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Blog Posts by Subject: Islam

The Americas' First Muslims

This week, 1.2 billion Muslims will celebrate Eid-al-Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice, or Tabaski as it is known in West Africa. Very few among them will have a thought for the hundreds of thousands of enslaved West Africans who, during almost four centuries, practiced Islam in the Americas. Although they left significant marks of their faith, cultures, and traditions, the Africans who first brought Islam to these shores have been mostly forgotten.Read More ›

Meet the Scholar: Melissa Forstrom

Melissa ForstromMuseums. They are great. From Museum of Mathematics to Museum of Glass, there's so much to see and to learn about these topics in our shared history. Whenever I visit a new town or country, I am always eager to check out their local or national museums; they offer a glimpse of their cultural histories, identities and accomplishments.

However, some exhibitions can also showcase contested and controversial materials. Take for example the

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Meet the Scholar: Nerina Rustomji

Nerina Rustomji and her book, "The Garden and the Fire: Heaven and Hell in Islamic Culture."About 6 years ago, I was taking an undergraduate class on the history of the Modern Middle East taught by Professor Nerina Rustomji of St. John's University. The class opened my eyes to the complexity of the region. She challenged us to look differently at the historic and ongoing conflicts in the area and America's intricate relationships with Middle Eastern countries before September 11th. 

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July Author @ the Library Programs at Mid-Manhattan

Dangers of the 'foodopoly'... secrets of the original West Village... how Manhattan became capital of the world... a survey of time in love, war, crime, art, money and media... the spectrum of

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Finding Jesus at NYPL: A Research Guide

Perhaps no person in human history is more controversial than Jesus of Nazareth. The parable above (among many other well known ones) came from Jesus in the New Testament of the Christian

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Islam in Europe: A Resource Guide at NYPL

According to the BBC News, "Islam is widely considered Europe's fastest growing religion, with immigration and above average birth rates leading to a rapid increase in the Muslim population." There are currently over 15 million Muslims (Sunni and Shiite) living in Europe and Islam is currently the second largest religion in the world after Christianity.

This blog post will focus on NYPL’s rich collection on the history of Islam in Europe: past and present; the historical, political, cultural, and 

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Words of Wisdom: The Dressmaker of Khair Khana

What initially drew me into reading The Dressmaker of Khair Khana was the beautiful book cover and title. Call me superficial but yes, I am indeed guilty of judging many a book by its cover. But as I went on to read the summary on the inside of the book jacket, I found myself even more interested and so I began reading what is now one of the most memorable books I've ever read. The best part is, this is actually based on a true story.

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana takes you on the 

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Harlem Library Cinema Series @ George Bruce - May 2011

Have you found your calling? The May film screening from The National Black Programming Consortium, The Calling, explores this topic as it follows seven people who feel that they have found theirs.

From the NBPC website you find the following description:

It takes a true calling to make faith a way of life. The Calling is a four hour documentary series that follows seven Muslims, Catholics, Evangelical Christians and Jews on a dramatic journey—training to become professional clergy. Embarking on life 

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Religious Tolerance Booklist

The New York Public Library's Three Faiths exhibition explores the commonalities between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  But what of the other faiths of the world? There is much to be learned from all of them. Here is a selection of recently published books that discuss those differences as well as the importance of promoting greater tolerance and understanding.

Beyond Tolerance: Searching for Interfaith 

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The 411 on Faith: Where Sacred Texts Meet City Life

So where is faith, exactly? What is the 411? Where can we see the role of religion in our lives and communities? The answer, of course, is pretty much everywhere. Religion, it seems, is all over the place, even in our relatively secular “modern” society. But where should we look if we want to understand the religious traditions of our neighbors? What kinds of things should we focus on?

These are some of the questions posed both by NYPL’s  exhibit, Three Faiths: Judaism, Christianity, Islam

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Field Trip! Adult Literacy Students Visit Three Faiths Exhibit

Students outside the Three Faiths exhibitLast week, students from the Seward Park Library's Center for Reading and Writing, the Library's free adult literacy program, took a field trip to the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building to see the exhibit, Three Faiths: Judaism, Christianity, Islam.

As the group trundled up the library 

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Shazam! The Power of Language in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

Hebrew text of first words of GenesisFrom “Abracadabra” to “Shazam,” and from “Say the magic word” to “Open Sesame,” humans have long believed that words and languages have a power far beyond and far deeper than their simple rational meanings.

The ancient peoples of Mesopotamia developed a mythological explanation for this belief. Humans, the ancient legend of the Tower of Babel story goes, once spoke a divine language, the language God gave to us. This divine language enabled the first humans to communicate with God 

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Students at Seward Park Adult Literacy Program Discuss Three Faiths Exhibit

Last week, a group of adult students and volunteer tutors at the Seward Park Library's Center for Reading and Writing, the library's free adult literacy program, gathered for an introduction to the Three Faiths: Judaism, Christianity, Islam exhibit at Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, and to gauge interest in a field trip. 

"Who has been to the 42nd Street Library—the 

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Historical Perspectives on the Three Faiths

If the Three Faiths exhibit has piqued your curiosity, here are five books that offer some historical background to the origin and development of the three religious traditions.

Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths Bruce Feiler New York: W. Morrow, 2002

The author presents Abraham as he is portrayed in all three 

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Languages of God: The Word as Decoration

The First Polyglot Psalter, Psalter, in Hebrew, Greek, Arabic, and Aramaic; Genoa: Petrus Paulus Porrus, 1516The New York Public Library, Rare Book DivisionJews and Muslims have a particular attachment to languages as expressions of the Word of God. Hebrew and Arabic are both sacred languages since both are in a sense the language of God Himself.

But there is an important difference. The Jews lost their Hebrew as a living language while the Bible was still 

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Scribing the Sacred

If you find inspiration in thoughts of pen angles and letter heights, please visit the “Scriptorium” at The New York Public Library’s “Three Faiths: Judaism, Christianity, Islam” exhibition.

In the Scriptorium you will see the tools of the scribe: paper, ink, and pens, and learn how they have been used to create religious manuscripts over the centuries. The exhibit hall also contains a lighted table, with 

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Behind the Scenes at Three Faiths: A Conversation with Senior Exhibitions Conservator Myriam de Arteni

Myriam de Arteni has been painstakingly repairing the library’s vast collections for more than three decades. But for de Arteni, conserving works in the “Three Faiths” exhibit--which include some of the library’s oldest and most precious documents--has been one of her most ambitious projects yet.

How does this exhibit compare to other exhibits you’ve worked on? Was it among the most ambitious?

Yes, it was very challenging because it features such rare and fragile 

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Guardians of the Sacred Word

The first multilingual Psalter. Genoa, 1516. The New York Public Library, Rare Book Division.For very long time, Jews, Christians and Muslims have behaved toward one another like members of a dysfunctional family, like the competitors for an immense inheritance, the favor of Almighty God. But the current exhibition at the New York Public Library uncovers quite another strain of familiarity among the three, their devotion to the book.

Many cultures value the written word, the art of writing and a reverence for 

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On the Shadows in Abraham's Cave: Thoughts on Beryl Korot and Steve Reich's 'The Cave'

The Cave, by wife and husband team Beryl Korot (video artist) and Steve Reich (composer), is an experimental multimedia piece featuring recorded interviews set to live music. Palestinians, Israelis, and Americans are all asked about the significance of the story of Abraham and his burial place, The Cave of Machpelah, which is held sacred by Muslims, Christians, and Jews.

Interviewees are asked about the significance of Abraham to their lives, the significance of his two sons Ishmael and Isaac, and their two 

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