An Introduction to The World of Islam
We in the West first became aware that something was stirring in the Islamic world back in 1978. Opposition to the Shah of Iran began to shake the foundations of an apparently secure society which had committed itself to modernization along Western lines. The rest is now history.
Over the intervening generation, politicians in several Muslim countries have tried to introduce Islamic law, political institutions and much more into the fabric of their national societies. We in the West feel a vague sense of unease that this may be directed against the West and all it stands for.
The very word Islam still conjures up threatening images of unshaven, fanatical crowds chanting slogans against the West, and against the 'Great Satan' - the United States - in particular; of Muslims in Britain and elsewhere demanding the death of the author Salman Rushdie for the alleged blasphemy of the "Satanic Verses"; and of licentious, long-robed Arabs forcing women back into the seclusion of the harem, the veil.. and ignorance.
To many of us, Islam seems synonymous with an attempt to turn back the clock of history to the time of Muhammad, over 1400 years ago. Many of these images are obviously stereotypes, the result of ignorance and fear of the unknown.
They're also a convenient way of lumping together a world that most of us will never see or experience. While some aspects of these images may be accurate, they may also completely miss the mark.
In this series, you'll hear Muslims themselves talk about Islam and what it means to them, and get a chance to make up your own mind. The series consists of 13 thirty minute programs.