Most useful will be “The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: From Sacred Texts to Solemn History” written and edited by Andrew G. Bostom (Prometheus Books, $39.95).
Bostom’s book is both exhaustive and exhausting, a tome of some 766 tall pages with small print. Clearly he intended it to be a reference work.
Bostom’s almost 200-page first chapter, “A Survey of Its [i.e., Islamic anti-Semitism’s] Theological-Juridical Origins and Historical Manifestations,” is oppressive reading, and not only because of its grim and depressing content.
The text is dryly written and poorly organized. Reading it is like trying to read an encyclopedia. Readers seeking a clear and easy-to-read summary of the subject are advised to examine instead the chapter “Islamic Antisemitism” in the Dennis Prager and Rabbi Joseph Telushkin book “Why the Jews? The Reason for Antisemitism.”
But as a reference tool, Bostom’s book is overwhelmingly successful. His own chapter marshals quotations and documentation – bolstered by nearly 1,000 footnotes – that should remove all doubt about how central anti-Semitism has been and still is to Islam and to the civilization built around it.
And if that isn’t enough, the rest of the book is an anthology of sources and documents that clinch the case. Bostom provides:
• Anti-Semitic passages from the Koran, the hadith (collected anecdotes about the Muslim prophet Mohammed’s life), the sira (early biographies of Mohammed).
• Anti-Semitic essays, speeches and excerpted book passages by Muslim scholars, theologians and thinkers from the Middle Ages to the present.
• Scholarly, witness and journalistic accounts of Muslim persecutions of and discrimination against Jews over more than 1,000 years.
I caught Dr. Bostom lecturing on his book a few weeks ago. His public speaking style, or lack of it, is every bit as oppressive as his book. During question-time however, when he stopped reading his speech and started speaking extemporaneously, he sounded almost human.