20/20 Special: Islam: Questions and Answers

I thought it was great that my oldest daughter called me last night to tell me about a special 20/20 had on about Islam, especially because she said she was going to watch it, too. After it was over, she called back and we talked about the show.

I thought it was very good. For those of you who didn’t see it, visit ABC’s site here to watch the full episode.

The premise of the show was that it addressed questions submitted by actual viewers, some of whom can be seen in this short video. I thought 20/20 did an excellent job answering these questions objectively and thoughtfully. The questions themselves touched on roughly five topics: violence, coexistence, the oppression of women, beliefs of Islam, and public relations.

One of the most interesting segments was the one about an American woman who wears the niqab, or face covering. She defended her choice eloquently, even going so far as to say that to her the niqab is “her liberation.”

Another interesting segment was when Diane Sawyer asked an Islamic scholar what Muslims think of Jesus. She seemed surprised when he told her that Muslims see Jesus as a great prophet and Messiah who will return again to usher in the end times. When she asked the scholar how many Muslims actually believe that, he answered that you can’t be a Muslim and not believe it.

I’d love to know how Muslims and non-Muslims alike responded to the program. Did Muslims think it was a fair representation? Did it add anything new to the discourse? And did non-Muslims change their views about Islam as a result of watching the show?