Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions about the World's Fastest-Growing Faith

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Overview


In "Islam Unveiled," Robert Spencer dares to face the hard questions about what the Islamic religion actually teaches--and the potentially ominous implications of those teachings for the future of both the Muslim world and the West. Going beyond the shallow distinction between a "true" peaceful Islam and the "hijacked" Islam of terrorist groups, Spencer probes the Koran and Islamic traditions (as well as the history and present-day situation of the Muslim world) as part of his inquiry into why the world's ...
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Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions about the World's Fastest-Growing Faith

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Overview


In "Islam Unveiled," Robert Spencer dares to face the hard questions about what the Islamic religion actually teaches--and the potentially ominous implications of those teachings for the future of both the Muslim world and the West. Going beyond the shallow distinction between a "true" peaceful Islam and the "hijacked" Islam of terrorist groups, Spencer probes the Koran and Islamic traditions (as well as the history and present-day situation of the Muslim world) as part of his inquiry into why the world's fastest growing faith tends to arouse fanaticism. "Islam Unveiled" evaluates the relationship between Islamic fundamentalism and "mainstream" Islam; the fixation with violence and jihad; the reasons for Muslims' disturbing treatment of women; and devastating effects of Muslim polygamy and Islamic divorce laws. Spencer explores other daunting questions--why the human rights record of Islamic countries is so unrelievedly grim and how the root causes of this record exist in basic Muslim beliefs; why science and high culture died out in the Muslim world--and why this is a root cause of modern Muslim resentment. He evaluates what Muslims learn from the life of Muhammad, the man that Islam hails as the supreme model of human behavior. Above all, this provocative work grapples with the question that most preoccupies us today: can Islam create successful secularized societies that will coexist peacefully with the West's multicultural mosaic?
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Spencer bases this distinctly anti-Muslim book on a selection of sources that includes newspaper articles, trade books, the websites of fundamentalists, and an uncritical reading of the Koran (rather than consideration of actual religious practice). Among the inaccurate and gross generalizations put forth here are: all Muslim men are allowed to be polygamists, the practice of jihad was fully established before the Crusades, and the whole of Islam is determined to take over the West. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781893554771
  • Publisher: Encounter Books
  • Publication date: 8/28/2003
  • Edition description: 1ST PBK
  • Pages: 202
  • Sales rank: 957,896
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 8.96 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Read an Excerpt

ISLAM UNVEILED

DISTURBING QUESTIONS ABOUT THE WORLD'S FASTEST-GROWING FAITH
By ROBERT SPENCER

ENCOUNTER BOOKS

Copyright © 2002 Robert Spencer
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1893554589


Chapter One

"ISLAM IS PEACE."

George W. Bush went to a mosque to say it late in 2001. The September 11 terrorist attacks, he averred, "violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith." In his September 20 address to Congress, he elaborated: "The terrorists practice a fringe form of Islamic extremism that has been rejected by Muslim scholars and the vast majority of Muslim clerics-a fringe movement that perverts the peaceful teachings of Islam."

The President's counterpart in London, Prime Minister Tony Blair, concurred: September 11, he said flatly, "has nothing to do with Islam."

In 1998, President Bill Clinton had made a similar pronouncement in a speech before the United Nations:

Many believe there is an inevitable clash between Western civilization and Western values, and Islamic civilizations and values. I believe this view is terribly wrong. False prophets may use and abuse any religion to justify whatever political objectives they have-even cold-blooded murder. Some may have the world believe that almighty God himself, the merciful, grants a license to kill. But that is not our understanding of Islam.... Americans respect and honor Islam.

Of course Americans should respect and honor Muslims, like all people, But does Islam teach Muslims in return the courtesy? Is George Bush right in saying that the terror of September 11 represented only a "fringe form of Islamic extremism"?

Certain assumptions are so ingrained that it is difficult even to notice their presence. In the contemporary Western world, one such assumption is that all religions are fundamentally benign-in other words, essentially like Christianity. Westerners are fond of assuming that because Islam is (like Christianity) a religion, it must be (like Christianity) peaceful at its heart. And just as Christianity has its belligerent fundamentalists who misunderstand and distort its message of peace, so does Islam.

Western commentators these days are fond of pointing out that Muslims, like Christians, worship one God only, respect Jesus and Mary, and base their faith on a book considered to be the revealed Word of God, which contains stories of Adam and Abraham and Moses and David. One prominent scholar of Islam, Karen Armstrong, notes: "Constantly the Quran points out that Muhammad had not come to cancel the older religions, to contradict their prophets or to start a new faith. His message is the same as that of Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, of Jesus." Armstrong, indeed, even blames Christians for the misapprehension that Islam is not a peaceful religion:

Ever since the Crusades, the people of Western Christendom developed a stereotypical and distorted vision of Islam, which they regarded as the enemy of decent civilization.... It was, for example, during the Crusades, when it was Christians who had instigated a series of brutal holy wars against the Muslim world, that Islam was described by the learned scholar-monks of Europeas an inherently violent and intolerant faith, which had only been able to establish itself by the sword. The myth of the supposed fanatical intolerance of Islam has become one of the received ideas of the West.

If Islam truly is peaceful, then of course President Bush is right: the terrorists who attacked America must be acting against the principles of their own religion. That was the assumption at CNN when, in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the network posted this poll question on its website: "Should a religion be judged by the acts of its followers?" For Westerners with Christian backgrounds-that is, most Westerners-it was a loaded question. With public opinion running high against Islam, the media was keeping up steady pressure on what it saw as unenlightened religious bigotry. If Christianity shouldn't be judged by the sins of particular Christians, then Islam shouldn't be judged by the sins of those Muslims who hijacked planes and rammed them into buildings full of innocent people.

It seems a reasonable enough caveat. But the reality is more complicated. Islam is indeed like Christianity in many ways, but in others it is as different as the sun is from the moon.

Who Speaks for Islam?

It all depends on whom you ask.

To some Muslims, the terrorist attacks on America violated the fundamental tenets of Islam and the plain words of the Qur'an. To some, they didn't. This is not a matter of learned Muslims looking askance while the uneducated, inflamed by the self-serving propaganda of extremist leaders, cheer for the cameras in Palestine as they watch replays of the planes hitting their targets. In fact, it's the learned Muslims who are split on the issue of terrorism.

This, in large part, results from the nature of authority in Islam. The religion has no central authority beyond the Qur'an, the holy book that Muslims believe was given by the one almighty God, Allah, to the Prophet Muhammad in the seventh century. There is no supreme Islamic teacher who can tell Muslims-and the world-what Islam is and what it isn't. This makes for a multiplicity of voices in Islam, all appealing to Qur'anic authority and claiming to speak for true Islam.

This multiplicity is not the same as the Protestant idea that the believer can read the Bible and work out the truth on his own. Just as Protestant groups in practice developed their own traditions for interpreting the Bible and applying its message to their lives, so individual Muslims are guided in their communities to a right understanding of their sacred book. In Sunni Islam, which comprises over 85 percent of Muslim believers worldwide, a certain teaching authority is invested in the ulama: the (often national) community of muftis, the teachers and scholars of the Qur'an and Sunnah, or Muslim traditions, whose fatwas, or legal rulings on matters open to question of dispute, are generally accepted by believers.

But the muftis don't all agree about terrorism.

Some Muslim leaders have indeed condemned bin Laden's attacks outright. Saudi Arabia's Sheikh Saalih al-Lehaydaan, the head of the Islamic judiciary in a country that knows no law outside of Islam, declared: "Killing a person who has not committed a crime is one of the major sins and terrible crimes.... What happened in America is ... undoubtedly a grave criminal act which Islam does not approve of and no one should applaud."

Another prominent Saudi teacher of the faith, Sheikh Saalih as Suhaymee, agreed. He observed in his fatwa that Muslims are forbidden from "killing women, children, the elderly." He addressed a popular Muslim claim when he went on to say that this prohibition still holds "despite the fact that the associates of these categories of people may be involved in fighting with the Muslims." He thus concluded that the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, because they killed "none but innocent non-Muslims and Muslims, from all the various parts of the world, of different races," were "not permissible." In fact, "Islam does not allow [this kind of attack] in any form whatsoever." He even claimed that "none of the scholars" who hold "the correct form of Islam, affirm the likes of these actions."

But this sheikh could establish no unanimity for his "correct form of Islam." Some other Muslim leaders did agree with him-to a point. One was Sheikh Omar bin Bakri bin Muhammad, the judge of Great Britain's Sharia, or Islamic law court, secretary general of the Islamic World League, and spokesman for the International Islamic Front for Europe, as well as founder of the radical international Muslim group al-Muhajiroun. On its website al-Muhajiroun posted a fatwa by Sheikh Omar, saying that, yes, the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were "a crime and violation for the sanctity of Human beings [sic] which is prohibited in Islam." They were a crime even though the "US Government and its Military forces are a legitimate target as far as Islam is concerned." Muslims can legitimately attack American troops, Sheikh Omar explained, because the United States is "engaging in aggression and atrocities" against Muslims in Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan and Sudan-and because of American support for "the Pirate State of Israel and the dictator Leaders in the Muslim world." Nevertheless, he tended to agree with the Saudi sheikh on the matter of noncombatants: "it is not a justification to attack American People because Islam forbid us to fight people because of their Nationality, Color, etc.... rather because of their aggression or occupation [sic]."

Yet this same imam, when asked what lessons Muslims could draw from the attacks on the United States, passed up the opportunity to instruct his coreligionists in how they could have responded to this "American aggression" without committing a crime in the eyes of Allah. Instead, all the lessons he drew were directed squarely at the Great Satan itself. The attacks, explained Sheikh Omar, were a consequence of "atrocities and the aggression committed by the US Government and its forces against the third World in general and the Muslim World." Going beyond even Osama bin Laden, this influential divine enumerated atrocities including not only American support of Israel, the occupation of Somalia and the bombing of Iraq and Sudan, but also the occupation of "Muslim land in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt and Turkey."

He further condemned Western governments and media as "people who victimize Muslims and Islam." The Western powers, explained the sheikh, are indifferent to "Muslim lives and blood." He pointed out that the attacks showed that Muslims had the "determination to die for a just cause." They "shake the arrogance of the Western Government and undermine their claims to be invulnerable country in the World [sic]."

The success of the attacks, Sheikh Omar concluded, showed that "there is no defense system could stand in the way of the determination of a person who wants to become a Martyr." His conception of a martyr, it should be noted, differs from the common Western idea, derived from Christianity. A Christian martyr is someone who is killed for his faith, without bringing his own death upon himself. The notion of a "martyr" as someone who kills others viewed as enemies of the faith, and in the process gets himself killed, is a distinctly Islamic construct.

Sheikh Omar's pronouncements about the reasons for the attack aren't too far removed from those voiced by icons of the left such as Noam Chomsky and Susan Sontag; though presumably they didn't intend to inspire young men to dedicate themselves to destroying the Great Satan.

Meanwhile, Osama bin Laden's favorite imams went even further. In the celebrated video in which bin Laden, for all intents and purposes, admitted complicity in the September 11 terrorism, he asked his guest: "What is the stand of the Mosques there [in Saudi Arabia]?" The sheikh who had come to pay homage to the terrorist mastermind replied, "Honestly, they are very positive." One prominent Saudi sheikh, he said, "gave a good sermon in his class after the sunset prayers.... His position is really very encouraging." Another, said the sheikh, "gave a beautiful fatwa, may Allah bless him."

On the thorniest question arising from the terrorist attacks, this second sheikh disagreed absolutely with those who condemned the attacks because they killed innocents: "This was jihad and those people were not innocent people [World Trade Center and Pentagon victims]. He swore to Allah."

The Wahhabis

Those who defend Islam say that these pro-bin Laden Saudis are Wahhabis, and that this explains their hard line.

The Wahhabis are the notoriously strict Muslim sect that holds sway in Saudi Arabia and maintains a haughty sense of superiority over the rest of the Muslim world. Founded by the Sunni reformist Sheikh Muhammad ibn Abdul al-Wahhab (ca. 1700-1792), the Wahhabis purport to restore the purity of Islam by rejecting all innovations that occurred after the third Islamic century-that is, around the year 950. (Presumably Islamic practice before that date could be directly traced to the words and actions of the Prophet, but after that the connection to Muhammad becomes more tenuous.)

The most visible consequence of this reform is that Wahhabi mosques lack minarets, but the Wahhabis cut far deeper into the Islamic consciousness than that. Al-Wahhab rejected the widespread Sunni practice of venerating Muslim saints, calling it a species of shirk, the cardinal Muslim sin of worshiping created beings along with Allah. Based largely on this perception, he declared all non-Wahhabi Muslims to be unbelievers, and waged jihad, or holy war, against them. Wahhabi fortunes waxed and waned throughout the nineteenth century, but in 1932 the Wahhabi Sheikh Ibn Saud captured Riyadh and established the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Wahhabi principles.

Other Muslim groups, in turn, despise the Wahhabis and deny their claim to represent anything like true or pure Islam. One Muslim characterized the Wahhabis venomously as unprincipled opportunists:

While claiming to be adherents to "authentic" Sunnah [Muslim tradition], these deviants are quick to label anyone who opposes their beliefs ... as "sufi," [that is, akin to adherents of the mystical Sufi sect, elements of which Wahhabis and other Muslims consider heretical] while exploiting the Muslims' love for Islam by overexaggerating the phrase "Qur'an and Sunnah" in their senseless rhetoric.

Many Western scholars blame the Wahhabis almost exclusively for terrorism, while maintaining a sharp distinction between Islam in its Wahhabi form and the genuine article. Journalist Stephen Schwartz, for instance, calls Wahhabism "the main form of Islamic fundamentalism." He asserts that "fundamentalism was always a tendency in Islam, as in every other religion, but did not gain permanent influence until the 18th century and the rise of Wahhabism." The Wahhabis, he says, prosper on Saudi oil money and an American military presence. If their funding were cut off, they would "dwindle to a feeble remnant," and presumably terrorism would decline as well.

Certainly Wahhabis have generously supported terrorists. The Saudi government's affection for the Taliban is well documented. But the problem of Islamic terror is not simply the problem of the Wahhabis. There are disquieting signs that Muslim terror is much more broadly based. It is precisely the Wahhabis' claim to represent pure Islam that has inspired Muslim groups from North Africa to Indonesia-and gives the Wahhabis and their spiritual kin resilience and staying power. As former education secretary William J.

Continues...


Excerpted from ISLAM UNVEILED by ROBERT SPENCER Copyright © 2002 by Robert Spencer. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Author's Note
Prologue: What Does Islam Really Stand For? 1
1 Is Islam a Religion of Peace? 7
2 Does Islam Promote and Safeguard Sound Moral Values? 39
3 Does Islam Respect Human Rights? 57
4 Does Islam Respect Women? 73
5 Is Islam Compatible with Liberal Democracy? 93
6 Can Islam Be Secularized and Made Compatible with the Western Pluralistic Framework? 101
7 Can Science and Culture Flourish under Islam? 113
8 The Crusades: Christian and Muslim 131
9 Is Islam Tolerant of Non-Muslims? 143
10 Does the West Really Have Nothing to Fear from Islam? 165
Acknowledgments 177
Notes 179
Index 203
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 23 )
Rating Distribution

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(11)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2003

    another 'born again' attack on Islam

    This book is spreading like wildfire through evangelical churches with all the typical misunderstandings about Islam. What the writer does not disclose is how Islam has different sects,with different degrees of strict lifestyles vs moderate lifestyles.This radical Islam is but a small portion of the Muslim world. Another falsehood found in the book is the writers belief that all Muslim men are terrorists and all women are beaten down oppressed objects. This book is pure sensationalism.

    6 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2005

    Extremely Accurate

    This is an extremely accurate a close look at Islam as it is really understood throughout the ummah. It takes a hard look at the real questions. Has Islam been hijacked by fundamentalists and terrorists or does it truly teach the things that they represent? I found this book to be very enlightening to the real problems with the clash of Western ideals against an enormous world Muslim population. His conclusion in awesome.

    4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2002

    missing the mark

    the ignorance represented in this book is like nothing i have ever heard . i am not talking about the book being politicaly incorrect. iv read many things that are not considered "politicaly correct" and i have agreed, but this book has giving amunition to those who wish to degrade a religion that is so often misinterpreted by those who fear and fail to understand it. you may ask am i dening the fact that there are fanatics who "practise" Islam. my answer is obviously no, but that is not a reflection of the actual religion the belifes of the terrorists are missiterprations of the Quran not everything in the quran should be interpreted at face value Islam is a complex religion subject to interpratation and i can say without a shadow of a doubt that the Religion i have study is far diffrent than the one in this book.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2002

    Very True - From a Muslim

    Its very true. I am a muslim from Iran and I have read the koran. I regret to say that its all true. I am ashamed of my belifs....

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2012

    I'm Muslim and American and living in the Middle East for 20 yea

    I'm Muslim and American and living in the Middle East for 20 years now. From the beginning of this book I can tell this book was written using the Quaran out of context. This kind of writing will produce nothing but fear, hate and distrust. The Quaranic verses about "infidels" pertain to the times when the early Muslims were being attacked and Allah told them they had a right to defend themselves.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 8, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Islam that isn't made up

    This is the Islam other PC mythical derived fools don't want you to see.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2003

    Disturbing but an awareness that we all need to possess.

    The book's cover displays a chilling photograph of the eyes of Mohammed Atta, one of the Islamic terrorist hijackers involved in the September 11 2001 atrocities. A fitting lead into this study of Islam and the underlying hatred behind these and other acts of terrorism. The writer has been a student of Islam for some 20 years and tries to explain without bias, what he personally declares as some of the misconceptions surrounding Islam. Whilst I might not agree with everything that the book contains, it is very well written and an extremely useful reference for those wishing to study these issues. The book states at the outset that most Westerners know very little about Islam and had little or no idea of the depth of hatred and hostility facing the West prior to September 11. The writer proceeds to declare that whilst the very many innocent Moslems should not be held guilty by association following these terrorist attacks, the likes of Osama bin Laden and co. actually meant precisely what they said & far from being extremists or perverters of Islam, they actually interpret Islam's tenets correctly. The book addresses how for many decades, endless incidents of violence, murder & terrorism have been publicly declared as `having nothing to do with Islam'. Claims still being echoed by senior Western politicians who blindly insist that Islam is a `peaceful religion' ignoring Islamic calls for worldwide domination and the destruction of the West and Israel. The book stating that to bracket Islam and peace is just wishful thinking with reference to the Islamic fighting against it's neighbours along the perimeter of the Islamic world, citing the violence against Hindus in India, Communists & Buddhists, Chinese, Jews and some `Christian' entities. Islamic `tolerance' of other religions is also studied with reference to the Quranic statement that `anyone who converts from Islam to Christianity deserves to die'. Numerous incidents are mentioned where those refusing to convert to Islam have been instantly executed on the spot. Amongst the many other issues addressed are the distressing treatment of women & how they are victimised under Shariah or Islamic law plus the appalling human rights record in the Islamic world. Slavery still surviving in some Islamic countries such as Sudan, Saudi Arabia & Mauritania, together with the still present dhimmi status attached to non-Moslems who are still regarded as second class, inferior citizens. There is also an analysis of why the Islamic region is such a fertile breeding ground for violence. Looking into the Islamic mindset, we see how many modern day Moslems are being fed on a Quranic diet of anti-Jewish/anti-Western diatribe. The book studies the incentives and fervour behind Islamic homicide/suicide bombings, citing the rewards for such actions outlined in the Quran under Sura 56; 15-24. An example is quoted of a 11 year old Palestinian youth publicly declaring to his class-mates, '...I will make my body a bomb that will blast the flesh of Zionists, the sons of pigs and monkeys...I will tear their bodies into little pieces and cause them more pain than they will ever know.' -His classmates responding 'Allah Akhbar (God is great)' and his Palestinian teacher shouting, 'May the virgins give you pleasure!' Speaking with a deep concern, I consider that this book is valuable in alerting people to the dangers of Islam which have impacted our lives and will no doubt impact our lives even more in the near future. There are two reasons which we must all be knowledgeable about this religion. Despite what many people say, what politicians and the media profess, Islam can here be seen as indeed a religion of war and bloodshed & that it is intent upon world domination. This is confirmed throughout many sections of the Quran and Hadith, the two main literary sources of Islam. To blindly ignore this, irrespective of how honourable the motives might seem, invites disaster. Might I respect

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2002

    Good questions indeed!

    Islam Unveiled looks at Islam from the point of view of a reasonable person trying to make sense of the Koran and other important Islamic writings. While the historical examples are wide ranging and fascinating, it is the beliefs of Muslims - not their actions- that take centre stage. The author explores different traditions of Islamic interpretation. While some reviewers are using Islam Unveiled as a springboard for their own opinions about Islam or Christianity, the book itself patiently finds the areas where the two religions do in fact have irreconcilable differences. Islam Unveiled is tremendously informative, and benefits immensely by being not a book of answers, but rather, as the title says, a book of excellent questions. This is an extremely well-documented book. The author says flat out that the Muslim culture has made contributions of great beauty to the world. He is very clear on the fact that he does not think all Muslims are terrorists. But the west can't engage in wishful thinking and imagine that we can be indifferent to fundamentalist Islamic groups around the globe. Reformist Muslims have an uphill fight. This book shows why!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2005

    WOW

    I thought Kennith R. Timmerman did a good job with Preachers of Hate, but Bob Spencer truly did some research here. The truth is often times hard to face, but face it we must. All men are created Equal, but not religions. No wonder The Democrats don't want to fight, Islam is the oppressor they have been praying for.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2003

    one of the year's must reads

    Highlights many very seriously troubling aspects of Islam. Lots of sources, good historical perspective.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2002

    Analysis of Modern Islam Wihtout the "Politically Correct" Liberal Media Slant (Nor the Liberal Media Shameful Silence)

    The critics of those who warn that Islamic terrorists' political philosophy are largely faithful to the text and history of Islamic doctrine, were they intellectually honest and not blindly and mindlessly obsessed with political correctness and fanciful and unrealistic notions of "inclusion" in the face of such a grave threat, would be hard pressed to deny the evidence set forth so cogently by Spencer in this book. After learning about the truth behind the text of the Koran and other Islamic doctrine, and placing it in historical context, it becomes obvious that in contrast to other religions like Christianity, which without question have had their dark sides both in doctrine and practice, the difference is that the textual provisions pertaining to violence (most notably death to nonbelievers) in the Koran is absolutist and largely devoid of any mollifying language that can be used to interpret the faith in a broader context (contrast the old and new testaments: "Eye for an Eye" vs. "If one strikes you offer him the other cheek") Of course, the blatantly biased and "inclusion/tolerance" conscious liberal media will NEVER tell you this disconcerting reality about this religion and the modern crisis that is spreading across the globe as a result of its absolutism, intolerance and anti-individualism. That is why all Americans MUST read this well researched and virtually unassailable book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2002

    Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions about the World's Fastest-Growing Faith

    The writer goes out of his way to show Islam and Quran as very different from Christianity and Bible. This is the best defense 'Islam Haters' has been using for centuries. Nothing new here. Just re-packaged propaganda against Islam. In truth, Judiasm, Christianity, Islam all show the way towards God, each taking a different path. See my recomendation on related titles

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2002

    Critics Must Not Have Read the Book

    Clearly these people who are slamming this book as racist and hateful haven't read it, and that's why they can't come up with even one substantive objection. This is a careful, well-researched, balanced, and thoughtful presentation of some important issues regarding Islam today. It is a useful corrective to the PC distortions and half-truths that are so widespread about Islam, and that are exemplified by the Booknews review here.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2002

    Timely look at Islam

    An overview of Islam that explains where the overlooked and uncomfortable facts of that religion come from. It includes fascinating stories. Most importantly, it shows how easily the core elements of Islam give rise to terrorism and violence. It's not a popular thing to say right now, but believe me, the governments of Turkey and Egypt know how right this book is and are constantly on guard against threats by their fellow Muslims.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2002

    True Islam.

    If anyone wants to understand what real Islam is all about he or she needs to read this book instead of watching main stream media's representation of an Islam that does not exist. Mr. Spencer thank you for your hard work.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2002

    Thoughtful, well-researched, powerful

    "Jeff" is way off base. I wouldn't be surprised if he hasn't even read this book. There is nothing racist or hateful about this book. There is nothing in it that says anything like "all the Islamic people are really out to kill all of us Americans." Everything comes straight from Islamic sources, raising serious and thought-provoking questions.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2003

    Robert Spencer Belongs in the Hall of Shame for Dishonest Scholarship

    While attempting rather poorly to portray his positions on Islam as impartial, his tone and rhetoric smack of venomous bin-Laden-like fundamentalism like that of Pat Robertson. Although a whole book is required to unveil Spencer's vitriolic assault on Islam, one example for purposes of this review will suffice. In "The Wahhabis" section, he first writes a whole page about the truth of Wahhabism. However, Spencer then says: ¿But the problem of Islamic terror is not simply the problem of the Wahhabis.¿ The problem is that nobody is saying that non-Wahhabi militants do not exist. They certainly do but their adverse effects in comparison are in no way near the adverse effects of Wahhabism, largely because of the large-scale international financing it receives from the Saudi monarchy and other rich non-monarchial Saudis. Muslims say, as Stephen Schwartz says, that Wahhabism is the ¿main form of Islamic fundamentalism¿ -- not the only form. Moreover, Spencer says, ¿There are disquieting signs that Muslim terror is much broadly based. It is precisely the Wahhabis¿ claim to represent pure Islam that has inspired Muslims groups from North Africa to Indonesia ¿ and gives the Wahhabis and their spiritual kin resilience and staying power.¿ Indeed, Wahhabism has ¿inspired Muslim groups from North Africa to Indonesia,¿ but this still points to Wahhabism as the main source of ¿inspiration¿ for other militant groups ¿ mainly "salafi" groups that follow most of the Wahhabi interpretations of Islam. Spencer's words are many but without substance. Spencer then talks about Omar bin Bakri bin Muhammad, founder and leader of the extremist group, Al-Muhajiroun. He says: ¿Sheikh Omar is no Wahhabi; in fact, he calls the Wahhabi king of Saudi Arabia ¿the pirate ruler of the pirate state of so-called Saudi-Arabia.¿ The information presented by Spencer is insufficient to make such a conclusion as he does without providing the evidence to substantiate his claim. Sheikh Omar does not condemn the Saudi king because of his Wahhabism, but primarily because in his view he is Islamically unfit to rule. Not once in a book by the Al-Muhajiroun on Saudi Arabia do they condemn Muhammad ibn `Abdl-Wahhab, the founder of Wahhabism, or his favorite role model and predecessor, Ibn Taymiyah. Spencer conveniently misses these crucial points. Spencer then says, ¿Nevertheless, his organization had no trouble declaring its sympathies for bin Laden.¿ Spencer fails to clarify this contradiction to the reader ¿ why Omar, who Spencer alleges is ¿not Wahhabi¿, is condemning the Wahhabi king of Saudi Arabia, but not the Wahhabi Osama bin Laden. The answer is twofold: First, because Omar and bin Laden both share the common understanding of rejecting the pseudo-Islamic government of Saudi Arabia because of their un-Islamic ways and wish to replace it with a "true" Islamic government. Second, Omar Bakri and Bin Laden share many Wahhabi interpretations of Islam ¿ what Spencer fails to note. Although Omar Bakri may not follow all of the interpretations of Wahhabism, such as in matters of the caliphate (khilafa), he nonetheless conforms to many Wahhabi interpretations. To any Sunni Muslim, Omar Bakri is a Wahhabi regardless of what Spencer (or Omar Bakri) thinks. Before going through some of the similarities between Omar Bakri¿s views that mirror Wahhabism, it behooves one to note that Spencer fails to mention that his group does not represent orthodox Sunni Islam nonetheless. If Spencer had done a little bit more research, he would have known that mainstream Sunnis not only reject Wahhabism as heretical, but also Al-Muhajiroun and Hizb ut-Tahrir, of which he established a branch earlier -- but later splintered from it. Now, to the similarities: Al-Muhajiroun¿s on-line pamphlet available on their website states that "Tawheed" consists of 3 parts ¿ "Uluhiyah," "Rububiyah," and "Asm¿au al-Sifat." This is what wahhabis believe and what they have adopted from Ibn Taymiyyah, the role mode

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2002

    Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions about the World's Fastest-Growing Faith

    This book is very appropriate for hate mongers among us. For the rest of us, there are more appropriate books on Islamic philosophy or Sufism. But if you want to hate one fifth of the humanity through manipulated lies, this book will be appropriate for you. Thank God(Jesus, Allah, Bhogoban etc) or rather Starbucks that I didn't buy this type of lies.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2002

    Anti-Islamic Hatred

    This book is pure nonsense. Spencer has little knowledge of Arabic or Islamic tradition. Instead, he pulls Qur'anic verses out of context and searches Islamic history for anything that can be interpreted negatively. His conclusion? Islam is an evil religion whose purpose is to kill Americans. Americans complain about anti-American hatred in parts of the Muslim world, but tolerate anti-Muslim hatred of this type. Pure hypocrisy.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2002

    Don't waste your time on this racist diatribe

    Wow. I can't believe I wasted my money on this book. Don't make the same mistake. If you're able to think on your own, this book is a pathetic waste of time. This "author" couches his hatred for the Islamic religion and people in scare diatribes about how all the Islamic people are really out to kill all of us Americans. This book is just a repetition of the prejudices which exist in our society, and are propagated every day by our mass media. This guy pulls a few references from the Koran out of context - very much like the anti-Christians pull stories out of the Bible to show how barbarous Christianity is. Both arguments are equally ridiculous and dangerous.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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