I haven't read this book, but upon browsing through some of the reviewers, I find that most only read "anti-Islamic" books. Seems that any book that is critical of Islam seems to get 5 stars from them.
In fairness, it must be remembered that throughout the Middle Ages and well into the Modern Era, Christiandom offered the very same choices to Muslims and Jews:
Pay special taxes and suffer various legal And social disabilities.
Tolerace, throughout the above period, rose and fell like the tides; roughly corrosponding with (local) social peace,good order and economic prosperity. The same appllied to Islam: When the Moorish civilization in Spain was at it's noontide, Christians and Jews had an easy time of it. With the coming of the fanatical Berber Almohids in the 11th Century, that changed...very rapidly.
We need more books like this one. More authors willing to give an unflinching, detailed look into Islam from every angle. I have the paperback on order from my local bookstore and eagerly await to read it. Any person that takes a critical look at a particular subject or issue does not make one anti-___. Please don't attempt to stifle peoples' attempts to understand more about this religion by using "anti", ("hateful", "intolerant" are also words used too). It just makes you come across as trying to fling guilt and shame on the inquiring person, when that is wrong. There is no guilt and should be no shame in seeking knowledge, even if that knowledge isn't always pretty. You know what? Reality and truth aren't always pretty.
Non-Muslims are wanting to know Why? How? Wanting to understand how a religion could allow such atrocities to be committed, that is not being anti-Islamic. To voice out that reform needs to be enacted and the apologizing and excusing such behavior needs to be stopped is not anti-Islamic. Authors, such as Andrew Bostom, are trying to fulfill that need to know.
Read the book, Zia Sheikh, and then see if your view remains the same. To comment without having read the book is very hollow criticism indeed. In fact, it is literally to be prejudiced: to prejudge. The response of simple refusal to read critical analysis does not speak well of your love of truth. God and truth cannot be separated. You reject God when you reject critical analysis.
In both Jewish and Christian communities there has been a sometimes painful and protracted process of modernization and reform, in which even the more traditionalist sectors have had to recognize the need to modify some of their received tradition and humanize it. The two religions are now all the better for this process of renewal. Islam, as yet, has not modernized. Almost all versions of Islam seem to be fundamentalistic to greater or lesser degree and hostile to reasonable enquiry, although for example the Indonesian Nadhlatul Ulama movement under Abdurrahman Wahid shows the way to a more humane, tolerant and peaceable, self-critical while pious Islam, and is certainly very much more liberal and morally decent than the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, al-Qaeda, the Saudi Wahhabi or Algerian Salafist Islam. But Islam world-wide desperately needs to develop a self-critical and responsible attitude to its own traditions, for the sake of the future of world humanity, and also for its own sake.
Well -- what about the one-star reviewers of every "anti-Islam" book I've seen reviewed here? They all come across as belligerent, defensive yahoos, and none of them have ever read the books they "review."
And why are these books so "anti-Islam" in the first place?
And just why are so many "anti-Islam" writers, like Ibn Warraq, who wrote the intro to this one, threatened with death?