Whether it’s true or not, if you say the “wrong” thing about Islam, you’re guilty—even if you’re merely quoting what Muslims themselves say.
Consider the recent case of Professor Nicholas Damask, chairman of the Department of Political Science at Scottsdale Community College in Arizona. Last month, after one of his students, Muhammad Sabra, shared on social media quiz questions which he felt were in “distaste of Islam,” the professor received a plethora of online death threats to himself and his family and criticism from his college.
Matters eventually turned around in Damask’s favor; his interim chancellor publicly apologized for “the uneven manner in which this was handled and for our lack of full consideration for our professor’s right of academic freedom.”
For those, however, whose core mission revolves around quashing free speech on Islam—notably, “CAIR”—this is unacceptable. Accordingly, on June 3, the Council on American Islamic Relations announced that it was filing a lawsuit against the college. The introductory paragraphs of CAIR’s press release follow:
During a World Politics course at the college with a module on “Islamic Terrorism,” Professor Nicholas Damask repeatedly condemns Islam as a religion that definitively teaches terrorism. The professor also declares that peaceful interpretations of Islam are false: “Contentions that Islam does not promote warfare or violence cannot be supported on either theological or historical grounds.”
The course’s only reading material are articles written by anti-Islam extremists Raymond Ibrahim and Walid Phares.
Right from the start, CAIR lies: it claims that students were required to read an “article” that I wrote; in fact, they were required to read an excerpt from a book written by al-Qaeda in Arabic. I merely translated and included it in The Al Qaeda Reader (Random House, 2007). Moreover, though al-Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri wrote the excerpt in question, most of its words are direct quotes from the Koran, Muhammad, and the consensus of Islamic scholars (or ulema).
And those words—and so many more like them that have been uttered by Muslims over the course of nearly fourteen centuries—make one thing abundantly clear: “kill the idolaters [non-Muslims] wherever you find them,” to quote Koran 9:5; “capture them, besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they should repent, establish prayer, and give zakat, [i.e., if they submit to Islam and become Muslim], let them go their way.”
Indeed, CAIR itself—an unindicted coconspirator of the largest terrorist funding case in U.S. history, which, nonetheless, remains free to go around terrorizing free speech—was party to a telling document presented as court evidence; it stated that Islamic activism “in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers.”
This goal cannot be achieved so long as the true words and teachings of Islam reach the American public. The problem for CAIR, however, is that openly trying to censor the words of Allah (the Koran), the words of his prophet Muhammad (the hadith), and the words of Islam’s most revered ulema—Islam’s three most important sources, whence all the hate originates—raises suspicions, even among the naïve: what about Islam’s most sacred and honored scriptures are Muslims themselves bent on concealing?
Thus they resort to Plan B: blame the messenger. If someone, especially a non-Muslim, merely quotes the (intrinsically problematic) words of Islam, America’s Islamic subversives will either claim that he is intentionally distorting them to defame Islam or that those words are his own—hence CAIR’s recent lie that a treatise written by al-Qaeda is really an “article” written by me.
Here is another egregious example of this tactic. A few weeks before CAIR’s distortions, on April 30, 2020, the Anti-Defamation League (“ADL”)—another free-speech hating group parading as anti-hate advocates—published an article titled “Islamophobes React to Coronavirus Pandemic with Anti-Muslim Bigotry.” It opens by saying, “As the coronavirus continues to spread, American anti-Muslim ideologues are propagating a range of conspiracies aimed at stoking fear.” Then comes this:
Islamophobe Raymond Ibrahim … wrote in an April 1 post that Muslims are “encouraging other Muslims to come into contact with each other” and are “protesting the idea of temporarily closing mosques,” adding that Muslims believe “nothing associated with Islam and especially Islamic worship can get them sick.”…. Raymond Ibrahim in his April 1 FrontPage Mag article, attempt[s] to support … Covid-related anti-Muslim rhetoric by claiming that Muslims adhere to theological doctrines which encourage “irrational aversion for ‘infidels’,” making Muslims more likely to willingly spread the disease to non-Muslims.
Interestingly, while the ADL uses several hyperlinks in its article, it fails to include a link to my constantly referenced and supposedly problematic “April 1” article. The reason is clear: the ADL doesn’t want its readers to consult the actual article itself and thus realize that all of “my” assertions are sourced back and linked to the words of Muslims living in Pakistan, Egypt, Iran, and elsewhere.
The pattern is clear (at least for those with eyes to see and ears to hear with): Muslims say it, and non-Muslims get blamed for repeating it.
Raymond Ibrahim, author of Sword and Scimitar, is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum, and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute.