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Islam (Arabic: الإسلامal-’islām, pronounced [ʔislæːm]  ( listen) is the religion articulated by the Qur’an, a book considered by its adherents to be the verbatim word of the single incomparable God (Arabic: الله‎, Allāh), and by the Islamic prophet Muhammad's demonstrations and real-life examples (called the Sunnah, collected through narration of his companions in collections of Hadith). The word Islam, a triliteral of the word salaam, is a homograph, having multiple meanings, including peace and surrender (to God). Adherents are known as Muslims, which is the active participle of the verb of which Islām is the infinitive. Muslims regard their religion as the completed and universal version of a monotheistic faith revealed at many times and places before, including, notably, to the prophets Abraham, Moses and Jesus. Islamic tradition holds that previous messages and revelations have been changed and distorted over time. Religious practices include the Five Pillars of Islam, which are five duties that unite Muslims into a community. Islamic law (Arabic: شريعة Šarīʿah) touches on virtually every aspect of life and society, encompassing everything from dietary laws and banking to warfare, welfare, and Jihad. Almost all Muslims belong to one of two major denominations, the Sunni (87-90%) and Shi'a (10-13%). Islam is the predominant religion in much of Africa, the Middle East and major parts of Asia. Large communities are also found in China, Russia and the Caribbean. Converts and immigrant communities are found in almost every part of the world. With 1.57 billion Muslims (see Islam by country), Islam is the second-largest religion in the world and arguably the fastest growing religion in the world.

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An Azeri dance
The Azerbaijani people are an ethnic group mainly found in northwestern Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijanis, commonly referred to as Azeris, live in a wider area from the Caucasus to the Iranian plateau. The Azeris are typically at least nominally Muslim and have a mixed cultural heritage of Turkic, Iranian, and Caucasian elements. Despite living on both sides of an international border, the Azeris form a single group. However, northerners and southerners differ due to nearly two centuries of separate social evolution in Russian/Soviet-influenced Azerbaijan and Iranian Azarbaijan. The Azerbaijani language unifies Azeris and is mutually intelligible with Turkmen and Turkish. As a result of this separate existence, the Azeris are mainly secularists in Azerbaijan and religious Muslims in Iranian Azarbaijan. Since Azerbaijan's independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, there has been renewed interest in religion and cross-border ethnic ties.

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Example of an ijazah, or diploma of competency in Arabic calligraphy
Credit: 'Ali Ra'if Efendi, (edited by Durova)

Example of an ijazah, or diploma of competency in Arabic calligraphy

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Jarrah’s May 21 2000 Student Visa
An aerospace engineering student, Ziad Samir Jarrah (May 11, 1975 – September 11, 2001), was the hijacker who acted as pilot of United Airlines Flight 93, part of the September 11 attacks. He is believed to have taken over as the pilot of the aircraft and made an unsuccessful attempt to crash the plane into the U.S. Capitol. There are many variations on his name, including Ziad Samir Al-Jarrah, Zaid Jarrahi, Ziad Jarrah Jarrat, and Ziyad Samir Jarrah. After a wealthy and secular upbringing, Jarrah became involved in the planning for the September 11 attacks in vocational university. Unique among the hijackers, he had a Turkish girlfriend (born in Germany), living and studying in Bochum, Germany) and was close to his family. There have been some questions as to whether or not Jarrah was actually on Flight 93 and whether he was a hijacker; the 9/11 Commission concluded that his was not a case of mistaken identity and that he piloted the plane. In October 2006, an al-Qaeda video was released showing Jarrah and Mohammed Atta recording their wills in January 2000 in Osama Bin Laden’s Tarnak Farms base near Kandahar.

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Muhammad Ali
I believe in the religion of Islam, which means I believe there is no God but Allah, and Elijah Muhammad is His Apostle. This is the same religion that is believed by over seven hundred million dark-skinned peoples throughout Africa and Asia.

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