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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Great duet by Grace Bawden & Bruce Anderson : 'These Dreams'

Two great voices with a great song --- this is what HIT songs are all about! Grace Bawden and Bruce Anderson make a fantastic job of 'These Dreams' which comes from the new album by Bruce Anderson, Hello World.
The track is available from Amazon and iTunes

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Grace Bawden sings the beautiful song, 'If Only I Had Wings'

     I have been fortunate to count the amazing Grace Bawden as a friend for several years now, and am one of her greatest fans as well. I love her rendition of this beautiful song which I wrote with my song-writing partner, Greg Scheer, and which Grace released on CD in 2008. You can purchase the CD from the online shop of Sheer Joy Music or buy the track as a download from iTunes, CD Baby or Amazon, so why not do it today.
     The photograph below was taken when Grace visited the UK in September 2008 on her way to Italy, and shows her with myself and Manchester singer, Jennifer Douglas, who had released the song here in the UK and taken it to #2 in the NCM Charts.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Samantha Link's current CD: 'Bring Me To Life'

I travelled down to Swansea last Saturday to go to what was a really brilliant charity show at The Grand Theatre. Hosted by Chris Needs MBE from BBC Radio Wales, and with a line up of Samantha Link, Mal Pope, Bruce Anderson, Dame Mandy Starr, Carol Rhys Jones (Tribute to Dorothy Squires), The South Wales Gay Men's Chorus, Mark Llewelyn Evans and his brother Wynne Evans ('Go Compare'), Rebecca Evans, Simon Bowman (Les Miserables) and surprise guest artist Rhydian. I was photographed with the beautiful Samantha Link and Bruce Anderson.

Friday, March 23, 2012

17th Century Nun's Prayer

17th Century Nun's Prayer
Lord, Thou knowest better than I know myself, that I am growing older and will someday be old. Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion. Release me from craving to straighten out everybody's affairs. Make me thoughtful but not moody; helpful but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all, but Thou knowest Lord that I want a few friends at the end.
Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point. Seal my lips on my aches and pains. They are increasing, and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by. I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales of others' pains, but help me to endure them with patience.
I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and less cocksuredness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.
Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to be a Saint - some of them are so hard to live with - but a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil. Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places, and talents in unexpected people. And, give me, O Lord, the grace to tell them so.

Children being denied the truth about Islamic Infiltration

Act for America have just released “Education or Indoctrination? The Treatment of Islam in 6th through 12th Grade American Textbooks.”
     ACT! for America Education Executive Director Guy Rodgers and I began discussing this project nearly four years ago. Today, that project is a reality—and I believe that one year from now you and I will look back on this as a truly historic accomplishment that helped change the course of education in America.
     This report shines a bright light on a pattern of errors, omissions and bias in the textbooks reviewed. Our children deserve better. Our children deserve facts and accuracy, not historical revisionism.
      To give you just one example of the errors our research uncovered, in discussing the 9/11 attacks, the textbooks typically fail to mention the perpetrators were Muslims or that they acted in the cause of Islamic jihad. In one book the terrorists are portrayed as people fighting for a cause. In just a few years after September 11th, the history of what happened on that tragic day was rewritten in our school textbooks. Omitting this vital information, that jihad was the motivation for the attacks, makes it difficult, if not impossible, for today’s young teens, who don’t remember 9/11, to really understand what happened that day—and why.
     Please forward this email to anyone and everyone you know. Help us get the word out far and wide! Over the next few months we hope to wake up America to what this report has uncovered!
     To access the report log on to Once there you will find the following:

  • The Executive Summary of the Report, which was mailed to
           over 70,000 state and local school board members nationwide;
  • The full Report;

  • Sub-reports, sorted by each textbook publisher;

  • A plan for taking action.
     The few have always made a difference in this crazy, dangerous but wonderful world we live in. This is our time, those of us who “get it” and are concerned about the direction of our future, to come together and work together to make a difference for our country and our future generation. 


Christian Broadcasting Council Symposium at House of Lords

A CBC Symposium heard that British Muslim women were already suffering under Sharia. Rape victims were being denied justice, divorcees were losing custody of their children, and women were being disinherited. Sharia could open the door to child marriage and was already permitting polygamy.  Audio, pictures available

A House of Lords symposium heard clear warnings that Sharia law - strict Islamic law - must never be allowed to become a parallel legal system in the UK. If it did, there could be a right-wing backlash.

'There are now more than 80, perhaps 85 Sharia courts operating in the UK,' Baroness Cox told the Christian Broadcasting Council Symposium.

'Polygamy is already happening,' she said. 'It means Britain has two parallel legal systems, one which does not permit bigamy and the other which does.’

Sharing the platform at the CBC Symposium was Bishop Michael Nazir-Al. Together they warned of the threat to rape victims if Sharia law were to be allowed in the UK.

'Under Sharia Law if a woman wants to bring a charge of alleged rape she is obliged to provide four independent Muslim witnesses,' said Lady Cox.

'Failure to do so might result in the rape victim being accused of fornication and adultery,' added Bishop Michael.

He warned that Sharia law could be used to justify child marriage. ‘You will have child marriage, because as soon as a girl begins her periods, she is eligible to be married. How will you maintain a minimum age for marriage?

'Sharia is an all-encompassing law that affects every area of a Muslim's life and a Muslim's community,' said Pakistan-born Bishop Michael, who has received death threats for opposing Islamic militants.

'Some put forward family law as the acceptable face of Sharia, but that militates against justice and freedom for women and young children.’

Lady Cox said Sharia law treated women as second class citizens. 'A woman's evidence is counted as half the value of a man's.’ As an example of discrimination against women she cited a widow in her 50s who wanted to remarry. ‘She was required by an Imam to first obtain permission from her only male relative - a 7-yr-old grandson living in Jordan.’

Another concern is that so-called honour attacks could be given legitimation. 'I've spoken to many women who have been so badly abused in domestic violence they have been hospitalised,' said Lady Cox. 'But they have been pressured not to prosecute because it would bring shame on their community.

'There are people on the run living in terror in our nation today. We have to do something about it.'

Baroness Cox has drafted a Private Member's Bill that would outlaw Sharia court judgments that undermine the legal rights of women and others under British law. She intends to launch her Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill in the next session in parliament.

'I could not sit on the red benches and just keep silent about what was going on with the introduction of a parallel legal system. The time has come to draw a line in the sand,' she said.

And she warned that unless action was taken, support was likely to grow for far-right extremists in British politics. ‘My fear is that people will end up voting for the BNP,’ she said. ‘There is a real risk of polarisation in this country.’

While pressure is growing to introduce Sharia law in the UK, many Muslim countries had already amended Sharia law, said Bishop Michael, 'to take account of the injustices that occur.'

But the Bishop warned that radicalisation was spreading in many parts of the Muslim world. Along with that came pressure to introduce more extreme versions of Islamic law, including death for apostasy and blasphemy, floggings and amputations.

'If you had said to me in the mid 70s that such punishments would be meted out in Iran, and then in Pakistan I would not have believed it. Today, rights are being reversed in Iran, Pakistan and Sudan and I wonder how soon could this happen in Egypt?'

Bishop Michael feared the Arab Spring was more likely to encourage radical Islamist states, like Iran, than genuine democracy. 'The western press has been misled about the so-called Arab Spring,' he said. 'It is Islamist led. Tahrir Square in Cairo reminded me of Teheran in 1979 when a broad-based coalition wanted to remove the Shah. As soon as he was ousted, the Mullahs got rid of their allies.

'Democracy is never enough. What must happen in Egypt and other countries is the recognition of equality before the law if the Christian population is to be safeguarded. There must be a commitment to a common citizenship - one law for all.'

And he said that pressure to bring Sharia law into the UK must be resisted. 'It would be a mistake to recognise Sharia law here because its very principles contradict the Judeo-Christian principles of public law in this country.’

CBC represents Christians in the media and is a seasoned campaigner for Christian broadcasting, championing legal rights and religious freedoms. CBC members have been involved since the late 1980s in submitting responses to government and broadcasting regulators concerning broadcasting and communications regulation.

Through its annual Awards, the Christian Broadcasting Council encourages excellence in religious broadcasting.  

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Great FREE Christian Magazine: The latest issue of 'The Voice Christian News & Views' is available

Joanne Lowe's Meditations: 'Our Light in the Night'


“He spread a cloud for a covering; and fire to give light in the night.”
 Psalm 105:39 (King James Version)
    Philip P. Bliss wrote one of my favorite hymns “The Light of the World Is Jesus”.  “No darkness have we Who in Jesus abide; The Light of the world is Jesus!  We walk in the Light when we follow our Guide!  The Light of the world is Jesus!”  Thank God for our Light in the night.
     Not only is Jesus the Light of the world and the Light of our heart, He is also our Light in the night.  When the night seems endless and we can’t sleep because we have lost a loved one and the pain seems too much to bear, Jesus is there and He tenderly wipes the tears from our eyes with kisses of love.
     No one loves us like Jesus loves us.  I have lost track of the times that Jesus has healed my broken heart and set me on the mountain top of happiness when I couldn’t give another smile or take another step and felt like I was going under for the last time.
     No matter how many trials and crises and heartaches you have in your life, remember Jesus loves you so much that He died for you.  He really cares about you.  If you are hurting, run into the arms of Jesus and allow Him to comfort and encourage you as only He can.  He will dry your tears with tender kisses.
     Heavenly Father, You are a tender, forgiving, compassionate and loving Father.  Thank You for loving us so much You sent Jesus to die for our sins and to be our Light in the night.  I love You so much, dear Father.  You are so precious to my heart.  Thank You for loving me.  Amen.
Joanne Lowe
March 22, 2012

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

'Benediction'; A beautiful hymn recorded in Russian

'Benediction' is one of the fifteen tracks on the CD 'Beautiful Sound', recorded in St Petersburg by the Russian choral ensemble, LYRA
The lyrics are by Colin Gordon-Farleigh and the music is composed by Greg Scheer, Andrew Millinchip, Ken Fayle, Linda M Price and Richard Williams. The CD is available to download from all the main digital download sites such as iTunes, CD Baby and Amazon.

Joanne Lowe's Meditations: 'Your Last Day to Live'

“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
Ephesians 4:31,32 (King James Version)
     I wonder how we would react and what we would do if God said to us “This is your last day to live”.  I don’t know about you but the first thing I would do is to be sure that my heart is right with God.  Then, I would do my best to contact every person I have ever hurt and tell them that I am sorry.
     When we ask God to forgive us for hurting others, He forgives us and He never holds it against us again.  However, the harsh and cruel words we have said to people can never be taken back.  We might as well have taken a gun and shot them in the heart or taken a knife and stabbed them in the heart. 
     It is so important that we are kind to people.  A lady had been asked to speak at her friend’s funeral.  She gave a wonderful heart touching eulogy at the funeral “My friend never said an unkind word to anyone.  She always looked for something good in everybody and tried to encourage the person”.
     When I read the wonderful tribute that the lady gave her friend, I was ashamed of myself and my heart broke because nobody could say that about me at my funeral.  Before I was saved, I hated everyone and I didn’t trust anybody.  I said a lot of cruel and unkind words to the people who had hurt me.
     What would you do if God said this is your last day to live?  Would you tell the ones you hurt that you are sorry that you had hurt them or would you spend the day watching television?
Joanne Lowe
March 19, 2012

Sunday, March 18, 2012

'Man gives birth.' What a load of rubbish!!!

     The media recently carried a story which claimed that a man had become pregnant and given birth, and subsequently another story appeared, much lower profile, that 'he' had split from 'his' partner soon afterwards because of the stress that the publicity had caused. 
     If it was true then it would certainly be sensational, but of course it is completely untrue. Any sensible person knows that the physical make-up of a male makes it impossible for them to conceive because, amongst other rather important things, a man does not have a womb, and so even if a fertilised egg was used, there would be nowhere to place it and let it grow.
     No, the truth of this story is that a woman who had had her appearance altered to look like a man as part of a trans-gender sex-change, gave birth, having retained her female genitalia, ovaries and womb. 
     Not a miracle at all then, really? No, just a bit of newspaper hype to tickle the appetites of some sensation-seekers.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Picture that is worth a 1000 words!

Happy St Patrick's Day!

I would like to wish all of my Irish readers a Happy St Patrick's Day. I hope that you have a great time celebrating!

Joanne Lowe's Meditations: 'He Will Comfort Us'

“Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul.  I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.  I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.”
 Psalm 69:1-3 (King James Version)
     Have you ever felt like the pain, the heartache and the sorrow you were feeling would never end?  Joyce Landorf Heatherley, a Christian speaker and author, said on one of her teaching tapes “I was in an airport and a lady came up to me and said “I don’t see any end to this tunnel.  I don’t think there is an end”.
     No matter how many crises and dark valleys we have in our life, God will be faithful to comfort and encourage us.  One of my pastors said one time in a sermon “Many times I experience first hand what I preach”.  This happened to me yesterday.  Someone called me and said things to me that really hurt me.
     This devotion is about God comforting us when we are hurting and I had to cry out to Him to comfort me after I received that telephone call.  If your heart is breaking, allow God to comfort you and dry your tears with His tender kisses.  He really loves you and He cares about you.
     Heavenly Father, some of us are lonely and grieving and have broken hearts and we are hurting.  We need You to please comfort us and dry the tears from our heart and eyes.  Thank You for being a compassionate loving Father.  You are a Father that we can depend on to love us and care about us.  Amen.
Joanne Lowe
March 17, 2012

Government determined to redefine marriage


Dear marriage supporter,
The Government yesterday launched its consultation on redefining marriage. Equalities minister Lynne Featherstone said she was determined to change marriage whether the public likes it or not.
We would like you to contact your MP about this undemocratic and high-handed move by the Government. There are details about how to do this below.

They're trying to silence you

Not only are they seeking to change the meaning of "marriage", now they're trying to change the meaning of "consultation". They should listen to the public before making a decision, not the other way around.
Whatever they say in public, we know the Government has been rocked by the size of the opposition to their plans. The strategy to introduce gay marriage in a low key way is now in tatters. Government ministers now want to discourage people from voicing their opposition. They want to dishearten supporters of marriage like you with a 'resistance is futile' message.

Don't let them

We know that your commitment and affection for marriage is stronger than that. We know that you care deeply about future generations and want them to enjoy the benefits of marriage that past generations have enjoyed. We know you are passionately positive about marriage because of the common good of society.
In due course we will advise you on how you can engage with the consultation - because whatever the government says in public about its intention to ignore you, privately they're very concerned about tens of thousands of the British public responding to the consultation and saying "don't redefine marriage".
We will help you to do that when the time comes. And we will also be taking other initiatives to make sure the Government doesn't ignore the public's voice.

Email your MP today

As a first step, please email your MP, and tell your MP it is undemocratic for the Government to say it will redefine marriage over the heads of the people.
Please remember to be polite and brief. Many MPs on both sides of this issue will agree that the Government's actions are undemocratic.
The following may help you:
· Redefining marriage wasn't a manifesto pledge of the Tories, the Lib Dems or Labour. There is no mandate for change; nobody voted for this.
· A real consultation means listening to the people before making a decision. Why is the public being ignored like this?
· If your MP's position on this issue would affect your vote at the next election, say so.
· The public don't want this: 70% want to keep marriage as it is, and over 230,000 (including you) have signed the national petition for marriage.
· Marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Politicians should not play politics with marriage.
Please email your MP today, or as soon as possible. Don't let the Government discourage you or silence you. Show them that your affection for marriage is greater than they realise.
Yours sincerely,
Colin Hart
Colin Hart
Campaign Director
Coalition for Marriage

Friday, March 16, 2012

Joanne Lowe's Meditations: 'The Greatest Gift Ever Given'

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
John 3:16 (King James Version)
     We have received a lot of great gifts from our families and friends but the greatest gift of all, Jesus, has been given to us by our Heavenly Father.  Jesus wasn’t wrapped in beautiful gift paper and decorated with a bow. He was born in a manger because there was no room for His family when He was born.
     John W. Peterson wrote the song “No Room”.  “No room, only a manger of hay.  No room, he is a stranger today.  No room, here in His world turned away.  No room, no room.”  There was no room for Jesus when He was born and even today there are people who haven’t made room for Him in their heart and life.
     Yes, Jesus is the greatest gift that has ever been given to us and He was given to us by our Heavenly Father whose heart is full of compassion and who loves us unconditionally.  What a precious Father we have!  You may believe in Jesus but have you made room for Him in your heart and life?
     Heavenly Father, You have given us many things but Jesus is the greatest gift of all.  Thank You caring about us and for loving us so much.  I pray that we will always make room for Jesus in everything we do and everywhere we go.  May Your beloved Son be the top priority in our heart and life.  Amen.
Joanne Lowe
March 16, 2012

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Brindley Theatre in Runcorn : The stars will be out for 'A Musical Journey'

'A Musical Journey', is at The Brindley Theatre in Runcorn, UK, on April 11th, and is being promoted by Sheer Joy Music. Many of the singers will perform songs written by song-writing duo Colin Gordon-Farleigh and Greg Scheer who are responsible for hit songs such as If Only I Had Wings, Forever Friend and When I’m With You.
# 1 selling Christian artist, Chris Mercer and Runcorn’s ‘Mr Music’, Alan Watson, who will be joined by Gary Cordice, who has appeared in many of the leading West-end Musicals, the hit songstress Milli Alaira, Christian singer Christy Topping and last, but by no means least, the great little Country singer Sammie-Jo, who will be performing her debut single We All Need Our Heroes, which is being released that night in order to raise funds for the Help for Heroes Fund.
It promises to be a great evening.
Tickets, priced at just £8.50, can be obtained online from The Brindley at

Blessed are the meek . . . Matthew 5:5

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

CAIR's real agenda exposed.

Former Hamas-linked CAIR official running for president in Egypt, pledges to "complete the implementation of Islamic law in Egypt"

What he says is not so surprising. Who he is is what is noteworthy here. "Egyptian Presidential Candidate Bassem Khafaji Pledges to 'Complete the Implementation of Islamic Law in Egypt,'" from MEMRI TV, March 7 (thanks to Benedict):

Following are excerpts from Egyptian presidential candidate
Bassem Khafaji, which aired on Al-Nas TV on March 7, 2012:

Bassem Khafaji: Let me tell you, in all honesty, that as a Muslim
Egyptian, I am convinced of [the need to] complete the
implementation of Islamic law in Egypt. I do not hide this truth
 in any way, because it is in keeping with the inclination of the
Egyptian people.

We Egyptians – both Muslims and non-Muslims – refer to the
shari'a in many things. I often ask people: How did you get
married? Wasn't it according to the shari'a, regardless of whether
you are Muslim or not? Weren't you married in accordance with
your religion? When somebody in our family dies, how we inherit
him? Not in accordance with the shari'a?

No [candidate] should say that he is coming to implement the
shari'a, because part of it has already been implemented. What
 the Egyptian people want is to complete this implementation.
As president, I will personally assist in the completion of the
correct implementation of the shari'a, by consulting the experts
[in Islamic law].

Jihad Watch reader Benedict, who kindly alerted me to the above item, also points out that Bassem Khafaji, or Khafagi, used to work in the U.S. for Hamas-linked CAIR:

The former community affairs director for the Council on
American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Bassem Khafagi was
arrested in January 2003 on suspicion of aiding terrorists.
Khafagi is also the founder of the Islamic Assembly of North
America (IANA), a radical, Ann Arbor, Michigan-based
 organization. He pled guilty in a Detroit federal court to
two counts of bank fraud and one count of visa fraud.

Hamas-linked CAIR constantly insists that Muslims in the U.S. don't want to implement Sharia here. So did Khafagi change his mind about Sharia when he went back to Egypt? Or does he think Sharia should be implemented in Egypt but not here? Or maybe he and others in Hamas-linked CAIR really do want to bring Sharia here? I confidently await the imminent explanation from Honest Ibe Hooper, clearing all this up! 

More Funny Church Signs! - 2

More Funny Church Signs! from inspiredfaith on GodTube.
These always make me laugh --- I hope they do the same for you!

About Don Yarber's latest book, 'The Sign Killer'

In  "The Sign Killer":
Four boys are out having some fun, shooting at deer crossing signs.  Down the country highway, a man is hit in the head with a shot from a rifle.  He dies immediately.
The little town of Green Village Tennessee experiences a Hodge-podge of events with more twists than the law allows.
The banker wants to be governor.
The sheriff wants to retire.
The lawyer wants the victim's widow.
The game warden wants to keep his job.
The boys want some one else to take the fall.
The killer wants a free pass.
Fast moving, cleverly constructed, this mystery will keep you turning pages in the manner Don Yarber's readers are accustomed to in his first 3 books, Bodies and Beaches, Corpses and Canyons, and Death and Deep Waters.  Yarber is currently writing Evil and Everglades, the 4th in the Kip Yardley, PI, series.

Joanne Lowe's Meditations: 'Pray For Not Against'

“But do thou for me, O GOD the Lord, for thy name’s sake: because thy mercy is good, deliver thou me.  For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me.”
Psalm 109:21,22 (King James Version)
     If you will read this chapter, you will see that David prays against the wicked that hurt him, not for them.  I have been guilty of doing the same thing in the past.   When someone hurt me instead of praying that the person would give his heart to Jesus, I prayed that God would punish the person.
     We need to remember that God loves every one of us equally and that Jesus died for all of us.  God does not play favourites and Jesus didn’t die just for you and for me.  God’s heart is full of compassion and unconditional love for every person in the world.  He doesn’t want any of us to perish.
     We read in the Bible “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).  We need to pray for the people who hurt us not against them.
     Heavenly Father, please forgive us for praying against the ones who hurt us instead of praying for them.  Thank You for being a loving forgiving Father who forgives us when we hurt You.  Help us to forgive others when they hurt us just as You forgive us.  I love You, dear Father.  Amen. 
Joanne Lowe

Life with our computers!


Footprints in the Sand

Muslim Conquests --- the TRUE story.

The Historical Reality of the Muslim Conquests
by Raymond Ibrahim 
March 1, 2012 
     Because it is now almost axiomatic for American school textbooks to whitewash all things Islamic (see here for example), it may be instructive to examine one of those aspects that are regularly distorted: the Muslim conquests. 
     Few events of history are so well documented and attested to as are these conquests, which commenced soon after the death of the Muslim prophet Muhammad (632) and tapered off circa 750. Large swathes of the Old World—from the India in the east, to Spain in the west—were conquered and consolidated by the sword of Islam during this time, with more after (e.g., the Ottoman conquests). 
     By the standards of history, the reality of these conquests is unassailable, for history proper concerns itself with primary sources; and the Islamic conquests are thoroughly documented. More importantly, the overwhelming majority of primary source materials we rely on do not come from non-Muslims, who might be accused of bias. Rather, the foremost historians bequeathing to posterity thousands of pages of source materials documenting the Islamic conquests were not only Muslims themselves; they were—and still are—regarded by today's Muslims as pious and trustworthy scholars (generically, the ulema).
     Among the most authoritative books devoted to recounting the conquests are: Ibn Ishaq's (d. 767) Sira ("Life of Muhammad"), the oldest biography of Muhammad; Waqidi's (d. circa. 820) Maghazi ("Military Campaigns [of the Prophet]"); Baladhuri's (d. 892) Futuh al-Buldan ("Conquests of the Nations"); and Tabari's (d.923) multi-volume Tarikh al-Rusul wa al-Muluk, ("History of Prophets and Kings"), which is 40 volumes in the English translation. 
     Taken together, these accounts (which are primarily based on older accounts—oral and written—tracing back to Muhammad and his successors) provide what was once, and in the Muslim world still is, a famous story: that Allah had perfected religion (Islam) for all humanity; that he commanded his final prophet (Muhammad) and community (Muslims) to spread Islam to the world; and that the latter was/is to accept it either willingly or unwillingly (jihad). 
     It should be noted that contemporary non-Muslim accounts further validate the facts of the conquests. The writings of the Christian bishop of Jerusalem Sophronius (d.638), for instance, or the chronicles of the Byzantine historian Theophanes (d.758), to name a couple, make clear that Muslims conquered much of what is today called the "Muslim world." 
     According to the Muslim historical tradition, the majority of non-Muslim peoples of the Old World, not desiring to submit to Islam or its laws (Sharia), fought back, though most were eventually defeated and subsumed.
     The first major conquest, renowned for its brutality, occurred in Arabia itself, immediately after Muhammad's death in 632. Many tribes which had only nominally accepted Islam's authority, upon Muhammad's death, figured they could break away; however, Muhammad's successor and first caliph, or successor, Abu Bakr, would have none of that, and proclaimed a jihad against these apostates, known in Arabic as the "Ridda Wars" (or Apostasy Wars). According to the aforementioned historians, tens of thousands of Arabs were put to the sword until their tribes re-submitted to Islam. 
     The Ridda Wars ended around 634. To keep the Arab Muslims from quarrelling, the next caliph, Omar, launched the Muslim conquests: Syria was conquered around 636, Egypt 641, Mesopotamia and the Persian Empire, 650. By the early 8th century, all of north Africa and Spain to the west, and the lands of central Asia and India to the east, were also brought under Islamic suzerainty. 
     The colourful accounts contained in the Muslim tradition are typified by constant warfare, which normally goes as follows: Muslims go to a new region and offer the inhabitants three choices: 1) submit (i.e., convert) to Islam; 2) live as second-class citizens, or "dhimmis," paying special taxes and accepting several social debilitations; 3) fight to the death.
     Centuries later, and partially due to trade, Islam came to be accepted by a few periphery peoples, mostly polytheists and animists, who followed no major religion (e.g., in Indonesia, Somalia), and who currently form the outer fringes of the Islamic world. 
     Ironically, these exceptions are now portrayed as the rule in America's classrooms: many textbooks suggest or at least imply that most people who converted to Islam did so under no duress, but rather through peaceful contacts with merchants and traders; that they eagerly opted to convert to Islam for the religion's intrinsic appeal, without noting the many debilitations conquered non-Muslims avoided—extra taxes, second-rate social status, enforced humiliation, etc.—by converting to Islam. In fact, in the first century, and due to these debilitations, many conquered peoples sought to convert to Islam only to be rebuffed by the caliphate, which preferred to keep them as subdued—and heavily taxed—subjects, not as Muslim equals. 
     Meanwhile, as U.S. textbooks equivocate about the Muslim conquests, in the schoolrooms of the Muslim world, the conquests are not only taught as a matter of course, but are glorified: their rapidity and decisiveness are regularly portrayed as evidence that Allah was in fact on the side of the Muslims (and will be again, so long as Muslims uphold their communal duty of waging jihad). 
     The dissimulation of how Islam was spread in the early centuries contained in Western textbook's mirrors the way the word jihad, once inextricable to the conquests, has also been recast. Whereas the word jihad has throughout the centuries simply meant armed warfare on behalf of Islam, in recent years, American students have been taught the Sufi interpretation of jihad—Sufis make up perhaps one percent of the Islamic world and are often seen as heretics with aberrant interpretations—which portrays jihad as a "spiritual-struggle" against one's vices.
     Contrast this definition of jihad with that of an early edition of the venerable Encyclopaedia of Islam. Its opening sentence simply states, "The spread of Islam by arms is a religious duty upon Muslims in general.… Jihad must continue to be done until the whole world is under the rule of Islam.… Islam must completely be made over before the doctrine of jihad [warfare to spread Islam] can be eliminated." Muslim legal manuals written in Arabic are even more explicit. 
     Likewise, the Islamic conquests narrated in the Muslim histories often mirror the doctrinal obligations laid out in Islam's theological texts—the Koran and Hadith. Muslim historians often justify the actions of the early Islamic invaders by juxtaposing the jihad injunctions found in Islamic scriptures. 
     It should also be noted that, to Muslims, the Islamic conquests are seen as acts of altruism: they are referred to as futuh, which literally means "openings"—that is, the countries conquered were "opened" for the light of Islam to enter and guide its infidel inhabitants. Thus to Muslims, there is nothing to regret or apologize for concerning the conquests; they are seen as for the good of those who were conquered (i.e., the ancestors of today's Muslims).
     In closing, the fact of the Muslim conquests, by all standards of history, is indisputable. Accordingly, just as less than impressive aspects of Western and Christian history, such as the Inquisition or conquest of the Americas, are regularly taught in U.S. textbooks, so too should the Muslim conquests be taught, without apology or fear of being politically incorrect. This is especially so because it concerns history—which has a way of repeating itself when ignored, or worse, whitewashed. 
     Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum