Sunday, July 08, 2012

The Complete Infidel's Guide to the Koran

The Complete Infidel's Guide to the Koran
by Robert Spencer

Islam has become an increasingly large force in Western Civilization, and its fundamental text is the Koran. Yet both Muslims and non-Muslims (infidels) do not agree on what it actually says. Thus the need for Robert Spencer, a Christian expert on Islam, and his book The Complete Infidel's Guide to the Koran.

Why not just read the Koran itself? As Spencer explains, it is organized in a way that makes it difficult to follow, and doesn't make clear which passages are chronologically later and negate earlier passages. Many passages have no context and assume outside historical knowledge from the reader. There are varying translations, and it is hard to read. The Hadith (sayings of Mohammed) illuminates many passages.

The Koran describes itself as the word of God (Allah) revealed to Mohammed. Spencer details the history of the revelation and compilation of the Koran, along with various disputed and lost passages.

Spencer describes the similarities between the Koran and the Bible. Many passages of the Koran assume knowledge of the corresponding Bible stories, while others have key changes from the Bible. Corresponding passages include Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Other stories are based on heretical Jewish and Christian texts.

Spencer points out that many Muslims don't know what is in the Koran. He also outlines some of the issues with translation of the Koran. Mohammed is the central human in the Koran, and is seen as both a fulfillment of historical examples and a moral example for Muslims.

Spencer makes it clear that Allah hates infidels and has torment in store for them. He details the deep-seated antisemitism that pervades the Koran. The Koran rejects the divinity of Jesus and demands that Christians be oppressed.

As Spencer details, the Koran preaches the inferiority of women and legitimizes polygamy. The Koran preaches both nonviolence and violence, and Koranic scholars believe that the later passages that preach violence supersede the earlier nonviolent ones.

Spencer points out that the Koran does not preach loving your enemies and does not contain a version of the Golden Rule for all people--only for Muslims.

Spencer opposes banning the Koran and is highly skeptical of efforts to reinterpret it. He advocates first that Westerners actually understand the Koran and its implications. He supports monitoring Islamic communities in America for radical and retrograde ideas. He advocates ending Muslim immigration and foreign aid to Muslim countries.

Spencer's book is a worthy introduction to these important issues.

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