Monday, October 30, 2006

Book Review: 'The Truth About Muhammad'

By Brigitte Gabriel
October 30, 2006

The Truth About Muhammad
by Robert Spencer
Regnery Publishing
256 pp.
ISBN- 1596980281

“Freedom of inquiry and speech, the quest for truth, should not be cowed into silence by violent intimidation or the acceptance of half-truths and propaganda meant to appease freedom’s enemies. One thing is certain: if no one is willing to take such risks, freedom of speech will swiftly become a relic of history.”

These are the words of author Robert Spencer, who is risking his life to educate Westerners about the life of the founder of Islam. He has just come out with a new book, The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World's Most Intolerant Religion. In this biography, Spencer tells the story of the founder of Islam -- a story that many Muslims themselves apparently either do not know about or do not want non-Muslims to hear.

Yet it's strange that any Muslim would react with anger to Spencer's book, since he bases it strictly on Islamic sources, all written by pious and serious Muslims. No critic can rightly say that anything Spencer has said about Muhammad in this book is inaccurate. But the problem Muslims find with it is that Spencer doesn't treat Muhammad as if he were the highest moral standard.

Within the Islamic world, by contrast, Muhammad is considered untouchable. Spencer demonstrates that the Qur’an and Islamic tradition are clear that the Prophet is the supreme example of behavior for Muslims to follow. And today, no hint of criticism of any of his acts or teachings is tolerated.

This stifling of speech is now beginning to affect the West, within which non-Muslims are becoming increasingly frightened to say anything critical about Islam and its founder. Indeed, at even the mildest criticism, either by the Pope or in lightly satirical newspaper cartoons, Islamic nations erupt in a frenzy of blind anger. Furious Muslims take to the streets, burn churches and temples, kill innocent civilians, and threaten violence against the non-Muslim world.

Spencer warns that for the West to be intimidated into silence by this behavior is dangerous. He writes, “to place Muhammad and Islam beyond criticism and even beyond lampooning would be just as dangerous for a free society as the idea that the “Beloved Leader” of North Korea and dialectical materialism is above criticism. Indeed it would be death for a free society.”

Spencer accordingly presents the truth about Islam’s founder clearly. His story is backed up by solid scholarship and research. So the key question becomes: who is the man whom the Qur’an states is “an excellent model of conduct” (33:21)?

Spencer begins by introducing the historical Muhammad as well as the books and writings that make up the religion of Islam. This is crucial for all to understand, because it is not only the Qur’an that influences Muslim opinion, but also accompanying religious literature, including the hadith (traditions of Muhammad recorded by his followers) and the Sira (the biography of Muhammad).

Spencer goes on to explain how Muhammad became a prophet, and how he tried at first to spread his message by peaceful means -- including attempts to convince Jews and Christians that he was a prophet in the line of the Old Testament prophets and Jesus (whom he considered a prophet, not the Son of God). When his efforts failed to bring them, along with the pagan Arabs of his native tribe, into his new religion, he became a warlord -- killing, slaughtering and beheading in order to convert others or to force them to submit to him and to the religion given to him by Allah.

Spencer shows how the Prophet Muhammad, the perfect model for human behavior according to Islam and any professing Muslim, perfected the arts of assassination, deceit and taking booty. Chapters 7, 8 and 9 detail the warrior Muhammad’s battles with pagans, Jews and Christians. He told them that their lives and property would be safe only if they became Muslims. In many places, we can see clearly how he serves today as an example for Muslim behavior: at one point Spencer writes,

“Muhammad addressed them (the Jews) in terms that have become familiar usage for Islamic Jihadists when speaking of Jews today …. ‘You brothers of monkeys, has God disgraced you and brought His vengeance upon you?’ The Qur'an in three places (2:62-65; 5:59-60; and 7:166) says that Allah transformed the Sabbath-breaking Jews into pigs and monkeys.

Jihadists today routinely refer to Jews as "pigs and monkeys" -- not just a term of abuse, but an imitation of the holy prophet's example.

The author also sheds a light on the Treaty of Hudaybiyya, the ten-year truce (Hudna) Muhammad signed with the pagan Quraysh tribe. By breaking this treaty, Muhammad again set a precedent: Muslims can sign a treaty but can break it at anytime, when doing so is to their advantage. The purpose of Hudna is to allow weakened Muslim forces to gather strength to fight again later more effectively. This is an extremely important principle for the West to understand today, since it shows the difference between what we perceive as a cease-fire and what believing Muslims think it is.

Chapter 10 explores in a carefully balanced and restrained manner the personal life of Muhammad, allowing the reader to make his own informed decision based on the facts. Spencer presents frightening facts that call into serious question the wisdom behind the Islamic tradition that has dubbed Muhammad “al-insan al-kamil,” or the Perfect Man: his marriage to a child (which is widely imitated in the Islamic world today), his polygamy, his calls to subjugate Jews and Christians, and more.

Throughout the book, we learn how Muhammad treated women and how his words and actions have inspired generation after generation of Muslim men to look at women as nothing more than property. As Spencer notes,

“The Qur’an likens a woman to a field (tilth), to be used by a man as he wills: ‘Your women are a tilth for you (to cultivate) so go to your tilth as ye will’ ” (2:223).

That's bad enough, but there is much more. Spencer’s work details example after example of Muhammad’s teaching about women and how to treat them: beat them if they are disobedient, deny them the right to testify in cases involving sexual crimes, deny their inheritance rights, and deny their rights in numerous ways. And as the historical record has shown, his teachings have sentenced millions of women into a life of oppression, misery and depression.

Readers will learn a great deal from this book, as I did. Spencer also offers constructive suggestions and solutions if we ever want to win this war on Islamofascism. Some of them include:

* Stop insisting that Islam is a religion of peace.

* Initiate a full-scale Manhattan Project to find new energy sources.

* Make Western aid contingent upon renunciation of the Jihad ideology.

* Call upon American Muslim advocacy groups to work against the Jihad ideology.

* Revise immigration policies with the Jihad ideology in view.

This book is a must read for all to understand the roots of radical Islam. It arms non-Muslims and Muslims alike by illuminating what needs to be targeted in order to weaken Islamic extremism and the oxygen which they need to breathe.

Get it and be informed.

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Brigitte Gabriel is the author of
Because They Hate: A Survivor of Islamic Terror Warns America and the founder of American Congress for She is an expert on the Middle East and lectures nationally and internationally on the subject

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