The Western intelligentsia is very, very anxious to make sure that you have a positive view of Islam. Thus we see a steady stream of articles in the mainstream media assuring you that the Qur’an is benign, the U.S. Constitution is Sharia-compliant, and the Islamic State is not Islamic. These articles come in a steady stream, and they have to, because they are asking non-Muslims to disregard what they see every day — Muslims committing violence against non-Muslims and justifying it by referring to Islamic texts — and instead embrace a fictional construct: Islam the religion of peace and tolerance.
This takes a relentless barrage of propaganda, because with every new jihad atrocity, reality threatens to break through. It wasn’t accidental that Hitler’s Reich had an entire Ministry of Propaganda: lying to the public is a full-time job, as the cleverest of propaganda constructs is always threatened by the simple facts. This propaganda not just from the Left (the Huffington Post, Salon, etc.), but also from the Right, or at least the Right-leaning media (Forbes); it seems as if whatever divides Americans politically, they’re all united on one point: Islam is just great, and only bigoted, racist “Islamophobes” think otherwise.
Yet the pains that must be taken to establish this betray the futility of the enterprise. A sampling: establishment academic Juan Cole, a Board member of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), which has been established in court as a front group lobbying for the Islamic regime in Iran, pointed out last Tuesday in The Nation that Rudy Giuliani and Paul Wolfowitz had taken issue with Barack Obama over whether Islamic terrorism was really Islamic, and asserted that this question was “actually about what philosophers call ‘essentialism,’ and, as Giuliani’s and Wolfowitz’s own interventions make clear, it is about absolving the United States for its own role in producing the violent so-called ‘Caliphate’ of Ibrahim al-Baghdadi.”
Oh, really? Yet I readily agree with Cole that Bush’s removal of Saddam Hussein and naive trust that a stable Western-style republic would take its place was ill-considered, as I argued back in March 2003. And the Islamic State filled the vacuum thus created. But this is an entirely separate question from that of whether the Islamic State has anything to do with Islam or not. Whatever Paul Wolfowitz or Rudy Giuliani said or did is simply irrelevant to the question Cole claims to be investigating: if Giuliani and Wolfowitz are right that Islamic jihadis have something to do with Islam, that does nothing whatsoever to absolve the U.S. “for its own role in producing the violent so-called ‘Caliphate’ of Ibrahim al-Baghdadi.”
As for “essentialism,” Cole added:
“Essentialism when applied to human groups is always an error and always a form of bigotry. Zionists bombed the King David Hotel in British Mandate Palestine in 1948, killing dozens of civilians and some British intelligence officials. If a British official had responded then by arguing that ‘everyone knows that Judaism has something to do with what we’re fighting,’ it would be fairly clear what that official thought about Jews in general.”
“Essentialism when applied to human groups” may be “always an error and always a form of bigotry,” but when applied to belief systems it is not. Cole is, perhaps deliberately, conflating Islam and Muslims, and claiming that to speak of what Islam is and is not, which is established by reference to Islamic texts and teachings, is to make a bigoted judgment against all Muslims. Islam in all its forms teaches certain things. Its teachings are knowable. To speak about Muslims acting upon them, when they themselves explain and justify their actions by referring to those actions, is not bigotry, despite the endless charges to the contrary from leftists and Islamic supremacists. It is simply to notice reality.
Cole then embarks upon a labored argument to establish that the Salafi jihadis are a “sect” and a “destructive cult,” charging anyone who disagrees with him with the cardinal sin of “Orientalism,” claiming that “it is now typically forgotten that in the early twentieth century the Ku Klux Klan was a Protestant religious organization or that it came to power in the state of Indiana in the 1920s and comprised 30 percent of native-born white men there. It was a large social movement, with elements of the destructive cult, in the heart of North America. More recent groups such as Jim Jones’s People’s Temple and David Koresh’s Branch Davidians may have begun as high-tension sects, but at a certain point they became destructive cults. The refusal to see ISIL in these terms is just a form of Orientalism, a way of othering the Middle East and marking its culture as inherently threatening.”
Cole here ignores, of course, the fact that the KKK, the People’s Temple and the Branch Davidians represented obvious deviations from Protestant Christianity, and were condemned as such. The Islamic State and jihadists have likewise been condemned by Muslim authorities, but these condemnations have all too often rung hollow: Tahir ul-Qadri’s vaunted 300-page fatwa against terrorism doesn’t even mention the passages of the Qur’an that exhort believers to violence against unbelievers; and the recent “Letter to Baghdadi” from Muslim scholars to the self-styled caliph of the Islamic State endorsed central concepts of jihad doctrine that Western analysts usually think are limited only to “extremists.” Cole likewise ignores the fact that all the traditional schools of Islamic jurisprudence (madhahib) teach that the umma has the responsibility to wage war against and subjugate unbelievers. It is not “othering the Middle East” to point this out — it is simply noting the severe limitations of Cole’s analogy.
Ultimately Cole’s argument rests on “essentialism” — that is, the idea that anything really is anything, as opposed to anything else. That this is nonsense, and that Cole knows it’s nonsense, is shown by this very article: Cole assumes that he and his readers both know what the KKK is and the People’s Temple and the Branch Davidians are, but Islam? — a mystery, and you’re a bigoted Orientalist Islamophobe if you think otherwise. In any case, even if one grants that Islam has no essence, nonetheless the Islamic State jihadis claim to be acting in accord with Islam, and make their case based upon an interpretation of the Qur’an and Sunnah that is well established in Islamic history and theology. The fact that other Muslims have a different understanding of Islam doesn’t negate this.
Even worse, Cole claims that the Islamic State “is put under the sign of religion, but it is in fact a form of nationalism appealing to medieval religious symbols.”
To claim that the Islamic State is a form of nationalism leads inevitably to the question: which nation? And that’s where Cole’s analysis is most absurd: the Islamic State is not nationalistic in any sense. It is neither Iraqi nor Syrian, for it has erased the border between the two. It is, in fact, the most internationalist of movements, with over 20,000 Muslims from all over the world traveling to Iraq and Syria to join it. The only nation that the Islamic State could conceivably be said to be fighting for is the international Muslim nation, the worldwide umma — but Cole can’t acknowledge that, as it would be granting the point he is trying clumsily to rule out.
Even clumsier, however, was Cole’s counterpart on the (relative) Right, Loren Thompson of Forbes. Thompson began his case that the Islamic State is not Islamic by noting that “when you do the math, it appears that the ‘addressable market’ for ISIS ideas is 5% of the global Muslim community, and as of today most of that market isn’t buying.” Yes, and the Bolsheviks were never a majority in Russia, and the National Socialists never won an absolute majority in a German election. But where is the Muslim pushback against this organized, energized vanguard? We have recently seen hundreds of thousands of Muslims demonstrate against cartoons of Muhammad; there have not been any Muslim demonstrations, however, against the Islamic State — much less efforts to teach against its understanding of Islam in Muslim communities.
Thompson’s case went downhill from there. His second point against the Islamic character of the Islamic State was that “non-Muslims have committed similar atrocities.” But of course, the fact that there is “nothing uniquely Islamic” about what the Islamic State does in no way establishes that its behavior isn’t sanctioned and justified by Islamic texts and teachings.
Still digging, Thompson added that
“for many ISIS members, Islam is a pretext. ISIS isn’t the first militant organization that has attracted young men to its cause by claiming to represent a higher calling. Hitler’s early appeal to alienated young males in the beer halls of Munich — the notion of a thousand-year Reich, the need for lebensraum, the scapegoating of Jews, the rejection of cosmopolitan values – was similar to the appeals that ISIS issues today. It appears that every culture produces large numbers of young males who can be mobilized in the pursuit of millenarian philosophies, not because of the specific content of the vision, but because young men yearn for power and status and resources (not to mention mates).”
To follow this logic, one would have to hold that Nazi Germany wasn’t Nazi because some of its followers were disaffected young males who had been mobilized in pursuit of millenarian philosophies. In other words, Forbes, like The Nation, is so intent on establishing that the Islamic State isn’t Islamic that it is straying into absurdity.
Thompson agreed with Cole that the debate over whether the Islamic State is Islamic is “highly partisan,” but this also is inaccurate: most establishment Republicans follow the Obama line that the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam, which, after all, is just a variation on the Bush line that the Islamic jihadists had twisted and hijacked the Religion of Peace. This is unquestioned dogma in Washington, enforced by iron fist. There are a few blades of grass poking through the concrete here and there: the truth will inevitably defeat all attempts to stifle it. However, expect the media cement mixers to churn out a great deal more cement before the truth finally prevails outright against all this disinformation.
Here is the dialogue we had:*
OBAMA: Most recently, with the brutal murders in Chapel Hill of three young Muslim Americans, many Muslim Americans are worried and afraid.
SPENCER: You’ve apparently decided that the murder of three Muslims in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on Tuesday was a hate crime. What is the evidence that it was an anti-Muslim hate crime? Well, the victims were Muslims, and the murderer was non-Muslim. And the father of two of the victims says he expressed opinions that he never told to his wife or put on his Facebook page, and that his wife says he did not hold — but which you and the Islamic supremacist establishment would have us believe he held so strongly that he ultimately killed for them. And his Facebook page does reflect that he was an atheist who hated all religions, especially Christianity. That’s it. That’s enough nowadays, plus the fact that you want this to be considered a hate crime, so as to further your case that Muslims are being victimized, which preoccupies you far more than non-Muslims who are being victimized by Muslims. I notice that you’ve said nothing about non-Muslims being worried and afraid over jihad terror attacks.
OBAMA: First, we have to confront squarely and honestly the twisted ideologies that these terrorist groups use to incite people to violence.
SPENCER: Confronting squarely and honestly the ideology of the Islamic State and al Qaeda is exactly what you seem determined not to do.
OBAMA: Al Qaeda and ISIL and groups like it are desperate for legitimacy. They try to portray themselves as religious leaders — holy warriors in defense of Islam. That’s why ISIL presumes to declare itself the “Islamic State.” And they propagate the notion that America — and the West, generally — is at war with Islam. That’s how they recruit. That’s how they try to radicalize young people. We must never accept the premise that they put forward, because it is a lie. Nor should we grant these terrorists the religious legitimacy that they seek. They are not religious leaders — they’re terrorists. And we are not at war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam.
SPENCER: What you’re saying here reflects the argument that has been common and prevailing in Washington for years, that we must not call the Islamic jihadists “Islamic jihadists,” because that will give them the legitimacy they’re seeking among Muslims. The fallacy here is that you and others who hold to this view are assuming that Muslims care what non-Muslim leaders say about who is Islamic and who isn’t. But given the fact that the Qur’an calls believers “the best of people” (3:110) and the unbelievers “the most vile of created beings” (98:6), that is unlikely in the extreme.
You say, “Nor should we grant these terrorists the religious legitimacy that they seek,” but in reality this legitimacy is not within the power of any non-Muslim to grant — or to withhold. The Muslims who join al-Qaeda and the Islamic State are not listening to Western non-Muslim leaders; they’re listening to their imams and reading the Qur’an. In all these years of non-Muslim leaders insisting that we must withhold “legitimacy” from these jihad groups, there has not been even one single report of a Muslim who was going to join a terror group until he heard Bush or David Cameron or Tony Blair or you say that those groups were not Islamic. And the insidious aspect of it is that this claim that calling the jihadists what they are gives them a spurious legitimacy is used to foreclose upon honest examination of their motives and goals.
And in saying, “we are not at war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam,” you’re effectively saying,: We are not going to confront the jihadis’ ideology. We are not going to examine the jihadis’ motives and goals, and we’re not going to call on Muslim communities to reject them. Instead, we’re going to partner with other Muslims who share those motives and goals but aren’t blowing anything up.
OBAMA: Of course, the terrorists do not speak for over a billion Muslims who reject their hateful ideology. They no more represent Islam than any madman who kills innocents in the name of God represents Christianity or Judaism or Buddhism or Hinduism. No religion is responsible for terrorism. People are responsible for violence and terrorism.
SPENCER: I notice that you don’t give the names of any “madman who kills innocents in the name of God” who are Christian, Jewish, Buddhist or Hindu. With 25,000 jihad terror attacks committed in the name of Islam since 9/11, the naming of a single person or incident here or there would only point up the glaring disparity. And as for your claim that “no religion is responsible for terrorism,” this is just begging the question: Does the Islamic religion encourage violence and supremacism? Is it even possible for any religion to do this? Why not? Why do you forbid examination of this question?
OBAMA: And to their credit, there are respected Muslim clerics and scholars not just here in the United States but around the world who push back on this twisted interpretation of their faith. They want to make very clear what Islam stands for. And we’re joined by some of these leaders today. These religious leaders and scholars preach that Islam calls for peace and for justice, and tolerance toward others; that terrorism is prohibited; that the Koran says whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind. Those are the voices that represent over a billion people around the world.
SPENCER: The attendees included Wajahat Ali, an Al Jazeera host with Muslim Brotherhood ties who was co-author of one of the “Islamophobia” smear pieces designed to discredit foes of jihad terror, and Nicole Mossalam, who “has been dishonest about her controversial mosque blocking congregants from giving police information during their investigation of the Boston Marathon bombing.” You claim that there are “Muslim clerics and scholars not just here in the United States but around the world who push back on this twisted interpretation of their faith,” yet there is not a single mosque or Islamic school anywhere in the United States or anywhere else that has a program to teach Muslims to reject the understanding of Islam presented by al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.
OBAMA: But if we are going to effectively isolate terrorists, if we’re going to address the challenge of their efforts to recruit our young people, if we’re going to lift up the voices of tolerance and pluralism within the Muslim community, then we’ve got to acknowledge that their job is made harder by a broader narrative that does exist in many Muslim communities around the world that suggests the West is at odds with Islam in some fashion.
SPENCER: Any resistance to jihad terror brings this charge. The only way you will be able to eradicate it will be to surrender completely.
OBAMA: The reality — which, again, many Muslim leaders have spoken to — is that there’s a strain of thought that doesn’t embrace ISIL’s tactics, doesn’t embrace violence, but does buy into the notion that the Muslim world has suffered historical grievances — sometimes that’s accurate — does buy into the belief that so many of the ills in the Middle East flow from a history of colonialism or conspiracy; does buy into the idea that Islam is incompatible with modernity or tolerance, or that it’s been polluted by Western values.
SPENCER: So you’re saying that some Muslims have legitimate grievances against the West. This is a signal that more concessions, probably in the form of more taxpayer billions, will soon be in the offing. When jihad terror rages more virulently than ever after those billions have been squandered, will you think of another excuse?
OBAMA: So just as leaders like myself reject the notion that terrorists like ISIL genuinely represent Islam, Muslim leaders need to do more to discredit the notion that our nations are determined to suppress Islam, that there’s an inherent clash in civilizations. Everybody has to speak up very clearly that no matter what the grievance, violence against innocents doesn’t defend Islam or Muslims, it damages Islam and Muslims.
SPENCER: Islamic jihadists don’t generally consider non-Muslims capable of being “innocent” — they are guilty by virtue of having rejected Islam.
OBAMA: As we go forward, we need to find new ways to amplify the voices of peace and tolerance and inclusion — and we especially need to do it online. We also need to lift up the voices of those who know the hypocrisy of groups like ISIL firsthand, including former extremists. Their words speak to us today. And I know in some of the discussions these voices have been raised: “I witnessed horrible crimes committed by ISIS.” “It’s not a revolution or jihad…it’s a slaughter…I was shocked by what I did.” “This isn’t what we came for, to kill other Muslims.”…
SPENCER: Your preoccupation with Muslims killing other Muslims as a talking point that you think discredits the Islamic State is once again based on your ignorance of Islam or refusal to speak honestly about it. The Qur’an (4:92) does prohibit Muslims from killing other Muslims, but Islamic law doesn’t consider this to include those considered apostates and heretics; both apostasy and heresy carry a death sentence. And it certainly doesn’t include non-Muslims, whom Muslims are commanded to kill in several Qur’anic verses (2:191; 4:89; 9:5; 9:29; 47:4). Several times over the years I’ve posted stories at my website www.jihadwatch.org about Muslims being indignant about this or that group killing other Muslims when there is never the same indignation when they kill Muslims: the non-Muslim lives are cheap, and are indeed explicitly devalued in Islamic law. So when you talks about the Islamic State killing Muslims, you’re feeding the Islamic supremacist notion that only Muslim lives matter.
OBAMA: So that’s the first challenge — we’ve got to discredit these ideologies. We have to tackle them head on. And we can’t shy away from these discussions. And too often, folks are, understandably, sensitive about addressing some of these root issues, but we have to talk about them, honestly and clearly. (Applause.) And the reason I believe we have to do so is because I’m so confident that when the truth is out we’ll be successful. Now, a second challenge is we do have to address the grievances that terrorists exploit, including economic grievances. Poverty alone does not cause a person to become a terrorist, any more than poverty alone causes somebody to become a criminal. There are millions of people — billions of people — in the world who live in abject poverty and are focused on what they can do to build up their own lives, and never embrace violent ideologies.
SPENCER: Bitterly ironic: you’re saying we have to “discredit these ideologies” and “tackle them head on,” but you yourself refuse to do so. You never give a hint from this speech or any other that there are any Islamic doctrines that actually call for the behavior we see from jihadis. Your refusal to acknowledge that makes this whole enterprise doomed to failure.
OBAMA: Conversely, there are terrorists who’ve come from extraordinarily wealthy backgrounds, like Osama bin Laden. What’s true, though, is that when millions of people — especially youth — are impoverished and have no hope for the future, when corruption inflicts daily humiliations on people, when there are no outlets by which people can express their concerns, resentments fester. The risk of instability and extremism grow. Where young people have no education, they are more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and radical ideas, because it’s not tested against anything else, they’ve got nothing to weigh. And we’ve seen this across the Middle East and North Africa.
SPENCER: CNS News noted in September 2013 that “according to a Rand Corporation report on counterterrorism, prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 2009, ‘Terrorists are not particularly impoverished, uneducated, or afflicted by mental disease. Demographically, their most important characteristic is normalcy (within their environment). Terrorist leaders actually tend to come from relatively privileged backgrounds.’ One of the authors of the RAND report, Darcy Noricks, also found that according to a number of academic studies, ‘Terrorists turn out to be more rather than less educated than the general population.’” But the dogma that poverty and lack of education cause terrorism persists. And so…grab your checkbook.
OBAMA: And by the way, that’s boys and girls, and men and women, because countries will not be truly successful if half their populations — if their girls and their women are denied opportunity.
SPENCER: Are you going to call upon Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran and other states that implement Sharia in whole or part to grant women equal rights?
OBAMA: Just as we address economic grievances, we need to face a third challenge — and that’s addressing the political grievances that are exploited by terrorists. When governments oppress their people, deny human rights, stifle dissent, or marginalize ethnic and religious groups, or favor certain religious groups over others, it sows the seeds of extremism and violence. It makes those communities more vulnerable to recruitment. Terrorist groups claim that change can only come through violence. And if peaceful change is impossible, that plays into extremist propaganda.
SPENCER: This will just lead to more Sharia, which is what the jihadists want anyway. You’re saying, We have to give them peacefully what they want to take by force. Your support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is the quintessential example of this. The unpleasant fact is that if there is a free election, many Muslim populations will vote for Sharia. Most Washington analysts would say, “Then let them have it.” Sure. But if you want to stop people who “deny human rights, stifle dissent, or marginalize ethnic and religious groups, or favor certain religious groups over others,” if you’re going to be honest about it you will have to move against Sharia states.
OBAMA: So the essential ingredient to real and lasting stability and progress is not less democracy; it’s more democracy. It’s institutions that uphold the rule of law and apply justice equally. It’s security forces and police that respect human rights and treat people with dignity. It’s free speech and strong civil societies where people can organize and assemble and advocate for peaceful change. It’s freedom of religion where all people can practice their faith without fear and intimidation. All of this is part of countering violent extremism.
SPENCER: Here again, you say you want democracy. Very well. You got it in Egypt and it led to Sharia. That led to denial of free speech and the freedom of religion. Will you ever address this paradox?
OBAMA: We have to be honest with ourselves. Terrorist groups like al Qaeda and ISIL deliberately target their propaganda in the hopes of reaching and brainwashing young Muslims, especially those who may be disillusioned or wrestling with their identity. That’s the truth. The high-quality videos, the online magazines, the use of social media, terrorist Twitter accounts — it’s all designed to target today’s young people online, in cyberspace.
SPENCER: How slick would a video or an online magazine have to be in order to move you to travel to Syria or Iraq and commit mass murder, rape, etc.?
OBAMA: So these terrorists are a threat, first and foremost, to the communities that they target, which means communities have to take the lead in protecting themselves.
OBAMA: So, in our work, we have to make sure that abuses stop, are not repeated, that we do not stigmatize entire communities. Nobody should be profiled or put under a cloud of suspicion simply because of their faith. Engagement with communities can’t be a cover for surveillance. We can’t “securitize” our relationship with Muslim Americans — dealing with them solely through the prism of law enforcement. Because when we do, that only reinforces suspicions, makes it harder for us to build the trust that we need to work together.
SPENCER: Very well. So we’ll pretend as if Amish communities are just as likely to give rise to violent behavior as Muslim communities. Islamic supremacist leaders will be thrilled, but the misallocation of resources could be deadly.
OBAMA: As part of this summit, we’re announcing that we’re going to increase our outreach to communities, including Muslim Americans. We’re going to step up our efforts to engage with partners and raise awareness so more communities understand how to protect their loved ones from becoming radicalized. We’ve got to devote more resources to these efforts.
SPENCER: Nothing new. Remember: the only contact that the FBI had with the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) before the Boston Marathon jihad massacre was for “outreach.” There was never any investigation of why so many jihad terrorists were connected with the ISB.
OBAMA: Here in America, Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding.
SPENCER: That is simply fantasy. There were no Muslim Founding Fathers. There were no Muslim soldiers in the Revolution, or the War of 1812, or the Mexican War, or the Civil War, etc.
OBAMA: And of course that’s the story extremists and terrorists don’t want the world to know — Muslims succeeding and thriving in America. Because when that truth is known, it exposes their propaganda as the lie that it is. It’s also a story that every American must never forget, because it reminds us all that hatred and bigotry and prejudice have no place in our country. It’s not just counterproductive; it doesn’t just aid terrorists; it’s wrong. It’s contrary to who we are.
SPENCER: Indeed so — but in a climate in which every honest examination of how Islamic doctrine incites some Muslims to violence and terror is condemned as “bigotry” and “prejudice,” these are ominous words that probably herald new efforts to restrict the freedom of speech and impose Sharia blasphemy laws on the U.S.
OBAMA: I’m thinking of a little girl named Sabrina who last month sent me a Valentine’s Day card in the shape of a heart. It was the first Valentine I got. I got it from Sabrina before Malia and Sasha and Michelle gave me one. So she’s 11 years old. She’s in the 5th grade. She’s a young Muslim American. And she said in her Valentine, “I enjoy being an American.” And when she grows up, she wants to be an engineer — or a basketball player. Which are good choices. But she wrote, “I am worried about people hating Muslims….If some Muslims do bad things, that doesn’t mean all of them do.” And she asked, “Please tell everyone that we are good people and we’re just like everyone else.” Now, those are the words — and the wisdom — of a little girl growing up here in America, just like my daughters are growing up here in America. “We’re just like everybody else.” And everybody needs to remember that during the course of this debate.
SPENCER: “If some Muslims do bad things, that doesn’t mean all of them do.” This is a very familiar deception that we hear all the time from Islamic supremacist groups: that to examine how Islamic jihadists use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and supremacism is to blame all Muslims for the actions of a few. This is hogwash. Of course Muslims are just like everybody else. The question is whether the texts and teachings of Islam incite them to commit acts of violence and think that they’re serving their god when they do. But that question is not allowed to be asked.
At this moment I was unfortunately called out by a person on business from Porlock, and detained by him above an hour, and on my return to my room, found, to my no small surprise and mortification, that though I still retained some vague and dim recollection of the general purport of my meeting with Obama, yet, with the exception of the lines above, all the rest had passed away like the images on the surface of a stream into which a stone has been cast, but, alas, without the after-restoration of the latter!
* Just in case it isn’t obvious to everyone, this is an imaginary dialogue. Obama’s remarks, however, are real: they’re taken from his closing speech at his Summit on Countering Violent Extremism, as reproduced at White House.gov on February 18.
What would your dialogue with the President sound like? Submit your version of a Heart-To-Heart you’d like to have with the Commander-In-Chief to Daveswindlepjm AT gmail.com.
image illustrations via shutterstock / Makkuro GL
10. The abduction of the Nigerian schoolgirls
Abubakar Shekau, the leader of the Nigerian jihad group named the Congregation of the People of the Sunnah for Dawah and Jihad and better known as Boko Haram (“Western Education Is Sinful,” or “Books Bad”), disgusted and horrified the world last May, and even provoked a Michelle Obama hashtag, by abducting over three hundred schoolgirls and selling them into sex slavery. Shekau even published a video in which he gloats about the abduction, telling the girls’ grieving families:
I abducted your girls. I will sell them on the market, by Allah….There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell.
Shekau had a point: the Qur’an really does allow for the owning of sex slaves. Muslim men can take “captives of the right hand” (Qur’an 4:3, 4:24, 33:50). It also says: “O Prophet! Lo! We have made lawful unto thee thy wives unto whom thou hast paid their dowries, and those whom thy right hand possesseth of those whom Allah hath given thee as spoils of war” (33:50). 4:3 and 4:24 extend this privilege to Muslim men in general, as does this passage:
Certainly will the believers have succeeded: They who are during their prayer humbly submissive, and they who turn away from ill speech, and they who are observant of zakah, and they who guard their private parts except from their wives or those their right hands possess, for indeed, they will not be blamed (Qur’an 23:1-6).
None – absolutely none – of the extensive international coverage of the abduction discussed the justifications for this practice within the Qur’an. This refusal to deal with the root causes only ensured that the practice would happen again, and it did later in the year, when the Islamic State pressed Yazidi and Christian women into sex slavery.
I have just watched the Athletics blow a 7-3 lead all the way to hibernation for the winter, and as that last Royals run crossed the plate, it sealed the deal: Moneyball is dead.
You have seen the movie. Brad Pitt as the general manager of a baseball team. No money, no stars, just smarts — extreme smarts — and a willingness to buck baseball tradition and assemble a team no one – not even its field manager, in the Hollywood fable that also gave him an untrue-to-life beer gut and sour mien – thought would work. But it could work and it did work. By the numbers.
The numbers. WHIP and WAR and BABIP and CERA and DERA and all the Bill-Jamesian glut of incomprehensible statistics that have overwhelmed the game just as Barry Bonds and Jose Canseco and their butt injections rendered HR and RBI and BA essentially meaningless, and (along with Brad Pitt) made Billy Beane into a cult figure, a demigod, an F. Scott Fitzgerald character – The very rich, they are different from you and me. The Pitt/Beane version is The very knowledgeable about arcane baseball numbers, they are different from you and me. And Beane (and Pitt) got very rich playing on this.
To be sure, Beane has done all right by the Athletics, who are anything but very rich. Their small but passionate fanbase has held its own amid his repeated attempts to abandon the unloved Coliseum (or Mausoleum, as Bando, Jackson, Rudi and Tenace – ah, there were baseball players in those days — dubbed it) for presumably greener San Jose pastures, and he has with immense ingenuity parlayed the small budgets he has been handed into on-field success that the small but passionate ones have lustily cheered and magnificently appreciated.
When the government of Great Britain banned Pamela Geller and me from entering the country for the crime of speaking unwelcome truths about the jihad threat and supporting Israel a bit too vocally, I thought that Britain was a bit too anxious to appease its increasingly aggressive and demanding Muslim minority. When British Prime Minister David Cameron said, “I want London to stand alongside Dubai as one of the great capitals of Islamic finance anywhere in the world,” Britain’s surrender to Sharia became an even more pressing concern, as Cameron will discover that Sharia finance cannot be separated from the rest of Islamic law any more than he could separate a bowl of blood pudding into its constituent parts.
But this past week came five signs that Britain is going to capitulate entirely to Sharia – or else descend into chaos and civil conflict — even sooner than most observers think.
5. Muslim terrifies churchgoers, enters church and shouts: “This is rubbish, you should be preaching Allah, turn to Islam”
The Derby Telegraph reported last week that “churchgoers were left terrified after believing a 52-year-old man who walked into their church ‘dressed like a terrorist’ on Remembrance Sunday ‘might be armed with a bomb.’”
Mohamed Dar didn’t just walk into the church: as he walked in during a service, wearing a bandana that proclaimed “Allahu akbar,” Dar demanded that the congregants “turn to Allah.” He shouted: “This is rubbish, you should be preaching Allah, turn to Islam, we send boys of 10 to war.” One of the assembled Christians recounted: “He was dressed like a terrorist, I though he may have a gun or a bomb or some sort of weapon, I was so frightened.”
It is indicative of how much British non-Muslims have learned to put up with this sort of thing that this incident was reported only in one laconic story in the Derby Telegraph, whereas if a Christian had gone into a mosque anywhere in Britain wearing a bandana that said “Jesus is Lord” and had begun shouting, “This is rubbish, you should be preaching the Gospel, turn to Christ,” it would without the slightest doubt have been national and international news, and the subject of numerous earnest BBC chats featuring media-hyped “moderates” such as Maajid Nawaz, Mehdi Hasan, and Mohammed Ansar, all sounding (in harmony) notes of wounded victimhood.
The incident would be taken as an indication of Britain’s deep-seated “Islamophobia,” and dire need to lay in yet more legal insulation against that vile crime. But Mojamed Dar’s little exercise in dawah (Islamic proselytizing)? That’s just life in Britain today.
A controversy erupted last week at the National September 11 Memorial Museum over exactly how the museum should depict what happened on that fateful day. So it’s time to give them a few unsolicited suggestions.
The New York Times reported that Muslim leaders in New York are angry about a film that is slated to be shown at the museum titled The Rise of Al Qaeda because it “refers to the terrorists as Islamists who viewed their mission as a jihad.” Sheikh Mostafa Elazabawy, the imam of Masjid Manhattan, wrote to the museum’s director: “The screening of this film in its present state would greatly offend our local Muslim believers as well as any foreign Muslim visitor to the museum.”
Wait – aren’t the “local Muslim believers,” as well as any given “foreign Muslim visitor,” supposed to be part of the vast majority of Muslims worldwide who abhor and reject al Qaeda? So why would a film about al Qaeda offend them? Because, Elazabawy explains, “unsophisticated visitors who do not understand the difference between Al Qaeda and Muslims may come away with a prejudiced view of Islam, leading to antagonism and even confrontation toward Muslim believers near the site.”
Akbar Ahmed, a professor at American University and a renowned and respected moderate Muslim, complained that people who see the film are “simply going to say Islamist means Muslims, jihadist means Muslims.” While he acknowledged that “the terrorists need to be condemned and remembered for what they did,” he warned that “when you associate their religion with what they did, then you are automatically including, by association, one and a half billion people who had nothing to do with these actions and who ultimately the U.S. would not want to unnecessarily alienate.”
But this is a sleight-of-hand: it is not the 9/11 Museum that is associating their religion with what they did. It was the 9/11 hijackers themselves who associated their religion with what they did. Elazabawy and Ahmed want the museum to ignore and whitewash that fact, and it will almost certainly comply: it has already begun to do so by removing mention of “Islamic terrorism” from its website.
In a just world, however, it would highlight these five truths:
Have you ever been blamed for a murder? Speak out against jihad terror, and you probably will be. It has happened to me three times (so far):
3. Reza Aslan blames me for murder of Muslim woman in California.
Last Thursday in El Cajon, California, an Iraqi Muslim named Kassim Alhimidi was found guilty of murdering his wife, Shaima Alawadi, after she had told him that she wanted a divorce.
Before Alhimidi was arrested, this murder was widely reported as an “Islamophobic hate crime”: a note was found by Alawadi’s body that read, “Go back to your country, you terrorist.” Leftists and Islamic supremacists made a great deal of this, claiming that the murder was the work of an “Islamophobe” who hated Shaima Alawadi for wearing a hijab. They even staged a campaign, “One Million Hijabs for Shaima Alawadi.”
Reza Aslan, the celebrated author of Zealot, bashed out a sub-literate tweet blaming Pamela Geller and me for the murder: “If a 32 year old veiled mother is a terrorist than [sic] so am I you Islamophobic fucks Gellar [sic] Spencer et. [sic] al. Come find me.” When Alhimidi was arrested and it became clear that this was not an “Islamophobic hate crime” at all, I asked Aslan for a retraction and an apology, whereupon he showed yet again what a classy and mature individual he is, tweeting: “You owe me an apology for that beard you sexy walrus.”
In any case, the whole “hate crime” aspect of Shaima Alawadi’s murder was staged to deflect attention from the real murderer. Now that it has been definitively established that the murder was an Islamic honor killing, will the Leftists and Islamic supremacists who made so much of the hate crime now stage “One Million Hijabs Against Honor Killing”? Somehow I doubt it.
The Following has been excerpted from Arab Winter Comes to America: The Truth About the War We’re In by New York Times Best-Selling author Robert Spencer:
During his trial, prosecutors showed that several days before his attack, and even just a few hours before he started shooting, Hasan searched the internet for “jihad” and specifically for articles about Islamic jihadists and Muslim clerics calling for jihad attacks on Americans.
Yet despite these abundant indications that Hasan was engaged in act of Islamic jihad akin to the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, albeit on a smaller scale, the Defense Department has classified Hasan’s shootings not as a terrorist act, but as “workplace violence.”
Hasan himself contradicted this classification at his trial, when he pointedly registered his agreement with the prosecution’s contention that, unlike some others who had opened fire in public places, he hadn’t just suddenly snapped or been overcome by an overwhelming paroxysm of rage: “I would like to agree with the prosecution that it wasn’t done under the heat of sudden passion. There was adequate provocation, that these were deploying soldiers that were going to engage in an illegal war.”
Nonetheless, the U.S. government has so far continued to ignore repeated requests from the victims’ families to reclassify the killings and make the victims eligible for the Purple Heart and benefits that are normally accorded to combatants killed or injured in the line of duty.
The disconnect from obvious reality has grown ever wider. The Obama administration’s official unwillingness to face the full reality of the Islamic jihad is all-pervasive, affecting both foreign and domestic policy. Echoed in the mainstream media, it has contributed to an atmosphere in which, during Barack Obama’s second term, Americans are arguably less safe and less informed about the threat they face than ever before. Those who are informed about the threat, or who find themselves confronted by it in one form or another, are often intimidated into silence by the politically correct backlash that is sure to come against them if they dare to speak out.
Nidal Hasan’s own coworkers during his tenure as an army psychiatrist were subject to that intimidation, and their choices illustrate show how deadly effective it is. Although Hasan’s jihadist tendencies were well known, clearly fear that they would be accused of “Islamophobia” prevented his army superiors from acting upon signs of his incipient jihadist tendencies. Instead, they kept promoting him. The AP reported in January 2010 that “a Defense Department review of the shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, has found the doctors overseeing Maj. Nidal Hasan’s medical training repeatedly voiced concerns over his strident views on Islam and his inappropriate behavior, yet continued to give him positive performance evaluations that kept him moving through the ranks.”
And so Hasan rose through army ranks and did so with extraordinarily positive recommendations, even as he justified suicide bombing and spouted hatred for America while wearing its uniform. In an evaluation dated March 13, 2009, just short of eight months before his jihad attack, Hasan’s superiors wrote that he displayed “outstanding moral integrity” and praised his project topic for his master’s of public health degree: “the impact of beliefs and culture on views regarding military service during the Global War on Terror.” They even praised him specifically as a Muslim, in passages that their authors must have remembered with stinging regret after his jihad murders: one said that he should be put into a position “that allows others to learn from his perspectives” and declared that his “unique insights into the dimensions of Islam” and his “moral reasoning” could be of “great potential interest and strategic importance to the U.S. Army.”
Just a few weeks ago I wrote an article for PJ Lifestyle titled “5 Ways the Islamic War on Free Speech Advanced Last Week.” Since then, the Islamic supremacist enemies of the freedom of speech have racked up even more victories, in the United States as well as in Muslim countries.
5. Iran: British woman jailed for “insulting Islamic sanctities,” in danger of execution
A British-Iranian woman, Roya Saberi Negad Nobakht, has spent the last five months in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison for writing on Facebook that Iran’s government was “too Islamic.” Arrested during a visit to Iran to visit family members, she has been charged with “insulting Islamic sanctities.” British authorities are indignant about this affront to the freedom of speech.
The British government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is “urgently” examining Nobakht’s case, but why? In Britain (and America as well) it is a de facto crime to insult Islamic sanctities. A British man, Mark Stephenson, ripped pages from a copy of the Qur’an and threw them onto the ground at a soccer match. He was arrested and recently fined £235 for doing so. If Britons must therefore pay proper Sharia-dictated respect for the Qur’an or face monetary penalties, the British government has no leg to stand on in complaining about the Iranians’ prosecution of Roya Nobakht.
The story was overshadowed by Wednesday’s shooting at Fort Hood, but last Monday Fox News revealed that the FBI and the U.S. military had issued an alert for a Muslim former Army recruit who was planning a “Fort Hood-inspired jihad against U.S. soldiers.” This was more than just an eerie foreshadowing of the Wednesday shooting, although the story almost immediately got murky: on Tuesday the FBI responded to the Fox story with more or less a full denial, declaring that there was no manhunt and that the Muslim recruit named in the alert was not a threat. Nonetheless, enough details emerged to reveal some key facts:
5. Conversion to Islam can make a military man into a traitor.
The would-be Fort Hood-style jihadist was John Thomas Booker, a convert to Islam who now goes by the name Muhammad Abdullah Hassan. According to the alert that the FBI and U.S. military distributed, Hassan was,
“recruited by the U.S. Army in Kansas City, Mo., in February 2014 and was scheduled to report for basic training on April 7. But he was discharged last week, apparently after law enforcement authorities learned of his alleged plan.”
The alert didn’t make clear whether Booker was already Hassan when he was recruited into the Army, or whether he converted while in the Army, but unless he entered the Army with the intention of subverting it and killing American soldiers, he probably entered the military with at least some patriotic sentiment, all of which he lost as he learned about his new faith.
In this Hassan resembles last month’s military jihadist, Ased Abdur-Raheem, formerly Nicholas Teausant, a member of the Army National Guard who called for respect for the military uniform just three days before he was arrested, and almost a year after he wrote on Instagram,
“don’t get me wrong I despise america and want its down fall but yeah haha. Lol I been a part of the army for two years now and I would love to join Allah’s army but I don’t even know how to start.”
This change may be because Islam calls for loyalty to the umma, the global Islamic community, above all other loyalties, and teaches (in the words of the twentieth-century Pakistani Islamic scholar and politician, Maulana Maududi) that non-Muslims have “absolutely no right to seize the reins of power in any part of God’s earth nor to direct the collective affairs of human beings according to their own misconceived doctrines.” If they do, “the believers would be under an obligation to do their utmost to dislodge them from political power and to make them live in subservience to the Islamic way of life.”
Such words can turn an American soldier into an America-hating jihadist.
“War is deceit,” said Muhammad, and Ased Abdur-Raheem, the would-be jihad terrorist about whom I wrote last week, took his words to heart. Formerly (and currently in the mainstream media, ever anxious to protect the image of Islam) known as Nicholas Teausant, Abdur-Raheem, 20, was a member of the Army National Guard who called for respect for the military uniform just three days before he was arrested. This was almost a year after he wrote on Instagram:
don’t get me wrong I despise america and want its down fall but yeah haha. Lol I been a part of the army for two years now and I would love to join Allah’s army but I don’t even know how to start.
But he wasn’t always so deceitful. Last January, Abdur-Raheem kept a blog for twenty days, consisting of all of six posts, entitled “Just a Muslim Man Looking for answers in a Lost world.” It is refreshingly honest and direct, containing a wealth of information that the earnest young convert wanted you to know about Islam. Some of the highlights:
5. “Allah sent His Messenger with guidance and the true religion so that it might prevail over all other religions…”
This is from a Muslim denunciation of Valentine’s Day that has widely circulated on the Internet for several years, and was the last entry Abdur-Raheem posted on his blog. It is a reflection of Qur’anic teaching: “It is Allah who sent his messenger with guidance and a true religion that will prevail over all other religions, even though the pagans may dislike it” (9:33).
The Islam that young Nicholas Teausant embraced was frankly and openly supremacist, with no interest whatsoever in the “peaceful coexistence” and “pluralism” of the multiculturalist West. That Western intelligentsia, however, has taken little notice of the existence of this Islam, generally condemning such concerns as “Islamophobia,” and basing numerous domestic and foreign policies on the proposition that all Muslims in Western countries are secular-minded, benign pluralists. Meanwhile, this Valentine’s Day condemnation keeps circulating among English-speaking Muslims, year after year. Those Muslims can read the Qur’an, too.
Editor’s Note: This article was first published in September of 2013 as “5 Falsehoods in Reza Aslan’s Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.” It is being reprinted as part of a new weekend series at PJ Lifestyle collecting and organizing the top 50 best lists. Where will this great piece end up on the list? Reader feedback will be factored in when the PJ Lifestyle Top 50 List Collection is completed in a few months… Click here to see the top 25 so far and to advocate for your favorites in the comments.
Reza Aslan’s notorious interview with Lauren Green on Fox News has made him the toast of the liberal media, and his book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth a massive bestseller. There’s just one problem: the book is lousy. It’s full of all of the empty portent of a bad B-movie screenplay (think Ben Hur as directed by Ed Wood), decades-old (and often discredited) scholarship breathlessly presented as brand-new discovery, and outright falsehoods foisted onto the unsuspecting reader, as Aslan manipulates facts to usher the reader to his predetermined conclusion.
Aslan arrogantly waved his credentials in Green’s face, and the media has eagerly taken up this particular cudgel for him: how dare Green question the prodigious scholar, the multi-degreed eminence, the dispassionate Muslim teller of truths about Christianity that are unpalatable to the racist, bigoted, Bible-thumping Islamophobes on Fox?
Matthew J. Franck, writing in First Things, noted that Aslan actually lied about his credentials to Green: he told her, “I am an expert with a Ph.D. in the history of religions. … I am a professor of religions, including the New Testament–that’s what I do for a living, actually. … To be clear, I want to emphasize one more time, I am a historian, I am a Ph.D. in the history of religions.” But he is not actually a Ph.D. in the “history of religions” at all; in reality, his Ph.D. is in sociology, and his dissertation was not on the New Testament at all, but on “Global Jihadism: a transnational social movement.”
Less often noted, however, is an even greater problem with Aslan’s obsessive citing of his credentials: degrees, particularly in this era of the politically correct stranglehold on academia, are no guarantee of knowledge, wisdom, or truth. Even if everything he had said to Green about his degrees had been true, it would confer on his book no presumption of accuracy or truth. There are plenty of fools with degrees, and plenty of geniuses without them. Aslan, from the looks of Zealot, is among the former – or at least he is hoping that his readers are. Here are five of this master scholar’s most egregious false statements:
1. Aslan refers numerous times throughout his book to Jesus living in “first-century Palestine.”
He has defended this usage in interviews by claiming that that was the Roman name for the area during Jesus’ time. But in fact, Jesus lived not in first-century Palestine, but in first-century Judea, a place that no one called “Palestine.” The Romans renamed it “Palestine” after emptying the area of Jews after the Bar Kokhba Revolt in 135 A.D. Aslan’s usage is an anachronism, and given his venomous opposition to the state of Israel, perhaps a politically motivated one at that.
NBC Los Angeles reported Tuesday that “a California college student and National Guard enlistee was captured Monday after an FBI investigation revealed a foiled plot to attack the Los Angeles subway system and plans to help al-Qaida.”
What could possibly have transformed a National Guard enlistee into someone who plotted a mass murder attack in the Los Angeles subway system on New Year’s Eve? What could have changed in Nicholas Michael Teausant’s mind and heart to make him want to dedicate his life not to defending Americans, but to killing them?
The answer is simple: Islam. Nicholas Michael Teusant now prefers to be called Ased Abdur-Raheem, although that name did not appear in a single one of the mainstream media reports published about his arrest (I found it on his Facebook page). The universal practice of the mainstream media is to refer to converts to Islam by their Muslim names if they do good things and are revered, beloved figures (think Muhammad Ali and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), and by their infidel names if they do evil in the name of Islam (think Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, aka Mujaahid Abu Hamza and Ismail ibn Abdullah, the jihad murderers of British soldier Lee Rigby on a London street; John Walker Lindh, the Marin County mujahid, who is now known as Suleyman al-Faris in his prison cell, where he is doing time for joining up with the Taliban in Afghanistan, etc.).
I just returned from Australia, where I was speaking at a conference sponsored by Australia’s superlative human rights group, the Q Society, along with Stop Islamisation of Nations (of which I am a board member). Also on the trip were Pamela Geller (SION’s president), Ashraf Ramelah of Voice of the Copts, Nonie Darwish of Former Muslims United, the Israeli scholar Mordechai Kedar, and numerous Australian human rights activists.
Australia is a beautiful country full of marvelously friendly people, as I saw both on this trip and on my speaking tour of six Australian cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Canberra, and Cairns) in late 2011. If you’ve never gone, book your trip now – and watch out for a few of the things I saw there…
Siskel and Ebert they ain’t, but Islamic scholars, supremacists, jihadists and pressure groups have made their views known, often in quite colorful ways, about numerous motion pictures that you may want to catch. So grab some popcorn and some old tomatoes: it’s movie time down at the mosque!
5. Thumbs down: Noah
Russell Crowe’s lavish Biblical epic Noah is about to be released in the Middle East, and Muslim scholars are enraged. It has been banned in Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates. Cairo’s Al-Azhar, which Barack Obama has praised as “a beacon of Islamic learning,” issued a statement denouncing the film as un-Islamic and calling for it to be banned. Some Muslim scholars in Egypt have even called for the destruction of any theater that dared to show the film.
The film has aroused such fury because, as Al-Azhar explained, depicting a prophet of Islam (as Noah is; his story is told and retold in the Qur’an, and he gives his name to the Muslim holy book’s 71st sura) “contradicts the stature of prophets and messengers … and antagonises the faithful.” Mahmoud Mehanna, a member of Al-Azhar’s Senior Scholars, added that “prophets, their voices, and even their shadows cannot be depicted,” helpfully explaining that “prophets are holy people.”
This is, of course, why we have not seen Muslims make laudatory films about Muhammad, even for proselytizing purposes: the story of a prophet who cannot be shown, even in shadow, and whose voice cannot be heard makes for a dramatic vacancy the size of a movie directed by Peter Jackson (the perpetrator of the interminably turgid Lord of the Rings series). Those who dare transgress against these strictures and depict a prophet face the prospect of being declared a blasphemer, which could mean demonstrations, riots, death fatwas, and worse.
This is true of Russell Crowe, even though his film depicts a lesser prophet. He may have started out trying to be the next Charlton Heston, and could wind up instead being the next Salman Rushdie.
Islamic organizations, led by the 57-government Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), have for years been trying to intimidate the West into criminalizing criticism of Islam, so as to render us mute and defenseless in the face of the advancing jihad. Last week, their effort made a few small but significant advances.
5. Bahrain arrests four for insulting Muhammad’s companions on Instagram
Reaffirming the Islamic supremacist distaste for the freedom of speech, in Bahrain last week “four cyberactivists” were arrested for posting to Instagram what the state news agency described as “texts and pictures damaging to companions of the Prophet.” Most likely these “cyberactivists” are Shi’ites who dared to disparage figures of early Islamic history who are revered by Sunnis, such as the early caliphs Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman – all of whom were chosen as caliph instead of the Shi’ite’s favorite, Ali ibn Abi Talib.
Bahrain is a majority Shi’ite nation ruled by a Sunni minority, so the authorities who had them arrested no doubt saw these “cyberactivists” as making a political statement. But whatever they may have thought, they shut them down for making statements that have only been characterized in published reports as religious – thereby neatly reinforcing the OIC’s campaign to criminalize internationally what it terms “incitement to religious hatred,” by which it means “anything said about Islam that the OIC doesn’t like.”
Aside from the sources that reported these stories, the mainstream media largely ignored them all — of course.
5. France: Muslims sue satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo for blasphemy
An organization calling itself the League of Judicial Defence of Muslims (LDJM) has brought suit against Charlie Hebdo in the city of Strasbourg for its edition headlined: “The Koran is s–t – it doesn’t stop bullets.” They picked Strasbourg because, uniquely in the secular republic, it has a blasphemy law – a hangover of its periods of German rule.
This is not the first time Charlie Hebdo has offended Islamic-supremacist sensibilities. The International Business Times (which scrupulously avoids causing offense to the poor dears itself by punctiliously referring to Muhammad as “the Prophet,” although I doubt it would ever refer to “the Lord Jesus Christ”) reported:
In November 2011, the paper’s office in Paris was fire-bombed and its website hacked. The attacks were linked to its decision to rename a special edition “Charia Hebdo” (Sharia Hebdo) with the Prophet Mohammed listed as editor-in-chief. The magazine was attacked by hackers again in September 2012, after it published cartoons caricaturing the Prophet Mohammed.
The name of the group bringing the suit, however, is a misnomer. For in fact, no Muslims were actually harmed by Charlie Hebdo, and no Muslims need any defense from it. No Muslims were physically injured by its Qur’an edition or other issues mocking Islam and Muhammad; no Muslims lost their jobs; no Muslims were discriminated against or harassed. Some Muslims may be offended by the magazine’s poking fun at the Qur’an and Muhammad, but that is the price of living in a pluralistic society: everyone has to put up with people who have values and priorities that differ from one’s own.
Ideally, this can be done in peace, and without one group attempting to assert hegemony over the others. But that is exactly what the League of Judicial Defence of Muslims is trying to do: impose Sharia blasphemy laws upon the rest of France.
As couples the world over celebrated Valentine’s Day last week, many no doubt recalled the great Muslim love stories: Romeo and Juliet and Fatima and Dalia and Naima; A Midsummer Night’s Stoning; the movies Veiled Woman and When Harry Beat Sally – so many.
Right-thinking people today would find such quips “Islamophobic” and distasteful; far more distasteful, however, is the grim reality they represent. When Valentine’s Day rolled around last week, Muslim leaders rose to oppose it with a fervor they have seldom mustered against the jihad terrorists who have supposedly twisted and hijacked their peaceful religion.
The Malaysian Islamic Development Department thundered that “social ceremonies such as this are a stepping-stone towards greater social ills such as fraud, mental disorder caused by alcohol, abortion and baby-dumping, and other negative ills that can invite disaster and moral decay among youths.” The Indonesian Ulema Council declared that “celebrating Valentine’s Day is against Islam.” Saudi Arabia’s feared Islamic religious police banned Valentine’s Day and hunted for people toting suspicious roses and candy boxes. A Saudi cleric who has said that “devotion to jihad for the sake of Allah, and the desire to shed blood, to smash skulls, and to sever limbs for the sake of Allah and in defense of His religion, is, undoubtedly, an honor for the believer” dubbed Valentine’s Day “immoral.”
In Uzbekistan, Muslim clerics preached against Valentine’s Day in their Friday sermons. In Kashmir, Mohammed Akram Wani, a student at Srinagar’s Institute of Arabic and Islamic studies, declared: “The event is anti-Islamic and Muslims are not allowed to celebrate the day because in Islam the day has no importance.” And at Pakistan’s Peshawar University, devout Muslim students decided to celebrate February 14 as Haya (Modesty) Day, which consisted of stoning students who were celebrating Valentine’s Day, firing on police who intervened, and setting several rooms of their hostel on fire.
This hostility to Valentine’s Day, some Muslims explain, is because celebrating it is bid’a – innovation, an unacceptable concept in a religion that Allah has “perfected” (cf. Qur’an 5:3), and because it has roots in Christianity and has become an excuse for drunkenness and promiscuity. But there is a deeper reason as well: Islam is hostile to romance. “Asking a Moslem about his women,” the heroic journalist Oriana Fallaci wrote back in 1964, “is like asking him about a secret vice.” The condition of those women, and the state of Islamic romance, has hardly improved since then.
A few of the principal ways in which Islam is a romance-killer:
Editor’s Note: This is Part IX of an ongoing series by Robert Spencer highlighting human rights hypocrisy and fraudulent peace activists. For Part I see “The Hypocrisy of the ‘Islamophobia’ Scam,” for Part II see “The Hypocrisy of the Fatwa Against Terrorism,” for Part III see “The Hypocrisy of the Feminist Response to Islam’s Oppression of Women,” for Part IV see “The Hypocrisy of the Western Christian Response to Muslim Persecution of Christians,” for Part V “The Hypocrisy of the Leftist Response to Ariel Sharon’s Death,” for Part VI see “The Hypocrisy of Ibrahim Hooper and CAIR’s ‘Islamophobic List,’” for Part VII see “The Hypocrisy of the Huffington Post’s Praise of Muhammad,” and for Part VIII see last week’s “The Hypocrisy of the Left’s Commitment to ‘Peacemaking’”
The Washington Post last week published a Religion News Service commentary: “Blasphemy charges pervert Islam’s teachings,” by Qasim Rashid. At first glance this looks like RNS and the WaPo giving space to a thoughtful moderate Muslim speaking up sensibly for the freedom of conscience. Unfortunately, although not surprisingly, that is not exactly what this is. Instead of being devoted to genuine Islamic reform, Qasim Rashid’s work is largely devoted to whitewashing atrocities committed in the name of Islam and justified by Islamic texts and teachings.
Qasim Rashid has misrepresented the Islamic justifications for jihad violence and publicly objected to a piece calling upon peaceful Muslims to fight actively against jihad terrorists. He has misrepresented the Qur’an’s sanction of deception of unbelievers; misrepresented the presence of violent passages in the Qur’an; misrepresented the Qur’an’s sanction of beating disobedient women; misrepresented the nature of Sharia; and called for limitations on the freedom of speech and expression to outlaw behavior and speech some Muslims may find offensive.
Also, as I wrote last week, for Leftists like Qasim Rashid, “people deemed ‘right-wing’ are unworthy of respect, and unworthy even of basic courtesy.” It constantly amazes me how slavering with hatred and frenzied contempt are the self-appointed exponents of “tolerance” and “love for all, hatred for none” when they are confronted with those whom they regularly smear with charges of “hatred” and “bigotry.” For all his pious posturing as an observant Ahmadi Muslim, Rashid is not only chronically dishonest, but is also a spectacularly unpleasant, nasty, rude, arrogant human being.
In the Washington Post piece he lies about the basis that laws calling for the imprisonment and/or execution of blasphemers have within the Qur’an and Sunnah. Here is the difference between actual reform and hypocritical deception: a sincere reformer will confront and refute the arguments that support the doctrine he is trying to reform; a deceiver will ignore those arguments, not mention the scriptural passages or other teachings that support the doctrine in question, and pretend that the doctrine doesn’t exist at all.
That’s what Qasim Rashid does here. He assembles a case for why “blasphemy charges pervert Islam’s teachings” without ever mentioning the Islamic foundations for blasphemy laws, thereby leaving a massive gaping hole in his own case by leaving unanswered this question: if “blasphemy charges pervert Islam’s teachings,” why are there so many perverts? If the Qur’an and Muhammad taught the freedom of conscience so clearly, why do so many Muslims misunderstand what they say, including the Islamic governments of Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere?
Editor’s Note: This is Part VIII of an ongoing series by Robert Spencer highlighting human rights hypocrisy and fraudulent peace activists. For Part I see “The Hypocrisy of the ‘Islamophobia’ Scam,” for Part II see “The Hypocrisy of the Fatwa Against Terrorism,” for Part III see “The Hypocrisy of the Feminist Response to Islam’s Oppression of Women,” for Part IV see “The Hypocrisy of the Western Christian Response to Muslim Persecution of Christians,” for Part V “The Hypocrisy of the Leftist Response to Ariel Sharon’s Death,” for Part VI see “The Hypocrisy of Ibrahim Hooper and CAIR’s ‘Islamophobic List,’” and for Part VII see last week’s “The Hypocrisy of the Huffington Post’s Praise of Muhammad.”
How clueless and compromised are this country’s moneyed Leftist elites? This clueless and compromised. Intersections International, a group that styles itself as dedicated to promoting “peacemaking” and “interfaith outreach,” is honoring the Leftist media’s darling of the moment, Reza Aslan, “for his work at the intersection of religion, scholarship, and global peacemaking.”
It is hard to overstate how spectacularly bad a choice Reza Aslan is as someone to be honored for “global peacemaking,” unless Intersections International is using the word “peacemaking” as a synonym for “surrender to the enemies of the United States,” particularly Iran — which, in light of the fact that Intersections International is a Leftist group, may well be the case. For Reza Aslan in no way represents peacemaking, either professionally or personally. He is, for starters, a board member of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), which has been established in court as a lobbying group for the Islamic Republic of Iran.
This is not hearsay or rumor; there is an abundance of evidence for it. Michael Rubin noted in February 2013 that “Jamal Abdi, NIAC’s policy director, now appears to push aside any pretense that NIAC is something other than Iran’s lobby. Speaking at the forthcoming ‘Expose AIPAC’ conference, Abdi is featured on the ‘Training: Constituent Lobbying for Iran’ panel. Oops.”
According to Charles C. Johnson in the Daily Caller: “Iranian state-run media have referred to the National Iranian-American Council (NIAC) since at least 2006 as ‘Iran’s lobby’ in the U.S.” Iranian freedom activist Hassan Daioleslam “documented over a two-year period that NIAC is a front group lobbying on behalf of the Iranian regime.” NIAC had to pay him nearly $200,000 in legal fees after they sued him for defamation over his accusation that they were a front group for the mullahs, and lost.
Yet Aslan remains on their board.
Reza Aslan is a busy man, living a life of hectic vacancy as he rushes from one adoring Leftist crowd to another, and it may be that in between media appearances to tout (and wildly overstate) his credentials, he just hasn’t had the time to find out what NIAC is all about. That’s unlikely, however, as his own words and actions are consistent with this affiliation. He tried to pass off Iran’s frenziedly antisemitic and genocidally-minded former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a liberal reformer, even calling on the U.S. government to negotiate with him, as well as with the jihad terror group Hamas.
Editor’s Note: This is Part VII of an ongoing series by Robert Spencer highlighting human rights hypocrisy and fraudulent peace activists. For Part I see “The Hypocrisy of the ‘Islamophobia’ Scam,” for Part II see “The Hypocrisy of the Fatwa Against Terrorism,” for Part III see “The Hypocrisy of the Feminist Response to Islam’s Oppression of Women,” for Part IV see “The Hypocrisy of the Western Christian Response to Muslim Persecution of Christians,” for Part V “The Hypocrisy of the Leftist Response to Ariel Sharon’s Death,” and for Part VI see last week’s “The Hypocrisy of Ibrahim Hooper and CAIR’s ‘Islamophobic List’”
The Huffington Post has published yet another article extolling the virtues of the orthodox Christian view of Jesus Christ – no, of course I am not serious. The Huffington Post would never publish something as right wing and sectarian as that. No, what the HuffPo has published is another in a long string of articles in praise of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, who is a much more palatable figure to the American Left.
The latest, “What Studying Muhammad Taught Me About Islam,” published in the HuffPo last week, is as risible as Karen Armstrong’s likening Muhammad to Gandhi, and is as gracefully written as a seventh grader’s book report. But for the Huffington Post, accuracy and quality are of no import: if it downplays the grim reality of Islamic jihad terror, then it’s good enough for them.
The author of the piece is Craig Considine, who has previously likened Muhammad to George Washington and claimed that Christianity has a concept of jihad just like Islam’s. He pulls off these feats of legerdemain by employing a very simple method: ignoring what doesn’t fit his thesis, as he does here.
“In this short essay,” says Considine in his irredeemably clunky prose, “I want to share with you what I have learned about Muhammad and how his legacy informs my understanding of Islam. Muhammad’s beliefs on how to treat religious minorities make him a universal champion of human rights, particularly as it pertains to freedom of conscience, freedom of worship, and the right for minorities to have protection during times of strife.”
Editor’s Note: This is Part VI of an ongoing series by Robert Spencer highlighting human rights hypocrisy and fraudulent peace activists. For Part I see “The Hypocrisy of the ‘Islamophobia’ Scam,” for Part II see “The Hypocrisy of the Fatwa Against Terrorism,” for Part III see “The Hypocrisy of the Feminist Response to Islam’s Oppression of Women,” for Part IV see “The Hypocrisy of the Western Christian Response to Muslim Persecution of Christians,” and for Part V see last week’s “The Hypocrisy of the Leftist Response to Ariel Sharon’s Death.”
Ibrahim “Honest Ibe” Hooper of the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) last week sent out a crafty and deceptive op-ed as a “service,” and of course our lazy, clueless and compromised mainstream media was happy to oblige him by publishing it. The op-ed, “Islamophobic ‘List’ Used to Justify Suspicion of Muslims,” seems to have been a response to Pamela Geller’s recent exhaustive summary at Breitbart of Islamic jihad and supremacist activity in America in 2013. In response, Hooper offered not honesty and reform, but disingenuousness and deception.
Hooper claimed that,
one of the bigoted themes often promoted by the growing cottage industry of Muslim-bashers is that the increasing level of Islamophobia online and in the public arena is merely a legitimate response to the violent actions of Muslims worldwide.
He thus reveals the dishonesty at the heart of the entire “Islamophobia” initiative: Islamic supremacists and leftists use the term to refer both to analyses of how Islamic jihadis use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and supremacism (e.g., what my colleagues and I do) and also to attacks on innocent Muslims (which neither I nor my colleague nor any decent person favors).
The objective is to make Americans think that any criticism of Islamic texts that jihadis use to incite violence worldwide threatens and endangers Muslims at home who don’t approve of that violence in the first place. Then by saying that “Muslim-bashers” claim that “Islamophobia” is a “legitimate response to the violent actions of Muslims worldwide,” Hooper is implying that those who decry violence and terror committed by Muslims in the name of Islam approve of violence against innocent, peaceful Muslims, as if to say, they had it coming.
I don’t celebrate death of anyone. Sharon will meet his Creator and answer to massacres and destruction committed by him. He was a criminal.
— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) January 11, 2014
Editor’s Note: This is Part V of an ongoing series by Robert Spencer highlighting human rights hypocrisy and fraudulent peace activists. For Part I, see “The Hypocrisy of the ‘Islamophobia’ Scam,” for Part II, see “The Hypocrisy of the Fatwa Against Terrorism,” for Part III “The Hypocrisy of the Feminist Response to Islam’s Oppression of Women,” for Part IV see last week’s “The Hypocrisy of the Western Christian Response to Muslim Persecution of Christians.”
Leftists and Islamic supremacists took to Twitter on Saturday morning to take their last shots at Ariel Sharon.
New York-based Linda Sarsour tweeted piously: “I don’t celebrate death of anyone. Sharon will meet his Creator and answer to massacres and destruction committed by him. He was a criminal.” Sarsour is a rabidly antisemitic Islamic supremacist who has said that “nothing is creepier than Zionism” and has equated it with “racism.” She is also a frequent visitor to the Obama White House, and has claimed that the jihad underwear bomber was a CIA agent – part of what she claims is a U.S. war against Islam.
Sarsour is a practiced exploiter of the “hate” smear against foes of jihad terror and Islamic supremacism, and has never apologized for using the Islamic honor murder of Shaima Alawadi to spread lies about the prevalence of hate crimes against Muslims in America. Although she decries “hate,” she is venomously hateful herself – as is clear in this self-righteous, self-pitying, foul-mouthed, hate-filled and utterly off-putting performance at a “comedy show,” which reveals that the preening preachers of the “Islamophobia” myth are the real haters. Her lurid tweet envisioning Sharon being damned to hell by a vengeful Allah showed it yet again.
Sarsour wasn’t alone. Others focused on Sharon’s alleged “war crimes.” Hard-Left journalist Glenn Greenwald, hero of the Snowden scandal, pointed out helpfully:
The BBC obit gives a surprisingly clear account of Ariel Sharon’s decades of savagery and war criminality http://t.co/wpLOFrQWJP
Woke up today 2rpt Aerial Sharon has died. As young teen I did media interview @ Dallas protest against Sharon over Sabra & Shatila. #Killer
Leftist cartoonist Carlos Latuff drew a cartoon of Sharon walking down a stairway into hell, weighed down by leg iron balls labeled “Sabra,” “Shatila,” “Qibya,” and “Jenin,” while a righteous figure clad all in white except for a Palestinian flag over his chest looked on.
Editor’s Note: This is Part IV of an ongoing series by Robert Spencer highlighting human rights hypocrisy and fraudulent peace activists. For Part I, see “The Hypocrisy of the ‘Islamophobia’ Scam,” for Part II, see “The Hypocrisy of the Fatwa Against Terrorism,” and for Part III see last week’s “The Hypocrisy of the Feminist Response to Islam’s Oppression of Women.”
Pope Francis may get letters this year from kings and presidents and grand muftis, but it is highly unlikely that he will receive a letter nearly as important as the one he got in December from an impoverished and imprisoned woman in Pakistan.
This pontiff has famously made it a hallmark of his pontificate to show especial care for the downtrodden and outcast, and so he may yet answer Asia Bibi and speak out on her behalf, but there are good reasons to bet against that happening.
It all started for Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Catholic wife and mother, on June 14, 2009 – or more precisely, it all ended for her on that day. She recounted in August 2013:
I, Asia Bibi, have been sentenced to death because I was thirsty. I’m a prisoner because I used the same cup as those Muslim women, because water served by a Christian woman was regarded as unclean by my stupid fellow fruit-pickers.
Picking fruit with a group of Muslim women, Bibi was ordered to fetch water for them – and drank a bit of it herself in the stifling heat. A Muslim woman rebuked her for doing so, saying to the other women: “Listen, all of you, this Christian has dirtied the water in the well by drinking from our cup and dipping it back several times. Now the water is unclean and we can’t drink it! Because of her!”
Bibi stood up to her, responding: “I think Jesus would see it differently from Mohammed.” That drove the Muslim women into a fury, and they started yelling at Bibi: “How dare you think for the Prophet, you filthy animal!” That’s right, you’re just a filthy Christian! You’ve contaminated our water and now you dare speak for the Prophet! Stupid bitch, your Jesus didn’t even have a proper father, he was a bastard, don’t you know that. You should convert to Islam to redeem yourself for your filthy religion.”
The embattled woman stood her ground, responding: “I’m not going to convert. I believe in my religion and in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for the sins of mankind. What did your Prophet Mohammed ever do to save mankind? And why should it be me that converts instead of you?”
Several days later, she was arrested for blasphemy as an enraged mob beat her and screamed, “Death! Death to the Christian!” She has been in prison ever since, awaiting execution for her “crime.”
In her letter to Pope Francis, Bibi wrote: “I do not know how long I can go on and on. If I am still alive, it is thanks to the strength that your prayers give me. I have met many people who speak and fight for me. Unfortunately still to no avail. At this time I just want to trust the mercy of God, who can do everything, that all is possible. Only He can liberate me.”