Sword and Scimitar:
Fourteen Centuries of War Between Islam and the West
Author: Raymond Ibrahim
A sweeping history of the often-violent conflict between Islam and the West, shedding a revealing light on current hostilities.
The West and Islam — the sword and scimitar — have clashed since the mid-seventh century, when, according to Muslim tradition, the Roman emperor rejected Prophet Muhammad’s order to abandon Christianity and convert to Islam, unleashing a centuries-long jihad on Christendom.
Sword and Scimitar chronicles the decisive battles that arose from this ages-old Islamic jihad, beginning with the first major Islamic attack in 636, through the Muslim occupation of nearly three-quarters of Christendom, which prompted the Crusades, followed by renewed Muslim conquests by Turks and Tatars, to the European colonization of the Muslim world in the 1800s, when Islam largely went on the retreat — until its reemergence in recent times.
Using original sources in Arabic and Greek, preeminent historian Raymond Ibrahim describes each battle in vivid detail and explains how these wars and the larger historical currents of the age reflect the cultural fault lines between Islam and the West.
The majority of these landmark encounters — including the battles of Yarmuk, Tours, Manzikert, the sieges at Constantinople and Vienna, and the crusades in Syria and Spain — are now forgotten or considered inconsequential. Yet today, as the West faces a resurgence of this enduring Islamic jihad, Sword and Scimitar provides the needed historical context to understand the current relationship between the West and the Islamic world — and why the Islamic State is merely the latest chapter of an old history.
Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians
Author: Raymond Ibrahim
Two thousand years after St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, was stoned to death for his faith, Christians are once again being systematically persecuted on a large scale and with lethal cruelty. Their antagonists? Adherents of radical Islam.
The violent persecution of Christians by Muslims is now a global human rights crisis, but it has received little attention in the mainstream press. Americans were shocked in 2012 to learn that a Christian pastor was sentenced to death in Iran for his faith; but few had heard about the thirty other documented cases of severe persecution of Christians in Muslim countries that were happening at the same time. Churches burned to the ground, crucifixes and Bibles confiscated and destroyed, and Christians tortured, raped or killed for their faith are chillingly regular events in Muslim countries, sometimes even encouraged or enabled by the governments themselves.
In Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians, Raymond Ibrahim documents the persecution of Christians that is commonplace in Muslim countries; explains why the mainstream media has been so quiet on the topic; and argues powerfully for greater exposure and international outcry for this crisis. Raymond Ibrahim combines a thorough knowledge of the languages and texts of Islam with up-to-the-minute reports on recent incidences of persecution in a powerful account of a tragedy the mainstream media has largely chosen to ignore.
The Al Qaeda Reader:
The Essential Texts of Osama Bin Laden’s Terrorist Organization
Author: Raymond Ibrahim
What do our enemies believe? What motivates their war against the West? What is their vision of the ideal Islamic society? Surprisingly, more than five years after 9/11, there is very little understanding of these questions.
Despite our tendency to dismiss Islamic extremism as profoundly irrational, al-Qaeda is not without a coherent body of beliefs. Like other totalitarian movements, the movement’s leaders have rationalized their brutality in a number of published treatises. Now, for the first time, The Al Qaeda Reader gathers together the essential texts and documents that trace the origin, history, and evolution of the ideas of al-Qaeda founders Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden.
This extraordinary collection of the key texts of the al-Qaeda movement—including incendiary materials never before translated into English—lays bare the minds, motives, messages, and ultimate goals of an enemy bent on total victory. Al-Qaeda’s chilling ideology calls for a relentless jihad against non-Muslim “infidels,” repudiates democracy in favor of Islamic law, stresses the importance of martyrdom, and mocks the notion of “moderate” Islam.
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of these works is how grounded they are in the traditional sources of Islamic theology: the Koran and the teachings of the Prophet. The founders of al-Qaeda use these sources as powerful weapons of persuasion, reminding followers (and would-be recruits) that Muhammad and his warriors spread Islam through the power of the sword and that the Koran is not merely allegory or history but literal truth that commands all Muslims to action.
In addition to laying bare al-Qaeda’s ultimate motives, The Al Qaeda Reader includes the organization’s propagandist speeches, which are directed primarily at Americans, Europeans, and Iraqis. Here, al-Qaeda’s many “official” accusations against the West are meticulously delineated, from standard complaints such as the Palestinian issue and Iraq to wholly unexpected ones concerning the U.S.’s exploitation of women and the environment.
Taken together, the Theology and Propaganda sections of this volume reveal the most comprehensive picture of al-Qaeda to date. They also highlight the double-speak of bin Laden and Zawahiri, who often say one thing to Muslims in their religious treatises (“We must hate and fight the West because Islam commands it”) and another in their propaganda directed at the West (“The West is the aggressor and we are fighting back merely in self-defense”).
Westerners from across the political spectrum will be fascinated and enlightened by The Al Qaeda Reader’s insights into the nature of Islamic texts and the ways in which al-Qaeda has used these texts to manufacture hatred against our civilization and our way of life.
The Battle of Yarmuk:
An Assessment of the Immediate Factors behind the Islamic Conquests
Author: Raymond Ibrahim
Raymond Ibrahim’s MA thesis. Abstract: Few events have dramatically altered the course of world-history as have the dynamic Muslim conquests of the seventh century. Aside from the seizure of a large expanse of onetime Roman lands and the cultural Arabization of millions of people, great wars have been continuously waged between Islam and the West— till the present. Yet ambiguity abounds as to how and why these conquests were first realized. This study seeks to ascertain the immediate factors behind the conquests in general by deconstructing the all-pivotal Battle of Yarmuk in particular. This paradigmatic encounter is ideal for extrapolating the root cause(s) of the conquests; for it was primarily at Yarmuk that the Arabs suffered notable physical and practical disadvantages—and still emerged triumphant. Thus this engagement allows one to see well beyond the usual aspects of military history— the physical and practical—and better appreciate more abstract yet decisive considerations.