All Islamic Things Not Considered at NPR

Philip Jenkins versus Tina Magaard: She’s alot more intelligent and honest, too…

Tina Magaard, from her “Fjendebilleder og voldsforestillinger i islamiske grundtekster,” Acta Jutlandica : aarsskrift for universitetsundervisningen i Jylland. 82, no. 1, (2007): p. 221, (kindly translated by Fjordman)

 “The expressions derived from the root ja-ha-da, which the word jihad stems from…mean ‘to struggle’ or ‘to make an effort’ rather than killing. Yet almost all of the references derived from this root are found in stories that leave no room for doubt regarding the violent nature of this struggle. Only a single ja-ha-da reference (29:6) explicitly presents the struggle as an inner, spiritual phenomenon, not as an outwardly (usually military) phenomenon. But this sole reference does not carry much weight against the more than 50 references to actual armed struggle in the Koran, and even more in the Hadith.”

On Thursday March 18, 2010, National Public Radio’s (NPR’s) “All Things Considered” (ATC) aired a segment regarding Philip Jenkins’ claims—made in an unpublished book manuscript, “Dark Passages,” not yet even listed at—that the Koran had a lower “brutality quotient” than the Bible, and Islam, regardless, had undergone a “holy amnesia” (at some unspecified time point) until very recently, neutralizing the creed’s bellicosity, and rendering it “contemplative.” Despite being interviewed by NPR Religion Reporter Barbara Bradley for over thirty minutes, and providing her much additional written material countering Jenkins’ flimsy speculations, precious little of my rebuttal was included in the broadcast (see transcript here). Moreover, NPR’s ATC subsequently ignored my request to have a written corrective of mine read aloud, as suggested by Ms. Bradley herself. The e-mail appeal to ATC’s producers and correspondents, and my brief statement debunking Jenkins, follow, below.

—– Original Message —–

From: Andrew Bostom

To: Barbara Bradley; Melissa Block

Cc: Matt Martinez; Petra Mayer; Robert Siegel

Sent: Sunday, March 21, 2010 9:56 AM

Subject: Edifying statement re: my ATC appearance on 3/18/10

Matt Martinez, Supervising Senior Producer, Petra Mayer, Associate Producer, Robert Siegel and Melissa Block, correspondents, “All things considered” (ATC), (and Barbara Bradley, NPR Religion Reporter)

Dear Ms. Block, Mr. Siegel, Ms. Mayer, and Mr. Martinez,

As per a discussion with Barbara Bradley this past Friday March 19th (2010), I am pursuing her recommendation to submit a statement to be read on air at ATC as a corrective to the 3/18/10 segment, which included a very truncated representation of my meticulously documented scholarship on the jihad. As I explained to Barbara [Bradley], this severely limited presentation of my arguments is in the end disorienting to your own listening audience, when juxtaposed to the air time granted to Mr. Jenkins apologetic views on Islam, reinforced by those of a second interlocutor, Mr. Ansary.

As one who has painstakingly researched these matters at considerable personal cost, I hope you share my belief that your vast, diverse audience deserves to be exposed to the factual data contained in my reply so they—and you—can place Jenkins’ views in a sobering light.


Andrew G. Bostom, MD, MS

I was not given a fair opportunity to counter Philip Jenkins’ claims during my very brief appearance on ATC (3/18/10). What follows are just a few of my rebuttals that did not air.

As of 3/20/2010, there were at least 15,022 documented fatal terror attacks committed by Muslims since the cataclysmic acts of jihad terrorism on 9/11/2001. This is by nature a gross underestimate given the horrific level of jihad violence in The Sudan, Thailand, and more recently, Nigeria, which has gone underreported. Dr. Tina Magaard—a Sorbonne-trained linguist specializing in Textual Analysis—published detailed research findings in 2005 (summarized in 2007, here) comparing the foundational texts of ten major religions. Contra the mere opinions of Jenkins, put forth without any objective comparison methods, Magaard concluded from her hard data-driven analyses“The texts in Islam distinguish themselves from the texts of other religions by encouraging violence and aggression against people with other religious beliefs to a larger degree. There are also straightforward calls for terror. This has long been a taboo in the research into Islam, but it is a fact that we need to deal with…”

My own copiously documented The Legacy of Jihad describes the doctrinal rationale for Islam’s sacralized jihad violence, and its historical manifestations, across an uninterrupted continuum, from the 7th century advent of the Muslim creed, through the present. The root of the word Jihad, appears 40 times in the Koran. With 4 exceptions, all the other 36 usages in the Koran and in subsequent Islamic understanding to both Muslim luminaries—from the greatest jurists and scholars of classical Islam, to ordinary people—meant and means “he fought, warred or waged war against unbelievers and the like”, as described by the seminal Arabic lexicographer E.W Lane.

Muhammad himself waged a series of bloody, proto-jihad campaigns to subdue the Jews, Christians and pagans of Arabia. Numerous modern day pronouncements by leading Muslim theologians confirm (see for example, Yusuf Al-Qaradawi’s, “The Prophet Muhammad as a Jihad Model”), that Muhammad has been the major inspiration for jihadism, past and present. Jihad was pursued century after century because it embodied an ideology and a jurisdiction. Both were formally conceived by Muslim jurisconsults and theologians from the 8th to 9th centuries onward, based on their interpretation of Koranic verses, and long chapters in the canonical “hadith,” or acts and sayings of Muhammad.

Within two centuries of Muhammad’s death, jihad wars had expanded the Muslim empire from Portugal to the Indian subcontinent. Subsequent Muslim conquests continued in Asia, as well as Eastern Europe. Under the banner of jihad, the Christian kingdoms of Asia Minor and the Balkans, in addition to parts of Poland and Hungary, were also conquered and Islamized. Arab Muslim invaders engaged, additionally, in continuous jihad raids that ravaged and enslaved Sub-Saharan African animist populations, extending to the southern Sudan. When the Ottoman Muslim armies were stopped at the gates of Vienna in 1683, over a millennium of jihad had transpired.

These tremendous military successes spawned a triumphalist jihad literature. Muslim historians recorded in detail the number of infidels slaughtered, or enslaved and deported, the cities, villages, and infidel religious sites which were sacked and pillaged, and the lands, treasure, and movable goods seized. This celebratory literature is entirely consistent with the concepts of Dar al Islam and Dar al Harb (Arabic for, “The House of Islam and the House of War”), also formulated  by classical Islamic jurists. As described by the great 20th century scholar of Islamic Law, Joseph Schacht, “A non-Muslim who is not protected by a treaty is called harbi, ‘in a state of war’, ‘enemy alien’; his life and property are completely unprotected by law…”And these innocent non-combatants can be killed, and have always been killed, with impunity simply by virtue of being “harbis” during endless razzias (raids) and or full scale jihad campaigns that have occurred continuously since the time of Muhammad, through the present.

This is the crux of the specific institutionalized religio-political ideology, i.e., jihad, which makes Islamdom’s borders (and the further reaches of todays jihadists) bloody, to paraphrase Samuel Huntington, across the globe. And unlike Christianity, which has issued formal mea culpas for its past imperial warfare, authoritative Islam has never renounced the living, genocidal legacy of jihad. Thus today, jihad war remains the central pillar of Hamas’ foundational ideology, as featured in its 1988 Covenant, which highlights unequivocal statements fomenting the annihilation of Israel’s Jews via jihad. Despite repeated public appeals to the UN Human Rights Commission since 1989, this charter of jihad genocide has never been condemned by the 57 member nation Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC)—which represents the entire global Muslim community. On the contrary, the OIC held a special meeting during 2004 to commemorate Sheikh Yassin, founder and spiritual leader of Hamas, who co-drafted this document sanctioning jihad genocide.  

Update (3/25/10): See my Pajamas Media essay, “NPR: All Things Considered … Except Evidence — and Scholarship.”

Update 2: NPR Replies—(And they weren’t joking)

—– Original Message —–

From: Christopher Turpin

To: Andrew Bostom

Cc: Neal Carruth ; Barbara Bradley Hagerty

Sent: Friday, March 26, 2010 7:48 PM

Subject: FW: Follow-up, Please–Edifying statement re: my ATC appearance on 3/20/10

Hi Dr. Bostom,

In my capacity as the Executive Producer of All Things Considered, your concerns about your treatment in Barbara’s piece were passed on to me.  While I know it can be disconcerting to have years of work distilled to a soundbite, I must say, it struck me that the quotation Barbara used in her piece captured the essence of your arguments very effectively.  Indeed, it was a striking and strongly worded rebuttal of the view put forward by Mr. Jenkins.  Having read your statement in its entirety, I’m unclear as to how you were misrepresented, and don’t feel a correction or clarification is appropriate. 


Chris Turpin

Executive Producer

All Things Considered

Andrew G. Bostom is the author of The Legacy of Jihad (Prometheus, 2005) and The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism " (Prometheus, November, 2008) You can contact Dr. Bostom at

4 responses to “All Islamic Things Not Considered at NPR

  1. I don’t suppose there is a full translation of Magaard’s analysis anywhere online?

  2.' Bill Gallagher

    Just heard the newscast. You are right, Dr. Bostom. Your point of view was given “short schrift.”

    What flabbergasted me about Jenkins was his utter failure to take the Christian distinction between the Old and New Testaments into account, not to mention the Talmudic traditions of Judaism.

    That Americans were citing Bible verses to exterminate Indian tribes is a new one for me. Anyone have an idea where he got that one from?

  3. Just want to say thank you. I agree you barely got in the story but I’m so glad you did at all. Your comments are right on and hopefully some people heard it and checked it out.

  4. Mr. Bostom:
    I expect the NPR decided to voice Mr. Jenkins’ words rather than yours because the whole point was not to prove that Islam was a violent religion (which you seem to find relish in doing), but merely to point out the similarity between the scriptures in terms of the violent content. However, you are correct. The verses in the Bible voice a specific event, whereas the verses in the Qur’an appear to be a report of an extended an open ended struggle, or war if you please. However, the light the verses mentioned are out in are subjective and do not properly describe the whole idea of the passage. You cannot misquote these verses without conversing with one who is well known to be learned on the subject of Quranic Arabic. Even if you were to not do this, you could still surmise a few facts:
    -When one reads the verses before and after the verse (9:5), you can obviously see that it is referring to a specific event. This event speaks of a treaty and its violation. It can be discovered upon more research (make no hesitation to contact my email for more info).
    -It also lays out much more humane ways of this warfare.
    -(9:6) – ” If any of the idolaters should seek your protection (Prophet), grant it to him so that he may hear the word of God, then take him to a place safe for him…”
    This verse is clear and self explanatory. It contrasts the previous verse quite a bit.
    – The Bible’s account on Saul: Book of 1 Samuel, when God instructs King Saul to attack the Amalekites: “And utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them,” God says through the prophet Samuel. “But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.”

    “And fight in the way of Allah those who fight you. But do not transgress limits. Truly Allah loves not the transgressors.”
    – Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqarah (2:190)
    “ But if the enemy incline towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace, and trust in Allah: for He is One that heareth and knoweth (all things)”.
    – Qur’an, Surah Al-Anfal (8:61)

    As well as this, the harming of women, children, the elderly, and non-combatants was absolutely forbidden. Therefore, we can surmise that Islam does not support this violence you say it does.

    My main points are
    – The Qur’an ALSO speaks of a specific event
    – Regardless, Muslim rules for warfare are very humane and make total sense even for modern times
    – “Muslims” who claim to act upon there religion are misguided and do not actually represent the religion they claim to. I think they want a reason to attain their political struggles.