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Muslims: "Please Do Not Publish This Book"

A national Islamic advocacy group asked the American Jewish Committee (AJC) to delay the release of a new book on Islam for Jews until Muslim concerns about the book's content and cover image can be addressed.

In April, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) questioned AJC's choice of a controversial author for the book called Children of Abraham: An Introduction to Islam for Jews, scheduled for release this week. CAIR says the author of that book, Khalid Duran, has a mysterious identity, associated with infamous "Muslim basher" and was once convicted of defaming an Islamic center in Germany.

CAIR now says it also objects to an image of the Prophet Abraham ("Ibrahim" to Muslims) on the book's cover. (For Muslims, created representations of prophets are inappropriate in that they distract from God's message and could lead to a kind of idol worship, something forbidden in Islam. Just recently, a similar image of the Prophet Muhammad in Time magazine resulted in an apology to Muslims. (Reuters, 4/21/2001). Duran's book is one of two being published by the AJC. Rabbi Reuven Firestone wrote the companion publication, "Children of Abraham: An Introduction to Judaism for Muslims."

In a letter to AJC Executive Director David Harris, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad wrote: "Given the AJC's stated intent of promoting 'understanding and mutual respect,' it is puzzling as to why your organization would first of all engage an author who has little credibility in the Muslim community and then add insult to injury by using a cover image that many Muslims will find offensive. This book has the potential to do more harm than good in terms of interfaith relations."

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