Conservative Booknotes interviews Robert Spencer!
If you could disabuse the American people of just one politically correct assumption about Islam, what would it be? What's the biggest piece of false information people take for granted? It would not be that Islam is a religion of peace. The fact that it is not, I think, is abundantly clear at this point to those who are not willfully blind
What do we know about Mohammed? How does he compare with other important religious figures in world history? Mohammed is unique among the founders of what are known as the world's great religions in that he was a warrior and a political leader who led armies and set out laws for the governing of the state. Because he is regarded by Muslims as uswa hasana, the perfect example, Islam has always had a political and military aspect. His multiple wives, including a nine-year-old he married at age 52, have also proved to be a deleterious example in the Islamic world.
Is it really necessary to point out Mohammed's character flaws? Why enrage Muslims by insulting their prophet? This is a very important question since influential figures have wrongly stated that it is not necessary, and even may be wrong in itself, to speak about Mohammed when trying to combat global Islamic terror. However, it is extraordinarily important that we speak honestly about Mohammed, indeed we must do so in order to call attention to the real sources of violence within Islam, which are found in the words and deeds of Mohammed. If we do not do that, there is no hope that the violence inspired by these elements of Islam will ever cease to be a threat to non-Muslims, as well as to Muslims who wish to live in peace with their non-Muslim neighbors. I am not trying to insult anyone; everything I say about Mohammed is abundantly established in the Islamic sources that Muslims themselves consider most trustworthy.
Do Muslims ever convert to Christianity? What can you tell us about their experiences? Yes they do. I co-wrote a book, Inside Islam: A Guide for Catholics, with Daniel Ali, a Kurd who converted from Islam to Christianity. There are many such converts. But because Islamic law, in accordance with Mohammed's command, mandates the death penalty for those who leave Islam, such converts must live in fear for their lives at every moment, even in the United States. A recent convention of ex-Muslim Christians in
Is there anything good about Islam? However, although there are moderate Muslims, Islam itself is not moderate. And these peaceful people are today subject to recruitment by jihadists who appeal to them claiming to represent pure Islam. There's of course a great deal of beauty in Islamic architecture, poetry, and so forth.
What's wrong with the popular conception of the Crusades? What really happened? The idea that Western European proto-colonialists descended upon a peaceful Islamic world is the prevailing view, but it is sheer fantasy. In fact, the Crusades were a belated defensive response to 450 years of Islamic jihad expansionist aggression that overwhelmed the Christian lands of the Middle East and
The mainstream media seems determined not to look into the connection between Muslims' religion and Muslim terrorism, and even some conservatives think it's better not discussed. Why would people rather ignore this issue? People are afraid that if they speak about Islam as being the source of today's jihad terrorism, they will be branded as bigots by the Left; it cuts against the grain in American culture today to criticize someone else's religion, and people recoil from that idea instinctively. They seem to believe that innocent Muslims will be victimized. In the end, however, they are cutting the ground out from under the moderate Muslims they profess to support by refusing to speak about the Islamic roots of jihad terrorism because by pretending that Islam does not need reform, they make it impossible for real reformist Muslims of good will to call for that reform, so that both liberals and conservatives end up destroying the hopes of Muslim moderates while professing to support them.
I understand you've received a number of death threats because of what you've written about Islam, both in your books and on Jihad Watch. Do you think you're in real danger? As Joycelyn Elders said, "Everybody's probably going to die from something."
You've argued persuasively that violence is integral to Islam, and yet there have been no successful terrorist attacks since 9/11, despite all the Muslims living in the
What do you predict for Islam in the future? What's the best case scenario for Muslims' relationship with the West? What's the worse case scenario? Which is more likely? The best case scenario is that the ulama, the religious leaders of the various Muslim states, actually renounce violent jihad and the institutionalized oppression of their non-Muslim populations. But since these imperatives are rooted in the Islamic religion, they are not likely to do this either because of American military pressure or because of American good will. The worst case scenario is that political correctness continues to blind both the Left and the Right, and keep them from acknowledging these elements of Islam, thus making possible the subversion and Islamization first of Western Europe and ultimately even of the United States. The best realistic outcome is that, having recognized the real sources of jihad terrorism,