In a post 9-11 America, devout Muslims have found themselves more misunderstood than ever, often labeled terrorists for holding beliefs contrary to those of popular Western religions.

Many people do not understand that Islam belongs to the family of great monotheistic faiths, the children of Abraham. It is the second-largest and fastest-growing religion in the world.

To promote a better understanding of Islam, as well as the world’s other five great religions — Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism — St. Basil’s Episcopal Church is offering a 60-week study series on Wednesday nights at 7.

The series combines a DVD study course, “Great World Religions,” compiled by Dr. John L. Esposito, professor of Islamic studies at Georgetown University, followed by discussion and fellowship.

A small group gathered Wednesday night to watch an overview of Islam. Church member John Day welcomed the group.

“Islam is such an important religion in the world today,” he said. “The more we learn and know, the better prepared we are to deal with it in our everyday lives.”

Day explained the series would run 60 weeks, and the first 12 meetings in the series will feature an in-depth study of Islam. The video portion of the event ran 30 minutes, and Day invited discussion and comment afterward.

During the video lecture, Esposito explained Islam is practiced in 56 countries, spanning North Africa to Southeast Asia, with minorities in Europe and the U.S. While many believe Islam is primarily an Arab religion, only 20 percent of Muslims are Arab. (MORE)


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