with significant Muslim populations. The book has an introductory chapter first explaining who Muslims are (where do they live? what do they believe? etc.), followed by a few chapters focusing on specific topics. The data are often separated by country and compared with responses of the American public. The sections on democracy/theocracy and jihad are particularly well done. The book concludes with some suggestions that both Americans and Muslims can take to improve their relations and increase understanding. In each chapter, the authors make observations and draw connections between the objective data collected and current events. The authors are particularly well-suited to the task of explaining Muslim concerns to a non-Muslim audience. Esposito a professor of International Affairs and Islamic Studies at Georgetown University, and is also the director of the center for Muslim-Christian understanding at that university. Mogahed is a senior analyst and executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies. In April 2009, she was appointed to President Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. I found their analogy between the Danish cartoon controversy and the 1965 Watt riots particularly interesting. The book is short and a quick read. The authors also include a "key points" section at the end of each chapter and gray call-out boxes emphasizing important concepts, thus increasing the readability of the book. I think it's an important read for its intended audience (non-Muslims, those with little knowledge of Islam), and it makes a start in debunking some of the commonly held misconceptions of Islam and its followers all over the world. The comparisons between countries was often surprising and more informative, than if the authors had chosen to lump all countries together (which often seems to be the chosen approach). That said, if I could, I would have given this book 3.5 stars. I doubt I was the intended audience for this book, so much of it was repetitive for me. In some ways, it felt like I was reading it for homework (to be fair, I was reading it for a project, so it kind of was homework). My major nitpick with the content was that it was not clear to me whether the authors included American Muslims in their surveys of the "Muslim world". I didn't see any statistics comparing U.S. Muslims with Pakistani Muslims or Egyptian Muslims or Indonesian Muslims. I think there's a danger in not including American Muslims in such a survey - there needs to be a recognition that Muslims aren't a community that solely exists "over there". But again, they may well have included American Muslims - it just wasn't clear whether they did or not. Overall, an interesting and informative read for its intended audience.

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