The Council on American Islamic Relations demanded an apology from National Review and the removal of a book, The Life and Religion of Mohammed, from sale by NR‘s Book Service. This was wrongly focused: NR didn’t publish the book and wasn’t the sole source for it. (The book is available at the HUMAN EVENTS Book Service. Click here.) But it was revealing of what CAIR wants Americans to know — and not know — about Islam.
CAIR took issue with an advertising description of the book that touted it as explaining “why Mohammed couldn’t possibly be a true prophet.” CAIR was angered by the ad’s assertions that “Mohammed posed as the apostle of God . . . while his life is marked by innumerable marriages; and great licentiousness, deeds of rapine, warfare, conquests, unmerciful butcheries, all the time invoking God’s holy name to sanction his evil deeds.”
CAIR’s Ibrahim Hooper demanded that NR “clarify its position on Islamophobic hate speech and offer a public apology for promoting a book that so viciously attacks the faith of one-fifth of the world’s population.”
In fact, it’s true that “Mohammed posed as the apostle of God…while his life is marked by innumerable marriages; and great licentiousness, deeds of rapine, warfare, conquests, unmerciful butcheries, all the time invoking God’s holy name to sanction his evil deeds.” Aside from the judgment that all this is “evil,” what is CAIR actually denying? That Muhammad was married more than once? That’s universally acknowledged by Muslims. So are the other points:
- “Great licentiousness”: These are judgmental words, but the judgment is not unfounded. Just one of many examples comes Allah’s allowing Muhammad to have more wives than are allowed to other Muslims (Koran 33:50).
“Deeds of rapine”: Yet again this is not an unreasonable judgment. The Koran assumes that Muslims will wage war and seize booty, and only insists that the Prophet get a share: “And know that whatever ye take as spoils of war, lo! a fifth thereof is for Allah, and for the messenger . . . .” (Koran 8:41).
“Warfare”: Muhammad fought in many battles and enjoined warfare on his followers. He started almost all the battles in which he fought. His earliest biographer notes, for example, that he “made an expedition to Tabuk and he (the Holy Prophet) had in his mind (the idea of threatening the) Christians of Arabia in Syria and those of Rome.”
“Conquests”: Not only did Muhammad conquer; he won followers through his conquests. One contemporary of the Prophet explained: “The Arabs√?¬Ę√Ę‚??¬¨ ¬¶delayed their conversion to Islam till the Conquest of Mecca . . . . So, when Mecca was conquered, then every tribe rushed to embrace Islam.”
“Unmerciful butcheries”: Ibn Ishaq, Muhammad’s earliest biographer (and a pious Muslim) recounts the massacre of the Jewish Banu Qurayzah: Muhammad “sent for [the men of Banu Qurayzah] and struck off their heads in those trenches as they were brought out to him in batches . . . . There were 600 or 700 in all, though some put the figure as high as 800 or 900.”
CAIR may differ with Fr. Menezes’s assessment of this, but it can’t very well deny its existence. Muslim apologists try to justify Muhammad’s marriages, battles, and killings in various ways, but it would be the height of chutzpah to deny they took place at all. Would CAIR, in contrast, paint for us a picture of Muhammad the Rotarian?
Hooper said that “anti-Muslim rhetoric often leads to discrimination and even violence.”
But Fr. Menezes calls for no violence. Everything he says about Muhammad is, as I have shown, easily established from Islamic sources. What this charge does is attempt to divert attention from the real violence committed by jihadists today to a chimera of violence against Muslims in America, thereby silencing criticism of Islam and investigations of the sources of Islamic terror in the Koran and Sunnah.
If non-Muslims can’t look into Islamic sources to investigate the causes of jihad violence, it plays into jihadist hands: the less Americans know about how they recruit and motivate terrorists, the less we can do about it.
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, to which CAIR compares this book, is fictional. But the Islamic sources I have cited are not fiction. Now that CAIR has intimidated NR into removing The Life and Religion of Mohammed from its book service, it is a victory for those who don’t want Americans to know uncomfortable details about Muhammad. Unfortunately, however, jihad terrorists know these elements of the life of Muhammad quite well, and are imitating them. Ignorance of them on the part of Americans will only make us more vulnerable.