Sunday, January 23, 2005

Toward a Fair and Balanced Library about Islam

Jihad Watch: Another look: Balancing The Books Robert Spencer extracts an article about how to build up a library of books about Islam that is accurate about the dangers of Islam, and does not simply gloss over the all-too-real dangers with a coat of feel-good apologetics.
Right now CAIR is engaged in a campaign to stock the shelves of public libraries with books and videos maintaining that at heart Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance. Undoubtedly, this is reassuring to the portion of the American public that accepts multiculturalism, and which refuses to accept the reality that there are many people in this world who do not share the post-modern, secular worldview that has come to define Western civilization.

The books that CAIR is placing on library shelves include The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality by John L. Esposito. An online review on Amazon.com tellingly describes Esposito as a "nice guy" whose overwhelming desire for peace between the Islamic and Judeo-Christian worlds has turned him into "an apologist for the worst excesses of political Islam." Indeed, Esposito contends that jihad is a misunderstood concept and does not mean "holy war." True, the word "jihad" doesn't translate as "holy war," but to say that it hasn't meant holy war from time to time throughout history is simply fantasy.

Another book that is part of the CAIR packages is The Complete Idiot's Guide to Islam, which also makes the misleading assertion that Islam is at heart peaceful and misunderstood.

No doubt the message presented by the books and videos that comprise the CAIR packages will be comforting to many Americans who are very eager not to accept the truth about Islam. But it is not the whole story by any means. America's libraries have a responsibility to the public to ensure that their shelves contain a balanced view of Islam. They should make an effort to explain the context of the debate fairly, accurately, and in full context.

To balance the CAIR library package, at the Free Congress Foundation we've decided to offer libraries suggestions of our own, having compiled a list of twelve books.
Check it out.
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