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Building Bridges



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Brigham Young University deserves kudos for an academic undertaking that is building bridges with the vast and often misunderstood world of Islam.

Since 1992, BYU scholars have been coordinating the methodical translation into English of some of the most important classical texts produced centuries ago during the Islamic age of enlightenment. Because of the translations, "writings of the great intellectual figures and innovators of the Islamic cultural region" are becoming available to Western laypeople as well as scholars. Experts say these "are among the greatest works ever written, anywhere." Yet, for centuries, they have remained largely mysterious and lost to Western minds.

In the last couple of years, the ambitious project received a significant boost with $750,000 in funding from the Library of Congress. So far through BYU's Middle Eastern Texts Initiative, 13 English translations from Arabic or Syriac writings have been completed with another half-dozen currently being worked on by scholars throughout the world.

In view of current world events, KSL agrees with one of the key reasons BYU is pursuing the project: "Westerners need to understand and appreciate the vast and rich civilization that emerged in the lands of Islam. And that need may well be just as pressing among those living in the Islamic world."

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