THE MYTH OF ISLAMIC TOLERANCE: How Islamic Law Treats Non-Muslims

Robert Spencer, Editor, Ibn Warraq, Foreword by . Prometheus $28 (593p) ISBN 978-1-59102-249-7

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 exclused half the essays. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 11/08/2004
Release date: 02/01/2005
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