A few years ago, I suggested that an Islamic Reformation might be the best way to end the War On Terror, because for the terrorists, it would take the wind out of the sails of their ideology. You can see what I wrote at http://xenohistorian.faithweb.com/holybook/articles/reform.html . Well, the books mentioned in the article below look like the books that could do it. They ask the kind of questions about Islam that liberal theologians have been asking about Christianity for the past two hundred years.
Back in the 1980s I read “Agent of Byzantium,” an alternate history by Harry Turtledove. The story was set in the early 1300s, and the protagonist, Basil Argyros, is a secret agent for the Byzantine Empire. Unlike the real world, in this story the Byzantine Empire was still going strong in the fourteenth century — and so was its main enemy, Zoroastrian Persia. The difference was that in that world, Mohammed did not found Islam, but instead became St. Moamet, the greatest missionary since St. Paul. St. Moamet ended his days in Spain, where he wrote many songs, the most popular of which was “There Is No God But God, and Christ Is His Son.”
Now the books Daniel Pipes talks about in the above article ask if Islam got started that way — as a Christian sect. In the Middle Ages, Christian theologians did not see Islam as a new religion, but as a heresy, a bogus form of Christianity. What if they were right? And who was the “historical Mohammed?” Is the historical account of him, as I put forth in Chapter 9 of my Middle Eastern history, accurate? Did Mohammed perform any miracles, as the Hadiths (traditions) assert? Or did Mohammed even exist at all? Let’s see if such questions get Moslems thinking about their real place in the world.