For those who are familiar with the extremist Islamophobic website called “Faithfreedom International”, the name of its founder Ali Sina (a pseudonym) is synonymous with the bigotry and vile rhetoric often displayed against Muslims and Islam. This was a person who openly advocated for the atomic bomb to be used on Muslim populations and have many times declared that he will “wipe out” Islam within 30 years.
After Denise Spellberg, associate professor of history and Middle Eastern studies at the University of Texas, assessed the manuscript as “a very ugly, stupid, piece of work” which turned sacred history into soft-core pornography and warned that publication could provoke violence, Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, consulted with security experts and then negotiated an agreement with Jones to terminate their $100,000 two-book contract.
Scholarly decency demands that the authors of the 1977 book Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World officially repudiate a scandalous thesis, one in which they no longer believe and one that maligns the faith of more than a billion people.
The issue raised by this monograph thus can only exist, as a historical issue, if there is a marked difference between the Qur’an and what the author parenthetically calls “Muslim traditional literature.” This is precisely the author’s position, and he posits that a historical gap existed between the formation of the Qur’an and the appearance of this Muslim traditional literature (pp. 17-18). The Qur’an, according to the author, predates all the other literature. Moreover, the knowledge hitherto accepted as historical that we have about the rise of early Islam is not, according to the author, a product of the Qur’an but of this literature (which he defines as comprising everything but the Qur’an). The whole of the monograph is dedicated to proving that the Qur’an is not arguing against “real” pagans when it argues with the group it calls mushrikun, those who practice shirk or associationism, that is, worshiping other deities in addition to Allah. Rather, the author claims, the Qur’an is adopting a rhetorical stratagem that is very common to monotheistic traditions. To call someone a “pagan” or “idolater” was to label them as less Christian or less Jewish than the accusing faction. The same should be held true for the arguments in the Qur’an.
The book The Sword of the Prophet written by Dr. Serge (a.k.a. Srdja) Trifkovic of Serbian extract, is similar to many such post-Cold War era books (written by pseudo-experts like Judith Miller & Co.) that are written to keep alive the perceived “threat” of Islam before our eyes, while guaranteeing themselves profitable fees, consultancies, recurrent appearances in TV and lucrative book contracts. To these bunch of bigoted, eavesdropping, lying and self-promoting journalists, in these days, especially after 9/11, there is no better and easier way to draw attention and sell books than to demean and dehumanize Muslims and Islam. It does not take too much insight to find common grounds that motivates these bigots.
Following his #1 New York Times bestseller, Our Endangered Values, the former President, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, offers an assessment of what must be done to bring permanent peace to Israel with dignity and justice to Palestine in his latest work, “Palestine Peace Not Apartheid” (Simon and Schuster, 2006).