Islam: The Arab Imperialism
by Anwar Shaikh
Cardiff, Wales: Principality, 1998. 153 pp. Gratis.
Reviewed by Daniel Pipes
Middle East Quarterly
Building on an earlier study with a similar title,1 Shaikh portrays Islam as a political movement which has conquered peoples around the world. Born a Muslim in India in 1928 and so fervent in his early faith that he killed three non-Muslim men in the riots of 1947, Shaikh has renounced Islam and become a leading spokesman against it.2 For him, Islam is a far more enduring form of imperialism than the British variant: if the latter required armies to be maintained, the former does not. Instead, it has become self-perpetuating by virtue of having conquered peoples' minds.
Like many anti-Islamic polemicists, Shaikh dwells on the career of the Prophet Muhammad, searching it out for inconsistencies (his attitude toward freedom of religion before and after reaching power) and unsavoriness (the Islamic portrayal of paradise shows that, in Islam, "sexual gratification is the ultimate goal of life"). Shaikh goes beyond other critiques in finding that the Qur'an portrays Muhammad to be God's superior and even "the only God"; from this he concludes that "Islam is Muhammadanism." The purpose of this religion, he finds, is "invented Islam to glorify Arabia." And the scheme worked, bringing "imperial dignity to the Arabs," subordinating huge numbers of non-Arab converts and their offspring to "Arab cultural hegemony," and making them permanent allies for the Arab cause. In his pungent words, every non-Arab Muslim has "turned into a moth, restless to cremate itself on the flame of Arab imperialism."
Shaikh has lived in Great Britain since 1956; he sees his writings, which have prompted some twenty edicts against his life, as his way to atone for the three murders a half century ago. Unlike Salman Rushdie, he lives openly ("Everyone is aware of my address") and, when asked if he expects violence to be directed against him, replies, "I want to die honorably."
1 Anwar Shaikh, Islam: The Arab National Movement (Cardiff, Wales: Principality, n.d.).
2 For his biography, see http://www.secularislam.org/anwar.html
Related Topics: Islam | Daniel Pipes | June 1999 MEQ
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