- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Academica Press, LLC (January 15, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1933146192
- ISBN-13: 978-1933146195
- Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,367,263 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Beyond Jihad: Critical Voices from Inside Islam
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Muslim societies do not sport a culture of rational dialog on Islamic topics. There are rumblings for reform in many Muslim cultures; the time may have come, for them to usher in their own Period of Enlightenment. Indeed, it is time for critical inquiry into Islamic claims/traditions.
It would seem best if those inquiries were raised by Muslims themselves, as well as by others who have had Muslim upbringing. Inquirers lacking personal experience with those cultures might miss critical nuances. But Muslim cultures need to open up so rational inquiries could ensue and ideas of reform could be exchanged, without the fear of blasphemy accusations and death.
Some fundamentalist Muslims stoke the primitive mindset that killing is the only way to shut up critical inquiries about Islam's traditions. But if Allah indeed had all the power why would He need some Muslim faithful to kill, just so He was protected from `abuse'? The question may seem obvious to us, but it may escape those zealots. In cultures lacking rational discourse on the subject, zealots set up nurseries for fanaticism. Most cultures have evolved past such religious bullyism but Muslim fundamentalists seem unaware of it.
By admitting that cruelty has been perpetrated in the name of Islam throughout centuries some Muslim scholars inferentially concede that some Muslim leaders were fallible, if indeed Islam was against such cruelty. It seems puzzling, therefore, that the same scholars should deny the potential for similar fallibility by modern Muslim faith-interpreters.
Some Muslim scholars point to past atrocities in Western cultures. While those may be true but it was the Westerners themselves, who took measures to expunge those. Curiously, the same scholars as well as many practicing Muslims ignore such prevailing Islamic cultural aspects that challenge rational notions of equal rights of women and minorities.
In my opinion they suffer a serious cognitive dissonance. It is a red herring as well: by the finger pointing Islamic status-quo defenders shift the focus, contending that no reform is necessary. Interpretive fallibility by Muslim clergy is therefore sidelined/ignored. All along abuse of women and minorities, justified in the name of Islam, continues in their countries!
This book offers opinions of people that grew up as Muslims some of whom, like myself, may no longer endorse the religion. The authors nonetheless raise a collective voice of reason, suggesting objective critique of Islam--the belief, as well as its practice across Muslim cultures. Non-Muslims may learn some intimate dimensions of Islam. Hopefully, this invaluable primer will encourage more objective viewpoints on the topic.
My request to any practicing Muslim reader: Please learn to accept civil opinions about Islam that may differ from your own. If you should disagree, let's not seek blood. Please realize that, according to Islam, Jesus is not the Son of God. Although the declaration is a veritable insult to all faithful Christians, it is weaved into the fabric of Islam. Christians are tolerant of it for the most part. If they weren't so tolerant you might not have been able to migrate to, and enjoy a better life on, Western lands.
Obviously "Islamic" countries couldn't offer you an equal, if not better, economic alternative. Please ask yourself why that was the case. Is it nothing other than Western imperialism due to which most Muslim-majority countries are in economic shambles today although their rivers of wisdom are overflowing with religious scholars who are trigger-ready, to interpret Allah's perfect guidance for all humanity?
Why do many Muslims leap into a fit of rage if anyone critiques Islam no matter how civilly, while they also claim it is a religion of peace and tolerance? Why the pervasive desperate need to KILL to protect Allah although He is always conveniently absent, to approve the murders?
On one hand you demand that Christians' accept at face value the Islamic un-deification of Christ; on the other, you must also destroy embassies because someone sketched a few cartoons of Muhammad? Why the double-standard?
What if the Western world should decide to deport you? After all, you denigrate Jesus--their Son of God, by denying his divinity! What would you do if non-Muslims denied Muhammad's legitimacy? Indeed, which Muslim country can provide a replica for the tolerance, due to which you have grown roots and spread the branches of a good life on many Western, "infidel" lands?
Please buy and read the book. While you may disagree with some of its arguments it can be a rational substitute for another Mullahtic tall-tale about Allah. Most likely the Mullah has never met Allah; therefore, it is a LIE, if he claims first hand knowledge about Allah's wishes. It is reality without disrespect. Thanks for reading!
Joint-Author: "Beyond Jihad: Critical Voices from Inside Islam"
March 3, 2006
The contributors to Beyond Jihad must be applauded for their bravery and courage in tackling such a sensitive and very dangerous subject.
I had to do a book report on this piece of "academic literature". What is clear is that the contributors, who claim to be either Muslim or former Muslims, main intent is not to educate or even to inform with any contextual validity. If any one reading this takes a moment and goes to [...] or just a basic internet search and looks up each of them and investigates the scope and focus of their body of work you will find that they are each fanatically xenophobic.
Their arguments within the book are contextually inaccurate and the basic premise is laughable considering their xenophobia and the promotion of erroneous information to fit their own agenda. Why would I go to people who hate Catholics or Jews to explain Catholicism or Judaism to me? Would they be even capable of a balanced, scholarly argument without passion, prejudice or political interest? How credible is that?
If you already have an anti Muslim bias and are looking for something to buttress your viewpoint in the most twisted fashion possible then this is the book for you!! Demonizing Islam and Muslims is a big business now a days what better way than to claim "expertise" in the subject matter.
There are points on which I disagree with both Spenser and the contributors to this book, but both books should be read by people interested in this vital issue.
I would have preferred to give this book 4.5 stars, but that wasn't an option.