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The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: From Sacred Texts to Solemn History – Review by Kenneth Ellman

I Could Not Put the Book Down!

From Kenneth Ellman, Newton, New Jersey,07860,
I have recently finished reading “The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism by Bostom.” I could not put the book down. I read it three times, perhaps more. I am still reading it again.
Bostom’s presentation, organization and source material being vaster than my previous exposure gave an immersion that was both compelling and revealing.
I am familiar with the Koran having studied from the very well done edition “Revised and Edited by The Presidency of Islamic Researches, IFTA, Call and Guidance” published by the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur-an. I have also read from various books such as “The Meaning of the Quran by Maududi” which is published by Islamic Publications (Pvt) Ltd. Lahore. There are parts of the Koran that impressed me with its adoption of the high moral and religious teaching of the Old Testament and parts that astounded me in its banality. I do believe that the Koran was written for its audience at that time. Perhaps for those people it fulfilled and gave them what was then needed. Certainly the commentary and Judicial decision of the Muslim community give greater insight into the meaning the Koran has for its community and geography.

But Bostom has now done a great service to those who want to learn. Every once in a while a book is created by a dedicated individual like Bostom who possesses the skill, commitment and time to exhaustively exclaim on a subject in a fully dispositive and authoritative manner. Whether that book is in the sciences or law or history does not matter. What matters is that such a book shines and leaves much of the related literature behind. You feel that having read the book its point is proven and that little else on that question needs to be told.

What Bostom has done is using unimpeachable sources and fully reliable documentation he has forcefully presented the argument that those who adhere to Islam cannot live in peace and equality with other faiths and peoples. Yes, he couches this argument as being directly related to the literature of conflict between Jews and Muslims, and of that he shows there is no doubt whatsoever. But his presentation leave no question that the legally formalized hatred toward Jews and Israel is fully transferable and perhaps equally directed to our Western Civilization and tradition and that of every other civilization Western or otherwise. And he does this largely but not exclusively with the documentation of various time periods from the Islamic community and others present in the community.

Keep in mind that Bostom in this book is not interested in the validity or merit of the Islamic faith. This is not an attack upon the religious choices made by those who are Muslim. It is though a clear and unassailable portrayal of the Islamic world as Islam views those non-Muslims who make up the rest of humanity. And it shows Islamic law and practice as a shadow and whip upon the human dignity and a miserable weight upon the future of the rest of humanity.

IF the beliefs and practices of the majority of those who adhere to Islam are truly as reflected in the sources and literature that Bostom has collected, then humanity will have a continuing nightmare that will only be resolved by the defeat and repudiation of such practices and ideas.
His work provides an insight in what Israel must cope with on a daily basis and with why Israel is only the first of many targets in this attack upon civilization as we know it. The Muslim world now has full and complete access to Western science and technology. If Bostom is correct then Islamic Law will use Western attainments as a sword to destroy what Islam perceives as its enemy and an incompatible civilization. Bostom has provided a valuable academic and scholarly discourse of this haunting problem. Kenneth Ellman,

Additional Comment on January 18, 2009:
This is in reply to those critical reviews and to “M.Sullivan”, “Sam” and others who give no details of the alleged mistakes in this book.
I assume they give no details because they in reality cannot find any errors.
If you believe the author has committed error in the book then you should state where in the book that can be found and support it with citations to other authority such as the Koran.
You do not refer to any citations nor quote and page reference any support for your assertions. You fail to make any showings that this author made any statements that are untrue.
Where are mistakes by this author? You do not even refer to any chapter or verse of the Koran, and you pose no questions. You say nothing.
Why don’t you actually make an analysis and aid in understanding.
Explain with citations what you are putting forth. What are the factual errors of this author?
Thank you.
Kenneth Ellman, Newton, New Jersey 07860,

This is in reply to the review of Mr. M. Himed.
My additional comment here on Dec. 7, 2009
I originally reviewed this book on June 15, 2008 and made subsequent additions. However I find the comments of Mr. M.Himed significant and useful.
I thank Mr. Himid for the time he spent to give another view of this significant book. And I think it must agreed that due to the subject matter and careful attention to detail this book cannot be ignored.
I am very impressed with the quality of the scholarship of Bostom.
But Mr.Himid brings out that the tests relied upon by Bostom are not being fully and accurately discussed by him. Certainly many religious works can only be properly interpreted when considered as a whole and when the interrelationships that the writing has with other texts are read in conjunction and combination. In Yiddishkeit, you cannot just read the Torah (Old Testament) and properly understand it without also reading and understanding the Oral Torah, known as the Talmud. These books are really inseparable. Further there are ancient commentaries and other very old works by Jewish scholars which have explained, discussed and interpreted the written Torah and without which the written Torah (Old Testament) could not be properly understood.
We should further review the comments of Mr. Himid to gain a better understanding.
I join with him in his review statements that:
“The point is that whenever a Muslim calls Jews the descendants of Apes and Pigs- whether it be imam Al-Sudays of Mecca or a 3 year old child on Youtube- they are inaccurately interpreting this verse in the Quran.”. I believe what you are saying is that the Quran is NOT properly understood by some of the Muslim faith and that Islam should not be blamed for the errors of understanding of some of the Muslims.
Mr. Himid also states in discussing the death of Jesus that:
“But it is clear in the Quran in chapter 35 verse 18 that “no burdened soul shall bear the burden of another soul.” This ends any discussion on whether Jews are to be punished or carry the weight of their ancestors.”
AND Mr. Himed states:
“He has also taken some clearly anti-Semitic writings and speeches by some prominent Muslims and equated that as the belief that all mainstream Muslims hold against Jews. ”
Another good point.
I do believe though that what Bostom has brought out is there is a strong cultural proclivity of many in the Islamic nation, to use the Quran as authority to kill and destroy Jews and Israel and those of many other faiths. This is certainly a fact. There are in fact many of the Muslim faith who believe that their religion commands them to subjugate and injure and destroy other culture and faiths. So Mr. Himid, in contrast to Mr. Bostom, does raise an interesting point as to whether this destruction and hatred under the banner of Islam is really a cultural and political movement and NOT based upon the Quran itself. Himid seem to believe that in fact many of the destructive actions by those who claim to be of the Muslim faith actually violate the teaching of the Quran.
So this in itself would be a subject for a wonderful book, but it must be written by a respected Muslim scholar and not from another faith.
I will study this further. It always shows that things may not be as simple as they seem.
How wonderful if it were true that the war with Western Civilization is not with the Quran but with a group of misled murderers.
Thank you.
Kenneth Ellman
Newton, New Jersey 07860