Frontpage Muslim-bashing Authority Can’t Do a Two Second Google Search

(via. Loonwatch)

Behold the erroneous misinformation factory at Front Page Mag, the online place where Islamophobes go to find spurious arguments that make them feel better about being intolerant of Muslims. Today’s gem comes from Raymond Ibrahim, a skilled harvester of Islamophobic cash cows, a particularly spite-filled individual with an obsession for essentializing Islam as a religion of war, slavery, and sexual misconduct.

Where before have I heard similar claims about a similar religion? Oh yeah. Every anti-Semitic website on the internet. The strong parallel between the claims, rhetoric, and methodologies of Anti-Semites and Islamophobes have been discussed many times before, so there is no need to repeat those arguments here.

Today, I will comment on Mr. Ibrahim’s unprincipled “research” which has as an a priori(beforehand) conclusion that Muslims are never victims, only perpetrators. What perturbed me is that Front Page praises Mr. Ibrahim as a “widely recognized authority on Islam” who can translate “important Arabic news that never reaches the West.”

You see, according to David Horowitz, anti-Muslim ideological commitment makes someone a “widely recognized authority” on Islam; not rigorous academic training, as those foolish liberals believe, with their pesky “facts,” their elitist “research methodologies,” and their vexatious love of “balance.”

o the matter at hand. You may have heard the recent story about two Egyptian Christian girls who were allegedly abducted by Muslims. Raymond pens an anti-Muslim hit piece entitled “Egypt: Christian Girls Kidnapped and ‘Sold’.” Ready for some bombshell evidence of Islam’s collective depravity? Won’t find it here. Raymond is upset that the Egyptian Newspaper, Al-Masry Al-Youm, didn’t report on this story with an acceptable level of anti-Muslim bias:

At the end of the Al-Masry Al-Youm report, we get a trailing sentence alluding to “claims” that two Christian girls “were abducted by Muslims and forced to convert to Islam” as the reason why Copts were demonstrating and clashing with the police in the first place.

This is the “claim” that Mr. Ibrahim wants to advance, the claim of the Christian protestors, i.e. the girls were kidnapped, forced to convert to Islam, and this sort of thing happens all the time because of the tenets of Islam. (Sigh). It should go without saying that mainstream Islam explicitly teaches againstforced conversions. Several Quranic verses can be produced to support this:

Had your Lord willed, all the people on earth would have believed. So can you [Prophet] compel people to believe? (10:99)

If your Lord had pleased, He would have made all people a single community, but they continue to have their differences… (11:118)

If you find rejection by the disbelievers so hard to bear, then seek a tunnel into the ground or a ladder into the sky, if you can, and bring them a sign: God could bring them all to guidance if it were His will, so do not join the ignorant. (6:35)

The messenger’s only duty is to give clear warning. (29:18)

We know best what the disbelievers say. You [Prophet] are not there to force them, so remind, with this Quran, those who fear My warning. (50:45)

There is no compulsion in religion: true guidance has become distinct from error, so whoever rejects false gods and believes in God has grasped the firmest hand-hold, one that will never break. God is all hearing and all knowing. (2:256)

Say, ‘Obey God; obey the Messenger. If you turn away, [know that] he is responsible for the duty placed upon him, and you are responsible for the duty placed upon you. If you obey him, you will be rightly guided, but the Messenger’s duty is only to deliver the message clearly.’ (24:54)

Note that the last two verses were revealed in Medina, just in case anyone wants to bring up the tired, old canard that everything wise and peaceful in the Quran was abrogated. In fact, Al-Azhar University’s Commission for Embracing Islam may “spend several days making sure that the person wants to convert to Islam voluntarily and as a result of their own desire.”

Therefore, if it is true that the girls were kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam, this would be an obvious breach of normative, mainstream Islamic teachings, not to mention Egyptian civil law. This would make it a case of criminal behavior, not normal religion. Whoever forces someone to be a Muslim is not behaving like a Muslim. Period.

However, as we shall see, we have strong reason to doubt these girls were kidnapped in the first place.

What are Mr. Ibrahim’s sources for claiming the two girls were in fact kidnapped and forced into Islam? A dubious Arabic website entitled “Free Christian Nation.” No possibility of bias there (sarcasm intended). Mr. Ibrahim boasts about his expert Arabic translation skills:

One must again turn to Arabic sources for the telling details. I have put together the following narrative and quotes based on these two Arabic reports:

The two girls, Christine Azat (aged 16) and Nancy Magdi (aged 14) were on their way to church Sunday, June 12, when they were seized. Their abductors demanded $200,000 Egyptian pounds for their release. The people of the region quickly put their savings together and came up with the ransom money; but when they tried to give it to the kidnappers, they rejected it, saying they had already “sold” the girls off to another group which requires $12 million Egyptian pounds to return them.

Two unsourced reports in Arabic? From which news agency? There are no authors or publishers listed on the reports. If you can read Arabic, seriously, check it out. So your ability to translate from some random anonymous Arabic websites is why you are a “widely recognized authority on Islam”?

But what our “widely recognized authority on Islam” failed to mention is that other mainstream newspapers (even in English, accessible to non-scholars, no translation necessary) have published reports contrary to his central claim. Mr. Ibrahim tells us about his scholarly research methods:

I tried to find this story in English-language media and, as expected, found nothing…

Oh really? I did a two-second Google search and found some. For example, Al-Ahram reported that:

During recent weeks, the two girls, who are cousins, have uploaded videos on YouTube announcing their conversion to Islam and that they were not kidnapped by ‎anyone. This came in response to the father of one of the girls reporting their‎disappearance. ‎

According to this report, the girls willfully converted to Islam, so Mr. Ibrahim tries to explain this away:

Some have tried to pass the usual rumor that the girls “willingly” ran off and converted to Islam, but even Egyptian officials reject this, saying that Al Azhar, which is the institution that formally recognizes conversions to Islam, has not acknowledged the conversion of underage minors.

This “rumor” happens to be based upon the Youtube testimony of the girls themselves, which would make it more than a rumor. The fact that Al-Azhar University did not announce their conversions is not proof that the girls didn’t willfully convert because, as Al-Ahram reports, Al-Azhar “does not accredit ‎conversion to Islam from anyone younger than 18.”‎ Minor details!

The point here is not whether the girls converted or not. I won’t get into “he said, she said” arguments about a pending legal case. The point is that Raymond, as usual, obviously didn’t research and balance his reporting, which means the only reason he brought it up at all is because it is useful ideological propaganda. His readers don’t read Arabic. They won’t double check his work. These blatant mistakes will get swept under rug, again as usual, to be replaced by the next propaganda item, the next blog post, the next hit piece. The erroneous misinformation factory marches on.

Does Raymond really want to help the Christian community in Egypt? Coptic Christians, whom Raymond pretends to defend, have rejected these kind of tactics and propaganda that divide Egypt along religious lines. Bishop Markos of Shubra al-Kheima told Al-Masry Al-Youm that:

Copts fall under the protection of the Egyptian state, and Muslims and Christians in Egypt fall under the protection of God, who mentioned Egypt and its people in the Quran and the Bible.

So don’t be fooled into thinking Raymond cares about these girls or even Egyptian Christians. He’s just using them and their story to whip up anti-Muslim populism, to use as a religio-political wedge issue in the campaign against Obama and liberals.

Undoubtedly, the guys at Front Page would not campaign for the human rights of these two girls if they had really converted to Islam. If their conversion to Islam was genuine, would Mr. Ibrahim and Horowitz support their religious freedom?

I ask these questions because, contrary to the 24-hour hate-on-Islam-a-thon at Front Page, Egyptian Christians who convert to Islam have also faced persecution. This certainly wouldn’t be the first case. As Al-Ahram reported:

This is not the first story of Muslim converts that has been a source of public debate and ‎concern. Camilia Shehata, who disappeared from her house in July 2010, was‎alleged to have converted to Islam only to be held in church after conversion to prevent ‎her from practicing her new religion.

Of course, stories about Muslims being denied religious freedom by Christians don’t quite fit into the Islam-is-all-evil-all-the-time-RSS-feed at Front Page Mag.

I’m not expecting an honest answer from Raymond.

Quote of the Day: Silly Spencer: Abercrombie & Fitch is a New Proving Ground for Stealth Jihad

Hani Khan, 20, says she was fired from Abercrombie & Fitch at Hillsdale Mall for refusing to remove her headscarf while at work. Credit Drew Himmelstein

Spencer tends to forget that a job is a job. Everyone has the right to work where they want in America.

The real question is, Why would a Muslima want to work at Abercrombie & Fitch in the first place? Wouldn’t she find the clothing line, the advertising, and the whole atmosphere objectionable on moral grounds? Shouldn’t she prefer to shun such an environment rather than want to work there at all, especially if she is pious and observant enough to want to wear the hijab? Unless, of course, the real point of her getting hired in the first place was to compel an American business to change its practices in order to accommodate Islamic norms, and thereby to assert once again that Islam must dominate and not be dominated.

This Muslim woman chose to work at a place where her love for fashion could be a place to help others find the perfect accessories. Her personal accessory happens to be a hijab.

“Abercrombie & Fitch will also be selling hijabs, niqabs, and burqas once creeping Sharia takes effect.” Spencer needs to get a life.

Most of the comments for this post veer far off topic and into an odd self-gratifying Hadith flinging game. Here is a sampling of the “moderated” comment section:

Quote of the Day: Spencer and Geller blame Muslims for forcing a 95-year-old, wheelchair-bound leukemia patient to remove adult diaper for search

Less than subtle hint from Spencer to profile Muslims. I bet him and King see eye to eye regarding this issue.

The TSA: protecting us from 95-year-old wheelchair-bound leukemia sufferers. But hey — at least they’re not profiling Muslims, and that’s all that matters!

Is there something wrong with the TSA doing this? Yes. And is there something wrong with Spencer trying to blame it on the Muslims? Dang skippy.

If you care to know what Pamela Geller thinks about all this, here it goes:

The TSA is giving Fridays off to devout Muslim TSA agents so that they can pray. Meanwhile, they are doing vaginal pat downs on six-year-olds, and now this. America, where are you on this?

Spencer and Geller play the bad cop/bad cop, but not to seek truth but to add fuel to the fire, to give ammo for other Islamophobes. Their two cents of bigoted, un-scholarly remarks are tasteless and nothing about them speaks freedom.

Andrew Brown: Islamophobia and antisemitism

The money quote from the article,

“But with Muslims, in Britain today, there is a feeling that the civilised, funny, clever ones aren’t really proper Muslims at all. And don’t think that these civilised, funny, clever people people don’t notice it.

This is subtle and pervasive – more of a smell than a substance – and I’m not sure whether it’s a very diluted version of the stench that comes off Condell or Robert Spencer or something essentially different.”

I couldn’t have said it better than that.

Islamophobia and antisemitism

by Andrew Brown (Guardian)

The great thing about being in Dubai last week was being a foreigner once more. It’s how I spent much of my childhood, how I grew up, and how I feel most at home; but it brings professional rewards as well as personal pleasures. I was for the first time in my conscious life in an environment where the most important thing about Muslims was not that they were Muslims. It gave me a moment of sudden awareness, like waking in a log cabin without electricity when all the background hum and tension of electric motors that you never normally hear is suddenly audible by its absence.

The people I was hanging out, and sometimes drinking, with were Muslim intellectuals whom I know and like in England. They’re not in any way discriminated against in this country, as far as I can tell: their lives are not impeded by the kind of people who think that Muslims are a problem to be solved. The kind of crude and open prejudice that flourishes online – and go and look at comments on the Telegraph website, or the videos of Pat Condell, if you want to know what I mean – is very rare in liberal circles, and when we catch ourselves at it, we feel guilty.

But there is a more subtle and general sort of prejudice which holds that Condell is not an extremist outcast. Richard Dawkins, for example, has praised Condell, and used to sell his videos on his website, which reminds of the way that Oswald Mosley remained a member in good standing of the English upper classes until the outbreak of the second world war, despite his views on Jews.

What I realised in Dubai was that in England today Muslims can’t escape being Muslims, any more than Jews in England in the 20s or 30s could escape being Jewish. They can’t just be unremarkable, as Jews in England can be now.

In Dubai, or neighbouring Sharjah, being a Muslim did not matter in the same way. Obviously, people made a huge amount of fuss about Islam. But when you’re in a room full of Muslim academics and students arguing about culture, or censorship, or why there is so little science in the Arab world, the arguments themselves make one thing wholly plain. Neither side is more Muslim than the other. None of the flaws of the Islamic world are essential or intrinsic to it. They may be widespread, and in some cases quite horrible. But they’re all cultural and not just religious.

I don’t mean by this that all the bad bits are cultural and all the good bits religious. That’s both false and simplistic. Cultures can be both good and bad and both are still authentically Islamic. But the whole idea of an “essential” or “true” way of being Muslim makes little sense when looked at historically, no matter how important, indeed indispensable, that style of argument is between Muslims. The same is of course true about “real” Christianity, or, for that matter, “real” atheism.

We don’t have any real difficulty accepting this about Christians in this country. Except for a few noisy bigots, it’s accepted that nice, good Christians are just as Christian as nasty and vile ones: that Jesus would be just as much at home among the Quakers as in Ian Paisley’s congregation; in fact most Guardian readers believe that he would like the Quakers more. Certainly this is true about Jews. No one really believes that Lionel Blue is less Jewish than the chief rabbi (unless the chief rabbi does).

But with Muslims, in Britain today, there is a feeling that the civilised, funny, clever ones aren’t really proper Muslims at all. And don’t think that these civilised, funny, clever people people don’t notice it.

This is subtle and pervasive – more of a smell than a substance – and I’m not sure whether it’s a very diluted version of the stench that comes off Condell or Robert Spencer or something essentially different. Either way, it is a smell of which I spend most of my life unaware, and Muslims notice much more often. I shall try to flare my nostrils a little more often.

My God is Better Than Yours (III): Yoel Natan, Author of Moon-O-Theism, Believes Dinosaurs Roamed the Earth with Humans

This is page III of My God is Better Than Yours.  (Read page I and II first.)

Yoel Natan is author of the cleverly titled book Moon-O-Theism: Religion of a War and Moon God Prophet.  His book is frequently cited by Islamophobes to prove the “Allah is the Moon-God” claim.  Indeed, Natan himself recognizes this, saying:

Evidently, my moon-god book is making the “Allah was a moon-god” theory more respectable, since before the issue was ignored or sneered at.

Is Yoel Natan a “respectable” scholar or academic whose book could give any respectability to the moon-god theory which was previously “ignored or sneered at?”  This is a legitimate question, and it is therefore licit to determine whether or not Yoel Natan is a credible source to cite, at least on an academic or scholarly level.

Our research indicates that Yoel Natan is an anonymous blogger operating under a pseudonym.  Although there is nothing wrong with this, we can gauge his level of seriousness and sophistication (or rather, lack thereof) by glancing at his blog.  We can tell much about Yoel Natan by what he has said over the years.  In fact, we can tell a whole lot from this.  All the evidence indicates that he not only lacks seriousness or sophistication but is in fact a kooky loon.

Yoel Natan is a fervent pro-Creationist anti-Evolutionist who seems to have delusions of grandeur that make Robert Morey’s fraudulent credentials seem tame in comparison.  Natan routinely speaks of himself in the third person on his blog, posting articles with such grandiose titles:

Yoel Natan Solves Another Longtime Creationist Mystery–Mammoths

Yoel Natan Solves Yet Another Ice Age Mystery: Mass Extinctions

Yoel Natan solves the mystery of deep sea guyots and reefs

Yoel Natan solves why C14 dates are older than young earth scientists might expect

Yoel Natan solves the mystery of the flood waters rising and receding

etc. etc.

You may think that these are titles made in jest.  They are not.  They are meant to be taken 100% seriously.  And to be clear: this is not a group blog.  It is his personal blog site, and Yoel Natan is referring to himself in the royal third person here.

To understand how great Yoel Natan’s delusions of grandeur are, one only needs to look at this article in which he seems to say that the publication of his two books (The Jewish Trinity and Moon-O-Theism) were responsible for the global drop in Christians converting to Judaism and the global drop in Jews converting to Islam.

Yoel Natan’s bloated sense of self is also indicated in his choice of pen name.  Natan himself explains on his website what his pseudonym means: “Yo-el means ‘Yah[veh] is God (El). Natan[ael or iel] means ‘Gift [of God (El)].”  So, Yoel Natan is a gift of God to humanity.  After all, he solved so many scientific mysteries!

No wonder then that such a delusional person could somehow blame mall and school shooting on Darwinism (or as he says, Darwinists).  Natan somehow imagines that the various mall and school shooters wore “T-shirts with evolution slogans”:

Most of the school shooters and mass-shooters are on the left, and even wear T-shirts with evolution slogans, proclaiming that their cull is a form of natural selection and supports the survival of the fittest (more like survival of the luckiest).

Natan is not an academic or scholar at all; in fact, he is anti-academicanti-science and certainly anti-scientist, complaining that “scientists [are] bound by their models and presumptions.”  Yoel Natan, on the other hand, is not bound by scientific method or facts.  He argues in another postthat the “Smithsonian natural history museum should be called a fiction museum.” Yoel Natan rejects global warming, and says “evolution is a hoax” and “evolution [is] one big straw man argument”.

Worse yet, Natan claims that carbon-dating would prove that dinosaurs were alive just a few thousand years ago (!!!) instead of millions of years ago as accepted by scientists, saying:

Evolutionists continue to refuse to C14 date fresh dinosaur tissues for fear that it will show young date–in the thousands of years before present (kilo-annum – ka BP).

Natan links back to AnswersInGenesis.org, which says that “the world is about 6,000 years old”, a view that he defends himself on his website. Yoel Natan seems to believe that “man and dinosaurs lived at the same time” just like in the Flintstones.  Natan’s blog has an entire section about dinosaurs, which makes for a good laugh.

In another kooky post, Yoel Natan explains “why evolutionists were largely responsible for the Holocaust”.  On that note, Yoel Natan is no exception to the rule that every kook needs to invoke Nazi references.  He links liberals to Nazis.  He also links evolutionists to Nazism, arguing that “Hitler said he fully supported the goals of evolution” and that World War II was in fact a war against “Darwinists” and “evolutionists”.

Likewise, the Cold War was not between capitalists and communists, but between “atheism versus religion”–against the atheistic evolutionists in the Soviet Union.  Then, in true Glenn Beck fashion, Natan links evolution to every form of fascism and communism he possibly can: “…Whenever evolutionist [sic] do have a semblance of absolute authority, evolution springs into action a al Hitler, Stalin, Mao, etc.”

Yoel Natan also dabbles in good old-fashioned Antisemitism, arguing that Jewish-American reluctance to accept government involvement in religion is “an example of US Jewish supremacist thinking”.  Natan also posted a random article that seems to imply that Jewish-Americans are irreligious and basically godless.  Worse, he links Jews to the evil of Communism, arguing that persecution of Jews could be partially explained by this.

And of course, the Holocaust was due to evolutionists (damn those evolutionists; they are always guilty of everything!); says Natan: “evolution was not a sufficient cause for the Holocaust, but it was a necessary cause.”

Natan says: “…Jewish support for abortion is the primary cause as to why the Jews never truly recovered from the Holocaust”.  (He prefaces his argument by saying that Richard Baehr, a Jewish-American, said this.  However, Baehr didn’t really say this, and it seems to be Natan’s own view.)

Yoel Natan’s book The Jewish Trinity: When Rabbis Believed in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is a conspiracy-laden book.  Its basic thesis is that, contrary to scholarly consensus and the well-accepted historical narrative, Jews in fact believed in the Trinity (the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit) and the divinity of the Messiah.  This is a conspiracy theory of the highest order, one that is not accepted even by Evangelical scholars.

A few people have left very positive feedback of his book, possibly his friends but definitely Evangelical Christians (no surprise there); other, more neutral reviewers, have more accurate feedback, with one calling his book “a poor excuse for Bible scholarship” and another referring to it as “conspiracy theory pseudo-scholarship” and “not a serious piece of theology or Bible interpretation.”  The latter review summarizes his book and puts it in the proper light:

The author believes, incredibly, and against all Bible translators and historical theologians – Christian and not, trinitarian and not – that the ancient Jews were trinitarians, and that this important fact was deliberately hidden by a cabal of dastardly “unitarian” Jews in the inter-testamental period. This is literally a conspiracy theory book.

There is no end to the level of kookiness on Yoel Natan’s blog.  For example, in another article he argues that “very few Christians d[ied] in [the] tsunami and earthquake” that ravaged Indonesia: God killed the infidels and saved the God-fearing Christians, something which “the skeptics don’t believe.”  In fact, not only were the Christians saved but the Sharia-abiding Muslims were killed: “place where tsunami hit worst was 100 percent Sharia Law.” These atrocious comments are reminiscent of those made by Pat Robertson, another loony Evangelical, who claimed that Haiti was hit by a devastating earthquake due to a pact made with the devil.

Of course, Yoel Natan’s most atrocious comments are reserved for Muslims.  He is a veritable Islamophobe.  Natan argues that Muslims are “the enemy”, a fact that evolutionists deny.  Natan subscribes to the Eurabia conspiracy theory, the fallacious claim that Muslims and Islam will soon reign supreme in Europe–and that eventually Muslim immigrants in Europe will subjugate Europeans to “dhimmitude”, a state of servitude.

Natan relies on Islamophobic loons such as Bat Ye’or, a pseudoscholar who believes in all sorts of fantastic conspiracy theories.  Natan routinely relies on anti-Muslim hatemongers and unreliable sources such as Robert Spencer and JihadWatchMichelle MalkinWorldNetDailyDaniel Pipes,Alan Keyes, etc. etc.  Clearly, Yoel Natan has a strong bias against Islam.  This is undeniable, and as such, can the anti-Muslim proponents of the “Allah is the moon-god theory” cite a real contemporary scholar and scholarly work that affirms the theory?

*  *  *  *  *

What is quite interesting and telling is this post here, which Yoel Natan entitles “Yoel Natan is mentioned in blog, book that are a focus of national news.” First, his usage of the third person to refer to himself is quite comical, especially since it is his personal blog and not a group blog with multiple contributors, editors, staff, etc.  Second, he seems very pleased with himself that he was mentioned in a “blog, book that are a focus of national news.”  Third (and most amusing), it is worthwhile to note in what context he was mentioned.  Natan quotes Alec Rawls in the Crescent of Betrayal:

In a blog comment, Yoel Natan tipped me off to the fact that every mosque is built around a Mecca-direction indicator, called a mihrab, which often has a crescent shape.

Yoel Natan is so beside himself that someone read a comment he made on a blog and then reproduced it!  It would be the equivalent of someone boasting that Glenn Greenwald mentioned one of the comments left under one of his Salon articles in one of his books!

Fourth, it is also amusing that Natan then emailed Alec Rawls asking him to change it to “author Yoel Nathan”:

In case your wondering, yes, I emailed him today asking him to change that to “author Yoel Natan (yoel.info),” and I told him very briefly about my books.

And no, I was not wondering.  This of course answers the question: Yoel Nathan is not a scholar or academic.  His greatest and proudest claim is to be an “author”, publishing two conspiracy-laden books.  Again, nothing wrong with that in and of itself (well, aside from the conspiracy-theorist part).

However, he is not a credible source to cite for a theory such as the moon-god theory.  Indeed, he is a Christian fundamentalist, Bible-thumper, and loony Creationist who believes that the earth is only 6,000 years old, that dinosaurs lived with humans like in the Flintstones, and that evolution and global warming are fake.  He is also at least a little bit Antisemitic and a whole lot Islamophobic.  All in all, Yoel Natan is a poor source to cite.

*  *  *  *  *

Having thus established that the source of the moon-god theory–including Robert Morey (originator of the theory) and Yoel Natan (responsible for giving the theory a second wind)–are wholly unreliable, we now turn our attention to the substance of the theory itself.

My God is Better Than Yours (II): Robert Morey, The Fake Doctor Behind the “Allah is the Moon-God” Theory

This is page II of My God is Better Than Yours.  (Read page I first.)

In recent times, a common claim furthered by anti-Muslim Christians is that Muslims worship the moon.  It is said that “Allah” refers to the moon-god.  Prof. Judith Mendelsohn Rood notes that this “theory” is slowly becoming “mainstream” in Evangelical circles:

Christian apologists are claiming that Allah is the “moon god” of a pagan religion–a pernicious idea that is making its way increasingly into mainstream evangelical culture.

This moon-god lie originated from “Dr.” Robert Morey, a Christian Evangelist and professional Islamophobe.  Says Morey:

Islam’s origins have been traced back by scholars to the ancient fertility religion of the worship of the moon god which was always the dominant religion of Arabia. The moon god was worshipped by praying toward Mecca several times a day, making an annual pilgrimage to the Kabah which was a temple of the moon god, running around the Kabah seven times, caressing an idol of a black stone set in the wall of the Kabah, running between two hills, making animal sacrifices, gathering on Fridays for prayers, giving alms to the poor, etc.. These were pagan rites practised by the Arabs long before Muhammad was born.

He goes on:

What religion today practices the pagan rites of the moon god? Islam! This explains why the crescent moon is the symbol of Islam. It is placed on top of mosques and minarets and displayed on hats, flags, rugs, amulets and even jewellery. Every time you see the Muslim symbol of a crescent moon, you are seeing the ancient symbol of the moon god.

Morey claims that to defeat Islam, the Judeo-Christian West must nuke the Kaaba in Mecca, saying:

First, as I wrote in my book, How to Win the War Against Radical Islam, the war against the Muslim Jihadists will be long and costly and will not be won until we bomb the Kabah in Mecca.  Islam is based on a brick and mortar building that can be destroyed. They pray to that building five times a day, make a pilgrimage to it, run around it, kiss a black rock on the wall, then run between two hills and finally throw rocks at a pillar. What if that building, the Kabah, was destroyed? They could not pray to it or make a pilgrimage to it. The old pagan temple of the moon-god, al-ilah, is the Achilles’ heel of Islam. Destroy it and you destroy Islam’s soul.

Initially, we had decided that it was not worth our time to refute this silly “Allah is the moon-god” canard: Robert Morey is clearly a loon, and who would take him seriously?  Unfortunately, as we found out, a lot of people.  Indeed, anti-Muslim Christians regularly invoke the moon-god theory, such that it makes it impossible not to deal with this issue.

It would behoove us to first question the source of this moon-god theory: who is Robert Morey?  Is he a credible scholar?  The answer is an emphatic no.  He is a Christian Evangelist and anti-Muslim polemicist: it seems fairly obvious that he has a strong bias.  As is the case with other pro-Christian anti-Muslim ideologues who claim to be “scholars on Islam” (such as Robert Spencer), Morey possesses absolutely no credible academic qualifications on the subject of Islam.

Worse than this, Morey is a quack, claiming credentials that are outright fake: on his website, he claims that he has an honorary doctor of divinity (D.D.) in Islamic Studies from the Faith Theological Seminary located in Pakistan.  Firstly, it should be noted that an “honorary degree” would mean that he never actually attended the school at all.

But if this wasn’t bad enough, the degree itself is fraudulent.  When the Faith Theological Seminary found out Morey was claiming to have a degree from their school, they categorically denied that they had ever issued such a degree to him and ordered him to remove the claim from his site or face criminal charges.  The school referred to Morey’s “degree” as an “illegal and fake degree”.  (Morey did not remove it from his site and continues to claim the degree.)

Robert Morey also claims a PhD in Islamic Studies from the Louisiana Baptist University (LBU).  This is an unaccredited institution that is not recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).  LBU is a “distance learning program” (teaching via the internet), with one alumnus boasting that “the LBU program may be completed 100% via distance learning”, while noting that “I did spend one week on campus”.  In other words, the PhD is “earned” over the internet, not the classroom.

LBU is listed in Steve Levicoff’s Name It and Frame It?: New Opportunities in Adult Education and How to Avoid Being Ripped Off by “Christian” Degree Mills as a “degree mill”, a term used to refer to groups that issue bogus degrees for a fee.  Outside his book, Levicoff put it bluntly: “LBU is a joke.”  Perhaps LBU’s website words it best: “LBU has both the experience and reliability to provide an efficient quality degree program tailored to your needs.”  Indeed!  This is a case of “Phd-for-a-fee or your money back.”

In 1998, the Louisiana Board of Regents (a government agency responsible for overseeing higher education) issued a unanimous ruling to deny LBU an operating license for its business education programs, and ordered the school to cease admitting students and cease advertising.  LBU was later exempted based on the religious institution exemption and was allowed to operate as a religious institution.

Once again, things go from bad to worse for Morey when the matter is investigated further.  Morey claims on his bio that he has obtained a PhD degree in “Islamic Studies”.  The only problem?  LBU does not offer any such degree.  As the OC Weekly noted:

Morey also claims to have received a doctorate from Louisiana Baptist University. Two problems: LBU is unaccredited by the United States government, which means no serious academy would recognize it. Then there’s this: LBU doesn’t offer a Ph.D. in Islamic studies.

The paper is absolutely correct: LBU does not offer any such degree.  When OC Weekly asked him to comment on this “fib”, he altered his story:

When told LBU offers no program in Islamic studies, Morrey corrected himself and said his doctorate is in theology, with an emphasis on Islam.

Yet, Morey’s website and bio to this day continue to claim that he obtained a PhD in Islamic studies. Worse yet, LBU doesn’t even offer a doctorate in theology with an emphasis on Islam.  Graduate degrees that the school does offer include “degrees of Doctor of Philosophy in Biblical Studies, Psychology and Christian Counseling, and Christian Education.” As the OC Weekly sarcastically quipped about Morey’s imaginary degree: “He’s the first and only student to receive such a degree from the school.”

To put the nail in the coffin, there is no way Robert Morey could have studied any degree at LBU with an “emphasis on Islam” because a look at the school’s course catalog reveals that it does not offer a single course having anything to do with Islam.  It is a school that offers courses about Christianity, not Islam.

The fact that Morey had to lie about having an “honorary degree” on the one hand and an online degree from a degree mill on the other hand shows how desperate Robert Morey is that people call him “doctor”. The only other degree Robert Morey could hang his hat on for the title of “doctor” is the “D.Min.” (Doctor of Ministry) in Apologetics that he claims he earned from the Westminster Theological Seminary.

However, it should be noted that the degree of “Doctor of Ministry” can be considered  a “fluff” degreethat is no way, shape, or form equivalent to or even comparable to a real PhD.  As one astute bloggerworded it:

It’s a match made in heaven.

On one side: a pastor who…needs respect and money and position.

On the other side: floundering seminaries struggling to stay financially afloat in a world of tight budgets and harsher spreadsheets.  These seminaries accept (almost indiscriminately) anyone willing to put down the tuition money, no matter what their moral or intellectual character…

Welcome to the Doctor of Ministry degree. After three quick, easy, study-lite years, the pastor has attained his Doctor of Ministry degree. His doctorate degree.  That degree gives the pastor a tremendous amount of respect now.  He is Dr. Pastor now, a real somebody.  More importantly, there is tremendous upside attached to his new title, and the ceiling on his earning potential has just been lifted.  Dr. Pastor has clout now, or Dr. Rev. Pastor, if you will.   Suffix Suffice it to say, he has respect, money, and position.

Following a familiar pattern, we find that the situation gets worse for “Dr.” Robert Morey when we find out that the Westminster Theological Seminary does not seem to offer a D.Min. in “Apologetics”. It is difficult to determine which of his “credentials” is more impressive: an “illegal or fake degree” from a real university or a fake degree from a fake university or a fake degree from a real university offering fluff degrees?

In any case, Morey quickly transitioned from being the receiver of fake degrees to the one giving them out, and founded the California Biblical University and Seminary, another unaccredited money-making “university”and degree mill.  The “school’s” faculty page listed him as the only faculty member.  Due to reasons that are unclear to us now (legal action?), the school has now disappeared…no doubt after Morey fleeced enough students of their hard-earned cash.

Robert Morey also served as a pastor at the Faith Community Church in California, where members of his church accused him of illegal and immoral behavior, including using church money for his personal expenses.  Consequently, the Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals (F.I.R.E.) had “Robert Morey Thrown Out Of His Denomination” and forcibly resigned him in a unanimous vote by board officials, declaring that he had “abused his pastoral authority.”

Moriel Ministries stated that Morey was guilty of “gross and habitual financial impropriety” and “academic fraud with a bogus doctorate in Islam”, and mocked him for his outrageous claim that he has “read everything in the US Library of Congress on Islam”, which Moriel astutely points out would mean “over 7,000 volumes, monograms etc. to say nothing of the fact he cannot read Arabic.”  His claim that he has read all of the books on Islam in the U.S. Library of Congress is reminiscent of Sarah Palin’s remark that she “reads all of them”, referring to newspapers.

After closing down his degree mill “university” and being thrown out of his ministry, Robert Morey seems to have in recent years fled the limelight to live away from the public eye.  Nonetheless, his moon-god theory lives on, and has in fact been given a “second wind” thanks to the surge of Islamophobia in the last decade and due to the tireless efforts of a dedicated anti-Muslim contingent trolling the internet.  All of them repeat the same lie that originates from Robert Morey, a fake doctor and quack.

Questioning Robert Morey’s credentials is not mere muckraking; rather, it is important for us to ascertain the unreliable originator of the moon-god theory.  He is not just academically defunct and wholly unreliable; he is an intellectual huckster and fraudster of the highest order.

None of this is to say that Robert Morey is not considered a well-respected author, scholar, and authority in right-wing circles.  Like other self-proclaimed “experts on Islam” used by the right-wing, Morey has no actual academic qualifications or credentials.  This fact, however, does not stop the anti-Muslim bigots from relying on him and others like him.  It is hoped, however, that more neutral minds will not be fooled.

*  *  *  *  *

Before we begin dissecting Morey’s theory, a word might also be said of Yoel Natan, author of the cleverly titled book Moon-O-Theism. Natan’s book helped give the moon-god theory a second wind.  It is on page III that we will turn to this topic.

Quote of the Day: Spencer Swears He Doesn’t Work with Fascists and Racists

Responding to the SPLC article citing Robert Spencer as one of the leading anti-Muslim Islamophobes, Spencer has gone on a tirade calling the SPLC a Jihad front group. He also swears he isn’t working with fascists:

“I’ve never had anything to do with any racists or neo-fascists, and never would”

Well how do you explain this Bob?:

Thousands Protest Robert Spencer

Catholic anti-Muslim polemicist and hate blogger Robert Spencer was in Germany once again at the invitation of the Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa (BPE). We exposed the supremacist and fascist nature of the BPE in a previous article, Robert Spencer Teams up with Euro-Supremacists Once Again:

Quote of the Day: Spencer Rehashes Rumors About Hillary Clinton’s Lesbian Affair with Huma Abedin

Silly Spencer: From the weird interview titled, Abedin-Weiner a Marriage Made by Hillary Clinton and the Muslim Brotherhood

“the rumors that the Abedin/Weiner union is a political marriage of convenience are true. After all, in 2008, Hillary Clinton was running for president. There were widespread insinuations that she was involved in a romantic and/or sexual relationship with Abedin, her ever-present personal assistant. Those whisperings persisted into Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State. Abedin’s 2010 marriage to Weiner, at which Bill Clinton presided, put those rumors to rest.”

My God is Better Than Yours (I): Christians Calling Muslims “Mohammedans” a Case of Pot Calling Kettle Black

This article is part 9 of LoonWatch’s Understanding Jihad Series. Please read my “disclaimer”, which explains my intentions behind writing this article: The Understanding Jihad Series: Is Islam More Likely Than Other Religions to Encourage Violence?

The anti-Muslim ideologues argue that the prophet of Islam was uniquely violent as compared to prophets of other religions, especially Judaism and Christianity; this is an argument furthered in chapter one of Robert Spencer’s book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades).  Further, they argue that the holy book of Islam is uniquely warlike as compared to scriptures of other faiths, especially the Bible; Spencer argues this in chapter two of his book.

These claims are not well-founded, and we’ve thoroughly refuted them (see parts 1234567, and 8 of the Understanding Jihad Series).  Clearly, the Biblical prophets (MosesJoshuaSamson,SaulDavid, etc.) were more violent than the Prophet Muhammad; even Jesus, who promised to kill all his enemies, was no exception.  Similarly, the Bible is more violent than the Quran.

There is one specific manner in which the Biblical prophets and the Bible are to be considered more violent than Muhammad and the Quran: they sanction(ed) the killing of innocent civilians: women and children.  Worse yet, they sanction(ed) what can only be described as genocide.  Nowhere in the Quran is targeting the life of a non-combatant, especially a woman or child, permitted; in fact, the Prophet Muhammad strictly forbade such a thing.

For all the obfuscation that the anti-Muslim polemicists will provide in response to this Series, keep this point in mind which cannot be reiterated enough: the most significant difference, and why the Biblical prophets and the Bible are to be considered more warlike than the Islamic prophet and holy book, is that they permit(ted) the killing of non-combatants, including women and children–even to the point of allowing genocide. The Islamophobes can copy-and-paste Quranic verses until they go blue in the face (even with the help of those ever so helpful ellipses), but they can never find a single verse in the Quran like that.

Do Muslims Worship the Same God as Jews and Christians?

In addition to Islam’s prophet and holy book, anti-Muslim ideologues (most of whom come from Judeo-Christian backgrounds) absolutely despise the God of Islam: Allah.  Too ignorant to realize that the word Allah just means “God” in Arabic (or technically, The God) and that the Arabic version of the Bible uses the word “Allah” in it for the Judeo-Christian God–and too ignorant to realize that Jewish and Christian Arabs call their god “Allah”–the anti-Muslim ideologues unload all sorts of invective against Allah.

The anti-Muslim argument has two parts to it: (1) the God that Muslims worship is different than the God of the Jews and Christians; (2) this other, different pagan god is warlike, blood-thirsty, and brutal.  In order to debunk this argument, therefore, it is important to refute each individual part.  First, is the God of the Jews, Christians, and Muslims the same?  Second, what are the characteristics of the Muslim God as compared to the Jewish and Christian God?

Do Muslims Worship Muhammad?

The idea that Muslims don’t worship the same god as Jews and Christians dates back to at least the time of the Crusades: Crusader lore had it that the Muslims were “pagans” and that they worshiped the Prophet Muhammad instead of God.  In time, Muslims came to be known as Mahometans, and eventually Mohammedans. This misnomer was used by Orientalists, and continues to be employed by certain anti-Muslim elements today, including some Christians.

This is of course a fascinatingly ironic case of projection: by using this term, these anti-Muslim Christians are mocking Muslims for worshiping a man named Muhammad instead of God.  After all,who but a primitive pagan would worship a man-god? Yet, in actuality it is the Christian community that worships a “man-god”: Jesus Christ.

If Muslims are to be considered pagans for worshiping a man named Muhammad, should Christians be considered pagans for worshiping Jesus?  Even if Muhammad had claimed divinity, how would this have been any different from what Christians claim Jesus did?  Ironically, the pejorative term “Mohammedan” is to Muhammad what “Christian” is to Christ.

In any case, Muhammad never claimed divinity nor have Muslims ever believed such a thing.  In fact, the Quran instructed the Prophet Muhammad:

Say to them (O Muhammad): “I am only a human being like you.  It is revealed to me that your God is One God. So let him who hopes to meet his Lord do good deeds and let him associate no one else in the worship of his Lord.” (Quran, 18:110)

The Quran categorically declared that “Muhammad is no more than an apostle” who can die or even be killed (Quran, 3:144).  Indeed, when the Prophet Muhammad died, his successor Abu Bakr famously proclaimed:

Whoever worshiped Muhammad, let him know that Muhammad is dead.  But whoever worshiped God (Allah), let him know that God (Allah) lives and does not die. (Sahih al-Bukhari, 2:333)

It has even been part of the Islamic tradition to prohibit all imagery of the Prophet in order to prevent Muhammad from being “idolized” as Jesus was by Christians.  This precaution was based on the Prophet Muhammad’s fear of suffering a similar “fate” as Jesus.  Not only does the Quran repeatedly criticize the Christians for deifying Jesus, but Muhammad explicitly warned his followers:

Do not exaggerate in praising me as the Christians praised the son of Mary (Jesus), for I am only a slave.  So, call me the slave of God (Allah) and His Messenger. (Sahih al-Bukhari, 4:654)

It seems that Christians ought to be the absolute last people on earth to mock Muslims for worshiping Muhammad or calling them “Mohammedans.”  But alas, we will see a recurring pattern here: Christians criticizing Muslims for something that is present even more so in their own religion.

In any case, the Quran repeatedly warns against worshiping anyone or anything besides God (Allah):

Say: “Truly my prayer and my worship, my life and my death are all for God (Allah) alone, the Lord of the worlds.” (Quran, 6:162)

It would be very difficult to construct a case that Muslims actively worship Muhammad.  Unbelievably, however, this Crusader-era canard remains alive and well among some segments of anti-Muslim Christians.  Sam Shamoun, an anti-Muslim Christian polemicist, insists that Muslims do in fact worship Muhammad.  Shamoun uses several very weak arguments to “prove” this claim.  Fortunately, his arguments have been refuted here by Muslim apologist Bassam Zawadi.

For our intents and purposes, whether Muslims worship Muhammad or not is largely a theological debate between Muslims and Christians, one which is hardly relevant to our website.  However, it isrelevant to us insofar as this claim is related to the “slur” of “Mohammedan”–an epithet which is used by many Islamophobes today.  It is a vestige of age-old Western confusion about and propaganda against Islam, whereby Muslims are “Other-ized”: Muslims are understood as followers of some alien and strange faith, one which worships a man named Muhammad instead of God.

Lastly, the “Muslims worship Muhammad” canard, which has been used by Christians against Muslims for hundreds of years, gives us the proper backdrop to understand the “Muslims worship the moon-god” conspiracy theory, which has become very popular among Islamophobes today.  The former Crusader-era canard has been repackaged in the form of the moon-god theory and is now being fed to the masses, once again serving to provide the propaganda needed to sustain our wars, our modern-day crusades against the Islamic world.

The Islamophobes “Other-ize” the god Muslims worship, comparing the “God of Love” supposedly found in the Judeo-Christian tradition with the “war and moon god” supposedly found in the religion of Islam.  The stealthy tacking on of the word “war” to “moon god” makes the moon-god theory directly relevant to the topic of jihad.  It is this “theory” that we turn our attention to next.

Robert Spencer: Anthony Weiner is Most Likely a Secret Muslim

This interview with Robert Spencer, the go-to Islam expert for the right wing, offers a taste of the worldview of the Shariah fear-mongering set:

Frontpage: I would like to talk to you today about Anthony Weiner’s marriage to his Muslim Brotherhood wife, Huma Abedin.

How is it exactly that a Muslim woman connected to the Muslim Brotherhood is married to a Jewish man? Something is not fitting here, right?

Spencer: Jamie, Islamic law prohibits a Muslim woman from marrying a non-Muslim man. A Muslim man may marry a non-Muslim woman, but not the other way around. This is yet another manifestation of Islamic supremacism: the idea is that a wife will become a member of her husband’s household, and the children will follow the religion of the father. Thus, Muslim men marrying non-Muslim women ultimately enriches the Islamic community, while the non-Muslim community must forever be made to diminish.

Consequently, when a non-Muslim man begins a relationship with an observant Muslim woman, he is usually pressured to convert to Islam, and such conversion is made a condition of the marriage. Of course, laws are often honored in the breach, and this is not always true. So while we know that Huma Abedin’s parents were devout and observant Muslims — indeed, her father was an imam — we don’t know what exactly is going on with her marriage to Anthony Weiner.

Certainly the most likely scenario is that Weiner did convert to Islam, as Abedin’s mother, a professor in Saudi Arabia, would almost certainly have insisted that he do so. Weiner has made no public statement of this conversion, but since it would almost certainly have cost him politically if he had announced it, this silence is not any indication that he didn’t actually convert.

However, it is also possible, given the recent scandal involving Weiner’s apparently frequent and sexually charged contact with other women, that the rumors that the Abedin/Weiner union is a political marriage of convenience are true. After all, in 2008, Hillary Clinton was running for president. There were widespread insinuations that she was involved in a romantic and/or sexual relationship with Abedin, her ever-present personal assistant. Those whisperings persisted into Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State. Abedin’s 2010 marriage to Weiner, at which Bill Clinton presided, put those rumors to rest.

In Islamic law, a Muslim must officiate a marriage ceremony; hence if Bill Clinton was the only one officiating, the marriage was not valid according to Islamic law. Huma Abedin would undoubtedly have known that. Thus, if no Muslim was officiating along with Clinton, Weiner would not have had to convert to Islam, as the whole thing was a charade from the outset, apparently entered into with the full awareness of all parties concerned.

Emphasis added.

This is the second time we’ve heard the baseless claim that the very Jewish Weiner might have converted to Islam when he married Huma Abedin.

The important point here is that Spencer is no fringe figure; he’s at the very center of the anti-Muslim movement in the United States. His bio describes the impressive access he has to both mainstream and right-leaning media sources:

His articles on Islam and other topics have appeared in the New York Post, the Washington Times, the Dallas Morning News, the UK’s Guardian, Canada’s National Post, Middle East Quarterly, WorldNet Daily, First Things, Insight in the News, National Review Online, and many other journals.

Spencer has discussed jihad, Islam, and terrorism at a workshop sponsored by the U.S. State Department and the German Foreign Ministry. He has also appeared on the BBC, ABC News, CNN, FoxNews’s O’Reilly Factor, the Sean Hannity Show, the Glenn Beck Show, Fox and Friends, and many other Fox programs, PBS, MSNBC, CNBC, C-Span, France24 and Croatia National Televison (HTV), as well as on numerous radio programs including Bill O’Reilly’s Radio Factor, The Laura Ingraham Show, Bill Bennett’s Morning in America, Michael Savage’s Savage Nation, The Sean Hannity Show, The Alan Colmes Show, The G. Gordon Liddy Show, The Neal Boortz Show, The Michael Medved Show, The Michael Reagan Show, The Rusty Humphries Show, The Larry Elder Show, The Barbara Simpson Show, Vatican Radio, and many others. He has been a featured speaker at Dartmouth College, Stanford University, New York University, Brown University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Virginia, the College of William and Mary, Washington University of St. Louis, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, and many other colleges and universities.

I asked Spencer about his claim, and he emailed: “If [Weiner] converted, it was almost certainly for convenience, not out of conviction.” Spencer also amended his statement that Weiner “most likely” converted to “most immediately obvious”:

“‘Most likely’ is a bit overstated. That is the most immediately obvious scenario, given Abedin’s background and self-identification as a Muslim. It is, as is obvious from the rest of what I said, not the only possible scenario,” he wrote.

Justin Elliott is a Salon reporter. Reach him by email at jelliott@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @ElliottJustin More:Justin Elliott