Best-selling book on Islam has ignited firestorm in German media

The German and European media establishment is outraged that a prominent business and political leader has written a best-selling book warning against problems with Islamic religious doctrine.  The criticisms, which are pervasive, seem to amount to this:  

Just because sharia law based on the sacred texts of Islam commands violence against Jews and other infidels, and imposes demeaning humiliations on non-Muslims permitted to live as second-class dhimmis, if they pay discriminatory taxes, there’s no reason to fear the growing presence of Muslims who refuse to assimilate to local culture in Germany.

Thilo Sarrazin, a former senator in the Berlin government, and a former member of the board of the Bundesbank, has written a book on Islam that quickly rocketed to best-selling nonfiction in Germany. The book, titled Hostile Takeover: How Islam Impeded Progress and Threatens Society, has been subject to withering criticism by the German and European press. American media, so far as I have seen, has been silent so far.

The Financial Times called it

An Islamophobic diatribe disguised as a work of scholarship

Sunday Times of London headlined:

German author Thilo Sarrazin ‘is fuelling fear of Muslims’

The German government-owned Deutsche Welle asked an “expert” to comment:

He explores Islam through the Quran, which he claims to have read in its entirety. Even though this approach sounds correct, his claim to be able to determine the core statements of Islam by reading the Quran without any knowledge of Arabic or theological background is an absurd presumption. Sarrazin openly admits that his analysis "exclusively" follows his own "direct understanding of the text," as if the Quran were really to be understood without taking into account the context of its origin and the history of its reception.

"If you take it literally, it leaves little room for misunderstanding," writes Sarrazin about the Quran. His reading does not see a separation of politics and religion in Islam as possible. "The more literally one takes the Quran, the clearer it appears that the world's governance can only find its legitimacy through God," he writes. Like many other Islam critics, Sarrazin picks up one of the Islamists' core arguments; he presents their interpretation of the Quran not only as a conclusive view, but also as the exclusive one.

Now, I am not an “expert” on Islam, nor have I ever received a grant from an Islamic nation or charity to fund my explorations of Islamic theology, but one thing I am pretty confident about is that Muslims regard the Holy Koran, as they always call it, as the infallible word of Allah. I also believe that it is settled doctrine that the later-written more militant passages, the Medina suras – written after Mohammed was driven out of Mecca – supersede or replace the earlier-written Mecca suras.

Now, it is true that all sorts of scholars find other interpretations beyond the seemingly clear literal injunctions against infidels and other threatening passages, but what matters in the real world is what millions of ordinary, non-scholar Muslims think and act upon. A substantial portion of Muslims worldwide support the imposition of sharia as the law of their nations:

The fact that groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS are able to attract large numbers of committed jihadis, and that polls indicate a  significant fraction of Muslims resident in Western countries feel support for such violent jihadi groups us what matters. In the U.K.:

The 615-page survey found that more than 100,000 British Muslims sympathize with suicide bombers and people who commit other terrorist acts. Moreover, only one in three British Muslims (34%) would contact the police if they believed that somebody close to them had become involved with jihadists.

In addition, 23% of British Muslims said Islamic Sharia law should replace British law in areas with large Muslim populations.

Nonetheless, other “experts” were equally devastating:

Filled with "ideological warheads" (Stern magazine), "apocalyptic," (newspaper Bild) and written with "master race views," (Süddeutsche Zeitung): These are just some of the reviews of Thilo Sarrazin's new book, Feindliche Übernahme: Wie der Islam den Fortschritt behindert und die Gesellschaft bedroht(which literally translates as Hostile Takeover: How Islam Impedes Progress and Threatens Society; no English version of the book is available).

His publishers see things differently, describing it as a work that draws parallels between statements from the Quran and the Muslim mentality, using the arguments to explain the peculiarities and problems of Muslim states and societies as well as the attitudes and behavior of Muslims who immigrated to the western countries.

Another expert summarizes the book this way: "In an overwhelming pretense of objectivity, he justifies why the bogeyman he had already described in Deutschland schafft sich ab (Germany Abolishes Itself) can only be attributed to Islam," writes a Freiburg University Islamic Studies professor, Johanna Pink, in her review for the weekly Die Zeit.

All of these experts know that we Westerners dwell in what Muslims call the Dar al Harb, literally, “The House of War,” meaning that we have not yet been subdued into to submission to Islam (which literally means “submission.”) I truly wish that their understanding of Islam as a benign and peaceful ideology were embraced by all Muslims worldwide. But I don’t think it is possible to make the argument that this is the case right now.

Living in an imaginary world in which people behave as we wish they would is never a sound policy, yet seems to be the approach of Western establishments toward Islam.

The German and European media establishment is outraged that a prominent business and political leader has written a best-selling book warning against problems with Islamic religious doctrine.  The criticisms, which are pervasive, seem to amount to this:  

Just because sharia law based on the sacred texts of Islam commands violence against Jews and other infidels, and imposes demeaning humiliations on non-Muslims permitted to live as second-class dhimmis, if they pay discriminatory taxes, there’s no reason to fear the growing presence of Muslims who refuse to assimilate to local culture in Germany.

Thilo Sarrazin, a former senator in the Berlin government, and a former member of the board of the Bundesbank, has written a book on Islam that quickly rocketed to best-selling nonfiction in Germany. The book, titled Hostile Takeover: How Islam Impeded Progress and Threatens Society, has been subject to withering criticism by the German and European press. American media, so far as I have seen, has been silent so far.

The Financial Times called it

An Islamophobic diatribe disguised as a work of scholarship

Sunday Times of London headlined:

German author Thilo Sarrazin ‘is fuelling fear of Muslims’

The German government-owned Deutsche Welle asked an “expert” to comment:

He explores Islam through the Quran, which he claims to have read in its entirety. Even though this approach sounds correct, his claim to be able to determine the core statements of Islam by reading the Quran without any knowledge of Arabic or theological background is an absurd presumption. Sarrazin openly admits that his analysis "exclusively" follows his own "direct understanding of the text," as if the Quran were really to be understood without taking into account the context of its origin and the history of its reception.

"If you take it literally, it leaves little room for misunderstanding," writes Sarrazin about the Quran. His reading does not see a separation of politics and religion in Islam as possible. "The more literally one takes the Quran, the clearer it appears that the world's governance can only find its legitimacy through God," he writes. Like many other Islam critics, Sarrazin picks up one of the Islamists' core arguments; he presents their interpretation of the Quran not only as a conclusive view, but also as the exclusive one.

Now, I am not an “expert” on Islam, nor have I ever received a grant from an Islamic nation or charity to fund my explorations of Islamic theology, but one thing I am pretty confident about is that Muslims regard the Holy Koran, as they always call it, as the infallible word of Allah. I also believe that it is settled doctrine that the later-written more militant passages, the Medina suras – written after Mohammed was driven out of Mecca – supersede or replace the earlier-written Mecca suras.

Now, it is true that all sorts of scholars find other interpretations beyond the seemingly clear literal injunctions against infidels and other threatening passages, but what matters in the real world is what millions of ordinary, non-scholar Muslims think and act upon. A substantial portion of Muslims worldwide support the imposition of sharia as the law of their nations:

The fact that groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS are able to attract large numbers of committed jihadis, and that polls indicate a  significant fraction of Muslims resident in Western countries feel support for such violent jihadi groups us what matters. In the U.K.:

The 615-page survey found that more than 100,000 British Muslims sympathize with suicide bombers and people who commit other terrorist acts. Moreover, only one in three British Muslims (34%) would contact the police if they believed that somebody close to them had become involved with jihadists.

In addition, 23% of British Muslims said Islamic Sharia law should replace British law in areas with large Muslim populations.

Nonetheless, other “experts” were equally devastating:

Filled with "ideological warheads" (Stern magazine), "apocalyptic," (newspaper Bild) and written with "master race views," (Süddeutsche Zeitung): These are just some of the reviews of Thilo Sarrazin's new book, Feindliche Übernahme: Wie der Islam den Fortschritt behindert und die Gesellschaft bedroht(which literally translates as Hostile Takeover: How Islam Impedes Progress and Threatens Society; no English version of the book is available).

His publishers see things differently, describing it as a work that draws parallels between statements from the Quran and the Muslim mentality, using the arguments to explain the peculiarities and problems of Muslim states and societies as well as the attitudes and behavior of Muslims who immigrated to the western countries.

Another expert summarizes the book this way: "In an overwhelming pretense of objectivity, he justifies why the bogeyman he had already described in Deutschland schafft sich ab (Germany Abolishes Itself) can only be attributed to Islam," writes a Freiburg University Islamic Studies professor, Johanna Pink, in her review for the weekly Die Zeit.

All of these experts know that we Westerners dwell in what Muslims call the Dar al Harb, literally, “The House of War,” meaning that we have not yet been subdued into to submission to Islam (which literally means “submission.”) I truly wish that their understanding of Islam as a benign and peaceful ideology were embraced by all Muslims worldwide. But I don’t think it is possible to make the argument that this is the case right now.

Living in an imaginary world in which people behave as we wish they would is never a sound policy, yet seems to be the approach of Western establishments toward Islam.