Criticism of Islam  

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"How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property – either as a child, a wife, or a concubine – must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen: all know how to die: but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome." --Winston Churchill In his 1899 book The River War


Cathy Young of Reason Magazine claims that "criticism of the religion [Islam] is enmeshed with cultural and ethnic hostility" often painting the Muslim world as monolithic. While stating that the terms "Islamophobia" and "anti-Muslim bigotry" are often used in response to legitimate criticism of fundamentalist Islam and problems within Muslim culture, she claimed "the real thing does exist, and it frequently takes the cover of anti-jihadism."--Sholem Stein

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Criticism of Islam has existed since its formative stages. Early written disapproval of Islam came from Christians as well as by some former Muslims such as Ibn al-Rawandi. Western criticism has grown in the 21st century.

Objects of criticism include the morality and authenticity of the Quran and the hadiths, along with the life of Muhammad, both in his public and personal life. Other criticism concerns many aspects of human rights in the Islamic world (in both historical and present-day societies), including the treatment of women, LGBT groups, and religious and ethnic minorities in Islamic law and practice. In the recent adoption of multiculturalism, some have questioned Islam's influence on the ability or willingness of Muslim citizens and immigrants to assimilate into Western countries. The issues when debating and questioning Islam are incredibly complex with each side having a different view on the morality, meaning, interpretation, and authenticity of each topic.

Examples

Winston Churchill criticized what he alleged to be the effects Islam had on its believers, which he described as fanatical frenzy combined with fatalistic apathy, enslavement of women, and militant proselytizing. In his 1899 book The River War he says:

"How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property – either as a child, a wife, or a concubine – must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the faith: all know how to die but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome.

G. K. Chesterton criticized Islam as a derivative from Christianity. He described it as a heresy or parody of Christianity. In The Everlasting Man he says:

"Islam was a product of Christianity; even if it was a by-product; even if it was a bad product. It was a heresy or parody emulating and therefore imitating the Church...Islam, historically speaking, is the greatest of the Eastern heresies. It owed something to the quite isolated and unique individuality of Israel; but it owed more to Byzantium and the theological enthusiasm of Christendom. It owed something even to the Crusades."

During a lecture given at the University of Regensburg in 2006, Pope Benedict XVI quoted an unfavorable remark about Islam made at the end of the 14th century by Manuel II Palaiologos, the Byzantine emperor:

"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."

As the English translation of the Pope's lecture was disseminated across the world, many Muslim politicians and religious leaders protested against what they saw as an insulting mischaracterization of Islam. Mass street protests were mounted in many Muslim-majority countries, the Majlis-e-Shoora (Pakistani parliament) unanimously called on the Pope to retract "this objectionable statement".


According to historian Warren Dockter, Churchill wrote this during a time of a fundamentalist revolt in Sudan and this statement does not reflect his full view of Islam, which were "often paradoxical and complex." He could be critical but at times "romanticized" the Islamic world; he exhibited great "respect, understanding and magnanimity." Churchill had a fascination of Islam and Islamic civilization. Winston Churchill's future sister-in-law expressed concerns about his fascination by stating, "[p]lease don't become converted to Islam; I have noticed in your disposition a tendency to orientalism." According to historian Warren Dockter, however, he "never seriously considered converting". He primarily admired its martial aspects, the "Ottoman Empire's history of territorial expansion and military acumen", to the extent that in 1897 he wished to fight for the Ottoman Empire. According to Dockter, this was largely for his "lust for glory". Based on Churchill's letters, he seemed to regard Islam and Christianity as equals.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Criticism of Islam" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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