Book Review: EXTREMIST: A Response to Geert Wilders & Terrorists Everywhere

Extremist

Book by Qasim Rashid B.Sc. JD

Reviewed by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

The book is to be released on May 28, 2014 and is available in Amazon.com, for pre-order now.

Firstly, a few words about the rising star among the Muslim writers, Qasim Rashid, whose first book, released last year, The Wrong Kind of Muslim, has won him a large number of readers and admirers.

Qasim Rashid (born July 21, 1982) is a vocal human rights activist and advocate of moderate Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in America. He is an attorney and graduate of the Richmond School of Law [1] He served as Executive Editor of The Richmond Journal of Global Law and Business. He has authored a book The Wrong Kind of Muslim. He has co-authored and co-edited two books, Towards a Greater Jihad and By the Dawn’s Early Light, and has been featured in local and national news media including NBC and NPR.

Secondly, let me share the brief review of his new book, from the Amazon website:

Terrorists and anti-Islam extremists are both wrong about Islam. Qasim Rashid proves just that in EXTREMIST: A Response to Geert Wilders & Terrorists Everywhere. Rashid debunks extremists head-on, clarifying important issues like Islam’s view on free speech, women’s rights, and Jihad—among many more. He writes for non-Muslims and Muslims alike, asking you to stand for a narrative of moderation, civility, and compassion—and against the extremist narratives of Geert Wilders and all terrorists. Rashid empowers you with a tool extremists don’t have—knowledge of Islam, and invites you to join the fight for tolerance.

Rashid’s book chapters are organized along the theme and refutation of individual chapters of a recent book by Geert Wilders, Marked for Death: Islam’s War Against the West and Me.

For those who do not know Geert Wilders, here is a short introduction.  Wilders, born 6 September 1963, is a Dutch right-wing politician[1] and the founder and leader of the Party for Freedom (Partij voor de Vrijheid – PVV), the fourth-largest political party in the Netherlands.[2][3] Wilders is the Parliamentary group leader of his party in the Dutch House of Representatives. In the formation in 2010 of the Rutte cabinet, a minority cabinet of VVD and CDA.

Geert Wilders has well established his reputation as a fanatical politician demanding extreme actions: banning the Qur’an, forcibly stopping Islam from spreading, ceasing all immigration from Muslim majority nations—and the list goes on.

The greatest service that Rashid has done in this book, in my opinion, is to reduce the rhetoric of Geert Wilders and other Islamophobes, to a brief set of allegations, which likes of Wilders, Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer and Bill Maher, to name a few, repeat like a parrot at any suitable opportunity.

To give the prospective reader a flavor of the book, here are the first ten of the sixty two allegations, tackled by Rashid:

Allegation 1: Islam Demands Unjust Retribution
Allegation 2: Islam Teaches Death for Apostasy
Allegation 3: The Qur’an Sanctions Violence
Allegation 4: Islam Forbids Protection to Non-Muslim Dwellings
Allegation 5: Islam Forbids Privacy to Non-Muslims
Allegation 6: Islam Requires Either Death, Enslavement, or Conversion
Allegation 7: Khadija Consummated with Muhammad in Front of Gabriel
Allegation 8: The Meccans Were Multicultural and Pluralistic
Allegation 9: Muhammad Initially Permitted Idol Worship
Allegation 10: Muhammad Demanded Slaughter of the Pluralistic Meccans

Courtesy of: Islamophobia Watch: Documenting anti Muslim bigotry

Courtesy of: Islamophobia Watch: Documenting anti Muslim bigotry

In the introduction of the book, Rashid explains that his book is not merely a refutation of Wilders, but has a greater and more universal application and purpose.  He writes:

Indeed, this book primarily tackles and thoroughly addresses one such international anti-Muslim personality: Dutch politician Geert Wilders. But my response here should not be viewed as just a response to him, as the answers I provide are just as applicable to any number of anti-Islam critics worldwide. Indeed, much of Wilders’s rhetoric echoes verbatim the rhetoric that accelerated immediately after 9/11, and it certainly copies that of several of his anti-Muslim cohorts in years prior. I respond to allegations Wilders has made simply because his polemic, “Marked for Death,” is one of the more recent books to spread a false narrative of Islam. I can complete a similar analysis of the propaganda any number of anti-Muslim personalities has published over the years. Perhaps in the future I will. But for now, while my case analysis is of Wilders’s book, I promise my readers that my analysis offers a wide application.

Rashid describes the scope of the book as:

This book responds specifically to Wilders’s allegations against Islam, Prophet Muhammadsa, the Qur’an, and the khulafa rashidín. This book neither excuses nor answers for Muslim political regimes or for the criminal and violent acts of individual Muslims throughout history or today.

Now, I will present three excerpts from his book, as he refutes, allegation 2, 10 and 16.

Regarding Allegation 2: Islam Teaches Death for Apostasy, Rashid writes:

That apostasy is both a crime and the ‘ultimate crime’ in Islam.  These false allegations are based on the incorrect assumption that apostasy is some crime that humans can punish. Yes, Islam admonishes Muslims to remain Muslims. But what faith encourages its adherents to leave? Even then, Islam is quite liberal. Certain Christians declare eternal hell for those who leave Christianity. Certain Jews consider themselves the chosen people, to the exclusion of all others. Certain Hindus believe in the caste system, forbidding anyone from joining or leaving a caste. Therefore, it is surprising that Wilders objects to the Islamic admonition not to forsake Islam.
In any case, Islam defines the ‘ultimate crime’ against humanity as murder and treason—not apostasy. In fact, murder and treason are the only reasons for which a person may receive capital punishment in Islam.  Some theologians have argued that those who engage in unconscionably violent acts such as rape may be deserving of the death penalty (i.e. the rapist, not the victim of rape). The Qur’an, however, does not allow capital punishment for any other reason other than murder or treason—certainly not for apostasy. And, as mentioned earlier, even when capital punishment is a possibility, it is by permission, never by commandment.

Rashid has written a very powerful and lucid defense of Islam on the issue of apostasy and others, but, the greatest strength of his book, is its scale-ability.  By providing a precise analysis of list of allegations, he has provided a scaffolding to which other writers and researchers can add, as the the dialogue, echoes through the corridors of our Global Village, between the Muslims, open minded non-Muslims and the Islamophobes.

We have collected several well written articles on the issue of apostasy and blasphemy, in the Muslim Times, which you can easily access, by simply searching these terms in our website.

In regards to, Allegation 10: Muhammad Demanded Slaughter of the Pluralistic Meccans, Rashid writes:

I ask the reader again to take a cautioned approach regarding Ibn-e-Ishaq. In painting this incident as an example of Prophet Muhammad’s alleged attempts to instigate against ‘pluralistic’ Meccans, Wilders is caught in yet another lie. To demonstrate this point, I simply present the reader with the full paragraph of Alfred Guillaume’s translation of Ibn-e-Ishaq’s work, not just the isolated fragment that Wilders reports to his readers. I, in the spirit of Islam and free speech, instead believe in full disclosure and condemn Wilders’s censored ‘research.’

In regards to, Allegation 16: Muhammad Married Ayesha When She Was Underage, Rashid writes:

The Talmud recommends ‘marrying off one’s daughter as soon after she reaches adulthood as possible, even to one’s Slave.’ In fact, the Talmud presents some peculiar guidance on marriage, also stating, ‘A maiden aged three years and a day may be acquired in marriage by coition, and if her deceased husband’s brother cohabits with her, she becomes his.’ So while the Catholic Encyclopedia tells us that Mary and Joseph were married at the ages of about twelve to fourteen and ninety, respectively, the Talmud permits marrying girls as young as three years and one day. Lest this seem like an attack on Christianity and Judaism— which it is not—I present marriage laws in the West.  For centuries in Scotland, the age of consent for girls was twelve— and parental consent was unnecessary. Only in 1929 was the age raised to sixteen for girls. In America even today, Hadhrat Ayesha’s consenting marriage to Prophet Muhammadsa would be considered valid. For example, in New Hampshire, the legal age for girls is thirteen with parental consent. In Massachusetts, the legal age for girls is  twelve with parental consent. In Mississippi, there is no age minimum for girls, as long as there is parental consent. In California, there is no age minimum for girls, as long as there is parental consent. Granted, the American state laws were passed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries—not today. And granted, Americans aged twelve or thirteen do not typically get married today. The point is, however, that even in recent American history, Americans found value—not objection— in girls marrying at twelve or thirteen (or even younger), and passed laws through their respective state legislatures to affirm that value.  This exercise in no way argues for a return to such marrying ages. Rather, it merely establishes the point that “appropriate” marriage ages are based on ever-changing social constructs—not some supposed objective, advanced contemporary standard. Therefore, if we are to accuse Prophet Muhammad of any impropriety in marrying Hadhrat Ayesha even if she was twelve or thirteen, then we must also condemn the Old Testament, New Testament, Europe, and numerous American states.

Unlike Wilders, Rashid precisely references all the claims he makes in his book.

We, in the Muslim Times, have collected several articles on the issue of age of  Hadhrat Ayesha, may Allah be pleased with her, at the time of her marriage.

In the conclusion of his book, Rashid gives Geert Wilders two options and says, “Should Wilders reject the first and second options, I remind him of the unfortunate third path he will have chosen.”  What are the two options and what is the ‘unfortunate third path,’ for that you will need to read the book.

Click here to buy the book in Amazon.

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14 replies

  1. TO MODERATORS; I implore you please do not delete and censor my writing; let us promote the freedom of speech as Ahmadiyyah are struggling till now.
    .
    PLEASE PONDER HIS WORLD SINCERELY.
    God said and warned His people from the book of Wisdom and Injil.
    .
    Hate stir up trouble,but love forgives all sins Proverb.10:12
    .
    1 John 3:15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him
    .
    1 John 4:20 If a man says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who doesn’t love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? The Letter from Jude
    .
    1 John 2:11 God loved us first,but he who hates his brother is in the darkness, and walks in the darkness, and doesn’t know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes
    .
    Violent people talk badly or cruelly , but a god man talk kindly or nicely.
    .
    Violent people hurts or harm otje people but a good man make someone happy.
    .
    Violent people listen to evil.liar listen to liars
    .
    Violent people deceive their friend and lead them to disaster.
    .
    IF YOU WANT TO MAKE THIS BEAUTIFUL WORLD AS PLACE TO LIVE IN PEACE;
    .
    LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOU LOVE YOUR SELF, OR LOVE ALL PEOPLE REGARDLESS HIS RACE, BELIEF, RELIGION, AND GENDER.
    .
    May God guide those who hate others.Amen.
    .
    May Allah guide all my brothers to the right path.Amen
    For You from My Heart.
    All those who read shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; O Allah, be my witness, that I have conveyed your message to your people.
    With all my love

  2. TO MODERATORS; I implore you please do not delete and censor my writing; let us promote the freedom of speech as Ahmadiyah are struggling till now.
    .
    DEFINITION OF RELIGIOUS EXTREMIST.(Jews, Christian, Muslim, and Hindu)
    .
    Definition of the religious extremist are;
    1. They want to impose God’s laws to all citizen. They do not accept the differences.
    2. In order they can make it, they want to create religious state.
    3. There is no freedom of speech, religion, and expression.
    4. There is no opposition. Only one party , like communis Party.
    5. The system government is not democracy, but dictatorship

    Their goal of the extremist Muslim is to impose the law of Allah to all citizen, and the source of laws is Al Quran.
    .
    What wrong is it? We know that Al Quran is guidance from Allah, and people have to follows His laws.
    .
    According to their interpretation are;
    1. They impose Allah’s laws to other Muslim,some time to non Muslim.
    .
    Whereas Allah and Prophet said that there is no compulsion in Al Quran.refer to QS 2;265, QS 90:10
    They are wrong and misguide people.
    .
    With all my love

  3. @alatif
    You don’t have to write the first sentence in every comment you make. It is annoying.
    Also you don’t have to write a thesis in every comment. It is just a comment. Keep it short and crisp.
    I am glad that the discussion about the teachings of Islam has started. I am glad that people like Geert Wilders are challenging the Islamic teachings. It provides the Muslims an opportunity to examine our own doctrines and realize how wrong we have been in so many respects.
    This is a real opportunity to reform our religion. Left to the religious leaders, this would never happen. All they want is more obedience and no questions.

  4. TO Zia Shah
    .
    ===Muslim Sunrise Taking on the Critics of Islam===
    .
    Who are the Muslim or Islam?
    Allah told to Prophet Muhammad QS 22;78,
    Jews,Christian and Prophet Muhammad’s followers (Muslim) are Muslim or Islam all.they are offspring Prophet Ibrahiim as.
    .
    So people of America contains Christian, Muslim, Jews as majority, so people of America is Islam or Muslim.
    .
    Therefore, Allah bless America and its people are living in peace, harmony and prosperity–as fact..
    .
    Islam has been shining or victorious in America.
    America become the house of all religions and races
    America become the house of knowledge
    America become the economis power in the world
    Millions young people from other countries came to learn from USA..
    .
    The light of Islam of the followers of prophet Muhammad (saw) is (suuni and Shia) going to die.
    .
    What do you think Zia Shah ? Based on QS 22;78
    With love

  5. alatif, if you tell me the meaning of “DIE” then I can easily give you the answer.
    This word “Die” is used in the Bible OT in dubious context. It is written in Deut 18:18-20 that any prophet who will speak something which God has not told him, that prophet will “Die”.
    In previous versions of Bibles, it was written “That Prophet will be killed.” But now they have changed it to “That prophet will die.”

    Does it mean other prophets will not die? We know that every one dies. But only some of them are killed. So the proper use of the word “Die” is necessary and I hope alatif will please try to explain what is meant by: The light of Islam of the followers of prophet Muhammad (saw) is (suuni and Shia) going to die.

  6. @Lutf

    I am very impressed with the wisdom of your last paragraph. You have, as we Americans would say, “got to the meat of the matter”… Kudos

  7. For the interest of general public, Jama’at -e- Ahmadiyya is the Renaissance of Islam or revival of true Islam practiced by Muhammad (SAW)and his companions (RA)so the reforms or more precisely reinstatement is already here now. Its time to pay heed to the divine call before its too late.

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