A CAIR press release entitled “Neocon Mag Promotes Anti-Muslim Hate Literature; CAIR Seeks Clarification, Apology from National Review” says this:
WASHINGTON, March 17 /U.S. Newswire/ — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on a prominent national neoconservative magazine to clarify its policy on anti-Muslim hate following revelations that the publication distributed an Internet advertisement for an virulently Islamophobic book.
CAIR’s request came in response to a complaint from a member of the National Review’s e-mail list who received a message promoting an apparently self-published book that, according to the magazine, is a “guide into the dark mind of (the Prophet) Mohammed.”
The National Review’s review of the book states: “(The author) explains why Mohammed couldn’t possibly be a true prophet, and reveals the true sources of his ‘revelations.'”
It quotes the author as claiming: “Mohammed posed as the apostle of God…while his life is marked by innumerable marriages; and great licentiousness, deeds of rapine, warfare, conquests, unmerciful butcheries, all the time invoking God’s holy name to sanction his evil deeds.”
According to the National Review, the book shows how “Mohammed again and again justified his rapine and licentiousness with new ‘divine revelations.'”
“This anti-Muslim screed is the literary equivalent of ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ and should not be promoted by a publication that has any sense of decency,” said CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. “The National Review must clarify its position on Islamophobic hate speech and offer a public apology for promoting a book that so viciously attacks the faith of one-fifth of the world’s population.”
Hooper said anti-Muslim rhetoric often leads to discrimination and even violence.
What a load of radioactive hogwash, Ibrahim. And it’s hogwash on several levels:
1. National Review didn’t originate the advertising material that CAIR quotes here. I couldn’t find it on their site, although it may be there somewhere (unless they have already caved). In fact, this is ad copy that has circulated to a number of book services; I found it here. (This is also a good place where you can buy the book.)
2. The book in question, The Life and Religion of Mohammed by Fr. J. L. Menezes, is not a volume of “anti-Muslim hate literature.” It was written over eighty years ago by a Roman Catholic priest who was a missionary in India. I have read it, and there is nothing inflammatory or inciteful in it; in fact, it is suffused with a pastoral love for Muslims.
3. The author, as a Christian priest, obviously did not accept Muhammad’s claim to be a prophet. If it is Islamophobic hate literature for a book to explain “why Mohammed couldn’t possibly be a true prophet,” then the Christian Faith itself is Islamophobic and hateful. (And that, of course, is precisely the view that prevails among all too many today in Pakistan, where many Christians have been victimized under the nation’s blasphemy laws after being confronted by Muslims and refusing to acknowledge Muhammad as a prophet.)
4. As this press release itself reflects, The Life and Religion of Mohammed doesn’t say anything false about Muhammad. “Mohammed posed as the apostle of God…while his life is marked by innumerable marriages; and great licentiousness, deeds of rapine, warfare, conquests, unmerciful butcheries, all the time invoking God’s holy name to sanction his evil deeds.” Aside from the judgment that all this is “evil,” what in it is CAIR actually denying? That Muhammad claimed to be the apostle of God? No, I’m sure Hooper and Co. would affirm that. That he was married more than once? Universally acknowledged by Muslims. That his career was marked by “great licentiousness, deeds of rapine, warfare, conquests, unmerciful butcheries”? Let’s take each of those in turn.
a. “Great licentiousness”:
Again, these are judgmental words, but the judgment is not unreasonable or unfounded. Just one of many possible examples comes from the Qur’an, in which Allah allows Muhammad to have more wives than are allowed to other Muslims: “O Prophet! Lo! We have made lawful unto thee thy wives unto whom thou hast paid their dowries, and those whom thy right hand possesseth of those whom Allah hath given thee as spoils of war, and the daughters of thine uncle on the father’s side and the daughters of thine aunts on the father’s side, and the daughters of thine uncle on the mother’s side and the daughters of thine aunts on the mother’s side who emigrated with thee, and a believing woman if she give herself unto the Prophet and the Prophet desire to ask her in marriage – a privilege for thee only, not for the (rest of) believers…” (Qur’an 33:50)
b. “Deeds of rapine”:
Yet again this is not an unreasonable judgment. The Qur’an assumes that Muslims will be waging war and forcibly seizing others’ property, and so far from forbidding this, only insists that the Prophet get a share: “And know that whatever ye take as spoils of war, lo! a fifth thereof is for Allah, and for the messenger and for the kinsman (who hath need) and orphans and the needy and the wayfarer, if ye believe in Allah and that which We revealed unto Our slave on the Day of Discrimination, the day when the two armies met” (Qur’an 8:41).
Muhammad fought in many battles and enjoined warfare on his followers:
“Warfare is ordained for you, though it is hateful unto you; but it may happen that ye hate a thing which is good for you, and it may happen that ye love a thing which is bad for you. Allah knoweth, ye know not” (Qur’an 2:216).
Muhammad, of course, started almost all the battles in which he fought. A sampling: “Ibn Shihab reported that Allah’s Messenger made an expedition to Tabuk and he (the Holy Prophet) had in his mind (the idea of threatening the) Christians of Arabia in Syria and those of Rome” (Sahih Muslim, book 37, no. 6670).
Did Muhammad not conquer? “And that Our forces, they surely must conquer” (Qur’an 37:173).
“Narrated ‘Amr bin Salama: We were at a place which was a thoroughfare for the people, and the caravans used to pass by us and we would ask them, “What is wrong with the people? What is wrong with the people? Who is that man?. They would say, “That man claims that Allah has sent him (as an Apostle), that he has been divinely inspired, that Allah has revealed to him such-and-such.” I used to memorize that (Divine) Talk, and feel as if it was inculcated in my chest (i.e. mind) And the ‘Arabs (other than Quraish) delayed their conversion to Islam till the Conquest (of Mecca). They used to say.” “Leave him (i.e. Muhammad) and his people Quraish: if he overpowers them then he is a true Prophet. So, when Mecca was conquered, then every tribe rushed to embrace Islam, and my father hurried to embrace Islam before (the other members of) my tribe” (Sahih Bukhari, volume 5, book 59, number 595).
e. “Unmerciful butcheries”:
Ibn Ishaq, Muhammad’s earliest biographer (and a pious Muslim) recounts the massacre of the Jewish Banu Qurayzah: “The apostle went out to the market of Medina (which is still its market today) and dug trenches in it. Then he sent for [the men of Banu Qurayza] and struck off their heads in those trenches as they were brought out to him in batches….There were 600 or 700 in all, though some put the figure as high as 800 or 900.” (Ibn Ishaq’s Sira, 689).
CAIR may differ with Fr. Menezes’s assessment of this material, but it can’t very well deny its existence. Muslim apologists try to justify Muhammad’s marriages, battles, and killings in various ways, but it would be the height of chutzpah to deny they took place at all. Would CAIR, in contrast, paint for us a picture of Muhammad the Rotarian?
5. “Hooper said anti-Muslim rhetoric often leads to discrimination and even violence.” Fr. Menezes calls for no violence. Everything he says about Muhammad is, as I have shown, easily established from Islamic sources. What this charge does is attempt to divert attention from the real violence committed by jihadists today to a chimera of violence against Muslims in America, and thereby silence criticism of Islam and, in particular, investigations of the sources of Islamic terror in the Qur’an and Sunnah.
But what about when the jihadists themselves quote the same passages to justify their behavior? Surely they aren’t “Islamophobic” too, are they? Of course they aren’t — and if non-Muslims can’t look into Islamic sources to investigate the causes of jihad violence, it plays into their hands: the less Americans know about how they recruit and motivate terrorists, the less we can do about it.
6. “This anti-Muslim screed is the literary equivalent of ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.'” No it isn’t. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a malicious work of fiction. But I have cited Islamic sources only in illustrating each of the points above. Is CAIR ready to say that all that (and much more that could be adduced) is false?
Of course not. They would say (except that they won’t have to, because they won’t be called to account) that it is all taken out of context. Yet no one has ever satisfactorily explained in what context this all becomes benign.
Finally, the book is not “self-published.” It was first published in the 1920s; what is being advertised now is a new reprint from Roman Catholic Books.
If CAIR succeeds in intimidating NR into silence or getting them to drop this book, it will be a victory for those who don’t want Americans to know the uncomfortable details about Muhammad that are in the book. Unfortunately, however, jihad terrorists around the world today know these elements of the life of Muhammad quite well, and are imitating them. Ignorance of them on the part of Americans will only make us more vulnerable.