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Holy Cross Islamic Studies Expert Discusses New Book About the Quran on CNN

November 17th, 2015 by 
Caner Dagli

In a recent interview with CNN, Caner Dagli, associate professor of religious studies at the College of the Holy Cross and an expert in Islamic studies, discusses the purpose of his new book, which he co-edited, “The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary” (HarperCollins, 2015), which was released today, November 17, 2015. The book focuses on providing understanding and education on the Islamic faith. “The Quran in a sense has become a public document,” Dagli tells CNN. “There’s not really a good resource for people to go to find out if the interpretation that someone is offering is true, if it is the only interpretation, if it is the best interpretation.”

“The Study Quran” aims to encourage literacy in both those who practice Islam and those who do not. According to its website, the book was written to be “an accessible translation and commentary [that] lets readers quickly and easily explore how Muslims have interpreted the Quran through the centuries to present day.”

Dagli was also joined on CNN by American Muslim scholar Imam Suhaib Webb. When asked if it was believed the book will be able to penetrate the misunderstanding that often surrounds Islam, Webb says, “Indeed, I think if there is a willingness to penetrate that. This text is remarkable in that in allows a dual process of education… If people are willing to look beyond the emotional rhetoric they’re going to see a very powerful interpretative tool in this beautiful interpretation.”

“What we want it [“The Study Quran”] to accomplish is to bring out the historically rich and intellectually and spiritually rich Islam,” Dagli adds. “Our main goal is to increase understanding and increase literacy in this book that is the holy text for one and a half million people around the world.”

Dagli has provided expert commentary to CNN in the past on Islamic affairs, including an opinion piece he wrote in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, saying Muslims as a general populace should not apologize for terrorist acts committed by the radical few. Teen Vogue featured an article written by MuslimGirl.net blogger Hasnaa Mokhtar which references Dagli’s op-ed in discussion of the recent Paris attacks that took place last Friday, Nov. 13. Mokhtar emphasized Dagli’s message that Muslims should not feel apologetic for terrorism in the name of Islam nor should the world expect them to be.

Dagli also wrote an essay for The Atlantic “The Phony Islam of ISIS,” a rebuttal to the much discussed Atlantic cover story “What ISIS Really Wants” by Graeme Wood, contributing editor to the magazine. Dagli states that Wood’s essay implied that such a rejection of ISIS — The Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) — by other Muslims can only be hypocritical or naive, and that ISIS members and supporters follow the texts of Islam as faithfully and seriously as anyone.

The author of “The Ringstone of Wisdom (Great Books of the Islamic World, 2004), Dagli received his Ph.D. from Princeton University.

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