"The prevailing image of Muslims in the media tends to be one of exotic but backward people from far away. Islam is portrayed as oppressive of women, intolerant of other faiths, zealous to impose a tyrannical theocracy, and incapable of freedom of thought. The voices gathered here show Islam as it is believed, understood, and lived out in North America. They discuss gender equality, religious pluralism, and social justice, and demonstrate a breadth and depth of intellectual vitality. They also do not all agree with one another. Nor is such agreement required in Islam, where the tradition values diversity of thought.
"Their words show a diversity of approaches to reading Scripture. Some are centered in traditional modes of interpretation. Others challenge some traditional readings, though from a perspective that is committed to what they see as the core message of the Qur'an. Just as some of the Qur'an echoes the Bible, some of their methods of interpretation will look familiar to Christian or Jewish readers. These Muslim thinkers also show a range of interactions with the Western intellectual tradition, past and present.
"As religious scholars and leaders, the Muslims gathered here are important; many are relatively young and will play a significant role in shaping the future of Islam in North America. Their interpretations of the Qur'an are informative, and they are also beautiful. They bear witness to how their Scripture comes to life even as it gives life to believers. Their spiritual hospitality offers readers the opportunity to consider what it might be like to be guests in the house of another faith, not necessarily as potential converts but as respectful visitors who can stand firmly rooted in their own convictions and yet meet others at the boundaries between them that both separate communities and still somehow join them."