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Review of 'Why I Am Not A Muslim' (part VI of VI) - (no publication)

Dr. Jan Knappert ()
Sun, 21 Sep 1997 10:58:04 +0500

Title: Far more dangerous than Nazism
Author: Dr. Jan Knappert

Review of 'Why I Am Not A Muslim' (part VI of VI)

(Ibn Warraq : Why I am not a Muslim. Prometheus Books, New York 1995, xvi,
402 pages, ISBN: 0-87975-984-4.)

(* Dr. Knappert is at present a Professor in the School of African and
Oriental Studies, University of London. He knows many Asian and African
languages and has travelled widely in the two continents for studying their
literatures, religions and cultures. He has already published more than
thirty books on many subjects including Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam. The
photocopy received by us does not mention where and when the review was

Ibn Warraq grew up in a Muslim family. Islam is a jealous religion so that
any man who grew up in a Muslim family and is, for that reason considered a
Muslim, not by his own volition, has to remain a Muslim for life, or else
he is sentenced to death, and this sentence will be carried out as soon as
a Muslim assassin can get him in the crossed hairs. Apostasy, in Arabic
irtidad or ridda, is considered "treason" and a "danger to the (Islamic)
state". An apostatic woman is not executed but imprisoned until she agrees
to be a Muslim again.

Incidentally, let the reader have no illusion about the application of
Islamic law: it is not limited to the borders of Islamic states, but it is
universal, so, death will strike anywhere.

The above paragraphs only serve to explain why certain excellent writers
have to live in hiding even in Western Europe, ever since they have lost
their faith in Islam, and said so in public.

A Muslim woman has to wear the veil everywhere, not just within the borders
of an Islamic state. If divorced, her children can be kidnapped from her
and smuggled to an Islamic state; that is legal by Islamic principles, for
the children belong to the father, whether they want to or not. Women and
children have no choice in Islam, they just have to obey.

At long last a writer has risen to the challenge posed by this religion of
compulsion in the Middle of the World, and has put together in one book all
the objectionable rules of Islam, and has made it into one of the best
books about Islam that I have seen in many years.

Ibn Warraq has divided his book into 18 chapters (though the number 18 does
not appear in the table of contents), including all the subjects you ever
wanted to know about such as: The Totalitarian Nature of Islam; Is Islam
compatible with Democracy and Human Rights? (answer: no); Arabic
Imperialism, Islamic Colonialism; the Arab conquests and the position of
non-Muslim subjects. Here the Ottoman Empire should have been discussed,
one of the cruellest empires that ever existed, especially in the 19th
century, witness the massacres in Bulgaria in the 1870s. Even after the
dissolution of the empire the Turks went on massacring Christians in Asia
Minor, during the nineteen twenties. They did it so thoroughly, that Adolf
Hitler, m-hen learning about this, is said to have exclaimed: "What an
excellent idea, we could try that on the Jews." He did. Now he stands
condemned and the Turks go free. They can even continue their hideous work
in Kurdistan with American agreement. But let us co back to this excellent
book. It proposes: "to sow a drop of doubt in an ocean of dogmatic
certainty by taking an uncompromising and critical look at almost all the
fundamental tenets of Islam." (p. xiv)

To this end, the author quotes all the classical European Islamologists,
including Arberry, Bell, Blachere, Bousquet, Gibb, Goldziher, Hiskett,
Holt, Hughes, Hurgronje, Lane, Lewis, Margoliouth, Muir, Nicholson,
Noldeke, Schacht (Snouck is the same as Huraronje), Watt, Wensinck, Zwemer
and of course, as many Oriental scholars: AI-Ma'arri, AI-Bukhari, Ibn Ishaq

My problem is that all these names are familiar to me, but this book for
the first time sets out clearly the common message of all these scholars:
that Islam if it will one day be used by a demagogue of Hitler's calibre,
will be a weapon far more dangerous than Nazism, since it claims a
universal tenet: world conquest willed by an Arabic speaking God. At the
moment of writing the Muslims are busy reconquering Bosnia by means of
enthusiastic American generals. Nato is busy creating a Trojan horse in
Europe, for future Islamisation.

This book is so rich that it is difficult to review all the subjects Ibn
Warraq discusses so capably. Very important is his, to me convincing,
argumentation that Islamic history as we read it in most of the history
books, is based on a number of fictions. Firstly, the Koran (ch. 5) is a
book full of contradictions in a confused and pompous style. Yet, Muslims
must believe that it is the true word of God, and memorise it. It is
obvious to the careful reader that the Koran cannot be the word of God.
Numerous passages are spoken by Muhammad. More worrying for Muslim is the
fact that the Koran is obviously heavily edited at different periods of its

Chapter 4 deals with Muhammad who was probably an epileptic (p. 89-90) who
also showed clear signs of schizophrenia, as a result of which he had
visions of angels and devils.

In Medina, Muhammad organizes raids on passing caravans which, he says, are
justified by God. Soon he encourages his followers to assassinate
political opponents. The booty is his. Read on: it is a fascinating story
of crimes: Muhammad's life. Read also ch. 14: Women in Islam. That history
still has to be written, although the first timid books written by women
who had escaped from Islamic states are now appearing. It is a history of
endless suffering at the hands of Muslim husbands who believe that women
are treacherous demons, or at least tricky, amoral, irrational, unstable
and so, inferior. This is one of the best chapters in the book, and should
be studied by every woman contemplating to marry a Muslim man.

Islamic propaganda, funded by the unlimited means of the Gulf states, is
responsible for a plethora of untrue ideas about Islam. Firstly, that it
is a religion of peace. It is not and never was, witness the endless
expansive wars fought by Muslim rulers and raiders. Even now the majority
of conflicts of the world have Islam at their roots: Bosnia about which we
are particularly misinformed, the Sudan, Chechenia, Afghanistan, Sin Kiang,
Kashmir, Timor, Azerbeijan and the Philippines. Muslims will not rest
before they rule the state. And when they do there will be no more
democracy, witness the chapter on "the Position of non-Muslim subjects" (p.
214). Islam is a religion of dominance. The man has absolute power over
his wives and children. The men in turn are ruled by the imam, the rector
of the local mosque. No matter how peaceful a man's character may be, if
his imam incites him from the pulpit to kill non-Muslims, he will do it,
believing that it is God's will and therefore justified, even praiseworthy.
The ruler of an Islamic state is always one man. If there is a woman prime
minister she does not have the real power. Elections are either
non-existent or a foreboding of disaster, as in the case of Algeria and
Turkey. Enlightened rulers such'- as King Hassan, King Hussein or President
Mubarak, is the best Islam can hope for. God forbid that Islam should ever
come back to Europe. We shall all be slaves and serfs!

Greek Philosophy (chapter 11) never really influenced Islam. Some classical
works on mathematics and medicine were translated into Arabic. Much
fanfare is made about that, but it is forgotten that the essence of Greek
science is development, not slavish copying. In Europe, science has
developed, whereas in the Middle East it stagnated. Arab and other Muslim
doctors still use the compendium of Galen (Gallenus, in Arbabic Djallenus)
as pharmacology.

Ibn Warraq's book is so inspiring and so full of brilliant ideas and hard
facts as well, that the reviewer never stops wanting to mention further
chapters. Ch. 10 deals with Heretics and Heterodoxy, Atheism and Free
Thought, Reason and Revelation. It proves that Islamic culture was never
tolerant. Ibn Warraq displays here an incredible knowledge of Islamic
philosophical history. It becomes clear while reading him that Islam did
not produce or encourage the philosophers but condemned them; many died in

They still do. The tyranny which we witness in Iran is not exceptional in
the history of Islam. Persons of other persuasions have always been
eliminated and exterminated. That is what is happening now to the
Christians of Timor and Nias, those in Azerbeijan, the Sudan and Algeria.

Chapter 17 is likewise of vital importance for all social scientists, and:
for all social workers. Muslims mutilating the genitals of girls will
claim that they have a right to do so since our countries protect religious
freedom (their own countries do not). There is, however, a limit to the
freedom any religion can claim, when such freedom results in suffering
either of children or of animals, as in the case of slaughter without
anesthesia. Forced marriages of minors is a problem that feminists will
have to turn their attention to. But it is easier to confront western men
who are infinitely more reasonable, than Muslims, who are polite but
determined. When Islam comes, men have little to lose, but women lose their
freedom of movement, freedom of employment and so forth.

We must be extremely grateful to Ibn Warraq for his revealing book.

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