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Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  188 ratings  ·  39 reviews
A sweeping history of the often-violent conflict between Islam and the West, shedding a revealing light on current hostilities

The West and Islam--the sword and the scimitar--have clashed since the mid-seventh century, when, according to Muslim tradition, the Byzantine emperor rejected Prophet Muhammad's order to abandon Christianity and convert to Islam, unleashing a
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published August 28th 2018 by Da Capo Press
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George P.
Sep 10, 2018 rated it liked it
In his 1996 bestseller, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, Samuel P. Huntington argued “culture and cultural identities, which at the broadest are civilization identities, are shaping the patterns of cohesion, disintegration, and conflict in the post-Cold War world.” He went on to describe several civilizational cohorts, but a comment on Islam is germane here: “In the early 1990s, Muslims were engaged in more intergroup violence than were non-Muslims, and two-thirds to ...more
Jul 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, islam
We are told, over and over, that Islam is a religion of peace and that saying or believing otherwise is insulting to the 4 billion Muslims in the world. This attitude completely ignores thousands of years of conflict between Muslims and Christians (now identified as "the West.) History did not begin with Western Imperialism. Slavery did not originate in the Unites States. Muslim Imperialism lasted from 630 to the end of the Ottoman Empire after WWI. It enslaved millions of people from all of the ...more
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Let me preface by saying the author's biases are so extreme, and so divergent from the mainstream perspective of Islam within my culture, that I cannot imagine his framing and conclusions are actually correct. But, this book has set me off to do further research and try to figure out what in the actual fuck is going on.

Still, the history in the book, as brought to life by historical accounts from both sides, completely changed the way I view the history of Europe in general and in the context of
Kirk Mahoney
Dec 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Raymond Ibrahim delivers a fourteen-centuries-long history of Islam's many successful attempts to enslave and murder the West.

If you are unsure when and why the post-independence USA's first war occurred, then read this book.

If you wonder how Vikings and Islam could be connected, then read this book.

If you wonder why jihadis love to rape Caucasian women, then read this book.

What jihadis do today in the West is NOT an aberration. It is a continuation of what they have done for the past fourteen
Jonas Olmav
Mar 25, 2019 rated it did not like it
I was looking forward to some impartial literature detailing the battles and wars between Islam and Christendom. I was more than disappointed to say the least. I should have known by having the word "West" in the title this is not a history lesson but a rallying call with political ambition. Why is it authors of this ilk feel the need to push their ideology and agenda so vehemently without any attempt to even sound somewhat unbiased?

If you want to hear how innocent Christians are and how
Sep 18, 2019 rated it did not like it
Unfortunately, I find it very hard to trust the contents of this book, because it is really a polemic more than a serious history of the conflict between Islam and the West. Ibrahim is very clearly trying to make the case that Islam is a fundamentally violent and self-serving religion and that it is essentially the codification of tribal values into a religion. He does this by describing various conquests (mostly from Islamic cultures) and describing them in such a way to paint the conquerors in ...more
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent historical eye opening book

Finally a great historical treatment on the history of Islamic conquest and Jihad as understood by Mohammad and his successors.
cool breeze
Aug 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
The book’s greatest strength is that the author does such a convincing job of demonstrating his central theme – that Islam has always been and still remains an implacable and aggressive adversary of “the West” (formerly known as “Christendom”, before that became politically incorrect). Alas, that is also the book’s greatest weakness, as the author clubs the point to death and then desecrates the corpse like a jihadi sacking an infidel city. Although it is only 300 pages long, it is dense with ...more
David King
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, audiobook
The author takes seriously the history, writings, and practice of Islam and Christianity, employing extensive first hand accounts gleaned from Arabic and Greek sources. Sword and Scimitar sets our current conflict into its historic perspective.
Ann Bridges
Nov 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Although I pride myself on knowing more history than most, I was shocked at how this book shifted my worldview. My education, as was the case with most modern Americans, looked at key events through a secular, Western Civilization lens, moving from era to era without looking back at what happened afterward to "faded" civilizations. Ibrahim's chronicling of battles over the same turf surrounding the Mediterranean was eye-opening, as was the theory of the motivation for Portuguese and Spanish ...more
Hamza Baig
Dec 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
The book that I read was Sword and Scimitar by Raymond Ibrahim. The book is about the wars that have occurred between the Muslims and the Christians. It recounts from many sources from both sides about what really happened in all of the wars. The book starts out in the year circa 600 CE. It starts with how the companions of Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) conquered the Arabian peninsula. It mentions all of the next notable empires, kings, and battles. One such battle that was called the Battle of ...more
Steve Kohn
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Three-quarters through the book, I find in today’s Wall Street Journal “The New War Against Africa’s Christians,” by Bernard-Henri Levy. Readers of the book will recognize that little has changed.

“I meet a beautiful woman named Jumai Victor, 28. On July 15, she says, Fulani extremists stormed into her village on long-saddle motorcycles, three to a bike, shouting “Allahu Akbar!” They torched houses and killed her four children before her eyes. When her turn came and they noticed she was pregnant,
Eric S
Aug 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is a general history of eight major battles that encompass the war between Islam and Christianity in Europe and the Middle East from 636 to 1683. The battles are not described in isolation. Their place in the overall scheme of what is happening is well represented. The 8 battles (4 won by each side) give a balanced view of the constant ebb and flow of the 1000+ year conflict. The book does a decent job of descrbing the events that led up to each of the particular battles and most ...more
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Eye Opening

Borrowed this from my library with Hoopla.

After reading this and its many sources I am in awe at the many historical battles that took place and horrified at the amount of blood that was and is still being shed allegedly in the name of god.
I think the author did a great job of using a lot of sources from Islam itself concerning the motivation of that specific religion.
I find it very concerning and just in total shock at the contents.
I find it troubling, however, that people can make
Dennis Ashendorf
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history-politics
Almost immediately you will ask yourself: "How do I not know this?" How did I not know about the Battle of Yarmuk, which may be the most important battle in the past several millennia. How did I not know about Leo III of Constantinople? Why don't I feel strange about the defeat of 2/3's of Christians? Of the slaves? Of the incessant, beyond cruel murders in the tens of thousands as a way of life until 1683? Why did the Christians use outdated military tactics for centuries?

Ibrahim uses sources
Andrew Tollemache
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Raymond Ibrahim has written an excellent, if brutal, history or the military conflict between Islam and Christianity over the last 1400 years. As others have noted Ibrahim gives a special emphasis to how brutal muslim armies had been when conquering christian lands with many thinking it creates a very unbalanced account. The focus is muslim brutality is correct although most events had a comparable christian "check-raise" dynamic. Ibrahim's purpose with this book appears to have been to push ...more
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Mr Ibrahim tells us a very non PC account of the relationship between Islam and the Christian west. It is of the 1400 years of battles, as well as social, political and realpolitik that has gone on. From 630 until the battle for Vienna in 1636, Islam was expanding. having taken over the Mideast, much of Africa, much of eastern Europe. After that Islamic attacks on the west diminished and European forces pushed back. This helps the reader to understand where groups like Al kaida and ISIS get ...more
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is an account of the Muslim Jihad against Christians and Jews since the 7th century. At times I felt so sick from what I was reading that I had to put it aside and return to it later. 1,300 years of ceaseless war and humiliation and rape and torture and slavery and death all because they were not Muslims. This book comprehensively demonstrates that the recent Caliphate of ISIS in Iraq / Syria was no aberration , but merely a continuation of attempted conquest and destruction and ...more
David W Young, Jr.
I Strongly recommend this book to everyone who has minimal knowledge or understanding of an intertwined ideology and religion that has caused great disruption around the perimeter of the Mediterranean Sea, Iberian Peninsula, eastern Europe, and the Levant. The Arabic language and Koran are the tools that tie all the Muslims into unity; if not practice of their ideology and religion. You have been advised and now it is time for you to make your own determination about Islam. Islam has sects, as ...more
Cynthia Rennolds
A history of Islam vs Christianity

A well written and well sourced book outlining the major battles between Islam and Christianity/West over the past 1400 years. It gives good insight into the ways that Islamic thought continues to operate. Extrapolating the knowledge in the book to today’s headlines, we begin to understand why Islamic migration/refugees may negatively impact the social good in various countries, if a thousand years of Islamic thought is not modified or adjusted, as the basic
Jeff Chadic
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sword and Schimitar is the best I've read in years. Mr. Ibrahim, in his exploration of eight consequential battles between Christendom and Islam from the rise of Mohammed and the Islamic juggernaut to the Siege of Vienna, uses both Christian and Islamic contemporaneous primary and secondary sources, and modern scholarship to contextualize the fraught relationship the two religions have had over the centuries and the the rise of Al Qaeda and Daesh as a continuation of the centuries of jihad. The ...more
Adam Yoshida
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An Electrifying and Educational Read

I could not recommend this book more strongly. I initially bought it largely out of a sense of solidarity on hearing that Islamist activists has successfully bullied West Point into canceling a talk by Ibirham, but what I found is a compelling-written work that traces the early history of war between Islam and Christendom and does exceptional work in explaining the continuity of certain doctrines and attitudes across Islamic forces otherwise widely separated
Cynthia Dalton
Jul 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Analysis of the relationship between Islam and the West from the time of Muhammad to the 1800s. Eight major battles are described. Well written and doesn't fall into to overly pendatic trap that so many non-fiction books do. I learned a lot. Including the speed in which Islam over took the middle East and Northern Africa, and that European colonization was partially in response to the treatment of non-Muslims in those areas as the Muslim states fell apart. Recommended for anyone wishing to ...more
Tameem Bahri
Apr 26, 2019 rated it did not like it
I never managed to go past the first 80 pages. This guy has no idea what he is talking about. Mixing information from classic sources (e.g Quran) with other sources that no Muslim (well, apart from those extreme radicals) believe or even bother to believe. It is like writing a book about Christianity based on the well-known sources mixed with the K.K.K sources. Absolutely sick.

If you are seeking historical information which is - hopefully - honest and neutral, then this book is not for you.
Michael K. Laney
An eye opening history

This was an excellent treatment of the conflict between Christianity and Islam. I knew some of the pieces but this was the first time I have seen someone tread together all the parts in one place. It is well researched and referenced. It was eye opening and frightful.

This is a must read to understand what has happened and what the future holds. This is a religious war which is not over, only in a lull.
Sahar Al-Haddad
Apr 26, 2019 rated it did not like it
Couldn’t get through more than 25% of the book. As much as I wanted to learn the historical facts, of which there are many in this book, the personal bias of the author and hate of Islam is blinding. If you want a non biased presentation of history, this is not the book for you. The best comment I found here on Goodreads about this book was by Jonas under the 1 star reviews.
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sad and shocking

This should be mandatory reading for every Westerner who enjoys freedom. Our way of life has been shaped by barbarism and will forever be threatened by this so called religion.
Nancy McQueen
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really opened my eyes and enlightened me on the dark period of history that is not taught with any depth.
Dec 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
George Santayana
Michael Myers
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interesting read focused on major Islamic battles of Islam with West. It is brief, so the history is abbreviated.
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RAYMOND IBRAHIM is a widely published author, public speaker, and Middle East and Islam expert. His books include Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (2013) and The Al Qaeda Reader (2007). His writings, translations, and observations have appeared in a variety of publications, including Fox News, Financial Times, Jerusalem Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Times Syndicate, ...more
“Due to some widespread and entrenched myths concerning the purported tolerance and enlightenment of al-Andalus, here it is necessary to document the reverse and establish context for the forthcoming centuries of war. For starters, the destruction and spoliation of churches was hardly limited to the initial conquest years (711–715). It was a constant—and deliberate—affair. Once Abd al-Rahman I (d. 788) became emir of Cordoba, all churches still standing “were immediately pulled down,” writes al-Maqqari.” 1 likes
“Even the ancient Visigothic church of Saint Vincent, the main basilica of Cordoba, which the invaders initially vouchsafed to Christians on condition of surrender, was coercively “purchased,” razed to the ground, and its precious materials cannibalized to construct the Great Mosque of Cordoba—on the heads of northern Christian slaves no less.” 1 likes
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