Ali Sina vs. Sheila Musaji: Will the Real “Savage” Please Stand Up?

Sheila Musaji

Ali Sina has really been saber-rattling against The American Muslim’s Sheila Musaji.  As Musaji documents, Sina has received the support and blessing in this regard from the King and Queen of Islamophobia, Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch and Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs.

For those of you who don’t know, Sina is one of the oldest and most nefarious Islamophobes to troll the internet–if Spencer is the King, Ali Sina is the Last Emperor of Islamophobia.  It makes sense then that Sina, Spencer, and Geller would find themselves in bed together.  They are truly a hateful trio.

Ali Sina has defended his view that “Muslims are savages”.  Sheila Musaji, after carefully documenting her exchange with him, quips:

I leave it to the reader to decide who is civilized and who is savage in this discussion.

This was the thought that went through my mind when I read the exchange between the two: not only does the foaming-at-the-mouth, hateful, and maniacal Ali Sina look completely loony compared to the thoughtful, tolerant, and intelligent Sheila Musaji, but the exchange between the two also typifies the difference between “their side” (loons) and ours (anti-loons and loon-watchers).

To be clear, when I make this dichotomy between “their side” and “our side”, it doesn’t have anything at all to do with “Muslims” and “non-Muslims”.  “Our side” includes people of all faiths (or no faith at all) dedicated to spreading peace, tolerance, and mutual coexistence, whereas “their side” includes, well, loons.

Read Sheila Musaji’s record of the exchange and decide for yourself which side you are on:

Ali Sina Launches Sharpened Olive Branch of Hate – updated 1/29/12

by Sheila Musaji

Today I received this email from Ali Sina with the heading “Sending you an olive branch”:

Dear Ms. Sheila Musaji

I read s [sic] few of your articles and see you have dedicated your efforts in [sic] maligning apostates, those who are fed up with Islam and want to protect the non-Muslim world from its onslaught. Of course you don’t see it that way. That’s okay. Maybe one day you will.

I have an offer for you. How about I send you a copy of my book, Understanding Muhammad? You read it. I promise by the time you are done you will no longer want to be a Muslim.

Now you may think this is ridiculous because nothing in the world can change your views about Islam. That is okay. Read it anyway. Read it, not with an open mind but with hatred in your heart against me. Read it with close mind and strive hard to deny all the evidences I present and try to find errors in it. Resist all my claims. By the time you are done reading the book you’ll lose your faith.

And what if you don’t? I promise you will. I have sent my book to hundreds of Muslims. They all promised to read it and get back to me showing my errors. I told them that I will publish their rebuttal. A percentage of them wrote back to thank me for opening their eyes. They are now fighting alongside me helping other Muslims leave Islam. Another group wrote to say I have a diabolic ability to induce doubt in Muslims and hence they stopped reading further. But most of them never replied. Not a single person has wrote [sic] back to do what they promised they’d do, i.e. refute me and show my errors. Not one person! Isn’t that something? Are you willing to take this challenge?

Should you agree to read the book I promise and refute it, I will publish your rebuttal and if you are correct I will withdraw my book from circulation, my membership from SION, and will stop my sites faithfreedom.org and alisina.org. There is also a financial reward of $50 K that I would give to you so you can donate to the charity of your choice.

If you are sincere you’d admit that by doing that you’d achieve a lot more than writing against me, Wafa Sultan (who is by the way my spiritual daughter) and other people in anti-Islam movement. After all these years I have gained some “notoriety.” If you refute my book I will stop my anti-Islam activity and people will notice. I’ve led thousands of Muslims out of Islam. Maybe many of them will want to take another look at Islam. Don’t say I am insignificant. Maybe in real life I am, but in the anti-Islam movement I have a name and a reputation. You’ll lose two days reading a book that you hate. In exchange you may eliminate a “notorious” enemy of Islam and in fact may even win him to your side. You know the story of Islam. Many of its great supporters were originally its staunch enemies. I could be one of them. Why not!  Don’t you believe in Allah’s power? All you’ve to do is read my book, which I will send to you in hard copy or in PDF, whatever is your choice. You can get help from your Muslim husband or imam or anyone you wish.

I am not going to publish this email, unless you ignore it. If you ignore it, will be evidence of your lack of sincerity. My offer to you is sincere and generous. I’ve dedicated 14 years of my life fighting Islam. I am ready to stop and even apologize publicly, should you read my book and prove it wrong. Your investment is only two days of your time. You have nothing to lose except your faith in a lie. That is not bad at all.

If you ignore my offer, I will publish this email. Since you’ve dedicated your life to malign SION and its members I want the world to know you are not a sincere person. But if you reply and read my book, we’ve opened the line of dialogue. You’ll either leave Islam as I predict, or you’ll refute it and I will join Islam. I will also publish your rebuttal, which will help others to see the truth.

I am sending you an olive branch. The ball is now in your court.

Kind regards, Ali Sina

Dear Ali Sina (whoever that might be),

The book that you are offering to send to me has been in print since 2008 (4 years) and is published by your own Faith & Freedom Publishing company.  It is sold at Amazon.com, and it is listed as selling for $157.71.  Another of your books Understanding Islam & Muslims is listed as having only one new copy available for $999.99 although it was published in November of 2011.

If you are such an effective voice speaking against Islam that you can GUARANTEE that any Muslim reading your book will leave Islam, it would seem that you would want your books to be widely disseminated.  At these prices, that isn’t likely.  Perhaps this one on one method of soliciting readership from particular individuals is how the book was meant to be distributed.

I think that this offer is just a ploy.  I would not provide you with my mailing address, any more than you would provide me with yours.  Why would any sane person provide their mailing address to a total stranger who hides behind a pseudonym?

Ali Sina is a pseudonym, and not your real name.  I have no idea who you are.  I only know you by your writings, and in your own words I find evidence that you are an individual I would be wise to fear, not because of your ideas, but because of your hatred.  Here are a few of your own statements:

—  “We strive for the unity of Mankind through the elimination of Islam, the most insidious doctrine of hate. Islam can’t be reformed, but it can be eradicated. It can’t be molded, but it can be smashed. It is rigid but brittle. That is why Muslims do not tolerate criticism of it. To eradicate Islam, all we have to do is tell the truth. It’s that simple. The truth about Islam is out. It’s all here in this site. Now it is up to you to spread it. With truth, the decent Muslims will leave Islam and with each Muslim that leaves, we gain a new soldier in our fight against terrorism. We are growing exponentially. The days of Islam are numbered and world peace is around the corner. Many of us will see that day. We might have to go through very tough times meanwhile. The storm is approaching.

— “We do not want to reform Islam. We want to eradicate it. Just as cancer cannot be reformed and the only way to cure the patient is to eradicate it, Islam cant be reformed either and it must be eradicated for the world to be saved.”

— “Islam, like fascism, appeals to people with low self esteem and low intelligence. Both these ideologies are irrational. They disdain reason, and hail devotion and submission to a higher authority. Like fascists, Muslims are triumphalists. They seek power, domination and control. They pride themselves in their strength of number, in their mindless heroism, in their disdain for life and in their willingness to kill and die for their cause. Islam is political and political Islam is fascism.”

— “Tarek Fatah proves my point that there is no such thing as moderate Muslim … Every “moderate” Muslim is a potential terrorist. The belief in Islam is like a tank of gasoline. It looks innocuous, until it meets the fire. For a “moderate” Muslim to become a murderous jihadist, all it takes is a spark of faith.”

— “I promise that if we continue this campaign of discrediting Islam and Muslim scholars, in no more than a quarter of century, Islam will be defeated. Islam will fall, like communism fell. Mark my words today, even if you think I am nuts. If we all work together, especially the ex-Muslims, we can get rid of Islam sooner than anyone can imagine. Iran is already anti Islamic. More than half of Iranians do not call themselves Muslims anymore. We are demolishing Islam from its foundation. The edifice seems to be intact. But don’t let appearances deceive you. This high tower of lies will come down at once.

— “If any city in the West is nuked I am 100% for nuking tens of cities in Islamic countries. I don’t see Muslims as innocent people. They are all guilty as sin. It is not necessary to be part of al Qaida to be guilty. If you are a Muslim you agree with Muhammad and that is enough evidence against you.”

— “We love you Muslims because you are humans like us. We are all related to each other. We are all limbs of the body of mankind. But you are diseased. You are infected by a deadly cult that threatens our lives. Your humanity is destroyed. Like a limb infected by flesh eating disease, now you are a threat to the rest of mankind. We will do everything to save you, to make you see your folly, and to make you understand that you are victims of a gigantic lie, so you leave this lie, stop hating mankind and plotting for its destruction and it domination. But if all efforts fail and if you become a threat to our lives and the lives of our children, we must amputate you. This will happen, not because I say so, but I say so because this is human response. We humans are dictated by our survival instinct. If you threaten me and my survival depends on killing you, I must kill you. Please come to your senses. Muhammad was not a prophet of God. He was an instrument of Satan to divide mankind so we destroy each other. It is a demonic plot to end humanity. Muhammad lied. He brought hate. Wake up please. You are putting the world, including your own lives in danger for a lie. Read my book and learn the truth about Muhammad. … Islam is disease. What does moderate Muslim mean anyway? Does it mean you are moderately diseased? This makes as much sense as saying, I am a moderate Nazi, or I am culturally a fascist. I only participate in their rallies. Let us call you by your name. You are a hypocrite. You are a useful idiot. You are part of the problem. In fact you are THE problem. If it were not for you, we would easily recognize our enemy and eliminating it, would be easy. But you shield the enemy. You muddy the waters. You confuse us to hide the beast among you. You do not fool me, even though you may fool the non-Muslims. I know your hypocrisy. I know how you hide and support the terrorists secretly but publicly you denounce him and portray yourself as our friend.

If these words were not enough for me to form a judgement about whether or not I would want to interact with you, your email is filled with statements that make my decision very clear.

You open with a false accusation that I “malign apostates”.  I don’t malign people that you call apostates and that I call people who have chosen another faith than that they were born into. Actually, I strongly uphold freedom of faith, and am a signatory to a statement initiated by Muslims declaring our commitment to that freedom.

I have no problem with anyone, including yourself, choosing whatever religious path (or no path) for themselves that they find meaningful.  I am puzzled by the fact that some converts from one belief system to another find it necessary to disparage the faith that they have left.  Forty years ago, I chose Islam.  That was a very personal and private decision, and I feel no need to defend that choice by in any way disparaging my former faith.  In fact, to behave in such a manner would cheapen my choice.  There are different paths that are suitable for different people.  God will judge, not any human being.

I do respond, and respond strongly to those individuals who malign the faith of others whether through anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, anti-Mormonism, anti-Hinduism, or any other form of religious bigotry.  I respond particularly to Islamophobes because I believe that the poison that they spread directly endangers the safety and security of American Muslims including my own children.  Islamophobia is real and dangerous.  You can repeat “Islamophobia is a fallacy” as often as you want, and that won’t make it a fact.

You make an offer that you call “sending an olive branch” that includes a veiled threat “If you ignore my offer, I will publish this email … I want the world to know you are not a sincere person”.

Your patronizing statement You can get help from your Muslim husband or imam or anyone you wishshows your contempt for women and their ability to make their own choices and decisions.  I don’t need someone else to help me make my choices.

Your assumption that I might be motivated either by some need to gain notoriety by engaging in a polemical debate with a person who has attained “some notoriety” or by greed in considering the possibility of financial gain as an incentive is offensive.

I decline your offer. I have no time or interest in writing a rebuttal of your book. I am not interested in convincing people to leave whatever faith they have. I don’t need your help to distribute my writings on any topic that I choose to write about.  I don’t care what faith you hold.  I don’t care if your site is online or not, in fact it is good it is there so that people can judge for themselves what sort of poison you are spreading.

I don’t believe that declining your “challenge” proves my insincerity, but the challenge itself provides even more evidence of your own insecurity.  There is something wrong with a worldview that promotes the idea that demonizing others somehow increases your own stature.

I am ignoring your veiled threat and publishing your email myself.  Others can judge for themselves the meaning of your offer and of my rejection of that offer.

“If it had been the will of your Lord that all the people of the world should be believers, all the people of the earth would have believed! Would you then compel mankind against their will to believe?”  [Qur’an 10:99]

“There shall be no compulsion in religion: the right way is now distinct from the wrong way. Anyone who denounces the devil and believes in GOD has grasped the strongest bond; one that never breaks. GOD is Hearer, Omniscient.”  [Qur’an 2:256]

”(O Prophet Muhammad) proclaim: ‘This is the Truth from your Lord. Now let him who will, believe in it, and him who will, deny it.’”  [Qur’an 18:29]

“Say, O Muhammad.  I worship not that which you worship, nor will you worship that which I worship.  And I shall not worship that which you are worshipping, nor will you worship that which I worship.  To you be your religion, and to me my religion.”  [Qur’an 109:1-6]

UPDATE 1/25/2012

I was just sent a link to an article that Ali Sina posted about a twitter argument he participated in with someone calling themselves @Rabbi.Shaul.  Sina is an atheist and they debated whether or not reason can prove that God exists.  Sina attempted to provoke the Rabbi into debating with him in a more formal format that would be published, and ultimately another Rabbi responded to Sina in a Youtube video saying that such a debate will not take place, and calling Sina on the carpet for his ego.

The whole thing is extremely lengthy, but Sina shows much about himself in his response.  He repeats his claims about Prophet Muhammad, and then says

But there was another element in shaping his character: The influence of Rabbis.

Judaism and Islam have a lot in common. They have basically the same eschatology and very similar teachings. For example few people know that stoning adulterers that is widely practiced in Islam originates from the Bible. Muhammad did practice stoning but he did not insert it in his Quran. But he said when a law is not clearly stated, Muslims should look into the Bible for guidance.

These are all secondary influences of Judaism on Islam. The main common feature between these two faiths is their intolerance. This intolerance in Judaic texts gave the narcissist Muhammad the power to do as he pleased. He could make his claim without needing to prove it and expect others to believe without questioning him. If they didn’t, he would threaten them with hellfire.

How could he get away with that? Why would people believed in his unproven and often irrational claims? The answer to this question is in Judaism. The Rabbis in Arabia had laid the psychological foundation for Islam among the tolerant pagans. For 2000 years they had preached that Yahweh, their god, is beyond reason, i.e. he is irrational, that his ways are different and they may appear unjust and even evil. But it is not up to humans to question God’s wisdom.

That kind of authority and power is a narcissist’s wet dream. By claiming to be the messenger of God, the same intolerant god of the Jews, Muhammad did not have to prove any of his claims. The reason Arabs fell into his trap was because of the groundwork laid by the Rabbis in Arabia.

Sounds as if he is not only Islamophobic, but also anti-Semitic.  And, a little later in this article this gem appears which shows that at the very least, he is a racist: We Persians are of the same genetic stock as Germans and we had a far superior civilization than Arabs.

It is both surprising and not surprising that Ali Sina has now been named to the Board of Directors of the newly formed Stop the Islamization of Nations SION which is a coalition SIOA, SIOE, and other hate groups, and which will be led by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer.  It is not surprising because of the animosity towards Islam that he shares with Geller and Spencer.  It is surprising because of the fact that Geller herself is Jewish, and Ali Sina seems to have as much animosity towards Judaism as he does against Islam.

The Southern Poverty Law Center published a report citing Geller for hate speech.  The AFDI has been named a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.  The American Freedom Defense Initiative is the parent group of the SIOA.  Spencer, Geller, and Yerushalmi are featured in the SPLC reports Jihad Against Islam and The Anti-Muslim Inner Circle.

Pay Pal at least temporarily suspended Geller’s site Atlas Shrugs for being a hate site.

Spencer and Geller attempted to patent the SIOA trademark, but were refused by the U.S. patent office The government response, posted on the site, states, “The applied-for mark refers to Muslims in a disparaging manner because by definition it implies that conversion or conformity to Islam is something that needs to be stopped or caused to cease.  “The proposed mark further disparages Muslims because, taking into account the nature of the services (‘providing information regarding understanding and preventing terrorism’), it implies that Islam is associated with violence and threats,” the government agency said.  Again, Loonwatch has more here which include a number of hateful screen grabs from the SIOA facebook page.  Geller says that I engaged David Yerushalmi and Robert Muise of the Thomas More Law Center to pursue this matter legally. Once again, these legal warriors did not hesitate to take the case pro-bono.

The Center for American Progress released a groundbreaking report Fear Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America.  The key researchers for this report were Wajahat Ali, Eli Clifton, Matthew Duss, Lee Fang, Scott Keyes, and Faiz Shakir.  The report itself is the result of a six month investigative project, and is 132 pages in length.  Geller is cited as part of this network.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) notes in a backgrounder about the SIOA “Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA), created in 2009, promotes a conspiratorial anti-Muslim agenda under the guise of fighting radical Islam. The group seeks to rouse public fears by consistently vilifying the Islamic faith and asserting the existence of an Islamic conspiracy to destroy “American” values. The organization warns of the encroachment of shari’a, or Islamic law, and encourages Muslims to leave what it describes as the “falsity of Islam.”

Abraham H. Foxman of the ADL wrote an article The new shape of anti-Muslim hatred in which he calls out Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller (the co-founders of SIOA) by name as purveyors of this hatred.

Geller is featured in the People for the American Way Right Wing Playbook on Anti-Muslim Extremism, and the NYCLU report Religious Freedom Under Attack:  The Rise of Anti-Mosque Activities in New York State, and the Political Research Associates report Manufacturing the Muslim menace: Private firms, public servants, and the threat to rights and security.
UPDATE 1/26/2012

Ali Sina posted a response to this article rejecting his demand that that I engage in a debate with him.

There are only a few points in his response that I consider to be worth discussing, because they are about me personally.

He says

I read a few of your articles. You write exclusively about people in the anti-jihad movement. You don’t refute them. You vilify them. You engage in ad hominem. All your articles are personal attacks. I haven’t seen once you refute what we say. You are a Muslim and this is how the brain of a Muslim works. Muslims ignore the criticism made against Islam. Instead they focus on the person criticizing Islam and try to discredit them. This is a pattern.

Obviously he has read very few of my articles or he would know that I do not write exclusively about Islamophobes.  Here is a link to a list of articles that I have written.  This is not difficult to find as I refer to this list of my articles right on the main page of TAM.  It would be impossible for anyone to simply read through the titles of my articles and still make the claim with a straight face that I “write exclusively” about Islamophobes.

He says

You have written many articles maligning the critics of Islam. Show us one where you have condemned your own brethren for disparaging other faiths. Show us where you have stood for the rights of the victims of Islam. Did you write any article sending it to an Egyptian media denouncing the Muslims for killing the Coptic Christians? Did you write anything for Pakistanis denouncing them for their blasphemy law? Of course not! Your goal is not to stop the barbarity of Islam. Your goal is to bambuzzle your own people so they lower their guards and not see Islam as a threat. There have been many fools and traitors like you in history. We Persians had the Salman.

Yes you have written articles claiming Islam allows freedom of religion. Those articles are for the consumption of non-Muslims and to deceive them. You never call upon Muslims to be tolerant. You know that they will laugh at you if you do. First of all you are a convert and secondly you are a woman. Will Muslims listen to you and ignore their own scholars, and ignore the Quran and the hadith? They tolerate you for now. You serve their purpose. To borrow a term from Lenin, you are a useful idiot for them. They let you say what you want and pull the wool over the eyes of their targeted victims. You are a deceived woman and the best person to deceive the westerners.

Again, reading my articles would show that this statement is very simply not only wrong, but a lie.

Here on The American Muslim, I have published thousands of articles, many of them discussing issues such as:

— speaking out against the repulsive customs of – child marriage  including discussion ofparticular cases, – and punishments for victims of rape, – and female genital mutilation, etc.
—against the views of extremist clerics like Anjem Choudary, or Sheikh Abdullah El-Faisal, orAnwar Al AwlakiAyman Zawahiri, etc.
— against the views of extremist groups like Hizb-ut-TahrirMajlis, South Africa, etc.
— against particular actions of Islamic organizations like the Canadian Shia Muslim Organization (CASMO) publishing an article by David Duke, or some British Muslims threatening Imam Usama Hasan because of his views on the compatibility of the theory of evolution with Quranic teachings regarding God’s creation of the world and human beings, or the Arab European League (AEL) publishing an offensive cartoon against the Jewish people on their website
— against extremist interpretations or translations of particular Qur’anic verses, e.g. Qur’an 4:34 or the Hilali-Khan or translation of the Qur’an, or the Saudi’s “revised” edition of Yusuf Ali’s translation
— against individuals or organizations promoting extremist views about various issues like – Salwa Al Mutairi suggesting that sex-slaves are allowed in Islam, – or the Malaysian Catholic Herald being told that it could no longer use the word “Allah” to mean God, – or Dr. Zakir Naiksaying that Muslims can’t wish Christians a Merry Christmas, – or the Darul Uloom Deoband’sdivorce by phone fatwa, , – or the Saudi forced divorce case, etc.
— about particular individuals or organizations accused of particular crimes,  – like the Florida Imams arrested for aiding the Pakistani Taliban, etc.
— publishing condemnations of particular acts of extremism and violence such as – the attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt, – or the killing of U.N. workers in Afghanistan, – or attacks on Christians in Muslim countries, – or the Fort Hood massacre, – or the deaths of 15 Saudi schoolgirls in a fire because they weren’t “properly dressed” etc.
— or publishing condemnations of extreme reactions to various current issues like the South Park cartoonMolly Norris and “Draw Muhammad Day”, Opus cartoon
—publishing statements and articles advocating for   – protection of religious minorities and houses of worship, – and guardianship reform in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia pertaining to male control or ‘guardianship’ over women, – and confronting online radicalization of Muslim youth, – and freedom of faith and right to change one’s faith, – and freedom of speech, – and a spiritual jihad against terrorism, – and welcoming LGBT Muslims in mosques, – and a moratorium on all corporal punishment, including the death penalty, – and responsibility of Muslims to defend the Constitution of the U.S., – and condemning holocaust denial and anti-Semitism, – and promoting the value of being faithful Muslims and loyal Americans, – and against any laws for blasphemy – including Pakistan’s blasphemy law,  etc.
— publishing and regularly updating Muslim condemnations in statements, fatwas, articles, etc. of every form of extremism and terrorism as a major part of the work of The American Muslim

On TAM, we regularly call out those within the Muslim community that I identify as the “lunatic fringe”, discuss various interpretations of aspects of Sharia, condemn any interpretations that violate human rights.  The list above is a very short list of the thousands of articles on such subjects that we have published, many of which I have written myself.

He says

This is the truth about “no compulsion in religion.” You converted 40 years ago when you were young and inexperienced. We all did stupid things when we were young. Most of us gained wisdom as we aged. But once one converts to Islam the brain becomes numbed. Although others recover from their youthful follies a Muslim is trapped. But there is no reason to despair. My book can help. Whether you are old or young, when you learn the truth, you can no longer cling to lies.

This is simply a nasty, speculative, and meaningless attack on me as an individual that deserves nothing but contempt.

He closes his article with

Will you also publish my response to you?  Or if not, will you provide a link to this page in your site letting your readers see my response?  That would prove your sincerity.

In case anyone is in doubt about the sort of person attracted to and in agreement with Islamophobes like Ali Sina, here are a few comments at the bottom of his response article

— Sundried Atheist Why this maniacal obsession about Islam. Christianity and Judaism are just as dangerous and poisonous as Islam is. Their actions are just as diabolic.  In fact Islam owes its existance to the founders of Christianity and Judaism. So really, it is the Jews we should be taking it out on. All the silly rituals and barbaric rules, human/animal rights abuse all stem from Jewish laws. Jews are suibhuman, less evolved primates who should be eliminated in a peaceful manner. Such as by spraying them with mega toxic pesticides like you try to eliminate locusts and other field posts.
— Enlightened 25 “You’re not a racist, you’re a critique. You criticize those ideologies.” I am not talking about ideologies obviously it is absurd to hate the Koran, it is just a book (though a vile one). I am talking about the people that believe in those ideologies. Do you hate Nazis and communists? If you don’t then you should. If I am asked do I hate Muslims? Then my honest answer is yes. I cannot say I hate everything you believe in, everything you value, everything you stand for, but I don’t hate you personally, that would be a lie as well as self-deception on my part. Once I had a Muslim saying I should be put to death. Should I love that beast? Hell no, that person is my mortal enemy and I should hate him and if I was given the chance and was able to do it, I would destroy him. I say openly to the Muslims if you don’t hate me then you should, because I am out to destroy everything that is sacred to you.
— Ali Sina If your son becomes a Monster (or a good Muslims) you still don’t hate him. But you will allow him to be locked up for the protection of others. Your duty as a parent is to love your children. This does not mean you have to condone their evilness. Let the socity deal with your son according to the law. You don’t hide or protect him, but also you don’t have to hate him.  We humans are all sons and daughters, brothers and sisters in a large scale. Yes we have to stop the monsters among us, and if necessary eliminate them so they can no longer harm others. This does not mean we should hate them.

I have now responded to his attacks on me personally, and provided a link to his response which he says would show my sincerity.

UPDATE 1/28/2012

Today, Ali Sina wrote wrote a response to my comments of yesterday.  He objects to my saying that some of his previous statements seem to show that he is not only Islamophobic but also anti-Semitic and racist – and his response just makes his attitudes more clear.  This is part of what he said:

It seems that Ms. Musaji has some difficulty in comprehension. Or maybe she just pretends it, hoping she may confound her readers. I am against Islam. That does not make me Islamophobe. Islamophobia is a fallacy. You can say Islam-hater. That I agree. But one can’t be “phobic” of a belief. This is a deception. But as Hitler said, if a lie is repeated often it will be believed as truth eventually.

A good example is the word homophobia. This is also a deception. I believe homosexuality is a disorder no different from eating disorder or a personality disorder. Homosexuality is a sexual disorder, like sadomasochism, fetishism, zoophilia and pedophilia. Now these disorders are not all the same and have different implications, but they are all disorders. I am not a homophobe for considering homosexuality a disorder. Homo means same. I don’t have an irrational fear of men. But this lie was repeated so much that today most people have fallen for it. The idea was to stifle any criticism about this disorder and they succeeded. Now they even have gay pride parades, as if there is something to be proud of a disorder. This is how masses are manipulated through propaganda. They even shame you into silence. Few people dare to say homosexuality is not normal. They even gave it a chichi name “gay”, meaning happy. This is also a lie. Homosexuals are not happy.

Muslims are using the same deceptive tactic.  They want to stifle the legitimate discussion about Islam.  So they invented this lie and with the help of their leftist lackeys who gave us the fallacy of homophobia and they will repeat it until it is seen as truth.  But Islam is an ideology. No one can have an irrational fear of an ideology. You can strongly disagree with an ideology and you can even hate it, but you can’t be phobic of it.  Ideologies don’t have fangs. It is their believers who may have fangs. Now, it would be more logical to say Muslimphobia.  Muslims can hurt you. If you see a group of Muslims coming out of a mosque, you would be wise to run as fast as you can.

…  All cultures are not equal. Cultural relativism is another fallacy. We Persians had a much more superior culture that the Arabs. But after the invasion of Islam we were reduced into barbarians. We became like them. Now we are all barbarians. The first charter of human rights was written in Persia more than 2500 years ago.

…  It is not racist to say Muslims are savages any more than to say Nazis were savages. Islam is an ideology. It is not hacked into our genes. We can give it up and regain our civility. That is the whole purpose of what I do. Muslims are drowning in the cesspool of Islam. Just look at the pictures of Muslims when protesting in the streets. They are savages. I want to pull them out of Islam and restore their humanity.

Most Jews have given up their belief in the nonsense of their religion a long time ago. Most of them don’t believe in religion anymore. Those who do are like those rabbis, filled with bigotry and hate.  But they are the minority. Even when Jews go to synagogues it is for ceremonies. Religion can be a cohesive force. It brings out the spirit of fraternity and builds community.

The emphasis is mine.  Here is the gist of his argument:  I hate Islam, but that is not Islamophobia. I believe that “Muslims are savages”, but I am not a bigot.  I believe that “Homosexuality is a sexual disorder, like sadomasochism” but I am not homophobic.  I believe that Judaism is a religion of “nonsense”, those who believe in it are “filled with bigotry and hate”, but I am not an anti-Semite.  I believe that my culture is superior to others, but I am not a racist.  Terms like Islamophobia or homophobia are lies, there is no such thing.  I am sorry, but there is such a thing as anti-Semitism, there is such a thing as Islamophobia, there is such a thing as homophobia, there is such a thing as racism.  You can object to the use of one or all of those words, but the bottom line is that no matter what you call this ideology, it is hateful bigotry.

He also objected to my pointing out that the SPLC, ADL, PFAW, CAP, etc. have characterized SION and its leaders Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer as promoting an anti-Muslim agenda.  He refers to all of these organizations as “moon-bats”, “traitorous leftist organizations”, “lackeys”, who hate “the Judeo-Christian western values”, and “minions” of Muslims, that “are either run by Muslims or are sympathetic to Islam”.  He says that Paypal was “duped” and the U.S. government has been “misled” into believing that Islam is a religion.

Sina says that Pamela Geller “should be awarded the Nobel Prize for her humanitarianism and for her compassion.  Alas the Nobel Prize committee is so politicized that they think charlatans like Arafat, Obama and Al Gore are more deserving for that prize than good humans who truly serve mankind.”

He closes with “More on this subject tomorrow!”

Pamela Geller posted an article today titled Takedown which is a short introduction to Sina’s article by Geller.

I urge all Atlas readers, twitter followers, and facebook friends to go over to Dr. Ali Sina’s site and read this takedown of the nasty, libelous shill, Sheila Musaji of The American Muslim.

,,,  I have not fisked this liar and dissembler, because everything she has written about me, pages and pages, are lies, defamation and smear. All of it.  She serves the fourth reich, and she serves them well. And frankly, I was loathe to give her the notoriety and the traffic she so desperately craves. But Sina has been battling her lies (there is more here, Sheila Musaji and Fear of Freedom).

A minor point, but Paypal never suspended me. They sent me notice that complaints were lodged (by vicious trolls like Musaji no doubt), but they never did. Just another Islamic lie.

Dr.Sina honors me in his defense of my work.

Actually, Geller has written about me in the past, and shown herself in that case as in so many others to be confused about the meaning of truth-telling, and ready to attempt to conceal evidence of outright lies.

On April 30, 2008 Geller posted an article titled “Attacking Chesler: American Muslim Female Takes on Chesler”.  As could be expected she didn’t understand how I could possibly say anything negative about Chesler’s anti-Muslim writings.  Geller called me a “tool of jihad” who is tearing a “truthteller apart” while “doing nothing for my sisters”.  However, she did not directly address any of the specific points that I made in my article.  (Note:  Geller’s article still comes up on a Google search, and in a search of my name on her site, but if you click on the link you will only get an error message.  The article has been pulled).  My response to Geller’s claims in her article was the first item in a collection of information on Geller, who along with her partner Robert Spencer seem to be the most prolific Islamophobes. Please see my article   Pamela Geller Attempts to Make a Point, Muslims Shrug (SIOA/AFDI/Atlas Shrugs) for a complete background on this.

On May 2, 2008 Geller published an article titled Blah, blah, blah in which she accuses me of“deception, taqiyya- the deliberate dissimulation about religious matters that may be undertaken to protect Islam. And while this kind of double talk has the left doing the Islamists bidding, many of us know exactly what this shiz is. You can fool some of the infidels some of the times, but you can’t fool all of the kufirs all of the time.”

She opens this article with “Musaji over at American Muslim didn’t like my defending Phyllis Chesler.”  And she has included this link ( http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2008/04/attacking-chesl.html ) embedded in the words “defending Phyllis Chesler”.  This is a link to the now removed article that was written by Geller on April 30th.  Geller herself is sayng that she had written an article to which I responded, but the article is not there?  Why was the article removed?

As to my reference to PayPal, on June 12, 2010 Geller posted an article which she titled Paypal Cuts Off Atlas: Truth is the New Hate Speech in which she posts a copy of the email from Paypal which includes the statement However, after a recent review of your account, it has been determined that you are currently in violation of PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy.  Under the Acceptable Use Policy, PayPal may not be used to send or receive payments for items that promote hate, violence, racial intolerance or the financial exploitation of a crime.  In Geller’s article and in PayPals email there is nothing about complaints being lodged, simply this statement that she is in violation of their acceptable use policy.  Geller’s own title says that PayPal had cut off Atlas Shrugs.  Although Geller and Ali Sina seem to want to blame me for some involvement with this PayPal incident, I had nothing to do with it.  So, if there was any confusion about exactly what happened with PayPal, that confusion came from Geller’s own statement.

And, of course Robert Spencer has to jump in and also post Ali Sina’s article with a short introduction by Spencer which doesn’t really add much to this saga.  Spencer does add one more insult by calling me an established liar and linking to a previous article of his attacking me by making this false claim.  Actually, if you read my article that Spencer is referring to Hutaree Christian Militia, Not an Isolated Phenomena you can make your own decision about this charge.  Spencer, like Geller has shown himself in that case as in so many others to be confused about the meaning of truth-telling, and ready toattempt to conceal evidence of outright lies.

I have just checked the comments on the article that I mentioned in my update of 1/26, and they are still there.  Calling Christianity, Islam, and Judaism “diabolic”, calling Jews “suibhuman [sic], less evolved primates who should be eliminated in a peaceful manner. Such as by spraying them with mega toxic pesticides like you try to eliminate locusts and other field posts”, saying “I hate Muslims”, suggesting that you “will allow him (i.e. Muslims) to be locked up for the protection of others” — these are comments that go beyond the pale of any sort of civilized discussion.  This goes beyond bigotry into the realm of hatred.  Allowing such statements to remain on his site is a choice that Ali Sina has made, and that choice does reflect on him.  I am most concerned about the comments clearly calling for a genocide against Jews, and for locking up Muslims…

Goebbels would be proud, and Ali Sina and the other Islamophobes’ tactics show all to clearly theremarkable similarities between Islamophobic and anti-Semitic propaganda.  Geller’s baseless claim that I “serve the fourth reich”, must be projection.
UPDATE 1/29/2012

Sina is still carrying on a debate with himself on his site.  He is still demanding that I answer his questions about the interpretation of some particular Qur’anic verse, or what some Muslim scholar has said, or some hadith, or (the list goes on and on).  This is nonsense.  I have no obligation to discuss any of these issues with him.  And, I have provided him with links to all of my writings over the past many years, many of which have already discussed many of these issues.

Just as Muslims have given lengthy explanations for example of why particular verses of the Qur’an have been taken out of context to “prove” false points – Jewish scholars have had the need to explain particular aspects of their religion that have been misunderstood – for example what the Talmud says about the permissibility of killing non-Jews.   Rabbi David Eidensohn has a site devoted to defending the Talmud against various accusations.   The fact that there are verses in the Qur’an that can be interpreted variously is also not unique –  that there are verses that be seen as cruel and violent in the Bible (Old and New Testaments) cannot really be disputed.   What can be done is to attempt to marginalize those who continue to promote extremist interpretations of religious texts, and to promote false worldviews like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion or the Protocols of the Elders of Islam.

You might want to read Hussein Ibish’s article Religion and violence: another look at Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, and the 2003 ADL report on The Talmud in Anti-Semitic Polemics  and ask yourself if you don’t see how closely Ali Sina’s tactics mirror classic anti-Semitic tactics.

There is a site that maintains an archive of Nazi anti-Semitic propaganda.  It is depressing reading, but over and over again I found examples of claims and statements that mirrored claims now being made by people like you Ali Sina against Muslims and Islam.  Here are a few examples:

– Nazi propaganda maintained that all Jews were responsible for the act of any Jew “The murder of Ernst vom Rath did not slow legal measures aimed at solving the Jewish Problem, but rather sped them up. The Jews living in Germany had to pay a fine of a billion marks to discourage them from repeating the cowardly murder.”http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/imbild1.htm
– Nazi propaganda maintained that Judaism was not a religion. “Argument 1: “You say that religion is a private matter. But you fight against the Jewish religion!” Counterargument: “Actually, the Jewish religion is nothing other than a doctrine to preserve the Jewish race.” (Adolf Hitler). “In resisting all government attempts to nationalize them, the Jews build a state within the state (Count Helmuth von Moltke). “To call this state a ‘religion’ was one of the cleverest tricks ever invented.” (Adolf Hitler). “From this first lie that Jewry is a religion, not a race, further lies inevitably follow.” (Adolf Hitler).” http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/responses.htm
– Nazi propaganda maintained that the Jews hated all non-Jews and they wanted to destroy the Gentiles and dominate the world http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/ds15.htm  Further “Whether or not there is an organized Jewish government recognized by all the Jews is less important that the fact that there is a unified and conscious Jewish desire for world power. This is proved by a variety of political events that are taking place in plain sight today.” http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/aufkla01.htm
– Nazi propaganda maintained that a war against Judaism was a war against the devilhttp://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/ds15.htm
– Nazi propaganda maintained by distortions of the Torah and Talmud that Judaism teaches hatred http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/ds3.htm
– Nazi propaganda maintained that “The goal of the Jew is to make himself the ruler of humanity. Wherever he comes, he destroys works of culture. He is not a creative spirit, rather a destructive spirit.”  http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/catech.htm
– Nazi propaganda maintained that “Nearly all major inventions were made by Aryans.”  The Jews had no real creativity http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/catech.htm  Further “Wherever Jewry has appeared, it has never built anything. It has always and everywhere destroyed or torn down, sucking others dry to fill itself. From the days of the Romans to our day, Jewry in every century, in every people, was and remained a foreign body, a destroyer of real and ideal values, a denier of any upward progress, a plague for body and soul. It sneaks in through deceit and treachery, trickery and slyness, murder and assault, understanding how to establish itself.”  http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/esser.htm
– Nazi propaganda maintained that A GOOD JEW COULD NOT BE A GOOD GERMAN, that it was impossible for a Jew to honestly say “I am a “good German” and a “decent Jew”! Only a Jew has the insolence to make such a claim. I answer it only to reach the public and finally dispatch the absurd notion of the “decent Jew.” The fable of the “decent Jew” is not a German fable that has been handed down by our people and therefore something with educational value, but rather it is a shameless lie designed to lull the host people to sleep and appeal to hysterical weaklings.”  http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/oberlindober1.htm  And further “And you think you can be a “good German”! True, you do speak German, just as your racial comrades in other countries speak English, French, Spanish, and Polish, but you are no more a German than they are Englishmen, Frenchmen, Spaniards, or Poles, since Jews are a foreign body in every people.” http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/oberlindober1.htm
– Nazi propaganda maintained “Each Jew individually, and Jewry as a whole, is without a home. Jewry undermines every people and every state that it infiltrates. It feeds as a parasite and a culture-killing worm in the host people. It grows and grows like weeds in the state, the community, and the family and infests the blood of humanity everywhere.  In brief, that is the pestilential nature of Jewry, against which every people, every state, every nation must, should, and wants to defend itself if it does not want to be the victim of this bloody plague.” http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/esser.htm

It is not possible for any decent human being not to see the incredible similarities between this Nazi propaganda and the propaganda of the Islamophobes.  In fact, many passages from Ali Sina’s work read as if he has simply taken one of these statements and changed “Jew” with “Muslim” or “Judaism” with “Islam”.

The Islamophobic echo chamber is reproducing Ali Sina’s articles and claiming that he has totally crushed me with his rapier wit.  Let the bigots continue discussing this among themselves, andcontinue stirring up a hornets nest of bigotry, and engaging in their what everyone “knows” distortions about Islam and Muslims, and following Baron Bodissey/Edward May’s Islamophobia manifesto and Nazi propaganda as their guide.

I leave it to the reader to decide who is civilized and who is savage in this discussion.  I will get back to reading the Qur’an.

“If your Lord had so willed, He could have made mankind one people: but they will not cease to dispute.” [Qur’an 11:118]

“And do thou be patient, for thy patience is but from God; nor grieve over them: and distress not thyself because of their plots. For Allah is with those who restrain themselves, and those who do good.” [Qur’an 16:127-128]

Oh mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (Not that you may despise each other). [Qur’an 49;13]

NOTE:  I do thank Ali Sina for correcting my spelling of pseudonym.
SEE ALSO

A Who’s Who of the Anti-Muslim/Anti-Arab/Islamophobia Industryhttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/a_whos_who_of_the_anti-muslimanti-arabislamophobia_industry

Islamophobia:  Real or Imaginedhttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/islamophobia_real_or_imagined

Ali Sina and Faith Freedom International, Sheila Musajihttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/ali_sina

SION:  Hate Groups Unite to Form an International Hate Coalition, Sheila Musajihttp://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/sion

A Lavish Feast: Hatemongers, Hypocrites, and the Hate Du Jour

Bart Simpson

In a daring display of “investigative journalism,” Loonwatch was recently “outed” as a site, “pretty much exclusively concerned with exposing the perceived enemies of Islam…” This jealously guarded secret was previously known only to tech-savvy visitors clever enough to click the link to our About page:

Loonwatch.com is a blogzine run by a motley group of hate-allergic bloggers to monitor and expose the web’s plethora of anti-Muslim loons, wackos, and conspiracy theorists…..

Isn’t that a fancy way of saying pretty much the same thing?

Throughout the screed ”exposing” our “super secret mission,” there are numerous ludicrous and fact-less assertions, which have been refuted here and here. A garden variety bigot isn’t of much interest to us here, but amid the baseless accusations, fuzzy logic, and shameless self-promotion, there is a question that warrants a response:

Does Loonwatch really shun all criticism of Islam and immediately silence our critics by branding them as loons?

Similar accusations have been made repeatedly, against Loonwatch and other sites devoted to fighting Islamophobia. The short and simple answer is “no.” As American Muslim civil rights activist Ahmed Rehab has said:

One thing we must never allow is for the bad amongst us – terrorists, extremists, ideologues of exclusion and hate – to succeed in turning the rest of us against each other. We must condemn them, ostracize them, and disempower them. The way to do that is to strengthen our relations, and stand with one another. That is the only way to spell defeat for the agents of hate.

We must emerge from our comfort zones and stand together as one against all forms of violence, ignorance, and intolerance….

Islam should be subjected to its fair share of constructive criticism and we have said as much in a significant number of articles. In fact several of our writers have severely criticized the theological premises of certain violent and regressive trends within the worldwide Muslim community. The problem is that there’s nothing fair or constructive about the ocean of half truths and outright lies that are routinely spread about Islam and Muslims by a well-funded network of pseudo scholars, grassroots activists, media amplifiers, serial fabricators, and other assorted anti-Muslim crackpots.

Legitimate criticism is truthful, proportionate, and in accordance with fair standards.

One of our most popular recent articles, Fake Nigerian Christians Burnt Alive Photo Resurfaces on Facebook, exposes anti-Muslim bigot and serial fabricator Pamela Geller trying to pass off a photo from a tragic accident as an incident of Muslims burning Christians alive.

Legitimate criticism is truthful. 

There is a constant barrage of  propaganda that says “Islamic terrorism” is the world’s greatest threat. Hate sites far and wide trumpet brash and baseless claims, which we routinely expose as lies: 17,000 “Islamic terrorist” Attacks Exist in Fevered Islamophobic Brains.

Yet meticulously documented statistics on the website Unknown News put the figures in proper context:

About 303 times as many people have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq than in the ghastly attacks of September 11, 2001.

More than 130 times as many people have been killed in these wars and occupations than in all terrorist attacks in the world from 1993-2004, according to data compiled by the US State Department.

Every life is sacred and precious, and reducing individuals to statistics is a grisly calculus. However, we must make the point that war consistently kills far more innocent civilians than terrorism. What justifies the myopic focus on the latter?

Legitimate criticism is proportionate.

Another favorite trick of anti-Muslim bigots is to cherry pick violent and intolerant passages from Islamic scripture and juxtapose them next to relatively peaceful passages from Jewish or Christian scripture. Loonwatch has a whole series of articles addressing this inconsistency: The Understanding Jihad Series: Is Islam More Likely Than Other Religions to Encourage Violence?

The most recent additions are here and here. We repeatedly expose this unfair tactic and insist that all religions be measured by the same set of standards.

Legitimate criticism is in accordance with fair standards.

Our mission is to expose the lies, exaggerations and double standards employed by anti-Muslim bigots, and our articles do exactly that. We advocate universal human rights, and refuse to give anyone a free pass.

We condemn all acts of terrorism and the killing of innocent civilians, no matter who is responsible.

No matter how many times we condemn terrorism, “critics” insist we haven’t condemned terrorism, and have even had the audacity to smear us a terrorist spin control network. It’s become almost laughable and reminiscent of a famous scene from the 1979 British comedy film, Monty Python’s Life of Brian:

Brian: …Will you please listen? I’m not the Messiah! Do you understand? Honestly!

Woman: Only the true Messiah denies his divinity!

Brian: What? Well, what sort of chance does that give me? All right, I am the Messiah!

Crowd: He is! He is the Messiah!

Will you please listen? We do condemn terrorism! Do you understand? Honestly! …

It’s time to resort to a more potent weapon: common sense. When some halfwit sets his underwear on fire in a failed terrorist attack, anyone with the slightest stake in the Muslim community instantly thinks, “Please, please…don’t let it be a Muslim!”

If it turns out the perpetrator is a Muslim, it is an unmitigated disaster for Muslims everywhere. Besides being morally repugnant, terrorism is self-defeating.

The 9/11 terrorist attacks paved the way for the US to bomb, invade, and occupy one Muslim country after another, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. Syria and Iran may be next.  The Islamophobia that germinated in the aftermath of the attacks has rooted itself in the public imagination and continues to deepen and expand, despite the loons’ absurd claims it doesn’t exist.

The blatantly obvious, self-evident truth is that terrorism hurts Muslims and damages the fight against bigotry.

In fact, it’s hard to imagine anything that sets back the cause of fighting anti-Muslim bigotry more than a terrorist attack that is in any way associated with Muslims. The loons delight in reporting terrorist attacks because their interests are served, not ours. In fact, anti-Muslim hatemongers and outrage peddlers are so eager to publish news of “Islamic” terrorist attacks, they don’t even care if there are no Muslims involved, as we’ve reported here and here.

We condemn all acts of terrorism and the killing of innocent civilians, no matter who is responsible. 

Our question to critics: Do you? 

As Danios said in his recent article, We’re at War!” — And We Have Been Since 1776: 214 Years of American War-Making:

The objects of American aggression have certainly changed with time, but the primary motivating factor behind U.S. wars of aggression have always been the same: expansion of U.S. hegemony.  The Muslim world is being bombed, invaded, and occupied by the United States not because of radical Islam or any inherent flaw in themselves.  Rather, it is being so attacked because it is in the path of the American juggernaut, which is always in need of war.

The evidence that radical Islam is the justification, but not the catalyst, for US invasions is simply historical precedent. Decades before the War on Terror, the late civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke out against the war in Vietnam, and his words are no less relevant today:

As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through non-violent action; but they ask and rightly so, “What about Vietnam?” They ask if our nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems…and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without first having spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government…

This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death…

The time has come for America to hear the truth about this tragic war. In international conflicts, the truth is hard to come by because most nations are deceived about themselves. Rationalizations and the incessant search for scapegoats are the psychological cataracts that blind us to our sins…

Even as we commemorate Dr. King’s eloquent and timeless truths, it seems we’ve missed his essential message.

The US dominates the world through military power, maintaining over 700 bases in more than 130 countries, and is still bombing and invading nations with impunity. How is it that we view Muslims as the ones who are exceptionally violent and hellbent on taking over the world?

pro·jec·tion

: the attribution of one’s own ideas, feelings, or attitudes to other people or to objects; especially : the externalization of blame, guilt, or responsibility as a defense against anxiety.

The US has been variously bombing and starving Iraqis for more than two decades, which begs the question:  What did the nation of Iraq ever do to the United States? The answer: nothing.

How is it possible to fixate on acts of terrorism while simultaneously ignoring the colossal crimes the US has visited on the once prosperous nation of Iraq?

dou·ble stan·dard

: a set of principles that applies differently and usually more rigorously to one group of people or circumstances than to another.

de·ni·al

: negation in logic

: a psychological defense mechanism in which confrontation with a personal problem or with reality is avoided by denying the existence of the problem or reality.

Iran hasn’t attacked another country in over 200 years. Even as the US threatens to launch a war against this relatively peaceful nation, many Americans continue to view their country as peace-loving  and standing firmly on the moral high ground.

What accounts for this resilient sense of self-righteousness?

pro·pa·gan·da

: the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person

: ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one’s cause or to damage an opposing cause; also : a public action having such an effect

ra·tio·nal·ization

: to attribute (one’s actions) to rational and creditable motives without analysis of true and especially unconscious motives.

de·lu·sion

: a persistent false psychotic belief regarding the self or persons or objects outside the self that is maintained despite indisputable evidence to the contrary; also : the abnormal state marked by such beliefs.

How can our critics remain virtually silent on the Western violence and simultaneously assert, ”Loonwatch is protecting Jihadists and terrorists through lies of omission.”

hy·poc·ri·sy

: a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not; especially : the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion.

Defense mechanisms and relentless propaganda are the “psychological cataracts” that embolden us to criticize others and remain blind to our own faults. Refusal to take a good look in the mirror is also a lie of omission.

We condemn all acts of terrorism and the killing of innocent civilians, no matter who is responsible.

Again, our question to critics: Do you? 

Of course, the so-called “counter-jihadists” could reasonably argue that they too have a limited focus, and are, “pretty much exclusively concerned with exposing the truth about Islam…” That’s fine, as long as their criticism is truthful, proportionate, and in accordance with fair standards.

Read the following excerpts and decide if they constitute hate speech or merely tell the unvarnished truth about Islam:

The cultured peoples, both today and in the past, create and build, proving their worth as the creators and advancers of culture. Islam was and remains only the corrupter and destroyer of culture… Islam can never be great, can never create culture, for it is not a people, but rather only a corrupt mixture of inferior desert tribes with no national life or longing, with no proud and famous past.

And:

In this war for the very existence of the American people, we must daily remind ourselves that Muslims unleashed this war against us….

There is nothing cruder than the Muslim religious books: the Qur’an, the Sunnah, and the Hadith…The whole is a collection of ghost hunting and mysticism, blind cursing and the crassest egotism, an unimaginable superiority complex, sick perversity, the overturning of all natural laws, lust for murder, terror, and horror.

The Crusades, with their enormous sacrifices in the blood of northern peoples, were the result of Muslim insanity.

And:

One feels horror at the unique depravity of the Muslims, at the crimes they have committed, at the devilish hate they have from the beginning directed against all those who did not want to bow to the yoke of Islam! This horror becomes terror when one reads the Qur’anic writings and reads such outbursts of Muslim rage as one finds in the Sunnah and Hadith…..

The term “kafir” expresses the deep antipathy Muslims feel toward infidels. Despite its inferiority, Islam was able to survive over the millennia because of its satanic hatred against infidels.

Muslim hatred today is as strong as it ever was. He who does not submit is their enemy. The Muslim hates the enemy with all his heart and with all the strength of his satanic soul….

Deep and boundless hatred is an essential characteristic of Islam.

Now there is war! The Muslims forced us into a struggle for life and death. The war has forced us to give up much we formerly thought was necessary. It has also forced us to give up the “politeness” that in reality is a weakness. A boxer in the ring must use his fists to defend himself against his opponent. A fencer can only win when he uses his sword. We as a people will survive this war only if we eliminate weakness and “politeness” and respond to the Muslims with an equal hatred. We must always keep in mind what the Muslim wants today, and what he plans to do with us. If we do not oppose the Muslims with the entire energy of our people, we are lost. But if we can use the full force of our soul that has been released by the new crusade, we need not fear the future. The devilish hatred of the Muslims plunged the world into war, need and misery. Our holy hate will bring us victory and save all of mankind.

Common themes include the cultural inferiority of “desert tribes,” crude scriptures, boundless hate for infidels, unique depravity, a superiority complex, sick perversity, and lust for murder, terror, and horror. Muslims pose an existential threat, and their collective insanity is even responsible for the Crusades.

This is pretty standard fare for hate sites like Jihad Watch, Atlas Shrugs, and Frontpage Magazine. Can you guess the source?

It’s a trick question because none of these excerpts came from contemporary hate sites. All are from articles published decades ago by Nazis. Every word in bold has been modified so the passages appear to refer to Muslims instead of Jews.

You can view the original versions here, here and here. We previously published an article comparing specific statements from pre-Nazi era Antisemitic propagandist Julius Streicher and Robert Spencer, here.

That brings us to the next part of the Loonwatch mission statement:

While we find the sheer stupidity and outrageousness of the loons to be a source of invaluable comedy, we also recognize the seriousness of the danger they represent as dedicated hatemongers…

Muslims have not (yet) been subjected to pogroms or rounded up en mass and herded into internment camps, and the point is to make sure that doesn’t happen. We have learned the lessons of history.

During the Nazi era, Antisemitic propaganda resonated with many “good Germans,” just as many “good Americans” once accepted slavery and thought of Native Americans as “savages.”  Everyone outside the lunatic fringe recognizes the monstrous injustices of the past, but far fewer have the moral fortitude to recognize and speak out against the socially sanctioned injustices of the present day.

Islamophobia is the hate du jour, and hatemongers and hypocrites are enjoying a lavish feast.

More Proof Why You REALLY Shouldn’t Trust Robert Spencer’s “Scholarship”

A few days ago, I published an article entitled Why You Shouldn’t Trust Robert Spencer’s Biography of the Prophet Muhammad (I).

I took issue with Robert Spencer’s opening sentences of his biography of Muhammad (p.5 of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam), in which he wrote:

Muhammad already had experience as a warrior before he assumed the role of the prophet.  He had participated in two local wars between his Quraysh tribe and their neighboring rivals Banu Hawazin.

I wrote a response as follows:

What Spencer leaves out from this talking point–“Muhammad already had experience as warrior before he assumed the role of prophet”!–is quite telling.

He is referring to what is known in Islamic history as Harb al-Fijar (the Sacrilegious War), a series of conflicts that took place when Muhammad was a teenager. The spark that ignited the war was the unsettled murder of a member of one tribe, which lead to a blood feud. Due to “entangling alliances,” many different tribes in the area found themselves at war with each other.

Like most of Muhammad’s life, the details of this event are contested. This dispute is not simply one between modern-day Muslim apologists and Islamophobes, but rather one that traces its way back to the earliest biographers of the Prophet.

In specific, Muhammad’s level of participation in these wars is disputed. On the one hand, some Shia biographers reject the idea that Muhammad partook in them at all. Meanwhile, Sunni biographers write that Muhammad simply accompanied his uncle but did not directly fight in these wars. He only took on a very limited support role: picking up enemy arrows from the battlefield. At the most, he fired off a few arrows, but did not kill anyone.

Not only was Muhammad’s role severely limited, but even this he would later express regret over. Muhammad later recounted: “I had witnessed that war with my uncle and shot a few arrows therein. How I wish I had never done so!” [1] Spencer conveniently omits this very important fact, one that mitigates Muhammad’s participation in the war, especially in regards to his views about war and peace.

Spencer replied:

In 2006 I wrote the book on the right, The Truth About Muhammad, a biography of the prophet of Islam based on the earliest Muslim accounts of his life, in order to illustrate what Muslims generally believe that Muhammad said and did. In my forthcoming book, Did Muhammad Exist? An Inquiry Into Islam’s Obscure Origins, which will be published April 23 by ISI, I examine the historical value of those early Muslim accounts. It is an attempt to determine whether what Muslims believe Muhammad said and did, as recounted in The Truth About Muhammad, actually corresponds to historical reality.

There are numerous reasons to question the historicity of the early Muslim accounts of Muhammad’s life. Take, for example, an incident I refer to briefly in yet another book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades):

Muhammad already had experience as a warrior before he assumed the role of prophet. He had participated in two local wars between his Quraysh tribe and their neighboring rivals Banu Hawazin.

That he participated in these wars, known collectively as the Fijar War, or Sacrilegious War, is generally agreed upon, but there is no agreement about what he thought later about his role in them. The Egyptian writer Muhammad Hussein Haykal, in his 1933 biography, Hayat Muhammad (translated into English as The Life of Muhammad), quotes Muhammad expressing regret for his participation in this war:

“I had witnessed that war with my uncle and shot a few arrows therein. How I wish I had never done so!” (Pp. 52-3)

However, the ninth-century Muslim historian Ibn Sa’d, in one of the earliest and most important sources for biographical information on Muhammad, Kitab Al-Tabaqat Al-Kabir, directly contradicts Haykal by quoting Muhammad saying this about the Fijar War:

I attended it with my uncles and shot arrows there and I do not repent it. (I.143)So which is it?

Is Haykal right that he really did express regret, or is Ibn Sa’d right that he explicitly ruled out doing so? Haykal doesn’t give his source, but it is possible that he had access to a hadith or some Islamic tradition that flatly contradicted the one Ibn Sa’d recorded eleven centuries earlier — although this is unlikely, since Ibn Sa’d often records variant and contradictory reports and discusses how they can be harmonized, or why one should be accepted and the other rejected. In this case Ibn Sa’d gives no hint of any variants. Haykal may simply have altered this tradition for apologetic purposes. Those who cite him as their source on this, or try to build an argument upon his quotation, do so at their own risk.

Nonetheless, such contradictions abound in the hadith reports. Muhammad can quite often be found saying contradictory things, as I show in Did Muhammad Exist?. In that book also I discuss how this odd situation came about: opposing factions both invoked Muhammad as an authority, and invented traditions to support their point of view.

Spencer is hawking his new book, which he is pushing as a “scholarly work” about how Muhammad didn’t exist.  His home page boasts that Robert Spencer is “[t]he acclaimed scholar of Islam”, “[a] serious scholar”, and “a brilliant scholar.”

I have pointed out in the past that Spencer is not a scholar of any sort–especially not on anything related to Islam.  He simply does not have the academic qualifications to claim this.  What other “scholar” do you know of that doesn’t even have a master’s or PhD degree on the subject he claims to be a “scholar” of?  He only has a one-year master’s degree in “the field of early Christianity”.  How does that make him an “acclaimed scholar of Islam”?

Another major problem with Spencer’s claim to scholarship is that he simply does not speak or understand Arabic.  This much has been apparent in the past, and it becomes painstakingly obvious in his latest response to me (as I shall show below).  I don’t think Spencer needs to know Arabic to criticize Islam (as some Muslim apologists insist), but I do think he needs to know it in order to be considered a “scholar of Islam” (a title he claims)–let alone “[t]he acclaimed scholar of Islam.”

Combine (1) not having any academic qualifications whatsoever with (2) not knowing Arabic and you have a situation like this: imagine some random blogger claiming to be “a world renowned physician” without ever having (1) gone to medical school and (2) without ever having studied or learned anatomy.  Such a blogger might be able to bring up good points about the field of medicine, but nobody in their right mind would consider him a “world renowned physician”–and if he claimed any such thing, his credibility would be shattered.

The need to understand Arabic in order to be a “scholar of Islam” cannot become more apparent than it is now with Spencer’s latest reply.  And here’s why:  Spencer argues (see quote above) that the hadith (saying of the Prophet Muhammad) found in Haykal’s Hayat Muhammad contradicts the one in Ibn Sa’d’s Kitab Al-Tabaqat Al-Kabir.  He argues that Haykal may have reproduced another hadith that contradicts the one found in Ibn Sa’d’s book, or even that Haykal may have engaged in academic deceit (i.e. “altered this tradition for apologetic purposes”).  That’s a serious and bold claim to make against Haykal.

Yet, had Spencer simply been able to read Arabic, he would have realized that the hadith in Haykal’s Hayat Muhammad and Ibn Sa’d’s Al-Tabaqat Al-Kabir are the exact same!  They are word-for-word identical.  In other words, Haykal took the hadith from Ibn Sa’d’s book.  That Spencer couldn’t see this speaks volumes about his “scholarship.”  So, Spencer’s blathering on about Haykal finding another contradictory hadith or of manipulating the text is indicative of his sophomoric “scholarship.”

How could Haykal have reproduced another hadith or have manipulated the text when in fact the wording in both Haykal’s book and Ibn Sa’d’s is the exact same?  Here is what is found in Haykal’s book:

Source: Haykal, Muhammad Husayn, Hayat Muhammad [The Life of Muhammad], 14th ed. (Cairo: Dar al-Ma’arif, n.d.): 134

And here’s the exact same found in Ibn Sa’d’s book, which Spencer quoted to “trump” Haykal’s hadith (stupidly not realizing they are the exact same!):

Source: Ibn Sa’d,  Tabaqat al-Kabir, edited by Ali Muhammad Umar (Cairo: Maktabat al-Khaniji, 2001) 1:106

To Robert Spencer, who doesn’t read or understand Arabic, that looks like a whole lot of jibberish.  One can imagine Spencer saying: “That’s Greek Arabic to me!”  But, if we help Spencer out by underlining as we did above, even he should be able to verify that they are the exact same–word-for-word.

So, if the two quotes are the exact same, why does Spencer’s quote seem to say the exact opposite as what I quoted?  Why did I translate it as such:

I had witnessed that war with my uncle and shot a few arrows therein. How I wish I had never done so!

Whereas Spencer used the following:

I attended it with my uncles and shot arrows there and I do not repent it.

Why the difference?

Being the “acclaimed scholar of Islam” that he is, Spencer relied on Google search to find this English translation of Ibn Sa’d’s book and/or was forced to rely on an English translation of the book (due to his inability to read the source text).  In doing so, Spencer didn’t realize that the sentence he reproduced was a faulty translation.

In Arabic, the underlined part is:

وما أحب أني لم أكن فعلت

In transliteration (for Spencer’s sake), it would be:

wa ma uhibb anni lam akun fa’alt

It translates to:

and what I wish is that I had not done it!

Breaking it down, we have:

وما (wa ma) – and what

أحب (uhibb) – I love/wish (See Hans Wehr for the meaning of this verb)

 أني (anni) – is that I

لم أكن (lam akun) – had not

فعلت (fa’alt) – done [it]

The translator Spencer used made a mistake with the word ما (ma), which is a participle in Arabic that is modified by the words surrounding it.  Hans Wehr lists nine different uses of the word ما (ma), one of which is indeed negation.  However, from a linguistic standpoint, the “negative ma” cannot be used in this particular sentence.  Indeed, it would render the sentence into a nonsensical “double negative”:

And I do not love that I had not done it.

Huh?  If you translated it like so, that would actually mean that Muhammad did not participate in the war.  So, even still, this would actually be proof against Spencer’s claim that Muhammad took part in it.

The translator Spencer relied upon saw two negatives and just tried to “simplify” the text to read: “and I do not repent it.”  This, even though the word “repent” does not appear anywhere in the text.  It is completely imagined.  It should be noted that the translator’s native language was neither Arabic nor English. He didn’t know what to do with the nonsensical double-negative–a sentence that would actually mean that Muhammad did not love the fact that he did not participate in the war.

In reality, the word  ما (ma) was being used as a “relative ma“:

Source: Ryding, Karin C., A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005): 326

The translator can be forgiven for making a mistake, but Robert Spencer, being “[t]he acclaimed scholar of Islam” should have known better.  The only correct translation of this text would support the translation I used, namely that Muhammad regretted his participation in the war, which was the point of my article.  It was this fact that Spencer failed to include in his book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades).  Instead, he tried to give the exact opposite (and false) impression, i.e. that Muhammad was already a “warrior” before he became a prophet.

Watch how this hadith from Ibn Sa’d’s book–which Spencer is currently using as his strongest proof–will be quickly tossed away by Spencer now that it doesn’t support his argument any more.  This is, after all, his methodology for “finding the historical Muhammad”: any hadiths that paint Muhammad in a positive light are jettisoned, whereas those that do the opposite are trumpeted and used as a club to hit Muslims over the head with.  With such a biased “methodology”, do you really want to trust Robert Spencer as a source for Muhammad’s biography or for anything related to Islam?

*  *  *  *  *

The bottom line is that Spencer relied on an incorrect translation to write a response to my article.  This has two implications:

1)  Our entire discussion underscores how important it is for a “scholar of Islam” to read, understand and have mastery of the Arabic language.  This is what is expected of a scholar at any credible university, and this is what must be expected of Robert Spencer if he wishes to don the mantle of a scholar of Islam.  It is exactly because of situations like these where knowing how to read Arabic can make or break the argument.

2) Specifically with the Prophet Muhammad, Spencer’s biography is misleading because it portrays Muhammad as “already [having] had experience as a warrior”, which is meant to purposefully mislead the reader.  It is intended to paint a portrait of Muhammad as a fierce warrior–hence, Spencer’s choice of title, “Muhammad: Prophet of War”.

What Spencer leaves out is the fact that, at most, Muhammad’s involvement in the war was menial–mostly just in a support capacity.  This is a far cry from the “fierce warrior” image that Spencer is trying to portray.

Muhammad not only expressed regret for participation in the war, but more importantly, after hostilities ceased he supported the League of the Virtuous (Hilf al-Fudul), which was similar to the League of Nations formed after World War I.  The goal of the League of the Virtuous was to bring an end to bloodshed, violence, and war.  Muhammad’s participation in this–and his ringing endorsement of the League even in his later years of life–tells us a lot about how he viewed the war (and warfare in general).  Under the entry of Hilf al-Fudul, Thomas Patrick Hughes’ A Dictionary of Islam says:

A confederacy formed…for the suppression of violence and injustice at the restoration of peace after the Sacrilegious war. Muhammad was then a youth, and Sir William Muir says this confederacy ”aroused an enthusiasm in the mind of Mahomet [Muhammad], which the exploits of the Sacrilegious war failed to kindle.”

The war Muhammad was not too keen of.  But, the body designed to bring peace on earth was something he was deeply inspired by.

These are facts that Spencer wouldn’t have the reader know.  Yet, whereas there was disagreement among biographers about Muhammad’s participation in the war, there was–as far as I know–no difference of opinion about his participation in and support for the League of the Virtuous.  Why is it that Spencer’s biography focuses on contested facts but stays clear from a more accepted occurrence? It is only because one event helps build his case against Muhammad, and the other does the opposite.  So, he includes what helps and ignores what doesn’t.  Should you really trust Spencer’s biography then?

*  *  *  *  *

Spencer also writes in the same article:

Nonetheless, such contradictions abound in the hadith reports. Muhammad can quite often be found saying contradictory things, as I show in Did Muhammad Exist?. In that book also I discuss how this odd situation came about: opposing factions both invoked Muhammad as an authority, and invented traditions to support their point of view.

Robert Spencer has recently argued that Muhammad didn’t in fact exist.  The desire to negate Muhammad’s existence altogether is born out of his strongly pro-Catholic, anti-Muslim views.

Yet, Spencer should know that historians have doubted the historicity of Moses and Jesus as well.  Almost all of the arguments used against the historicity of Muhammad can be applied to Moses and Jesus.  Some scholars have doubted Moses and Jesus’ existences altogether, just as Spencer doubts the existence of Muhammad.  Once again, what is good for the goose is good for the gander, but try arguing this point and Spencer will cry “tu quoque, tu quoque!”  How dare you apply the same standards to Spencer’s religion and beliefs that he does on a routine basis to others!

However, most scholars don’t believe Muhammad didn’t exist, just as most don’t deny the existence of Jesus.  But, the details of Muhammad’s life are far more controversial and up for debate, just as is the case with Jesus.  Finding the historical Muhammad is, like finding the historical Moses or Jesus, an important endeavor.

Yes, contradictory hadiths abound, but that’s no different than is the case in Christianity: Bible scholars argue that the Gospels, for example, are highly contradictory to each other, especially with regard to Jesus.  I can hear it now already: tu quoque, tu quoque!

The fact that contradictory reports exist just means that scholars need to exert energy to determine what’s more reliable and what’s not–and there will always be a level of guesswork and doubt about it.  But the correct way to find the historical Muhammad is not the way Spencer does it: agree with whatever casts Muhammad in a bad light, and dump everything that doesn’t.

Finding the historical Muhammad is an important endeavor that modern scholarship will need to undertake, and you won’t find me disagreeing with that.  Yes, it might call into question stories that many Muslims take for granted, but it will also cast doubt on events that Islamophobes like Robert Spencer rely on to bash Muslims over the head with.

Danios was the Brass Crescent Award Honorary Mention for Best Writer in 2010 and the Brass Crescent Award Winner for Best Writer in 2011.  For the writing of this article, Dawood (guest contributor) was consulted.

Why You Shouldn’t Trust Robert Spencer’s Biography of the Prophet Muhammad (I)

This article is a part of LoonWatch’s Understanding Jihad Series.

I recently agreed to debate the following thesis with Robert Spencer of JihadWatch:

Islam is more violent than other religions, specifically Judaism and Christianity.

This is the main theme in Spencer’s book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades).  It is even the title of one of his books: Religion of Peace?: Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn’t.  More than this, it reflects the fundamental difference between he and I: whereas I accept the violent and intolerant aspect inherent in all religious traditions, Spencer specifically targets Islam.

Under this heading, I was willing to debate the following sub-thesis:

The Islamic prophet was more violent and warlike than Jewish and Christian prophets.

This was the argument Spencer brought forth in chapter 1 of his book, entitled “Muhammad: Prophet of War.” On p.3, Spencer writes:

[F]or the religious man or woman on the streets of Chicago, Rome, Jerusalem, Damascus, Calcutta, and Bangkok, the words of Jesus, Moses, Muhammad, Krishna, and Buddha mean something far greater than any individual’s reading of them.  And even to the less-than-devout reader, the words of these great religious teachers are clearly not equal in their meaning.

On p.4, Spencer promises to compare Muhammad to prophets and founders of other religious traditions in order “to emphasize the fallacy of those who claim that Islam and Christianity–and all other religious traditions, for that matter–are basically equal in their ability to inspire good or evil.”  In other words: Muhammad was the most violent of them all, and thus inspires greater evil.

But, is it true?

I’ve already written multiple articles related to this topic, but now I will directly refute chapter 1 of Robert Spencer’s book (“Muhammad: Prophet of War”), which is Spencer’s biography of Muhammad.  I will present a balanced, neutral, and academic picture of Muhammad–in between the Islamophobic narrative of Spencer on the one hand and the understandably biased Muslim apologist view on the other.

Once Muhammad’s life is understood thus, I will compare it to the lives of other prophets–MosesJoshuaSamsonSaulDavid, Jesus, etc.–to see if Muhammad was truly the most violent of them all.

*  *  *  *  *

Robert Spencer’s biography of Muhammad is extremely misleading.  This becomes apparent from the get-go. The very first section of Spencer’s biography of Muhammad begins on p.5, entitled “Muhammad the raider.”  Spencer’s opening words are:

Muhammad the raider

Muhammad already had experience as a warrior before he assumed the role of prophet.  He had participated in two local wars between his Quraysh tribe and their neighboring rivals Banu Hawazin.

What Spencer leaves out from this talking point–”Muhammad already had experience as  warrior before he assumed the role of prophet”!–is quite telling.

He is referring to what is known in Islamic history as Harb al-Fijar (the Sacrilegious War), a series of conflicts that took place when Muhammad was a teenager.  The spark that ignited the war was the unsettled murder of a member of one tribe, which lead to a blood feud.  Due to “entangling alliances,” many different tribes in the area found themselves at war with each other.

Like most of Muhammad’s life, the details of this event are contested.  This dispute is not simply one between modern-day Muslim apologists and Islamophobes, but rather one that traces its way back to the earliest biographers of the Prophet.

In specific, Muhammad’s level of participation in these wars is disputed.  On the one hand, Shia biographers reject the idea that Muhammad partook in them at all.  Meanwhile, Sunni biographers write that Muhammad simply accompanied his uncle but did not directly fight in these wars.  He only took on a very limited support role: picking up enemy arrows from the battlefield.  At the most, he fired off a few arrows, but did not kill anyone.

Not only was Muhammad’s role severely limited, but even this he would later express regret over.  Muhammad later recounted: ”I had witnessed that war with my uncle and shot a few arrows therein. How I wish I had never done so!” [1] Spencer conveniently omits this very important fact, one that mitigates Muhammad’s participation in the war, especially in regards to his views about war and peace.

Like World War I, the Sacrilegious War was sparked over a murder and resulted in great turmoil due to “entangling alliances.”  Once hostilities ceased, many of the tribes decided to convene a sort of “League of Nations” to prevent future wars.  The Arabian tribes assembled at the house of a man named Abdullah bin Judan and “forged the League of the Virtuous [Hilf al-Fudul].  The major aims of the League were to prevent wars from breaking out and to protect the weak and the defenseless from their enemies.” [2] Members would “henceforth and forever stand on the side of the victim of injustice,” instead of simply siding based on tribal loyalty. [3] It was hoped that such an arrangement would prevent the blood feuds that were common in that time.

Muhammad took part in the signing of the League of the Virtuous, and it left its indelible mark on him.  He would later say: “I witnessed in the house of Abdullah bin Judan a pact made that I wouldn’t have exchanged for the choicest of herds; and if it had been suggested after Islam, I would have responded positively to it.” [4] (“The choicest herd” is the ancient equivalent of saying: “I wouldn’t trade it in even for a Ferrari.”) Muhammad said further: “If further such pacts be made for the cause of the oppressed and I be called, I would certainly respond.” [5]

The ideals of the League of the Virtuous–of standing for justice regardless of family or tribal loyalty–finds its way into the Quran:

O you who believe, stand firmly for justice, witnesses before God, even if it be against your own selves, your parents or relatives, or whether it be against rich or poor. (4:135)

Throughout his career, Muhammad opposed tribal warfare and blood feuds.  Meanwhile, the Quran instructed the believers to defend the oppressed by fighting the oppressors:

What reason could you have for not fighting in God’s cause–for those men, women and children who are oppressed and cry out, “Our Lord, rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors!  By Your Grace, give us a protector and a savior!” (4:75)

The Sacrilegious War and the League of the Virtuous played a pivotal role in Muhammad’s views on matters of war and peace–but not in the way that Spencer implies it to (i.e. “he was born a warrior!”).  Instead, Muhammad became a “veteran against the war” and greatly supported the idea of a League of the Virtuous, a body intended to bring peace on earth–one that would end violence, bloodshed, and war.

By omitting key details, Spencer willfully misleads the reader.  This is just within the first three lines of his biography of Muhammad.  As we shall see, the deception just gets worse.

To be continued…

Danios was the Brass Crescent Award Honorary Mention for Best Writer in 2010 and the Brass Crescent Award Winner for Best Writer in 2011.

Footnotes:
[1] Muhammad Husayn Haykal, Hayat Muhammad, p.62
[2] S. Ali Asgher Razwy, A Restatement of the History of Islam and Muslims, p.24.
Prof. Joseph Morrison Skelly writes on p.39 of Political Islam: “Hilf al-Fudul was an agreement among several pre-Islamic Arab tribes in the seventh century to prevent injustice and to aid those who had been wronged.”
[3] Haykal, p.62
[4] Ibn Kathir, Al-Sira Al-Nabawiyya, p.188
[5] A.H. Qasmi, International Encyclopaedia of Islam, p.113

Sheila Musaji: Rational and Legitimate Concerns are not the Same as Bigoted Stereotypes

Rational and Legitimate Concerns are not the Same as Bigoted Stereotypes

by Sheila Musaji

In a recent article Eric Allen Bell Chooses to Retain “Ridiculous Prejudice”, I discussed an article this individual posted on Daily Kos claiming that the Loonwatch site was “in fact a terrorist spin control network.”  I discussed his arguments and the reasons that I believe them to be Islamophobic.  In about a week, he has posted a total of three such articles, and been joined in his rantings by Robert Spencer.  You can see all of the updates with links at the bottom of my article about this saga.

In his second article Eric Allen Bell says:

But what about the rational and legitimate concerns that people, such as myself, voice about the theology of Islam and some of the ways it is practiced, in certain parts of the world, which violate human rights? Is the expression of such concerns something that should be dismissed and branded as yet more “Islamophobia”?

According to Loonwatch.com – a well known Islamophoiba [sic] watchdog site – there is no distinction. Loonwatch unconditionally attacks criticism of Islam but they refuse to criticize the many, many Islamic clerics and terrorists who are hurting people in the name of Islam. Should a person have something to say publicly questioning the funneling of monies from Islamic charities to Islamic terrorist networks, Loonwatch is there to call them a “Loon” for even raising the question. That’s quite a clever system – a form of radical Islamic McCarthyism it seems – with the first line of defense being a blogoshere of misinformed infidels who will blurt out the word “Islamophobe” at the slightest mention that within Islam there might be a problem brewing. What a clever design.

Should an article be written about forced marriages of Muslim child brides overseas or the stoning to death of a Muslim woman as punishment for being raped, or the many young boys who are brainwashed in Islamic madrasas only to become radicalized Islamic militants, or the Muslim men who were arrested in the UK for distributing fliers to Londoners saying that Homosexuals should be punished by hanging because their lifestyle is against Islam – any article written to express concern about these developments will likely lead the writer of such article to be branded a “Loon” by Looonwatch.com and have his name put out on the street.

Bell also said “But for LoonWatch.com any criticism of the Koran or of violent Jihad – even those criticisms that might have some legitimacy to them – even of radical Islam, are branded as Islamophobia and anyone who dares to raise questions about the nearly constant acts of Jihad going on increasingly around the world today is labeled a ‘Loon’ – thus the title of their blog, LoonWatch.com.”

And, his new friend Robert Spencer found this statement to be “entirely true observation”.

This particular claim is often made by Islamophobes, and it is becoming tiresome.  Voicing legitimate concerns is not a problem, bigotry is a problem.

In this case, a claim was made first about Loonwatch whose sole purpose is narrowly focused on discussions of anti-Muslim bigotry.  However, by Bell’s third article, and in the course of Spencer’s entire career, it is obvious that the claims are actually being made against the entire Muslim community and all of Islam.

However, even though Loonwatch is not in the business of themselves publishing anything other than information on Islamophobia, is it true that they would not tolerate criticism of Muslims?

Would writing or publishing articles raising any criticism of extremism or terrorism within the Muslim community lead to being labeled a “loon”?  Would any criticism of extremist interpretations of Islam lead to being labeled a “loon”?

Here on The American Muslim, we have published thousands of articles, many of them discussing issues such as:

— speaking out against the repulsive customs of – child marriage  including discussion ofparticular cases, – and punishments for victims of rape, – and female genital mutilation, etc.
—against the views of extremist clerics like Anjem Choudary, or Sheikh Abdullah El-Faisal, orAnwar Al AwlakiAyman Zawahiri, etc.
— against the views of extremist groups like Hizb-ut-TahrirMajlis, South Africa, etc.
— against particular actions of Islamic organizations like the Canadian Shia Muslim Organization (CASMO) publishing an article by David Duke, or some British Muslims threatening Imam Usama Hasan because of his views on the compatibility of the theory of evolution with Quranic teachings regarding God’s creation of the world and human beings, or the Arab European League (AEL) publishing an offensive cartoon against the Jewish people on their website
— against individuals or organizations promoting extremist views about various issues like – Salwa Al Mutairi suggesting that sex-slaves are allowed in Islam, – or the Malaysian Catholic Herald being told that it could no longer use the word “Allah” to mean God, – or Dr. Zakir Naiksaying that Muslims can’t wish Christians a Merry Christmas, – or the Darul Uloom Deoband’sdivorce by phone fatwa, , – or the Saudi forced divorce case, etc.
— about particular individuals or organizations accused of particular crimes,  – like the Florida Imams arrested for aiding the Pakistani Taliban, etc.
— publishing condemnations of particular acts of extremism and violence such as – the attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt, – or the killing of U.N. workers in Afghanistan, – or attacks on Christians in Muslim countries, – or the Fort Hood massacre, – or the deaths of 15 Saudi schoolgirls in a fire because they weren’t “properly dressed” etc.
— or publishing condemnations of extreme reactions to various current issues like the South Park cartoonMolly Norris and “Draw Muhammad Day”, Opus cartoon
—publishing statements and articles advocating for   – protection of religious minorities and houses of worship, – and guardianship reform in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia pertaining to male control or ‘guardianship’ over women, – and [http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/confronting_online_radicalization_of_muslim_youth]confronting online radicalization[/url] of Muslim youth, – and freedom of faith and right to change one’s faith, – and freedom of speech, – and a spiritual jihad against terrorism, – and welcoming LGBT Muslims in mosques, – and a moratorium on all corporal punishment, including the death penalty, – and responsibility of Muslims to defend the Constitution of the U.S., – and condemning holocaust denial and anti-Semitism, – and promoting the value of being faithful Muslims and loyal Americans etc.
— publishing and regularly updating Muslim condemnations in statements, fatwas, articles, etc. of every form of extremism and terrorism as a major part of the work of The American Muslim

On TAM, we regularly call out those within the Muslim community that I identify as the “lunatic fringe”, discuss various interpretations of aspects of Sharia, condemn any interpretations that violate human rights.  The list above is a very short list of the thousands of articles on such subjects that we have published, many of which I have written myself.

According to Bell any article written to express concern about these developments will likely lead the writer of such article to be branded a “Loon” by Looonwatch.com and have his name put out on the street.

And yet, what has been the result of my discussion of all of these concerns on TAM been?  Loonwatch named me one of the “Anti-Loons of 2011”.

Muslims themselves discuss all of these issues and are more than happy to align with others who are concerned about a particular human or civil rights issue to work cooperatively to solve the problem.  As one example among many, Muslims are working actively with representatives of other faith groups as part of an Interfaith Coalition against domestic violence.  We are not interested in giving any credence to those who are not really concerned about a particular issue, but only in using it to further their bigoted Islamophobic agenda.

We have seen this sort of devious tactic too many times.  Just one example was that two years after American Muslims had initiated a statement Apostasy and Freedom of Faith in Islam initially signed by 100 Islamic scholars and activists, a group called “Former Muslims United” produced their own pledgeand demanded that Muslims sign it.  And, as I said at that time “This FMU pledge is simply another attempt to create propoganda (planting the idea that American Muslims have not taken a position against punishments for apostasy) and to attempt to make it seem as if only former Muslims can stand for what is right, and frankly to attempt to increase the visibility of the FMU at the expense of the Muslim community.  This is shameful behavior (although typical of members of this group who go beyond denouncing Islamic radicalism to denouncing all of Islam) and is simply another example of attempting to marginalize the Muslim community and bolster the false claim that Muslims don’t speak up against injustices, extremism, etc.”

There is a reason that many outside of the Muslim community see such behavior as Islamophobic.  There is a reason that the ADL (A Jewish anti-defamation group) has said that Pamela Geller & Robert Spencer’s Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA) is a “group that promote an extreme anti-Muslim agenda”.  There is a reason that The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated SIOA as a hate group, and that they are featured in the SPLC reports Jihad Against Islam and The Anti-Muslim Inner Circle.  There is a reason that Geller and Spencer are featured prominently in the Center for American Progress “Fear Inc.” report on the Islamophobia network in America.  There is a reason that Geller is featured in the People for the American Way Right Wing Playbook on Anti-Muslim Extremism.  There is a reason that Geller is featured in the NYCLU report Religious Freedom Under Attack:  The Rise of Anti-Mosque Activities in New York State.  There is a reason that Geller is featured in the Political Research Associates report Manufacturing the Muslim menace: Private firms, public servants, and the threat to rights and security.  There is a reason that the SIOA’s trademark patent was denied by the U.S. government due to its anti-Muslim nature.  There is a reason that they are featured in our TAMWho’s Who of the Anti-Muslim/Anti-Arab/Islamophobia Industry.  There is a reason that Geller is featured in just about every legitimate report on Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred.

These people consistently promote what I call the what everyone “knows” lies about Islam and Muslims.  They generalize specific incidents to reflect on all Muslims or all of Islam.  When they are caught in the act of making up or distorting claims they engage in devious methods to attempt to conceal the evidence.

This particular claim that “truth tellers” are being accused of Islamophobia for no reason other than their legitimate concerns about real issues and that in fact there is not even such a thing as Islamophobia is nonsense.  The further claim that the fact that there are fewer hate crimes against Muslims than against Jews also proves that Islamophobia doesn’t exist is more nonsense.

The reason that this is so obvious to so many is that rational people can tell the difference between legitimate concerns and bigoted stereotypes.  The Islamophobia of these folks is very real.

Robert Spencer Runs Away from Debating Danios – Again – in ABN Getaway Car

Robert Spencer has complained for several years that “Muslims and Leftists” refuse to debate him on his ideas.  He issued an open challenge to debate.  I accepted this challenge and agreed to a radio debate over a year and a half ago, yet Spencer has been running away from me ever since.  To see the chronology behind Spencer’s debate-dodging with me, check out Sheila Musaji’s article Danios vs Spencer: 18 months and Spencer still avoiding a debate.

Initially, Spencer had used my anonymity as an excuse to get out of debating me.  After over a year and a half, he seemed to finally put this condition aside and agreed to debate me.  I offered Salon Radio as a possible choice for venue and moderator, to which Spencer initially agreed.  Shortly thereafter, however, Spencer chickened out of this, claiming that Salon Radio was not a neutral venue.  He then insisted upon ABN Sat, a loony right-wing Christian channel with anti-Muslim shows on it like Jihad Exposed.

Remember: Spencer rejected Salon Radio because it was not neutral enough, but meanwhile he has debated Muslims on ABN, which is the last thing on earth that could be called “neutral”.  Anyone see the double standard?

I agreed to ABN, just to get the debate moving along.  After this, Spencer emailed ABN saying: “It will be interesting in any case to see his face on camera.”  When did I ever agree to that?  Remember: I’ve always said that I am willing to engage in a radio (audio) debate with Spencer, so why the insistence that I do video?  After prolonged negotiations (designed to waste my time?), ABN finally refused to host the debate if I would be “audio-only” (as was my condition from the very beginning).

ABN claimed that it was against their policy to have one of the debaters be “audio-only” and that each debater must be on Skype (with video).  This seems to be nothing but a boldfaced lie made by ABN, since here is a debate they hosted just within this last year in which one of the debaters used Skype (video) and the other used the phone (audio only).  It seems that Spencer and ABN are colluding with each other in order to find an excuse to get out of the debate, because Spencer knows that he cannot defend his ideas.

So, the reality is that nothing has changed, and Spencer continues to use my anonymity to dodge the debate with me.

*  *  *  *  *

Moment of truth time for Robert Spencer: instead of wasting everyone’s time negotiating over venue and moderator (all of which seems to be designed to dodge the debate), I challenge you, Robert Spencer of JihadWatch, to a head-to-head debate using a format similar to bloggingheads.tv (no moderator needed) and audio only (like this debate or the one Spencer just did with “Spengler”–readers will note Spencer’s own words there: “Yes, it’s a video, but it’s audio only”).

We can make this debate happen right away.  Nothing fancy is required, no gimmicks, no third party needs to be negotiated with.  All we need is a recorded telephone conversation between you (Spencer) and I (Danios).  Then, we can put the recording of the debate on our respective websites (on LoonWatch and if Spencer wants, on JihadWatch).

As for the topic, we can debate the contents of Spencer’s book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades).  I argue that this book is completely misleading, whereas Spencer argues that nobody has been able to refute the substance of it but just smear him instead.  We’ll go through the book chapter by chapter and see where the truth lies.  Spencer, if you can’t defend the contents of your book, what are you but a fraud?

A generous time limit can be set for the debate so that we can have a real substantive discussion.  I say we stick with what we both found reasonable initially: three hours.

Spencer, I’m trying to make this debate actually happen, whereas you keep trying to find ways out of it.  The ball is in your court now.

This is the moment of truth to see if Spencer wants to debate or just wants to flee from me.  I think the question most of us have is: what excuse will Robert Spencer come up with next to chicken out of the debate?  Is Spencer too scared to pick up a phone and debate with me?  I think so.

Update I:

Robert Spencer just went on a tweet splurge, attempting to do damage control in order to hide the fact that he is dodging the debate with me.  He argues: “Every debate [on ABN] has same format.”  This is clearly a lie that both ABN and Spencer are sticking to, despite the fact that we have clear evidence to the contrary: as I already pointed out above (a point Spencer ignored), here is an ABN debate in which one of the two debaters was “audio only”, just as I requested.  Their insistence that all debaters must appear on video is something new that they invented for me, just as a way to give Spencer an out.

Like I said, there’s nothing new here: Spencer has chickened out of the debate with me as usual, using my anonymity as a cheap excuse.  He has rejected my new debate offer above, saying about me: “He wants uneven playing field.”  How would that be an “uneven playing field” to have no moderator and just go head-to-head?  Here Spencer is guilty of projection: he is the one who insisted on ABN, a loony anti-Muslim Christian channel, that would be completely in his favor.  Meanwhile, I accepted this “uneven playing field”–to Spencer’s advantage!  This is yet another case of Spencer putting reality on its head.

Lastly, Spencer gets out of my new debate offer by arguing that he will only accept it if I accept a “university invitation.”  He knows that I won’t accept because it would require compromising my anonymity, something I am unwilling to do at this point in time.  Therefore, we’re once again back where we were, with Robert Spencer dodging me in debate, using my anonymity as his ultimate fall back excuse and cop-out.  Why, Spencer, did you waste all of our time by making us think a few days ago that you were ready to stop running?  Please don’t keep wasting everybody’s time.

Danios was the Brass Crescent Award Honorary Mention for Best Writer in 2010 and the Brass Crescent Award Winner for Best Writer in 2011.

Danios vs Spencer: 18 months and Spencer still avoiding a debate

(cross-posted from The American Muslim)

by Sheila Musaji

Danios of Loonwatch has had an ongoing online discussion with Robert Spencer in an effort to set up a debate.

Spencer has regularly challenged Muslims to debate him, but seems to prefer limiting those debates to marginal figures or useful idiots. As Danios has said in the past Spencer’s modus operandi: engage in debate with those who are weak debaters, fastidiously avoid debating with those who are skilled debaters (and who have solid grasp of the subject matter), and then crow in victory over one’s supposedly undefeated record.

Spencer has also shown a pattern of setting impossible conditions on even something as simple as a request for an interview, let alone a debate, as Dean Obeidallah found out just last month.

In the case of Danios attempt to accept Spencer’s challenge to debate, Spencer displays both of these propensities —  avoiding a genuine debate, and attempting to hide that avoidance by setting so many conditions that the other party will just give up.

First, a little background on the Spencer vs Danios debate saga, In June of 2010, Spencer stated thatThe list of the Leftist and Muslim academics and apologists who have refused my challenge to debate is very long; they know they can’t refute what I say on the basis of evidence, so they resort to broad-based smears and personal attacks — and haughty refusals to debate.

Danios of Loonwatch immediately responded to Spencer I accept your challenge, Spencer.  I agree to a radio debate with you on the topic of jihad and “dhimmitude”, namely chapters 1-4 of your book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades).  It will then be seen if you can defend your own writing, which I argue is a load of sensationalist crock.  Will you accept my challenge to debate or cower in fear?  My guess is that you “know [you] can’t refute what I say” and will “resort to…haughty refusals to debate.”

Ahmed Rehab in an article stating why he personally was not interested in debating Spencer reminded Spencer of Danios acceptance of his challenge to debate:  And now for some irony. Spencer, you are claiming you are ready to debate anyone but that alas no one wants to debate you because no one can. But, is this actually true? Does the name Danios of Loonwatch ring a bell Spencer? You may be burying your head in the sand hoping no one will notice, but a simple Google search on “Robert Spencer debate” reveals your hypocrisy. How come you are ignoring an invitation from another blogger who has challenged you numerous times and whose articles shredding your arguments to pieces are all over the web without a peep of a rebuttal from you? Are you conceding defeat? Are you “running away?”

Robert Spencer at first said that I am willing: if “Danios of Loonwatch” reveals his real name, finds a university willing to host the debate and contracts an impartial moderator, I’m ready when he is.  Spencer expanded on the issue of Danios pseudonymn saying Sorry, I don’t debate fictional characters or pseudonyms. “Danios of Loonwatch” can go debate Scot Harvath or Harold Robbins.

ROUND 1:  Danios agrees to debate Spencer in a radio debate.  Spencer sets conditions:  Danios must reveal his real name, hold the debate at a university, and find an “impartial” moderator.

Danios responded Of course, Spencer’s two conditions–both of which involve revealing my identity–are completely bogus.  I have offered to debate Spencer on the radio. Does Spencer not do radio interviews?  In fact, Spencer has appeared on the radio countless times …   Danios also said This is of course strange since Hugh Fitzgerald, the Vice President of JihadWatch since 2004, himself operates under an anonymous pseudonym.  Fitzgerald is a co-administrator of the site, alongside Spencer.  Is Fitzgerald then a “fictional character” who is only worthy of debate with Scot Harvath or Harold Robbins?  If that is the case, I challenge Hugh Fitzgerald–co-administer and Vice President of JihadWatch–to a radio debate.  The topic will be Jihad, “Dhimmitude”, and Taqiyya (Stealth Jihad), namely chapters 1-4 of Robert Spencer’s book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades).

ROUND 2:  Danios says that if Spencer doesn’t want to debate an individual using a pseudonym, then he will agree to debate Spencer’s Jihad Watch site’s Vice President, Hugh Fitzgerald, who also uses a pseudonym.  (Note: Spencer’s fellow Islamophobes whose work he publishes and promotes often use pseudonymns — e.g. Hanan Qahwaji, Nour Semaan, Rachael Cohen and Brigitte Gabriel are the same person.  Nonie Darwish and Nahid Hyde are the same person.  “Sultan Knish” is actually Daniel Greenfield.  “Baron Bodissey” of Gates of Vienna is actually Edward May.  “Bonni” of Bare Naked Islamis actually Bonni Benstock-Intall.  Fjordman is actually Peder Jensen.  Hugh Fitzgerald has been writing for Jihad Watch since 2004, although no biographical information on this individual appears anywhere else, and no photographs exist even on Jihad Watch.  No one knows who Jihad Watch contributorsHugh Fitzgerald or ]Henry Rochejaquelein, or Marisol actually are.)

Now, we jump forward to January 10, 2012, and the Spencer vs Danios debate saga heats up again.  Here is what Danios posted on Loonwatch about this development

Just yesterday, Robert Spencer posted an article with the title of “Why can’t Muslims debate? (Again)”, saying:

For example, an Islamic supremacist hate site that defames me and lies about what I say regularly charged that I was refusing to debate them:

I responded by repeating yet again something I had reiterated several times in the preceding weeks, when other Muslims had thrown up this site to me:

No response to that at all.

A simple Google search will reveal how this is a great big lie.  Spencer has adamantly refused to engage in a radio debate with LoonWatch and me in particular, using my anonymity as a face-saving excuse.

Do his recent tweets reflect a change in attitude or is he still cowering in fear of me?  Spencer, are you willing to back your words with action and “debate [me] anytime”?  I will debate the accuracy of your book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), with regard to the topics of jihad, “dhimmitude”, and taqiyya.  Are you ready to defend your arguments or not?

I think most of us anticipate “no response to that at all.”

This time, it didn’t take months for Spencer to respond.  Two days later, on January 12th, Danios posted this

When I first read Robert Spencer’s book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) a couple years ago, I knew I could not just refute it but (proverbially speaking) blow it out of the water.  After I penned my first few articles against it, I also knew that Spencer could not issue any substantive reply.  Soon, I began to detect fear in Spencer’s eyes.  It is no wonder then that he has refused to debate me for so long.  I have documented Spencer’s evasion here.

Yet, Robert Spencer is also keenly aware of the fact that his refusal to debate the one site that is dedicated to refuting him–and was voted by his “target population” to be the number #1 non-Muslim blog with the number #1 writer–makes his fear obvious to the world.  When his fear of debating me was pointed out in a recent Twitter war, Spencer finally agreed to debate me.  (Of course, in true Spencer fashion, he accused us of “lying” when we said that he had been refusing to debate us for almost two years.)

Even so, I had predicted–as had many others–that Spencer would try to weasel his way out of the debate.  Lo and behold, this now seems to be the case.

Initially, Spencer sent me an email saying “[t]here needs to be a thesis…So propose one.”  I proposed the following thesis:  Islam is more violent than other religions, specifically Judaism and Christianity.  This is not only the central argument in Robert Spencer’s book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) but is also the title of another book of his: Religion of Peace?: Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn’t.

Yet, Spencer emailed me back and said:

Actually, I am not interested in debating about Judaism and Christianity. I am only interested in debating regarding Islam and Jihad.

Spencer, the title of your book is a comparison between Christianity and Islam.  So, are you saying that you can’t defend the central tenet and title of your book!?

He goes on:

Your tu quoque arguments are silly and have had abundant airing already. Propose another.

When you write a book titled “Religion of Peace?: Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn’t”, then to you that’s a valid comparison, but when someone refutes that comparison by pointing out how Christianity, by the very same standards you apply to Islam, couldn’t be considered a “religion of peace,” then you cry “tu quoque”!

If my arguments “are silly,” then why don’t you debate me on them and show me how silly they are?  Do you accept my counter-argument that “Judaism and Christianity are just as violent as Islam, if not more so”?  If yes, then please state it openly so that we can declare victory and move on; otherwise, if you disagree with it, then refute it in debate with me.

The entire premise of Spencer’s book, the one I have been refuting all along, is the thesis I have proposed.  It represents the fundamental difference of opinion I have with Robert Spencer and JihadWatch, so why should we debate something else?  Does Spencer think we should debate on just any topic?  Maybe we can debate the following thesis then: Arrested Development should never have been canceled because it is the single best comedy show ever.

I have never said or believed that the Islamic tradition does not have its violent aspects to it.  I have only argued that Islam is not alone in this and that the religious tradition of the dominant group (the Judeo-Christian tradition) is just as bad in this regard, if not worse.  That is my central argument, so why should we debate something else?

To be clear: I will only debate this thesis (Islam is more violent than other religions, specifically Judaism and Christianity) and no other, since (1) it is the central tenet of Robert Spencer’s book and (2) it represents the fundamental difference I have with him.  The fact that Robert Spencer cannot defend his central tenet (and the fundamental difference between us) indicates that he knows he doesn’t stand a chance in defending the thesis.  That’s why he must insist on “propos[ing] another.”

*  *  *  *  *

Additionally, there is an issue regarding “venue.”  He has suggested we debate on ABN SAT–a Christian channel.  Ludicrously, he calls them “neutral,” even though the channel airs a show (the one Spencer debated on) called Jihad Exposed, with the email addressjihadexposed@abnsat.com. Yeah, real “neutral.”

I had earlier complained that Spencer tends to debate only on Christian or conservative channels, to which Spencer accused me of “lying.”  In any case, he asked that I propose another venue other than ABN and in the same email adamantly stated: “I will debate anywhere.”  OK, if that is the case, how about we debate on Salon?

Initially, Spencer responded (bold is mine):

I have no problem with Salon but I guess you mean a print debate, in that case.

I actually had meant Salon Radio, so it would be a recorded audio debate that they could reproduce on the Salon site.  In any case, I emailed somebody at Salon, only to later get this follow-up email from Spencer (bold is mine):

Also, Salon in print is not what I had in mind. If you have a radio show in mind, I wasnt aware that Salon had one, but in that case Salon is not a neutral forum with a neutral moderator.

ABN — they offer a completely neutral forum. Let’s do it there.

Initially, he will “debate anywhere” and he has “no problem with Salon,” only to follow-up with an email rejecting Salon as a venue.  And then he goes back to the same silly Christian channel as an option.

Whether or not Salon will agree to host the debate is still up in the air, but if they accept will Spencer stick by his word that he will “debate anywhere” and that he has “no problem with Salon”?  Spencer?

ROUND 3:  Spencer asks Danios to set a topic, Danios does, Spencer rejects that topic and asks for another.  Spencer agrees to a radio debate “anywhere”, but then refuses the venue proposed by Danios and demands a different venue, ABN and with ABN’s moderator.  (ABN, by the way is a Christian TV ministry whose mission statement says:  ABN is a non-denominational ministry committed to presenting the Word of God and its transforming message of Jesus Christ to Arabic and Aramaic speaking people worldwide through media.  Their approach to this missionary work is not to set a good example of what Christianity is, but to attack Islam.  I could find nothing on their site except such biased attacks.)

This attempt by Danios to arrange a debate with Robert Spencer has now gone on since June of 2010, but perhaps, we are actually getting close to seeing this debate happen.  Here is what Danios posted today, January 15, 2011:

A few days ago, it looked like Robert Spencer of JihadWatch had stopped running away from me and finally agreed to debate me.

But then (surprise, surprise), Spencer tried weaseling out of the debate.

One of Spencer’s sticking points was the issue of venue and moderator.  I had recommendedSalon Radio, whereas he suggested ABN Sat (a loony anti-Muslim Christian channel with shows like Jihad Exposed).  In our email exchanges, Spencer kept insisting that ABN is “neutral” (ha!).

The funny thing is that in my initial email to Spencer I pointed out that he always tends to only debate on Christian or conservative channels.  This observation angered Spencer to no end, who insisted that he would “debate anywhere.”  He even seemed to accept Salon as the venue for the debate.

Spencer then had an about-face, rejecting Salon, and once again bringing up ABN, reinforcing what I said earlier: Spencer’s M.O. has been to debate Muslim floozies on Christian or conservative channels, only to then thump his chest when he wins.  The fact that I suggested Salon (a respectable and award-winning site) and Spencer kept insisting on ABN Sat (a loony anti-Muslim Christian channel) speaks volumes about what company we prefer: I like the legendary Glenn Greenwald, whereas he likes loony Christian bigots.

The choice of ABN was designed to stack the cards in his favor.  That’s fine.  I am so utterly confident in the searing truth of my argument–and the absolute falsity of his–that I acceptABN as the venue and moderator of the debate.  

[Naturally, I would insist that they give me equal time to speak, reproduce the debate in its full, unedited form, and give our website (and any other website) the right to reproduce our own recording of the debate.  (Spencer has already agreed to a 2-3 hour long debate; if this is too long for ABN to air on their show, they can do what the Daily Show does by airing the first part of the debate and then putting the rest of it online.)]

Readers should understand this decision of mine (i.e. accepting such a hostile venue and moderator) as a reflection of my low regard for Robert Spencer’s arguments and views.  This is especially bold of me, considering the fact that he has engaged in numerous debates whereas I am a novice in this field: I prefer written medium.  Even so, I have absolutely no doubt that I will trounce him in debate.

Now that I have accepted Robert Spencer’s own choice of venue and moderator–one that is heavily slanted in his favor–what excuse will Spencer come up with to avoid debating me?

*  *  *  *  *

I must, however, insist on the following thesis:

Islam is more violent than other religions, specifically Judaism and Christianity.

As I stated before, this is not just the main theme in his book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), but it is even the title of one of his booksReligion of Peace?: Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn’t.  More than this, it reflects the fundamental differencebetween he and I: whereas I accept the violent and intolerant aspect inherent in all religious traditions, Spencer specifically targets Islam.

Under this thesis, I will individually debate the following sub-points:

1.The Islamic prophet was more violent and warlike than the Judeo-Christian prophets.  This is the main argument in chapter 1 of Spencer’s book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), entitled “Muhammad: Prophet of War”. On p.4, Spencer compares Muhammad to Jesus and to all other prophets in order “to emphasize the fallacy of those who claim that Islam and Christianity–and all other religious traditions, for that matter–are basically equal in their ability to inspire good or evil…[T]hrough the words of Muhammad and Jesus, we can draw a distinction between the core principles that guide the faithful Muslim and Christian.”  In fact, throughout his book Spencer has sidebars that compare Muhammad to Jesus.  (Yet, somehow when you refute this, it’s a “tu quoque fallacy!”)

2. The Quran is more violent and warlike than the Bible.This is the focus of chapter 2, which he entitles “The Qur’an: Book of War”.  On the very first page of this chapter (p.19), Spencer states unequivocally: “There is nothing in the Bible that rivals the Qur’an’s exhortations to violence.”  (When I want to refute this claim, then “tu quoque, tu quoque!”)  He says on the same page: “The Qu’ran is unique among the sacred writings of the world in counseling its adherents to make war against unbelievers.”  On pp.26-31, Spencer explains why the Quran is far more violent and warlike than the Bible.  (But refute this claim and you are guilty of committing a “tu quoque fallacy.”)

3. The Islamic religious tradition was more violent and warlike than the Jewish and Christian traditions.This is what chapter 3 of his book is about, entitled “Islam: Religion of War”.  This argument is also spread throughout his book and blog.  For example, on p.31, Spencer argues that in Judaism and Christianity there have been “centuries of interpretive traditions” that have moved away from violent and warlike understandings, whereas “ in Islam, there is no comparable interpretative tradition.” Chapter 14 of his book is entitled “Islam and Christianity: Equivalent Traditions?”  (But if you question this point by showing that yes indeed the two traditions are at least equally violent, then get ready to be accused of committing “tu quoque!”)

4. Contemporary Muslims interpret their religion in a much more violent and warlike way than Jews and Christians. Again, this claim is found throughout his book and blog; on p.31, for example, he argues that, unlike Muslims, “modern-day Jews and Christians…simply don’t interpret [their scripture] as exhorting them to violent actions against unbelievers.”

5. Jews had it much better in Christian Europe than the Muslim world.This is addressed in chapter 4 of Spencer’s book, in which he talks about “dhimmitude.”  On the very first page of this chapter, he states: “The idea that Jews fared better in Islamic lands than in Christian Europe is false.”  (OK, so are you ready to defend this statement of yours, Spencer?  Or do you cry “tu quoque, tu quoque” when asked to do so?)  Spencer quotes “[h]istorian Paul Johnson” (a conservative Christian ideologue–surprise, surprise) who says: “the Jewish dhimmi under Moslem rule was worse than under the Christians,” and Spencer himself says that “the Muslim laws were much harsher for Jews than those of Christendom.”  (But ask Spencer to defend that statement and see how it’s automatically a “tu quoque fallacy” to do so.)

6. Islamic law, unlike Judaism and Christianity, permits lying and deception against unbelievers. This is the import of chapter 6 of Spencer’s book, entitled ”Islamic Law: Lie, Steal, and Kill”.  On the very first page of this chapter, Spencer argues that “Islam doesn’t have a moral code analogous to the [Judeo-Christian] Ten Commandments” and that “the idea that Islam shares the general moral outlook of Judaism and Christianity is another PC myth.”  On p.84, he writes that Islam is alone among religions and civilizations in that it fails to espouse “universal moral values.” On the very next page, Spencer bellows: “This is what sets Islam sharply apart from other religious traditions.”  (Try to disagree and suddenly you will hear chants of “tu quoque, tu quoque!”)

7. Islamic history was more violent and warlike than Jewish and Christian history. This argument is found in chapter 9 of Spencer’s book, entitled “Islam–Spread by the Sword? You Bet”.  On the first page of this chapter, Spencer writes: “The early spread of Islam and that of Christianity sharply contrast in that Islam spread by force and Christianity didn’t.”  On p.116, Spencer rejects the “myth” that “Christianity and Islam spread in pretty much the same way.”  (Reject that claim–and yep, you got it: “tu quoque, tu quoque!”)

8. In the modern day (twentieth and twenty-first century), Muslims are more violent and warlike than Jews and Christians.  This is of course the general theme found not only throughout Spencer’s book but also on his blog.  This is the ultimate fall-back argument of Islamophobes, who routinely ask: “why are there no Jewish or Christian suicide bombers?”

Spencer claims these are “tu quoque fallacies” (his favorite phrase), but in fact he himself is the one making these comparisons.  He makes such comparisons, and then shields himself from all counter-attack by invoking “tu quoque, tu quoque!”  How very convenient.

There is a very important reason that Robert Spencer refuses to debate me on this topic and thesis–he knows that he doesn’t have a leg to stand on.  Even when I let him choose the venue and moderator (one that slants the debate in his favor), he still cannot–at all costs–debate me on the central theme of his book and ideology.  That’s why Spencer is not a real scholar: he has never been forced to defend his thesis, nor had his work peer-reviewed, challenged, and intellectually critiqued.  I’m merely asking Spencer to defend the substance of his book.  This refusal in and of itself is a very powerful reminder of how his ideology is fraudulent, how he himself is nothing more than a hateful ideologue and huckster, and how he is so scared that I will expose him.

The fact that I want to debate him–and that he wants to run away from me–is now self-evident: I have removed any possible barrier by agreeing to his venue and moderator.  So, what excuse will Robert Spencer come up with now to chicken out of this debate?  Will he continue to run away from me on the one hand and on the other hand continue to lament why no liberal or Muslim will debate him?

Don’t hold your breath for a debate: Spencer can’t debate me.  It would be the end of him.  So, he will continue to run.

ROUND 4:  Danios accepts ABN as the venue even though it is not “neutral” but hostile, but insists on the original topic.

Spencer has said in an article bemoaning the fact that Muslims just won’t debate him:

…  other Muslims claimed they wanted to debate me, but never followed up on my invitation to email me and set a topic, date and venue.  … So the real reason why no Muslims will debate me is this:

They know that what I say about Islam and jihad is true, and don’t want that fact to be illustrated to a wider audience.

Why can’t Muslims debate? Because the truth is something they don’t generally wish the Infidels to know. So they do all they can to shut down those Infidels by other means.

There is an ancillary reason also: Islam doesn’t encourage critical thinking. It has no natural theology, only a series of laws declared by fiat. In some contemporary forms of Islam, hardly any premium is put on reasoning—after all, the Qur’an itself warns Muslims not to question (5:101). Consequently, even superficially intelligent Islamic supremacists such as Reza Aslan and Ibrahim Hooper are abjectly incapable of building a cogent intellectual argument and defending it. All they and so many others like them can do, as is clear from their track record, is heap abuse upon those who oppose them.

It seems as if Danios has followed up on all of Spencer’s demands.  Now all that is left is to set a date.  I am holding my breath to see what ROUND 5 will be.

Danios of LoonWatch Accepts Robert Spencer’s Choice of Venue and Moderator: Will Spencer Keep Chickening Out?

A few days ago, it looked like Robert Spencer of JihadWatch had stopped running away from me and finally agreed to debate me.

But then (surprise, surprise), Spencer tried weaseling out of the debate.

One of Spencer’s sticking points was the issue of venue and moderator.  I had recommended Salon Radio, whereas he suggested ABN Sat (a loony anti-Muslim Christian channel with shows like Jihad Exposed).  In our email exchanges, Spencer kept insisting that ABN is “neutral” (ha!).

The funny thing is that in my initial email to Spencer I pointed out that he always tends to only debate on Christian or conservative channels.  This observation angered Spencer to no end, who insisted that he would “debate anywhere.”  He even seemed to accept Salon as the venue for the debate.

Spencer then had an about-face, rejecting Salon, and once again bringing up ABN, reinforcing what I said earlier: Spencer’s M.O. has been to debate Muslim floozies on Christian or conservative channels, only to then thump his chest when he wins.  The fact that I suggested Salon (a respectable and award-winning site) and Spencer kept insisting on ABN Sat (a loony anti-Muslim Christian channel) speaks volumes about what company we prefer: I like the legendary Glenn Greenwald, whereas he likes loony Christian bigots.

The choice of ABN was designed to stack the cards in his favor.  That’s fine.  I am so utterly confident in the searing truth of my argument–and the absolute falsity of his–that I accept ABN as the venue and moderator of the debate.  

[Naturally, I would insist that they give me equal time to speak, reproduce the debate in its full, unedited form, and give our website (and any other website) the right to reproduce our own recording of the debate.  (Spencer has already agreed to a 2-3 hour long debate; if this is too long for ABN to air on their show, they can do what the Daily Show does by airing the first part of the debate and then putting the rest of it online.)]

Readers should understand this decision of mine (i.e. accepting such a hostile venue and moderator) as a reflection of my low regard for Robert Spencer’s arguments and views.  This is especially bold of me, considering the fact that he has engaged in numerous debates whereas I am a novice in this field: I prefer written medium.  Even so, I have absolutely no doubt that I will trounce him in debate.

Now that I have accepted Robert Spencer’s own choice of venue and moderator–one that is heavily slanted in his favor–what excuse will Spencer come up with to avoid debating me?

*  *  *  *  *

I must, however, insist on the following thesis:

Islam is more violent than other religions, specifically Judaism and Christianity.

As I stated before, this is not just the main theme in his book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), but it is even the title of one of his books: Religion of Peace?: Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn’t.  More than this, it reflects the fundamental difference between he and I: whereas I accept the violent and intolerant aspect inherent in all religious traditions, Spencer specifically targets Islam.

Under this thesis, I will individually debate the following sub-points:

1. The Islamic prophet was more violent and warlike than the Judeo-Christian prophets.  This is the main argument in chapter 1 of Spencer’s book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), entitled “Muhammad: Prophet of War”. On p.4, Spencer compares Muhammad to Jesus and to all other prophets in order “to emphasize the fallacy of those who claim that Islam and Christianity–and all other religious traditions, for that matter–are basically equal in their ability to inspire good or evil…[T]hrough the words of Muhammad and Jesus, we can draw a distinction between the core principles that guide the faithful Muslim and Christian.”  In fact, throughout his book Spencer has sidebars that compare Muhammad to Jesus.  (Yet, somehow when you refute this, it’s a “tu quoque fallacy!”)

2. The Quran is more violent and warlike than the Bible.  This is the focus of chapter 2, which he entitles “The Qur’an: Book of War”.  On the very first page of this chapter (p.19), Spencer states unequivocally: “There is nothing in the Bible that rivals the Qur’an’s exhortations to violence.”  (When I want to refute this claim, then “tu quoque, tu quoque!”)  He says on the same page: “The Qu’ran is unique among the sacred writings of the world in counseling its adherents to make war against unbelievers.”  On pp.26-31, Spencer explains why the Quran is far more violent and warlike than the Bible.  (But refute this claim and you are guilty of committing a “tu quoque fallacy.”)

3. The Islamic religious tradition was more violent and warlike than the Jewish and Christian traditions.  This is what chapter 3 of his book is about, entitled “Islam: Religion of War”.  This argument is also spread throughout his book and blog.  For example, on p.31, Spencer argues that in Judaism and Christianity there have been “centuries of interpretive traditions” that have moved away from violent and warlike understandings, whereas “[i]n Islam, there is no comparable interpretative tradition.” Chapter 14 of his book is entitled “Islam and Christianity: Equivalent Traditions?”  (But if you question this point by showing that yes indeed the two traditions are at least equally violent, then get ready to be accused of committing “tu quoque!”)

4. Contemporary Muslims interpret their religion in a much more violent and warlike way than Jews and Christians. Again, this claim is found throughout his book and blog; on p.31, for example, he argues that, unlike Muslims, “modern-day Jews and Christians…simply don’t interpret [their scripture] as exhorting them to violent actions against unbelievers.”

5. Jews had it much better in Christian Europe than the Muslim world. This is addressed in chapter 4 of Spencer’s book, in which he talks about “dhimmitude.”  On the very first page of this chapter, he states: “The idea that Jews fared better in Islamic lands than in Christian Europe is false.”  (OK, so are you ready to defend this statement of yours, Spencer?  Or do you cry “tu quoque, tu quoque” when asked to do so?)  Spencer quotes “[h]istorian Paul Johnson” (a conservative Christian ideologue–surprise, surprise) who says: “the Jewish dhimmi under Moslem rule was worse than under the Christians,” and Spencer himself says that “the Muslim laws were much harsher for Jews than those of Christendom.”  (But ask Spencer to defend that statement and see how it’s automatically a “tu quoque fallacy” to do so.)

6. Islamic law, unlike Judaism and Christianity, permits lying and deception against unbelievers. This is the import of chapter 6 of Spencer’s book, entitled ”Islamic Law: Lie, Steal, and Kill”.  On the very first page of this chapter, Spencer argues that “Islam doesn’t have a moral code analogous to the [Judeo-Christian] Ten Commandments” and that “the idea that Islam shares the general moral outlook of Judaism and Christianity is another PC myth.”  On p.84, he writes that Islam is alone among religions and civilizations in that it fails to espouse “[u]niversal moral values.” On the very next page, Spencer bellows: “This is what sets Islam sharply apart from other religious traditions.”  (Try to disagree and suddenly you will hear chants of “tu quoque, tu quoque!”)

7. Islamic history was more violent and warlike than Jewish and Christian history. This argument is found in chapter 9 of Spencer’s book, entitled “Islam–Spread by the Sword? You Bet”.  On the first page of this chapter, Spencer writes: “The early spread of Islam and that of Christianity sharply contrast in that Islam spread by force and Christianity didn’t.”  On p.116, Spencer rejects the “myth” that “Christianity and Islam spread in pretty much the same way.”  (Reject that claim–and yep, you got it: “tu quoque, tu quoque!”)

8. In the modern day (twentieth and twenty-first century), Muslims are more violent and warlike than Jews and Christians.  This is of course the general theme found not only throughout Spencer’s book but also on his blog.  This is the ultimate fall-back argument of Islamophobes, who routinely ask: “why are there no Jewish or Christian suicide bombers?”

Spencer claims these are “tu quoque fallacies” (his favorite phrase), but in fact he himself is the one making these comparisons.  He makes such comparisons, and then shields himself from all counter-attack by invoking “tu quoque, tu quoque!”  How very convenient.

There is a very important reason that Robert Spencer refuses to debate me on this topic and thesis–he knows that he doesn’t have a leg to stand on.  Even when I let him choose the venue and moderator (one that slants the debate in his favor), he still cannot–at all costs–debate me on the central theme of his book and ideology.  That’s why Spencer is not a real scholar: he has never been forced to defend his thesis, nor had his work peer-reviewed, challenged, and intellectually critiqued.  I’m merely asking Spencer to defend the substance of his book.  This refusal in and of itself is a very powerful reminder of how his ideology is fraudulent, how he himself is nothing more than a hateful ideologue and huckster, and how he is so scared that I will expose him.

The fact that I want to debate him–and that he wants to run away from me–is now self-evident: I have removed any possible barrier by agreeing to his venue and moderator.  So, what excuse will Robert Spencer come up with now to chicken out of this debate?  Will he continue to run away from me on the one hand and on the other hand continue to lament why no liberal or Muslim will debate him?

Don’t hold your breath for a debate: Spencer can’t debate me.  It would be the end of him.  So, he will continue to run.

Danios was the Brass Crescent Award Honorary Mention for Best Writer in 2010 and the Brass Crescent Award Winner for Best Writer in 2011.

Surprise, Surprise: Robert Spencer of JihadWatch is Weaseling Out of Debate with Danios of LoonWatch

When I first read Robert Spencer’s book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) a couple years ago, I knew I could not just refute it but (proverbially speaking) blow it out of the water.  After I penned my first few articles against it, I also knew that Spencer could not issue any substantive reply.  Soon, I began to detect fear in Spencer’s eyes.  It is no wonder then that he has refused to debate me for so long.  I have documented Spencer’s evasion here.

Yet, Robert Spencer is also keenly aware of the fact that his refusal to debate the one site that is dedicated to refuting him–and was voted by his “target population” to be the number #1 non-Muslim blog with the number #1 writer–makes his fear obvious to the world.  When his fear of debating me was pointed out in a recent Twitter war, Spencer finally agreed to debate me.  (Of course, in true Spencer fashion, he accused us of “lying” when we said that he had been refusing to debate us for almost two years.)

Even so, I had predicted–as had many others–that Spencer would try to weasel his way out of the debate.  Lo and behold, this now seems to be the case.

Initially, Spencer sent me an email saying “[t]here needs to be a thesis…So propose one.”  I proposed the following thesis:  Islam is more violent than other religions, specifically Judaism and Christianity.  This is not only the central argument in Robert Spencer’s book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) but is also the title of another book of his: Religion of Peace?: Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn’t.

Yet, Spencer emailed me back and said:

Actually, I am not interested in debating about Judaism and Christianity. I am only interested in debating regarding Islam and Jihad.

Spencer, the title of your book is a comparison between Christianity and Islam.  So, are you saying that you can’t defend the central tenet and title of your book!?

He goes on:

Your tu quoque arguments are silly and have had abundant airing already. Propose another.

When you write a book titled “Religion of Peace?: Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn’t”, then to you that’s a valid comparison, but when someone refutes that comparison by pointing out how Christianity, by the very same standards you apply to Islam, couldn’t be considered a “religion of peace,” then you cry “tu quoque”!

If my arguments “are silly,” then why don’t you debate me on them and show me how silly they are?  Do you accept my counter-argument that “Judaism and Christianity are just as violent as Islam, if not more so”?  If yes, then please state it openly so that we can declare victory and move on; otherwise, if you disagree with it, then refute it in debate with me.

The entire premise of Spencer’s book, the one I have been refuting all along, is the thesis I have proposed.  It represents the fundamental difference of opinion I have with Robert Spencer and JihadWatch, so why should we debate something else?  Does Spencer think we should debate on just any topic?  Maybe we can debate the following thesis then: Arrested Development should never have been canceled because it is the single best comedy show ever.

I have never said or believed that the Islamic tradition does not have its violent aspects to it.  I have only argued that Islam is not alone in this and that the religious tradition of the dominant group (the Judeo-Christian tradition) is just as bad in this regard, if not worse.  That is my central argument, so why should we debate something else?

To be clear: I will only debate this thesis (Islam is more violent than other religions, specifically Judaism and Christianity) and no other, since (1) it is the central tenet of Robert Spencer’s book and (2) it represents the fundamental difference I have with him.  The fact that Robert Spencer cannot defend his central tenet (and the fundamental difference between us) indicates that he knows he doesn’t stand a chance in defending the thesis.  That’s why he must insist on “propos[ing] another.”

*  *  *  *  *

Additionally, there is an issue regarding “venue.”  He has suggested we debate on ABN SAT–a Christian channel.  Ludicrously, he calls them “neutral,” even though the channel airs a show (the one Spencer debated on) called Jihad Exposed, with the email address jihadexposed@abnsat.com. Yeah, real “neutral.”

I had earlier complained that Spencer tends to debate only on Christian or conservative channels, to which Spencer accused me of “lying.”  In any case, he asked that I propose another venue other than ABN and in the same email adamantly stated: “I will debate anywhere.”  OK, if that is the case, how about we debate on Salon?

Initially, Spencer responded (bold is mine):

I have no problem with Salon but I guess you mean a print debate, in that case.

I actually had meant Salon Radio, so it would be a recorded audio debate that they could reproduce on the Salon site.  In any case, I emailed somebody at Salon, only to later get this follow-up email from Spencer (bold is mine):

Also, Salon in print is not what I had in mind. If you have a radio show in mind, I wasnt aware that Salon had one, but in that case Salon is not a neutral forum with a neutral moderator.

ABN — they offer a completely neutral forum. Let’s do it there.

Initially, he will “debate anywhere” and he has “no problem with Salon,” only to follow-up with an email rejecting Salon as a venue.  And then he goes back to the same silly Christian channel as an option.

Whether or not Salon will agree to host the debate is still up in the air, but if they accept will Spencer stick by his word that he will “debate anywhere” and that he has “no problem with Salon”?  Spencer?

Danios was the Brass Crescent Award Honorary Mention for Best Writer in 2010 and the Brass Crescent Award Winner for Best Writer in 2011.

Nigerians Want to Transcend Sectarian and Ethnic Violence

 

There are those who look at violence between Muslims and Christians with glee, such as Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller. For them, when Muslims act criminally or hatefully it is more fodder to smear Islam, while dismissing the same logic for Christian attacks on Muslims.

What boggles their mind however is when Muslims and Christians come together and oppose sectarianism and actively seek peace and reconciliation.

This is the case in Nigeria, where many want to transcend sectarian and ethnic violence (h/t: SK).

Here for example are pictures of recent protests in Nigeria showing solidarity and unity between Nigerians and Muslims:

Muslim and Christian Nigerians holding up their respective symbols

An Imam and a Pastor in a show of unity

Christians protesters protecting praying Muslim protesters (something we also saw in Egypt):

Muslims are also protecting Christian centers of worship. This needs to become a movement within Nigeria (h/t: Thomas Miles):

Protest: Muslim Youths Guard Churches

Some youths, mainly Muslim faithful, organised themselves into groups yesterday to guard worshippers in some churches in parts of Minna, Niger State capital, as part of a solidarity gesture against the removal of oil subsidy.

LEADERSHIP observed in Kpakungu area of Minna that some of the youths earlier dispersed by the Police on Friday from protesting at the Polo Field, Minna, had regrouped to protect some of the churches.

It was observed that the youths mounted the gates of the churches as their Christian counterparts were worshipping, and conducted themselves peacefully in order not to cause any apprehensions.

The youths, under the umbrella of Concerned Minna Residents, were last Friday dispersed by the police for lack of identity, with the Commissioner of Police, Ibrahim Mohammed Maishanu,  saying they could not be granted a permit to hold protest.

The leader of the group, Awaal Gata, told LEADERSHIP in an interview at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Kpakungu, said, “we are protecting our fellow Christian brothers and sisters to show the people that our leaders cannot use religion to divide us.

“In this struggle, we are determined to make sure that the removal of fuel subsidy will not stay; we want to send a signal – by coming here to protect our Christians friends and to show that we are one and our Christian brothers will do same on Friday,” he added.

Asked whether they got police permit to do what they were doing, he said: “We are peaceful; we are here to protect ourselves and to emphasize that security is not only in the hands of the police –  security is the responsibility of every citizen.”

These are the forces and the voices who should be promoted. Yet extremists on both sides want to see violence in a push for power.