Announcing the publication of my latest book chapter: "Civil and Human Rights in the Muslim World", in Modern Muslim Societies, Florian Pohl (ed.), New York (United States), Marshall Cavendish, 2010, p.168-187 (Chapter 8).
Age Range: Young Adult
Series: Muslim World Series
Barbara L. Talcroft (REVIEW)
The longest and heaviest of the three-book series, "Muslim World," introduces researchers to daily life among Muslims of today. Young adults curious about family life, including laws on marriage, weddings, and divorce, will find much to ponder. Though there is a tremendous amount of diversity among Muslim societies, the Koran provides guidance for all: women are respected as mothers, while fathers are shepherds over their families. Young women will be especially interested in the chapter "Men and Women," where the author states that male dominance in Muslim societies often stems from ancient pre-Islamic customs—increased contact with the West has caused both change and conflict. The lively focus essay, "Wearing the Veil," discusses the Koran's admonitions, Islamic law, and present customs on veiling. Other chapters explore education (boys and girls study separately), Islamic law (partly Sharia-based and partly secular as in Turkey), and political groups, including Al-Qaeda. Since modern Western views appear to differ sharply from Islam's perspective, students will want to read carefully the section about civil and human rights; one contributor points out that Muslims in the United States often find their civil rights challenged. The history of dissent and terrorism is explored, as is the definition of "Islamist," a word seldom used by people so labeled—possibly clarifying is a chart that lists some principles shared by moderates and radicals and some advocated only by radical thinkers. (A sidebar on the formation of Saudi Arabia contains an error.) The following fourteen chapters are devoted to studies of world geographical regions where Muslims are majorities or significant minorities. Persistent readers can find relevant information about Muslims in the U.S. and Canada and on Muslims living in European countries. Included are well-selected color photos, a glossary, and a substantial a bibliography with websites. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft