Michael Zirinsky

Islam: A View from the West

Islam is a way of life. The word itself means peace, the peace that comes from submitting to the will of God. As a historic phenomenon, Islam today can be described as the world’s fastest growing religion. Its growth reflects the wide appeal, which the faith has to many people around the world, converts as well as those born to Muslim parents. And this appeal in turn reflects the historic reality of Islam’s toleration of other ethical religions, including Judaism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, and Hinduism. Unfortunately, during the past fourteen centuries of its existence Islam has been demeaned in the west as a violent, conquering religion. This crusading spirit continues to bedevil our efforts to understand the realities faced by the one billion human beings who are Muslim. This presentation will attempt to explore Islam, which John Esposito believes to be “a prerequisite for an appreciation of our theologically interconnected and historically intertwined Judeao-Christian-Islamic heritage.”