Islam Unveiled Page 11 4;https://publishersrow.com:443/islam_unveiled...

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.

FOREWORD xi also be aware that the rigidity of Islamic doctrine conflicts with the actual daily conduct of Muslims. The imam or mullah who comes beseeching for a bottle of whisky or a bribe is a familiar figure, and so is the rabid anti- Western Islamic extremist who asks how to get his son into an Ivy League university. Hypocrisy smoothes the rough surfaces of every soci-ety, and perhaps there is more to rejoice in that than to blame. Ernest Renan, who founded the study of comparative religion more than a century ago, thought that Islam was the engine of this spiritual and temporal despotism, describing it as “ the heaviest chains that ever shackled humanity.” Robert Spencer follows in that tradition. To him, the concept that the Qur’an is a perfect book leads to anti- intellectual-ism. Certainly there have been no Islamic Renans; and exegesis of the sacred text as practiced by Christians and Jews would be blasphemous. The result, as Spencer puts it, is that “ bigotry, fanaticism and plain igno-rance are rooted in some of the central tenets of Islam.” There is no scope for questioning the absolutism inherent in the faith and its accompany-ing Islamic society, or for reforming the injustices deriving from it. One unequal relationship postulated by Islam is that between men and women, and another is between master and slave. Robert Spencer may sound polemical on these topics, but he is only reporting the real-ity. Women in Islam are victimized by the Sharia, or Islamic law, which privileges men in numerous social and legal instances, and in some coun-tries they are further victimized by customs such as polygamy and female circumcision. As for slavery, it still survives in a few Arab countries includ-ing Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Mauritania. A third unequal relationship goes back to the origins of Islam, when Muslims conquered other peoples, then put them to the sword, con-verted them or offered them the choice of becoming dhimmi, that is, sec-ond- class citizens suffering social and financial impositions that did not affect Muslims, but protected by the state in return. The assumption of Muslim superiority and dhimmi inferiority underlay the rightful order-ing of the Islamic world. In the modern age, however, such an assump-tion evidently became absurd. Twin reactions have followed in the House of Islam: self- pity at finding itself in such backwardness, and hatred of those thought to be responsible for it. Inflamed by this mindset, Mus-lims all around the perimeter of the Islamic world are fighting their neigh-bors of other religions— Hindus in India, Communist and Buddhist Chinese, Jews, Christians in a score of countries, and pagan animists in

Islam Unveiled


About Book Islam Unveiled

Front matterTitle pageCopyright pageDedicationContentsForewordAuthor's NoteContentsWhat Does Islam Really Stand For?Is Islam a Religion of Peace?Does Islam Promote and Safeguard Sound Moral Values?Does Islam Respect Human Rights?Does Islam Respect Women?Is Islam Compatible with Liberal Democracy?Can Islam Be Secularized and Made Compatible with the Western Pluralistic Framework?Can Science and Culture Flourish under Islam?The Crusades: Christian and MuslimIs Islam Tolerant of Non-Muslims?Does the West Really Have Nothing to Fear from Islam?AcknowledgementsNotesIndex
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