Would like the truth about the Muslim/ Islamic faith

I read a lot of conservative email, and listen to a lot of Christian radio and lately, Catholic radio as well. Of course, there is a lot of talk about how Islam is actually a “religion of peace” and one of my best friends sometimes claims that all the trouble is caused by a few fanatics. Earlier this year, I also had the experience at a Black Month event of meeting a man who is Muslim and he asked me point blank why is it that people discriminate against me and my wife? I’m no terrorist, am I not an ordinary man like yourself? Or something like that, he said. I sensed his innocence and decency, I mean I could be wrong, but I had no doubt that he was right …

However, I have read a lot, heard a lot, about the evil of Islam. Yes, about ISIS, about these incredibly psycho anti-Christ pillagers who shoot up Christians and leave them laying there, set Christians on fire, torture and behead them; rape and sell women, even girls into slavery; and even sexually abuse young men. But I’ve also read about religious persecution all over the Muslim world, about their pride in having destroyed every church in Afghanistan, countries where it is against the law, a grave crime even, to have a Bible or celebrate Mass; and Muslim families who will persecute and ostracize and even threaten you with death if you turn Christian.

Some might say, “oh you’re just seeing anti-Muslim propaganda” but when some of the information comes from top-notch radio commentators like Janet Parshall and Teresa Tomeo, I would disagree with that. I heard some especially interesting historical background on Tomeo’s “Catholic Connection” about the prophet Mohammed’s own pillages and the cruelties of Muslim rule of the Holy Land during the “religion of peace”'s first centuries, cruelties that took place before the Crusades fell into swing. And just the other day, Republican Presidential candidate challenged the media to find a place in the Muslim scriptures where Sharia law was condemned (at least, that’s what I think he said).

I don’t think I’m meant to be a great apologist or debater (once again I could be wrong), but as many have great concerns about the reach of this new Islamic jihad and its infiltration into the USA, while other “bleeding hearts” are crying how terrible it is to stereotype all Muslims as terrorists–what, I wonder, is the truth? Although it may sound as though I have “studied” this topic extensively, I do not yet feel like I can talk intelligently and confidently on it. What books would you recommend I read on the subject of the Muslim/ Islamic faith that would give me a well-researched, well-balanced overview of the religion, from its historical roots to its current place on the world/ American stage?

Please let me know–thanks!

Hey tirps.

I don’t know a whole lot myself but I have read a couple of books.

First, I would recommend reading the Koran. It can be difficult and if you do, I think people recommend reading it backwards. It is arranged with the shortest “books” (surahs, I think) located in the back and the longer ones in the front. This will give you an idea of what is said in the Koran. There is great respect for God, the Compassionate the Merciful as well as for Mary. And also denials of the divinity of Jesus and some stuff that is hard to understand like Surah 4:34…“Men have authority over women…as for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them, forsake them in beds apart, and beat them.”

I’m not totally sure but I think that the Koran is a little like non-Catholic Christianity in that there is/can be quite a wide variety of interpretations of the meaning of the text. I don’t think there is one person who speaks for all Muslims.

I’m not exactly sure if this is what you are looking for but quite awhile ago I read:

“111 Questions on Islam” by Samir Khalil SAMIR, S.J.

“Christianity, Islam, and Atheism—The Struggle for the Soul of the West” by William Kilpatrick

“Not Peace But a Sword” by Robert Spencer

All three were very informative…I myself starting from about 0 as far as knowledge of Islam.

It’s kindof confusing because the Muslims that I know are really nice. But then I wonder is that because they are living in a country where the religion is a great minority and what would be different if Islam was the majority religion? One of the above books mentioned that the “moderate” Muslims would be considered apostates by some of the more extreme Muslim groups.

Karen Armstrong has a good book, entitled ‘Muhammad: A Prophet for our time’. I’m also reading through a book by Tariq Ramadan called 'In The Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons from the life of Muhammad’. It’s easy to reccomend, too. Both are excellent introductions. Karen Armstrong is not a muslim, so if it’s important to you to learn from a source that’s not Islamic, it’s a good start.

Karen Armstrong is a disgruntled Catholic though so it is possible that she may write from an anti Catholic/Christian perspective. She has a great respect and admiration for Islam from what i gather, i am kind of surprised she hasn’t converted, seems the only thing stopping her is that she feels it is too great a cultural leap for her to become a Muslim.

Tariq Ramadan is the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. I have read his book and definitely do not recommend it as an objective source on Islam. He is an apologist for Islamic dominance.
Karen Armstrong left the Catholic faith (former nun?). I Haven’t read her work, but perhaps someone else can comment.

*What books would you recommend I read on the subject of the Muslim/ Islamic faith that would give me a well-researched, well-balanced overview of the religion, from its historical roots to its current place on the world/ American stage?
*

I’ve already posted this book on another thread…but since you’ve asked I’ll post it again here!

“The Preaching of Islam” by T.W. Arnold

You can read it online:

islamhouse.com/en/books/396057/

I would also recommend the work of Louis Massignon

“Louis Massignon was a French scholar of Islam and its history. Although a Catholic himself, he tried to understand Islam from within and thus had a great influence on the way Islam was seen in the West; among other things, he paved the way for a greater openness inside the Catholic Church towards Islam as it was documented in the pastoral Vatican II declaration Nostra Aetate.”

goodreads.com/author/show/95982.Louis_Massignon

He also…

He played a key role in the acceptance by religious authority of the Rule for the Little Brothers of Jesus as dictated by Blessed Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916).

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Massignon#Catholic_view_of_Massignon

I think Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a voice that needs to be heard on this subject. While I don’t agree with everything she writes I would recommend her new book: Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now. She argues that some of the religious beliefs themselves need to change.

I also happened to find an interesting debate on the topic: Is Islam a Religion of Peace youtube.com/watch?v=rh34Xsq7D_A. It’s a long video, but is worth the time if your interested in the topic.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.