Mormons, Muslims get along by creating books, not destroying them

The threat by Pastor Terry Jones to burn the Qur'an was all over the news. What if, instead of destroying Muslim books, we were actually to create them, by translating the classic works of the Islamic golden age into English?

That is the project Dan Peterson, a professor of Arabic at Brigham Young University has been engaged in for more than a decade, a project that has built tremendous goodwill and resulted in many lasting friendships between Muslims and those of the Mormon faith.

This past Sunday evening, Peterson was in town as part of a BYU humanities outreach to give a lecture at the Mormon Church in Naperville on BYU's Islamic Translation Series. Several hundred people were in attendance, including several dozen Muslim dignataries and guests.

Peterson recalled that when he was first appointed as a professor and began to teach a course in Islamic philosophy, he was chagrined by the lack of classic Islamic texts available in English translation. You can walk into any Borders or Barnes and Noble and find multiple translations of the great thinkers of Greece and Rome, but not so for Islam.

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