In this highly informative book, Spencer examines the teaching and conduct of the prophet of Islam, as these are preserved in the Qur'an, in the Hadith and in the biographical works of respectable Muslim scholars like Ibn Ishaq, Ibn Sa'd, At Tabari and Bukhari, amonst others.
The author makes it clear that this is not a proper biography but a study that concentrates on those s of the prophet's conduct and teaching that are drawn on today in order to justify violence and oppression. The tone of the writing is factual and measured, refraining from any type of gratuitous disrespect or inflammatory language.
There can be no question that Mohammad was a man of violence. He conquered the Arabian peninsula and after his death his politico-religious empire quickly expanded as far as Spain and India. This followed from his instruction that conquest was the instrument of choice for the conversion of unbelievers.
From the start, the movement was based on war, looting and intolerance. Other religions had their violent periods but they changed. For example, the bloody 16th century of religious war in Europe, the 30 Years' War in particular, is a stain on the history of Christendom. But Christianity moved away from bloodshed towards reason and tolerance.
And as Oriana Fallaci points out in her book The Force Of Reason, the crusades were a reaction against Muslim conquest of formerly Christian areas in the Middle East, Asia Minor, North Africa and especially against Muslim raids and incursions around the Mediteranean and as far as Britain and Iceland.
Unfortunately, the founder's attitudes and behaviour directly inspire the modern Jihad against Non-Muslim countries, in all of its manifestations: from terrorism to attempts to silence free speech in the West. In the final chapter Spencer cites examples of how contemporary Muslim preachers uphold Mohammad's actions as examplary conduct. This is frightening in its implications.
The book concludes with a list of recommendations for governments on how to counter the rising threat. These include finding new energy sources, attaching strict conditions to Western aid, a revision of immigration laws and quite simply, to quit calling the movement a religion of peace, for it is not.
The book includes a detailed chronology and a glossary of Arabic terms to facilitate understading of the narrative. I also recomment the aforementioned book by Oriana Fallaci, The Legacy Of Jihad by Andrew Bostom and Islamic Imperialism: A History by Efraim Karsh.