The Sword of the Prophet
10 August 2010
Previously I had reviewed two book by Robert Spencer which gave an overview and history of Islam and the Qur'an: The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam and The Complete Infidel's Guide to the Koran. In my reviews for those books, I commented that Spencer's books seem to be written in a tone that felt more popular than scholarly. Although they are good books and worth reading, at times Spencer indulges in an irritating glibness that works against what he is trying to communicate. The way Spencer presents the material suggests an apparent desire to ridicule Islam, and that mocking attitude somehow rubbed me the wrong way. It seems to me that simply stating the facts makes Islam look bad enough, but resorting to ridicule starts to make the anti-Islam side look bad too.
In contrast, The Sword of the Prophet: Islam – History, Theology, Impact on the World by Dr. Serge Trifkovic takes a more serious and scholarly approach, which I suppose befits an author who has a Ph.D. Although not as easy of a read as Spencer's books, this book is definitely more meaty, and gives you an in-depth look at Muhammad, the Qur'an, the history of Islam, the major negative fruits of Islamic practice, and the interaction between Islam and the West in the modern world. If you were inclined to read just one book to give you a complete overview of Islam, I would definitely choose The Sword of the Prophet over those from Spencer.
There is so much vital information in this book that it's very hard to give you only a small sample. Hopefully what I share here will whet your desire to read the whole book.
Islam is and always has been a religion of intolerance, a jihad without an end. Despite the way the apologists would like to depict it, Islam was spread by the sword and has been maintained by the sword throughout its history. William Muir, one of the greatest orientalists of all times (1819-1905), summed it up at the end of a long and distinguished career when he declared his conviction "that the sword of Muhammad and the Qur'an are the most fatal enemies of civilization, liberty, and truth which the world has yet known."
The similarity between the contemporary revolutionary-utopian Islamist project and the Marxist-Fascist propagandistic discourse of six or seven decades ago is truly remarkable ... hav[ing] in common the lust for other people's lives and property, and the desire to exercise complete control over their subjects' lives. All three have been justified by a self-referential system of thought and belief that perverts meanings of words, stunts the sense of moral distinctions, and destroys souls.
At the outset of the new millennium, the State Department report on human rights in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2000 offers an accurate glimpse of what is in store for the rest of humanity if and when Islam is globally triumphant:
Freedom of religion does not exist. Islam is the official religion, and all citizens must be Muslims. Neither the government nor society in general accepts the concept of separation of religion and state, and such separation does not exist. Under Shari'a, conversion by a Muslim to another religion is considered apostasy. Public apostasy is a crime punishable by death if the accused does not recant. Islamic religious education is mandatory in public schools at all levels. All children receive religious instruction.... Citizens do not have the right to change their government. The Council of Senior Islamic Scholars ... reviews the government's public policies for compliance with Shari'a. The government [views] Islamic law as the only necessary guide to protect human rights. There is legal and systemic discrimination based on sex and religion.
The Saudi religious police, known as the Committee to Promote Virtue and Prevent Vice, routinely intimidate, abuse, and detain citizens and foreigners. The authorities abuse detainees, using beatings, sleep deprivation, and torture. "Punishments include flogging, amputation, and execution by beheading, stoning, or firing squad." Persons convicted of less serious offenses, such as alcohol-related offenses, or being alone in the company of an unrelated person of the opposite sex, are flogged with a cane. Political detainees "commonly are held incommunicado in special prisons during the initial phase of an investigation, which may last weeks or months" without access to lawyers, but that doesn't matter anyway, since "defendants usually appear without an attorney before a judge, who determines guilt or innocence in accordance with Shari'a standards." All along, needless to say, no churches (let alone synagogues) can be built in Saudi Arabia.
Islam, a religion born of the desert, has created jihad and remains defined by jihad, its most important concept for the rest of the world. Through jihad, Islam has emerged as a quasi-religious ideology of cultural and political imperialism that knows no natural limits to itself. It has emerged from the desert, and it perpetually creates new mental, psychic, spiritual, and literal deserts of whatever it touches.
Islam and Communism differ from Nazism only in their inability to create a viable economy.... Islam starts with a simple profession of a simple faith. It ends by demanding complete, total, absolute allegiance of each individual to Muhammad and his successors. Anything less is disbelief, punishable by eternal torment.... Total control is claimed over every aspect of public and private life. Islam is revolutionary in outlook, extremist in behavior, totalitarian in ambition.... The all-pervasive lack of freedom is the hallmark of the Muslim world. Discrimination against non-coreligionists and women of all creeds, racism, slavery, virulent anti-Semitism, and cultural imperialism can be found — individually or in various combinations — in different cultures and eras. Islam alone has them all at once, all the time, and divinely sanctioned at that.
Alexis de Tocqueville has expressed many opinions that have retained their prescient freshness in our own time. It is therefore unsurprising that his final word on the subject of Islam is as valid today as it was when first written over a century and a half ago:
I studied the Kuran a great deal.... I came away from that study with the conviction that by and large there have been few religions in the world as deadly to men as that of Muhammad. As far as I can see, it is the principal cause of the decadence so visible today in the Muslim world, and, though less absurd than the polytheism of old, its social and political tendencies are in my opinion infinitely more to be feared, and I therefore regard it as a form of decadence rather than a form of progress in relation to paganism itself.
There will never be an "Islamic Democracy." Continued appeasement can only encourage radical Islam to hone its skills at playing at "democracy," which it will do with gusto for as long as it is insufficiently strong to reveal its true character. Like Hitler and Allende, who exploited the democratic process to reach power, the fundamentalists are actively taking part in elections; like the earlier figures, too, they have done dismayingly well.
On the Islamic side this war is being fought with the deep and unshakeable belief that the West is on its last legs.... a civilization that loses the urge for biological self-perpetuation is indeed finished. Falling birthrates in Europe and the need to support European welfare entitlements with a host of "guest-workers" and immigrants seems to make it inevitable that the colonization of Europe by Islamic peoples will continue. Even after its unfinished victory in Afghanistan, America is viewed as a paper tiger, with F-16s and dollars to be sure, but no strong heart and no long-term stamina. Moreover America's borders are still open to the continuing flow of immigrants from hostile Islamic countries.
Western policy toward Islam will remain on a path to disaster for as long as its response excludes any notion of self-definition other than liberal platitudes about "tolerance,"  "democracy,"  "human rights,"  or  "opportunity." To face the war of religion that has been imposed on it, the West also needs to rediscover its own religion, or at least to stop denying its value.... The West cannot wage "war on terror" while maintaining its dependence on Arab oil, appeasing Islamist aggression around the world, turning a blind eye to the Islamic destruction of peoples who are animists, Hindus and Christians, and allowing mass immigration of Muslims into its own lands.... appeasement must stop. Pandering to Islam's geopolitical designs, and sacrificing smaller Christian nations — Timorese and Sudanese yesterday, Serbs and Orthodox Cypriots today, Bulgars and Greeks tomorrow — is counterproductive: such morsels will only whet the Islamic appetite, paving the way to a major confrontation some time in this century.
The Muslim population within North America and the rest of the West is not like any other, for it is the only immigrant group that harbors a substantial segment of individuals who share the key objectives with the terrorists, even if they do not all approve of their methods. It would be idle even for ardent Islamic apologists to pretend that many Muslim immigrants do not despise the West in general and the United States in particular, its institutions and all it stands for. To them their host country is a mine to be stripped, used and converted or destroyed. This was not what other newcomers to America had in mind as they flocked here to enjoy the unique opportunities of freedom. It was not what African Americans fought for as they justly demanded their rights under the Constitution during the civil rights movement. As is evident in the actions and words of many American Muslims a sizable minority of them wishes to transform their host country into a Muslim country — by whatever means, violent or otherwise, justified by the supposed sanctity of the goal and a corresponding Kuranic injunction.
When Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, Archbishop of Bologna, declared that there should be "no more entry visas for Muslims" and that "Christian Europe" was in danger of being overwhelmed by a "Muslim invasion," the voices from within the Catholic Church were the shrillest in their outrage.... To pretend, as the ruling elite does, that Islam is "a religion of peace," rather like Episcopalianism, is stupid or deeply dishonest.
What secularism has done, since replacing Christianity as the guiding light of "the West," is to cast aside any idea of a Christian social, geographic, and cultural space that should be protected. Islam, "extreme" or "moderate," has not softened, however. The consequences will be very serious unless Muslims are either "westernized" — that is to say, made as willing as Christians to see their religion first relativized, then mocked, and its commandments misrepresented or ignored — or else Christianized, which of course cannot happen unless there is a belated, massive, and unexpected recovery of Western spiritual and moral strength.
The massacres and killings in the name of Islam have prompted [Muslim] converts [to Christianity] to declare: "Christianity is life, Islam is death." For their sake, and for that of the yet unknown and unenlightened millions of others, we must reject the absurd notion that we have no right to try and convert Islamic nations and peoples to a more humane, and more rewarding world outlook.... Our problem is not prejudice about Islam, but folly in the face of its violence and cruelty.... There is a huge problem for all Muslims — the violent message of the Kuran. We cannot solve it for them, and we should not be asked to deem the problem solved by pretending that the Kuran is a pacifist tract.... we must have the guts to call a religion of war by its right name.
"Muslims are the first victims of Islam" and that, therefore, "to liberate the Muslim from his religion is the best service that one can render him." Islam is a collective psychosis seeking to become global, and any attempt to compromise with such madness is to become part of the madness oneself.