Question: I recently received a refund from TBC for my order for The Changing Face of Islam in America. I’m impressed that you would do this without my requesting it, and without asking me to send the book back. I look forward to the more detailed explanation you promised as to your reasons.
Response: It was extremely disturbing to us that we recommended and sold this book. It shows once again that we are fallible humans and is a reminder to our readers to personally check everything out from the Bible. In this case it wasn’t someone writing in and complaining who pointed out the problem, but three of our own staff who read the book and brought to our attention things in it that we could never endorse. I must personally share the blame, perhaps the largest part, when due to the pressure of time constraints I approved it without sufficient care.
What are the problems? There are surprisingly many. Here are a few examples:
On page 9 we read, “I agree that learning the beliefs of a Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or some other religious person is essential for Christians to deepen their understanding of the biblical view of God.” Obviously not true. Learning about false gods is hardly essential. We deepen our understanding of the biblical God through believing and obeying His Word and fellowshiping with Him.
On page 10 the error is compounded: “It is our hope and prayer that this book will motivate others to immerse themselves in the world of Islam....” The authors intend this as a means of witnessing more effectively to Muslims. The motive is good. However, one need not “immerse” oneself in false teaching, but rather in the truth, in order to win others to Christ.
On pages 14-16 we are told of the arrival of black Muslims as slaves from Africa and how Christianity was forced on them. The reader is given to understand that the Statue of Liberty has thereby become a symbol of oppression and that the depiction of the U.S. as “the Great Satan” by Muslim leaders is justified. There is no mention that Muslims themselves were the chief slave traders, or that Muhammad approved of holding slaves and owned many himself. Furthermore, the fact that Islam was viciously forced upon millions and that jihads led by Muhammad enslaved multitudes is suppressed and shrugged off as a “missionary method.”
On page 45 we have the assertion that “the concept of jihad is usually misunderstood” and should not be thought of as “holy war.” It is presented as “a missionary philosophy very different from that of modern Christians.” We are then told that history has been distorted and that Islam was not really spread with the sword to the extent that Christian apologists have stated. The book justifies jihad as springing from the sincere desire to help heathen get to heaven, etc. We are also told that “Christianity’s advance throughout the world...was far more like what we think of as jihads than were the actual jihads, in most cases.” Not so. The conquests by Charlemagne, the Crusades, etc. were vicious, but there is no basis for suggesting that the Islamic conquest was kinder and gentler.
Overall, in their desire not to offend Muslims and to avoid stereotyping them, the authors go too far in the other direction. While their statement that most Muslims are not terrorists is true, they give the false impression that terrorism is considered fanatical in Islam. In fact, it is a direct result of the teachings of Islam and was engaged in by Muhammad himself and encouraged in his followers. Islam was spread with the sword and anyone true to Islam must hold the same determination today, but the authors fail to emphasize that fact. The Crusaders, though they had the cross on their shields and banners, were acting in direct violation of all that Christ taught, practiced and intended for His disciples. On the other hand, the Islamic invaders conquering country after country with the sword were acting in perfect obedience to and harmony with the teaching and example of their prophet Muhammad and the Koran.
The many errors and misrepresentations in the book were overlooked in our enthusiasm at finding a book which uniquely promised to give a clear picture of Islam in America. Unfortunately, it distorts that picture and even presents a favorably false view of Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam. We have a grave responsibility to our readers. A huge volume of correspondence and our heavy schedule are no excuse for this book passing our scrutiny; and the fact that it did so is a sad lesson that will cause us to be more careful in the future.