A Review of Sword and Scimitar by Raymond Ibrahim
(De Capo Press, New York, 2018)


Although Victor David Hansen tells us in the forward that Raymond Ibrahim chronicles eight major battles between Islam and the West, this book is more than a military history. As Hansen describes it, the author reveals recurring themes of the conflicts that “advances larger cultural and religious arguments.” Ibrahim interprets these “in the context of the times—or rather, takes seriously what contemporary leaders claimed were their intentions.”

Roots of Jihad

Probably the most significant part of the book is the Introduction, “The Roots of Jihad.” Spoiler alert: it isn’t the crusades. In fact, the crusades didn’t even occur until Islam had waged war against its “infidels” for almost four hundred years.

As recorded in my last post (here), Muslims have always believed it was their duty (service to God) to wage war against non-Muslims (infidels), and they believe it has always been their sacred right to enslave them. Ibrahim provides numerous Islamic quotes to illustrate this.

“Every Muslim who is well aware of the history of Islam, knows that Jihad against infidels is an integral part of Islam, and those who read history would know.” Islamic State, p. 295

A Perpetual War

The West has mostly forgotten or hidden the fact that almost 400 years of Muslim aggression occurred before the Crusades. At the point of the scimitar, Islam burned the books of Alexandria, destroyed Christianity in Northern Africa, and enslaved its enemies. It marched north through Spain intending to eradicate every nation that did not submit to Islam. Had it not been for Charles “the hammer” Martel, who defeated the invading armies at the Battle of Tours in 732, Europe would likely be under the rule of Islam today.

Eyes Wide Open

“It [Islam] is, as a fact, the most formidable and persistent enemy which our civilization has had, and may at any moment become as large a menace in the future as it has been in the past.” Historian Hilaire Belloc, p. 295.

CAUTION: be prepared to have your eyes opened. Twenty-first century America and the west in general suffer from a lack of accurate historical knowledge. We have been misled by our political, educational, and opinion leaders. The media is awash in a one-sided view of Islam. Many think global warming is a bigger threat.

In addition, this book is not for the faint of heart. The descriptions of the eight battles between Islam and armies of the West are graphic. However, he doesn’t shy away from quoting eyewitnesses to the battles in all their horrible details. In addition, he quotes Islamic sources as well as other writings. He delves deeply into what people saw and recorded.

Keep Watch

I believe this is an issue that directly impacts all of us; we should keep watch and stay informed. This book is a good place to start. Find out more about Raymond Ibrahim and keep track of his updates (here). Another good resource on Islam is Robert Spencer (here).

NOTE: Perhaps it seems out of context to discuss Islam with Christmas so close, but I will tie in this presentation with more information next week when I discuss “Islam and the Incarnation,” part three of this series.

With Christmas coming on, you also will want to look at the first couple of chapters on the “Gospel of Luke” in my Conversations menu.