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The Florida-based Web site DiscoverIslam.com sells ornate posters and brochures covering a range of topics about Islam. In their own words,
Each poster masterfully integrates traditional Islamic art and calligraphy with modern computer graphics... They powerfully communicate the beauty of Islam, and yet are gentle enough to sway any heart, Muslim and non-Muslim.According to the Web site, over 10,000 sets of posters and more than 2.7 million Readers (brochures) have been distributed worldwide:
The Discover Islam series of products have become the mainstay of outreach materials here in the United States and in many parts of the world... Post 9-11 America, wars against terror, war with Afghanistan and Iraq, and Islam taking center stage in world affairs mean that the onslaught of attacks on Islam and Muslim ideologies will continue and will intensify. Simply put, we cannot afford to sit back and let this ideological attack continue. We have to respond, we have to reply in a better, kinder, gentler manner. We have to invite and educate non-Muslims about Islam. Our outreach efforts have to be greater in quantity and quality.
Links to the Discover Islam posters are also provided by Web sites for many Muslim/Islamic organizations worldwide. For example, the Muslim Student Association (MSA) of MIT—yes, that same MIT that is "committed to generating, disseminating, and preserving knowledge"—lists the Discover Islam Web site on its page of Resources for Muslims at MIT as "A short series reviewing the basics and other interesting facts about Islam."
Links to the posters are also provided by the Islamic Society of British Columbia, the Muslim Association of Lehigh Valley (Pennsylvania), the New Zealand Muslim Community, the MSA of the University of Nevada, Reno, the MSA of Temple University, and hundreds of other Web sites.
The Discover Islam posters were even displayed in an exhibit at the University of West Florida in 2003.
What information is provided on these popular posters? Are the posters accurate? Are they truthful? Or are they misleading?
In the following pages I analyze sections from six of the more than forty posters at the Discover Islam site, highlighting important passages, direct contradictions of other Islamic or Muslim sources and/or the omission of critical facts from Islamic or Muslim sources. My focus on just a small percentage of the posters should not be interpreted as tacit agreement with the words on the other posters; in the trade-off of brevity versus completeness, I have decided to limit my analysis to what I believe are the most important issues.
The six posters analyzed are:
A) What is Islam and who are Muslims?
B) How did the spread of Islam affect the world?
C) Is Islam respectful of other beliefs?
D) Why is Islam often misunderstood?
E) How does Islam guarantee human rights?
F) How does Islam elevate the status of women?
On to the first poster, or jump ahead to the conclusion.
Latest page update: made by kamala
, Nov 18 2006, 10:52 AM EST
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