List of critics of Islam
|Part of a series on|
|Criticism of religion|
|By religious figure|
- 1 Early 20th century and before
- 2 Contemporary critics
- 2.1 Muslims
- 2.2 Former Muslims
- 2.3 Christians
- 2.4 Zionists and observant Jews
- 2.5 Members of Indian religions, including Buddhism
- 2.6 Western irreligionists
- 2.7 Other
- 3 See also
- 4 Notes
Early 20th century and before
- 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.
- Voltaire wrote an opinion on the brutality of Muhammad and that his following stems from superstition and lack of enlightenment.
- 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.
- 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."
- 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".
- 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.
Criticism is a tool employed by some Muslim reformers seeking to improve the religion.
- Ibrahim Al-Buleihi is a Saudi liberal writer, thinker and philosopher who is currently a member of the Saudi Shura Council.
- Irshad Manji (born 1968), a Ugandan-Canadian of Egyptian and Gujarati descent, is a journalist, Quranist Muslim, and advocate of a "reformist" interpretation of Islam.
- Tarek Fatah (born 1949) is a Pakistani-Canadian writer and broadcaster, as well as a secular, progressive, and liberal activist.
- Necla Kelek (born 1957) is a Turkish-German feminist and social scientist.
- Raheel Raza (born 1949/1950) is a Pakistani-Canadian moderate Muslim critical of "Islamic extremism" and of what she has called "inequality toward Muslim women".
- Zuhdi Jasser, medical doctor and former Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy, president and founder of American Islamic Forum for Democracy.
- Stephen Suleyman Schwartz (born 1948) is an American Sufi convert, journalist, columnist, and author. His background is on the traditional political left. He is a critic of Islamic Fundamentalism, especially the Wahhabi sect of Sunni Islam.
- Khalid Duran (1939–2010), born in Spain to Hispano-Moroccan Muslim parents, worked in many countries, was a specialist in the history, sociology and politics of the Islamic world, and coined the term "Islamofascism" to describe the push by some Islamist clerics to "impose religious orthodoxy on the state and the citizenry".
- Mohammad Tawhidi Iraqi origin and a strong critic of Islamism in non-Muslim countries and a supporter of Jewish settlements in Palestine and West Bank 
- Tufail Ahmad British journalist and political commentator of Indian origin and MEMRI reporter 
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.
Converts to other religions
- 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". 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”. 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.
- Anwar Shaikh (1928–2006) was a Pakistani-British author who converted to Hinduism and wrote several books critical of Islam.
- 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. 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."
- 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.
- Ayaan Hirsi Ali (born 1969), Somali-born Dutch-American writer and politician. She has focused on the rights of Muslim women, saying that "they aspire to live by their faith as best they can, but their faith robs them of their rights."
- Salman Rushdie (born 1947), Indian-British novelist and essayist. His fourth novel, The Satanic Verses (1988), was the centre of a major controversy.
- Taslima Nasrin, Bengali/Bangladeshi ex-physician turned feminist author. She is an atheist and a severe critic of Islam and of religion in general who describes herself as a secular humanist. 
- Nyamko Sabuni, Burundian-Swedish atheist, served as the Minister of Integration and Gender Equality (Sweden, 2006–2013) and advocated to ban the veil, as well as establish compulsory gynecological examinations for schoolgirls to guard against female genital mutilation, stating, "I will never accept that women and girls are oppressed in the name of religion", and declaring it is not her intent to reform Islam but only to denounce "unacceptable" practices. She has received death threats, requiring 24-hour police protection, for her views.
- Irfan Khawaja, professor of philosophy, former head of the Institute for the Secularisation of Islamic Society (acronymized as "ISIS" but not to be confused with the terrorist organization ISIS).
- Maryam Namazie, Iranian-born human rights activist, Communist, atheist, the leader of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, and a Central Committee member of the Worker-communist Party of Iran, wishing the overthrow of the current Iranian regime.
- Ibn Warraq, secularist British author born in India and raised in Pakistan, intellectual, scholar and founder of the Institute for the Secularisation of Islamic Society and a senior research fellow at the Center for Inquiry specializing in Qur'anic criticism.
- Wafa Sultan, Syrian-American psychiatrist who has pointed out that the Muhammad said: "I was ordered to fight the people until they believe in Allah and his Messenger." Sultan has called on Islamic teachers to review their writings and teachings and remove every call to fight people who do not believe as Muslims. Dr. Sultan is now in hiding, fearing for her life and the safety of her family after appearing on the al-Jazeera TV show.
- Turan Dursun (1934–4 September 1990), Turkish scholar and writer. He worked as a Shi'a cleric before becoming an atheist during his study of the history of monotheistic religions. Dursun was assassinated outside his home in Istanbul.
- Yahya Hassan (born 1995), Danish poet of Palestinian background who has attracted attention and stirred debate about Islam's place in Denmark based on poetry he wrote which was critical of Islam.
- Ehsan Jami (born 1985), Iranian-Dutch socialist politician.
- Fariborz Shamshiri, one of the authors of the Rotten Gods website and an Iranian blogger.
Christians of Mideastern background
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. Most belong to specific ethnoreligious—rather than simply religious—groups, as religion and ethnicity are largely intertwined in the Middle East.
- Robert Spencer (born 1962, a Melkite), American author and blogger best known for his criticism of Islam and research into Islamic terrorism and jihad.
- Brigitte Gabriel (born 1964, a Maronite Catholic), survivor of the sectarian Civil War in Lebanon (1975–1990), lived in Israel some time before moving to the United States, where she is an author, activist, and journalist. Gabriel founded the American Congress for Truth and ACT! for America.
- Nakoula Basseley Nakoula (born 1957, Copt) is an Egyptian-born US resident best known as a key figure in the production of the Innocence of Muslims, an anti-Islamic video which was blamed by the Obama Administration for the 2012 Benghazi attack, an accusation that has been disputed by some and termed deliberately deceitful by others.
- Zakaria Botros (born 1934 a Copt), Egyptian priest who has worked in Australia and is best known for his critiques of the Qur'an and other books of Islam. Al-Qaeda has put a $60 million bounty on his head.
- Raymond Ibrahim (born 1973, a Copt), born in the United States to Egyptian immigrants, is an American research librarian, translator, author, and columnist. His focus is Arabic history and language, and current events.
- Walid Shoebat An ex-Muslim, former PLO terrorist, and a Christian Zionist.
Christians of non-Mideastern background
- Pat Robertson, expresses the view that "Islam wants to take over the world and is not a religion of peace", and that radical Muslims are "satanic", and that Osama Bin Laden was a "true follower of Muhammad".
- Jerry Falwell, another American conservative Baptist minister, characterized Muhammad as being a 'terrorist'.
- Franklin Graham, described Islam as an 'evil and wicked religion' and suggested that those who believed Islam to be "wonderful" should "go and live under the Taliban somewhere".
- R. Albert Mohler, Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, who described the Islamic theology as false and destructive and believes that Muslims are motivated by demonic power.
- Brigitte Bardot (born 1934), French former actress, singer, and fashion model, who later became an animal rights activist. During the 1990s, she generated controversy by criticising immigration and Islam in France, and has been fined five times for inciting racial hatred.
- Pim Fortuyn (1948–2002), Roman Catholic, was a Dutch politician, sociologist, and founder of the Pim Fortuyn List party who provoked controversy with his stated views about multiculturalism, immigration, and Islam.
- Ann Coulter (born 1961), American conservative social and political commentator, writer, syndicated columnist, and lawyer.
- Steven Emerson, American journalist, author, and pundit on national security, terrorism, and Islamic extremism.
- Frank Gaffney, founder and president of the Center for Security Policy, columnist at The Washington Times, Big Peace, and Townhall, and radio host on Secure Freedom Radio.
- Srđa Trifković (born 1954), Serbian-American writer on international affairs and foreign affairs editor for the paleoconservative magazine Chronicles.
- Bruce Bawer (born 1956), American writer who has been a resident of Norway since 1999. He is a literary, film, and cultural critic and poet who has also written about gay rights, Christianity, and Islam.
- Kathy Shaidle (born 1964), Roman Catholic, is a Canadian author, columnist, poet and blogger.
- Terry Jones (born 1951), pastor of Dove World Outreach Center, a small nondenominational Christian church. He first gained public attention in 2010 for his plan to burn Qur'ans on the ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
- Tommy Robinson, founded and led the English Defence League.
- Anders Behring Breivik (born 1979), Norwegian perpetrator of the 2011 Norway attacks, sought to emulate the terrorist techniques of al-Qaeda and has confessed that a motive for the crime was his intent to popularise his extensive manifesto, which deals with an array of social, political, and historical issues, partly written by him and partly cited from other authors. He has been emphatic in his description of himself as a "cultural Christian", albeit strongly secular and hardly a believer.
Zionists and observant Jews
- Pamela Geller (born 1958), American conservative author, blogger, commentator, and political activist. She is Jewish and has described herself as "a proud, fierce Zionist". Her blog is Atlas Shrugs, the title of which is eponymous with an Ayn Rand novel. 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.
- 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.
- 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."
- 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.
- 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
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.
- 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.
For irreligious former Muslims, see the above subsection "Former Muslims".
- Theo van Gogh (1957–2004), relative of the world-famous painter Vincent van Gogh, was a Dutch film director who collaborated with Ayaan Hirsi Ali to produce the short film Submission (2004) and was assassinated the same year by Mohammed Bouyeri, a Moroccan-Dutch Muslim.
- Michel Onfray, French philosopher and atheist. Onfray attacks Islam and other monotheistic religions, speaking of "Muslim fascism" that has risen with the Islamic Revolution in Iran, and considers Islamic teachings to be "structurally archaic".
- Douglas Murray, British neoconservative writer and commentator.
- Oriana Fallaci, Italian journalist and novelist, wrote three short books after the events of September 11, 2001, advancing the argument that the "Western world is in danger of being engulfed by radical Islam".
- Christopher Hitchens, British-American author and journalist.
- Sam Harris, in The End of Faith, argues that Muslim extremism is simply a consequence of taking the Qur'an literally, and is skeptical that moderate Islam is possible.
- Richard Dawkins, biologist, author, public intellectual.
- Koenraad Elst (born 1959), Belgian orientalist and Indologist known primarily for his writings in support for the Out of India linguistic theory. He was born to Flemish Catholic parent but is an adherent of secular humanism, which may or may not be considered a religion.
- Jennifer McCreight (born 1987), American blogger, atheist, sceptic, and feminist who devised the 2010 Boobquake event in response to news reports that Iran's Hojatoleslam Kazem Seddiqi had blamed women who dress immodestly for causing earthquakes.
- Pat Condell, comedian and YouTube video blogger, who records videos about Islam and its alleged harmful effects particularly on British society.
- Bill Maher, American comedian and political chat show host
- Alvin Tan (born 1988), Malaysian Chinese blogger, secularist and free-speech activist who has posted online content critical of Islam
- Howard Bloom (born 1943), American author, atheist, sociologist, and public relations professional in the music industry.
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- 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’."
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- 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.
- 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.
- Center for Enquiry  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"
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