The Legacy of Jihad

Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims


Bostom. Andrew G. (Ed.)


Review on 03 September 2006 by Donald N. Anderson (a version of this review is on


I have just finished reading this superlative book.  It took me at least 4 times as long to read as the usual non-fiction, but is a very comprehensive treatment of the unique Islamic phenomena of Jihad (often called the 6th pillar of Islam).  The book is very heavily footnoted and will be a guide for scholars for many years.


It is clear that although there is a personal dimension to Jihad, the portion emphasizing violent raiding, war, and subjection of other people has been a major activity of Muslims since the 620's and continues today.  Any description of Islam as the religion of peace only refers to relations between Muslims.  (Even there it has seldom been peaceful).  As for a Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Zoroastrians, and any other "non-believers" it has been an unending source of forced conversion, murder, rape, genocide, and slavery.


Even before an areas occupation and rule by Muslims, raids for booty and slaves might be an annual occurrence. In the area of Afghanistan-Pakistan-India these raids depopulated areas, destroyed the culture, and impoverished the survivors for a period of 500 years.  The Muslins then took over and governed much of the area for another 500 years.  The intense hate between Hindus and Muslims has very long roots and ample justification.


The area now dominated by Islam was once over 90% Christian and Zoroastrian, now these two faiths comprise about 1% of the population in that area.  How did that happen?  Bostom and the other authors provide the answer and it sure wasn't preaching, convincing and converting.