SIXTH COLUMN

"History is philosophy teaching by example." (Lord Bolingbroke)

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Friday, October 22, 2004

A Book Worth Reading

The Dawning of a New Dark Age, A Collection of Essays on Islam, by Mark Alexander (1st Books, ISBN: 1-4107-9037-1, paperback; 2003)

I thought I knew almost all of the current books (past few years) about Islam. I had not encountered this book, however, until the author alerted me to it, for which I am grateful.

After reading the book, I can recommend it enthusiastically to readers new to Islam and its dangers, but I must offer a qualification to that recommendation.

First, the writing is excellent. The author’s style flows, with great grammar and syntax as well as thought formulation and progression, i.e., he is clear and easy to follow. I would love to see more writing from him.

The book is presented as a series of short essays. One may start at any point reading these and lose absolutely nothing by skipping about, as long as one reads the entire book. If you start reading from the beginning and proceed systematically to the end, you may notice repetitions, but probably not if you dip in and out until finished.

Second, and more importantly, his grasp of Islam meets many criteria of depth and breadth. He lived in Saudi Arabia long enough to come to terms with Islam, particularly the Saudi variety (Wahhabism), and Arabs. He knows the subject well and covers almost all of the concerns people should have about Islam. There is so very much I agree with that I almost had déjà vu. Some of the 47 chapters are more appealing to me than others, but these chapters are like 47 unique facets, each giving insight to this huge problem of Islamism. Someone beginning the work of studying Islam will find valuable nuggets of information in all 47 chapters.

Anyone unfamiliar with Islam will get a terrific education, delivered quickly and painlessly. It is such an easy introduction that I would put this book into the MUST READ category for those who want to understand why Islam is a threat to American culture and values, and who want a good place to start understanding the problems Islam creates for our civilization.

Third, the author is not just pro-Western culture, but he is unabashedly pro-American. He sees with objectivity about the threat that Islam poses to our country and the entire civilized world, and he minces no words presenting his thoughts fearlessly, without concessions made to the “sensitivities” of this or that person or group or nation. I greatly admire how he identifies multiculturalism and political correctness for the evils that they are, and identifies Islam and its evils for what they are. Since he spent significant time in school in England, he speaks to how the Brits have severely endangered themselves by being so obliging to the Muslims infesting their country. He also has excellent chapters on France and Turkey.

My sole complaint is that, for all of the author’s excellent qualities, he is not philosophically-oriented; I wish so much that he was. Were he so oriented, his case against Islam could be even stronger, perhaps unassailable. He wants very much to wake people up, to shake them out of their passive unconcern, to fill their minds with good information, and to neutralize the poison of relativism, multiculturalism, and political correctness, all of which are sustained by today’s wide-spread moral uncertainty among Americans. He is looking for answers in terms of guiding principles, and he comes close to finding them.

However, he relies on Western religion as a philosophical base, particularly Christianity, rather than philosophical principles, and this perspective just does not take him as far as he obviously wants to go. Religions have values which differ from religionist to religionist, and which separate religions from a strong system of philosophy. Rational, integrated philosophical principles complete the armamentaria, and take those who hold these principles the full distance.

What religionists and non-religionists have in common is a shared vision of the incredible danger Islam poses. We also support the Constitution, which guarantees our freedom of thought and Rights of Man. We must stand united and well-armed through the discipline of philosophy rather than distracted by differences in details of various belief systems.

[We discuss the philosophical elements of Islam and dealing with it within our website, 6th Column Against Jihad.]

Otherwise, I enjoyed this book very much, and I think it offers much of value to an intelligent reader who wants a good place to start to understanding Islam.

(Review by George Mason)

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