The Tundra Tabloids’ good buddy, Andy Bostom delivers one amazing ‘must read’ after another. The depth of his knowledge and understanding of the material he recites, and easily relates, to the listener, is simply amazing. He’s the right scholar at the right time, and more than willing (and very able) to defend his findings against anyone offering an opposing viewpoint. This is a lengthy interview that won’t disappoint the reader.
Sharia versus Freedom
Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Andrew G. Bostom, the editor of the highly acclaimedThe Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims and of The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: From Sacred Texts to Solemn History.
He has published articles and commentary on Islam in the Washington Times, National Review Online, The New York Post, The New York Daily News, Frontpagemag.com, American Thinker, Pajamas Media, The Daily Caller, Human Events, and other print and online publications. He is the author of the new book, Sharia versus Freedom: The Legacy of Islamic Totalitarianism. Visit his blog at andrewbostom.org/blog/.
FP: Andrew G. Bostom, welcome to Frontpage Interview.
Congratulations on your new book, Sharia versus Freedom: The Legacy of Islamic Totalitarianism.
What inspired you to write this book about Sharia Law and how is it different from other books?
Bostom: Thanks Jamie! I became fascinated (if alarmed) by some excellent polling data reported in the Spring of 2007 resulting from a collaboration between the University of Maryland, and World Opinion Dynamics (and wrote about it here). The survey sample was quite extensive (encompassing some 4000 individuals) and comprised of face to face interviews in local languages of Muslims from Morocco, Egypt, Indonesia, and Pakistan. Data from two questions jumped out at me. The first asked about the strict implementation of Sharia law in Islamic countries. Sixty-five percent of Muslims were moderately or strongly in favor of this proposition.
The second was about desire to establish/re-establish the Caliphate (i.e., a transnational Muslim superstate, consistent with the borders established by the jihad conquests across Asia, Africa, and Europe, from the 7th through 17th centuries). Again, 65% of the Muslim sample was supportive of this goal. I began to ask myself a series of questions. How has the idea of the Caliphate been actualized in the past? Why has it survived to this day? Why is the notion of a Caliphate so popular among Muslims, and what are implications of its popularity, for Muslims, and non-Muslims? These questions lead inevitably to Islam’s quintessence, and at the same time far reaching set of guidelines, the Sharia, or Islamic law.
Thus I began to research and write additional essays on many broad themes related to the Sharia, which, when combined with other introductory materials written specifically for the book, including Andrew C. McCarthy’s elegant Foreword, eventually became Sharia Versus Freedom—The Legacy of Islamic Totalitarianism. But the final and perhaps most important inspiration proved to be a patient, careful reading of Whittaker Chambers’ autobiographical opus, Witness. I discovered that much could be gleaned from Chambers’ witness-martyrdom in the struggle against Communism, sacrificing himself, as he put it, “a little in advance to try to win for you that infinitesimal slightly better chance,” and applied to the modern threat of resurgent Islamic totalitarianism.
As described in the book, Chambers’ own brief 1947 comparison of Communism and nascent Islam comported with more extensive, independent contemporary characterizations (i.e., made from 1920-2001) by Western scholars and intellectuals who similarly juxtaposed these ideological systems. I also elucidate in Sharia Versus Freedom Chambers’ understanding that faith in the Judeo-Christian God was conjoined to Biblical freedom. The antithetical conceptions of modern atheistic totalitarianism—epitomized by Communism—and equally liberty-crushing Islamic doctrines are compared. Specifically, with regard to Islam, I discuss “hurriyya,” Arabic for “freedom as perfect slavery to Allah,” and how the God of Islam, the unrelenting autocrat, Allah, engendered, in Palgrave’s words, Islam’s “Pantheism of Force.”