Saturday, March 11, 2006

Reading up on Islam

Marvin Olasky wrote in Townhall Since 9-11, I've received numerous letters like this recent one: "What can be done to help educate people on the dangers that radical Islam poses to Western civilization? I don't think this ideological conflict will go away."

No, it won't. It is likely to be for the first half of the 21st century what the Cold War was for the last half of the 20th -- a long, subtle struggle with occasional days of fire.
There were no planes flown into buildings, or suicide bombers, or any of the other such stuff going on during the cold war, so I don't know what you mean about "occasional days of fire".
How to educate folks? Use of all media will be needed, but here's a list of books I've read and found useful. There are many more that I haven't read.

First, to understand radical Islam, some sense of basic Islam is essential, and that starts with the Quran. Muslims insist that unless you've read it in Arabic, you haven't read it.
That is foolishness. I dont need to know Greek and Latin, much less Ancient Hebrew and Arameic to read the Bible.
Maybe so, but in theology as well as in horseshoes, leaners are better than nothing, so I'd recommend either reading a translation on the Internet
Such as this site that has three different translations (Yusufali, Pickthal, and Shakir)
or buying the new Quran translation by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem that came out last year in paperback from Oxford University Press. Some scholars now ask tough questions about the Quran's historicity. As I type with one hand, I'm holding in the other John Wainsbrough's "Quranic Studies" (2004) and Ibn Warraq's "The Origins of the Koran" (1998). Warraq left Islam after coming to believe the Muhammad story was a sham, and his books include "Why I Am Not a Muslim" (1995), "The Quest for the Historical Muhammad" (2000) and "Leaving Islam: Apostates Speak Out" (2003).
I don't know whether Muhammad is a sham or not, but certainly the twisted version of Islam the Islamofascists are pushing is totally unrelated to true Islam.
Second in importance within Islam after the Quran are the Hadith, massive works delineating how Muhammad supposedly dressed, ate, ingested and excreted food
That is really more than I want to know.
and drink, and so forth.

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