- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Threshold Editions; Reprint edition (March 5, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 145165796X
- ISBN-13: 978-1451657968
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 92 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #363,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot's Fight to Save His Faith Paperback – March 5, 2013
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"Dr. Jasser is an American hero in the war radical Islam has declared on us. Whether we prevail in this long war may very well depend on how closely we listen to him." --William J. Bennett, "New York Times" bestselling author of "The Book of Man" and former US Secretary of Education
"A candid, patriotic pushback against Muslim stereotyping...a strident call to energize Muslim Americans to promote notions of pluralism, toleration and equal rights for women." --"Kirkus"
"Dr. Jasser is one of the most courageous and relentless pursuers of truth and freedom in the Muslim world. "Battle for the Soul of Islam" takes you beyond the sound bites to show you what it really means to be a moderate Muslim fighting against those who have perverted your religion." --Glenn Beck, "New York Times "bestselling author of "Being George Washington"
"Zuhdi Jasser is a brave American patriot, a faithful Muslim and a good man. Dr. Jasser's "Battle for the Soul of Islam" proposes a cure for one of the greatest problems facing the world today: the violence and extremism of radical Islam." --Mark R. Levin, "New York Times" bestselling author of "Ameritopia"
About the Author
Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser is the founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD). Dr. Jasser is a first generation American Muslim whose parents fled the oppressive Assad regime of Syria in the mid-1960s for American freedom. A devout Muslim, Dr. Jasser founded AIFD in the wake of the 9/11 attacks as an effort to provide an American Muslim voice advocating for the preservation of the foundation principles of the United States Constitution, liberty and freedom, and the separation of mosque and state.
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There are, however, dire faults in Dr. Jasser’s analysis of the issues involved and therefore in his prescriptive remedies. His signature shortcoming derives precisely from his having been raised in Wisconsin by parents who fled the totalitarian Assad regime in Syria to enjoy the personal liberty and economic freedoms available in America. It is because the author practices Islam solely as a religion, one of many which flourish in America, that he misses the point. “My Islam,” he frequently notes, isn’t supremacist, nor intolerant, nor violent. He approaches religion as a spiritual journey and, applying a very American approach, feels free to reject the features of his religion which are illogical, anachronistic, irrelevant, unconstitutional, or absurd.
The suite of features which Dr. Jasser firmly rejects fall under the category of politics and law. For American readers this is axiomatic. Our religions do not intrinsically involve politics. When religion does intrude, as in the abortion debate, most Americans firmly resist the influence of religious authorities. By contrast, Islam, as Dr. Jasser well knows, sets out a legal code of conduct, “shari’a,” which seeks to control family relations, inheritance, commerce, finance, property law, civil law, criminal law, civil administration, taxation, constitutional matters, international relations, war, ethics, and every other aspect of human existence. None of these are spiritual matters. It is all well and good that “my Islam” doesn’t comprise this extensive legal framework since that is where the violence, intimidation, intolerance, misogyny, anti-Semitism, and hate speech reside. But in excising these unsavory features Dr. Jasser’s personal brand of Islam would be unrecognizable to the “ummah,” the rest of the world’s Muslims.
The Arabic word for Dr. Jasser’s approach is “ijtihad.” It means any use of independent reasoning to interpret what to believe or accept in the Islamic holy scriptures, comprising the “Qur’an,” the “Hadith,” and the “Umdat." “Ijtihad” is considered blasphemy and is a capital offense in mainstream Islam, as it is practiced everywhere except perhaps Dr. Jasser’s household. In fact just the mere suggestion that he practices his own version, “my Islam,” would be enough to get him beheaded in the twelve countries which use “shari’a” as the sole basis for jurisprudence.
So why should the reader care if Dr. Jasser’s version of Islam is discordant with the other billion or so who practice it? Shouldn’t we encourage him in his efforts to reform Islam with this book and by his example? What’s not to like about a moderate like him? Let’s take a closer look. Dr. Jasser says that violence, “jihad” in particular, is a distortion of the true Islam by extremists. He says that violence has nothing to do with Islam. That is simply not true. “Jihad”, or spreading the faith through violence, is required of all Muslims. Three quarters of the organizations on the U.S. State Department’s list of terrorist organizations are Islamic, and of the most recently added ten, all are Islamic. There is absolutely a correlation between violence and Islam, just as the Prophet Muhammad intended back in the seventh century.
Take another false assertion, that “the Qur’an teaches respect for other’s religious beliefs.” That is unadulterated hogwash. In scores of verses the Qur’an incites Muslims to attack and kill infidels until none remain in the world. In one illuminating passage the Qur’an says, “The Hour will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews, with Muslim fighting them until the Jew hides behind rocks and trees, and the rocks and trees saying, ‘Oh Muslim, Oh servant of Allah, this Jew behind me, come kill him.’”
In the end Dr. Jasser perpetuates a myth which Americans have found fatally seductive, that the “violent extremists” constitute a fringe element which perverts true Islam, which is actually as peaceful as any other religion. The fact is, and again Dr. Jasser knows it, that the violent extremists constitute not the fringe but the core of Islam. They populate its heart and soul. It is reform Muslims like him who constitute a fringe element. The “ummah,” or Islamic faithful of the world, would say that it is Dr. Jasser who is perverting the true Islam. Anyone who holds the Qur’an in one hand and the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations in the other will be compelled to agree.
When the Pew Research Institute interviewed Muslims who had immigrated to countries in Western Europe, between a quarter and a third (statistics varied by country) responded that terrorism, defined as violence against civilians, was acceptable. And that Pew study was before the E.U. recently opened its borders to millions of Muslim refugees so those statistics clearly understate contemporary European Muslims’ endorsement of violence against non-Muslims. Pew was unable to conduct its survey in Saudi Arabia and Iran, the seats of Sunni and Shiite Islam respectively because of the threat of violence against their interviewers.
The peaceful, tolerant, exclusively spiritual soul of Islam envisioned by Dr. Jasser and for which his book proposes to battle is, regrettably, wishful thinking. It is this reviewer’s belief that only the emergence of a Muslim Martin Luther willing to challenge Islam’s core orthodoxies can truly alter the reality of a violent, supremacist, political movement masquerading as a religion. That person clearly isn’t going to be Dr. Jasser.
Why are the leaders of Islam silent when their religion is being used as excuse for mass-murder? I NEED to hear a lucid unapologetic condemnation of those actions committed in the name of Islam,
Dr. Jasser has helped by providing a comprehensive explanation concerning the current duality of the Islamic faith. There is indeed a great number of extremists who while enjoying the Western lifestyle , most certainly intend to do us harm. How much of that hatred is identified and presented so clearly is why I found this book so fascinating! And alarming.
To be completely candid, my own concern for the religion of Islam was in serious conflict with my Christian values. While in the Middle East (pre-9/11) I met many people of the Islamic faith. However, my past experience no longer correlates with the widely expressed opinions of the post 9/11 Western world. This book addresses the two populations of Islam, the duality that IS the religion of Islam.