Greenwood Press has released an encyclopedia covering various aspects of Islam. Released to the market on September 30, 2007, the 1176 pages encyclopedia weighing almost 6 pounds has been compiled by a number of scholars who mainly belong to the Harvard University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies.
The encyclopedia being very new to the market has received little commentary from Muslim and Muslim scholars. Media reports to date suggest that the encyclopedia is objective while delving into the topics of homosexuality, terrorism, and others.
Based on the editorial reviews, it seems that on one hand the encyclopedia will be a good source of reference and education for those who know little about Islam, Muslim holidays, the various Muslim sects and other basic and fundamental Islamic topics. What remains to be seen is the stance of the authors on certain topics that have been very much distorted in the media and have been used at times to completely misguide the public. The topic of “Rights of women in Islam” is one of such topics where traditional and cultural practices of certain countries have been portrayed as Islamic.
The encyclopedia also includes sample speeches and texts of certain Islamic scholars as well as non-Muslims who have studied Islam. Sample subjects include the following: African Americans; George Bush; Islamic Calendar; Dietary Rules and restrictions; Islamic Dress; Hate Crimes; Iranian Hostage Crisis; Media Coverage, especially in the western countries; coverage of Islamic magazines; Mosques; Music; Muslim organizations in the US; Nation of Islam; Native Americans; Shi’a Communities; Sufism; World Trade Center; Young Professionals.
Sample documents and speeches include those from scholars such as Salah Al-Sawy (The Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America), Michael Wolfe, “Michael Wolfe, United States, 1990,” from One Thousand Roads to Mecca: Ten Centuries of Travelers Writing about the Muslim Pilgrimage; Waris and Wajid Syed, “Top 10 Muslim Hip-Hop Lyrics,” from Warbux Records, and more.
Feel free to comment on the book, if you have read it. More information on the book is available at Amazon.com –