A challenge to Islamic correctness

Book Review

The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non—Muslims by Andrew Bostom (Editor); Foreword by Ibn Warraq. 2005. New York: Prometheus Books. Price $28 (HB).

Jihad is now one of the most widely discussed words in the world's lexicon. Once regarded as an arcane and academic subject, the 9/11 attacks and the more recent London bombings have brought the chilling reality of it to every home. Most think it is a form of religious war, something like the Crusades. This comparison is altogether inadequate, for the war is only the beginning. Jihad should be seen as a complete political and economic system that often includes selective genocide and slavery. All this is presented in exhaustive detail in The Legacy of Jihad compiled by Dr. Andrew Bostom. It is the one indispensable source book needed to understand the threat that the world faces today.

There is no shortage of experts who tell us that Jihad really is an inner struggle against one's own baser instincts— like yoga and meditation in Hindu and Buddhist traditions. This 'Islamically correct' explanation—never followed by the Jihadis—is belied both by Muslim literature and by historical experience. Ibn Khaldun (1332 — 1406), one of the greatest thinkers of Islam, if not the greatest, saw Jihad as an aggressive war of expansion with the religious obligation to convert everyone. He calls it Islam's 'universal mission':

'The other religious groups did not have a universal mission, and the holy war was not a religious duty for them, save only for purposes of defense... Islam is under obligation to gain power over other nations.' [emphasis added]

According to Sayyid Qutb (d. 1966):

'...wherever an Islamic community exists... it has a God—given right to step forward and take control of the political authority... When God restrained Muslims from Jihad for a certain period, it was a question of strategy rather than of principle...'

We need look no further to understand the so—called 'root causes' of Jihad.

It is impossible to do justice to such a monumental work in a brief review beyond noting its main themes. The author begins appropriately with a hundred—page exposition titled Jihad Conquests and the Imposition of Dhimmitude. To appreciate Jihad we must understand the concept of dhimmitude, the state of mind induced by Jihadi terror. According to The Quranic Concept of War sponsored by General Zia—ul—Haq of Pakistan, the founder of Talibanism:

'Terror struck into the hearts of the enemy is not only a means, it is the end in itself. Once a condition of terror into the opponent's heart is obtained, hardly anything is left to be achieved... Terror is not a means of imposing decision upon the enemy; it is the decision we wish to impose upon him.' [emphasis added]

This brings up an important point: terrorism cannot be separated from Jihad, and Jihad cannot be removed from Islam. This is the reality that we are dealing with. Every Jihadi knows this; it is time others did too.

The book gives a comprehensive survey— many from the primary sources going back the Quran and the Hadits. It shows how the orthodox view of Jihad has changed not at all. In the section The Law of War: The Jihad Majid Khadduri makes the important point that Islam abolished all kinds of warfare except Jihad.

Should one think that all this is in the past and 'reform' can change it, here is a sobering reminder by Bassam Tibi in his War and Peace in Islam:

'Though the Islamic world has made many cultural adjustments to the modern international system, there has been no cultural accommodation, no rigorously critical rethinking of Islamic tradition.'

According to this worldview:

'World peace, the final stage ...is reached only with the conversion or submission of all mankind to Islam.'

The book contains a comprehensive discussion of various Jihadi campaigns spanning the period from the first century of Islam to the present day— from Spain to the Indian subcontinent. A major bonus is the set of color—coded maps and other illustrations giving a vivid picture of the expansion of Islam at the cost of other nations.

Several important documents appear in English for the first time. These include primary works in Arabic and Persian as well as neglected modern works in modern European languages by scholars such as Fagnan, Angelov, and Alexandrescu—Dresca Bulgaru. The work is particularly valuable in shedding light on the horrific experience of the Balkan nations under Ottoman rule. This is valuable in understanding the current turmoil in the Balkans where the Muslims are invariably cast as victims, while all the blame is placed on the Serbs and the Croatians.

This raises an important but politically incorrect question: how did the Hindu civilization manage to survive while the mighty empires of Eastern Christianity, Zoroastrian Persia and the Buddhist kingdoms of Central Asia crumbled before the onslaught? Even in India, Buddhism was all but extinguished, while Hindu leaders rose to defend and finally defeat Islam, though at great cost.

Genocide is often a direct consequence of Jihad though it is glossed over by 'Islamically correct' historians. The book gives contemporary and even eyewitness accounts of various genocides from the time of the Prophet to present day Africa. This includes not only the Turkish massacre of the Armenians, but also the so—called 'ethnic' conflict in Sudan, which is the direct consequence of the revival of Jihadism.

Like genocide, slavery is also an integral part of Jihad. In fact most Islamic regimes were based on slave economy. The Legacy of Jihad has a sixty—page section on Jihad slavery. It makes for chilling reading. Particularly disturbing is the revival of slavery and slave trade in Sudan as a direct consequence of the resurgence of Islam and the emphasis on Jihad.

John Eibner mentions one particular slave raid in 1987 in which more than a thousand Dhinka civilians were roasted alive in railway box cars in the town of El Diein in southern Sudan. (This was repeated in Godhra, India in 2002 when 57 Hindu pilgrims, mostly women and children, were burnt alive when the two bogies comprising the ladies' compartments were set on fire.)

What is disturbing in this resurgence of slavery is the attitude of international agencies, including the U.N. Eibner notes that the U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has never publicly condemned the revival of slavery under Jihad. A decade ago, the Cambodian dictator Pol Pot also received U.N. support until his 'Killing Fields' became impossible to ignore.

The documentation is so profuse, much of it recorded by Muslims themselves, the reader begins to wonder why all this has been kept away from the public by Islamic scholars and academics whose job it is to inform. As the great Islamic scholar and critic Ibn Warraq (the author of Why I am Not A Muslim) asks in his brilliant Foreword: why did it take Dr. Andrew Bostom, not an Islamic scholar but a medical scientist, to bring out this monumental compilation? Where were the Orientalists, historians, Islamic scholars and other sundry academics?

The answer: Islamic correctness driven by dhimmitude.

[Editor's note: Andrew Bostom, author of the book, is a contributor to The American Thinker. Further information on The Legacy of Jihad may be found here. The book may be ordered here.]

N.S. Rajaram divides his time between Oklahoma City and Bangalore, India.