Understanding Islam   [open pdf - 3MB]

"The purpose of this study is to provide a better understanding of Islam to commanders and other military personnel who may be assigned to Islamic countries, be serving with persons following the Muslim faith, and those who would like to learn more about the faith. It is intended to provide the reader with a general knowledge of Islam, the fastest growing religious group in the world today. Its followers, who are called Muslims, comprise one-fifth of the world's population. The greatest concentration of Muslims in the world is in the Middle East and Northern Africa. The rise of the consciousness of Islam in the United States is recent and was heightened by the 1979 Iranian Revolution; the hostage crisis which was a result of that revolution and the call or a return of Islamic Fundamentalism in Iran. The Oil crisis, terrorist activities, and turbulence in the Middle East have also increased the awareness of Islam's presence in the world today. The United States is interacting socially, economically, and militarily with Muslim countries. Some people are confused about Islam because they are uninformed about its religious history, beliefs, and practices. They are also confused about jihad or holy war which many terrorists invoke when they participate in, or justify those activities. This paper addresses itself to the history, beliefs, and practices of Muslims. This study also gives a general and concise analysis of Islamic Fundamentalism and its impact upon jihad and its relation to terrorism. It concludes with answers to frequently asked questions about the religion of Islam."

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Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC): http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/
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