They banned it because it says Islam spread by force and persecuted Christians. Are the “experts on Islamic history” who commented on the book in Cairo really experts on Islamic history, or on the whitewashing of that history?
All this is especially ironic in light of the fact that the New York Times quoted a Muslim spokesman just the other day, saying that “for centuries Muslims have been told that Islam was spread by the sword.” Muslims can say it; men named George Bush can’t.
From Reuters, with thanks to JS and Ali Dashti:
CAIRO (Reuters) – The censors at al-Azhar, Cairo’s center of Islamic learning, have recommended the government ban a 19th century biography of the Prophet Mohammad by a scholar portrayed in the Arabic media as an ancestor of President Bush.
An al-Azhar official, who asked not to be named, said on Monday the ban applied to the original English version of The Life of Mohammad by the scholar George Bush, first published in 1830 and reissued in the United States in 2002.
He did not give a reason but press articles on an Arabic translation of the book have criticized its account of early Islamic history. They quote Bush as saying Muslims spread Islam by force and persecuted Christians, for example.
Excerpts have appeared in the Cairo daily Nahdet Misr, with critical comments by experts in Islamic history.