Islam stands at a crossroads, say Peter G. Riddell and Peter Cotterell. Will Muslims advance down the road of peace—or will they increasingly veer toward the path of violence?
Avoiding stereotypes and generalizations, Riddell and Cotterell (both with the Center for Islamic Studies and Muslim-Christian Relations at London Bible College) offer balanced summaries of different Muslim groups. But they don't shy away from acknowledging Muslim "Westophobia." Muslim antipathy, they write, "derives from a potent cocktail of ingredients that go far back in time, to the beginnings of Muslim-Christian historical contact and to the very Islamic texts themselves."
The authors also propose ways to resolve tensions between Christians and Muslims. That includes urging Muslim scholars to put verses of the Qur'an that advocate violence and demean women back into their original contexts.
Riddell and Cotterell familiarize readers with Islam's history and theology. The information provided is well organized, accessible and comprehensive, although the addition of a glossary would have been helpful.
Christians who desire a greater understanding of Islam and current events in the Middle East will find this lucid overview lends context to newspaper headlines.
Cindy Crosby is a frequent contributor to Publishers Weekly.
Islam in Context is available from Christianbook.com and other book retailers.1