Book takes on controversial subject

Trista Pinick

“The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam” by Robert Spencer offers clear writing that’s articulate and draws in the modern reader who wants facts and opinions quickly and concisely. Spencer isn’t wordy, but he’s definitely dramatic.

The book is very controversial, as one would expect from the title and doesn’t paint the Muslim religion in the best light. However, there are distinctions made between the hardcore Muslim, uneducated (in terms of their religion) Muslims and the liberal Muslims who wish to live peacefully with other cultures.

“There are enormous numbers of Muslims in the United States and around the world who want nothing to do with today’s global jihad. While their theological foundation is weak, many are heroically laboring to create a viable moderate Islam that will allow Muslims to coexist peacefully with their non-Muslim neighbors,” writes Spencer, “They are to be commended, but make no mistake this moderate Islam does not exist to any significant extent in the world today.”

Although I thoroughly enjoyed Spencer’s prose style and the sidebars on every page with small snippets of information, I have to ask if the facts are accurate and I would encourage readers to do their own fact checking with first hand sources, which are what Spencer mainly draws from. Many of the quotes and information are taken directly from Muhammad’s first biographer and the Quran.

Spencer first gives historical information about the religion (and the Crusades in the second half of the book) and the addresses its relevance in today’s world, not just America. He also does his best to unveil politically correct myths and misinformation that’s so abundant in today’s society. “It seems to be accurate in citing various negative events and representing significant

elements of Islam, yet also it is inaccurate at the same time by its one-sidedness,” said Mark Harlem, who recently finished his Ph.D in Muslim Studies. “There are many instances of tolerant treatment of Christians by Muslims in the long history of Muslim rule — probably a bit better than Christian treatment of Muslims.”

This is a topic that is important for the non-Muslim and liberal Muslim to contemplate for many reasons. It is also important to remember that the book does not attempt to incite violence or hatred on the Muslim population, but to educate and peruse the situation that the Western world and the Muslim religion find themselves in. I do genuinely believe that Spencer’s intentions are good, but I question why he doesn’t mention anything about the Christian persecution of Muslims. Both groups have done horrific things in past and so while, in dealing mainly with what Islam teaches today it’s not that important it is important to note that both sides were less than tolerant when dealing with the history.