American University professor Akbar Ahmed was once Pakistan's ambassador to Great Britain.
Akbar Ahmed is a professor of international studies at American University in Washington, D.C. He's also an anthropologist, writer and filmmaker. His books about contemporary Islam include Discovering Islam: Making Sense of Muslim History. And he's co-editor of a new compilation of essays titled After Terror: Accelerating Dialogue Among Civilizations.
Akbar Ahmed's List
A Brief History of Islam, by Tamara Sonn. "We are living, really, in a world in which consumerism, materialism, are challenging some of the values that we all hold dear, whether you are Jewish, whether you are Muslim, whether you're Christian: humility, piety, the understanding of tolerance and love of God, and so on. This is the real clash that is taking place, and we need to be conscious of that."
The Dignity of Difference, by Jonathan Sacks.
Where God Was Born, by Bruce Feiler. "Bruce Feiler is a young American who wants to begin the exploration, the discovery of his own faith. He's Jewish, and he goes back to the Middle East and begins to explore the roots of his own faith... I see this as a very interesting personal journey, and yet, he's really a guide to all of us."
"The three [above] books, in a sense, are opposed to the idea of the clash of civilizations," Ahmed says. "They really are talking about how to live in this world within your own tradition, with integrity... and yet reach out to others. So very inspiring, and very moving."
Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West.
The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. "What drives him is a very personal compulsion, almost, and that gives it a much more psychological dimension than just a straightfoward novel about heroes and villains."