Karen Armstrong

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Karen Armstrong (born 14 November 1944 in Wildmoor, Worcestershire), who refers to herself as a "freelance monotheist", is the British author of several books/articles on comparative religion. She is also a member of the UN Committee for Religious Affairs, and is well known for her defense of Islam. In November of 2009, she unveiled the "Charter for Compassion" in Washington, DC and online. This "Charter" is a document which urges all people and religions to embrace peace and "to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures."


In a survey of recent scholarship on the life of Muhammad, Tilman Nagel mentions Armstrong's writings as an example of work based on Islamic hagiography:

"They range from gushingly infatuated narratives inspired by the tradition of Islamic hagiography (examples: Karen Armstrong, Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet [New York: HarperCollins, 1992] and Martin Lings, Muhammad: His Life Based on the earliest sources...".
Tilman Nagel, Muhammad's Mission, p. 263[1]

Some of Armstrong's work have been described as "strikingly" anti-Semitic.[2] Her revisionist approach to discussing history has won her the praise of many readers, while earning her criticism from various historians including; Dr. Alfred Andrea,[3] Dr. James Powell,[4] Dr. Thomas Madden,[5] and the Israeli historian Efraim Karsh,[6] head of Mediterranean Studies at King's College London, who comments:

Ms. Armstrong goes out of her way to whitewash Muhammad's extermination of the Jewish presence in Medina, especially the beheading of the entire 600 to 800 male population of the Qurayzah tribe. "The Qurayzah were not killed on religious or racial ground," she claims, adding that "Muhammad had no ideological quarrel with the Jewish people." This is of course a travesty of the truth.[6]

Similar views are espoused by historian Dr. Thomas Madden. Commenting on one of Karen's books, he says:

Poorly researched and written, this book is largely an exercise in modern left-wing rhetoric about sensitivity, tolerance, and the evils of Western civilization. Her “triple vision” is blurred by a misguided approach to Islam and Judaism and outright hostility to Catholicism.[4]

In an interview with Voor Dutch television (Network) on November the 23rd 2005, Karen Armstrong explained while smiling, what she believes is the reason behind the mass-slaughter of innocent Iraqi citizens via suicide-bombings:

because of the so called forgotten dead, 90,000 by allied forces during the attack against Saddam Hussain.

Some of her other claims include that “until the 20th century, anti-Semitism was not part of Islamic culture”, that Muhammad was a “peacemaker” who “respected” Jews and other non-Muslims, and that “until recently, no Muslim thinker had ever claimed violent Jihad was a central tenet of Islam."

Other facts

In the past, the 14th Dalai Lama said that Islam is not violent, any Muslim who commits bloodshed is no longer a genuine practitioner of Islam, and jihad is a spiritual struggle. Frontpage Magazine wrote about him, "he clearly had been reading too much Karen Armstrong".[7]

See Also

External Links


  1. Tilman Nagel, Muhammad's Mission: Religion, Politics and Power at the birth of Islam. Berlin and Boston: de Gruyter, 2020. p. 263
  2. Andrea Levin - Karen Armstrong’s Unscholarly Prejudices - Jerusalem Post, Febuary 2, 2001
  3. Andrea, A. J. - The Crusades in Perspective: The Crusades in Modern Islamic Perspective History Compass, 2003
  4. 4.0 4.1 Dr. James M. Powell - Crusading 1099-1999: Inaugural Lecture, Malta Study Center Lecture Series - Presented at Saint John's University, Collegeville, MN, October 28, 1999
  5. Dr. Thomas Madden - Crusades of History and Politics - Hudson Institute, Spring 2002
  6. 6.0 6.1 Efraim Karsh - The Perfect Surrender - The New York Sun, September 25, 2006
  7. "Two Versions of The Dalai Lama" (archived), https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/271371/two-versions-dalai-lama-hugh-fitzgerald.