Bangura, Abdul Karim. Keyboard Jihad: Attempts to Rectify Misperceptions and Misrepresentations of Islam.

Author:Motani, Nizar A.
Position:Book review
 
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Bangura, Abdul Karim. Keyboard Jihad: Attempts to Rectify Misperceptions and Misrepresentations of Islam. San Diego, CA: Cognella, 2010.

Abdul Karim Bangura's goal is to rectify misperceptions and misrepresentations of Islam and Muslims that have proliferated on the Internet since the terrorist attacks of 9/11. According to the multi-lingual author, defending Islam is not the purpose of this book. Rather, Bangura avers: "Allah or God always defended Islam and will continue to do so" (p. 1). The author begins his study by documenting prejudice, racism, intolerance, and violence against Americans of Arab, South Asian, and African American descent since 9/11. In the second chapter, Bangura identifies and defines eight major Islamic concepts [Allah, Islam, Quran, Sunna, Sharia, Jihad, Hijab, and Wahhabism] that are often distorted or misunderstood in Western media. Included in the discussion is an explanation of the five "Pillars of Islam." Bangura believes his "precise and concise" descriptions of these eight major Islamic concepts that are distorted "either intentionally or unintentionally" will help facilitate peace-building and interfaith dialogue (p. 17).

Subsequent chapters examine these and other intriguing topics. Media distortions are cited and refuted with Quranic verses in a scholarly manner. Terrorists who masquerade as Muslims are exposed as having violated God's Word and this disqualifies them from any association with Islam. Bangura believes that the "spiraling violence" between Islam and the West is "significantly due to the lack of educated discourse on religious legality of using war as a tool of conflict resolution" (p. 30). This is an example of what the Aga Khan, the 49th hereditary Shia Ismaili Imam has coined the Clash of Ignorance. Bangura is optimistic that many Muslim advocates of non-violence and pacifism will be able to "advance their message in contention with that of the militants" (pp. 31-2).

The fourth chapter is devoted to correcting Eurocentric gender theories about the status of Muslim women. Once again, Bangura uses verses from the Quran to demonstrate that "Allah does not favor one gender over the other" and that "it is important to remember that Allah is neither male nor female" (p. 46). The author laments that current practices in many Muslim societies go against what Islam has ordained, societies in which women are treated as property, are not educated, and are forbidden their economic rights. The fifth...

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