Criticism of Islam
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Criticism of Islam has existed since Islam's formative stages. Early written criticism came from Christians, prior to the ninth century, many of whom viewed Islam as a radical Christian heresy. Later there appeared criticism from the Muslim world itself, and also from Jewish writers and from ecclesiastical Christians.
Objects of criticism include the morality of the life of Muhammad, the last prophet of Islam, both in his public and personal life. Issues relating to the authenticity and morality of the Quran, the Islamic holy book, are also discussed by critics. Other criticisms focus on the question of human rights in modern Islamic nations, and the treatment of women in Islamic law and practice. In wake of the recent multiculturalism trend, Islam's influence on the ability of Muslim immigrants in the West to assimilate has been criticized.
Early Islam 
The earliest surviving written criticisms of Islam are to be found in the writings of Christians, who came under the early dominion of the Islamic Caliphate. One such Christian was John of Damascus (c. 676–749 AD), who was familiar with Islam and Arabic. The second chapter of his book, The Fount of Wisdom, titled "Concerning Heresies", presents a series of discussions between Christians and Muslims. John claimed an Arian monk (whom he did not know was Bahira) influenced Muhammad and viewed the Islamic doctrines as nothing more than a hodgepodge culled from the Bible. Writing on Islam's claim of Abrahamic ancestry, John explained that the Arabs were called "Saracens" (Greek Σαρακενοί, Sarakenoi) because they were "empty" (κενός, kenos, in Greek) "of Sarah". They were called "Hagarenes" because they were "the descendants of the slave-girl Hagar". In the opinion of John Tolan, a Professor of Medieval History, John's biography of Muhammad is "based on deliberate distortions of Muslim traditions", but Tolan does not elaborate his statement.
Other notable early critics of Islam included:
- Muhammad al Warraq, a 9th-century scholar and critic of Islam.
- Ibn al-Rawandi, a 9th-century atheist, who repudiated Islam and revealed religion in general.
Medieval Islamic world 
In the early centuries of the Islamic Caliphate, the Islamic law allowed citizens to freely express their views, including criticism of Islam and religious authorities, without fear of persecution. As such, there have been several notable Muslim critics and skeptics of Islam that arose from within the Islamic world itself. In tenth and eleventh-century Syria there lived a blind poet called Al-Ma'arri. He became well known for a poetry that was affected by a "pervasive pessimism." He labeled religions in general as "noxious weeds" and said that Islam does not have a monopoly on truth. He had particular contempt for the ulema, writing that:
They recite their sacred books, although the fact informs me that these are fiction from first to last. O Reason, thou (alone) speakest the truth. Then perish the fools who forged the religious traditions or interpreted them!
Another early critic was the Persian physician Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi in the 10th century. He criticized Islam and all revealed religions in general in several treatises. Despite his views, he remained a celebrated physician across the Islamic world. In 1280, the Jewish philosopher, Ibn Kammuna, criticized Islam in his book Examination of the Three Faiths. He reasoned that the Sharia was incompatible with the principles of justice, and that this undercut the notion of Muhammad being the perfect man: "there is no proof that Muhammad attained perfection and the ability to perfect others as claimed." The philosopher thus claimed that people converted to Islam from ulterior motives:
That is why, to this day we never see anyone converting to Islam unless in terror, or in quest of power, or to avoid heavy taxation, or to escape humiliation, or if taken prisoner, or because of infatuation with a Muslim woman, or for some similar reason. Nor do we see a respected, wealthy, and pious non-Muslim well versed in both his faith and that of Islam, going over to the Islamic faith without some of the aforementioned or similar motives.
According to Bernard Lewis, just as it is natural for a Muslim to assume that the converts to his religion are attracted by its truth, it is equally natural for the convert's former coreligionists to look for baser motives and Ibn Kammuna's list seems to cover most of such nonreligious motives.
Maimonides, one of the foremost 12th century rabbinical arbiters and philosophers, sees the relation of Islam to Judaism as primarily theoretical. Maimonides has no quarrel with the strict monotheism of Islam, but finds fault with the practical politics of Muslim regimes. He also considered Islamic ethics and politics to be inferior to their Jewish counterparts. Maimonides criticised what he perceived as the lack of virtue in the way Muslims rule their societies and relate to one another. In his Epistle to Yemenite Jewry, he refers to Mohammad, as "hameshuga" – "that madman".
Medieval Christianity 
- In Dante's Inferno, Muhammad is portrayed as split in half, with his guts hanging out, representing his status as a schismatic (one who broke from the Church).
- Some medieval ecclesiastical writers portrayed Muhammad as possessed by Satan, a "precursor of the Antichrist" or the Antichrist himself.
- Denis the Carthusian wrote two treatises to refute Islam at the request of Nicholas of Cusa, Contra perfidiam Mahometi, et contra multa dicta Sarracenorum libri quattuor and Dialogus disputationis inter Christianum et Sarracenum de lege Christi et contra perfidiam Mahometi.
- The Tultusceptru de libro domni Metobii, an Andalusian manuscript with unknown dating, shows how Muhammad (called Ozim, from Hashim) was tricked by Satan into adulterating an originally pure divine revelation. The story argues God was concerned about the spiritual fate of the Arabs and wanted to correct their derivation from the faith. He then sends an angel to the monk Osius who orders him to preach to the Arabs. Osius however is in ill-health and orders a young monk, Ozim, to carry out the angel's orders instead. Ozim sets out to follow his orders, but gets stopped by an evil angel on the way. The ignorant Ozim believes him to be the same angel that spoke to Osius before. The evil angel modifies and corrupts the original message given to Ozim by Osius, and renames Ozim Muhammad. From this followed the erroneous teachings of Islam, according to the tultusceptrum.
- According to many Christians, the coming of Muhammad was foretold in the Holy Bible. According to the monk Bede this is in Genesis 16:12, which describes Ishmael as "a wild man" whose "hand will be against every man". Bede says about Muhammad: "Now how great is his hand against all and all hands against him; as they impose his authority upon the whole length of Africa and hold both the greater part of Asia and some of Europe, hating and opposing all."
- In 1391 a dialogue was believed to have occurred between Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos and a Persian scholar in which the Emperor stated:
Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached. God is not pleased by blood - and not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death.
Enlightenment Europe 
In Of the Standard of Taste, an essay by David Hume, the Quran is described as an "absurd performance" of a "pretended prophet" who lacked "a just sentiment of morals." Attending to the narration, Hume says, "we shall soon find, that [Muhammad] bestows praise on such instances of treachery, inhumanity, cruelty, revenge, bigotry, as are utterly incompatible with civilized society. No steady rule of right seems there to be attended to; and every action is blamed or praised, so far as it is beneficial or hurtful to the true believers."
Nineteenth century 
The Victorian orientalist scholar Sir William Muir criticised Islam for what he perceived to be an inflexible nature, which he held responsible for stifling progress and impeding social advancement in Muslims countries. The following sentences are taken from the Rede Lecture he delivered at Cambridge in 1881:
Some, indeed, dream of an Islam in the future, rationalised and regenerate. All this has been tried already, and has miserably failed. The Koran has so encrusted the religion in a hard unyielding casement of ordinances and social laws, that if the shell be broken the life is gone. A rationalistic Islam would be Islam no longer. The contrast between our own faith and Islam is most remarkable. There are in our Scriptures living germs of truth, which accord with civil and religious liberty, and will expand with advancing civilisation. In Islam it is just the reverse. The Koran has no such teaching as with us has abolished polygamy, slavery, and arbitrary divorce, and has elevated woman to her proper place. As a Reformer, Mahomet did advance his people to a certain point, but as a Prophet he left them fixed immovably at that point for all time to come. The tree is of artificial planting. Instead of containing within itself the germ of growth and adaptation to the various requirements of time and clime and circumstance, expanding with the genial sunshine and rain from heaven, it remains the same forced and stunted thing as when first planted some twelve centuries ago."
Winston Churchill criticized what he alleged to be the effects Islam had on its believers, which he described as fanatical frenzy combined with fatalistic apathy, enslavement of women, and militant proselytizing. In his 1899 book The River War he says:
How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property - either as a child, a wife, or a concubine - must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the faith: all know how to die but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome.
Mohammedanism conquered the fairest portions of the earth by the sword and cursed them by polygamy, slavery, despotism and desolation. The moving power of Christian missions was love to God and man; the moving power of Islâm was fanaticism and brute force.
Schaff also described Islam as a derivative religion based on an amalgamation of "heathenism, Judaism and Christianity."
lslâm is not a new religion...[i]t is a compound or mosaic of preëxisting elements, a rude attempt to combine heathenism, Judaism and Christianity, which Mohammed found in Arabia, but in a very imperfect form.
Modern Christianity 
Islam was a product of Christianity; even if it was a by-product; even if it was a bad product. It was a heresy or parody emulating and therefore imitating the Church...Islam, historically speaking, is the greatest of the Eastern heresies. It owed something to the quite isolated and unique individuality of Israel; but it owed more to Byzantium and the theological enthusiasm of Christendom. It owed something even to the Crusades.
During a lecture given at the University of Regensburg in 2006, Pope Benedict XVI quoted an unfavorable remark about Islam made at the end of the 14th century by Manuel II Palaiologos, the Byzantine emperor.
Truthfulness of Islam and Islamic scriptures 
Reliability of the Quran 
According to traditional Islamic scholarship, all of the Quran was written down by Muhammad's companions while he was alive (during AD 610-632), but it was primarily an orally related document. The written compilation of the whole Qur'an in its definite form as we have it now was not completed until many years after the death of Muhammad.
Critics reject the idea that the Quran is miraculously perfect and impossible to imitate (2:2, 17:88-89, 29:47, 28:49). The Jewish Encyclopedia, for example, writes: "The language of the Koran is held by the Mohammedans to be a peerless model of perfection. Critics, however, argue that peculiarities can be found in the text. For example, critics note that a sentence in which something is said concerning Allah is sometimes followed immediately by another in which Allah is the speaker (examples of this are suras xvi. 81, xxvii. 61, xxxi. 9, and xliii. 10.) Many peculiarities in the positions of words are due to the necessities of rhyme (lxix. 31, lxxiv. 3), while the use of many rare words and new forms may be traced to the same cause (comp. especially xix. 8, 9, 11, 16)." According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, "The dependence of Mohammed upon his Jewish teachers or upon what he heard of the Jewish Haggadah and Jewish practices is now generally conceded." John Wansbrough believes that the Quran is a redaction in part of other sacred scriptures, in particular the Judaeo-Christian scriptures. Herbert Berg writes that "Despite John Wansbrough's very cautious and careful inclusion of qualifications such as "conjectural," and "tentative and emphatically provisional", his work is condemned by some. Some of negative reaction is undoubtedly due to its radicalness...Wansbrough's work has been embraced wholeheartedly by few and has been employed in a piecemeal fashion by many. Many praise his insights and methods, if not all of his conclusions."
Critics argue that:
- the Quran contains verses which are difficult to understand or contradictory.
- the Quran contains incorrect cosmological explanations.
- Some accounts of the history of Islam say there were two verses of the Quran that were allegedly added by Muhammad when he was tricked by Satan (in an incident known as the "Story of the Cranes", later referred to as the "Satanic Verses"). These verses were then retracted at angel Gabriel's behest.
- The author of the Apology of al-Kindy Abd al-Masih ibn Ishaq al-Kindi (not the famed philosopher al-Kindi) claimed that the narratives in the Quran were "all jumbled together and intermingled" and that this was "an evidence that many different hands have been at work therein, and caused discrepancies, adding or cutting out whatever they liked or disliked".
Hadith are Muslim traditions relating to the Sunnah (words and deeds) of Muhammad. They are drawn from the writings of scholars writing between 844 and 874 CE, more than 200 years after the death of Mohammed in 632 CE. Within Islam, different schools and sects have different opinions on the proper selection and use of Hadith. The four schools of Sunni Islam all consider Hadith second only to the Quran, although they differ on how much freedom of interpretation should be allowed to legal scholars. Shi'i scholars disagree with Sunni scholars as to which Hadith should be considered reliable. The Shi'as accept the Sunnah of Ali and the Imams as authoritative in addition to the Sunnah of Muhammad, and as a consequence they maintain their own, different, collections of Hadith.
It has been suggested that there exists around the Hadith three major sources of corruption: political conflicts, sectarian prejudice, and the desire to translate the underlying meaning, rather than the original words verbatim.
Muslim critics of the hadith, Quranists, reject the authority of hadith on theological grounds, pointing to verses in the Quran itself: "Nothing have We omitted from the Book", declaring that all necessary instruction can be found within the Quran, without reference to the Hadith. They claim that following the Hadith has led to people straying from the original purpose of God's revelation to Muhammad, adherence to the Quran alone. Syed Ahmed Khan (1817–1898) is often considered the founder of the modernist movement within Islam, noted for his application of "rational science" to the Quran and Hadith and his conclusion that the Hadith were not legally binding on Muslims. His student, Chiragh ‘Ali, went further, suggesting nearly all the Hadith were fabrications. Ghulam Ahmed Pervez (1903–1985) was a noted critic of the Hadith and believed that the Quran alone was all that was necessary to discern God's will and our obligations. A fatwa, ruling, signed by more than a thousand orthodox clerics, denounced him as a 'kafir', a non-believer. His seminal work, Maqam-e Hadith argued that the Hadith were composed of "the garbled words of previous centuries", but suggests that he is not against the idea of collected sayings of the Prophet, only that he would consider any hadith that goes against the teachings of Quran to have been falsely attributed to the Prophet. The 1986 Malaysian book "Hadith: A Re-evaluation" by Kassim Ahmad was met with controversy and some scholars declared him an apostate from Islam for suggesting that "“the hadith are sectarian, anti-science, anti-reason and anti-women."
John Esposito notes that "Modern Western scholarship has seriously questioned the historicity and authenticity of the hadith", maintaining that "the bulk of traditions attributed to the Prophet Muhammad were actually written much later." He mentions Joseph Schacht, considered the father of the revisionist movement, as one scholar who argues this, claiming that Schacht "found no evidence of legal traditions before 722," from which Schacht concluded that "the Sunna of the Prophet is not the words and deeds of the Prophet, but apocryphal material" dating from later. Other scholars, however, such as Wilferd Madelung, have argued that "wholesale rejection as late fiction is unjustified".
Orthodox Muslims do not deny the existence of false hadith, but believe that through the scholars' work, these false hadith have been largely eliminated.
Lack of secondary evidence 
The traditional view of Islam has also been criticised for the lack of supporting evidence consistent with that view, such as the lack of archaeological evidence, and discrepancies with non-Muslim literary sources. In the 1970s, what has been described as a "wave of sceptical scholars" challenged a great deal of the received wisdom in Islamic studies.:23 They argued that the Islamic historical tradition had been greatly corrupted in transmission. They tried to correct or reconstruct the early history of Islam from other, presumably more reliable, sources such as coins, inscriptions, and non-Islamic sources. The oldest of this group was John Wansbrough (1928–2002). Wansbrough's works were widely noted, but perhaps not widely read.:38 In 1972 a cache of ancient Qur'ans in a mosque in Sana'a, Yemen was discovered – commonly known as the Sana'a manuscripts. The German scholar Gerd R. Puin has been investigating these Quran fragments for years. His research team made 35,000 microfilm photographs of the manuscripts, which he dated to early part of the 8th century. Puin has not published the entirety of his work, but noted unconventional verse orderings, minor textual variations, and rare styles of orthography. He also suggested that some of the parchments were palimpsests which had been reused. Puin believed that this implied an evolving text as opposed to a fixed one.
Muhammed is considered as one of the prophets in Islam, its founder and a model for followers. Critics such as Sigismund Koelle and former Muslim Ibn Warraq see some of Mohammed's actions as immoral.
Ka'b ibn al-Ashraf wrote a poetic eulogy commemorating the slain Quraish notables; later, he had traveled to Mecca and provoked the Quraish to fight the Prophet. He also wrote erotic poetry about Muslim women, which offended the Muslims there. This poetry influenced so many that this too was considered directly against the Constitution of Medina which states, loyalty gives protection against treachery and this document will not (be employed to) protect one who is unjust or commits a crime. Other sources also state that he was plotting to assassinate Muhammad. Muhammad called upon his followers to kill Ka'b. Muhammad ibn Maslama offered his services, collecting four others. By pretending to have turned against Muhammad, Muhammad ibn Maslama and the others enticed Ka'b out of his fortress on a moonlit night, and killed him in spite of his vigorous resistance. The Jews were terrified at his assassination, and as the historian Ibn Ishaq put it "...there was not a Jew who did not fear for his life".
Morality of the Quran 
According to some critics, the morality of the Quran appears to be a moral regression when judged by the standards of the moral traditions of Judaism and Christianity it says that it builds upon. The Catholic Encyclopedia, for example, states that "the ethics of Islam are far inferior to those of Judaism and even more inferior to those of the New Testament" and "that in the ethics of Islam there is a great deal to admire and to approve, is beyond dispute; but of originality or superiority, there is none."
- Critics stated that the Quran[Quran 4:34] allows Muslim men to discipline their wives by striking them. (There is however confusion amongst translations of Quran with the original Arabic term "wadribuhunna" being translated as "to go away from them", "beat", "strike lightly" and "separate". The film Submission, which rose to fame after the murder of its director Theo van Gogh, critiqued this and similar verses of the Quran by displaying them painted on the bodies of abused Muslim women. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the film's writer, said "it is written in the Koran a woman may be slapped if she is disobedient. This is one of the evils I wish to point out in the film".
- Some critics argue that the Quran is incompatible with other religious scriptures as it attacks and advocates hate against people of other religions. For instance, Sam Harris interprets certain verses of the Quran as sanctioning military action against unbelievers as a whole both during the lifetime of Muhammad and after. The Quran said "fight in the name of your religion with those who fight against you." In The End of Faith Harris argues that Muslim extremism is simply a consequence of taking the Qur'an literally, and is skeptical that moderate Islam is possible. Various calls to arms were identified in the Quran by US citizen Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar, all of which were cited as "most relevant to my actions on March 3, 2006" (9:44, 9:19, 57:10-11, 8:72-73, 9:120, 3:167-175, 4:66, 4:104, 9:81, 9:93-94, 9:100, 16:110, 61:11-12, 47:35).
- Max I. Dimont interprets that the Houris described in the Quran are specifically dedicated to "male pleasure". Henry Martyn claims that the concept of the Houris was chosen to satisfy Mohammed's followers.
Bernard Lewis writes: "In one of the sad paradoxes of human history, it was the humanitarian reforms brought by Islam that resulted in a vast development of the slave trade inside, and still more outside, the Islamic empire." He notes that the Islamic injunctions against the enslavement of Muslims led to massive importation of slaves from the outside. According to Patrick Manning, Islam by recognizing and codifying the slavery seems to have done more to protect and expand slavery than the reverse.
Unlike Western societies which in their opposition to slavery spawned anti-slavery movements whose numbers and enthusiasm often grew out of church groups, no such grass-roots organizations ever developed in Muslim societies. In Muslim politics the state unquestioningly accepted the teachings of Islam and applied them as law. Islam, by sanctioning slavery – however mild a form it generally took – also extended legitimacy to the traffic in slaves.
It was in the early 20th century (post World War I) that slavery gradually became outlawed and suppressed in Muslim lands, largely due to pressure exerted by Western nations such as Britain and France. Gordon describes the lack of homegrown Islamic abolition movements as owing much to the fact that it was deeply anchored in Islamic law. By legitimizing slavery and - by extension - traffic in slaves, Islam elevated those practices to an unassailable moral plain. As a result, in no part of the Muslim world was an ideological challenge ever mounted against slavery. The political and social system in Muslim society would have taken a dim view of such a challenge. Some Muslim leaders, like Fatimid caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah did ban slavery, but it had little influence in the Islamic world.
The issue of slavery in the Islamic world in modern times is controversial. Critics argue there is hard evidence of its existence and destructive effects. Others maintain slavery in central Islamic lands has been virtually extinct since mid-twentieth century, and that reports from Sudan and Somalia showing practice of slavery is in border areas as a result of continuing war and not Islamic belief. In recent years, according to some scholars, there has been a "worrying trend" of "reopening" of the issue of slavery by some conservative Salafi Islamic scholars after its "closing" earlier in the 20th century when Muslim countries banned slavery and "most Muslim scholars" found the practice "inconsistent with Qur'anic morality."
Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri of Karbala expressed the view in 1993 that the enforcement of servitude can occur but is restricted to war captives and those born of slaves. Dr. Abdul-Latif Mushtahari, the general supervisor and director of homiletics and guidance at the Azhar University, has said on the subject of justifications for Islamic permission of slavery:
"Islam does not prohibit slavery but retains it for two reasons. The first reason is war (whether it is a civil war or a foreign war in which the captive is either killed or enslaved) provided that the war is not between Muslims against each other - it is not acceptable to enslave the violators, or the offenders, if they are Muslims. Only non-Muslim captives may be enslaved or killed. The second reason is the sexual propagation of slaves which would generate more slaves for their owner."
According to Islamic law apostasy is identified by a list of actions such as conversion to another religion, denying the existence of God, rejecting the prophets, mocking God or the prophets, idol worship, rejecting the sharia, or permitting behavior that is forbidden by the sharia, such as adultery or the eating of forbidden foods or drinking of alcoholic beverages. The majority of Muslim scholars hold to the traditional view that apostasy is punishable by death or imprisonment until repentance, at least for adult men of sound mind.
Laws prohibiting religious conversion run contrary to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that "[e]veryone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance."
The English historian C. E. Bosworth suggests the traditional view of apostasy hampered the development of Islamic learning, arguing that while the organizational form of the Christian university allowed them to develop and flourish into the modern university, "the Muslim ones remained constricted by the doctrine of waqf alone, with their physical plant often deteriorating hopelessly and their curricula narrowed by the exclusion of the non-traditional religious sciences like philosophy and natural science," out of fear that these could evolve into potential toe-holds for kufr, those people who reject God."
Islamic law 
Bernard Lewis summarizes:
The penalty for apostasy in Islamic law is death. Islam is conceived as a polity, not just as a religious community. It follows therefore that apostasy is treason. It is a withdrawal, a denial of allegiance as well as of religious belief and loyalty. Any sustained and principled opposition to the existing regime or order almost inevitably involves such a withdrawal.
The four Sunni schools of Islamic jurisprudence, as well as Shi'a scholars, agree on the difference of punishment between male and female. A sane adult male apostate may be executed. A female apostate may be put to death, according to the majority view, or imprisoned until she repents, according to others.
The Quran threatens apostates with punishment in the next world only, the historian W. Heffening states, the traditions however contain the element of death penalty. Muslim scholar Shafi'i interprets verse [Quran 2:217] as adducing the main evidence for the death penalty in Quran. The historian Wael Hallaq states the later addition of death penalty "reflects a later reality and does not stand in accord with the deeds of the Prophet." He further states that "nothing in the law governing apostate and apostasy derives from the letter of the holy text."
William Montgomery Watt, in response to a question about Western views of the Islamic Law as being cruel, states that "In Islamic teaching, such penalties may have been suitable for the age in which Muhammad lived. However, as societies have since progressed and become more peaceful and ordered, they are not suitable any longer."
Some contemporary Islamic jurists from both the Sunni and Shia denominations together with Quran only Muslims have argued or issued fatwas that state that either the changing of religion is not punishable or is only punishable under restricted circumstances. For example, Grand Ayatollah Hussein-Ali Montazeri argues that no Quranic verse prescribes an earthly penalty for apostasy and adds that it is not improbable that the punishment was prescribed by Muhammad at early Islam due to political conspiracies against Islam and Muslims and not only because of changing the belief or expressing it. Montazeri defines different types of apostasy. He does not hold that a reversion of belief because of investigation and research is punishable by death but prescribes capital punishment for a desertion of Islam out of malice and enmity towards the Muslim.
According to Yohanan Friedmann, an Israeli Islamic Studies scholar, a Muslim may stress tolerant elements of Islam (by for instance adopting the broadest interpretation of Quran 2:256 ("No compulsion is there in religion...") or the humanist approach attributed to Ibrahim al-Nakha'i), without necessarily denying the existence of other ideas in the Medieval Islamic tradition but rather discussing them in their historical context (by for example arguing that "civilizations comparable with the Islamic one, such as the Sassanids and the Byzantines, also punished apostasy with death. Similarly neither Judaism nor Christianity treated apostasy and apostates with any particular kindness"). Friedmann continues:
The real predicament facing modern Muslims with liberal convictions is not the existence of stern laws against apostasy in medieval Muslim books of law, but rather the fact that accusations of apostasy and demands to punish it are heard time and again from radical elements in the contemporary Islamic world.
Human rights conventions 
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
To implement this, Article 18 (2) of the ICCPR states:
No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion of his choice.
These countries have criticized the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for its perceived failure to take into account the cultural and religious context of non-Western countries.
In 1990, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation published a separate Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam compliant with Shari'ah. Although granting many of the rights in the UN declaration, it does not grant Muslims the right to convert to other religions, and restricts freedom of speech to those expressions of it that are not in contravention of the Islamic law.
Abul Ala Maududi, the founder of Jamaat-e-Islami, wrote a book called Human Rights in Islam, in which he argues that respect for human rights has always been enshrined in Sharia law (indeed that the roots of these rights are to be found in Islamic doctrine) and criticizes Western notions that there is an inherent contradiction between the two. Western scholars have, for the most part, rejected Maududi's analysis.
Critics such as lesbian activist Irshad Manji, former Muslims Ehsan Jami and the Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali, have criticized Islam's attitudes towards homosexuals. Most international human rights organizations, such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, condemn Islamic laws that make homosexual relations between consenting adults a crime. Since 1994 the United Nations Human Rights Committee has also ruled that such laws violated the right to privacy guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
In May 2008, the sexual rights lobby group Lambda Istanbul (based in Istanbul, Turkey) was banned by court order for violating a constitutional provision on the protection of the family and an article banning bodies with objectives that violate law and morality. Then this decision taken to the Court of Cassation and the ban lifted.
The ex-Muslim Ibn Warraq has noted that the Quran's condemnation of homosexuality has frequently been ignored in practice, and that Islamic countries were much more tolerant of homosexuality than Christian ones until fairly recently.
The 9/11 attack on the US and other recent attacks by muslims, have led many non-Muslims to indict Islam as a violent religion. The Qur'an's teachings on matters of war and peace have become topics of heated discussion in recent years. On the one hand, some critics claim that certain verses of the Qur'an sanction military action against unbelievers as a whole both during the lifetime of Muhammad and after. The Qur'an says, "Fight in the name of your religion with those who fight against you." On the other hand, other scholars argue that such verses of the Qur'an are interpreted out of context, and argue that when the verses are read in context it clearly appears that the Qur'an prohibits aggression, and allows fighting only in self-defense.
Jihad, an Islamic term, is a religious duty of Muslims. In Arabic, the word jihād translates as a noun meaning "struggle". Jihad appears 41 times in the Quran and frequently in the idiomatic expression "striving in the way of God (al-jihad fi sabil Allah)". Jihad is an important religious duty for Muslims. A minority among the Sunni scholars sometimes refer to this duty as the sixth pillar of Islam, though it occupies no such official status. In Twelver Shi'a Islam, however, Jihad is one of the 10 Practices of the Religion. The Qur'an calls repeatedly for jihad, or holy war, against unbelievers, including, at times, Jews and Christians. Middle East historian Bernard Lewis argues that "the overwhelming majority of classical theologians, jurists, and traditionalists (specialists in the hadith) understood the obligation of jihad in a military sense." Furthermore, Lewis maintains that for most of the recorded history of Islam, from the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad onward, the word jihad was used in a primarily military sense. A number of jihads have targeted Christians, Hindus, and Jews.
The Qur'an: (8:12): "...cast terror in their hearts and strike upon their necks." The commanded to terrorize the disbelievers have been cited in motivation of Jihadi terror. One Jihadi cleric has said:
"Another aim and objective of jihad is to drive terror in the hearts of the [infidels]. To terrorize them. Did you know that we were commanded in the Qur'an with terrorism? ...Allah said, and prepare for them to the best of your ability with power, and with horses of war. To drive terror in the hearts of my enemies, Allah's enemies, and your enemies. And other enemies which you don't know, only Allah knows them... So we were commanded to drive terror into the hearts of the [infidels], to prepare for them with the best of our abilities with power. Then the Prophet said, nay, the power is your ability to shoot. The power which you are commanded with here, is your ability to shoot. Another aim and objective of jihad is to kill the [infidels], to lessen the population of the [infidels]... it is not right for a Prophet to have captives until he makes the Earth warm with blood... so, you should always seek to lessen the population of the [infidels]."
David Cook, author of Understanding Jihad, said "In reading Muslim literature — both contemporary and classical — one can see that the evidence for the primacy of spiritual jihad is negligible. Today it is certain that no Muslim, writing in a non- Western language (such as Arabic, Persian, Urdu), would ever make claims that jihad is primarily nonviolent or has been superseded by the spiritual jihad. Such claims are made solely by Western scholars, primarily those who study Sufism and/or work in interfaith dialogue, and by Muslim apologists who are trying to present Islam in the most innocuous manner possible." Cook argued that "Presentations along these lines are ideological in tone and should be discounted for their bias and deliberate ignorance of the subject" and that "[i]t is no longer acceptable for Western scholars or Muslim apologists writing in non-Muslim languages to make flat, unsupported statements concerning the prevalence — either from a historical point of view or within contemporary Islam—of the spiritual jihad." Magdi Allam, an outspoken Egyptian-born Italian journalist, has describes Islam as intrinsically violent and characterized by “hate and intolerance”.
Short-term and limited marriages 
Short-term marriage 
Nikāḥ al-Mutʿah (Arabic: نكاح المتعة literally pleasure marriage) is a fixed-term or short-term contractual marriage in Shia Islam. The duration of this type of marriage is fixed at its inception and is then automatically dissolved upon completion of its term. For this reason, nikah mut‘ah has been widely criticised as the religious cover and legalization of prostitution. Shi'a and Sunnis agree that Mut'ah was legal in early times, but Sunnis consider that it was abrogated. Ibn Kathir writes that "[t]here's no doubt that in the outset of Islam, Mut'ah was allowed under the Shari'ah". Currently, however, mut'ah is one of the distinctive features of Ja'fari jurisprudence. No other school of Islamic jurisprudence allows it. According to Imam Jafar as Sadiq, "One of the matters about which I shall never keep precautionary silence (taqiyya) is the matter of mu’tah." Allameh Tabatabaei defends the Shia view in Tafsir al-Mizan, arguing that there are mutawatir or nearly mutawatir traditions narrated from the Shia Imams that Mut'ah is permitted. For example, it has been narrated from Muhammad al-Baqir and Ja'far al-Sadiq that they said "regarding the [above] verse, and there is no blame on you about what you mutually agree after what is appointed." It means that he increases her dowry or she increases his (fixed) period. Sunnis believe that Muhammad later abolished this type of marriage at several different large events, the most accepted being at Khaybar in 7 AH (629 CE) Bukhari 059.527 and at the Victory of Mecca in 8 AH (630 CE). Most Sunnis believe that Umar later was merely enforcing a prohibition that was established during Muhammad's time. Shia contest the criticism that nikah mut‘ah is a cover for prostitution, and argue that the unique legal nature of temporary marriage distinguishes Mut'ah ideologically from prostitution.
Contractually limited marriage 
Nikah Misyar (Arabic: المسيار) is a Nikah (marriage) carried out through the normal contractual procedure, with the provision that the husband and wife give up several rights by their own free will, such as living together, equal division of nights between wives in cases of polygamy, the wife's rights to housing, and maintenance money ("nafaqa"), and the husband's right of homekeeping and access. Essentially the couple continue to live separately from each other, as before their contract, and see each other to fulfil their needs in a legally permissible (halaal) manner when they please. Professor Yusuf Al-Qaradawi observes that he does not promote this type of marriage, although he has to recognise that it is legal, since it fulfils all the requirements of the usual marriage contract. He states his preference that the clause of renunciation be not included within the marriage contract, but be the subject of a simple verbal agreement between the parties.
Islamic scholars like Ibn Uthaimeen or Al-Albani claim, for their part, that misyar marriage may be legal, but not moral. They agree that the wife can at any time, reclaim the rights which she gave up at the time of contract. But, they are opposed to this type of marriage on the grounds that it contradicts the spirit of the Islamic law of marriage and that it has perverse effects on the woman, the family and the community in general.
For Al-Albani, misyar marriage may even be considered as illicit, because it runs counter to the objectives and the spirit of marriage in Islam, as described in the Quran: "And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts)…" Al-Albani also underlines the social problems which result from the “misyar” marriage, particularly in the event that children are born from this union. The children raised by their mother in a home from which the father is always absent, without reason, may suffer difficulties. The situation becomes even worse if the wife is abandoned or repudiated by her husband "misyar", with no means of subsistence, as usually happens.
"Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked about Misyaar marriage; this kind of marriage is where the man marries a second, third or fourth wife, and the wife is in a situation that compels her to stay with her parents or one of them in her own house, and the husband goes to her at various times depending on the circumstances of both. What is the Islamic ruling on this type of marriage? He replied:"
There is nothing wrong with that if the marriage contract fulfills all the conditions set out by sharee’ah, which is the presence of the wali and the consent of both partners, and the presence of two witnesses of good character to the drawing up of the contract, and both partners being free of any impediments, because of the general meaning of the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “The conditions that are most deserving of being fulfilled are those by means of which intimacy becomes permissible for you” and “The Muslims are bound by their conditions.” If the partners agree that the woman will stay with her family or that her share of the husband’s time will be during the day and not during the night, or on certain days or certain nights, there is nothing wrong with that, so long as the marriage is announced and not hidden.
Shaykh al-Albaani was asked about Misyaar marriage and he disallowed it for two reasons:
1) That the purpose of marriage is repose as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect” [al-Room 30:21]. But this is not achieved in this kind of marriage. 2) It may be decreed that the husband has children with this woman, but because he is far away from her and rarely comes to her, that will be negatively reflected in his children’s upbringing and attitude.
Influence on the ability of Muslim immigrants in the West to assimilate 
The immigration of Muslims to Europe has increased in recent decades[clarification needed], and frictions have developed between these new neighbours. Conservative Muslim social attitudes on modern issues have caused controversy in Europe and elsewhere, and scholars argue about how much these attitudes are a result of Islamic beliefs. Some critics[who?] consider Islam to be incompatible with secular Western society; their criticism has been partly influenced by a stance against multiculturalism advocated by recent philosophers, closely linked to the heritage of New Philosophers. Statements by proponents like Pascal Bruckner describe multiculturalism as an invention of an "enlightened" elite who deny the benefits of democratic rights to non-Westerners by chaining them to their roots. They claim this allows Islam free rein to propagate abuses such as the mistreatment of women and homosexuals, and in some countries slavery. They also claim that multiculturalism allows a degree of religious freedom that exceeds what is needed for personal religious freedom and is conducive to the creation of organizations aimed at undermining European secular or Christian values.
Comparison with Communism and Fascist ideologies 
In 2004, speaking to the Acton Institute on the problems of "secular democracy", Cardinal George Pell drew a parallel between Islam and Communism: "Islam may provide in the 21st century, the attraction that communism provided in the 20th, both for those that are alienated and embittered on the one hand and for those who seek order or justice on the other." Pell also agrees in another speech that its capacity for far-reaching renovation is severely limited. An Australian Islamist spokesman, Keysar Trad, responded to the criticism: "Communism is a godless system, a system that in fact persecutes faith".
Writers such as Stephen Suleyman Schwartz and Christopher Hitchens, describe Islamist attributes similar to Fascism. Malise Ruthven, a Scottish writer and historian who focuses his work on religion and Islamic affairs, opposes redefining Islamism as `Islamofascism`, but also finds the resemblances between the two ideologies "compelling".
Responses to criticism 
John Esposito has written many introductory texts on Islam and the Islamic world. For example, he has addressed issues like the rise of militant Islam, the veiling of women, and democracy. Esposito emphatically argues against what he calls the "pan-Islamic myth". He thinks that "too often coverage of Islam and the Muslim world assumes the existence of a monolithic Islam in which all Muslims are the same." To him, such a view is naive and unjustifiably obscures important divisions and differences in the Muslim world.
William Montgomery Watt in his book Muhammad: Prophet and Statesman addresses Muhammad’s alleged moral failings. Watt argues on a basis of moral relativism that Muhammad should be judged by the standards of his own time and country rather than "by those of the most enlightened opinion in the West today."
Karen Armstrong, tracing what she believes to be the West's long history of hostility toward Islam, finds in Muhammad’s teachings a theology of peace and tolerance. Armstrong holds that the "holy war" urged by the Quran alludes to each Muslim's duty to fight for a just, decent society.
Edward Said, in his essay Islam Through Western Eyes, stated that the general basis of Orientalist thought forms a study structure in which Islam is placed in an inferior position as an object of study. He claims the existence of a very considerable bias in Orientalist writings as a consequence of the scholars' cultural make-up. He claims Islam has been looked at with a particular hostility and fear due to many obvious religious, psychological and political reasons, all deriving from a sense "that so far as the West is concerned, Islam represents not only a formidable competitor but also a late-coming challenge to Christianity."
Cathy Young of Reason Magazine claims that "criticism of the religion is enmeshed with cultural and ethnic hostility" often painting the Muslim world as monolithic. While stating that the terms "Islamophobia" and "anti-Muslim bigotry" are often used in response to legitimate criticism of fundamentalist Islam and problems within Muslim culture, she claimed "the real thing does exist, and it frequently takes the cover of anti-jihadism."
Deepa Kumar, the author of Outside the Box: Corporate Media, Globalization, and the UPS Strike, in her article titled 'Fighting Islamophobia: A Response to Critics' says "The history of Islam is no more violent than the history of any of the other major religions of the world. Perhaps my critics haven't heard of the Crusades -- the religious wars fought by European Christians from the 11th to the 13th centuries" referring to the brutality of the crusades and then contrasting them to forbidding of acts of vengeance and violence by the Sultan of Egypt Saladin, after he successfully retook Jerusalem from the Crusaders. Speaking on the Danish Muhammad cartoon controversy she says "The Danish cartoon of the prophet Mohammed with a bomb on his head is nothing if not the visual depiction of the racist diatribe that Islam is inherently violent. To those who can't understand why this argument is racist, let me be clear: when you take the actions of a few people and generalize it to an entire group -- all Muslims, all Arabs -- that's racism. When a whole group of people are discriminated against and demonized because of their religion or regional origin, that's racism." And "...Arabs and Muslims are being scapegoated and demonized to justify a war that is ruining the lives of millions."
See also 
- Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry
- Freedom of speech
- Freedom of speech versus blasphemy
- Ibrahim Al-Buleihi
- Internet Infidels
- Islam and violence
- Innocence of Muslims
- Islam: What the West Needs to Know
- Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy
- List of critics of Islam
- The Satanic Verses controversy
- Sudanese teddy bear blasphemy case
- Trial of Geert Wilders
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- Khaleel Muhammad, professor of religious studies at San Diego State University, states, regarding his discussion with the critic Robert Spencer, that "when I am told ... that Jihad only means war, or that I have to accept interpretations of the Qur'an that non-Muslims (with no good intentions or knowledge of Islam) seek to force upon me, I see a certain agendum developing: one that is based on hate, and I refuse to be part of such an intellectual crime." 
- Ali, Maulana Muhammad; The Religion of Islam (6th Edition), Ch V "Jihad" Page 414 "When shall war cease". Published by The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement 
- Sadr-u-Din, Maulvi. "Qur'an and War", page 8. Published by The Muslim Book Society, Lahore, Pakistan.
- Article on Jihad by Dr. G. W. Leitner (founder of The Oriental Institute, UK) published in Asiatic Quarterly Review, 1886. ("Jihad, even when explained as a righteous effort of waging war in self-defense against the grossest outrage on one's religion, is strictly limited..")
- The Qur'anic Commandments Regarding War/Jihad An English rendering of an Urdu article appearing in Basharat-e-Ahmadiyya Vol. I, p. 228-232, by Dr. Basharat Ahmad; published by the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement for the Propagation of Islam
- Ali, Maulana Muhammad; The Religion of Islam (6th Edition), Ch V "Jihad" Pages 411-413. Published by The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement 
- Morgan, Diane (2010). Essential Islam: a comprehensive guide to belief and practice. ABC-CLIO. p. 87. ISBN 0-313-36025-1. Retrieved 5 January 2011.
- Wendy Doniger, ed. (1999). Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of World Religions. Merriam-Webster. ISBN 0-87779-044-2., Jihad, p.571
- Josef W. Meri, ed. (2005). Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-96690-6., Jihad, p.419
- John Esposito(2005), Islam: The Straight Path, pp.93
- Ember, Melvin; Carol R. Ember, Ian Skoggard (2005). Encyclopedia of diasporas: immigrant and refugee cultures around the world. Diaspora communities, Volume 2. Springer, 2005. p. http://books.google.com/books?id=7QEjPVyd9YMC&pg=PA183. ISBN 0-306-48321-1.
- Bernard Lewis, The Political Language of Islam (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988), p. 72.
- Lewis, Bernard, The Crisis of Islam, 2001 Chapter 2
- Bostom, Andrew G.; Ibn Warraq (2008). The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims. p. 391. ISBN 978-1-59102-602-0.
- Warrant for terror: fatwās of radical Islam and the duty of jihād, p. 68, Shmuel Bar, 2006
- The Osama bin Laden I know: an oral history of al-Qaeda's leader, p. 303, Peter L. Bergen, 2006
- Counter terrorism site, May 2010
- Cook, David. Understanding Jihad. University of California Press, 2005. Retrieved from Google Books on November 27, 2011. ISBN 0-520-24203-3, ISBN 978-0-520-24203-6.
- Owen, Richard (2008-03-24). "Pope converts outspoken Muslim who condemned religion of hate". The Times (London). Retrieved 2010-04-30.
- Iran talks up temporary marriages, by Frances Harrison, BBC News, Last Updated: 2 June 2007.
- Temporary 'Enjoyment Marriages' In Vogue Again With Some Iraqis, by Nancy Trejos, The Washington Post, 20 January 2007.
- Law of desire: temporary marriage in Shi'i Iran, by Shahla Haeri, pg.6.
- Tafsir al-Qur'an al-Azim, Volume 1 p. 74 
- Motahhari, Morteza. "The rights of woman in Islam, Fixed-Term marriage and the problem of the harem". al-islam.org. Retrieved 2011-01-10.
- Tabatabaei, Sayyid Mohammad Hosayn. "[[Tafsir al-Mizan]], Vol 4, Surah an-Nisa, Verses 23-28". almizan.org. Retrieved 2011-01-10. Wikilink embedded in URL title (help)
- Temporary marriage, Encyclopedia Iranica
- Sachiko Murata, Temporary Marriage in Islamic Law
- Al-Qaradawi, Yusuf : Misyar marriage
- Al-Qaradawi, Yusuf : Zawaj al misyar p.8
- Al-Qaradawi, Yusuf : Zawaj al misyar , pp.13-14
- Bin Menie, Abdullah bin Sulaïman : fatwa concerning the misyar marriage (and opinions by Ibn Uthaymeen, Al-albany) (in Arabic) Yet another marriage with no strings - fatwa committee of al azhar against misyar
- Quran, 30 : 21
- Wassel quoted in Hassouna addimashqi, Arfane : Nikah al misyar (2000), (in Arabic), p 16)
- Fataawa ‘Ulama’ al-Balad al-Haraam (p. 450, 451) and Jareedah al-Jazeerah issue no. 8768,
- Ahkaam al-Ta’addud fi Daw’ al-Kitaab wa’l-Sunnah
- Misyaar marriage: definition and rulings, Islam Q&A (accessed 10/30/2012)
- Tariq Modood (2006-04-06). Multiculturalism, Muslims and Citizenship: A European Approach (1st ed.). Routledge. pp. 3, 29, 46. ISBN 978-0-415-35515-5.
- Pascal Bruckner - Enlightenment fundamentalism or racism of the anti-racists?  appeared originally in German in the online magazine Perlentaucher on January 24, 2007.
- Pascal Bruckner - A reply to Ian Buruma and Timothy Garton Ash: "At the heart of the issue is the fact that in certain countries Islam is becoming Europe's second religion. As such, its adherents are entitled to freedom of religion, to decent locations and to all of our respect. On the condition, that is, that they themselves respect the rules of our republican, secular culture, and that they do not demand a status of extraterritoriality that is denied other religions, or claim special rights and prerogatives"
- Pascal Bruckner - A reply to Ian Buruma and Timothy Garton Ash "It's so true that many English, Dutch and German politicians, shocked by the excesses that the wearing of the Islamic veil has given way to, now envisage similar legislation curbing religious symbols in public space. The separation of the spiritual and corporeal domains must be strictly maintained, and belief must confine itself to the private realm."
- Nazir-Ali, Michael (6 January 2008). "Extremism flourished as UK lost Christianity". London: The Sunday Telegraph. More than one of
- George Pell (2004-10-12). "Is there only secular democracy? Imagining other possibilities for the third millennium". Archived from the original on 2006-02-08. Retrieved 2006-05-08.
- George Pell (2006-02-04). "Islam and Western Democracies". Archived from the original on June 5, 2006. Retrieved 2006-05-05.
- Toni Hassan (2004-11-12). "Islam is the new communism: Pell". Retrieved 2006-05-08.
- Schwartz, Stephen. "What Is 'Islamofascism'?". TCS Daily. Retrieved 2006-09-14.
- Hitchens, Christopher: Defending Islamofascism: It's a valid term. Here's why, Slate, 2007-10-22
- A Fury For God, Malise Ruthven, Granta, 2002, p.207-8
- Esposito, John L. (2002). What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-515713-3.
- Esposito, John L. (2003). Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-516886-0.
- Esposito, John L. (1999). The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality?. Oxford University Press. pp. 225–228. ISBN 0-19-513076-6.
- Watt, W. Montgomery (1961). Muhammad: Prophet and Statesman. Oxford University Press. p. 229. ISBN 0-19-881078-4. Retrieved 2010-05-27.
- Armstrong, Karen (1993). Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet. HarperSanFrancisco. p. 165. ISBN 0-06-250886-5.
- The Nation - 'Islam Through Western Eyes'
- The Jihad Against Muslims: When does criticism of Islam devolve into bigotry?
- Fighting Islamophobia: A Response to Critics by Deepa Kumar, Monthly Review, April 2006
- Cohen, Mark R. (1995). Under Crescent and Cross. Princeton University Press; Reissue edition. ISBN 978-0-691-01082-3.
- Lockman, Zachary (2004). Contending Visions of the Middle East: The History and Politics of Orientalism. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-62937-9.
- Rippin, Andrew (2001). Muslims: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices (2nd ed.). Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-21781-1.
- Westerlund, David (2003). "Ahmed Deedat's Theology of Religion: Apologetics through Polemics". Journal of Religion in Africa 33 (3).>
- Sultan.org - Islamic portal dealing with many criticism points of Islam.
- coping With Critics Of Moderate Islam (NewAgeIslam)
Further reading 
- The miracle and challenge of the Quran
- The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World's Most Intolerant Religion by Robert Spencer
- The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (And the Crusades) by Robert Spencer
- Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum - (THE SEALED NECTAR) Memoirs of the Noble Prophet by Saifur Rahman al-Mubarakpuri.
- Onward Muslim Soldiers by Robert Spencer
- The Legacy of Jihad by Andrew G. Bostom
- Who Wrote the Quran?
- Islam and Dhimmitude: Where Civilizations Collide by Bat Ye'or
- Decline of Eastern Christianity: From Jihad to Dhimmitude by Bat Ye'or
- The Al Qaeda Connection: International Terrorism, Organized Crime, And the Coming Apocalypse by Paul L. Williams
- The Amazing Quran by Gary Miller
- An Autumn of War: What America Learned from September 11 and the War on Terrorism by Victor Davis Hanson
- Arabs and Israel - Conflict or Conciliation? by Sheikh Ahmed Hoosen Deedat
- Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam by Gilles Kepel
- The War for Muslim Minds by Gilles Kepel
- J. Tolan, Saracens; Islam in the Medieval European Imagination (2002)
- Esposito, John L. (1995). The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality?. Oxford University Press, USA. ISBN 0-19-510298-3.
- Halliday, Fred (2003). Islam and the Myth of Confrontation: Religion and Politics of the Middle East. I.B. Tauris, New York. ISBN 1-86064-868-1.
- Esposito, John L. (2003). Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam. Oxford University Press, USA. ISBN 0-19-516886-0.
- Geisler, Norman L. (2002). Answering Islam: The Crescent in Light of the Cross. Baker Books. ISBN 0-8010-6430-9.
- Ibn Warraq, Why I Am Not a Muslim (1995)
- —, Leaving Islam: Apostates Speak Out
- The Institute for the Study of Civil Society report - The ‘West’, Islam and Islamism
- Zwemer Islam, a Challenge to Faith (New York, 1907)
- Shoja-e-din Shafa, Rebirth (1995) (Persian Title: تولدى ديگر)
- Shoja-e-din Shafa, After 1400 Years (2000) (Persian Title: پس از 1400 سال)