"I, and I think most Muslims, are believers because we are inclined to see the world as a good and positive place. We also have a strong sense of equality and justice, which is further enhanced by our religion. And we wish equality and justice to prevail over God's earth," writes Ziauddin Sardar, a writer and commentator on Islam, culture, and science. A columnist for the New Statesman, he is also widely known for his radio and television appearances. In this handy and informative paperback, Sardar presents a clear vision of Muslims with chapters on:

• What Makes a Muslim?
• Who Are the Muslims?
• Where Do Muslims Come From?
• What Do Muslims Believe?
• Varieties of Muslim Belief
• What Do Muslims Do?
• How Do You Apply Islam?
• Where Now?

There are 57 sovereign Muslim states and every fourth person on the planet is a Muslim. Each ethnic community brings its own historical customs and cultural practices to their "Islamic identity." Although this diversity is dazzling, there is also an overarching unity in common beliefs and ritual practices such as daily prayers, fasting, paying a regular amount of their income for the poor and needy, and performing a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime.

Sardar talks about some of the challenges facing Islam, including the acts of terrorists, the terrible treatment of women in many countries, and the need to reform Islamic law. Muslims face the sometimes conflicting engines of tradition and modernism. The material in the book is enhanced by a chronology of history from 632 AD to the present, a helpful glossary of terms, and a reading list.