List of critics of Islam

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Early 20th century and before[edit]

  • 9th century Persian scholar Ibn al-Rawandi (827–911 CE) started out as a Mu'tazilite Muslim, but later he repudiated Islam and revealed religion in general, rejecting the authority of any scriptural or revealed religion, pointing out specific Muslim traditions and trying to show that they are laughable.
  • Persian polymath Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi (854–925 CE) is said to have been heavily critical of the institution of prophethood, the belief in miracles and the practice obedience to religious authorities as against reason.
  • Syrian poet Al-Maʿarri
  • During the late 19th and early 20th century, the new methods of Higher criticism were applied to the Qu'ran, claiming that it had a non-divine origin. Ignác Goldziher and Henry Corbin wrote about the influence of Zoroastrianism, and others wrote on the influence of Judaism, Christianity and Sabianism.[1]
  • Voltaire wrote an opinion on the brutality of Muhammad and that his following stems from superstition and lack of enlightenment.[2]
  • 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.[3][citation needed]
  • 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."[3]
  • Manuel II Palaiologos, Byzantine Emperor, wrote in 1391 "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".[4]
  • Martin Luther, known to some as the father of the Protestant Reformation, wrote on Islam.
  • John of Damascus, a Syrian monk and presbyter.
  • 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.[5]

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".[17] 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”.[18] 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.[19]
  • Anwar Shaikh (1928–2006) was a Pakistani-British author who converted to Hinduism and wrote several books critical of Islam.[20]
  • 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.[21] 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."[22]
  • Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of an 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]

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.[37] 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.[55][56] She is Jewish and has described herself as "a proud, fierce Zionist".[57] Her blog is Atlas Shrugs, the title of which is eponymous with an Ayn Rand novel.[55][58] 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.[59][60]
  • 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.[61]
  • 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."[62]
  • 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.[63]
  • 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, including Buddhism[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.[64]
  • 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".


  • Alvin Tan (born 1988), Malaysian Chinese blogger, secularist and free-speech activist who has posted online content critical of Islam[71]
  • Howard Bloom (born 1943), American author, atheist, sociologist, and public relations professional in the music industry.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Why I am not a Muslim by Ibn Warraq, p35 ISBN 1-59102-011-5
  2. ^ Referring to Muhammad, in a letter to Frederick II of Prussia (December 1740), published in Oeuvres complètes de Voltaire, Vol. 7 (1869), edited by Georges Avenel, p. 105
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ Shadid, Anthony (16 September 2006). "Remarks by Pope Prompt Muslim Outrage, Protests". Washington Post. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  5. ^ Winston S. Churchill, from The River War, first edition, Vol. II, pages 248-50 (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1899)
  6. ^ Clifford Krauss (Oct 4, 2003). "An Unlikely Promoter of an Islamic Reformation". New York Times. Retrieved Aug 23, 2012. 
  7. ^ McGregor, Charles (February 19, 2008). "Speaker looks to be No. 1 on world hate list". Retrieved October 23, 2014. 
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  9. ^
  10. ^ Scardino, Albert (2005-02-04). "1-0 in the propaganda war". London: The Guardian. 
  11. ^ "Our public discourse is weakened by one-trick contrarians". The Sydney Morning Herald. 24 May 2017. Retrieved 2017-06-12.
  12. ^ Tufail Ahmad, Modi Rule: an Opportunity for Muslims, OPEN Magazine, 13 October 2014.
  13. ^ "Tufail Ahmad - Journalist and commentator on South Asian affairs". Retrieved 2015-03-12.
  14. ^ Ahmad, Tufail (22 August 2016). "The Radicalisation Series: Analysing the threat to Muslim youths in India". Firstpost. Retrieved 10 September 2016.
  15. ^ Ahmad, Tufail. Muslim Liberals Vs ISIS, New Indian Express, 3 March 2015.
  16. ^ Bob Taylor, Muslim Voices demand Islamic reform, Communities Digital News, 8 March 2015.
  17. ^ "Nonie Darwish at YAF: "Islam is ... a totalitarian state"". The Jawa Report. 2007-11-10. Retrieved 2007-11-25. 
  18. ^ Owen, Richard (2008-03-24). "Pope converts outspoken Muslim who condemned religion of hate". The Times. London. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  19. ^ Rage over anti-Islam rally
  20. ^ The Rushdie Affair: The Novel, the Ayatollah, and the West by Daniel Pipes, Pg. 283
  21. ^ Walid Shoebat - Biography[permanent dead link]
  22. ^ Wayne Kopping & Raphael Shore (2005). Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West. Archived from the original on October 30, 2006. 
  23. ^ Ayaan Hirsi Ali, "Unfree Under Islam", The Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2005, [1]
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^ Charter, David (2007-05-21). "Young, black, Swedish – the minister for controversy". London: The Times. Retrieved 2007-11-25. 
  27. ^ "Irfan Khawaja". Retrieved Aug 23, 2012. 
  28. ^ Irfan Khawaja (2004). "NO! Islam Needs to Die, Not Change". Free Inquiry. 24 (3). 
  29. ^ New group for those who renounce IslamThe Daily Telegraph
  30. ^ The spectator 3 October 2007 "The great Islamic scholar, Ibn Warraq, one of the great heroes of our time. Personally endangered, yet unremittingly vocal, Ibn Warraq leads a trend. Like a growing number of people, he refuses to accept the pretence that all cultures are equal. Were Ibn Warraq to live in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia, he would not be able to write. Or if he did, he would not be allowed to live. Among his work is criticism of the sources of the Koran. In Islamic states this constitutes apostasy. It is people like him, who know how things could be, who understand why Western values are not just another way to live, but the only way to live — the only system in human history in which the individual is genuinely free (in the immortal words of Thomas Jefferson) to ‘pursue happiness’."
  31. ^ The spectator Oct 2007 Archived 2012-02-10 at the Wayback Machine.
  32. ^ Stephen Crittenden L The Religion Report Ibn Warraq: Why I am not a Muslim Oct 10 2001 Secularist Muslim intellectual Ibn Warraq - not his real name - was born on the Indian subcontinent and educated in the West. He believes that the great Islamic civilisations of the past were established in spite of the Qur'an, not because of it, and that only a secularised Islam can deliver Muslim states from fundamentalist madness.
  33. ^ The spectator Oct 2007 IQ2 debates on the topic "We should not be reluctant to assert the superiority of Western values" Archived 2012-02-10 at the Wayback Machine. Ibn Warraq An independent researcher at the humanist Centre for Enquiry in the USA. Author of ‘Why I Am Not a Muslim’ (1995) and editor of anthologies of Koranic criticism and an anthology of testimonies of ex-Muslims ‘Leaving Islam’ (2003). A contributor to the Wall Street Journal and The Guardian, and has addressed distinguished governing bodies all over the world, including the United Nations in Geneva on the subject of apostasy. Current projects include a critical study, entitled ‘Defending the West: a Critique of Edward Said's “Orientalism”’ to be released 2007.
  34. ^ Center for Enquiry [2] Religion, Ethics, and Society - Experts and Scholars"Ibn Warraq, Islamic scholar and a leading figure in Qur'anic criticism, is a senior research fellow at the Center for Inquiry"
  35. ^
  36. ^ Dr. Wafa Sultan Seeks Radical Change From Radical Islam - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Arutz Sheva Archived December 9, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  37. ^ The Arab American Institute Archived 2006-06-01 at the Wayback Machine.
  38. ^ Isikoff, Michael (13 September 2012). "Man behind anti-Islam film reportedly is Egyptian-born ex-con",; accessed 22 July 2014.
  39. ^ "The missing Benghazi email". WSJ. 30 April 2014. Retrieved May 28, 2014. 
  40. ^ "The Rachel Maddow Show". MSNBC. September 13, 2012. 
  41. ^ Chan, Cheryl (August 13, 2010). "Anti-Islam cleric with $60m bounty in Langley". The Province. Vancouver, British Columbia: Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  42. ^ Jihad Watch (2009-06-09). "Interview with Father Zakaria Botros, 'Radical Islam's Bane'". Catholic Online. Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  43. ^ "Zakaria Botros: Islam's Scourge Returns". FrontPage Magazine. Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  44. ^ "Terrorist letter's validity doubted", The Washington Times, October 18, 2005
  45. ^ Luyken, Jorg (March 30, 2008). "The Palestinian 'terrorist' turned Zionist". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved March 23, 2010
  46. ^ Priest, Dana and Arkin, William (December 2010) Monitoring America, Washington Post
  47. ^ "Top US evangelist targets Islam". BBC News. 2006-03-14. Retrieved 2006-07-21. 
  48. ^ "Jerry Falwell calls Islam's Prophet a "Terrorist"". Associated Press. Retrieved 2006-07-21. 
  49. ^ "Franklin Graham: Islam Still Evil". Associated Press. 2006-03-16. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved 2006-07-21. 
  50. ^ "Speak about Islam clearly & without fear, Mohler says". Baptist Press. 2001-10-19. Archived from the original on 2012-03-18. 
  51. ^ Larson, Nina. "Norway killer Anders Behring Breivik tells terror trial al-Qaeda inspired him, would repeat attacks if he could". National Post. April 17, 2012. Retrieved November 22, 2014.
  52. ^ a b "Anders Breivik Manifesto: Shooter/Bomber Downplayed Religion, Secular Influence Key". International Business Times. Archived from the original on 12 April 2012. Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  53. ^ a b Gibson, David (28 July 2011). "Is Anders Breivik a 'Christian' terrorist?". Times Union. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  54. ^ Menzie, Nicola (26 July 2011). "Norway massacre suspect manifesto rejects personal relationship with Jesus". Christianity Today. Retrieved 28 July 2011. 
  55. ^ a b Barnard, Anne; Feuer, Alan (October 8, 2010). "Outraged, and Outrageous". The New York Times.
  56. ^
  57. ^ Lowenfeld, Jonah. "Anti-Muslim activist barred from speaking at Jewish Federation headquarters". Jewish Journal. June 25, 2012. Retrieved November 22, 2014.
  58. ^ McGreal, Chris (August 20, 2010). "The US blogger on a mission to halt 'Islamic takeover'". The Guardian. London. Retrieved August 21, 2010. 
  59. ^
  60. ^
  61. ^ (in Dutch) PVV Verkiezingsprogramma, page 13
  62. ^ "Survival of the fittest". Haaretz. 2004-01-08. Retrieved 2011-06-13. 
  63. ^ Elliott, Andrea (2011-07-30). "The Man Behind the Anti-Shariah Movement". The New York Times. 
  64. ^ VS Naipaul launches attack on Islam, 4 Oct 2011
  65. ^ Michel Onfray: Atheist manifesto. The case against Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Carlton, Vic. 2007, pp. 199-214.
  66. ^ "THE AGITATOR: Oriana Fallaci directs her fury toward Islam". The New Yorker. 2005-05-29. Archived from the original on August 25, 2012. 
  67. ^ Harris, Sam (2005). The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason. W. W. Norton; Reprint edition. pp. 31, 149. ISBN 0-393-32765-5. 
  68. ^ William W. Emilsen (August 2002). "The New Atheism and Islam". The Expository Times. 123 (11). 
  69. ^ "The Problem of Christian Missionaries". Retrieved 11 December 2010. 
  70. ^ "Pat Condell Youtube channel". 
  71. ^ "Troll or hero? The sex blogger who's offending Muslims". BBC News. 3 May 2015. Retrieved 4 May 2015.