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Islam Unveiled
By Robert Spencer
Read by Nadia May

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Islam Unveiled
Disturbing Questions About the World's Fastest-Growing Faith
By Robert Spencer
Foreword by David Pryce-Jones
Read by Nadia May
Blackstone Audiobooks, (2002)
An unabridged recording on 6 cassettes
ISBN: 0-7861-2340-0
Genre: Religion / History - Islam

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - April 28, 2003

Is Islam a religion of peace, or isn't it? How is the factuality of the Qur'an (Koran) translated into practice? Have Islamic terrorist groups perverted the teaching of Islam? Or, are the beliefs of the radical Islamic terrorist groups the same as that adhered to by mainstream Muslims? These are but a few of the questions discussed in Robert Spencer's intriguing new book, Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions About the World's Fastest-Growing Faith.

Many modern commentators, when discussing Islam, take a 'politically correct' tack. They focus only on the positive and treat any non-peaceful variation of the faith as an insignificant aberration. In Islam Unveiled, Spencer takes a more honest approach that offers an unbiased, critical examination of Islamic beliefs. He discusses the theoretical aspects of Islamic belief, and how these beliefs have been perverted by various entities ranging from the Wahhabi sect in Saudi Arabia to Osama bin Laden.

In Islam Unveiled Spencer has attempted to present a well-rounded overview of Islam and how Muslims around the world actively practice their faith. For example, he looks at how women are treated, the status of human rights in Islamic countries, Islamic attitudes toward slavery, Muslim reactions and thoughts about the West, and the impediments to the creation of secular Islamic states.

On the surface, this book appears to have an anti-Muslim bent. However, this is due to the fact that Spencer is not whitewashing the facts. This work touches upon some disturbing truths about Islam, and just because he has chronicled these facts does not necessarily make him anti-Muslim. Throughout the course of this book, Spencer has tried to dispel many of the myths surrounding Islam. He has also tried to but the modern anti-western sentiments of many fundamentalist Muslims into an historical perspective, tracing the rise of such sentiments as far back as the Crusades.

Islam Unveiled is essential reading for anyone wanting to understand the Islamic fundamentalism. This text focuses on contemporary Islamic practices and sentiments. It does not, however, offer the reader an in-depth overview of traditional Islamic religious beliefs. Consequently, I'd recommend that you read this book in conjunction with a book that provides a detailed introduction on the history and rise of Islam, as well as the tenets of Islamic faith, such as Understanding Islam, by Thomas W. Lippman.

This unabridged audio edition of Islam Unveiled is marvelously read by Nadia May. She has an elegant voice that is very pleasant to listen to and her reading highlights the fluid style of the narrative. Islam Unveiled represents an important addition to the bodies of work that are helping to expand our understanding of Islamic traditions and practices. It also will serve as a superb reference guide for readers wishing to explore the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and the repercussions that this rise has for the West, both politically and socially. Islam Unveiled is a must read for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the true nature of Islam, and what, if anything, the West has to fear from Islam.


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