Robert Spencer has written five books about Islam. His newest book is “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades).”
The following are excerpts of a telephone interview with Mr. Spencer.
Question: Why did you write this book?
Answer: I wrote this book in order to counteract a lot of politically correct falsehood about Islam and terrorism that are hindering our response to this problem.
Q: You’ve written several books on Islam before. What’s different about this one?
A: Obviously, it contains different information in an approach that I haven’t taken before. It discusses the Crusades, which I’ve never done at length, and it tries to make the case in a form that people who are in a hurry and don’t wish to delve deeply can find as a ready reference.
Q: What has been the reaction to the book?
A: It’s either enthusiastically positive or vehemently negative. The negative responses are not only from Muslims — some have been very positive — but the leftist intellectuals, who are convinced that the West can never be anything but the oppressor and the non-West can never be anything but the victim, are really negative.
Everything that I say in the book is amply documented by Islamic sources. I think the prevailing multicultural politically correct assumption that Islam is a religion of peace is founded more on fantasy than on fact.
Q: Where did the belief that it is a “religion of peace” come from?
A: A variety of sources. The idea that it’s a religion of peace was propagated most effectively when the British wanted to enter into an alliance with the Ottoman Empire. The British people knew of the violence and didn’t want them as an ally to the British state. The British picked up the myth that Islam is a religion of peace, and they propagated that in order to make the alliance more palatable.
Also, you have terrorists themselves insisting that it is a religion of peace, by which they mean the peace that will be established in the world when Islam reigns supreme. The idea also comes from an unexamined assumption that anything that is a religion must necessarily teach the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. But Islam doesn’t teach these things. It makes a sharp distinction between believers and unbelievers.
It is also fostered by the president’s desire to avoid war with the entire Islamic world, which I think is a commendable desire, but I don’t think he’s going [about] it the right way.
Q: What is the right way?
A: There are states that are claiming to be our allies — Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, most notably. But in Pakistani public schools they still teach warfare and hate against Christians. This is what has to be faced. The simple declaration of being against terrorism is no longer enough, if it ever was. The president should call upon them to eliminate these elements of Islamic teaching. Too little has been done to try to pressure them to back up their anti-terror words with deeds.