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Posted March 3, 2006
Encyclopaedic, timely and eye-opening.
Having recently read Paul Fregosi's excellent book on this subject entitled 'Jihad in the West Muslim Conquests from the 7th to the 21st Centuries', I resolved to investigate this subject further and this study did not disappoint me in it's depth and encyclopaedic content. Spanning over 700 pages, the amount of detail provided here is breathtaking and the references are innumerable but the text is commendably readable. As with Fregosi's work, the writer also strives to provide an objective analysis wherever possible without attacking the fundamental aspects of the Islamic religion - instead attempting to concentrate on the context of it's implications & relationship to the furtherance of Jihad itself. However, this extensive study includes essays and commentary from many learned scholars of Jihad, and it's early claim to provide comprehensive and meticulously documented research soon becomes substantiated as the reader is confronted with realms of evidence and eyewitness accounts, amid an abundance of Muslim theological and judicial texts etc.. Among eight different parts, separate sections are also provided giving direct reference to Jihad in both the Koran and the Hadith, together with an appropriate exegesis by what are cited as the greatest classical and modern commentators, that dispel the argument that Jihad has only been justified by an alleged misinterpretation. The book begins by providing the reader with the context surrounding the cover illustration which depicts events surrounding the surrender of the Jewish Qurayzah tribe to Muhammad and it's alleged treatment at the hands of the Islamic Prophet. The text describes how the Jewish tribe were purported to have aided the forces of Muhammad's enemies and how they were subsequently isolated and besieged. The study proceeds to cite how all pleas for mercy, were rejected and how the Jewish tribe were henceforth delivered for judgment in Medina. The ensuing judgment described as resulting in some six to nine hundred Jewish men purportedly being beheaded in front of Muhammad and their decapitated bodies buried in already excavated trenches. Further context being provided as to how the young Jewish males, women and children were allegedly sold into slavery and their property and land confiscated. Muhammad himself is also cited as having taken a Jewish captive for his wife. Conversely the book illustrates how the Jewish tribe of the Qurayzah ceased to exist. The book then proceeds to examine the worldwide impact of a multitude of named Jihad campaigns over 1300 years against non-Muslims which the book declares were characterised by massacre, enslavement and pillage, whereby the reader is confronted with how such military conquests have subdued millions of indigenous peoples and the expropriation of vast expanses of land. One notable historical example described in the text is that of the massacre of the Armenians by the Ottoman Turks. The extent of the indiscriminate slaughter described in the text is disturbing with the perpetrators cited as allegedly respecting no surrender, bayoneting the men to death, raping the women and dashing their children against the rocks (page 667). The exhaustive study also reveals how the teaching of Jihad ultimately determines the relations of Muslims & non-Muslims in the present day. The reader is frequently confronted with a concern that many governments and religious bodies in the present day, are allegedly prepared to ignore what is cited as voluminous but inconvenient historical data in order to whitewash the realities of Jihad wars, with a view to purportedly explaining away the warlike expeditions and conquests of Islam as 'defensive wars' in order to interpret Jihad as merely a 'bloodless striving to spread the Islamic religion'. The writer stressing the significance of how historians in free countries have a moral and professional obligation to provide the veracity underlying such isWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 6, 2010
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