In late 2003, Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation, of which I am an Adjunct Fellow, offered an alternative book list on Islam to the package CAIR was offering to libraries. Of course, FCF didn’t have the funding CAIR did, so these books didn’t make it into many libraries. Nevertheless, I thought that in light of General Vines’ reading list, it would be useful to supply a corrective.
This is not by any means meant as a comprehensive list, but it is a start. And you can order the books here.
The recent attacks in Baghdad in which suicide car bombings killed at least 34 people no doubt will strike many Americans as disruptive of a major Islamic holiday, coming as they did during the start of Ramadan, the holiest holiday for Muslims. Fasting is required of adult Muslims to instill piety.
Right now, American officials believe that the planning of such attacks takes place after the mosque prayers held on Friday.
No doubt many Americans, viewing Islam through the prism of the mores that comprise our Judeo-Christian civilization, view such attacks as if they had been launched by Christians or Jews during Christmas or Passover, undermining the very nature of the religious holiday and the religion itself.
This is a misleading view of what truly constitutes the Islamic religion, a misconception that can not only be attributed to the naÃ¯vetÃ© of Americans but also the efforts of well-funded Islamic groups such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
CAIR and its allies like to gloss over the fact that the Qur’an’s Sura 9:29 implores devout Muslims to “Fight against such of those to whom the Scriptures were given [i.e., Jews and Christians] as believe neither in Allah nor the Last Day, who do not forbid what Allah and His Apostle have forbidden, and do not embrace the true Faith, until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued.” Yet Muslims worldwide are taking such verses as marching orders right now.
CAIR also prefers to ignore urgings such as that presented by Sura 48:29 which declares, “Muhammad is Allah’s Apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another.” Yet in Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan and elsewhere today, Muslims are being “ruthless to the unbelievers.”
Muslims accept the Qur’an as the direct words of Allah. Many passages preach violence against non-believers. As long as the Qur’an is held to be words dictated by God Himself, some Muslims will be motivated to carry out the urgings of Allah to commit violence against unbelievers, including Christians and Jews.
Right now CAIR is engaged in a campaign to stock the shelves of public libraries with books and videos maintaining that at heart Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance. Undoubtedly, this is reassuring to the portion of the American public that accepts multiculturalism, and which refuses to accept the reality that there are many people in this world who do not share the post-modern, secular worldview that has come to define Western civilization.
The books that CAIR is placing on library shelves include The Islamic
Threat: Myth or Reality by John L. Esposito. An online review on Amazon.com tellingly describes Esposito as a “nice guy” whose overwhelming desire for peace between the Islamic and Judeo-Christian worlds has turned him into “an apologist for the worst excesses of political Islam.” Indeed, Esposito contends that jihad is a misunderstood concept and does not mean “holy war.” True, the word “jihad” doesn’t translate as “holy war,” but to say that it hasn’t meant holy war from time to time throughout history is simply fantasy.
Another book that is part of the CAIR packages is The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Islam, which also makes the misleading assertion that Islam is at heart peaceful and misunderstood.
No doubt the message presented by the books and videos that comprise the CAIR packages will be comforting to many Americans who are very eager not to accept the truth about Islam. But it is not the whole story by any means. America’s libraries have a responsibility to the public to ensure that their shelves contain a balanced view of Islam. They should make an effort to explain the context of the debate fairly, accurately, and in full context.
To balance the CAIR library package, at the Free Congress Foundation we’ve decided to offer libraries suggestions of our own, having compiled a list of twelve books.
Three of those books that deserve prominent places on the shelves of your public library – because they offer a frank discussion of Islam and how its radical believers view the West: Onward Muslim Soldiers: How Jihad Still Threatens America and the West by Robert Spencer, Adjunct Fellow at the Free Congress Foundation; American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us by Steven Emerson; and Sword of the Prophet by Serge Trifkovic.
Spencer’s Onward Muslim Soldiers (Regnery Publishing) contains numerous quotes from terrorists and Muslim radicals (including many in the United States) citing Islamic theology to justify violence. This is information that all Americans should know, given the current geopolitical climate. Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, has proclaimed: “Jihad and killing is the head of Islam. If you take it out, you cut off the head of Islam.” What makes Spencer’s book also valuable is his willingness to explore how the West’s commendable quality of tolerance has been taken so far by some that it has blinded them to the true threat that we confront. It is too easy to write off 9/11 as the work of a marginal gang of terrorists, not a global movement of determined extremists who harbor a deep-seated hatred for our society. Extreme as the viewpoints of Muslim terrorists are, Americans also need to understand that the violent actions and words of members of al Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah are welcomed by many Muslims. Spencer’s book shows why that is so.
Steven Emerson’s American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us (Free Press) details the effort of Islamic terrorists to bring our country to its knees, and exposes their extensive networks. The mainstream news media still has not paid enough attention to the network that the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas has been able to build in the United States. Emerson’s book compensates for the lack of coverage we see in newspapers and on television.
Serge Trifkovic’s The Sword of the Prophet: History, Theology, Impact on the World (BHB International) examines, among many illuminating topics, the powerful anti-Semitism that is constantly promoted in the Islamic press. Like Americans willing to overlook the imagery promoted by the Nazi propagandists, today’s establishment media largely gives the Islamist media a pass. Trifkovic is no more a saber rattler than are Emerson or Spencer. He endorses ideas such as more careful immigration policies as vital steps to help defend us from the radical Islamists.
These three books take a tough-minded look at the ideology driving the Islamic extremists and our unwillingness to confront the reality of the situation. It has been two years since the 9/11 attack and the lack of any major terrorists incidents on American soil since then has allowed many Americans to view the world as if 9/11 was an isolated incident.
I would like to think so. But our involvement in the Middle East and the continuing effort to “globalize” American cultural and economic relationships with Islamic countries makes it unwise for us to expect that Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations are willing to let bygones be bygones. They are willing to be patient, waiting to strike when we least expect it.
The first step to defending ourselves is to know our enemy. Indeed, for many Americans, that means recognizing that we do indeed confront an enemy in radical Islamists who hate our country and the West and the very freedom that defines our societies. In America, CAIR is free to try to place their books on the shelves of libraries. (Something that Christians or Jews would not be permitted to do in many Islamic societies.) But the library owes it to their patrons to inform them of the source of the donation and to ensure that other books with a different point of view are available too. The books by Spencer, Emerson, and Trifkovic represent a needed balance to the CAIR packages. They are more than deserving of space on the shelves of public libraries. Americans need to read these books and think hard about their unflinching portrayal of a religion whose central tenets are unlikely to let America and the West live in peace.
The Free Congress Foundation Islamic Books for Libraries Kit: we may not endorse everything in these books, but they provide a needed corrective to CAIR’s list, and stand as monuments of courage in the face of jihad terrorism. Besides the three above, here are more suggested books to counterbalance the CAIR list:
Why I Am Not A Muslim by Ibn Warraq (Prometheus Books)
What the Koran Really Says: Language, Text, and Commentary by Ibn Warraq (Prometheus Books)
Leaving Islam: Apostates Speak Out by Ibn Warraq (Prometheus Books)
Islam and Dhimmitude: Where Civilizations Collide by Bat Ye’or (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press)
The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam: From Jihad To Dhimmitude by Bat Ye’or (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press)
Jihad In The West: Muslim Conquests From The 7th To The 21st Century by Paul Fregosi (Prometheus Books)
Escape From Slavery: The True Story Of My Ten Years In Captivity And My Journey To Freedom by Francis Bok (St. Martin’s Press)
The Early Development of Mohammedanism by David S. Margoliouth (Simon Publications)
Mohammed and the Rise of Islam by David Margoliouth (reprint publisher: AMS Press)