This morning, I sent off the completed manuscript of my latest book, The Truth About Muhammad, to Regnery Publishing. It is scheduled to appear in bookstores October 9. This is an examination of the life of the Prophet of Islam, with particular emphasis on the elements of his words and deeds that give rise to fanaticism and violence.
I believe this is an important issue, despite the obvious risks involved in writing this book, because of the anomalous situation that both jihadists and self-proclaimed Islamic moderates invoke Muhammad and claim to be following his example. Most Western government and law enforcement officials still hew to the line that the jihadists have hijacked Islam; they thus assume that at its core Islam is peaceful and pluralistic. This question thus has important implications for policy on the war on terror, democratization, immigration, and more. And what better way to gain clarity on this issue than by examining the life of the founder of Islam himself?
Now I know, judging from the huge critical silence from both liberals and conservatives that greeted my last book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) (which nevertheless spent four months on the New York Times Bestseller List), that reviewers are an extremely busy lot. Heck, I must confess myself to letting months go by without completing reviews of books that I have wanted to help get the word out about. So I’ve decided to provide a review of this book myself — an adversarial one, free for use by any mainstream media reviewer who decides that this book cannot be ignored. If there are any such reviews of The Truth About Muhammad, here is what they will say:
The ignorant Islamophobe Spencer compounds his abysmal ignorance of Islam with his latest hysterical screed, The Truth About Muhammad. This frothing book-length rant draws exclusively on the earliest sources for the life of Muhammad (pbuh), particularly Ibn Ishaq, Ibn Sa’d, and the hadith collections of Bukhari and Muslim. As everyone knows, Ibn Ishaq has long since been discredited, and serious scholars of Islam snicker at the mention of his name. Ibn Sa’d? Bukhari? Muslim? Pshaw. If Spencer does manage to record anything accurately in this book, it is purely by accident, as he cherry-picks the worst incidents of Muhammad’s life to paint a patently absurd picture of a warrior prophet.
Why, Spencer doesn’t even know Arabic — or if he does, he’s just trying vainly to impress us. What is he trying to do — ignite a clash of civilizations?
There it is, yours for the taking. You don’t even have to attribute it to me. (If any mainstream media sources actually do review the book, watch how closely they hew to the lines of this review.)
Anyway, for your information, Ibn Ishaq and the rest are used by Yahiya Emerick in his biography of Muhammad, which is endorsed by CAIR, as well as by Karen Armstrong and by serious biographers of Muhammad, such as Maxime Rodinson, Martin Lings, David S. Margoliouth, William Muir, and others. The sources I use can’t really be impugned — which of course won’t stop anyone.
The point I am making, of course, is one I made the other day: The opposition is, from an argumentative standpoint, unarmed. They know that what we are saying about Islam, jihad, and terrorism is true — if they really believed it wasn’t, they would show their readers the exact ways in which we are wrong, but they don’t do that, because they can’t. But they know that a few well-placed sneers will scare away many people of good will — and that is a game that they play expertly.
Watch for the book, and the sneers, in October.