Beliefnet's 'Taking Back Islam' Wins Religion Book of the Year Award

Apr 29, 2003, 01:00 ET from Beliefnet

    NEW YORK, April 29 /PRNewswire/ -- The Religion Communicators Council on
 April 27 awarded its prestigious Wilbur Award for Best Religion Book to
 "Taking Back Islam: American Muslims Reclaim Their Faith."
     A collaboration between Rodale Press and Beliefnet, the leading multifaith
 religion and spirituality website, the book included essays by many of the
 leading American Muslims and commentators about Islam, including Karen
 Armstrong, Khaled Abou El Fadl, Michael Wolfe and others.
     "The judges selected 'Taking Back Islam' because it best epitomized the
 Wilbur Awards goal of building a better climate of understanding of religious
 concerns among the general public," said Eric Shafer, awards chairman for the
 Religious Communicators Council, the nation's main interfaith association of
 communication professionals working for religious organizations.
     "Given how many excellent religion books were published in 2002 -- let
 alone books on Islam -- it's an extreme honor to get this award," said Steven
 Waldman, Editor-in-Chief of Beliefnet.  "The contributors to this book had
 guts because they were offering an honest critique of Islam at a time when
 that was risky."
     "The war with Iraq has made it much more possible to have a freewheeling
 debate about the future of Islam," Waldman added.
     In an introduction to the book, the editor, Michael Wolfe, wrote,
 "September 11 forced a reckoning of sorts, and it has led us to be more
 self-reliant. When any religion is new to a place, as Islam is to America, the
 tendency to take one's cues from the Motherland is strong, wherever that
 Motherland is perceived to be.  And then there comes a moment to grow up.  For
 many American Muslims, that moment arrived in the weeks following
 September 11. This is a book by forward-looking Muslims -- in love with Islam,
 proud of Islam, and confident enough in its strength to believe that it can
 stand up to honest introspection. 'Speak the truth,' Muhammad said, 'even if
 it hurts you.' A sometimes painful struggle, nothing less than a faith in
 search of its soul, informs this book."
     Beliefnet is the leading multifaith spirituality and religion website,
 reaching 3.5 million people daily through its email newsletters and website.
 It also provides spirituality content for AOL and ABCNews.

SOURCE Beliefnet