a resource list curated by the Rev. Brant Clements
Discover Islam will provide a free set of 6 DVDs to members of the ELCA. Each half-hour long program presents a positive, insider’s view of Islam. Topics include: Islam: An American Faith, Christians & Islam, and Women in Islam. Request a set through www.discoverislam.com/elca. The page also includes a link to the Study Guides available through www.elca.org. There are many other free resources available on the Discover Islam website.
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service and Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota have produced a free 7-part study titled My Neighbor is Muslim: Exploring the Muslim Faith. The authors include prominent Lutheran theologians and Muslim writers. The study can be downloaded as an ebook at http://lirs.org/myneighborismuslim. Or request a hard copy of the book through the same website.
A decent English translation of the Qur’an with some helpful notes can be downloaded at no charge through Amazon’s Kindle store. Search for Quran: A Simple English Translation from Goodword Books.
The Study Qur’an: A New Translation and Commentary by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, et al (HarperOne, 2015) can be had for substantially less than its $59.99 MSRP. It includes extensive notes interpreting the text of the Qur’an and a collection of useful essays.
Todd Green of Luther College has written an excellent and highly-readable book titled Fear of Islam: An Introduction to Islamophobia in the West (Fortress Press, 2015). In it Prof. Green explores the history of Islamophobia, the modern Islamophobia industry, and solutions to the problem of Islamophobia.
At 151 pages of rather large print Islam: What Non-Muslims Should Know by John Kaltner (Fortress Press, 2016) is a quick read. Its six chapters provide a balanced view of the Islamic faith. Chapter titles include “Islam is a Diverse and Complex Faith,” “Muslims Respect Judaism and Christianity,” and “Jihad Does Not Only Mean Holy War.” Questions for discussion at the end of each chapter make this a useful book for a group study. An appendix listing further resources adds to its value.
The beliefs, practices, and sociology of Islam get a somewhat fuller treatment in John L. Esposito’s What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam (Oxford University Press, 2011). This is a highly readable book from a noted expert.
Karen Armstrong’s book Islam: A Short History (Modern Library, 2002) gives a good overview of Islamic history from the Prophet Muhammad to our day.
The history of Islam is also told in the beautifully produced PBS documentary Islam: Empire of Faith. This three-part series is available for purchase on DVD from pbs.org. It can also be found on YouTube, though the legality of its presence there is questionable.
The theologically adventurous will want to read Allah: A Christian Response, by Miroslav Volf (HarperOne, 2011). Volf gives serious and thought-provoking consideration to the question of whether Christians and Muslims worship the same God and what this means for relationships between the two faiths.
Not specific to Islam, but full of practical information, the book Engaging Others Knowing Ourselves: A Lutheran Calling in a Multi-Religious World (Carol Schersten LaHurd, Ed., Lutheran University Press, 2016) is a collection of essays and case studies about inter-religious dialogue.
There are further resources available through the ELCA website and A Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.