Two Reviews of “Sharia Versus Freedom”

Alyssa Lappen at Pajamas Media and Eileen Toplansky at The American Thinker have provided thoughtful reviews of Sharia Versus Freedom this weekend. Key extracts are provided below, but they are worth reading in full.

From Lappen’s review:

Andrew Bostom’s latest book [is]…an engrossing and encyclopedic catalog of ideology and history of the naked totalitarianism of Islamic religious and political doctrines. The introduction alone establishes the diametric opposite embodied in Islamic law (sharia) to free Western social structure. It prohibits political freedoms as well as freedoms of conscience, faith, and expression (both oral and written). In Islamdom, one expresses personal views at great risk. As applied throughout its history and expressed in internal jurisprudence, the creed Mohammed founded has suppressed and oppressed all with whom it interacted — especially non-Muslims….Bostom shows in myriad ways how Islam cements “religion” to Mohammed’s  crushing totalitarian 7th century creed. For openers, while the Arabic word “hurriyya” translates to “freedom,” it refers to “freedom as perfect slavery to Allah,” as prescribed by highly dogmatic sharia laws engineered by the same dictatorial chief (Mohammed said, by divine instructions delivered via the angel Gabriel). It means something diametrically opposite to the same word in English — study of which is now off limits for U.S. military and security officials.

…Like Bostom’s two previous landmark studies on Islamic jihad and antisemitism (Legacy of Islamic Jihad: Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims and Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: From Sacred Texts to Solemn History), his third adds significantly to our knowledge base. Often, contemporary scholars contend that Islam grew hateful upon absorbing Nazi anti-Semitism in the 20th century. Yet Bostom shows, even in the Nazi era, intellectual luminaries saw the truth as quite the opposite. Like “Islam of old,” Barth warned in 1939, National Socialism’s political experiment promised to those willing to participate; but when resisted, it could “only crush and kill.” Nazism, he wrote, was best understood as “a new Islam, its myth a new Allah and Hitler as this new Allah’s Prophet.

From Toplansky’s review:

Honest scholarship in our politically correct world is a hard commodity to find.  Thus, a debt is owed to Bostom for his continuing contributions as he give numerous examples to prove that it is the “centrality of Islamic jihadism” (26) that motivates, inspires, instigates, arouses, and stirs its adherents toward the unrelenting goal of a global caliphate.  During the recent Ramadan, for example, there were 260 jihad attacks in 23 countries, with 1,209 dead and 1,910 critically injured.  The so-called religion of peace is extraordinarily bloody, yet leaders of the free world prevaricate about its violence. 

…Particularly revelatory is the chapter entitled “Sayonara Shari’a: Japanese Lessons, Lost?,” where Bostom relates that after World War II, “under stern American guidance” (440), Japan was forced to delegitimize its state religion of Shintoism.  In other words, the state would no longer be able to impose religious belief; nonetheless, the practice of Shintoism as a “private, demilitarized, and depoliticized personal faith” was protected (441).  Individual religious liberty was maintained but could not be imposed upon the general populace.

Sadly, this lesson, which produced a vibrant Japanese reconstruction while protecting individual rights, has been entirely ignored following the U.S.-led military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Rather than neutralizing the bellicose religious-political-economic creed of Islam, we have actually helped to promote sharia imposition. 

How galling it is to learn that there is a tried and true antidote to counter the totalitarianism of state-imposed religion, but that the West ignores it?  It is vital to note that there “has never been a sharia state in history that has not discriminated … against the non Muslims (and Muslim women) under its suzerainty” (447).

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