Rachel Jackson
Women's Studies
Western Muslim writers launch new Web magazine
Journal to Promote Dialogue of Civilizations, Introspection

(Falls Church, Virginia - 10/28/2002) Asking themselves, "What went wrong?" a group of Muslim writers living in America, Europe, and Australia today launched a Web-based publication they hope will be part of a solution to conflict between Islam and the West.

Editors of the new weekly publication, A True Word ( http://www.atrueword.com ), say they aim to promote honest dialogue and understanding between cultures and religions.

"As Muslims born and raised in the heart of the West, we are in a unique position to understand the fault lines between these two world civilizations," said Amir Butler, a member of A True Word's editorial board based in Melbourne, Australia and a convert to Islam. "As part and parcel of both worlds, this is our responsibility."

Co-editor Ismail Royer, a convert to Islam based in Washington, DC, and Bosnia, says both Muslims and non-Muslims need to change their behavior, their thinking, and their approach to their relationship with each other, which he says has been compromised. "We've got to try to understand each other in a context free of the influence of extremists on both sides, who believe their agendas will be served by promoting endless conflict," said Royer.

The publishers take a strong stand against the notion that non-hostile dialogue requires an endorsement of the other's views. "Dialogue doesn't mean that participants must distort or misrepresent their beliefs," Royer added. "A conversation not grounded in honesty is not real communication."

The publication's mission statement states:

"A True Word was established to provide an authentic Islamic viewpoint on contemporary issues, and to actively engage the non-Muslim world in a constructive and honest dialogue of ideas. We write for both Muslims and non-Muslims.

"This magazine was born of dissatisfaction with the level of dialogue in the Muslim world. We recognized the need to bring a fresh and coherent voice to respond to the challenges we face with reasoned and accessible arguments.

"At the same time, we believe that the Muslim community needs to engage in constructive self-criticism and introspection, and be open and frank as we assess our successes and shortcomings.

"In supporting that aim, we will endeavor to bring to our readership high quality, original and challenging articles that do not shy away from asking tough questions and proposing innovative solutions."

Amir Butler (Australia) abutler@atrueword.com
Ismail Royer (Washington, DC) iroyer@atrueword.com                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

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