Interview at Democratiya on Islamic Antisemitism

Dr Andrew Bostom is Associate Professor of Medicine at Brown University. He is the author of The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims (2005) and The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: From Sacred Texts to Solemn History (2008). The interview took place on November 14, 2008.

Personal and Intellectual History

Alan Johnson: How does a medical doctor come to produce books on Islam, Jihad and antisemitism?

Andrew Bostom: It’s pretty straightforward. The stimulus was 9/11. Until then I was an average citizen trying to keep abreast of world events. I am not particularly religious as a Jew though I certainly support the state of Israel. But I grew up in New York, living in Queens most of my life, and I went to medical school in Brooklyn. My wife and I still have family in New York City, so the day of 9/11 itself was traumatic, trying to make sure everyone was OK. A colleague’s wife was in the second tower. She was very lucky, barely getting out before it collapsed. On the way home I grabbed a book by Karen Armstrong about Islam. I was reading it and commenting to my wife that it just didn’t seem to jibe. (I learnt later that Armstrong is a notorious apologist.) As I read it out loud my wife was just laughing. I didn’t find it particularly funny. Nor the news reports over the next days that were transparently apologetic. And I was alarmed at stories that appeared in the New York Times (and other New York area newspapers) about an Egyptian Imam who was preaching at a large Mosque in Manhattan, and spreading conspiracy theories about Jews leaving the world trade centre in advance of the attacks, due to their ‘prior knowledge.’ So I started reading independently. A small book by Yossef Bodansky, a terrorism expert, discussed Islamic antisemitism as a political instrument, and referenced the work of Bat Ye’or on the Dhimmi. I got that book by Bat Ye’or, and everything else she has written in English – all her books, essays, and published lectures. I met Bat Ye’or after a correspondence with Daniel Pipes and brought her to Brown to give a guest lecture. She became a very close mentor, and introduced me to Ibn Warraq and that’s how things started. I had begun writing short essays within a year of 9/11. Ibn Warraq resided with us in 2003, for a time, and he encouraged me to consider a book project. I was increasingly interested in the Jihad and it was with Warraq’s support that I put that first book together.
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Islam Without Apologetics

Bruce S. Thornton
Islam Without

Andrew Bostom documents the long history of Muslim

8 August 2008

The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: From Sacred Texts to Solemn
, by Andrew G. Bostom (Prometheus Books, 766 pp., $39.95)

According to received wisdom, an Islamic faith that once tolerantly coexisted
with Jews and Christians has been traumatized by the twentieth century and its
destructive ideologies (such as fascism, communism, and nationalism), by the
depredations of European colonialism and imperialism, and by the displacements
wrought by globalization. These developments, according to such apologists as
John Esposito and Reza Aslan, have given rise to a distortion of Islam, one
manifested not just in “Islamist” terror but also in the virulent anti-Semitism
visible today throughout the Middle East and in Europe’s Muslim communities. A
religious culture that once embraced the kindred “people of the book”—Jews and
Christians—has now been infected by European anti-Semitism, just one more way
that Western cultural dysfunctions have damaged the traditions of a proud

The problem with this tale, as Andrew Bostom documents in The Legacy of
Islamic Antisemitism
, is that it isn’t true. A physician and professor of
medicine at Brown University, Bostom demonstrated a doctor’s fidelity to
empirical evidence in his previous book, The Legacy of Jihad, showing how
violence against the infidel is central to Islamic doctrine, theology, and
jurisprudence. He now performs a similar service in examining Islamic
anti-Semitism, exploding the delusional myths with which too many in the West
obscure the truth of Muslim Jew-hatred.

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