Jihad Watch reader James has alerted me to a new review of my book The Truth About Muhammad at Amazon.com, where the reader reviewers are only marginally better policed than the average Wikipedia entry about any controversial issue. I thought I’d post this Amazon review because it is indicative of certain tendencies:
Typical Jewish propaganda , February 7, 2007
Reviewer: Reader “Reader” – See all my reviews
Mr.Spencer being a Jew would try to write about a religion that shows Jews for what they are. Being the killers Jesus and being genocidal maniacs as can be seen day in and day out in Palestine would have to try and disgrace this religion by stating lies about a nine year old getting married to Muhammed.
Of course, I’m not Jewish, but it is a common thing: Victor Davis Hanson and Paul Marshall have both told me that they too have been labeled Jewish by Muslims after writing about Islamic jihad. One day perhaps such Muslim writers will awaken to the fact that Islamic supremacism has won them a considerably larger spectrum of opponents than they care to imagine.
Note also the naked Jew-hatred of the review above, along with a spurious accusation of genocide. Such attitudes are deeply rooted within Islam, and widespread.
Finally, there is the bit about my spreading “lies about a nine year old getting married to Muhammed.” It never ceases to amaze me how brazenly writers like this one (and some prominent Islamic apologists I have encountered) can deny elements of Islam that are taught in Islamic texts that Muslims consider authoritative. Muhammad’s consummation of his marriage with Aisha when she was nine is in the hadith collection Muslims consider most reliable, Bukhari, several times: 5.48.234; 5.58.236; 7.62.64; 7.62.65; and 7.62.88.
What’s more, it is clear that Muslims take this seriously and imitate Muhammad in this. Article 1041 of the Civil Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran states that girls can be engaged before the age of nine, and married at nine: “Marriage before puberty (nine full lunar years for girls) is prohibited. Marriage contracted before reaching puberty with the permission of the guardian is valid provided that the interests of the ward are duly observed.”
The Ayatollah Khomeini himself married a ten-year-old girl when he was twenty-eight. Khomeini called marriage to a prepubescent girl “a divine blessing,” and advised the faithful: “Do your best to ensure that your daughters do not see their first blood in your house.”
Time magazine reported in 2001: “In Iran the legal age for marriage is nine for girls, fourteen for boys. The law has occasionally been exploited by pedophiles, who marry poor young girls from the provinces, use and then abandon them. In 2000 the Iranian Parliament voted to raise the minimum age for girls to fourteen, but this year, a legislative oversight body dominated by traditional clerics vetoed the move. An attempt by conservatives to abolish Yemen’s legal minimum age of fifteen for girls failed, but local experts say it is rarely enforced anyway. (The onset of puberty is considered an appropriate time for a marriage to be consummated.)”
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reports that over half of the girls in Afghanistan and Bangladesh are married before they reach the age of eighteen. In early 2002, researchers in refugee camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan found half the girls married by age thirteen. In an Afghan refugee camp, more than two out of three second-grade girls were either married or engaged, and virtually all the girls who were beyond second grade were already married. One ten-year-old was engaged to a man of sixty.
Yet despite all that and more, I’m supposed to have made up this hadith, just as a prominent Islamic apologist wrote me a few months ago accusing me of fabricating Muhammad’s marriage to his daughter-in-law. In charging this sort of thing, of course, they’re relying on the public’s ignorance of Islam. Many will readily believe that if a Muslim and a non-Muslim disagree about Islam, the Muslim must be the one who really knows and is telling the truth.
It’s more the pity that the writer of this Amazon review, whoever he or she is, has almost certainly never complained about the material in Bukhari about Aisha’s child marriage. The distribution of such books is just fine among Muslims, Muhammad’s child marriage and all. It’s just not right for non-Muslims to call attention to such things.