…Rifqa Bary, who fled her Muslim parents’ home in Ohio last year after her conversion to Christianity, remains in fear of deportation. Her attorney told a judge Monday that the 17-year-old is being blocked by her Muslim parents from fighting the possibility of deportation. Rifqa has been in foster care for months, but is an illegal immigrant, along with her family, from Sri Lanka. She maintains her fear of harm if she is forced to return to the Muslim state.
Perhaps they got their information on the country from pseudo-expert Robert Spencer; last August he regaled FrontPage readers with the detail that
…Rifqa Bary hails from Sri Lanka, where the Shafi’i school of Islamic jurisprudence prevails. A Shafi’i manual of Islamic law directs that “when a person who has reached puberty and is sane voluntarily apostatizes from Islam, he deserves to be killed. In such a case, it is obligatory for the caliph (A: or his representative) to ask him to repent and return to Islam. If he does, it is accepted from him, but if he refuses, he is immediately killed.” (‘Umdat al-Salik o8.1-2).
Bary herself has tearfully warned that Sri Lanka operates “asylums” where “they have asylums where they put people like me”.
The notion of Sri Lanka as a “Muslim state” where a fourteenth-century manual of jurisprudence “prevails” is somewhat baffling. The Times reported last month:
An expatriate Sri Lankan woman who wrote two books about her conversion from Buddhism to Islam has been arrested while on holiday in Sri Lanka, apparently for causing offence to Buddhists.
Sarah Malini Perera, who was born in Sri Lanka but has lived in Bahrain since 1985 and converted to Islam in 1999, was arrested last week under the country’s strict emergency laws, according to the police.
…Sri Lanka’s constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but also says that the state “shall give Buddhism the foremost place and accordingly it shall be the duty of the state to protect and foster” the religion.
Wow. How the mighty have fallen. It might be too early to call it the end but it looks like ex-booze buddies Andrew Bostom and Robert Spencer are at each others throats. Bostom is accusing Spencer of plagiarism, and Spencer is replying that he is “miffed” by the accusation.
The sorry fact is that both of them plagiarize from Orientalists who have made the same arguments and presented the same research centuries ago.
Spencer wrote on his blog yesterday in reference to Bostom,
It is a shame that this kind of thing has to be done, but occasionally it must.
A certain writer claims that I plagiarized his work. He presents no direct evidence (i.e., textual comparison) to support his claim, and that is because he cannot do so: I have not plagiarized his work, or anyone else’s.
The above is a reply to Bostom’s withering attack on Spencer’s theft of his work. Bostom refers to Spencer as the “little king,” and “swine.”
transitive verb: to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own : use (another’s production) without crediting the source intransitive verb : to commit literary theft : present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source
The plagiarism, and accompanying complete lack of attribution are so obvious one need go no further than review Jihad Watch postings by The Little King himself, from 2007 and 2008
The Little King posted my review/essay on “Jihad and Jew Hatred,” and subsequent debate with Matthias Kuntzel—the earliest and most definitive debunking of the bizarre, ahistorical “Nazi-origins” of Islamic Antisemitism (and modern jihad) theory, in December, 2007
One can also simply go to Jihad Watch and see the following extensive material on the Antisemtic motifs in the Koran, hadith, and sira drawn from the opening survey of The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism from two essays posted there by The Little King in 2008:
Update 2. Oy vey, this is tedious and obnoxious! Some important clarification is required to jog the Little King’s apparently lapsed memories. Here gentle reader you will find it edifying to go online and read a copy of The Little King’s “Religion of Peace,” published in 2007. On pp. 125-126, he uses a block quote from Lawrence Wright’s, The Looming Tower, that has also appeared in some of my essays, and in “The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism.” But who does the Little King himself cite as his source for this Wright quote? Proceed to the citation for the reference (ref. 80) to this quote on p. 232 of “The Religion of Peace” and you will see this: “Quoted in Andrew Bostom, The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism, 2007” Now my Islamic Antisemitism book was delayed in publication till 2008, but Little King was given an advance copy manuscript that he read, and it provided him with the Wright quote and six other sources for that chapter, including primary sources, which are cited on pp. 232-233 of his 2007 book.
Apparently Little King is now claiming I got the Wright quote from him!
“My (i.e., Little King’s) April 21 article is a chapter from my 2007 book “Religion of Peace?”. If Bostom used the quote from “Looming Tower” in a 2009 piece, he got it from me (i.e., Little King).”
At least as egregious, is this unattributed material which comes from The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism, (pp. 259-260):
Notably, Maimonides directed that Jews could teach rabbinic law to Christians, but not to Muslims. For Muslims, he said, will interpret what they are taught “according to their erroneous principles and they will oppress us. [F]or this reason … they hate all [non-Muslims] who live among them.”But the Christians, he said, “admit that the text of the Torah, such as we have it, is intact”–as opposed to the Islamic view that the Jews and Christians have corrupted their scriptures. Christians, continued Maimonides,” do not find in their religious law any contradiction with ours.”
Indeed, Spencer quotes and paraphrases without attribution from, specifically, footnote 222 of a magisterial 70 pp. 1937 essay by Georges Vajda on the Antisemitic motifs in the hadith. My first time English translation ofVajda’s unique, seminal work required both French and Hebrew text translations of contents within this single, complex footnote.
And I will cast no more pearls before such “royal” swine.
Hilarious. I love how nasty these Islamophobes get with one another when they turn on each other.
Spencer continued to comment,
Well folks, sit back with a bag of popcorn and enjoy the fireworks. Who knows maybe Barack Obama can bring the two back together over some beers on the White House lawn.
Resident “Islam expert” Robert Spencer is at it again, using his skills of obfuscation to smear Islam. In a recent post, he claims “suicide for jihad” is nothing new in Islam:
Actually the idea of suicide in the cause of jihad is no innovation. It is founded upon Qur’an 9:111, which guarantees Paradise to those who “kill and are killed” for Allah. It is a phenomenon that is actually found throughout Islamic history, and is not new. In the 18th century John Paul Jones wrote about Ottoman sailors setting their own ships on fire and ramming the ships of their enemies, although they knew this meant certain death for them.
And centuries before that, the Assassins, Hashishin, went into their missions knowing that death was virtually certain, and energized by the promise of Paradise that had been made vivid for them in an artful scenario that was used as a recruitment tool: the prospective assassin would be given hashish and then taken into a garden full of beautiful women, and told that he was enjoying a taste of Islamic Paradise. Then to return to that Paradise, he was told that he had to go out and kill his victim, and be killed in the process.
Wow. Let us address the verse in question (9:111):
Behold, God has bought of the believers their lives and their possessions, promising them paradise in return, [and so] they fight in God’s cause, and slay, and are slain: a promise which in truth He has willed upon Himself in [the words of] the Torah, and the Gospel, and the Quran. And who could be more faithful to his covenant than God? Rejoice, then, in the bargain which you have made with Him: for this, this is the triumph supreme!
As outlined by the Quran, fighting in Islam is allowed in defense, and aggression is prohibited (2:190-193). Thus, those who “fight in God’s cause” in the verse are fighting in a battle to defend “those [civilians] who have been expelled from their homes” (22:40) by an aggressor. In this context, able-bodied men are called to defend the people with their lives. When one fights a battle, he tries to kill his enemy and avoid being killed himself. Spencer, however, claims that those who “slay and are slain” are actually committing suicide. Huh?
Suicide is when you take your own life: the death blow comes from your own hand. This is dramatically different than valiantly fighting the enemy in battle when the odds are heavily stacked against you, such that death is “near certain.” The former is suicide, the latter is not. Unless Robert Spencer is being un-American and claiming that the countless U.S. soldiers who have thrown themselves upon the enemy–facing “near certain death” by doing so–committed suicide? In fact, the medal of honor is routinely given to soldiers who throw themselves upon the enemy (thereby facing “near certain death”) to protect their fellow soldiers and advance their position.
There are several examples of this during World War II. For example, Private First Class Leonard Foster Mason received the medal of honor for “his exceptionally heroic act in the face of almost certain death.” The American soldiers were under heavy fire, and with total disregard for his own life, Mason ran out of his foxhole and killed five enemy soldiers. He was critically wounded in the arm and shoulder, and subsequently died. Today, he is remembered as a hero who fought and died for his country. Would Spencer like to claim that he committed suicide, and that the U.S. military has been using “suicide jihad” tactics during WWII?
Private George Phillips received the medal of honor because he “unhesitatingly threw himself on [a] deadly missile, absorbing the shattering violence of the exploding charge in his own body and protecting his comrades from serious injury.”
And let’s read about the bravery of Private First Class Harold Glenn Epperson who gave up his life for his country:
Determined to save his comrades, Pfc. Epperson unhesitatingly chose to sacrifice himself and, diving upon the deadly missile, absorbed the shattering violence of the exploding charge in his own body. Stouthearted and indomitable in the face of certain death, Pfc. Epperson fearlessly yielded his own life that his able comrades might carry on the relentless battle against a ruthless enemy. His superb valor and unfaltering devotion to duty throughout reflect the highest credit upon himself and upon the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
Another suicide jihad terrorist attack, I suppose? In fact, what about the American soldiers who took the island of Iwo Jima? According to historians, the Japanese fought tenaciously for the island, and only 216 out of more than 18,000 soldiers were alive at the end of hostilities. This invasion must have “meant certain death” for the scores of American soldiers who took part. Were these American soldiers “committing suicide”? What about the soldiers who took part in the invasion of Normandy? The odds against the Allied soldiers were tremendous, and it “meant certain death” for the scores of soldiers who valiantly chose to be on the front line. Did these American heroes also “commit suicide”?
Anyways, the Quran is crystal clear on suicide:
“And do not take a life that God has made sacred, except for just cause.” (17:33)
“And spend for the sake of God, and do not invest in ruin by your own hands. And do good, for God loves those who do good.” (2:195)
“And do not kill yourselves, for God has been merciful to you.” (4:29)
But I do know of a holy book that mentions (and seems to condone) suicide attacks. You may have heard of it, Spencer. It’s called the Bible. The Mighty Samson kills himself in order to kill three thousand men and women (civilians):
Samson said to the servant who held his hand, “Put me where I can feel the pillars that support the temple, so that I may lean against them.” Now the temple was crowded with men and women; all the rulers of the Philistines were there, and on the roof were about three thousand men and women watching Samson perform. Then Samson prayed to the LORD, “O Sovereign LORD , remember me. O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived. (Judges 16:26-30)”
Samson was one of the good guys in the Bible, and nowhere are his actions condemned. Far from it: he got the strength from God to do it. How are his actions any different than the Palestinian suicide bombers who blow themselves up in shopping malls to kill Israeli men and women? And in 1 Samuel 31:1-6, we have another good guy in the Bible killing himself rather than being taken alive by the enemy; in fact, it’s a group suicide–Saul, his three sons, his armor bearer, and all of his men commit group suicide in this battle. Two can play at this, Mr. Spencer.
With regard to the example of the Ottomans ramming their ships, this is a technique that dates to antiquity. As a last resort (since they were going to lose/die anyways), the captain would order that they use the ship to ram the enemy’s. To use another American example, even civilian boats were equipped with this capability: the Seattle fireboat Duwamish, built in 1909, was designed to ram wooden vessels, as a last resort. More “suicide jihad” I suppose?
As for the Hashashin, or Assassins, they belonged to an extremely heterodox extremist sect of Islam. They did not believe in committing suicide, but rather put themselves in harms way to complete missions such that oftentimes they would be facing “near certain death.” In any case, even at that time the orthodox Muslims used to write about how crazy they thought these Hashashin were, so how can we take the most extreme example as indicative of the general rule? In fact, at the time of the Hashashin, there were the Crusaders. Would Spencer like to take the bloodthirsty Crusaders (who engaged in cannibalism and mass murder) as indicative of Christianity overall?
It seems that Spencer is becoming desperate; desperate to link anything to his fanciful imaginary Islam that is totally devoid from reality. Umm…nice try.
Ali Hussain Sibat, a Lebanese national and fortune teller, was recently arrested in Saudi Arabia and charged with the “crime” of sorcery. Many sincere human rights groups raised awareness about his case, and international outrage prompted the Saudi government to issue him a stay of execution. Islamophobes, such as Robert Spencer, have chosen to exploit Mr. Sibat’s plight to demonize Islam and Muslims. For those of us living in the West, the arrest of a “sorcerer” seems beyond insane, and it is quite easy for the Islamophobes to use this incident to reinforce negative stereotypes of Muslims: “wow, those Moozlems must be really backwards.”
Yet, few Westerners realize that witch hunts are now an international problem…and it is not an area of concern limited to Muslim majority countries like Saudi Arabia. Would it interest the Catholic apologist Robert Spencer to know that witch hunts are much more prevalent amongst Christians than Muslims? Some Evangelicals continue to take the Bible quite literally, following its commandment: “Thou shalt not allow a sorceress to live” (Exodus, 22:18), and “sorcerers amongst you must be put to death” (Leviticus, 20:27). The Huffington Post recently wrote a piece on the upsurge of witch hunts in Africa brought on by hardliner Evangelicals:
African Children Denounced As “Witches” By Christian Pastors
…Nwanaokwo Edet was one of an increasing number of children in Africa accused of witchcraft by pastors and then tortured or killed, often by family members. Pastors were involved in half of 200 cases of “witch children” reviewed by the AP, and 13 churches were named in the case files. [Exodus, 22:18]
…The idea of witchcraft is hardly new, but it has taken on new life recently partly because of a rapid growth in evangelical Christianity. Campaigners against the practice say around 15,000 children have been accused in two of Nigeria’s 36 states over the past decade and around 1,000 have been murdered. In the past month alone, three Nigerian children accused of witchcraft were killed and another three were set on fire.
Nigeria is one of the heartlands of abuse, but hardly the only one: the United Nations Children’s Fund says tens of thousands of children have been targeted throughout Africa.
Saudi Arabia has recently arrested one individual for the “crime” of sorcery (it seems about five people in the last few years), and the Islamophobes like Robert Spencer have expressed their ardent outrage. Yet, there were “15,000 children [who] have been accused…and around 1,000 have been murdered” by Christians in Africa…Where is your outrage, Mr. Spencer? If we must conclude that Islam is the most dastardly of religions due to the persecution of a handful of people in Saudi Arabia, then should we not conclude the same for Christianity when there were 15,000 who stood accused and 1,000 executed recently?
Christian witch hunts are not limited to Africa. In Papua New Guinea, a country which is 96% Christian, the government passed the 1976 Sorcery Act, which prescribes imprisonment for the practice of black magic. An article written in 2009 details how one hundred “witches” were executed in Papua New Guinea in just the last year. Witch hunts have in recent years taken place in Haiti, again by Christians (in this case aimed against non-Christians); a human rights lawyer told the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights that “literal witch hunts have been launched [by Evangelical Christians] against priests and practitioners of this [traditional Haitian] religion.” Similar witch hunts have been launched in Kenya, Nepal, and other regions, reaching a global stage:
“Murder and persecution of women and children accused of being witches is spreading around the world and destroying the lives of millions of people, experts said Wednesday … “This is becoming an international problem — it is a form of persecution and violence that is spreading around the globe,” Jeff Crisp of the U.N.’s refugee agency UNHCR told a seminar organized by human rights officials of the world body.”
According to some U.N. experts tracking the issue “at least” tens of thousands have died due to witch hunts, while millions have been beaten, abused, isolated, and turned into refugees. While economic hardship is given as a reason for the recent escalation in witch-related violence, experts at the UNHCR also claim that the rise can also be attributed to”religious practitioners” who exploit local fears and superstitions.
“Some religious practitioners make a living from exorcising alleged witches and charging exorbitant fees to those who request the ritual. In Foxcroft’s experience, the most vulnerable members of society – children and the elderly – are often the victims of these accusations.”
“Witchcraft is still widely practiced in many countries in Africa by witchdoctors who often use human body parts in their spells. Some witchdoctors employ gangs of young men to attack and kill victims, often young children, for their body parts, which are frequently removed while the victim is still alive. An estimated 300 people are killed each year in South Africa alone as a result of this practice. But horrific though this practice is, it is only part of the problem. In Nigeria, in both the Muslim North and the Christian South, witch hunts are not uncommon and this has led to a second form of abuse. Some unscrupulous pastors, many linked to Pentecostal churches, have a lucrative trade in making unfounded accusations of witchcraft against young children. [The pastors then agree to “cure” the witches for a substantial fee. Many children are being ostracized and abandoned by their parents as a result of these accusations.]“
Reuters – Murder and persecution of women and children accused of being witches is spreading around the world and destroying the lives of millions of people, experts said Wednesday.
And community workers from Nepal and Papua New Guinea told the seminar, on the fringes of a session of the U.N.’s 47-member Human Rights Council, that “witch-hunting” was now common, both in rural communities and larger population centres.
The experts — United Nations officials, civil society representatives from affected countries and non-governmental organization (NGO) specialists working on the issue — urged governments to acknowledge the extent of the persecution.
“This is becoming an international problem — it is a form of persecution and violence that is spreading around the globe,” Jeff Crisp of the U.N.’s refugee agency UNHCR told a seminar organized by human rights officials of the world body.
Aides to U.N. special investigators on women’s rights and on summary executions said killings and violence against alleged witch women — often elderly people — were becoming common events in countries ranging from South Africa to India.
Witch hunts are of course not limited to Christians. An article written in 2006 discusses how 10 witches were killed in India in the past year alone. Here is a CNN report that shows an Indian woman being punished by a Hindu mob, on grounds of her being a witch:
The purpose here is not to bash Christianity, Hinduism, or any other religion. It’s simply to point out that witch hunts are a problem throughout the world. If you just follow Islamophobic sources like Robert Spencer, you’d come to think that the only “culprits” are Muslims, but like I said before: it’s simply not true. The selective outrage of Spencer et al. shows that they don’t really care about human rights at all. Their indignation is not principled, but political in nature. Let me, however, not mince words: as a self-proclaimed progressive, I support human rights groups that seek to rid the world of witch hunts, be they in Muslim majority Saudi Arabia or Christian majority areas of Africa.
Islamophobes will claim that the Prophet Muhammad said: “The punishment for the magician is that he be struck by the sword.” So, they argue, isn’t Saudi Arabia just following Islam? Isn’t it Islam that is the problem? Well, first off, I already reproduced what the Bible says about sorcerers, which is to kill them. (Note: the Quran does not mention any worldly punishment for sorcerers.) Therefore, we could use the same line of argumentation here: the Nigerian Evangelicals are just doing what the Bible commanded them to do, and as such, Christianity itself is the problem. (Of course, I reject such a simplistic view.)
With regard to the saying (hadith) attributed to the Islamic prophet, it is found in Sunan al-Tirmidhi. The compiler of said hadith, namely al-Tirmidhi, commented on this hadith as follows: “The correct saying is that it is mawquf .” According to the Islamic science of hadith, this term mawquf means “stopped” and what this means is that the chain of transmission does not reach the Prophet Muhammad (but rather stops before it reaches him). Said in simpler terms: the Prophet Muhammad is not the one who said it.
Yes, the Prophet forbade sorcery (in line with the Abrahamic belief of relying on God alone for any form of supernatural help–what Muslims refer to as tawhid) and called it a form of fraud. However, not a single statement can be authentically attributed to him in which he calls for a corporal punishment against a sorcerer. In fact, a self-proclaimed sorcerer by the name of Labeed ibn al-Asam tried to do black magic on the Prophet in order to hurt him. When his wife asked him why he didn’t seek any retaliation or punishment against Labeed, the Prophet Muhammad replied by saying: “I hate to cause harm to anyone.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)
After the Prophet Muhammad’s death, the early Muslims introduced corporal punishment for witches, but it never became nearly as big an issue as in the Christian world, where–according to an estimate by A.L. Barstow in Witchcraze–up to 100,000 witches were executed from the year 1480 to 1700. Indeed, laws against sorcerers (or whatever you want to call them) fell into disuse in the Islamic world. Today, aside from Saudi Arabia, it has become largely a non-issue. One need only walk down the streets of Pakistan or Egypt to see this quite clearly: on every other corner sits some fortune teller or other occultist.
While I was doing the research for this article, I stumbled upon this documentary, which depicts quite graphically the victims of witch hunts in Africa. Clearly, the problem is not limited to Muslims.
Robert Spencer and Pam Geller are part of an organization called Stop Islamization of America (SIOA). SIOA just announced a bus ad campaign on Tuesday, April 13 in Miami-Dade County, FL designed to thwart the supposedly “misleading” bus ad campaign created by the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and CAIR to promote the shared commonalities of Islam with Christianity and Judaism.
SIOA’s bus ad campaign had the following remarks on the 10 or so buses running their ads:
Fatwa on your head?
Is your family or community threatening you?
This ad was apparently designed for the purpose of promoting freedom of religion. Obviously, the purpose is a bit more sinister once you start to dig deeper into what Spencer and Geller are promoting here.
The ad includes an address to a website: refugefromislam.com. Go ahead and check out that web site. What do you find there? A web site dedicated to slandering Islam and promoting the views of Spencer and Geller.
Here’s a fair and poignant remark from this web site:
Muslims like you who have seen the falsity of Islam and have made the difficult decision to be free.
Oh sure, that’s just speaking the hard truth. Islam is false and Spencer and Geller want all Muslim apostates to know they got their back in saying so.
Well, it’s Friday, April 16 now, and guess what? The Miami Herald is reporting that the Miami-Dade transit authority took a look at the ads after they were posted on some buses and decided to remove them because they “may be offensive to Islam.” Ya think?
Of course, there’s a freedom of speech issue here. Certainly, Spencer, Geller and their lunatic fringe can spew their hatred on their blogs, but once they take their trashy bigotry outside of their internet cesspool into civil society it only goes to show you that normal, civilized people aren’t going to go along with the whole freedom of speech defense these bigots might use.
Do you think the Miami-Dade transit folks would be okay with posting up ads for the KKK or for some neo-Nazi group? Of course not. So why should ads smearing Islam and manufacturing propaganda against Muslims be tolerated? It shouldn’t, and it isn’t. Kudos to Miami-Dade County for standing up and doing the right thing here.
This entire ad campaign being led by Spencer and Geller is not about freedom of religion anyway, but is about their agenda of smearing Islam and Muslims.
There may in fact be Muslims out there who want to change their faith and fear doing so, but this ad campaign is nothing but propaganda designed to smear Islam and scare ignorant Americans into believing there is a genuine problem with Muslim apostates fearing for their safety. There is no such problem.
The real problem is the double standard Spencer and Geller hold when it comes to Muslim Americans exercising their First Amendment rights.
So for example, Spencer and Geller argue for the freedom of apostates to leave Islam. But what about Muslims who want to be able to practice their faith here in the United States?
Such Muslims don’t get any love from Spencer and Geller. In fact, they only get scorn and vitriol.
For example, recently a Muslim woman in Michigan was refused a position with McDonald’s because she wore the hijab or Muslim headscarf. Spencer accused Muslims of wanting America to conform to their “Islamic sensibilities.” No mention of freedom of religion there. Of course not, because freedom of religion doesn’t apply to Muslims, according to Spencer. The EEOC was quoted in the article Spencer referenced as saying that it had issued new guidelines for accommodating religious practices and beliefs in the workplace. The EEOC must also be a part of this whole Islamic sensibilities campaign, too.
Applying Spencer’s logic to other faiths would mean that a Sikh man shouldn’t complain if he is not given a job at McDonald’s either, or an orthodox Jew. They simply want to impose their “sensibilities” on the rest of us real Americans. Freedom of religion? Pssh.
After saying things like that, Spencer has got a lot of gall to be talking about freedom of religion. The Miami-Dade County transit folks aren’t buying his and Geller’s propaganda, and neither should anyone else.
Addendum by Danios:
The astute law student Omer Subhani has pointed out that this has nothing to do with freedom of speech, as nobody is stopping Spencer et al. from posting his profuse vitriol on his website. However, he does not own the buses and therefore has no right to dictate what goes on them, as I do not have the right to dictate what ads run on JihadWatch. Hypocritically, these Islamophobic elements supported the removal of the WhyIslam.org banners on metro stations, but now they seem to be struck with partial amnesia, claiming that it is a violation of their rights to remove their Islamophobic ads. Apparently, freedom of speech to them is the freedom for them to voice their views and silence those of their opponents. The issue is made exceedingly clear by the example given above, namely that nobody would expect the buses to put up ads supporting the KKK or some neo-Nazi group. Alternatively, one can hardly imagine Usama bin Ladin being allowed to promote his message on these buses.
This is less of an issue about freedom of speech, but more about common human decency. It revolves around Spencer and Geller’s departure from the bounds of reasonableness and entrance into the realms of fringe fanaticism. (A reader of ours noted: “The word ‘departure’ implies that there was a time they were ever within the bounds of reasonableness.” Good point!) Their ad campaign reflects their juvenile behavior. One can hardly expect better from Geller, but shouldn’t Spencer have at least some standards so he can continue to uphold his false claim to scholarship? Bravo, Spencer. You continue to expose yourself as the lunatic you are. Please continue, so we can show the world what a raving lunatic you truly are.
As you know, Dr. Tariq Ramadan – Muslim scholar, writer, and thinker – has had his visa to enter the country reinstated, and he used this to his advantage: speaking at various engagements across the United States. We here at LoonWatch alerted our fellow citizens of the arrival of the “stealth jihadist,” coining the terminology of Robert Spencer. Yet, we didn’t want to stop just there. We wanted to report on what this man was saying.
So, we were able to secure a confidential LW operative to infiltrate the CAIR-Chicago Annual Banquet, his first public speaking engagement since being allowed to come to the U.S., to report on his speech. This operative approached us initially, telling us that he would be attending Dr. Ramadan’s speech. He posed as a regular member of the Muslim community and took clandestine notes and reported them back to us. This was a unique opportunity as Dr. Ramadan was speaking to an audience largely composed of Muslims, and so he can “let loose” and not show his “taqqiya,” as he would if he were speaking to non-Muslims. We could not pass this up.
In the beginning of his speech, he thanked those who helped him come back to the United States, such as the ACLU and others, and he said that he was blocked from coming to the United States because he spoke his mind, especially about the war in Iraq (on which, it turns out, he was correct). He said that people cannot confuse a government with its people.
He mentioned that there was one Islam: unified in its principles and beliefs, but many different cultures, interpretations, and schools of thought. It is an accepted diversity in Islam’s application. At the same time, however, he noted that there was a crisis in the understanding of Islam among Muslims, and that there were many challenges within the Muslim community that needed to be addressed. The main problem with Muslims is psychological in his opinion: he affirmed the need of Muslims to examine what is wrong with themselves, but they should also acknowledge the enormous strides Muslims – especially those in the West – have made in the last 30-50 years.
He urged Muslims to become more involved in their communities and differentitate between victimhood and having a “victim mentality.” He urged his listeners to struggle (aka “jihad”…dah dah daaaaaaah!!!!) against the victim mentality. He reminded the audience that whenever you work for justice, you will be opposed. Whenever you talk about love, he said, people will respond with hate.
Dr. Ramadan also touched upon spirituality, which is more than just praying. It is being strong from within. He quoted the verse about the parable of a good word:
Are you not aware how God sets forth the parable of a good word? [It is] like a good tree, firmly rooted, [reaching out] with its branches towards the sky, yielding its fruit at all times by its Lord’s permission. And [thus it is that] God propounds parables unto men so that they might bethink themselves [of the truth]. (14:24-25)
The roots of the tree are your heart, and the fruits of the tree are your actions, he said. An activist without spirituality is an agitated man, he said. He then gave advice about how to speak to fellow Americans: speak to them softly, and he advised the audience to behave like the “The Servants of the Most Merciful”:
And the servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk on the earth with humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say, “Peace!” (25:63)
God is Beautiful, and He loves beauty, Dr. Ramadan said. Muslims’ mantra must be this: By serving the people, I serve Him. He also said that he does not like defining Islam as “submission.” In his understanding, Islam is entering into God’s peace, as the verse proclaims:
O you who believe! Enter into Islam ["peace"] whole-heartedly, and follow not the footsteps of Satan, for he is to you an avowed enemy. (2:208)
One of the first things the Prophet Muhammad said, he reminded the audience, when he entered Medinah is, “Spread peace.” That is what Muslims should do. No Muslim should say that you can’t love your neighbor if he is not Muslim. This is your home, he told the American Muslim audience. Americans are your people; you cannot call fellow Americans as “them.” When American Muslims say “we,” it must be an inclusive “we,” including all Americans. Spreading peace, justice, and ethics is the purpose of Muslims in America, not to convert non-Muslim Americans to Islam. Muslims are here to make society better; the hearts of the people are not their concern. That is the realm of God.
Now comes the “smoking gun” (pun intended): Dr. Ramadan spoke of Jihad! (dah dah daaaaaaah!!!)
Jihad, he said, did not start with fighting, or qital. The first act of Jihad in the Qur’an was knowing how to use the Qur’an against those who opposed the message:
Hence, do not defer to [the likes and dislikes of] those who deny the truth, but strive hard against them, by means of this [divine writ], with utmost striving. (25:52)
He then ended his speech by turning a critical eye toward the Muslim community itself, which, he said, is very important. He bemoaned the many divisions in the Muslim community: divisions along ethnic lines, cultural lines, class lines, and economic lines. He said that there should be “Americans” in the mosques: people from all cultures. Muslims from different cultures should mix together, he said. He pointed out that many African-American Muslims feel like they are second class Muslims, and many converts feel they have to Arabize, and he criticized both phenomena. Muslims must also improve in their treatment of women, as well. If you want America to be better, he said, then Muslims must start in their own communities.
His final words were this: Never forget that you Muslims are American. He urged them to speak about Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine, and do so as Americans, not Muslims. Moreover, Muslims need to institutionalize their presence in America: Muslims need institutions, and they must work with all people. The key is confidence and humility: be confident about your position, but be humble at the same time.
There you have it, folks. Those were the words (paraphrased by our operative) of Dr. Ramadan at his speech to the CAIR-Chicago banquet. As you can see, it was full of intolerance, hatred, Islamism, and Jihadism. What was the American government thinking when it let him in?
Loonwatchers, please welcome Inconnu to the team of authors on Loonwatch.
As his arguments become exposed, so does he.
It is baffling how Robert Spencer downplays the fact that members of a Christian militia group, the Hutaree, were arrested and charged with planning to wage ware against the United States. In his post, he writes:
For years now we have heard, in the indelible formulation of Rosie O’Donnell, that “radical Christianity is just as dangerous as radical Islam,” and yet proponents of this exercise in wishful thinking and ignorance have had precious little evidence to adduce in support of it. But now it is certain that for years to come this Hutaree group will be thrown in the face of anyone who takes note of jihad activity in the United States and around the world, as if this group in itself balances and equals the innumerable Islamic groups that are waging armed jihad all around the world today.
This is in direct contrast to the report issued by the Department of Homeland Security that documented the rise of right-wing extremism, one which many right-wing commentators attacked vigorously. The much maligned DHS report was recently corroborated by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups in the United States. Clearly, the intelligence and data has led authorities to believe that there is real reason to be concerned about these groups, but Spencer pays it no mind because they are not Muslims.
But, he bemoans the fact that there are no quotations in media reports from Christian leaders denouncing this Christian militia:
Meanwhile, in the Detroit News story on the raids, which as tendentious, superficial, and slanted as all the mainstream media coverage of the Hutaree’s downfall, the Hutaree is matter-of-factly identified as Christian. Yet there are no quotations in the story from Christian leaders explaining how they condemn this “Christian militia,” and saying that Christianity doesn’t condone such violence, and that these militiamen have twisted and hijacked their peaceful faith. Why didn’t the News take care to gather such quotes? After all, they always include such quotes from Muslim leaders in every story about Islamic jihad terror activity. Why is the practice different in this case?
The reason for this is that most everyone knows, including us here at LW, that the actions of a radical few do not reflect upon the nature of the majority. These alleged “Christian soldiers” do not represent the mainstream. We here at LW know that. Most resonable people understand this basic fact.
We here at LW know that the actions of a few pedophile priests do not reflect upon the overwhelming majority of the good people who are Catholic priests, men who have sacrificed a great deal to minister to their flock. Would it be right and proper to smear all of Catholic Christianity with the stain of pedophilia and sexual abuse because of the actions of a relatively small number of priests? Of course not. We here at LW know this.
Spencer, however, does not share such logic. He continually cherry picks bad news stories from among the 1.2 billion Muslims in the world to somehow smear the entire group. Notice how he calls the Hutaree a “self-proclaimed Christian group,” which they are, to dismiss them. But, when a self-proclaimed Muslim group does something bad, according to Spencer, Geller, and Co., it is because of Islam itself. What fallacy.
Spencer calls the Hutaree, a group that allegedly planned on killing a cop and then bombing the funeral to kill more cops, a “dream come true” for the mainstream media. Actually, this group (and the others like them) is a nightmare come true. They must be fought against with as much vigor as is needed in the fight against radical Muslims who wish to do Americans harm.
You may remember that Tariq Ramadan had his visa revoked by the Bush administration, ostensibly because he donated money to a charity organization that it was later charged had links to Hamas. The charge was clearly fallacious as the organization was not listed as a banned charity in America at the time that Tariq Ramadan made his contribution.
The real reason seems to be that Tariq Ramadan was banned by Bush due to a policy of ideological exclusion and Ramadan’s fierce opposition to the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This was further confirmed when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered Ramadan’s visa to be reinstated.
Unfortunately the blog post quoted Robert Spencer, one of the leading Islamophobes in the West today.
But author Robert Spencer says that popularity is dangerous. In interviews, he has criticized Clinton for making an exception to U.S. law that prohibits supports of terrorist groups from entering the country. Spencer said Ramadan should still be barred for donating money to a group that funds Hamas.
Spencer contends that the scholar has the same goals as Osama bin Laden–to impose Shariah law in the West. While Ramadan paints himself as a moderate intellectual, Spencer said, he is actually a “stealth jihadist.”
It is a severe lapse in judgement for Brachear to quote Spencer’s claims since they are false on their head. It is an attempt on Spencer’s part to “poison the wells.” The fact is Ramadan has never supported Hamas or terrorism, in fact he has been one of the most outspoken critics of both. “Stealth Jihad” is just paranoid new speak that serves bigots who wish to cast normal, law abiding Muslims as evil villains who are secretly working behind the scenes to take over the West. It is in fact the new “Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”
Our website has copiously dissected many of Robert Spencer’s blog posts exposing his unsavory associations, pseudo-scholarship and blatant bigotry against Muslims and Islam. One of our premiere contributors, Danios has gone through whole chapters in Spencer’s books and revealed how shoddy and inaccurate a lot of his work has been. To quote Robert Spencer on Muslims and Islam is equivalent to quoting David Duke on Judaism or Jews.
One instructive point in regards to all of this is that one of Spencer’s closest friends and a co-founder with Spencer of The Freedom Defense Initiative,Pamela Geller has gone to the extreme (and insane) level of calling Tariq Ramadan, “a cold blooded Jihadists.” An exercise in hyperbole that the worst enemies and strongest critics of Ramadan won’t even engage in. However, one must ask Spencer if he agrees with that characterization by his friend Geller who he cross-posts from regularly? It also seriously puts into doubt the objectiveness of Spencer and whether he should ever be quoted by mainstream media.
I urge our readers to contact Manya and to politely express their disappointment at the inclusion of a bigot such as Spencer on a professional blog such as hers.
Here is some information that may be helpful to share with Manya (remember to be polite and topical):
The fact is Spencer is not taken seriously by academia especially in the field of Islam: He has been repudiated over and over. Take a glance at our archives:
Spencer’s association and fervent support for anti-Muslim European neo-Fascists and supremacists also disqualifies him from being mentioned as a true neutral observer and commenter on Islam or radical Islam:
There is more information exposing the bigotry and anti-Muslim motive that mars the work of Robert Spencer in our archives, if Manya Brachear truly cares about the information she wishes to present to readers then she should take a serious look at who she chooses to quote as an expert.