The Qur'an Has Become the Best Selling Book
The 9/11 tragedy caused
the growth of Islam in America to accelerate greatly. One of the
clearest indications of this is that after the attacks, the Qur'an
became the best-selling book in many states for a long time. American
interest in the Qur'an increased to such an extent that Penguin
Books, one of the best-known publishers of the Qur'an in English,
reported that it had printed 20,000 extra copies after 9/11.54
USA Today reported on this
intense interest in "People Want to Know, so Koran is Bestseller,"
saying that sales of the Qur'an had increased by five times.55
When asked for his view on this matter, a leading expert in Islam,
John Esposito, emphasized an important point:
The strength of the Qur'an is that
a Muslim, or anyone, can open it to any page and get a message
dealing with life's meaning.56
eight pages in its February 2001 issue to an examination of
the Qur'an. In the report entitled "In the Beginning There
Were the Holy Books," it emphasized that God revealed each
holy book and that there was no room for religious conflict.
Among the issues treated were Qur'anic morality, how Muslims
regard Christians and Jews, and Islam teaches people to live.
The report states that when they first read the Qur'an, many
Christians are surprised to see how much is written in the
Qur'an about such Prophets as Jesus, David, Abraham, and Jonah,
peace be upon them all, who appear in the Bible. The report
also stresses that justice, mercy, and compassion are basic
to the Qur'an.
||The Oprah Show, one of the top three American
talk-shows, also discussed Islam. On October 5, 2001, there
was an episode called "Islam 101." Participants included Queen
Raina of Jordan; Prof. Akbar Ahmed, Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic
Studies and professor of International Relations at American
University in Washington; and Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan's Ambassador
to the United States. The program's purpose was to introduce
Islam to the viewers. Along with presenting their views, the
program sought to show a cross-section of the daily lives
of American Muslims and to help people understand Islam better.
Also, the program's Internet site explained Islam's basic
In addition to becoming a best seller,
some public schools asked their students to memorize some Qur'anic
verses. For example, seventh grade students in Byron, California,
public school system were to take a three-week course to give
them detailed information about the tenets of Islam. In this course,
they were to memorize Qur'anic verses, learn about Islamic history
and the life of Prophet Muhammad, and even make speeches to the
class using Muslim names that they had chosen for themselves.
And this program was put into effect immediately. Along with this,
it was proposed that students learn how Muslims pray and what
Islam's religious duties are.57
People in the state of Maine had a very keen interest
in Islam. A few days after 9/11, there was a large increase in sales
of the Qur'an and books on Islamic history. On September 22, the
Bangor Daily News reported on the people's interest in
Islam in "Mainers Studying Tenets of Islam." This article said,
As Americans struggle
to come to terms with last week's events, Mainers apparently are
turning to encyclopedias, history books, biographies, textbooks
and the Qur'an itself to understand what the majority of Muslims
believe. Gig Weeks of Book Marc's in downtown Bangor said Wednesday
the store had sold all but one copy of the Qur'an…. She said several
of the titles are on back order until publishers can reprint them.
Staffers at Borders Books, Music and Café in Bangor reported they
had sold five copies of the Qur'an since Sept. 11, compared with
the two copies that had been sold between Jan. 1 and Sept. 10.58
|(Above) Reports and documentaries
dealing with Islam on American television and in the newspapers
play an important role in informing people about Islam (below).
The PBS series on "Observing Islam" has attracted much interest.
(Middle) In the US Islamic websites are popular; since it
was broadcast, Robert Gardner's documentary Islam: Empire
of Faith has received a great deal of interest in America.(Below)
An Islamic documentary on American TV; internet sites about
Islam have received as much interest among Americans as documentaries
and television programs.
||(Above left) After 9/11 there
was a much higher sale of Qur'ans (Above right) The Qur'an
is a bestseller in the US (Below) For weeks after 9/11, the
Qur'an was at the top of the best-seller list. In an Atlanta
Journal report entitled "Qu'ran a best seller everywhere,"
well-known bookstores reported that their stocks of Islamic
books were depleted and that the Qur'an was the top-selling
book in almost every state.
The article gave further information
about this interest. For example, students at Bangor Theological
School, who normally study about Islam toward the end of the school
year, wanted to start the course right away, and so Dana Sawyer,
one of the school's teachers, started a course about the Qur'an
and the Prophet's life. In this course, Sawyer said that declaring
all Muslims to be terrorists was the same as saying that all Christians
are responsible for a crime committed by one Christian.59
The Guardian featured an article by Jeremy Rifkin, the
well-known American economist, in which he said that he was ashamed
that he had not read anything about Islam prior to 9/11, and that
now he was not the only one engaged in learning about Islam:
I'm ashamed to
admit it, but before September 11, I didn't pay much attention
to Islam. I had a cursory knowledge of the historical struggle
between Israel and its Arab neighbors. I knew a bit about the
struggle with the west over oil.... It took the deaths of 5,000
Americans in a horrific act of terrorism to get my attention.
Like so many others, I have been reading up on Islam-its tenets,
internal struggles, . . . visions. . . , its similarities and
deep differences with Christianity and the West... I'm not alone.
Seven of the 15 lead books on the New York Times
bestseller list are devoted to Islam. The Koran has become a bestseller.
The whole world, it seems, has been converted into a classroom
as we try to make sense out of the tragic events of September
11 and its aftermath.60
(Left) In the "Islam and the West"
section of the Economist magazine, a dialogue between Christians
and Muslims appeared, entitled "The Bishop and the Imam
ask, Do we really have to fight?" (Right) In a Guardian
article entitled "Dialogue Is a Necessity," Jeremy Rifkin,
a well-known American economist, drew attention to the importance
of knowing about Islam and understanding it properly.
Muslim Leader Adresses A National Service of Remembrance
Prayers in the American Congress
|A Muslim Leader Adresses
A National Service of Remembrance
At a national service of commemoration held on September
14 to commemorate those who died on 9/11, President Bush invited
the Muslim leader Muzammil Siddiqi to give the address. The
service at the National Cathedral was attended by George Bush
and Colin Powell, members of the military, bureaucrats, and
relatives of those who lost their lives. In his address, Siddiqi
prayed for those who died and recited Qur'anic verses.(Above)
The Qur'an was read in a cathedral, (Below) Christians and
Muslims pray together in the cathedral.
|A small mosque has been set aside for
Muslims working in the Congress to perform Friday prayers.
In 1998, for the first time and under the initiative of Suhail
Khan, Senator Tom Campbell's press secretary, Muslims started
meeting once a month for conversation. A little while later,
Muslims in other government departments joined and began to
hold the Friday prayers in a room convenient for this purpose.
When the numbers grew too large, talking with the management
of the Congress building resulted in a small room being set
aside as a mosque in which Muslims could meet for conversation
and Friday prayers. Now, an average of 50 to 60 Muslims meet
there every Friday.1.
"Muslims Holding Regular Friday Prayers in U.S. Capitol,"
U.S. Department of State, International Information Programs,
Congress opens for the first time with
a reading from the Qur'an
official institutions teach the Qur'an
|(Above) American Congress
opens for the first time with a reading from the Qur'an (Middle)
The US Congress will open with a reading from the Qur'an;
In 2001, another historical event occurred. Every year when
Congress begins its new session, there are readings from the
Bible. This year, there was a reading from the Qur'an. This
was an important event for all Muslims, and no one could have
guessed only a few years ago that the Qur'an would be recited
in the political heart of the world's only superpower. This
is an example of how much Islam has grown in America.(Below)
Maryland State Senate opens with a reading from the Qur'an.
||American official institutions teach the
Qur'an; Because of the increasing numbers of Muslims in America
and Islam's increasing influence in American social life,
various institutions, among them the FBI, have begun to educate
their employees about Islam, (Below) FBI learns about Islam
Number Of Muslims Is Increasing In Hawaii
Is Spreading Among Latin American Immigrants
| As in other
parts of America, the number of Muslims is increasing in Hawaii.
The majority of converts in Hawaii are military personnel.
One of them is Heather Ramaha, who works for the navy at Pearl
Harbor. Her husband is a Muslim, and she decided to convert
after 9/11. Hakim Ouansafi, president of the Muslim Association
of Hawaii, reported that after 9/11, there was a visible increase
in the number of Muslims in Hawaii. According to him, before
9/11 only about 3 Muslims converted a month; in the two months
after the attacks, 23 people converted.(Above) Reports about
Muslims in Hawaii newspapers. In the report on the left, the
president of the Muslim Association of Hawaii condemns the
9/11 attacks. The report on the right is about the rising
conversion trend in Hawaii since 9/11.
Latin-America streams to Islam, Latino-Islamic currents,
The densest wave of immigration to America is from Latin
America. In many states today, Spanish and English are the
majority languages. It is estimated that more than 40,000
Latin American Muslims live in Los Angeles, New York, Newark,
and Chicago. The public assistance programs organized by
Latin American Muslims have attracted interest. For example,
the Alianza Islamica, whose members are mostly from Harlem,
has achieved much success in the last few years in their
struggle against drugs, AIDS, and crime. 1. Hisham Aidi,
"Olé to Allah: New York's Latino Muslims,"
Want to Know, so Qur'an is Bestseller," USA Today, November 27,
57. "Public Schools Embrace Islam," The American
Center for Law and Justice Press Release, January 15, 2002.
58. Bangor Daily News, September 22, 2001
60. The Guardian, November 13, 2001.