- Hardcover: 594 pages
- Publisher: Prometheus Books; n edition (January 31, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1591022495
- ISBN-13: 978-1591022497
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 58 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,190,252 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Myth of Islamic Tolerance: How Islamic Law Treats Non-Muslims Hardcover – January 31, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Spencer, author of Islam Unveiled, edits this collection that sets out to debunk the theory that Muslims are tolerant of non-Muslims. Although the theme merits exploration, this book does not clarify it. The essays' authors frequently cite jihad and dhimmi as intolerant principles within Islam, but do not define them. Vague references to these ideas do not explain why Islam is inherently intolerant. Several authors also quote the Qur'an out of context and describe Muslims with large generalizations. Yasser Arafat, of the PLO, is presented as representing Muslim attitudes—a characterization most Muslims would probably disagree with. Comments describing alleged troublesome behavior by Muslims lack sources and citations. Some authors ignore basic Islamic concepts; Bat Ye'or, for example, says that the dhimmi treatment was considered "justified by the superiority of the master-race," although the Qur'an strictly states though that all races are equal in Islam. The collection includes multiple essays by the same author, including 17 by Ye'or. The resulting repetition and monotone provide little insight and a disconnected feel. This book would have been more persuasive and less alarmist if it had excluded half the essays.
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From the Inside Flap
This enlightening collection of essays by some of the world's leading authorities on Islamic social history focuses on the pervasive legal and cultural oppression of non-Muslims in Islamic societies. The authors of these-in-depth but accessible articles explode the widely advocacy groups, of a largely tolerant, pluralistic Islam. In fact, the contributors lay bare the tyrannical legal superstructure that has treated non-Muslims in Muslim societies as oppressed and humiliated tributaries, and they show the devastating effects of these discriminatory attitudes and practices in both past and contemporary global conflicts.
The insightful chapters presented in THE MYTH OF ISLAMIC TOLERANCE explain how the legally mandated subjugation of non-Muslims under Islamic law stems from the Muslim concept of jihad--the spread of Islam through conquest. Historically, the Arab Muslim conquerors overran vast territories containing diverse non-Muslim populations. Many of these conquered people surrendered to Muslim domination under a special treaty called dhimma in Arabic. As such, these non-Muslim indigenous populations, mainly Christians and Jews, were then classified under Islamic law as dhimmis (meaning "protected"). Although protected status may sound benign, this classification in fact referred, most importantly, to "protection" from the resumption of the jihad against non-Muslims. The authors maintain that underlying this religious caste system is a culturally ingrained contempt for outsiders that still characterizes much of the Islamic world today and is a primary catalyst for jihad terrorism, jihadist-martyrdom bombers, and a Nazi-like racist antisemitism taught in school systems and propagated via the media.
Included are Ibn Warraq writing about Edward Said and the "intellectual turbans" he has placed on today's academic establishment, forestalling honest discussion about Islamic tolerance; Bat Ye'or on the devastating effects of the dhimma, the system that actually defines the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims in Islamic states; Walid Phares on the little-noted oppression of Middle Eastern Christians; and much more--including a devastating series of articles by UN expert David G. Littman on the advancement of Islamic intolerance at the United Nations and other provocative topics usually ignored by Muslim apologists.
This hard-hitting and absorbing assessment of Islamic teachings and practices regarding non-Muslim minorities uncovers a significant human rights scandal that rarely receives any mention either in academic circles or in the mainstream press.
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He used fact and history. Because he is telling the truth, openly and clearly, he upset some people.
If you buy this book you should know that it contains (1) 269 pages (19 articles) by Bat Ye'or and (2) 121 pages comprised of articles, papers, appeals, and numerous oral and written statements all directly related to the UN Commission on Human Rights. These two sections together take up almost half the book. Although loaded with pertinent information the Bat Ye'or material is repetitious and the UN hodge-podge is boring.
Bat Ye'or concentrates on the condition of dhimmitude (subordination) that passed for "tolerance" in historical writing about Islam for many years. She vividly portrays this "second class citizenship" imposed by Muslim rulers over Jews and Christians as being little more than outright slavery.
However there is no logical linearity in Ms. Ye'or's thought. Generalizations, abstractions, statistics, people, places, events just come at the reader in a discontinuous barrage. At times the theoretical adequacy of her interpretive concepts seems questionable.
The 121 pages of UNCHR information is dull, loaded with NGO acronyms, and more work than it's worth, in my estimation. If Bat Ye'or's 269 pages had been edited to one 50 page article and the 121 pages of UNCHR information had been briefly summarized it would have been a better and more readable book.
The remaining articles range from good to outstanding. The final section, Part. 6, titled "The Myth in Contemporary Academic Discourse" is the highlight of the book. The articles by Robert Spencer, Ibn Warraq, Daniel Pipes, and Mark Durie are excellent. Warraq's rejoinder to Edward Said's "Orientalism" is especially good. Warraq has a new book titled "Defending the West: A Critique of Said's Orientalism" which is coming out in the summer of 2007. It can be pre-ordered on Amazon for those who might be interested.