With jihad, we're betting our future on wishful thinking

Robert Spencer's The History of Jihad: From Muhammad to ISIS makes it clearer with every page: there are numerous core elements of the U.S. and Western European approach to Islam, the jihad threat, and much more based on ignorance history and blindness to present-day reality – an ignorance that could be catastrophic if the lessons of this seminal book are not heeded.

Take, for example, the Muslim presence in Western countries, which has increased dramatically since the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.  It is taken for granted by Western European leaders, as well as by the media on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as the left and much of the right in the United States, that the new Muslim communities are overwhelmingly made up of moderates who reject terrorism and the elements of sharia (Islamic religious and political law) that render Saudi Arabia, Iran, and other states that implement Islamic law so toxic for defenders of human rights.  Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison thus got in hot water recently when he declared that Muslim leaders in Australia have to be much more aggressive in combating terrorism within the Muslim community.  Those leaders and the media responded as if Morrison had committed an unpardonable gaffe in questioning their commitment to Islam's allegedly peaceful teachings.

Spencer, relying almost exclusively on Islamic sources that celebrate the jihad violence he chronicles, shows in The History of Jihad that violence against unbelievers, and their bloody subjugation under sharia, has been a constant of Islamic history, without any respite, reformation, or reconsideration.  From the beginning of jihad violence in the seventh century through the conquest of the Middle East, Persia, North Africa, and Spain to the shockingly ruthless and bloody centuries-long jihad in India, Spencer soberly sets out the record, and the record is undeniable: we are today betting the futures of our nations on the proposition that for the first time in history, after 1,400 years of bloodshed and conquest, Muslims will give up their quest for Islam to "dominate, and not be dominated" and live in peace with their non-Muslim neighbors without trying to impose sharia discrimination upon them.

The History of Jihad shows that this bet is a long shot at best.  Certainly, many Muslims have been peaceful throughout Islamic history, but Spencer here proves definitively that those peaceful Muslims never worked against the jihadis and never effected a reform in Islamic doctrine that would take the teeth out of the jihad imperative.

Nor has interfaith dialogue ever accomplished anything, although it has a pedigree much longer than most people realize.  Spencer recounts: "In the 830s, the Byzantine emperor Theophilus asked the Abbasid caliph al-Ma'mun for a peace accord, but al-Ma'mun's response hewed to the Islamic tripartite choice for the 'People of the Book,' that is, conversion to Islam, submission to Islamic hegemony, or death."

Similarly, Spencer demonstrates throughout the book that there has never been any shortage of non-Muslim collaborators who were willing and even eager to aid the advance of the jihad for their own ends, without realizing, or perhaps without caring, what measure of suffering they were bringing upon their countrymen and coreligionists.  He tells the story of Count Julian of Ceuta, who, according to Spanish and Islamic traditions, vented his rage at the Visigoth King Roderick of Spain (who had, it is said, violated his daughter) by helping the jihadis cross the Strait of Gibraltar (which takes its name from the man Julian aided, Tariq ibn Ziyad, the Muslim conqueror of the Iberian Peninsula).

Sweeping in scope, The History of Jihad is the first narrative history of the entirety of the 1,400-year jihad against non-Muslims, not just against Europe, but also against India, which is a horrifying story not known in the West as it should be.  Spencer also takes his account right up to the minute, explaining how the partition of India and Pakistan and ongoing tensions on the Indian subcontinent, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the modern-day machinations of Iran and Saudi Arabia fit into the historical jihad imperative.  He also shows that while Islamic terror groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIS appear to many to be a recent phenomenon, they actually have numerous antecedents within Islamic history, including the prophet of Islam himself, Muhammad, who said on his deathbed, "I have been made victorious with terror."

The History of Jihad is an extraordinary book.  We live in an age in which wishful thinking and a denial of obvious facts are not just widespread, but even, in many cases, required if one is to avoid charges of "racism," "bigotry," and the like.  If we don't set them aside in time, our childish fantasies could be the death of us.  The History of Jihad is the dose of reality that all of us need, especially those in positions of influence in Washington.

Dan Perkins is a master storyteller and author of the Brotherhood of the Red Nile trilogy, which centers on Islamic nuclear terrorism against the USA.

h

Robert Spencer's The History of Jihad: From Muhammad to ISIS makes it clearer with every page: there are numerous core elements of the U.S. and Western European approach to Islam, the jihad threat, and much more based on ignorance history and blindness to present-day reality – an ignorance that could be catastrophic if the lessons of this seminal book are not heeded.

Take, for example, the Muslim presence in Western countries, which has increased dramatically since the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.  It is taken for granted by Western European leaders, as well as by the media on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as the left and much of the right in the United States, that the new Muslim communities are overwhelmingly made up of moderates who reject terrorism and the elements of sharia (Islamic religious and political law) that render Saudi Arabia, Iran, and other states that implement Islamic law so toxic for defenders of human rights.  Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison thus got in hot water recently when he declared that Muslim leaders in Australia have to be much more aggressive in combating terrorism within the Muslim community.  Those leaders and the media responded as if Morrison had committed an unpardonable gaffe in questioning their commitment to Islam's allegedly peaceful teachings.

Spencer, relying almost exclusively on Islamic sources that celebrate the jihad violence he chronicles, shows in The History of Jihad that violence against unbelievers, and their bloody subjugation under sharia, has been a constant of Islamic history, without any respite, reformation, or reconsideration.  From the beginning of jihad violence in the seventh century through the conquest of the Middle East, Persia, North Africa, and Spain to the shockingly ruthless and bloody centuries-long jihad in India, Spencer soberly sets out the record, and the record is undeniable: we are today betting the futures of our nations on the proposition that for the first time in history, after 1,400 years of bloodshed and conquest, Muslims will give up their quest for Islam to "dominate, and not be dominated" and live in peace with their non-Muslim neighbors without trying to impose sharia discrimination upon them.

The History of Jihad shows that this bet is a long shot at best.  Certainly, many Muslims have been peaceful throughout Islamic history, but Spencer here proves definitively that those peaceful Muslims never worked against the jihadis and never effected a reform in Islamic doctrine that would take the teeth out of the jihad imperative.

Nor has interfaith dialogue ever accomplished anything, although it has a pedigree much longer than most people realize.  Spencer recounts: "In the 830s, the Byzantine emperor Theophilus asked the Abbasid caliph al-Ma'mun for a peace accord, but al-Ma'mun's response hewed to the Islamic tripartite choice for the 'People of the Book,' that is, conversion to Islam, submission to Islamic hegemony, or death."

Similarly, Spencer demonstrates throughout the book that there has never been any shortage of non-Muslim collaborators who were willing and even eager to aid the advance of the jihad for their own ends, without realizing, or perhaps without caring, what measure of suffering they were bringing upon their countrymen and coreligionists.  He tells the story of Count Julian of Ceuta, who, according to Spanish and Islamic traditions, vented his rage at the Visigoth King Roderick of Spain (who had, it is said, violated his daughter) by helping the jihadis cross the Strait of Gibraltar (which takes its name from the man Julian aided, Tariq ibn Ziyad, the Muslim conqueror of the Iberian Peninsula).

Sweeping in scope, The History of Jihad is the first narrative history of the entirety of the 1,400-year jihad against non-Muslims, not just against Europe, but also against India, which is a horrifying story not known in the West as it should be.  Spencer also takes his account right up to the minute, explaining how the partition of India and Pakistan and ongoing tensions on the Indian subcontinent, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the modern-day machinations of Iran and Saudi Arabia fit into the historical jihad imperative.  He also shows that while Islamic terror groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIS appear to many to be a recent phenomenon, they actually have numerous antecedents within Islamic history, including the prophet of Islam himself, Muhammad, who said on his deathbed, "I have been made victorious with terror."

The History of Jihad is an extraordinary book.  We live in an age in which wishful thinking and a denial of obvious facts are not just widespread, but even, in many cases, required if one is to avoid charges of "racism," "bigotry," and the like.  If we don't set them aside in time, our childish fantasies could be the death of us.  The History of Jihad is the dose of reality that all of us need, especially those in positions of influence in Washington.

Dan Perkins is a master storyteller and author of the Brotherhood of the Red Nile trilogy, which centers on Islamic nuclear terrorism against the USA.

h