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5 books to read to better understand Islam

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A reading list on Islam
Have a question about Islam, its history and its influences? These books are a good place to begin.
Courtesy of publishers

Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota branch of The Council on American-Islamic Relations, recently joined MPR News host Kerri Miller to discuss Donald Trump's call to ban Muslims from entering the U.S.

Hussein offered a list of five books for people interested in learning more about Islam. 

1) "The Story of the Qur'an: Its History and Place in Muslim Life" by Ingrid Mattson

Ingrid Mattson is an Islamic scholar and former professor of Islamic Studies at the Hartford Seminary in Connecticut. 

She is now a senior fellow of the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought in Amman, Jordan. Her text provides an introduction the Quran, its themes and its central role in Muslim society.

2) "Islam: A Short History" by Karen Armstrong

From the publisher:

"No religion in the modern world is as feared and misunderstood as Islam. It haunts the popular imagination as an extreme faith that promotes terrorism, authoritarian government, female oppression, and civil war. 

In a vital revision of this narrow view of Islam and a distillation of years of thinking and writing about the subject, Karen Armstrong's short history demonstrates that the world's fastest-growing faith is a much more complex phenomenon than its modern fundamentalist strain might suggest."

3) "What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam" by John L. Esposito

Esposito provides clear answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the origins and traditions of Islam.

4) "In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons from the Life of Muhammad" by Tariq Ramadan

Tariq Ramadan's biography of the Prophet Muhammed is intended for both Muslims and non-Muslims. It offers a new understanding of one the most influential figures in history. 

5) "Islam in America" by Jonathan Curiel

From the publisher:

"In 'Islam in America,' Jonathan Curiel traces the history of America's Muslims.

Drawing on interviews in communities from industrial Michigan to rural California, Curiel portrays the diversity of practices, cultures and observances that make up Muslim America."