The Myth of Islamic Tolerance

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The Myth of Islamic Tolerance
Book cover
Author Robert Spencer (editor)
Language English
Subject Islamic Studies
Publisher Prometheus Books
Publication date
January 31, 2005
Media type Hardcover
Pages 594
ISBN 978-1-59102-249-7
OCLC 55982393
297.2/8 22
LC Class KBP2449 .M98 2005

The Myth of Islamic Tolerance: How Islamic Law Treats Non-Muslims is a collection of 63 essays edited by Robert Spencer. It deals with the history of non-Muslim populations during and after the conquest of their lands by Muslims.[1][2]


The book contains 17 chapters by Bat Ye'or, as well as essays by Ibn Warraq, Walid Phares, David Littman, Patrick Sookhdeo, and Mark Durie.[3] The writers opine that attitudes of Muslims today are informed by the tenets of Islam.[2] It covers topics including sharia law and antisemitism.[4]

Reviews and reception[edit]

A November 2004 review of the book in Publishers Weekly said the book's theme "merits exploration", but that the book does not explain why Islam is "inherently intolerant".[5] An August 2005 review of the book in Asia Times opined that:

... The Myth of Islamic Tolerance warrants our attention. Any study of contemporary Islam would be incomplete without it. Collectively, the essays expose an unsettling fact: that Islam's famed tolerance of non-Muslims has over the centuries fallen well short of an embrace ... However, the book is full of flagrant distortions and glaring omissions.[2]

In September 2005 book review in The Middle East Journal reviewed the book,[6] and a June 2006 book review in First Things said that the book "might be described as an extended bill of indictment against Islam and a debunking of the still commonly heard claim that Islam has been and is tolerant of minorities."[7]

Writing in National Review in March 2007, Dinesh D'Souza described The Myth of Islamic Tolerance as being attractive to those who would like to criticize Muslims at large for 9/11.[8] He suggested that the book uses a strategy of selective quotations from the Koran, which he calls "history for dummies".[8]

Dr. Akbar Ahmed, professor of Islamic studies at American University, described the book as an example of one of the most humane religions in the world being misrepresented as a violent one.[9] In his book Beyond the Veneer, Ioannis Gatsiounis says that the book "struggles to find an enlightened balance", as it sometimes overlooks complexities while at the same time avoiding a trend in many circles of viewing the issue it addresses solely as a non-religious one.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Andrew C. McCarthy (March 27, 2006). "Cold Comfort on Islam and Apostasy". National Review. Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c Ioannis Gatsiounis (August 27, 2005). "Book Review: Addressing Muslim rage; Myth of Islamic Tolerance". Asia Times. Retrieved January 17, 2012. 
  3. ^ (subscription required) "The Myth of Islamic Tolerance: How Islamic Law Treats Non-Muslims[permanent dead link], by Robert Spencer, Prometheus Books (2005)
  4. ^ Bawer, Bruce (2006). "Crisis in Europe". Hudson Review. 58 (4): 577. JSTOR 20464487. 
  5. ^ "The Myth of Islamic Tolerance: How Islamic Law Treats Non-Muslims". Publishers Weekly. PWxyz LLC. Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  6. ^ (subscription required) Yildiz, Murat (October 1, 2005). "Myth of Islamic Tolerance: How Islamic Law Treats Non-Muslims". The Middle East Journal. Retrieved January 19, 2012. 
  7. ^ [dead link] "The Myth or Islamic Tolerance: How Islamic Law Treats Non-Muslims". First Things. June 1, 2006. Retrieved January 19, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Dinesh D'Souza (March 14, 2007). "The Closing of the Conservative Mind, Part III". National Review. Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  9. ^ Khalid Hasan (November 29, 2006). "British channel to screen documentary on Islamic art". Daily Times. Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  10. ^ Ioannis Gatsiounis (2008). Beyond the Veneer: Malaysia's struggle for diginity and direction. Monsoon Books. ISBN 981-08-0657-4. Retrieved January 17, 2012. 

External links[edit]