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Journal > Volumes > 41 (2010) / 4 (Winter)
Menno and Muhammad: Anabaptists and Mennonites Reconsider Islam, 1525–1657
Gary K. Waite
University of New Brunswick

From the apocalyptic whip of God to a misunderstood religion deserving of serious analysis, the perception of Islam in Anabaptist and Mennonite circles reflected the changing political situation and intellectual landscape of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Beginning with the image of the Turk in the early Anabaptist tradition, this article turns to an in-depth analysis of Dutch Anabaptist opinion through the seventeenth century, focusing on representatives of both the conservative and liberal (Doopsgezind) wings. Some Amsterdam Doopsgezinden were responsible for the production in 1657 of a Dutch translation of the Qur'an, which included supplemental works offering a fairly balanced evaluation of Islam and its Prophet. This essay concludes that such a posture grew out of the Anabaptist heritage of pro-Turkish sentiment, which itself had arisen from the dissenters’ sense of grievance against their Christian persecutors, whose intolerant policies were compared to the Turkish practice of offering religious accommodations to the “Peoples of the Book.”

Pages: 995 - 1 016