Islam And Terrorism: What the Quran really teaches about Christianity, violence and the goals of the Islamic jihad. by Mark A. Gabriel
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Well, mixed feelings about sums it up. On the one hand, the guy knows his stuff. On the other hand, his stuff is about all he knows: his book (in places) tends to read like it was written by sixteen Pakistani immigrants attempting to compose a cookbook. But that is okay. I can deal with that. What I have more difficulty with are the weighted questions, straw-man arguments, and the carefully applied makeup and lighting to make something look as bad as is possible. If he even attempted to come across as a balanced individual who weighed evidence and offered his opinion, I could gladly recommend this book to anyone interested, but he doesn't, and I can't. No, he comes across as the brother of the victim in a murder trial: willing to convict the defendant upon any evidence whatsoever, so even the virtues of Islam (and they are there) are cast in the worst possible light, effectively assassinating his argument. It doesn't really help that he opens the book with the story of his arrest, imprisonment and torture by the Egyptian secret police: that would have been the perfect way to close a balanced book, but anytime you lead with the pathos, ethos goes out the window, and that is absolutely crippling in this case.
However, the book has a great deal of good information, particularly toward the end (the culinary inclinations of the composition notwithstanding). So, if you are interested in finding out how terrorism started and spread, this could help. If you are interested in the philosophy behind it, this wouldn't hurt. But it had the potential to be excellent, and instead the author led with Islam and how horribly evil it is, and how much damage it did to him personally, so by the time he gets to the connection to terrorism you don't have to be a short, fat, finicky Belgian with an mustache that only speaks in an outside voice to be more than a little bit skeptical about his motives.
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