This question is particularly serious in 2021, as thousands of unvetted Afghan men are airlifted to America while the Taliban’s Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice is recreated in Afghanistan, and women are beaten for violating Sharī‘ah law. It is a question that has been tragically ignored by the West, even when the orthodox British Muslim Anjem Choudary stated in 2013:
By 2050, Britain will be a majority Muslim country. It will be the end of freedom of democracy...
The answer to the question is very simple. If Islam were “just a religion,” studying it would not be necessary unless one simply wanted to learn about the religion.
However, Islam is not just a religion. It is also a political ideology that, when put into practice, results in loss of freedom, violence, and ultimately mass slavery of its populations. To many, this statement may seem intolerant and “Islamophobic.” However, those who study Islam in depth, without apology for Islam, and those who study Islam’s historical record, will indeed find that Islam poses an existential threat to free civilizations.
This does not mean that “all Muslims are bad.” That would be bigotry because one must assess a person based on their character, heart, and actions, not their race, color, or creed. Just to clarify, Muslims come from all races, and thus expressing discontent with Islam is not racist. It is also not Islamophobic because it is not an irrational fear to be concerned about the loss of freedom under totalitarian ideologies. “Islamophobic” is a nonsense (but very clever) word coined by Islamists to shut down criticism of Islam by impugning the mental state of those discussing it.
Many Muslims don’t study their own doctrines. Others ignore their doctrine and just try to lead good lives. Many feel trapped by Islam, and in fact, are Islam’s first victims—especially among women. Some support Islam’s goals but don’t take direct action.
Thus, because of Islam’s political ideology, I believe that Westerners must study Islam. If we do not, preserving Western civilization with all of its freedoms and values will be very difficult.
In addition, it’s critically important to not only know one’s enemy but to also name one’s enemy. The cartoonist (and former Albanian-American Muslim) Bosch Fawstin wrote in an April 29, 2019 article for JihadWatch.org, titled “Bosch Fawstin: No More Misnomers: We Need to Stop Playing Name Games with Islam”:
Western intellectuals and commentators refer to the enemy’s ideology as: “Islamic Fundamentalism,” “Islamic Totalitarianism,” “Islamic Extremism,” “Islamofascism,” “Political Islam,” “Militant Islam,” “Bin Ladenism,” “Islamonazism,” “Radical Islam,” “Islamism,” etc.
The enemy calls it “Islam.”
Based on Fawstin’s comments, I believe it’s a reasonable approach to define an “Orthodox Muslim” as a believer in, or an active supporter of, Islam’s core tenets which mandate Jihad and Sharī‘ah law. With that definition, an Orthodox Muslim is not a friend of freedom. Non-orthodox Muslims could also be referred to as “cultural Muslims,” “casual Muslims,” or some other moniker that clarifies that they are not orthodox.
Bosch Fawstin is directly challenging Islam’s prohibition on criticizing Islam and drawing images of Mohammed as a defense of freedom of speech. His bravery in the face of numerous Islamic death threats is truly praiseworthy. In 2015, Fawstin won First Place in the “Draw the Prophet Muhammad Contest” in Garland, Texas, sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative. In Andrew C. McCarthy’s excellent article in National Review on January 2, 2016, titled “Why ‘Draw Mohammed’? The Artist Explains,” McCarthy wrote:
This is what drives Fawstin’s work. “I draw Mohammed,” he says, “because the enemy tells me I can’t.” ...
The idea was to underscore the free-speech purpose of the contest. The imposition of Islamic law “includes banning much of our music, art, and literature,” Fawstin observes. “Look at how ISIS has been destroying antiquities, for example.” The way to fight back, he believes, is with open and unwavering dedication to free expression:
The way I see it, if drawing Mohammad can get you killed, then he should be drawn again and again and again and again, until drawing him loses all power. And, within reason, doing something that an enemy doesn’t want you to do is reason enough to do it, on sheer principle.
These topics are new for many Westerners because they have not been exposed to Islam in any depth. I can say, because of my own experiences years ago, and then later, as I independently studied Islam, based on the resources of many experts as well as the source texts, that the Western world suffers from vast ignorance about Islam.
I was in that category of ignorance.
If one doesn’t embark on at least an introductory study of these things but instead only relies on Orthodox Muslims or Islamapologists to tell them “the scoop,” they will be deceived. In this case, for the Western world as a whole, ignorance most certainly will be fatal.
Yet, too many Westerners have bought into Islamic propaganda that Islam is a religion of peace and that anyone who thinks otherwise is an Islamophobe.
The article “How Islam Apologists Like John Esposito Dupe Americans About Sharia,” written by Raymond Ibrahim, an expert on Islam, directly refutes the Islamapologists’ contention that Islam is a religion of peace.
Westerners must ask themselves: how does one determine if a person, group, ideology, or religion is peaceful? Commonsense analysis reveals that beliefs and actions are the accurate measurements of peace. If a person believes in violence, violent actions will most likely follow. If a person’s actions are repeatedly violent, totalitarian, and aggressive and match their religious beliefs, it becomes clear that the person and his beliefs are not peaceful.
To demonstrate why Islam is not a religion of peace, I’ve put together a simple statement of facts:
The Bottom Line with Islam: It is Violent and Anti-Freedom.
For Islam to BE “a Religion of Peace,” it must grant these freedoms to both men and women:
➠ The freedom to criticize Mohammed, Islam’s doctrines, and Shari‘ah without reprisal.
➠ The freedom to create images and cartoons of Mohammed, either critical or favorable, without reprisal.
➠ The freedom to leave Islam without fear of death or any other reprisal.
➠ The freedom to live in Islamic countries as non-Muslims and be first-class citizens, not second-class “dhimmis.”
➠ The freedom to live anywhere without fear of attack and violent jihad by orthodox Muslims.
➠ The freedom to live under a representative democracy with full civil rights, instead of Shari‘ah law.
Orthodox Islam does not grant these freedoms. Instead, it enslaves its Muslim citizens and grows its religion by jihad, indoctrination, and death to apostates, not love, charity, and service toward unbelievers.
If orthodox Muslims dispute these facts, then they must prove that Islam is peaceful. Grant these freedoms.
Below are my resource recommendations to anyone interested in discovering the truth about Islam. I owe a tremendous debt to many experts, including but not limited to Bill Warner, Jamie Glazov, David Horowitz, Raymond Ibrahim, and Robert Spencer.
There are two primary methods to understand the real Islam:
1. Study and understand Islam’s source texts
2. Study and understand Islam’s unvarnished history of violent jihad.
Studying the source texts first gives one an understanding of why Islam has engaged in violent jihad for 1,400 years and is still engaged in it today. As these resources make clear, jihadi violence has everything to do with Islam. As a Republican, I voted for George W. Bush. But now, in hindsight, I can see how completely inaccurate and horrendously ignorant it was for him to say, one week after 9/11:
The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace.
I was ignorant then too, but Bush was the President of the United States. One would think that US intelligence services would know all these things, but that’s another grim story. President Obama’s support of orthodox Islam was even worse, articulated by him on September 25, 2012, at the United Nations, when he promoted a world where free speech and criticism of Islam would be forbidden:
The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.
The absolute best book to study Islamic jihad is Robert Spencer’s The History of Jihad: From Muhammad to ISIS, linked below. It is a meticulously researched book that should be required reading in every high school in the world. (I can say the same about all of the resources listed here.) The last two paragraphs on the last page of Spencer’s book issue a warning that must not be ignored:
In the twenty-first century, the leaders of Europe, as well as many in North America, have brought almost certain doom on their countries no less unmistakable than that which befell Constantinople on May 29, 1453. Instead of taking responsibility for what they have done, they have doggedly stayed their course. They would have denounced the doomed Emperor Constantine XI, like his tragic predecessor Manuel II, as “Islamophobic,” and his exhortation to defend Constantinople to the death as “militaristic” and “xenophobic.”
Muhammad is supposed to have said it so long ago: “I have been made victorious through terror.” In the early twenty-first century, he is being proven correct. As the fourteen-hundred-year Islamic jihad against the free world continues to advance, the best allies the warriors of jihad have are the very people they have in their sights.
Note that the key point in a study of Islam’s doctrines is to read Mohammed’s biography (the “Sira”) first, then read the “Hadith” (his traditions, words, and actions) and then read the Qur’an. Doing so puts the Qur’an in perspective because the verses of the Qur’an are connected to Mohammed’s life and actions.
Also, the Qur’an needs to be read in historical chronological order to make sense. Tradition states that the Caliph Uthman ordered the Qur’an to be rearranged, from the longest chapter to the shortest. Because of that, the text has no continuity and is confusing.
This is more fully explained in the books authored by Dr. Bill Warner, listed below.
➠ Read Dr. Bill Warner’s condensed volume of The Life of Mohammed: The Sira
The oldest full biography of Mohammed is The Life of Muhammad by Alfred Guillaume, a translation of Ibn Ishaq’s eighth-century Sirat Rasul Allah (Life of the Messenger of Allah). Robert Spencer describes the book thus:
The picture that the pious and devoted Muslim Ibn Ishaq paints of Muhammad is truly shocking – albeit unintentionally. Ibn Ishaq relates it all without any trace of embarrassment.
➠ Read the condensed The Political Traditions of Mohammed: The Hadith for the Unbelievers:
Both of the books above are condensed to focus on elements of concern to “kafirs,” i.e., “infidels,” because only the political aspects of Islam that dominate infidels are of concern, from the perspective of world peace.
➠ Read the abridged and annotated An Abridged Koran: The Reconstructed Historical Koran
This volume is in chronological order and removes the repetition. For example, the story of Moses was told thirty-nine times in the Qur’an.
The abridged Qur’an above also includes relevant excerpts from the Sira and the Hadith, placed at the correct chronological points. It’s extremely useful as a road map to the Qur’an. One sees what Mohammed was doing when the various verses were communicated by Mohammed to his followers.
➠ Then, it’s important to read the entire Qur’an in its chronological order
I read the version by J. M. Rodwell (Translator), G. Margoliouth (Introduction). The publishers of a later edition of this volume sanitized the footnotes and introduction to remove criticisms of Mohammed, so I recommend getting the older version. It’s available on Amazon, from Dover:
Reading the full Qur’an in its chronological order, after reading the Sira and the Hadith and the above abridged/annotated Qur’an, makes the Qur’an easier to understand.
➠ As reported by TheBlaze.com on January 8, 2015, in the article “Three books to understand Islam: counterjihadist Robert Spencer weighs in,” a non-chronological version of the Qur’an is as follows:
A reasonably good translation [of the Qur’an] with revealing commentary by the renowned 20th century Pakistani politician and Islamic scholar, Syed Abul Ala Maududi, is Towards Understanding the Qur’an. Check out especially the forthright avowal of the imperative to wage war against and subjugate unbelievers in the commentary on Qur’an 9:29. And for full background, see my book The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran.
The “forthright avowal” in the commentary mentioned by Spencer includes this statement:
The authority to rule should only be vested in those who follow the True Faith [Islam]; unbelievers who do not follow this True Faith should live in a state of subordination.
➠ The Qur’an Is Badly Written and Filled with Hate:
It’s also very clear to an objective reader that the Qur’an is badly written, jumping from topic to topic, and is absolutely chock full of verses that express Allah’s hatred of the infidel and any Muslim who backslides. It’s quite a depressing book to read. (I have other adjectives to describe it: none complimentary.) However, to be credible in discussion, I believe the above texts are essential reading. The Qur’an presents “Allah” as a god who has no resemblance to the Christian God who loves all human beings. Despite the frequent references to Allah as merciful and compassionate, the Qur’an reveals that Allah is not the Father of humankind but is instead a merciless and unforgiving master of slaves. This view was confirmed by Mohammed when he rejected the Christian idea that God was a loving father, in this verse from the Hadith:
Do not exaggerate in praising me as the Christians praised the son of Mary, for I am only a Slave. So, call me the Slave of Allah and His Apostle. (Sahih Bukhari 4:55:654)
Here are just three verses of many that express Allah’s hatred and condemnation of—and calls to violence toward—anyone who does not believe in Islam. There is no freedom of religion in Islam. Criticism is blasphemy. Leaving Islam is apostasy. Both are severely punished, including the punishment of death. This includes children born into Islam. They cannot leave.
The numbers next to the verses below are the Chapter (Sura) and Verse. The names in parentheses are the translators. An excellent resource for comparing translations of the verses of the Qur’an is here:
➠ “Say: (It is) the truth from the Lord of you (all). Then whosoever will, let him believe, and whosoever will, let him disbelieve. Lo! We have prepared for disbelievers Fire. Its tent encloseth them. If they ask for showers, they will be showered with water like to molten lead which burneth the faces. Calamitous the drink and ill the resting-place!” [18:29] (M. M. Pickthall)
➠ Surely We shall cast those who reject Our Signs into the Fire; and as often as their skins are burnt out, We shall give them other skins in exchange that they may fully taste the chastisement. Surely Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise. [4:56] (Maududi)
➠ I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them. This is because they acted adversely to Allah and His Messenger; and whoever acts adversely to Allah and His Messenger—then surely Allah is severe in requiting (evil). [8:12-13] (Shakir) This! taste it then, and know that for the infidels is the torment of the Fire. [8:14] (Abdul Majid Daryabadi)
The websites below are just a small sampling of the many resources on the web. I highly recommend the ones below, listed in no particular order (they’re all great).
David Wood’s blog: http://www.answeringmuslims.com/
➠ Video: “Why We Are Afraid, A 1400 Year Secret,” by Dr. Bill Warner
➠ “The Tears of Jihad,” by Dr. Bill Warner
A documented list of the total number of civilians killed by jihad in 1,400 years:
Africa: 120 million / Christians: 60 million / Hindus: 80 million / Buddhists: 10 million / Jews: thousands | TOTAL: 270 MILLION
➠ The History of Jihad: From Muhammad to ISIS, by Robert Spencer
➠ Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West, by Raymond Ibrahim
➠ Jihadist Psychopath: How He Is Charming, Seducing, and Devouring Us, by Jamie Glazov
There are, of course, mountains of additional resources. However, if you digest the resources above, you will have read 99% more about Islam than 99% of all Westerners—and many Muslims as well, who have not necessarily read their own source texts.
In fact, many ex-Muslims testify that they became disillusioned with Islam after reading their source texts for the first time. Until that point, they had often just listened to their imams, who tended to spin Islamic doctrines carefully.
If enough Westerners study Islam in this way, then it will not only be of benefit to Western civilization but will also benefit the millions of Muslims who want to leave Islam but cannot. “Enabling Islam” does not help Muslims—the first and continuous victims of Islam.
Photo of Taliban beating woman
The lead photo is a frame from video footage recorded in 2001 by RAWA (the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan) in Kabul using a hidden camera. It shows two Taliban from the department of Amr bil Ma-roof (Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, Taliban’s religious police) beating a woman in public because she has dared to remove her burqa in public.
Cartoon of Mohammed
First Place Winning Cartoon of Mohammed by Bosch Fawstin.
Image used by the author with permission from Mr. Fawstin.
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