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New Book Answers Jewish Questions about Islam

30 Apr

For Immediate Release


Praise for An Introduction to Islam for Jews by Reuven Firestone:

"...Firestone's book shines as a beacon of scholarship and humanity. While Muslims might challenge some of Firestone's interpretations of Islam, they will never find him mean-spirited or ill-informed... Firestone has demonstrated that it is possible for Jews and Muslims to engage in an honest evaluation of their shared history and still find enough common ground to work for a better shared future.
- Ingrid Mattson, president, Islamic Society of North America

"Reuven Firestone's eminently readable book contains a comprehensive, authoritative, and sympathetic introduction to Islam, written for Jews, but speaking to all men and women of good will. Throughout, the author offers a sober and nuanced analysis of relations between Islam and other religions, particularly Judaism, without succumbing to the temptation to say who took what from whom. The book represents a major contribution to better understanding of the "real" Islam, which differs from the extremist and militant variety that dominates the news."
-Marc Cohen, professor of Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University.

"Reuven Firestone has made a valuable contribution toward making Islam understood and appreciated by the Jewish people.... The work is balanced and careful. It will help dispel many misconceptions about Islam and hopefully promote more dialogue and better relations between our two communities of faith."
-Muzammil H. Siddiqi, chairman, Fiqh Council of North America.

What does the Qur'an really say about Jews? Why is Jerusalem so important to Muslims? Is hallal the same thing as kosher?

Jews have today, as never before, a pressing need to understand the history, theology, and practice of Muslims and Islam. In An Introduction to Islam for Jews Firestone explains the remarkable similarities and profound differences between Judaism and Islam, the complex history of Jihad, the legal and religious positions of Jews in the world of Islam, how various expressions of Islam (Sunni, Shi`a, Sufi, Salafi, etc.) regard Jews, the range of Muslim views about Israel, and much more. He addresses these issues and others with candor and integrity, and he writes with language, symbols, and ideas that make sense to Jews. An Introduction to Islam for Jews is both readable and reasoned, presenting to Jewish readers for the first time the complexity of Islam and its relationship towards Jews and Judaism.

Reuven Firestone is professor of Medieval Judaism and Islam at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles and director of the Institute for the Study and Enhancement of Muslim-Jewish Interrelations (ISEMJI), a program of the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California. An ordained rabbi, he received his Ph.D. in Arabic and Islamic studies from NYU. Firestone is the author of Jihad: The Origin of Holy War in Islam (Oxford University Press); Children of Abraham: An Introduction to Judaism for Muslims (Ktav); Jews, Christians, Muslims in Dialogue: A Practical Handbook, with Leonard Swidler and Khalid Duran; (Twenty-Third Publications) and The Revival of Holy War in Modern Judaism (forthcoming).

Price: $18
Binding: Paper; 304 pages; 6" x 9"
ISBN 0-8276-0864-1
Publication Date: August 2008

For more information or receive a press kit please contact Arielle Levites (800)-234-3151 ext. 5601 or email:

The Jewish Publication Society is a nonprofit educational organization formed to enhance the Jewish culture by promoting the dissemination of religious and secular works, in the United States and abroad, to all individuals and institutions interested in past and contemporary Jewish life.

Contact: Arielle Levites
Jewish Publication Society


The organizations and/or individuals who submit materials for distribution by Religion News Service are solely responsible for the facts in and accuracy of their materials. Religion News Service will correct any errors brought to its attention.

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