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The extremist group could hardly have hoped for better. At the height of the Islamic State group's drive for foot soldiers in and , typical followers included the group of Frenchmen who went bar-hopping with their recruiter back home, the recent European convert who now hesitantly describes himself as gay, and two Britons who ordered "The Koran for Dummies" from Amazon to prepare for jihad in Syria.

They were grouped in safe houses as a stream of Islamic State group imams filled in the gaps, according to court testimony and interviews by The Associated Press. He went to Syria in and said new recruits were shown IS propaganda videos on Islam, and that the visiting imams repeatedly praised martyrdom. Far from home and unschooled in religion, most of the recruits were in little position to judge. An AP analysis of thousands of leaked Islamic State group documents reveals most of its recruits from its earliest days knew little about Islam.

According to the documents, which were acquired by the Syrian opposition site Zaman al-Wasl and shared with AP, 70 percent of recruits were listed as having just "basic" knowledge of Shariah — the lowest possible choice. Around 24 percent were categorized as having an "intermediate" knowledge, and just 5 percent were considered advanced students of Islam. The group preys on this ignorance, because it allows extremists to impose an interpretation of Islam constructed to suit its goal of maximum territorial expansion and carnage as soon as recruits come under its sway.

The Five Purposes of the Koran

Among the documents were forms for nine of the 10 young men from the eastern French city of Strasbourg recruited — like the European convert — by a man named Mourad Fares. One of them, Karim Mohammad-Aggad, described going barhopping with Fares. He told investigators that IS recruiters used "smooth talk" to persuade him. It's light and easy to carry around for casual reading as it is broken up into short sections.

It can even serve as a tool for composing a short khutbah as my wife has already found!

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Takes you from the simple and easy to understand through a process that makes such a controversial book easy enough to at least touch its history and wisdom. At the end one can say that you know what the essence of it is. Title and content dont match. Islam for Dummies couldn't be much different From Amazon I expected a better book from dummies.

The Author has tried to preach Islam, detailed the different sects of Muslims and their differences which are much beyond the scope of the study of Quran Koran.

Two British men admit to linking up with extremist group in Syria

I wish the author had stuck to Quran and its proper interpretation. The tips and facts are good but the supportive material is lengthy. The author sways away from the topic.

The author has been awe struck by the magnanimity of the project and limited by the limitation of his knowledge and grasp of the subject. A Helpful Introduction To The Qu'ran From Amazon I attempted to read the Qu'ran on my own a few years back and found it to be one of the most difficult and incomprehensible texts I have ever encountered.

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Besides the difficulty of translating 7th century Arabic to English, the Qu'ran does not follow a linear narrative such as most Westerners are used to. But instead has its own method of organization and logic which Sohaib Sultan does an excellent job of explaining. So this book does serve as a helpful guide to understanding the Qu'ran, though most Westerners will still likely find the Qu'ran a hard book to comprehend. But, of course, the Bible has it's challenges as well.

Sultan is a moderate American Muslim and clearly intends to present the Qu'ran and Islam in the most positive light. But he is also honest about some of the harsher aspects of what the Qu'ran says that are difficult for most non-Muslims to accept. For instance, the Qu'ran prescribes the amputation of one or both hands for thieves and execution by stoning for several other crimes including murder, rape and even adultery. The Qu'ran also strictly forbids alcohol, gambling and pork.

The Bible contains some similarly extreme punishments for homosexuals, adulterers and others as well as an even stricter code of dietary regulations. But while many modern Jews and Christians are inclined to interpret the Bible metaphorically, virtually all orthodox Muslims believe the Qu'ran to the perfect and indisputable word of God for all times and all circumstances. The Qu'ran also places much emphasis on the Day Of Judgement, when the righteous will go to Paradise while the wicked are left to suffer the agonies of Hell, which the Qu'ran decribes in lengthy and often very gory detail.

Sohaib N. Sultan | Time

To his credit, Sultan does state that all this is part of the Islamic belief system though he does accentuate the merciful and benevolent aspects of God who is always willing to forgive those who give up their sinful ways and follow the righteous path of Islam. In this respect Islam and Christianity are similar. Most Muslims are moderate in their political beliefs and its only a small percentage of fanatics who make up terroist groups such as Al-Qaeda.

But because of Islam's insistence on a strict, literal interpretation of the Qu'ran most orthodox Muslims are inherently "fundamentalist" and thus committed to following the beliefs and social norms of 7th century Arabia. Obviously, this makes it more difficult for many Muslims to adjust to modern life and especially the concept of a secular, democractic society which includes the separation of Church and State.

With over one billion Muslims worldwide it is essential that Islam and the West find some common ground where all will be able to live in peace and mutual respect.

Introduction to the Quran: The Scripture of Islam - NotreDameX on edX - Course About Video