Islam has been the subject of a great deal of misunderstanding and misrepresentation. It is not uncommon to see this religion being portrayed in the media, explicitly and implicitly, as an enemy of modern good values such as democracy, liberty, and tolerance. Writing in the London newspaper The Times, Conor Cruise O’Brien stated that the Muslim society “looks profoundly repulsive…. It looks repulsive because it is repulsive…. Arab society is sick…. A Westerner who claims to admire Muslim society, while still adhering to Western values, is either a hypocrite or an ignoramus or a bit of both.”1 O’Brien is not only adamant that Islamic and Western values are incompatible, but he is equally hostile to Westerners who disagree with his extreme view.
The alleged irreconcilability of Islamic and Western values, meaning the inferiority of the former to the latter, is not a view advocated by maverick journalists only. Similar views expressed by influential people appear all the time in Western media. After the sad events of September 11, 2001, as prominent and responsible a figure as the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi made the following statement to reporters: “We must be aware of the superiority of our civilization, a system that has guaranteed well-being, respect for human rights and – in contrast with Islamic countries – respect for religious and political rights, a system that has as its values understanding of diversity and tolerance …” He went on to say that the West “will continue to conquer peoples, like it conquered communism,” even if that means confronting “another civilization, the Islamic one, stuck where it was 1,400 years ago.”2 The statement caused a furor which forced Mr Berlusconi to apologize two days later. He claimed to have been misquoted, though the reality is probably that he was simply being too open. The Italian Prime Minister also happens to be a powerful media tycoon.
Accusing Islam of being incompatible with an age and its values is not a new phenomenon. Throughout history, the West continued to see Islam in negative images that reflected what was considered to be bad and evil at the time. The inferiority of Islam was always considered a fact, though its supposed proof changed with time. Author Karen Armstrong cites a couple of modern stereotypical images of Islam:
We constantly produce new prototypes to express our apparently ingrained hatred of “Islam.” In the 1970s we were haunted by the image of the immensely rich oil sheikh; in the 1980s by the fanatical ayatollah; since the Salman Rushdie affair, “Islam” has become a religion that spells death to creativity and artistic freedom. But none of these images reflects the reality, which is infinitely more complex. Yet this does not stop people from making sweeping and inaccurate judgements.3
Islam also gets a great deal of association with violence. In a Newsweek article expressively titled “The Age of Muslim Wars,” professor Samuel Huntington, advocate of the controversial “Clash of Civilizations” theory, made the following sweeping statement:
Contemporary global politics is the age of Muslim wars. Muslims fight each other and fight non-Muslims far more often than do peoples of other civilizations. Muslim wars have replaced the cold war as the principal form of international conflict. These wars include wars of terrorism, guerrilla wars, civil wars and interstate conflicts. These instances of Muslim violence could congeal into one major clash of civilizations between Islam and the West or between Islam and the Rest.4
The perception of Islam as a political, religious, economic, and social threat reflects ignorance of this religion. It is ignorance of the reality of Islam that has provided the fertile land for the growth of unfounded phobia of this religion. Even worse, people seem to be ignorant of this ignorance.
In a Roper poll conducted in 1998, well before the attack on the World Trade Center, more than half of the respondents described Islam as inherently anti-American, anti-Western or supportive of terrorism. Significantly, only 5% said that they had much contact with Muslims!5
Contrary to what many believe, misunderstanding and misrepresenting Islam are not associated with non-Muslims only. People who are Muslims in name yet almost totally ignorant of their religion have been major contributors to the painting of the widespread distorted image of Islam. Under the name of Islam, some individuals and groups have adopted ideas and taken actions that have nothing to do with Islam. These non-Islamic concepts and actions then get unfairly associated with Islam. Misunderstanding of Islam and phobic reactions to this religion, thus, become an inevitable outcome.
One infamous example of such actions took place after author Salman Rushdie published his notorious book The Satanic Verses in London in September 1988. This novel, which contains extraordinary derogation of Islam, the character of Prophet Muhammad, and other historical Islamic figures, caused outrage among Muslims everywhere. Many Muslims dealt with this vicious attack on their religion in a peaceful, rational way, expressing their views on the publication of a book which does not seem to achieve much beyond attacking the religion of Islam and offending its followers. A minority of Muslims, unfortunately, had other ideas about how this matter should be handled. They decided that Rushdie must be punished for what he did. This culminated in the notorious fatwa6 of Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini on February 14, 1989, which sentenced Rushdie to death.
Understandably, this death sentence outraged many in the West. Reactions that followed were rather easy to predict. Two days after the Iranian Shiite cleric had passed his sentence on Rushdie, and copies of the novel were burned by angry protestors in the city of Bradford, Anthony Burgess published in the British newspaper The Independent an article entitled “Islam’s Gangster Tactics” in which he wrote:
I gain the impression that few of the protesting Muslims in Britain know directly what they are protesting against. Their Imams have told them that Mr Rushdie has published a blasphemous book and must be punished. They respond with sheeplike docility and wolflike aggression. They forgot what Nazis did to books … they shame a free country by denying free expression through the vindictive agency of bonfires… If they do not like secular society, they must fly to the arms of the Ayatollah or some other self-righteous guardian of strict Islamic morality.7
One fatwa, from a religious leader of a minority of Muslims, followed by a reaction by some Muslims, was enough for all Muslims to be branded “intolerant” and even likened to the “Nazis.” The many Muslim voices of reason and peace went unheard for the murmur of an old cleric in Iran. It is true that Khomeini had a large following of Shiites, but then most Muslims did not acknowledge this Shiite leader as a Muslim scholar of any standing in the first place, let alone follow him. Shiism represents a smaller branch of Islam, and the Shiites of Iran are yet one, though the largest, branch of Shiism.
Additionally, Rushdie was not the first one to be sentenced to death by Khomeini. Other, Muslim, political opponents in Iran were even less fortunate than Rushdie, as they had to face their death sentences. These sentences, and the sentence against Rushdie, were Khomeini’s. Islam had nothing to do with them.
The outrageously disproportionate coverage of Khomeini’s action is one instance of the attitude to publicize Muslim individuals and groups far more than their representation warrants. This attitude, which is widespread in the West, has played a major role in misinforming the public about Islam and Muslims. Let me cite another example which is much less known outside Britain, but is even closer to the subject of this book.
Since the vicious attack of September 11, the British TV, Radio, electronic, and printed media have been educating their tens of millions of British audience on the explosive and repulsive views on Jihad and Muslims’ relations with the West of a self-appointed, Egyptian-born Muslim cleric known as Abu Hamza. What is particularly amazing about the excessive prime time coverage of the views of this man is that he is known to a very small number of people. His following is probably restricted to some of the people who attend the same mosque where he preaches.
This cleric would have needed to spend many millions of pounds to achieve some of the publicity that the British media have offered him for free. Thanks to their decision to turn him into a public figure, his name and views are now known to millions of people. On December 17, 2002, he was guest on the BBC 2 night news bulletin.8 Abu Hamza was given the opportunity to educate the nation on concepts and practices that he labeled as “Islamic.” One bizarre, as well as criminal, concept that he mentioned was “shoot and loot.” This, the cleric explained, denotes the right of Muslims to shoot and loot banks; the latter are considered non-Islamic, evil institutes!
After a rather tense and aggressive exchanges, the presenter of the program, Jeremy Paxman, rejected a claim by Abu Hamza that he spoke for other Muslims. He confronted him with the fact that the cleric was so shunned by other Muslims that he was even not allowed into any mosque other than his. Unsurprisingly, the unintelligent man rejected the accusation. He claimed to represent the sincere Muslims, implying that the overwhelming majority of Muslims who opposed his views were not sincere to their religion.
The cleric missed a great opportunity to embarrass Paxman who is well known for his aggressive interviewing tactics. He could have rebuffed the presenter’s provocative claim by pointing out that had he been as isolated and rejected as Paxman claimed, he would not have been invited to talk about his views on that news bulletin and on many other programs; would he?
I should not end this short story before mentioning another revealing fact about this darling of the British media. Abu Hamza took part in the Afghan war against the Soviets, when he lost an eye and had both arms blown off by a landmine. This is a war in which Western intelligence agencies and governments were fully involved, supporting the Muslim fighters against the old cold war enemy. This is the war that produced terrorist individuals and groups, such as Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban, that Islam is being held accountable for.
Accusing Islam and Muslims for what an individual does under the name of Islam is not the only aspect of unfairness of the attitude of the Western media toward Islam. Ancient and modern history provides so many examples of political and religious leaders, representing various political persuasions and religious beliefs, inciting violence against their opponents and those who did not share their beliefs. However, not all those political beliefs and religions get tarnished because of what individuals who believed in them did or said. Christianity is one case in point.
It is telling that the long, bloody history of Christian crusades never managed to convince the Western media to accuse Christianity of being a violent religion, as they accuse Islam. Commenting on a massacre which took place at the end of the first crusade, Karen Armstrong wrote:
On July 15 1099, the crusaders from western Europe conquered Jerusalem, falling upon its Jewish and Muslim inhabitants like the avenging angels from the Apocalypse. In a massacre that makes September 11 look puny in comparison, some 40,000 people were slaughtered in two days. A thriving, populous city had been transformed into a stinking charnel house. Yet in Europe scholar monks hailed this crime against humanity as the greatest event in world history since the crucifixion of Christ.9
In vivid, grisly details that defy belief and send a shiver down the spine, J. Arthur McFall described in an article in the Military History magazine what happened in that massacre and how it was perceived by religious clerics:
The Crusaders spent at least that night and the next day killing Muslims, including all of those in the al-Aqsa Mosque, where Tancred’s banner should have protected them.10 Not even women and children were spared. The city’s Jews sought refuge in their synagogue, only to be burned alive within it by the Crusaders. Raymond of Aguilers11 reported that he saw “piles of heads, hands and feet” on a walk through the holy city. Men trotted across the bodies and body fragments as if they were a carpet for their convenience. The Europeans also destroyed the monuments to Orthodox Christian saints and the tomb of Abraham.
There were no recorded instances of rape. The massacre was not insanity but policy, as stated by Fulcher of Chartres12: “They desired that this place, so long contaminated by the superstition of the pagan inhabitants, should be cleansed from their contagion.” The Crusaders intended Jerusalem to be a Christian city–and strictly a Latin Christian city. “This is a day the Lord made,” wrote Raymond of Aguilers. “We shall rejoice and be glad in it.”13
The Crusaders cut open the stomachs of the dead because someone said that the Muslims sometimes swallowed their gold to hide it. Later, when the corpses were burned, Crusaders kept watch for the melted gold that they expected to see flowing onto the ground. While the slaughter was still going on, many churchmen and princes assembled for a holy procession. Barefoot, chanting and singing, they walked to the shrine of the Holy Sepulchre through the blood flowing around their feet. Reports that the blood was waist deep are believed to have come from a later misreading of a Bible passage. However, in the official letter “To Lord Paschal, Pope Of The Roman Church, to all the bishops and to the whole Christian people” from “the Archbishop of Pisa, Duke Godfrey, now by the grace of God Defender of the Holy Sepulchre, Raymond, Count of St. Gilles,14 and the whole army of God,” the Crusaders recorded that “in Solomon’s Portico and in his Temple our men rode in the blood of the Saracens [Muslims] up to the knees of their horses.”15
The crusades resulted in massacres on the largest scales. Although these religious wars were blessed, and even instigated, by many high ranking clerics, including Popes, the Western media do not associate these acts of genocide with Christianity. Khomeini’s fatwa against Rushdie and actions by other Muslim individuals, on the other hand, are attributed to Islam. Recent conflicts in Europe — in places such as Serbia, Kosovo, and Chechnya— provide many examples of massacres of Muslims by Christians, sometimes involving the support or consent of the Church. None of these are interpreted as meaning that Christianity is a violent religion. The ongoing bloody conflict between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland is never attributed to Christianity. Such violent conflicts and crimes, unlike ones where the wrongdoers are Muslims, never yield media terms such as “Christian terror,” “Christian terrorists,” “Christian terrorism,” and “militant Christianity.” As noted by Angela Stephens in The Progressive:
After the Oklahoma City bombing, the media rushed to spread rumors of Middle Eastern-looking suspects, only to learn later that the bomber was a fair-haired soldier and decorated Gulf War veteran. We never labeled him a “Christian terrorist,” though one might argue that is what he was.16
It would be wrong to ascribe such violence to the religion of Christianity. But it is equally wrong to associate Islam with violence for the misdemeanor of a minority of its followers. The Khomeini/Rushdie affair, the story of Abu Hamza, and similar cases point a finger of accusation at the Western media, while show at the same time the damage that some Muslims have done to the image of Islam.
A follower of a religion is not necessarily a true representative of that religion. This is particularly true with a religion that has both sophistication of thought and popularity of following, which is the case with Islam. Islam, whose followers are estimated today to be more than one billion, is a far deeper thought than commonly believed. While it is not a religion for the intellectual elite only, it does require some interest in learning. For the intellectual, Islam has unlimited horizons of knowledge. This is why the Qur’an emphasizes throughout the value of knowledge, encourages Muslims — and people in general — to seek knowledge, and dispraises ignorance:
And We [Allah]17 have sent among you [O people!] a Messenger [Muhammad] from among you who recites Our verses to you, purifies you, teaches you the Book and Wisdom, and teaches you that which you did not know (2.151).
How different from the ungrateful person is he who worships in obedience during hours of the night — prostrate and standing — bewares of the hereafter, and hopes for the mercy of his Lord! Say [O Muhammad!]: “Are those who know equal with those who know not?” Only the men of understanding pay heed [to Our words] (39.9).
It is the knowledgeable ones from among Allah’s servants who fear Him (from 35.28).
The status that the Qur’an gives to knowledge is well demonstrated in its labeling of pre-Islamic times in the Arabian Peninsula as “jáhiliyyah,” which means “the age of ignorance,” implying that the advent of Islam marks the beginning of an age of knowledge, awareness, and enlightenment. These are two of the four verses in which the above term occurs (the other two verses are 3.154 and 33.33):
Is it then the judgment of jahiliyyah (the age of ignorance) that they [the disbelievers] desire? And who is better than Allah a judge for a people who have certainty [in their belief]? (5.50).
When the disbelievers harbored in their hearts zealotry, the zealotry of jáhiliyyah (the age of ignorance). But Allah sent down His tranquility on His Messenger and on the believers, and made them keep the word of dutifulness [and not submit to zealotry], and well were they entitled to it and worthy of it; and Allah is aware of all things (48.26).
There are also many sayings attributed to Prophet Muhammad that urge the Muslim to seek knowledge, such as the following:
The best among you is he who learns the Qur’an and teaches it.18
Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave.
Seek knowledge even if it was in [as far as] China.
He who goes out in search of knowledge is [considered to have gone] in the service of Allah until he returns.19
The search for knowledge is an obligation laid on every Muslim.20
The history of Islam attests to the special status given to knowledge by this religion. Islam was revealed in an illiterate, highly ignorant society. Within decades, however, the Islamic world started to become the scientific center of the world, and produced great scientists and thinkers. There is a clear, direct correlation between the embracement of Islam by the ignorant Arabs and their subsequent development of a great civilization. There is no other religion that had such a direct and fast positive effect on science and human civilization. The attitude of Islam toward science and knowledge is strikingly different to that of the Christian Church. The scientific revolution in the Christian West started only when the authority of the Church started to decline.
Islam is the religion of knowledge, so keenness on acquiring knowledge is one main duty of the Muslim. Ignorant Muslims can cause damage to both themselves and the name of Islam.
It is important to make a distinction between the effect of the ignorance of an ordinary Muslim and that of one who takes an active yet pseudo educational role in society. The latter creates a much wider audience, possibly of non-Muslims as well as Muslims, for his distorted version of Islamic teachings. This problem is made worse by the fact that so many Muslims inherit and accept a passive attitude toward self-education, relying uncritically and almost entirely on the teachings of whatever past or contemporary clerics or scholars they happen to know or learn about. As is the case with any learning process, it is essential for the seeker of knowledge to have a teacher, but it is equally important that the teacher is a genuine one. As stated earlier, Islam requires the Muslim to proactively seek knowledge. This certainly involves more than total and uncritical reliance on the opinions of a couple of scholars.
All of this is best illustrated in this Prophetic saying:
He who initiates a good practice will earn a reward for that, and a reward equal to the rewards of those who follow it, without the latter’s rewards being reduced. He who initiates a bad practice will earn a sin for that, and a sin equal to the sins of those who follow it, without the latter’s sins being reduced.21
This saying emphasizes the big responsibility of the teacher and the effect that he can have on society. At the same time, this saying does not take away the responsibility from those who follow pseudo teachers. A real seeker of knowledge would carefully examine any claim to truth made by a book, teacher, or any source of information. Commitment to seeking knowledge is a genuine part of Islam. One aspect of this commitment is the careful examination of the verity of the available sources of information.
The saying above, which differentiates between those who initiate good practices and those who start bad ones, makes clear that the Prophet’s words “the best among you is he who learns the Qur’an and teaches it” refer to real teachers of the Qur’an.
The reality about Islam is that it is the religion for spiritual development. Islam teaches obeying and satisfying Allah, and living in peace with people, Muslim or not. It is about attaining peace in this world and in the hereafter. Nothing is further from Islam than violence and aggression. Islam is a threat only to evil as it aims to eradicate it and save humanity. We all, Muslims and non-Muslims, harbor inside us some evil which spills over and contaminates the world. Islam is the peaceful war against that evil. Islam is about every action that we take to replace the evil inside us with good and become better servants of Allah and, consequently, better human individuals and members of a human society.
One sad truth about Islam is that there is widespread ignorance of just about every aspect of it. In fact, misunderstanding Islam seems to know no limit. As already pointed out, this ignorance is more of a continuation of an ignorance of old than a modern phenomenon. Ill-informed views of Islam started to develop in the Christian West since the early days of Islam, and continued to be based on myths and fantasies to this day. One striking example on this ignorant hostility to Islam is mentioned by Karen Armstrong:
The Song of Roland, which was composed at the time of the First Crusade, shows a revealing ignorance of the essential nature of the Islamic faith. The Muslims enemies of Charlemagne and Roland are depicted as idol-worshippers, bowing down before a trinity of the “gods” Apollo, Tervagant, and Mahomet.22
The West may have been rather careless when developing distorted images of Islam. But it has certainly been very careful in maintaining those myths and fantasies and making them deep-rooted in the Western mind. Those mythical and fantasized images changed only when new ones were developed. This is what R. W. Southern says in Western Views of Islam in the Middle Ages:
There can be little doubt that at the moment of their formation these legends and fantasies were taken to represent a more or less truthful account of what they purported to describe. But as soon as they were produced they took on a literary life of their own. At the level of popular poetry, the picture of Mahomet and his Saracens changed very little from generation to generation. Like well-loved characters of fiction, they were expected to display certain characteristics, and authors faithfully reproduced them for hundreds of years.23
It is no surprise, therefore, to find an Islamic concept such as “jihad” the subject of such phenomenal misunderstanding and misrepresentation.
“Jihad” has become one of the most popular Islamic terms in the media. It is often used in Islamophobic contexts where it is presented as meaning the killing of innocent people, often non-Muslims, by Muslims. An additional slant occasionally put on this ridiculous distortion makes this killing the fate of those who resist being forced into embracing Islam. The great influence of the media over people combined with highly sophisticated brainwashing techniques have caused this misrepresentation of “jihad” to become deeply rooted in the minds of the masses.
The common false representation of the concept of “jihad” was and is being fueled by Muslim individuals and groups whose deeds and actions reflect more or less that same misunderstanding. The fact that those individuals show immense emotion and enthusiasm but little knowledge and intelligence never deterred the media from using them to educate the masses about the sophisticated thought of Islam. There must be something cynical when media with presumably educational functions — such as newspapers, television, and radio — make evidently ignorant individuals their sources of information.
Recently, self-declared expert on Islam, Daniel Pipes, wrote an article called “Jihad and Professors.” He reported the following findings of his survey of the opinions of more than two dozens of academic experts in American Universities on the meaning of “jihad”:
David Little, a Harvard professor of religion and international affairs, had stated after the attacks of September 11, 2001, that jihad “is not a license to kill,” while to David Mitten, a professor of classical art and archaeology as well as faculty adviser to the Harvard Islamic Society, true jihad is “the constant struggle of Muslims to conquer their inner base instincts, to follow the path to God, and to do good in society.” In a similar vein, history professor Roy Mottahedeh asserted that “a majority of learned Muslim thinkers, drawing on impeccable scholarship, insist that jihad must be understood as a struggle without arms.”
Nor are Harvard’s scholars exceptional in this regard. The truth is that anyone seeking guidance on the all-important Islamic concept of jihad would get almost identical instruction from members of the professoriate across the United States. As I discovered through an examination of media statements by such university-based specialists, they tend to portray the phenomenon of jihad in a remarkably similar fashion.
Pipes was not impressed by what he heard from the informed professors, declaring that this “portrait [of jihad] happens to be false.” He then makes of himself an example of how the media and journalists treat jihad and Islam as he prefers other sources for information on jihad: “But of course it is bin Laden, Islamic Jihad, and the jihadists worldwide who define the term, not a covey of academic apologists.”24Preferring the opinion of Bin Laden to that of the American professors is a choice that carries the hallmark of a typical media expert on Islam.
This keenness on maintaining a particular distorted image of Islam is not uncommon. Recently, the University of North Carolina required its incoming students to read a book entitled Approaching the Koran by Michael Sells, a professor of religion at Pennsylvania. However, teaching an academic book on the Qur’an was just too much for many, not the least Bill O’Reilly, host of Fox News popular program the O’Reilly Factor. Arguing vehemently with the University of North Carolina professor of English who selected the reading, O’Reilly explained to his academic guest the problem he was having with his decision:
I’m for academic freedom. I want all the students in universities and colleges across the country to be as well versed as possible. But I don’t know what this serves to take a look at our enemy’s religion.
The presenter continued to make his argument against teaching the book of the religion of his “enemies,” then he made this extraordinary statement: “If I were going to UNC in 1941, and you, professor, said, Read “Mein Kampf,” I would have said, Hey, professor, with all due respect, shove it. I ain’t reading it”!25 Later O’Reilly wrote on that interview on his web site:
The professor in charge told me that knowing about the Koran is relevant and highly necessary after 9/11. I understand that point of view but don’t completely buy it. I believe Americans don’t need to read the Koran to understand that fanatical Islamic killers are a threat!26
O’Reilly was not alone in his position. The decision of the University upset a number of conservative religious organizations who filed a lawsuit to prevent teaching the book. They argued that the university acted unconstitutionally by forcing students to study a pro-Islamic book, but the court dismissed the case.
This is an amazing instance of insisting to wrap Islam in an apron of misinformation, maintain the feelings of enmity toward it, and protect the public from better understanding of this religion.
As stated earlier, the real image of jihad, and Islam in general, is inarguably best examined by studying the Qur’an, which is the undisputed authority on Islam. This is the approach taken by this book in exploring the concept of jihad.
1 Conor Cruise O’Brien, The Times, May 11, 1989.
2 The statement was made on September 26, 2001, during a press conference in Berlin.
3 Karen Armstrong, Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet (London: Phoenix Press, 2001), p. 43.
4 Samuel Huntington, “The Age of Muslim Wars,” Newsweek, January 2002.
5 Jonah Blank, “The Muslim mainstream: Islam is Growing Fast in America, and Its Members Defy Stereotype,” U.S. News, July 20, 1998.
6 The word “fatwa” has earned bad connotations in the West because of Khomeini’s fatwa on Rushdie. However, the word itself means “ruling,” and is used for various religious rulings. It has no particular association with “violence.”
7 Anthony Burgess, “Islam’s Gangster Tactics,” The Independent, February 1989.
8 “Newsnight,” presented by Jeremy Paxman, BBC 2, December 17, 2002.
9 Karen Armstrong, “The curse of the infidel: A century ago Muslim intellectuals admired the west. Why did we lose their goodwill?” The Guardian, June 20, 2002.
10 After retreating to the al-Aqsa Mosque, the Muslims surrendered and offered a large ransom to Tancred, who gave them his banner to display over the mosque so that they would not be killed.
11 Raymond of Aguilers was a historian.
12 Fulcher of Chartres is a French chaplain and chronicler of the first crusade.
13 Raymond of Aguilers is here celebrating the massacre with a quote from the Bible (Psalms 118:24)!
14 Daimbert, Archbishop of Pisa, led the Pisan fleet of the campaign. Duke Godfrey, another leader of the crusade, became the first Latin ruler in Palestine after the capture of Jerusalem. He refused the title of “king” preferring to be called “Defender of the Holy Sepulchre.” Raymond of Saint-Gilles, Count of Toulouse, was the oldest and most prominent of the crusading princes.
15 J. Arthur McFall, “Climax of the First Crusade,” Military History, June 1999.
16 Angela Stephens, “Terror in East Africa: fundamentally un-Islamic,” The Progressive, September 1998.
17 Allah sometimes refers to Himself in the singular, by name or by use of a pronoun, and sometimes in the plural. The plural refers to the respect and honor he deserves. He never refers to Himself in the dual because it refers to a specific number. It is common use in Arabic to show respect to a person by referring to him in the plural.
18 Sahih al-Bukhari, saying 5079.
19 Sunan at-Tarmadhi, saying 2859.
20 Sunan Ibn Maja, saying 229.
21 Musnad Ahmad, saying 19719.
22 Karen Armstrong, Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet (London: Phoenix Press, 2001), p. 25.
23 R. W. Southern, Western Views of Islam in the Middle Ages, (Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1978), p. 29.
24 Daniel Pipes, “Jihad and the Professors,” www.danielpipes.org, November 2002.
25 Bill O’Reilly, “The O’Reilly Factor,” Fox News, July 12, 2002.
26 www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,60020,00.html, August 9, 2002.
Copyright © 2004 Louay Fatoohi
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