Islamic Scholar Debunks Negative Stereotypes to Reveal Truth
The horrifying September 11th attacks are seared into the minds of most Americans. Etched along with the heart-wrenching images of people leaping to their deaths from the Twin Towers are mug shots of the hijackers who crashed the planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and an open field in Pennsylvania. Before that day, many Americans never gave much thought to Islam. And ever since hearing the hijackers’ claims of following Islam, Muslims around the world have continued to battle stereotypes of barbaric violence. But does Islam really endorse violence?
“Absolutely not,” says Dr. Ali Shehata, Islamic Scholar and author of the new book, “Demystifying Islam: Your Guide to the Most Misunderstood Religion of the 21st Century” (Elysium River Press, 2007). “When terrorists claim that their vicious and deadly acts are founded in the tenets of Islam, they have maligned and skewed a religion that is truly about tolerance and peaceful co-existence.”
Muslims endure suspicion and negativity because of the images of radical extremists who have hijacked Islam and then twisted and distorted this peaceful religion to fit their political agenda. The public nature of their violent acts has garnered extensive media coverage around the world and thus, the negative stereotypes are perpetuated over and over again. Dr. Shehata hopes that enlightening people about the true, peaceful nature of Islam will help chip away and ultimately replace those disturbing images while also serving as a base for preventing future acts of terror and misguidance.
“The view that has been most heavily promoted in the media is that Muslims are dangerous and extreme people who can not be trusted,” says Dr. Shehata. “These stories promote the false idea that Islam is incompatible with peace, tolerance and love. And that is a tragedy because Islam is peaceful religion that promotes understanding, appreciation and peaceful coexistence with others. I think that educating both Muslims and non-Muslims about Islam has the great potential to reduce or even eliminate terror.”
‘Demystifying Islam‘ invites readers to explore Islam in a very reader-friendly way. The book begins with the basics, explaining the religion’s early beginnings and how the Quran, the holy book of Islam, was relayed by the Angel Gabriel to the Prophet Mohammad. Dr. Shehata, who is certified in a number of key Islamic texts and has studied under the direct tutelage of certified Islamic scholars, writes in a clear fashion that is very easy to digest. His love for Islam and his desire to bridge the divide between Muslims and those who fear the religion are apparent, but the book is not pushy; rather it is highly enlightening and succinctly shares the beliefs of Islam and supports them with beautiful scriptures from the Quran.
Dr. Shehata believes that the more non-Muslims learn about Islam, the less threatened they will feel. “Muslims share a great deal in common with Jews and Christians which should help to serve as a bridge of healing and cooperation if used effectively,” says Dr. Shehata. “But many people don’t know enough about Islam, the true Islam, to capitalize on our similarities and desires for peace and tolerance.”
Demystifying Islam also answers many questions that non-Muslims wondered about but didn’t know who to ask- for example, what Muslims think about Jesus Christ, or why Muslim women cover their heads. Because the goal of the book is to educate and not proselytize, readers walk away with newfound knowledge and understanding of a religion that has been greatly exploited and misunderstood; which Dr. Shehata hopes will ultimately lead to greater tolerance and peace.
By: Dr. Ali Shehata
Paperback: 300 pages
Publisher: Elysium River Press
Dr. Ali Shehata was born in Havre de Grace, Maryland to parents who immigrated to America from Egypt.
He received his bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology from the University of Central Florida in Orlando in 1996 and graduated with a medical degree from Midwestern University in Arizona in 2000. Dr. Shehata has received residency training in both Emergency Medicine and Family Medicine and is board certified in Family Medicine.
Dr. Ali as he is known to many of his patients, teachers, students and colleagues received the majority of his Islamic education via the traditional method of studying directly under the tutelage of certified Islamic scholars.
He has received certification (ijaazah) in a number of foundational Islamic texts.
Dr. Shehata is a widely sought speaker at colleges and religious institutions across the U.S. and internationally.