Robert Spencer is failing to convince America that Islam itself is a threat to national security. Americans are waking up to the fact that the universal values that bring Americans and Muslims together are far more numerous than our differences. But Spencer has spent the last several years trying to “prove” that Muhammad, Prophet of Islam, was a war-monger, a fanatic, a woman-hater, a pervert, (insert evil cliché here), etc. For example, one of his top books is, “Muhammad: Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion.” All of his arguments are predicated on the fact that Muhammad existed in order to found Islam. Jihadist terror didn’t come from nowhere, right?
Well, these arguments just won’t cut it anymore. People can only be fooled for so long by a handful of cherry-picked verses and facts. Perhaps Islam does have something in common with Judaism and Christianity, Spencer’s readers might think. These are dangerous thoughts in Spencer’s profession. So he has moved on to a new strategy: Muhammad didn’t exist. Islam is, in fact, an extension of Hinduism. How did he reach such a conclusion and for what purpose?
Spencer receives an e-mail from the mysterious “Arnaud” allegedly an “Islamic scholar who writes from Switzerland” with a strange theory about how Hajj (pilgrimage) and Salat (ritual prayer) are actually Hindu in origin. He posts the article, the purpose of which is to “debunk” the two pillars of Islam:
Islam is like a special table that needs 5 legs (so-called “5 pillars”). Displace two of them and the table would fall, wouldn’t it?
At some point Spencer must have realized that it was simply the junk history of “mythistorian” and “crack pot” Purushottam Nagesh Oak. The article is riddled with so many factual errors that Spencer takes the post down. He must have thought that anything with a negative angle on Islam deserves the benefit of the doubt. Post first; ask questions later.
Yet Spencer depends upon his audience perceiving him as an authoritative “Islamic scholar.” He has to maintain some pro forma standards of objectivity. Damage control is needed. So he rewrites the article, taking out the most egregious misinformation (just enough to appear somewhat scholarly), crediting an unnamed “European researcher” (not Arnaud), and publishes it on Pam Geller’s site as a part of his new-found effort to prove that Muhammad never existed.
What does this little sidetrack into mythistory have to do with Jihad and “Islamic” terrorism, the focus of Spencer’s work? Nothing at all, which plainly demonstrates what we’ve been saying all along. Spencer is an intolerant fundamentalist, a religious polemicist, NOT an expert on security or terrorism. He cares about sustaining his career on the back of Islamophobic prejudice, even if that means drawing upon every crackpot theory he receives from fellow internet goons. No need for his allegations and theories to be logical or internally consistent, so long as the target is Islam. The ends justify the means.
Honestly, this is quite bizarre coming from Spencer, a man who has sold himself for so long as the “politically-incorrect” Islamic scholar willing to speak hard truths about the “intolerant” Muhammad, the prophetic figure allegedly at the heart of Jihadist terrorism. Now it seems he’s willing to completely change his tactics and develop other theories to attack Islam. Whatever Spencer ultimately believes about the nature of Islam, it must be profoundly negative and foreign. He sees no “universal moral values” in Islam that Muslims can share with other religions (see Politically Incorrect, Ch. 6).
Yesterday, Muhammad was a fire-breathing infidel-slayer. Today, he is a Hindu myth gone wrong. Tomorrow, I imagine he’ll be something else, perhaps the first Nazi. Wait, that’s been done. Oh well. If the old stuff doesn’t work anymore, you’ll think of something new, right Bob?