List of critics of Islam

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Criticism of Islam has existed since its formative stages. Early written disapproval came from Jews[1][2][3][4] and Christians,[5][6][7][8][9] before the ninth century, many of whom viewed Islam as a radical Christian heresy,[6][7][8][9] as well as by some former Muslim atheists and agnostics, such as Ibn al-Rawandi.[5] After the September 11 attacks and other terrorist attacks in the early 21st century,[10] hatred of Islam grew alongside criticism of it.

Objects of criticism include the morality and authenticity of the Quran and the Hadiths,[11] along with the life of Muhammad, both in his public and personal life.[12][13] Other criticism concerns many aspects of human rights in the Islamic world (in both historical and present-day societies), including slavery,[14][15][16][17] treatment of women, LGBT groups, and religious and ethnic minorities in Islamic law and practice.[18][19] The issues when debating and questioning Islam are incredibly complex with each side having a different view on the morality, meaning, interpretation, and authenticity of each topic.

Middle Ages[edit]

Early Modern period[edit]

19th century[edit]

  • Alexis de Tocqueville, French political thinker and historian, said about Islam: "I studied the Kuran a great deal ... I came away from that study with the conviction that by and large there have been few religions in the world as deadly to men as that of Muhammed."[26]
  • John Quincy Adams, sixth President of the United States (1825–1829), wrote: "In the seventh century of the Christian era, a wandering Arab of the lineage of Hagar [i.e., Muhammad], the Egyptian, combining the powers of transcendent genius, with the preternatural energy of a fanatic, and the fraudulent spirit of an impostor, proclaimed himself as a messenger from Heaven, and spread desolation and delusion over an extensive portion of the earth.[26][citation needed]
  • Hilaire Belloc, Anglo-French writer and historian.
  • G.K. Chesterton, English writer.
  • Dayanand Saraswati, in his book Satyarth Prakash, he criticized Islam.
  • Pandit Lekh Ram was an Arya Samaj Hindu leader and writer in India who was active in converting Muslims to Hinduism.
  • Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister through most of World War II, criticized what he alleged to be of the effects Islam had on its believers. In his 1899 book The River War he attributed to Muslims their fanatical frenzy combined with fatalistic apathy, enslavement of women, and militant prozelityzing.[27]

Contemporary critics[edit]


Tarek Fatah is Muslim who advocates liberalism within the religion

Criticism is a tool employed by some Muslim reformers seeking to improve the religion.

Former Muslims[edit]

There are also outspoken former Muslims who believe that Islam is the primary cause of what they see as the mistreatment of minority groups in Muslim countries and communities. Almost all of them now live in the West, many under assumed names as they have had death threats made against them by Islamic groups and individuals.[citation needed]

Converts to other religions[edit]

Magdi Allam has criticised Islam since his conversion to Catholicism
  • Nonie Darwish, an Egyptian-American convert to Protestant Christianity who founded the pro-Israel web site Arabs for Israel and stated that "Islam is more than a religion, it is a totalitarian state".[40] She is also the author of Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror.
  • Magdi Allam, an outspoken Egyptian-born Italian journalist who describes Islam as intrinsically violent and characterised by “hate and intolerance”.[41] He converted to Catholicism and was baptised by Pope Benedict XVI during an Easter Vigil service on March 23, 2008.
  • Zachariah Anani, a Baptist Christian and a former Sunni Muslim Lebanese militia fighter. Anani said that Islamic doctrine teaches nothing less than the "ambushing, seizing and slaying" of non-believers, especially Jews and Christians.[42]
  • Anwar Shaikh (1928–2006) was a Pakistani-British author who converted to Hinduism and wrote several books critical of Islam.[43]
  • Sabatina James (born 1982) is a Pakistani-Austrian author and convert to Roman Catholic Christianity who was meant to undergo an arranged marriage with her cousin but escaped and started a new life.
  • Walid Shoebat, a convert to Christianity and a former member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation who took part in terrorist attacks against Israeli targets.[44] He stated that "Secular dogma like Nazism is less dangerous than Islamofascism that we see today ... because Islamofascism has a religious twist to it; it says 'God the Almighty ordered you to do this.' It is trying to grow itself in fifty-five Muslim states. So potentially, you could have a success rate of several Nazi Germanys, if these people get their way."[45]
  • Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of a Hamas founder, a former Israeli spy, and a convert to Christianity. He has written Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices.
  • Majed el-Shafie is an Egyptian-Canadian convert to Christianity who was tortured and condemned to death for apostasy in his fatherland. He is the president and founder of One Free World International (OFWI), a human rights organization.
  • Ali Sina, strong critic of Islam, which he left, and the founder of Faith Freedom International, which he describes as a grassroots movement of ex-Muslims.

Ex-Muslim irreligionists[edit]

  • Ali Dashti-Iranian Senator and critic of Prophet Muhammad in "Twenty Three Years" in Persian. [46]
Writer Salman Rushdie, a former Muslim, wrote The Satanic Verses


Christians of Mideastern background[edit]

Robert Spencer, Melkite Catholic author who has written on Islamic terrorism and jihad

This subsection does not include converts to Christianity from Islam, who are instead listed in the subsection "Former Muslims". There is a large diaspora of Middle Eastern Christians in the West, some of whom have fled persecution in their homelands. In fact, most Middle Easterners in the United States come from Christian families.[70] Most belong to specific ethnoreligious—rather than simply religious—groups, as religion and ethnicity are largely intertwined in the Middle East.

Christians of non-Mideastern background[edit]

Baptist minister Jerry Falwell criticised Muhammad

Zionists and observant Jews[edit]

Pamela Geller is a Jewish writer and critic of Islam
  • Pamela Geller (born 1958), American conservative author, blogger, commentator, and political activist.[84][85] She is Jewish and has described herself as "a proud, fierce Zionist".[86] Her blog is Atlas Shrugs, the title of which is eponymous with an Ayn Rand novel.[84][87] She is a co-founder of SIOA with Robert Spencer, along with whom she is one of the best-known critics of Islam in the United States today.
  • Daniel Pipes (born 1949), son of Jewish immigrants from Nazi-occupied Poland, is an American historian, writer, and political commentator. He is the president of the Middle East Forum.
  • Bat Ye'or (born 1933), Egyptian-British writer and political commentator. She is from a Sephardi family, whom she was displaced with by the Suez War of 1956. Bat Ye'or has authored a fair number of works on the subject and coined the political neologism "Eurabia".
  • David Horowitz, American writer and policy advocate, founder and current president of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, founder of Students for Academic Freedom.[88][89]
  • Geert Wilders, Dutch politician and non-Jewish Zionist of agnostic views, wrote the short film Fitna and has campaigned to ban the Qu'ran in the Netherlands because it conflicts with the Dutch laws and calls for violence in general.[90]
  • Benny Morris, Israeli historian who views the Israel-Palestinian conflict as a facet of a global clash of civilizations between Islamic fundamentalism and the Western World, saying that "There is a deep problem in Islam. It's a world whose values are different. A world in which human life doesn't have the same value as it does in the West, in which freedom, democracy, openness and creativity are alien."[91]
  • Phyllis Chesler (born 1940), American writer, psychotherapist, and professor emerita of psychology and women's studies. In more recent years, Chesler has written several works on such subjects as antisemitism, Islam, and honour killings. Also, she has discussed the failure of organised Western feminism to address Islamic oppression of women due to the former's alliance with leftist currents.
  • David Yerushalmi, Orthodox Jew, is an American lawyer and a political activist who has been called the driving law behind the anti-sharia movement in his country.[92]
  • Debbie Schlussel (born 1969), Orthodox Jew of Polish pedigree, is an American-born attorney, film critic, conservative political commentator, and a blogger.
  • Henryk Broder (born 1946), Polish-German journalist, author, and TV personality.

Members of Indian religions[edit]

Indian religions, also known as the Dharmic religions, include Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism. This subsection does not include converts from Islam, who are instead listed in the subsection "Former Muslims". See also the List of converts to Hinduism from Islam.

  • V. S. Naipaul (born 1932), Nobel prize-winning, Trinidadian-born British novelist of Hindu heritage, who claims that Islam has had a "calamitous effect on converted peoples", destroying their ancestral culture and history.[93]
  • Ole Nydahl (born 1941), also known as Lama Ole, is a Danish Lama and a convert to the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism.
  • Ashin Wirathu (born 1968), Burmese Buddhist monk, and the spiritual leader of the anti-Islamic movement in Burma.
  • Sita Ram Goel (1921–2003), Indian activist, writer, and publisher who was critical of both Muslim and Christian influence over India. He had Marxist leanings during the 1940s but later became an outspoken anti-communist. A one-time atheist, he became an observant Hindu and in his latter career adhered to Hindu nationalism.
  • Ram Swarup (1920–1998), independent Hindu thinker and prolific author. His works took a critical stance against Christianity, Islam and Communism.
  • Nirad C. Chaudhuri (1897–1999), British writer and man of letters born in Kishoreganj, then part of Bengal in British India. He was sympathetic to the right-wing Hindu nationalist movement.
  • Arvind Ghosh, Indian-born American scholar, writer, and publisher of Hindu affiliation and Bengali origins.

Western irreligionists[edit]

Atheist comedian Pat Condell criticises Islam in his YouTube videos

For irreligious former Muslims, see the above subsection "Former Muslims".

Practitioners of traditional African religions[edit]

The Traditional African religions are the traditional beliefs and practices of the African people. Some of these traditional beliefs includes the various ethnic religions of Africa.

  • Tamsier Joof (born 1973), British born dancer/choreographer, entrepreneur and radio personality of Senegalese and Gambian heritage expresses the view that: "neither Islam, nor Christianity are peaceful or Godly religions, but wicked and dangerous ideologies which have done nothing but destroyed Africa and her people since they landed on African shores." Tamsier, a devout follower of Serer religion (a ƭat Roog), regard Islam and Christianity as "foreign cults which have caused more damage to Africa and divided her people." He is a strong critic of the powerful Muslim brotherhoods of Senegal, whom he regard as greedy and selfish; and African Muslims and Christians who like to demonise the traditional religions of their forefathers, whom he regard as hypocrites and cowards.[104][105]


See also[edit]


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