The renowned and pioneering historian Bat Ye’or reviews my book Religion of Peace? Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn’t at Middle East Quarterly:
Spencer, director of JihadWatch.org, is not a man to recoil from difficulties. In his most recent, solid study, he examines the current state of controversies in the United States relating to Islam and Christianity. He exposes the ignorance and misunderstanding that riddle many discourses on religions.
Beginning in the 1960s, the search for common points led too many academics and intellectuals to efface the oppositions among Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in order to distinguish essential common points. But the differences are vast: The totalizing Islamic interpretation of revelation gathers together under a single power the spheres of politics, religion, and justice, something unacceptable to the two biblical religions. And while the Bible does not mention Muslims, who, of course, did not exist at the time of its redaction, the Qur’an mentions Jews and Christians in numerous verses, most often negatively. Other differences include the contents of the sacred texts and differing interpretations of the prophethood.
Spencer’s work is crucial, given the stakes of today’s worldwide jihadist war. For example, he demolishes false equivalence between jihad (a warrior ideology that is structural to Islam and has been deployed across thirteen centuries) and the Crusades (defensive wars spread over two centuries).
He instructs those many in the West who do not understand the possibility of an Islamist-provoked catastrophe putting an end to democracy’s comfortable political and social order. More broadly, Westerners rarely perceive that their foreign policies conform to the exigencies of international jihadi strategies””for example, that European leaders are constrained under the threat of reprisals to accept immigration and to restrain their own freedom of expression to appease Muslim sensibilities. This policy of submission permits Islamist propaganda to dominate Western media and campuses.
If Westerners do not understand the ideological language used to justify the suppression of their liberties, if they ignore the historical, juridical, and theological structure of jihad and its corollary, dhimmitude (subjugation of religious minorities), then they will understand nothing about current events. They will become””like their predecessors of whose history they are ignorant””the slaves of their conquerors.
Written in a clear and easy style, and not without humor, Spencer’s latest book Religion of Peace? supplies the keys to understanding the challenges that confront us. He provides the knowledge essential to enable Westerners to defend their democratic institutions as well as the fundamental values of freedom and human dignity.