Updated in a new edition, this timely study encompasses the history of an important worldwide religion, starting with its seventh-century Arabian prophet, Muhammad, and going on to describe Islam as it exists today. In this new edition, the author provides detailed information on the present day's most militant sects and their power centres in countries that include Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, and Indonesia, among others. He also offers a post-September 11th analysis of motivations that inspire some extremist Islamic factions to commit terrorist acts, describes the policies and acts of Western nations that have contributed to antagonism, and describes strategies being developed by the United States and its allies toward the Islamic world in general and terrorism in particular. The author explains the Qur'an, Islam's Holy Scripture, and describes Islamic theology, pointing out its many connections with Judaism and Christianity. He describes the core of Islamic beliefs and obligations as they apply to each believer, and discusses the religion's several most important sects. Islam's history is broken down according to the countries where it exists as a major political and social force. The text is supplemented with extensive endnotes, a comprehensive glossary, a bibliography, and an index.