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.