Saturday, March 12, 2016

Book Review: "Answering Jihad: A Better Way Forward"

As I said before, I received a review copy of Nabeel Qureshi's latest book, Answering Jihad: A Better Way Forward several weeks ago. I shared a few thoughts on the book then, but I have much more to say now.

Although Qureshi converted to Christianity several years ago, the "question" of Islam and Muslims is no less important to him. As he puts it, "Ignoring the reality of jihad endangers my nation, while responding with fear endangers my Muslim family." Helping others to understand the "how" and "why" of Islamic radicalization isn't just a religious conviction, but a deeply personal matter as well, and it shows throughout the book.

The book is divided into three parts, each addressing a general area of inquiry: The origins of jihad, jihad today, and jihad in the Judeo-Christian context. Each of these sections is then further divided into "Questions," wherein each chapter addresses a specific issue. This makes it possible to jump directly to subjects of interest, such as, "Why are Muslims being radicalized?" or "Does Islam need a reformation?" I still found it most useful to read straight through; Quereshi does a wonderful job explaining the subjects in his particular style, and he builds on each successive topic through the book. You may or may not agree with his answers on some of the Questions, but reading everything will certainly help in understanding how he came to the conclusions he reaches.

It's worth reiterating that the book was written as a primer on these things. Each Question could itself be the subject of a book. One does get the impression of only scratching the surface in each chapter, but Qureshi recommends further resources throughout the book.