The Washington Times' Guide to 'Moderate' Islam: CAIR & a Flying Imam

I would have thought I was reading the New York Times. But no, it was the Washington Times, whose Andrea Noble gave a platform to notorious Islamists yesterday, enabling them to masquerade as moderates who condemn Islamic State jihadists for purportedly running afoul of sharia law in their rampage through Iraq and Syria.

Ms. Noble helped the Council on American-Islamic Relations and Omar Shahin along by airbrushing their backgrounds: CAIR is presented to the reader as a mainstream “Muslim organization” opposed to terrorism, with no mention of the fact that it is a Muslim Brotherhood creation conceived to promote Hamas -- one with a long history as an apologist for terrorists (indeed, it has had terrorists in its ranks). Not a word is breathed about Mr. Shahin’s unsavory background: ringleader of the infamous “Flying Imams”; leader of an Islamic Center in Tucson well-known for its al-Qaeda and Hamas sympathies; denial of Muslim terrorist involvement in the 9/11 attacks; and his ties to Islamic “charities” shut down by the government for promoting jihad.

Ms. Noble similarly whitewashes sharia. It would of course be nice if, as she intimates, there were no mainstream interpretation of Islam that supported sex slavery and extortion in the form of jizya -- the tax required of non-Muslims for the privilege of living under the protection of a sharia state. But it is simply a fact that these practices have firm roots in Islamic scripture. While we should applaud the work of authentic Muslim moderates to reform these concepts, it is a disservice to our national security to minimize the threat by pretending that the extremist construction of Islam is utterly false and followed by only a fringe.

It is literal, plausible, and has millions of adherents.

But it is not my purpose to rebut the Washington Times’s happy-face sharia; the estimable Robert Spencer has already done that here (see also here). My focus is the continuing practice by the government and the media -- and not just the left-wing legacy media -- of presenting Islamists as both “moderates” and a reliable source of information about Islam. Islamists promote sharia, which -- as classically interpreted -- is a most immoderate body of law. And they are incorrigibly Janus-faced, peddling “religion of peace” treacle for credulous Westerners while lionizing jihadists when they figure no one but other Islamists are listening.

In 2010, The Grand Jihad -- my book about the Muslim Brotherhood and its sabotage of the West -- was published. As it happens, I included a chapter that dealt specifically with CAIR, Mr. Shahin, and the “Flying Imams” episode.

I reproduce that chapter below, and encourage readers to ask: (a) Isn’t the sharia debate, as Mr. Spencer demonstrates, more complicated than the Washington Times suggests; and (b) shouldn’t the Times either make full disclosure about its sources or, dare I say it, find better ones?