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More good reading on Islam

Alvin Schmidt, a retired Illinois College professor, has written How Christianity Changed the World (Zondervan, 2004), a terrific history, and The American Muhammad: Joseph Smith Founder of Mormonism (Concordia Publishing House, 2013). His book The Great Divide: The Failure of Islam and the Triumph of the West (Regina Orthodox Press, 2004) answers lots of questions about Islam. For example, do you want to know whether beheading is part of traditional Islamic practice? Schmidt notes that Muhammad himself ordered such killings, and that when Ottoman caliphs finally took over Constantinople in 1453, the embalmed head of Emperor Constantine XI became part of a traveling exhibit.

You won’t find such information in the soft-soap books of the “Muslim Journeys bookshelf” that taxpayers are paying to place in 953 libraries and humanities councils across the country. WORLD will publish on Friday my story about how the National Endowment for the Humanities is promoting Islam, so we’re leading up to that by getting on the record some alternatives to such federal support of anti-Christianity: Yesterday, book suggestions by Richard Pipes, and today suggestions from Schmidt.

Schmidt told me this: “Given that our politically correct media do not give the public a truthful account of what Islam is and has done for centuries, I am convinced that in order for the general public, especially Christians, to not be misled, both groups need to read and learn about what Islam really is and has always been. Islam is not, and never has been, a religion of peace. The Quran has more than 100 violent (‘sword’) passages that command its Muslim adherents to fight and kill the ‘infidels.’ These Quranic passages are in the present, imperative tense, rather than something that happened in the distant past.”

Here are Schmidt’s reading recommendations, with his annotations:

Why I Am Not a Muslim by Ibn Warraq (1995; reprint edition Prometheus Books, 2003): “An excellent and revealing book, well documented by reliable sources. Ibn Warraq was born in India and early in life converted to Islam after his father and he migrated to the UK. Later he left Islam and says he is now an atheist.” Leaving Islam: Apostates Speak Out edited by Ibn Warraq (Prometheus Books, 2003): “Each chapter in this book is written by a former Muslim giving an account of what he or she experienced as a Muslim.” What the Koran Really Says edited by Ibn Warraq (Prometheus Books, 2002): “Informs readers about the true nature of the Quran, something that is never seen or heard in today’s mass media.” Why I Left the Jihad: The Root of Terrorism and the Return of Radical Islam by Walid Shoebat (Top Executive Media, 2005): “PLO member Walid Shoebat took part in acts of terror for which he was imprisoned. He later came to the United States and lived in Chicago, where he worked for the Arab Student Association. He began to study the Tanach [Hebrew Bible] to convert his wife to Islam by showing her that Israel was evil. After six months of intensive study he learned what he had been taught by Muslims was false, converted to Christianity, and is now a strong defender of Israel.” The Case for Islamophobia: Jihad by the Word: America's Final Warning by Walid Shoebat (Top Executive Media, 2013): “In this book, Walid tries to give America her final warning regarding Islam’s jihad of the sword. The author contends America needs to take up the biblical sword of truth to avoid conquest by Islam’s jihad.” The Cross in the Shadow of the Crescent: An Informed Response to Islam’s War with Christianity by Erwin Lutzer (Harvest House Publishers, 2013): “This book gives a panoramic view of Islam’s history and warns Christians that they cannot remain idle if they want to preserve their freedom to believe and practice the verities of Christianity.” Sharia Versus Freedom: The Legacy of Islamic Totalitarianism by Andrew G. Bostom (Prometheus Books, 2012): “The author shows that Islam’s Sharia law attacks and undermines all freedoms cherished by Westerners, including freedom of expression and freedom of choice.” The Blood of the Lambs: A Former Terrorist’s Memoir of Death and Redemption by Kamal Saleem with Lynn Vincent (Howard Books, 2009): “Saleem, a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood and a former terrorist in Lebanon who also trained international terrorists in Libyan desert camps, reveals nefarious activities and shows how he became a Christian when a Christian physician took him into his home to heal the severe injuries Saleem sustained in an automobile accident.” The Legacy of Islamic Anti-Semitism: From Sacred Texts to Solemn History by Andrew G. Bostom (reprint edition, Prometheus Books, 2008): “As the title of this book implies, it focuses on the longstanding anti-Semitic posture of Islam.” Cruel and Unusual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law by Nonie Darwish (Thomas Nelson, 2009): “Darwish, a Muslim woman who became a Christian, explains how Sharia law harmful to women is infiltrating the West.” The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim’s Call for Reform in Her Faith by Irshad Manji (St. Martin's Griffin, 2005): “Manji, a Muslim and a Canadian citizen, shows how Islam has since its beginning been anti-women, anti-Jewish, anti-scientific, anti-dogs, anti-democratic, and anti-freedom.”

See “More books to read about Islam”and “The NEH ‘Muslim Journeys’ reading list.

Marvin Olasky

Marvin is the former editor in chief of WORLD, having retired in January 2022, and former dean of World Journalism Institute. He joined WORLD in 1992 and has been a university professor and provost. He has written more than 20 books, including Reforming Journalism.



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