More proof that Robert Spencer is an intellectual huckster

This is still my favorite picture of Robert Spencer.

This is part of my continuing (and epic) rebuttal of chapter four of Robert Spencer’s book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades).  In this chapter, Spencer vilifies Islam by sensationalizing the topic of dhimma, (or “dhimmitude” as he says).  I’ve already taken a massive sledgehammer to this fundamental pillar of his hateful paradigm, and you can see the catastrophic damage I’ve done by reading this, this, this, this, this, and this.

Then I came across this golden nugget, from p.49 of his book:

The dhimmi

The Qur’an calls Jews and Christians “People of the Book;” Islamic law calls them dhimmis, which means “protected” or “guilty” people–the Arabic word means both…Jews and Christians are “guilty” because they have not only rejected Muhammad as a prophet, but have also distorted the legitimate revelations they have received from Allah.  Because of that guilt, Islamic law dictates that Jews and Christians may live in Islamic states, but not as equals with Muslims.

Wow.  Just wow.  Usually Spencer dresses his lie up in half-truths, obfuscation, and sensationalism before he peddles it to his hate-mongering audience.  But here we have a case of complete fabrication.

Dhimmi means “protected person” and in no way, shape, or form means “guilty.”  One can simply open up an Arabic dictionary to prove that this has absolutely no basis in the reality-based world.  For example, here’s what Lisan al-Arab (considered the most reliable Arabic dictionary in the classical age of Islam) says:

ورجل ذِمِّيٌّ: معناه رجل له عهد

(Dhimmi: A person with whom there exists a treaty)

والذِّمَّةُ العهد

(And ‘dhimmah’ means treaty)

قال الجوهري: الذِّمَّةُ أَهل العقد.

(Al-Jawhari says: Dhimmah refers to the people with whom there is a treaty)

وقال أَبو عبيدة الذِّمّةُ الأَمان

(Abu Ubaydah says: Dhimmah means protection/security)

وقوم ذِمَّةٌ: مُعاهدون أَي ذوو ذِمَّةٍ

(A Nation of Dhimmah: The people who sign a treaty, i.e. the people of ‘responsibility’)

You can check any other Arabic dictionary to prove that “dhimmi” does not mean “guilty.”  The word “madhmum” shares the same root as “dhimmi”, but so do many other words. To imply that there is a necessary connection between the two is pure idiocy, and proof of one’s ignorance of Arabic.  They are quite simply two separate words entirely.

If the Prophet Muhammad and early Muslims wanted to refer to the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) as “guilty” people, why not just use the word for that?  That seems much more straightforward.  Of course, this nonsense just reflects the demagoguery of the dhimmi system that the anti-Islam elements engage in.

To illustrate the absurdity of the claim that “dhimmi” means “guilty”, let us look at the word used in the nefarious Pact of Umar, as reproduced on p.50 of Spencer’s academic (ha!) book:

If we break any of these promises that we set for your benefit against ourselves, then our Dhimmah (promise of protection) is broken and you are allowed to do with us what you are allowed of people of defiance and rebellion.

So if the Christians broke the conditions in the Pact of Umar, then their guilt is broken?  How nonsensical!  We see quite clearly from the above quote that “dhimma” is something positive; it is protection.  In fact, the exact same word–dhimmah–is used for both Jews and Muslims in the Constitution of Medina.  This document declares that all who uphold the pledge–Jew and Muslim alike–are granted dhimma (protection).  If the word meant or implied “guilt”, why did the Prophet Muhammad include the Muslims under this?  As I said before, it is complete fabrication on the part of Robert Spencer to claim that the word means “guilty”.

To add another layer to the absurdity that is Spencer’s book, there is in fact a great irony in what he is saying.  Robert Spencer is a Catholic apologist, who starts his book invoking the Crusader call of “Deus Vult!” (God wills it!) and ends his book calling for a Crusade against Islam.  As he foams at the mouth about the heathen faith of Islam, he doesn’t realize the irony in the fact that he attributed to Islam a doctrine alien to it but which actually is part of Catholic doctrine.

The Church debated about what to do with the Jews.  After mulling around the idea of slaughtering them outright, it was decided that they ought to be allowed to survive but only so that they could serve as living proof of the defeat and humiliation of those who rejected, defied and killed Christ.  Accordingly, the Jews were to live in Perpetual Servitude to the Christians, so as to serve as a constant reminder of the victory of Christ over them.  This was the Doctrine of Witness, and its associated belief of Perpetual Servitude.  Prof. Steven Bayme writes in his book Understanding Jewish History (pp.120-121):

Augustine and the other Church Fathers wrestled with this question of why Judaism continued if it had apparently lost its purpose?  Augustine’s answer lay in the “Doctrine of the Witness.”  This doctrine suggested that the continuing physical presence of the Jews was desirable because the Jews themselves provided testimony to the truth of Christianity in two ways: First, the Jews possessed Scriptures, thereby proving that Scriptures were no means invented retrospectively by Christians to predict the coming of Jesus…

Secondly, the physical status of the Jews provided testimony to the truth of Christianity.  The Jews existed in a subjugated, second-class status as a defeated people…The perpetual servitude of the Jews reminded the world that the Jews are being punished for their rejection of Jesus.  Therefore it was desirable that the Jew remain in Christian society.  As long as Jews retained their second-class status, they would remind the world of their crime in rejecting Jesus and their validity of Jesus’s teachings…

Although the Jews’ status would always be second-class, the Church Fathers decreed that the Jews must be protected and not eliminated.  In this context medieval Christian anti-Semitism provided a protective mechanism against the elimination of the Jews.  Or, as Duns Scotus, a thirteenth century Christian theologian, put it, the Jews could be persecuted and virtually eliminated, but some of them would have to be kept alive on a deserted island until the Second Coming.

As we see, not only does Robert Spencer’s claim have no basis in the Arabic language, but his own argument comes to bite him in the ass.  The question remains: is this a result of Spencer’s lying nature or merely a consequence of his profound ignorance?  Let me know which one you think it is in the comments below.

UPDATE:

More proof that Robert Spencer is an intellectual huckster, part 2; Spencer digs himself into a deeper sh*% hole

Do Muslims want to reimpose dhimmitude or live as equals?

Robert Spencer, a Catholic apologist, spouting his vitriolic propaganda on the Christian Broadcasting Network

Robert Spencer, one of the leading anti-Islam ideologues of the Western world, published The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades).  This is a rebuttal of chapter four of his book.

Spencer’s claim:

1.  Historically, Jews fared better in Christian Europe than in the lands of Islam.  Says Spencer: “…The Muslim laws [imposing dhimmitude] were much harsher for Jews than those of Christendom…In Christian lands there was the idea, however imperfect, of the equality of dignity and rights for all people…” [1]

Rebuttal:

Spencer’s claim contradicts the predominant opinion held by Western scholarship.  Prof. Mark R. Cohen, the leading expert in the field, concludes that “the historical evidence indicates that the Jews of Islam, especially during the formative and classical centuries (up to the thirteenth century), experienced much less persecution than did the Jews of Christendom.” [2] Spencer’s book is horribly one-sided: it mentions “dhimmitude” (a spurious term), but makes no mention of the Church’s doctrine of Perpetual Servitude.  Comparing the two, Cohen writes:  “…The dhimmi enjoyed a kind of citizenship, second class and unequal though it was…[in contrast to] Jews living in Latin Christian lands, where…[they were] legally possessed [as slaves] by this or that ruling authority.” [3]

Read my complete rebuttal here.

Spencer replied, and I counter-replied here and here.

Spencer’s claim:

2.  The Pact of Umar, a document that enumerates a number of humiliating conditions to be imposed upon non-Muslims, is “still part of the Sharia today.” [4] As soon as Muslims are able to, they will enforce it.

Rebuttal:

Numerous Islamic and Western scholars have declared the Pact of Umar to be a forgery.  Muslims do not believe that a forgery can be a “part of the Sharia.”  More importantly, although the document may have had some significance hundreds of years ago, it has now fallen into complete disuse and obscurity in the Islamic world.  It is highly unlikely that contemporary Muslims want to reimpose a document that they themselves have never heard of.  This is very similar to how most Christians today have no familiarity with the Church’s doctrine of Perpetual Servitude.  To argue that either Muslims or Christians in general want to reimpose these respective doctrines–dhimmitude and Perpetual Servitude respectively–is conspiratorial and far-fetched.  Read my complete rebuttal here.

Spencer replied, and I counter-replied here.

Spencer’s claim:

3.  Robert Spencer writes:

*Islamic law mandates second-class status for Jews, Christians, and other non-Muslims in Islamic societies.

*These laws have never been abrogated or revised by any authority. [5]

Spencer challenges me, claiming that I will do

virtually anything other than actually prov[e] that there exists a sect or school of Islam that teaches that Muslims must live with non-Muslims as equals on an indefinite basis

Rebuttal:

I accept his challenge.

Spencer’s claim–that no Islamic “authority” or “sect or school” has ever “abrogated” the laws of “dhimmitude”–is quite simply false.  It is a boldfaced lie or profound ignorance, either of which casts great doubt on Spencer’s “scholarship.” Over 150 years ago, the caliph (supreme leader of the Islamic world) abolished the dhimmi system entirely.  In 1839, a caliphal decree known as the Hatt-i Sharif of Gulhane was issued, implicitly recognizing the equality of all Ottoman subjects, Muslim and non-Muslim alike.  In 1856, “the Hatt-i Humayan [was issued], in which the principles of 1839 were repeated and the guarantees of the equality of all subjects were made more explicit.  Thus, Muslim and non-Muslim were to have equal obligations…and equal opportunities…” [6] The decree abolished the jizya and dhimmi system for all time.  (Read more about these caliphal decrees here.)

In the mid-nineteenth century, a group of Islamic intellectuals emerged, known as the Young Ottomans (not to be confused with the secularized Young Turks). They expounded Ottomanism, a doctrine stating the inherent equality of all peoples in the Empire regardless of religion or ethnicity.  The Young Ottomans believed that Islam advocates constitutionalism and that the government must enter a contractual agreement with those whom they rule over.  In other words, there is to be mutual consent between the rulers and the ruled.  The Young Ottomans opposed the royal autocracy, and demanded democratization of the Empire.  They argued that not only should all religious communities be viewed equally by the state, but there were certain inalienable rights that all citizens possessed, which the government could not infringe upon. The efforts of the Ottoman government on the one hand and the Islamic intellectuals on the other hand culminated in the passage of the Nationality Law of 1869, which “reinforced the principle that all individuals living within Ottoman domains shared a common citizenship regardless of their religion.” [7] (Read more about these Islamic intellectuals here.)

The Young Ottomans had a long-lasting effect on Islamic discourse, and gave birth to the modernist school of thought.  Arguably the key figure of modernist Islam was Muhammad Abduh (1849-1905), who served as rector of al-Azhar University (the foremost Sunni institution) and who held the position of Grand Mufti of Egypt (the highest ranking religious position in the country).  Abduh issued a fatwa declaring Muslims and non-Muslims “to be equal under the law, with full citizenship rights.” [8] He further supported parliamentary democracy and constitutionalism as a means to protect these individual rights.  In 1908, Mehmed Emaleddin Efendi (Turkey, 1848-1917)–the chief religious authority of the Ottoman Empire, appointed directly by the caliph–concurred with Abduh.  During this period, numerous Islamic reformers emerged, and reconciled Islam with modernity.  They revised traditional opinions dealing with jihad, women’s rights, human rights, science, and interfaith relationships.  Quite consistently, the modernist trend of Islam has held the opinion, to use Robert Spencer’s own words, that “Muslims must live with non-Muslims as equals on an indefinite basis.” (Read more about modernist Islam here.) Muhammad Abduh’s work “fostered not only a modernist school of thought but also a reformed traditionalist school…spearheaded by [the more conservative] Muhammad Rashid Rida, a disciple of Abduh.” [9] In this manner, reformist ideas seeped into the discourse of the conservative Ulema.  One can say that the fire of reform burned greatest at its modernist core, but its warmth reached even more traditionalist elements, defrosting some of their more [f]rigid opinions.

It should be noted, however, that “few Muslims explicitly self-identify as ‘Muslim modenists,’ [and] instead refer[] to themselves simply as Muslims.” [10] The term “modernist Islam” is instead used most frequently by Western scholars–those outside of the faith–to describe a clearly discernible trend that has had profound influence on contemporary Islamic discourse. Anti-Islam ideologues often dismiss modernist interpretations, choosing instead to “look at the more conservative articulations of Islam (such as some traditional scholars) and even Muslim extremists as somehow representing ‘real’ Islam.” [11] However, modernists should not be disregarded so easily, because although they diverge from classical formulations, they maintain fidelity to the canonical texts.  Muhammad Abduh argued that his was a “properly understood interpretation of Islam”, consistent with the “standards of the Quran [and] the hadith.” [12]

In fact, the modernists argue that in reality it is “the inherited, calcified shari’a tradition” that does “not reflect the true spirit of the Qur’an and the Prophet’s Sunna.”  They disregard the classical formulation as “centuries old legal baggage derived from the [spurious] Pact of ‘Umar.” [13] The modernists look instead to the Constitution of Medina, drafted by the Prophet Muhammad, which granted “equality” to the Jewish residents of the city.  No jizya was taken from them, and they served in the military alongside Muslims. The nineteenth century Islamic reformers “cited the ‘Constitution of Medina’ as a model of good sectarian relations.  If the Prophet could extend political rights to non-Muslims then so too could a modernist Islamic polity, without endangering its Islamic character.” [14]

The Constitution of Medina declared that the “Muslims of Quraish and Yathrib, and those [Jews] who followed them and joined them…are one nation (ummah) to the exclusion of all men.”  Nineteenth century modernists used this powerful sentence to dismiss the medieval division of the world into a Muslim ummah and a non-Muslim polity.  Instead, they argued that there was a religious ummah and a political ummah.  Muslims and non-Muslims living in the same country were then part of the same ummah, and owed their loyalty and allegiance to each other.  Similarly, Muslim Americans today believe that the United States is their ummah (nation) to which they owe their loyalty and allegiance, so when anti-Islam ideologues deride them by saying “the Muslim Americans owe their loyalty and allegiance to the ummah,” the Muslim Americans could not agree more. (Read the relevant parts of the Constitution of Medina here.)

According to the Constitution, the Muslims and Jews were obligated to defend the other in case of attack, a very real fear considering the hostile polytheist tribes surrounding Medina.  Prof. Francis E. Peters writes: “Muhammad’s attitude toward the People of the Book [Jews and Christians], as he called those who shared the same scriptural tradition with Islam, was generally favorable…But as time passed, the Quran came to look on Jews and Christians as adherents of rival rather than collegial faiths.  Some of this change in attitude was dictated by events at Medina itself, where Jewish tribes made up part of the population.  Not only did the Jews reject Muhammad’s prophetic claims; they began secretly to connive with his enemies.” [15] Fear of a fifth column prompted the Prophet Muhammad to banish the Jewish tribes of Banu Nadir and Banu Qinaqa from Medina, a controversial decision receiving its share of criticism by historians and polemicists alike.  Jewish tribes not involved in the treachery were allowed to stay in the city, so long as they honored the terms of the Constitution.

S.A. Rizvi writes: “The banishment of the Jewish tribes of Banu Nadhir and Banu Qinaqa from Medina had accentuated the animosity of the Jews towards the Muslims. These tribes had settled down at Khaibar at a distance of about eighty miles from Medina.” [16] Two years later, the banished Banu Nadir sought to exact revenge, and joined the polytheists in an assault on Medina.  The Banu Nadir bribed various tribes to join in the attack, including the Banu Ghatafan, the Bani Asad, and the Banu Sulaym.  They also convinced a Jewish tribe in Medina to attack the Muslims from the inside.  The combined forces outmatched Muhammad’s army 10,000 to 3,000.  However, the Muslims saved Medina from almost certain doom by building a trench which successfully impeded enemy advance, a tactic hitherto unknown to Arabia.  After several weeks of trying to cross the trench, the besiegers retreated, the Quraish polytheists to Mecca and the Jews of Banu Nadir to Khaibar.

The Muslims launched a counter-attack on Khaibar, and won a decisive victory.  Terms of the surrender included a provision for the defeated Jews to “relinquish any intention of maintaining a military force and to rely on Muslims for their personal security and that of their possessions in exchange for the payment of [jizya].” [17] This was the first time jizya was instituted, and the context in which it was.  In the time of the Prophet Muhammad, no other condition was placed on the dhimmis, except that of jizya and the prohibition from serving in a military capacity.  As such, the conditions placed on them seemed to be about security rather than humiliation.

As the Islamic legal tradition developed, the jizya became accepted as the normative practice towards non-Muslims (along with the trappings of the Pact of Umar), whereas the Constitution of Medina fell to the wayside.  Islamic reformers in the nineteenth century, however, argued that jizya is to be demanded only of those disbelievers who have “violated their pledges (of peace)…and attacked you first” (Quran, 9:13), those whose belligerence must be “subdued” (Quran, 9:29).  The Prophet Muhammad’s decision to demilitarize certain tribes and take jizya to fund their protection was seen more of a military consideration than a theological obligation. The modernists revived the Constitution of Medina, arguing that peaceful and loyal non-Muslims ought to be considered equal citizens alongside Muslims.  There was to be religious equality, with people of all faiths having the same rights and obligations.

These ideals were enshrined in the Objectives Resolution of 1949, a document that represents the culmination of over a century’s worth of modernist reinterpretation of Islamic texts.  This fascinating synthesis of Islam and modernity declared that “the principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance, and social justice as enunciated by Islam shall be fully observed…adequate provision shall be made for the [religious] minorities to freely profess and practice their religions and develop their cultures; Wherein shall be guaranteed fundamental rights including equality of status, of opportunity and before law, social, economic and political justice, and freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship and association…adequate provisions shall be made to safeguard the legitimate interests of [religious] minorities…” (Read more about the Objectives Resolution of 1949 here.)

The idea of religious equality may have been considered exclusively modernist a century ago, but now finds resonance in wider Islamic circles as well. As Prof. Cleveland writes: “If, after the passage of nearly a century, Abduh’s proposals seem somewhat…conservative, we must attempt to appreciate how bold they were at the time.” [17] Accordingly, numerous contemporary scholars ranging from modernist to conservative have issued rulings declaring their belief in equal citizenship regardless of religion.  My very cursory research found several such Islamic intellectuals and scholars who have issued rulings saying as much, including:  Jasser Auda, Tariq Ramadan, Yousuf al-Qaradawi, Rashid al-Ganoushi, Muhammad Salim al-Awa, Muqtedar Khan, Mukarram Ahmad, Muhammad Yahya, Abdul Hameed Nomani, Syed Shahabuddin, Tahir Mahmood, Mujtaba Farooq, Ataur Rahman Qasmi, Waris Mazhari, Zafar Mahmood, S.Q.R. Ilyas, Zafarul-Islam Khan,  Mirza Yawar Baig, Shahnawaz Ali Raihan, Khaled Abou El Fadl, Moiz Amjad, Shehzad Saleem, and Javed Ahmad Ghamidi. Representatives from the following Islamic organizations have issued these rulings: UK Board of Muslim Scholars, International Union for Muslim Scholars,  European Muslim Network, Al-Nahdha Islamic Movement, World Assembly of Muslim Youth, Circle for Tradition and Progress, European Council for Fatwa and Research, International Association of Muslim Scholars, Egyptian Association for Culture and Dialogue, Association  of Muslim Social Scientists, All India Jamiat Ahl-e Hadees, Jamiat Ulama-e Hind, All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat, Jamaat-e Islami Hind, Muslim Personal Law Board, All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat, Students Islamic Organisation, All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat, and Al-Mawrid Institute. (Read these religious rulings here.)

Spencer would have unearthed this if he had only spent the couple hours I did to find it.  Or had he picked up a real history book, he would have known that over a century ago, these views became the law of the land due to the efforts of the caliph and numerous Islamic intellectuals.  He would have known that such a fatwa was passed by al-Azhar, the same university which he invokes as the absolute most ultimate Islamic authority when ranting about Reliance of the Traveler.  He would have known that the highest religious authority in all of the Ottoman Empire declared the same.  In light of all this, Spencer’s claim that the “laws [of dhimmitude] have never been abrogated or revised by any authority” is truly absurd.  The only question that remains is: is his claim willful prevarication or simply the result of his lack of scholarly training?

Robert Spencer will learn to regret the day Danios spent $5 to add a used copy of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) to his bookshelf.

I have a nagging suspicion that Spencer will now move the goalposts, and argue that there are some ultraconservative Muslims who don’t have such enlightened views about the topic.  But that was not his claim.  His claim was that no Islamic authority has ever “abrogated or revised” the dhimmi laws. (Can Spencer ever defend his actual argument when he debates me!?)  If Spencer limited his criticism to ultraconservative Islam alone, and argued that Islamic puritans who believe in reimposing “dhimmitude” need to be opposed, I would have absolutely no issue with him.  In fact, I would then support his work, and help him in that important task.

Of course, I would also be consistent and criticize extreme right-wing Christians who argue to this day that the Church’s Doctrine of Witness and of Perpetual Servitude should be revived; for example, this website (which boasts an impressive membership of a couple hundred thousand) argues that “the theologically correct, and socially just Catholic social policy is to subjugate [the Jews], regulate them, segregate them and expel them.”  (Here, Spencer would mistakenly invoke the tu quoque defense, not knowing that tu quoque is not always considered a fallacy but in fact has legitimate uses; see hypocrisy, argument for equal treatment, and clean hands doctrine.)

I would also point out to Spencer that the best way to undermine ultraconservative interpretations is to support reformist ones.  But Spencer wants to deny this option to Muslims, because it would mean that the entire faith of Islam could not be vilified.  The only option that should be given to Muslims, according to Spencer’s philosophy, is to leave Islam, and of course it would be ideal to convert to Christianity.  At the end of the day, Spencer is a Catholic polemicist who is waging a crusade against Islam.  The very first words in his book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) are “Deus Vult!” (God wills it!), which was “the rallying cry of the First Crusade”; and the very last sentence of his book explicitly calls for a crusade against Islam.  His book then is “Deus Vult…Crusade”, and everything in between those two words is just propaganda to justify the Crusade that God willed.

Footnotes

refer back to article 1. Robert Spencer, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), pp.57-59. ISBN: 0-89526-013-1

refer back to article 2. Mark R. Cohen, Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages, xix. ISBN 069101082X, 9780691010823, p.xxi-xxiii

refer back to article 3. Ibid., p.195

refer back to article 4. Spencer, p.51

refer back to article 5. Ibid., p.47

refer back to article 6. William L. Cleveland, A History of the Modern Middle East, p.83. ISBN: 0-8133-3489-6

refer back to article 7. Ibid., p. 83

refer back to article 8. William Brown, Ordering the International: History, Change, and Transformation, pp.273-275. ISBN: 0745321372, 9780745321370

refer back to article 9. Caeser E. Farah, Islam: Beliefs and Observances, p.243. ISBN: 0764122266, 9780764122262

refer back to article 10. Vincent J. Cornell, Voices of Islam, p.xvii. ISBN: 027598737X, 9780275987374

refer back to article 11. Ibid., p.xviii

refer back to article 12. Cleveland, p.125

refer back to article 13. Bruce Masters, Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Arab World, pp.175-176, ISBN: 0521005825, 9780521005821

refer back to article 14. Ibid.

refer back to article 15. Francis E. Peters, The Monotheists: Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Conflict and Competition, p.273. ISBN: 069112373X, 9780691123738

refer back to article 16. S.A. Rizvi, The Life of the Prophet Muhammad, Chapter 16.ISBN: 0-9702125-0-X

refer back to article 17. Moshe Gil, A History of Palestine, p.28. ISBN: 0521599849, 9780521599849

refer back to article 18. Cleveland, p.125

Robert Spencer Defends Neo-Nazi, Will He Issue an Apology?

Is this the back of some neo-nazi's truck, or the cover of Robert Spencer's next book?

Is this the back of some neo-Nazi's truck, or the cover of Robert Spencer's next book?

Everyone please welcome Rousseau, the newest addition to LoonWatch.  He will be a powerful addition to our already stellar team.  This is his first piece…

Robert Spencer, arguably the lead loon of the loon universe, has been caught defending a neo-Nazi. The whole ruckus started when the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) complained to the Virginia Department of Transportation about the license plate of Douglas Story. Story had a mural made on his truck of the World Trade Centers burning after the 9-11 attack, with the words “Everything I ever needed to know about Islam I learned on 9/11.”

CAIR picked up on this loony truck driver’s mural and then apparently noticed his license plate number, which read “14CV88.” Ibrahim Hooper, communications director of CAIR, argued that this number was code for neo-Nazi white supremacist ideas; Hooper explained: “…Among neo-Nazis, 88 refers to ‘Heil Hitler,’ because H is the eighth letter of the alphabet. White supremacists sometimes use the number 14 as shorthand for the 14-word motto, ‘We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.’”

But Story shot back and claimed that the numbers were in honor of his favorite NASCAR drivers: Tony Stewart (who drives car No. 14) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (who drives car No. 88).

Story’s story wasn’t finished there. He went on to say that: “There is absolutely no way I’d have anything to do with Hitler or Nazis.” Story even argued that it would be outright crazy to call him a white supremacist or neo-Nazi, invoking the old “I-can’t-be-racist-because-I-have-a-Jewish/black/Muslim-friend” routine, saying: “My sister-in-law and my niece are Jewish. I went to my niece’s bar mitzvah when she turned 13 three years ago. Does that sound like something an anti-Semite would do?”

Robert Spencer demanded Ibrahim Hooper to issue an apology, saying:

Hamas-linked CAIR smears anti-jihad Virginia driver as Neo-Nazi

…CAIR’s whole story was false in the first place: the driver in question, Douglas Story, is not a neo-Nazi at all, but a racing fan. The alleged code numbers for neo-Nazi slogans were actually favorite race car drivers’ numbers.

Will Honest Ibe Hooper apologize to Douglas Story? Come on, Ibe! It would be the decent thing to do!

Spencer also argued the entire episode was a ploy by CAIR to link “anti-jihadists” like Spencer to neo-Nazi white supremacists:

The implication of the story, of course, was that anti-jihadists are neo-Nazis — which, despite the febrile fantasies of libelblogger Charles Johnson and his cohort, CAIR’s amiable stomach-stapled beekeeper Honest Ibe Hooper, flies in the face of the facts…

Facts?  Here are the facts, sir.  It looks like CAIR got the story right after all.  The Washington Post’s Brigid Schulte reported just a couple of days later that Douglas Story’s Facebook page was replete with white supremacist associations:

Arguing that his license plate was purely about NASCAR and had nothing to do with race, Story told me that he had a Jewish sister-in-law and had attended his niece’s bat mitzvah. He denied being anti-Semitic.

But here’s how he describes himself on Facebook:

“100% WHITE MAN, 100% ARYAN, 100% PRO-LIFE (Children are innocent), 100% PRO DEATH PENALTY (Criminal Scum aren’t innocent).
Over the past 28 years; I, like David Duke, have had an Awakening.”

Note to self: In these days of social media, Twitter and personal oversharing on the web, always check Facebook…

When I called Story to ask about the Facebook page, he continued to maintain that his license plate message had nothing to with racism. He stuck by his NASCAR story. “Southern white men. Southern white sport. What else needs to be said?” he said.

Story acknowledged that he thinks of himself as 100 percent Aryan. “Aryan is a Sanskrit word that means noble,” he said, “no matter what spin the liberal media tries to put on it as being a racist, hate word.”

He said he is an admirer of David Duke, who, he said was “reamed by the media because of his Klan affiliations.” “I am a white nationalist,” Story said. “I am in favor of the whites having their own homeland.” When I asked him where that homeland would be, he said he didn’t know. “The Pacific Northwest maybe. Alaska. Denmark. Greenland. Iceland.”

I asked if he really thought that the Holocaust was a hoax. “I don’t know what to think,” he said.

Well, well, Mr. Spencer. It seems you bit off more than you could chew by coming to the aid of this neo-Nazi white supremacist.  The facts seem to lend support to CAIR’s “febrile fantasies” that there is a relationship between so-called “anti-jihadists” and the neo-Nazi crowd.  (Did the Confederate flag painted on Story’s back window not alert Robert Spencer!?)

This is not the first time that Facebook has exposed Robert Spencer.  Remember when Spencer was caught joining a genocidal Facebook group?  And how many times will we catch Robert Spencer et al. associating with neo-Nazis and fascists!?  The connection is certainly there.  While we’re not equating the “anti-jihadists” and neo-Nazis, we are saying that they hang out in the same circles, something altogether unsurprising considering that both groups are fueled by bigotry and hatred towards “the other.”  Is it not interesting that “anti-jihadists” and neo-Nazis can agree on so much?  Certainly, the rhetoric of the “anti-jihadists” mirrors that of neo-Nazis and fascists.

In any case, will Robert Spencer eat his own words now?  The ferocious Spencer bellowed:

Will Honest Ibe Hooper apologize to Douglas Story? Come on, Ibe! It would be the decent thing to do!

Will Spencer have the decency to apologize to Ibrahim Hooper of CAIR? Will he post a correction to his anti-Islam hate blog about these developments to this story? Will Spencer do anything meaningful and respectful at all? Ever?

I, for one, am not holding my breath.

Richard Bartholomew Delivers Robert Spencer an Elbow from the Sky

Robert Spencer is on the ground here; Barth is giving the elbow from the sky

Robert Spencer is on the ground here; Richard Batholomew is giving the elbow from the sky

From the top rope…

Buddhist Sri Lanka Described as “Muslim State”

By Richard Bartholomew

Crosswalk reports:

…Rifqa Bary, who fled her Muslim parents’ home in Ohio last year after her conversion to Christianity, remains in fear of deportation. Her attorney told a judge Monday that the 17-year-old is being blocked by her Muslim parents from fighting the possibility of deportation. Rifqa has been in foster care for months, but is an illegal immigrant, along with her family, from Sri Lanka. She maintains her fear of harm if she is forced to return to the Muslim state.

Perhaps they got their information on the country from pseudo-expert Robert Spencer; last August he regaled FrontPage readers with the detail that

…Rifqa Bary hails from Sri Lanka, where the Shafi’i school of Islamic jurisprudence prevails. A Shafi’i manual of Islamic law directs that “when a person who has reached puberty and is sane voluntarily apostatizes from Islam, he deserves to be killed. In such a case, it is obligatory for the caliph (A: or his representative) to ask him to repent and return to Islam. If he does, it is accepted from him, but if he refuses, he is immediately killed.” (‘Umdat al-Salik o8.1-2).

Bary herself has tearfully warned that Sri Lanka operates “asylums” where “they have asylums where they put people like me”.

The notion of Sri Lanka as a “Muslim state” where a fourteenth-century manual of jurisprudence “prevails” is somewhat baffling. The Times reported last month:

An expatriate Sri Lankan woman who wrote two books about her conversion from Buddhism to Islam has been arrested while on holiday in Sri Lanka, apparently for causing offence to Buddhists.

Sarah Malini Perera, who was born in Sri Lanka but has lived in Bahrain since 1985 and converted to Islam in 1999, was arrested last week under the country’s strict emergency laws, according to the police.

…Sri Lanka’s constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but also says that the state “shall give Buddhism the foremost place and accordingly it shall be the duty of the state to protect and foster” the religion.

I blogged previously on Bary here.

Comment from Danios: What can we expect from the “pseudo-expert” Robert Spencer who is part of the nutty Obama-is-a-Mooslem camp?

Witch Hunts: A Muslim Problem Only?

witch 2

Ali Hussain Sibat, a Lebanese national and fortune teller, was recently arrested in Saudi Arabia and charged with the “crime” of sorcery.  Many sincere human rights groups raised awareness about his case, and international outrage prompted the Saudi government to issue him a stay of execution.  Islamophobes, such as Robert Spencer, have chosen to exploit Mr. Sibat’s plight to demonize Islam and Muslims.  For those of us living in the West, the arrest of a “sorcerer” seems beyond insane, and it is quite easy for the Islamophobes to use this incident to reinforce negative stereotypes of Muslims: “wow, those Moozlems must be really backwards.”

Yet, few Westerners realize that witch hunts are now an international problem…and it is not an area of concern limited to Muslim majority countries like Saudi Arabia.  Would it interest the Catholic apologist Robert Spencer to know that witch hunts are much more prevalent amongst Christians than Muslims?  Some Evangelicals continue to take the Bible quite literally, following its commandment: “Thou shalt not allow a sorceress to live” (Exodus, 22:18), and “sorcerers amongst you must be put to death” (Leviticus, 20:27).  The Huffington Post recently wrote a piece on the upsurge of witch hunts in Africa brought on by hardliner Evangelicals:

African Children Denounced As “Witches” By Christian Pastors

…Nwanaokwo Edet was one of an increasing number of children in Africa accused of witchcraft by pastors and then tortured or killed, often by family members. Pastors were involved in half of 200 cases of “witch children” reviewed by the AP, and 13 churches were named in the case files. [Exodus, 22:18]

…The idea of witchcraft is hardly new, but it has taken on new life recently partly because of a rapid growth in evangelical Christianity. Campaigners against the practice say around 15,000 children have been accused in two of Nigeria’s 36 states over the past decade and around 1,000 have been murdered. In the past month alone, three Nigerian children accused of witchcraft were killed and another three were set on fire.

Nigeria is one of the heartlands of abuse, but hardly the only one: the United Nations Children’s Fund says tens of thousands of children have been targeted throughout Africa.

Saudi Arabia has recently arrested one individual for the “crime” of sorcery (it seems about five people in the last few years), and the Islamophobes like Robert Spencer have expressed their ardent outrage.  Yet, there were “15,000 children [who] have been accused…and around 1,000 have been murdered” by Christians in Africa…Where is your outrage, Mr. Spencer?  If we must conclude that Islam is the most dastardly of religions due to the persecution of a handful of people in Saudi Arabia, then should we not conclude the same for Christianity when there were 15,000 who stood accused and 1,000 executed recently?

Christian witch hunts are not limited to Africa.  In Papua New Guinea, a country which is 96% Christian, the government passed the 1976 Sorcery Act, which prescribes imprisonment for the practice of black magic.  An article written in 2009 details how one hundred “witches” were executed in Papua New Guinea in just the last year.  Witch hunts have in recent years taken place in Haiti, again by Christians (in this case aimed against non-Christians); a human rights lawyer told the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights that “literal witch hunts have been launched [by Evangelical Christians] against priests and practitioners of this [traditional Haitian] religion.” Similar witch hunts have been launched in Kenya, Nepal, and other regions, reaching a global stage:

Witch Hunts Are Now An International Epidemic

Yesterday a coalition of U.N. officials, NGOs, and representatives from affected countries addressed the United Nations asking for governments to face the full extent of witch hunts across the world. Far from being a localized phenomenon in “primitive” or isolated villages, witch hunts and witch killings are now global in nature and spreading.

“Murder and persecution of women and children accused of being witches is spreading around the world and destroying the lives of millions of people, experts said Wednesday … “This is becoming an international problem — it is a form of persecution and violence that is spreading around the globe,” Jeff Crisp of the U.N.’s refugee agency UNHCR told a seminar organized by human rights officials of the world body.”

According to some U.N. experts tracking the issue “at least” tens of thousands have died due to witch hunts, while millions have been beaten, abused, isolated, and turned into refugees. While economic hardship is given as a reason for the recent escalation in witch-related violence, experts at the UNHCR also claim that the rise can also be attributed to”religious practitioners” who exploit local fears and superstitions.

“Some religious practitioners make a living from exorcising alleged witches and charging exorbitant fees to those who request the ritual. In Foxcroft’s experience, the most vulnerable members of society – children and the elderly – are often the victims of these accusations.”

Who, exactly, are these “religious practitioners”? The IHEU is far more specific.

“Witchcraft is still widely practiced in many countries in Africa by witchdoctors who often use human body parts in their spells. Some witchdoctors employ gangs of young men to attack and kill victims, often young children, for their body parts, which are frequently removed while the victim is still alive. An estimated 300 people are killed each year in South Africa alone as a result of this practice. But horrific though this practice is, it is only part of the problem. In Nigeria, in both the Muslim North and the Christian South, witch hunts are not uncommon and this has led to a second form of abuse. Some unscrupulous pastors, many linked to Pentecostal churches, have a lucrative trade in making unfounded accusations of witchcraft against young children. [The pastors then agree to “cure” the witches for a substantial fee. Many children are being ostracized and abandoned by their parents as a result of these accusations.]“

These Christian pastors aren’t isolated to Africa, they tour churches in America bragging about their battles with the occult, and have established ministries in Ireland and the UK. Commingling with an increasing anti-occult fervor among some Western Christian groups. Meanwhile, actual modern Pagan communities in places like India and South Africa are facing the possible ramifications of intensifying witch-hunts and witch persecutions…

Reuters reports:

Reuters – Murder and persecution of women and children accused of being witches is spreading around the world and destroying the lives of millions of people, experts said Wednesday.

And community workers from Nepal and Papua New Guinea told the seminar, on the fringes of a session of the U.N.’s 47-member Human Rights Council, that “witch-hunting” was now common, both in rural communities and larger population centres.

The experts — United Nations officials, civil society representatives from affected countries and non-governmental organization (NGO) specialists working on the issue — urged governments to acknowledge the extent of the persecution.

“This is becoming an international problem — it is a form of persecution and violence that is spreading around the globe,” Jeff Crisp of the U.N.’s refugee agency UNHCR told a seminar organized by human rights officials of the world body.

Aides to U.N. special investigators on women’s rights and on summary executions said killings and violence against alleged witch women — often elderly people — were becoming common events in countries ranging from South Africa to India.

Witch hunts are of course not limited to Christians.  An article written in 2006 discusses how 10 witches were killed in India in the past year alone. Here is a CNN report that shows an Indian woman being punished by a Hindu mob, on grounds of her being a witch:

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

The purpose here is not to bash Christianity, Hinduism, or any other religion.  It’s simply to point out that witch hunts are a problem throughout the world.  If you just follow Islamophobic sources like Robert Spencer, you’d come to think that the only “culprits” are Muslims, but like I said before: it’s simply not true.  The selective outrage of Spencer et al. shows that they don’t really care about human rights at all.  Their indignation is not principled, but political in nature.  Let me, however, not mince words: as a self-proclaimed progressive, I support human rights groups that seek to rid the world of witch hunts, be they in Muslim majority Saudi Arabia or Christian majority areas of Africa.

Addendum:

Islamophobes will claim that the Prophet Muhammad said: “The punishment for the magician is that he be struck by the sword.”  So, they argue, isn’t Saudi Arabia just following Islam?  Isn’t it Islam that is the problem?  Well, first off, I already reproduced what the Bible says about sorcerers, which is to kill them.  (Note: the Quran does not mention any worldly punishment for sorcerers.)  Therefore, we could use the same line of argumentation here: the Nigerian Evangelicals are just doing what the Bible commanded them to do, and as such, Christianity itself is the problem.  (Of course, I reject such a simplistic view.)

With regard to the saying (hadith) attributed to the Islamic prophet, it is found in Sunan al-Tirmidhi.  The compiler of said hadith, namely al-Tirmidhi, commented on this hadith as follows: “The correct saying is that it is mawquf .”  According to the Islamic science of hadith, this term mawquf means “stopped” and what this means is that the chain of transmission does not reach the Prophet Muhammad (but rather stops before it reaches him).  Said in simpler terms: the Prophet Muhammad is not the one who said it.

Yes, the Prophet forbade sorcery (in line with the Abrahamic belief of relying on God alone for any form of supernatural help–what Muslims refer to as tawhid) and called it a form of fraud.  However, not a single statement can be authentically attributed to him in which he calls for a corporal punishment against a sorcerer.  In fact, a self-proclaimed sorcerer by the name of Labeed ibn al-Asam tried to do black magic on the Prophet in order to hurt him.  When his wife asked him why he didn’t seek any retaliation or punishment against Labeed, the Prophet Muhammad replied by saying: “I hate to cause harm to anyone.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)

After the Prophet Muhammad’s death, the early Muslims introduced corporal punishment for witches, but it never became nearly as big an issue as in the Christian world, where–according to an estimate by A.L. Barstow in Witchcraze–up to 100,000 witches were executed from the year 1480 to 1700.  Indeed, laws against sorcerers (or whatever you want to call them) fell into disuse in the Islamic world.  Today, aside from Saudi Arabia, it has become largely a non-issue.  One need only walk down the streets of Pakistan or Egypt to see this quite clearly: on every other corner sits some fortune teller or other occultist.

Videos:

While I was doing the research for this article, I stumbled upon this documentary, which depicts quite graphically the victims of witch hunts in Africa.  Clearly, the problem is not limited to Muslims.

Part 1:

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Part 2:

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Part 3:

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Part 4:

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Part 5:

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Stop Islamization of America has their ad campaign derailed

sioa_bus_ad

Spencer and Geller's proposed banner

Crossposted with permission from Omer Subhani’s blog

Robert Spencer and Pam Geller are part of an organization called Stop Islamization of America (SIOA). SIOA just announced a bus ad campaign on Tuesday, April 13 in Miami-Dade County, FL designed to thwart the supposedly “misleading” bus ad campaign created by the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and CAIR to promote the shared commonalities of Islam with Christianity and Judaism.

SIOA’s bus ad campaign had the following remarks on the 10 or so buses running their ads:

Fatwa on your head?

Is your family or community threatening you?

LEAVING ISLAM?

This ad was apparently designed for the purpose of promoting freedom of religion. Obviously, the purpose is a bit more sinister once you start to dig deeper into what Spencer and Geller are promoting here.

The ad includes an address to a website: refugefromislam.com. Go ahead and check out that web site. What do you find there? A web site dedicated to slandering Islam and promoting the views of Spencer and Geller.

Here’s a fair and poignant remark from this web site:

Muslims like you who have seen the falsity of Islam and have made the difficult decision to be free.

Oh sure, that’s just speaking the hard truth. Islam is false and Spencer and Geller want all Muslim apostates to know they got their back in saying so.

Well, it’s Friday, April 16 now, and guess what? The Miami Herald is reporting that the Miami-Dade transit authority took a look at the ads after they were posted on some buses and decided to remove them because they “may be offensive to Islam.” Ya think?

Of course, there’s a freedom of speech issue here. Certainly, Spencer, Geller and their lunatic fringe can spew their hatred on their blogs, but once they take their trashy bigotry outside of their internet cesspool into civil society it only goes to show you that normal, civilized people aren’t going to go along with the whole freedom of speech defense these bigots might use.

Do you think the Miami-Dade transit folks would be okay with posting up ads for the KKK or for some neo-Nazi group? Of course not. So why should ads smearing Islam and manufacturing propaganda against Muslims be tolerated? It shouldn’t, and it isn’t. Kudos to Miami-Dade County for standing up and doing the right thing here.

This entire ad campaign being led by Spencer and Geller is not about freedom of religion anyway, but is about their agenda of smearing Islam and Muslims.

There may in fact be Muslims out there who want to change their faith and fear doing so, but this ad campaign is nothing but propaganda designed to smear Islam and scare ignorant Americans into believing there is a genuine problem with Muslim apostates fearing for their safety. There is no such problem.

The real problem is the double standard Spencer and Geller hold when it comes to Muslim Americans exercising their First Amendment rights.

So for example, Spencer and Geller argue for the freedom of apostates to leave Islam. But what about Muslims who want to be able to practice their faith here in the United States?

Such Muslims don’t get any love from Spencer and Geller. In fact, they only get scorn and vitriol.

For example, recently a Muslim woman in Michigan was refused a position with McDonald’s because she wore the hijab or Muslim headscarf. Spencer accused Muslims of wanting America to conform to their “Islamic sensibilities.” No mention of freedom of religion there. Of course not, because freedom of religion doesn’t apply to Muslims, according to Spencer. The EEOC was quoted in the article Spencer referenced as saying that it had issued new guidelines for accommodating religious practices and beliefs in the workplace. The EEOC must also be a part of this whole Islamic sensibilities campaign, too.

Applying Spencer’s logic to other faiths would mean that a Sikh man shouldn’t complain if he is not given a job at McDonald’s either, or an orthodox Jew. They simply want to impose their “sensibilities” on the rest of us real Americans. Freedom of religion? Pssh.

After saying things like that, Spencer has got a lot of gall to be talking about freedom of religion. The Miami-Dade County transit folks aren’t buying his and Geller’s propaganda, and neither should anyone else.

Addendum by Danios:

The astute law student Omer Subhani has pointed out that this has nothing to do with freedom of speech, as nobody is stopping Spencer et al. from posting his profuse vitriol on his website.  However, he does not own the buses and therefore has no right to dictate what goes on them, as I do not have the right to dictate what ads run on JihadWatch.  Hypocritically, these Islamophobic elements supported the removal of the WhyIslam.org banners on metro stations, but now they seem to be struck with partial amnesia, claiming that it is a violation of their rights to remove their Islamophobic ads.  Apparently, freedom of speech to them is the freedom for them to voice their views and silence those of their opponents.   The issue is made exceedingly clear by the example given above, namely that nobody would expect the buses to put up ads supporting the KKK or some neo-Nazi group.  Alternatively, one can hardly imagine Usama bin Ladin being allowed to promote his message on these buses.

This is less of an issue about freedom of speech, but more about common human decency.  It revolves around Spencer and Geller’s departure from the bounds of reasonableness and entrance into the realms of fringe fanaticism.  (A reader of ours noted: “The word ‘departure’ implies that there was a time they were ever within the bounds of reasonableness.” Good point!) Their ad campaign reflects their juvenile behavior.  One can hardly expect better from Geller, but shouldn’t Spencer have at least some standards so he can continue to uphold his false claim to scholarship?  Bravo, Spencer.  You continue to expose yourself as the lunatic you are.  Please continue, so we can show the world what a raving lunatic you truly are.

Is Robert Spencer Captain Oblivious? A Case Study in His Epic Double Standards

Hat tip: HGG

Hat tip: HGG

I’m absolutely no fan of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Unlike the neocon nutter Daniel Pipes who said that he was “rooting for Ahmadinejad,” I was praying for the opposition to win.  But I must always speak the truth, and therefore object to (the fraudulent liar) Robert Spencer’s absolutely deliberate misquoting of the Iranian president.  Spencer just published an article which he entitled as follows:

Ahmadinejad: “With God’s grace,” Israel “will be annihilated.”

In fact, Ahmadinejad did not say that.  The proof is in the news article Spencer himself linked to, which claims that the Iranian president said: “With God’s grace, this [Israeli] regime will be annihilated.”   A world of a difference.  Isn’t it the neocons themselves who call for the toppling of regimes in the Arab and Muslim majority world?  Isn’t it Spencer himself who calls for this, in countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, and even Iran?  So it’s ok to call for it against Muslim regimes, but not “Judeo-Christian” Western ones?

This deliberate misquoting of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad cannot be a mistake, because Robert Spencer–being the global expert of the Islamic world that he is–must be well aware of the now famous misquoting of Ahmadinejad in 2005; the Huffington Post reported:

As the Bush Administration beats the drums for another war of choice with another country that had nothing to do with 9/11, they are using another series of fabricated facts to indoctrinate the American people into thinking that Iran poses a serious threat to our security. At the core of these fabrications is the claim that on October 25, 2005, during a speech at the Ministry of Interior conference hall, the then newly-elected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad remarked that “Israel must be wiped off the map.” As someone who was born in Tehran, lived there for seventeen years and is a native Farsi speaker, I have read the original transcripts of the speech in Farsi and want to inform you that Ahmadinejad never said “Israel must be wiped off the map,” but rather, his statement was grossly mistranslated and taken out of context, perhaps to help make a case for military action against Iran.

Let’s analyze what Ahmadinejad said. His exact words in Farsi were as follows: “Emam goft een rezhim-e eshghalgar-e qods bayad az safheh-ye ruzegar mahv shavad.”

The correct translation of the statement is as follows: “Imam said this occupying regime in Jerusalem must vanish from the page of times.”

And the word-to-word translation of the statement is as follows: Emam: Imam (Khomeini, leader of the 1979 revolution); Goft: said; Een: this; Rezhim-e eshghalgar: occupying regime; Qods: Jorusalem; Bayad: must; Az: from; Safheye: page of; Ruzegar: times; Mahv shaved: vanish.

Coming back to the recent quote reproduced by Spencer, Ahmadinejad obviously didn’t say for Israel to be annihilated.  The fact that he specifically used the term regime indicates that he absolutely was not calling for that.  This much you can tell just from reading the article that Spencer himself cited.  As for the news article itself, I wonder how accurate their translation is; did he really call for the regime’s annihilation or its elimination (a much less loaded term)?

Anyways, moving beyond Robert Spencer’s deliberate misquoting (which shows how truly fraudulent this man is), there is an even more glaring issue here.  Even if we pretend that Mahmoud Ahmedinejad called for the annihilation of Israel (which he didn’t), then what about the hate video that Robert Spencer just promoted on his website, where a Hindu extremist calls for the annihilation of Pakistan–to wipe it off the map?  It’s almost the exact same words as Spencer attributes to Ahmedinejad!  And this is in the translation that Spencer himself put up.  It is truly unbelievable how oblivious Spencer is to his profound double standards.  Or perhaps he is not oblivious at all (which is actually more likely), and just hopes that nobody important (aside from his loyal Islamophobic fan base) sees through his thin veneer of hate, bias, and double standards?

The brainwashed extremist girl declares:

…Soon our whole nation [of Hindustan] will rise.  When our people rise up, it will be very difficult for you [Pakistanis].  It will be disastrous for every inch of your land…Kashmir will continue to exist, but not Pakistan.  Who [amongst you] will voice such concerns?  Who will show the braveness to use the atom bombs we have [against Pakistan]?  Ask them [the Indian government] who is going to use the [atomic] weapons we have?  Whom are they waiting for?  Don’t worry what is happening now.  History is where it is. We have the capacity to change the geography of the world [by wiping out Pakistan]…everything between [the Pakistani cities of] Karachi to Rawalpindi will become worthless…There won’t be any Pakistan!  If you continue to believe this, I assure you that Pakistan won’t be present in the world for long.

Notice how she goes way past anything that Robert Spencer just criticized in Mahmoud Ahmedinejad’s speech.

And one can’t help but notice the absurdity of Spencer saying:

There just isn’t much that’s peaceful about the Iranian regime, but they expect us to believe the nuclear program is.

Earth to Captain Oblivious: you just promoted a video of a Hindu extremist advocating the use of nuclear weapons to absolutely destroy Pakistan and wipe it off the map.  You posted this only within the last few days, and we just published our article calling you out for this.   Maybe you should at least have waited a few weeks, with the hope that people would begin to forget the hate speech posted on your very own site.

What an absolutely unbelievable hypocritical fraudster Robert Spencer is.

(It should be noted that we here at LoonWatch are in no way, shape, or form insinuating that the extremist girl represents Hindus.  Clearly, she is part of a fringe minority of extremists.  Furthermore, I advise the readers not to be harsh with her; I’ve read some people calling her some pretty nasty things.  Calm down.  She’s only sixteen years old and brainwashed.  She’s probably never even seen a Pakistani in her life.  She wasn’t even alive when those events she mentioned in her speech happened.  It’s not her fault as much as those who indoctrinated her with this burning hatred.  I hope that one day, with age and maturity, she recants.  So go easy on her.  The true villains are those like Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller who are grown adults and yet promote her immature words.)

Update:

A loyal reader of our site (hat tip: Zam) pointed out to me that the JihadWatch.org article against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was written by Marisol, not Spencer.  Nonetheless, it was posted on Spencer’s own site.  And we must assume that he approves of the message, since he has neither repudiated nor recalled the article.

More importantly, he has condemned Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s supposed statement multiple times in the past, such as here where Spencer laments: “Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared at a conference in Tehran entitled ‘The World without Zionism’ that Israel should be destroyed.”   Spencer entitles this article “Iran Calls for a New Holocaust.”  In fact, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad simply reproduced the words of Ayatollah Khomeini, just as Spencer reproduced the words of the Hindu extremist.

Of course, neither Ahmadinejad or the Ayatollah he quoted actually called for the annihilation of Israel or a New Holocaust (see Huffington Post article I referred to earlier); on the other hand, both the Hindu extremist and Spencer endorsed a call for a nuclear holocaust in Pakistan.  I’m sure Spencer condemns himself for that.

Robert Spencer Fuming Over LoonWatch, Threatens Danios With 101 Lashes

As his arguments become exposed, so does he.

As his arguments become exposed, so does he.

As many of you well know, I have taken it upon myself to refute Robert Spencer’s book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), cover to cover, page by page, and line by line.  I have already written several articles refuting Spencer, exposing him for the fear-mongering fraudster that he is.

Omer Subhani, a reader of our website, blogged it out best:

Spencer dodging LoonWatch… again

Robert Spencer has said something like the following many times:

“…I am always happy to debate any serious Muslim spokesman…”

Really?

Then why not debate the writer of multiple refutations of your work?

That writer goes by the name of Danios and he or she writes over at Loon Watch. Danios has written numerous refutations of Spencer’s work without much of a peep leaking from Spencer. Yet, Spencer was more than happy to share with his audience a list of people he has formerly debated.

But no mention of anything written by anyone at Loon Watch.

I smell something. And it smells like chicken.

What’s the excuse? Danios is writing anonymously? That shouldn’t matter. Spencer, you have continuously proclaimed from the day you started writing your blog that you would debate anyone, anywhere, any time. Well, Danios has penned multiple refutations of your work and yet you have failed to reply. You have hinted at Danios’ work in previous posts, but you haven’t gotten around to refuting Danios. You have called Danios a “slick liar,” but have failed to respond substantively to what Danios wrote.

Why are you chickening out, Spencer?

You’re aware of Danios’ refutations of your work, but you won’t engage in dialog. Usually when someone doesn’t respond to another person’s argument it means that they’ve conceded the point. Maybe Danios’ refutations of your claims were so absolute that it really isn’t worth debating. If that’s the case, then be a man about it and say so.

Subhani notes that Robert Spencer referred to me as a “slick liar,” but it may interest you to know that Spencer was so frustrated that he went even further, declaring:

The slick liar who penned that piece ought to get 100 lashes

In another article, Spencer upped the ante, and decided that 100 was just not enough, and threw in one more for added effect:

The slick liar who penned that piece ought to get 101 lashes

Instead of using such violent language, why doesn’t Spencer just refute the points I raised?  Isn’t that always his gripe against those who write about him negatively in the media?

The “piece” I wrote for which I became a “slick liar” can be found here: Robert Spencer Rapes the Truth, Part 1: Does Sharia Reject the Testimony of a Rape Victim? In that article, I contest Spencer’s bold claim that in rape cases a woman’s testimony is rejected under Sharia.  And I promised that in part 2 (coming to a theater near you soon) I will discuss Spencer’s claim that under Sharia a woman is lashed if she claims rape but cannot produce four witnesses.

So let’s read Spencer’s response, which is as follows:

Recently someone forwarded me a pseudo-scholarly piece by a smooth Islamic apologist purporting to prove that I was wrong, wrong, wrong (and therefore evil as well, of course) about Islamic rules of evidence for crimes of zina (adultery, fornication, and other sexual offenses), and claiming that rape victims in the Islamic world are never punished for being raped. The slick liar who penned that piece ought to get 100 lashes instead of “Camille” for his obfuscation and enabling of this kind of torture of women.

OK, let’s take that one line at a time, shall we?  First, Spencer writes:

Recently someone forwarded me a pseudo-scholarly piece

Here is a really bad case of projection.  Robert Spencer tries passing himself off as a scholar, and therefore assumes that I would too.  Apparently, Spencer has no idea what a scholarly paper looks like, because if he did, he would know that my article is far too irreverent a piece to be scholarly.   Does that mean that every piece of writing that is not scholarly becomes pseudo-scholarly?  What an absurd understanding.  Do newspaper articles or op-eds then become pseudo-scholarly works?

Then, Spencer says:

by a smooth Islamic apologist

I haven’t revealed what religion (if any) I follow.  In fact, I think the fact that I approach these debates as a neutral outsider–instead of approaching them as a vested Muslim–is what gives me the edge over other people who have debated with Spencer.  And in any case, Spencer can then be considered “a smooth Catholic apologist.”  Actually, he’s more like a Catholic crusader who attacks the infidel Islamic world with his vitriolic pen.

He goes on:

I was wrong, wrong, wrong (and therefore evil as well, of course)

No complaints here.

Here is the real doozie:

and claiming that rape victims in the Islamic world are never punished for being raped.

I’ve noticed that Robert Spencer always does this in his polemical pieces.  First, he builds up his argument with half-truths, and then near the end he will insert an outright lie.  Nowhere did I claim that “rape victims in the Islamic world are never punished for being raped. “  This is a complete strawman argument.  Clearly, there are uneducated fundamentalists who do that, and who need to be stopped.  My contention with Spencer is his claim that such a thing is inherently part of Islam itself or the Islamic jurisprudential tradition.

Spencer then proceeds to report a case of a rape victim being punished in the Islamic world.  So instead of critically analyzing the arguments I put forward in my article (Robert Spencer Rapes the Truth, Part 1: Does Sharia Reject the Testimony of a Rape Victim?), Spencer constructs a strawman argument (claiming that I think or said that rape victims are never punished in the Islamic world) and then proceeds to knock it down by citing a case of just such a thing.  Clearly, Spencer’s need to construct a strawman is rooted in his inability to address any of my arguments.  Meanwhile, my own arguments against him are always precision guided surgical strikes.

My ever so dearest Robert Spencer: please do address the actual points I raised in the article.

Spencer Responds to My Latest Article on Dhimmitude

Awhile back, I published part 1 of my rebuttal of Robert Spencer on the topic of dhimmitude.  I already addressed Spencer’s bumbling reply to part 1.  Once again, he was absolutely unable to debate the actual topic, which was the historical treatment of dhimmis (vs perpetual serfs).  After Spencer refused to respond, I called him out as a chicken.

Then a few days back, I published part 2 of my dhimmitude series.  Just now, Spencer issued a response.  For some odd reason, however, Spencer refuses to take my name and suffices himself with veiled (but painfully obvious) references.  (Similarly, he refused to take LoonWatch’s blessed name when one of our intrepid writers broke the story about how FuckAllah.com and FuckIslam.com mysteriously redirected to his website; instead, he somehow chose to target CAIR, who simply reproduced our article.)

Spencer writes (emphasis is mine):

More or less on a regular basis I am sent purported refutations of what I say here and in my books — essays that purport to show that Islam doesn’t really teach warfare against unbelievers and their subjugation as inferiors under the rule of Islamic law,

Clearly a reference to yours truly.

Spencer goes on:

although these purported refutations usually content themselves with showing that Christians or someone else were doing something worse,

Completely false.  I only contented myself after proving that contemporary Muslims reject the Pact of Umar (a document which is so central to your Islamophobic viewpoint that you call it the “the foundation for Islamic law regarding the treatment of the dhimmis”).  So yes, I was quite pleased with myself after I toppled the foundation of your argument.  (I treated myself with ice cream.)

If you are referring to part 1, I had already been quite clear that my rebuttal would come in multiple parts, and that the first part would simply contest your claim that historically Muslims treated Jews worse than Christians did. And I have already answered this argument of yours in my response to your bumbling reply.  Or do we have to go through this again?  You had said earlier:

It is an extended (very extended) example of the familiar tu quoque fallacy in which Islamic apologists always indulge: other people have done evil, and therefore our evil is not so bad or not to be spoken of.

To which I had replied:

I certainly never said that the “evil is not so bad.”  What I said was that the “evil” (your choice of words) done to infidels in the Islamic realm was historically less than that done to infidels in Christendom.  And I said that to negate chapter four of your book, in which you specifically wrote “the idea that Jews fared better in Islamic lands than in Christian Europe is false,” and “the Muslim laws were much harsher for Jews than those of Christendom.”  I am fact-checking your book, and you made a claim, and I refuted it.  Simple as that.  Now it is up to you to either defend your initial claim or concede that you were wrong to state it.

Back to Spencer’s recent response, he goes on:

or that some document or other to which I refer in my books is held in no esteem by Muslims

That’s it?  You’ve conceded the point?  Wow.  This was easier than I thought.  Suddenly, you’ve moved the goalposts, as evidenced by what you say next:

or virtually anything other than actually proving that there exists a sect or school of Islam that teaches that Muslims must live with non-Muslims as equals on an indefinite basis

I’m starting to sense a pattern here.  Every time I refute one of your arguments, you will move to the next one.  But don’t worry, Spencer my love, your wish is my command.  In fact, the third (and final) part of my dhimmitude series will prove exactly what you asked for, namely that contemporary Muslims do believe that they should live with non-Muslims as equals.  Stay tuned for that.  (I’m sure by that time you’ll skip to another topic, never standing up like a man and defending the actual issue I write on.)

Then Spencer goes off on another tangent, writing:

In any case, the fundamental problem with all these alleged refutations is that if I am misunderstanding Islam, an awful lot of Muslims, including Islamic clerics who have devoted their lives to studying the Qur’an and Sunnah, misunderstand it in the same way. And here we have another. Afzali says he betrayed his religion, but that is, I suspect, just in order to bamboozle the unbelievers yet again.

Notice how Spencer tries to prove that there is a “fundamental problem with all these alleged refutations” by giving the example of Ahmad Afzali, an Imam who tipped off an Al-Qaeda militant.  Ummm…am I missing something here?  What does Ahmad Afzali have to do with any of my refutations of Spencer?  What does Afzali tipping off an Al-Qaeda militant have to do with the historical treatment of dhimmis vs perpetual serfs (part 1) or the Pact of Umar (part 2)?  It’s completely nonsensical and shows the sheer desperation Spencer is feeling right now.

How about instead of going off on random tangents you address the points I raised?  You obviously have enough time to rant about me on your website (although in a veiled manner), yet don’t have the time to construct a few decent logical arguments? Why then did you make the claim that “I am always happy to debate any serious Muslim spokesman”?  You after all call me an “Islamic apologist”, and I assume “Islamic apologists” are also “Muslim spokesmen”, so why don’t you debate me?  Your loyal readers argue that LoonWatch is “beneath you,” and thus “unworthy of your time.”  Yet, here you are ranting about me (albeit in a veiled manner); so why not better use that time to give more substantive responses?

Well, the answer is obvious: you’re a bully, and you’ve been bullying people for a very, very long time.  But like all bullies, when you meet someone your own size, you run away like the coward you are.  Sorry to burst your bubble, but I’m not going anywhere.  You are in quite a bind: if you try to respond to my arguments, the weakness of your case will become even more apparent.  If you decide not to engage me due to this fear, you still lose by virtue of forfeiture.  Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.  Either way is fine by me.

"The time for honoring yourself will soon be at an end."

"The time for honoring yourself will soon be at an end."

The Time For Honoring Yourself is at an End sound bite

The Protocols of the Elders of Mecca; The Final Word on the Pact of Umar

This is the second part of a three part rebuttal of Robert Spencer on the topic of dhimmitude.  Check out part 1 here, here, and here.

The Conspiracy

During the Middle Ages, a forged document–known as the Pact of Umar–came into existence; it stipulated certain very restrictive conditions that governed the lives of non-Muslims living under Islamic rule.  Robert Spencer outlines these humiliating conditions:

This Pact is worth close examination, because it became the foundation for Islamic law regarding the treatment of the dhimmis. With remarkably little variation, throughout Islamic history whenever Islamic law was strictly enforced, this is generally how non-Muslims were treated. Working from the full text as Ibn Kathir has it, these are the conditions the Christians accept in return for “safety for ourselves, children, property and followers of our religion” – conditions that, according to Ibn Kathir, “ensured their continued humiliation, degradation and disgrace.” The Christians will not:

1. Build “a monastery, church, or a sanctuary for a monk”;
2. “Restore any place of worship that needs restoration”;
3. Use such places “for the purpose of enmity against Muslims”;
4. “Allow a spy against Muslims into our churches and homes or hide deceit [or betrayal] against Muslims”;
5. Imitate the Muslims’ “clothing, caps, turbans, sandals, hairstyles, speech, nicknames and title names”;
6. “Ride on saddles, hang swords on the shoulders, collect weapons of any kind or carry these weapons”;
7. “Encrypt our stamps in Arabic”
8. “Sell liquor” – Christians in Iraq in the last few years ran afoul of Muslims reasserting this rule;
9. “Teach our children the Qur’an”;
10. “Publicize practices of Shirk” – that is, associating partners with Allah, such as regarding Jesus as Son of God. In other words, Christian and other non-Muslim religious practice will be private, if not downright furtive;
11. Build “crosses on the outside of our churches and demonstrating them and our books in public in Muslim fairways and markets” – again, Christian worship must not be public, where Muslims can see it and become annoyed;
12. “Sound the bells in our churches, except discreetly, or raise our voices while reciting our holy books inside our churches in the presence of Muslims, nor raise our voices [with prayer] at our funerals, or light torches in funeral processions in the fairways of Muslims, or their markets”;
13. “Bury our dead next to Muslim dead”;
14. “Buy servants who were captured by Muslims”;
15. “Invite anyone to Shirk” – that is, proselytize, although the Christians also agree not to:
16. “Prevent any of our fellows from embracing Islam, if they choose to do so.” Thus the Christians can be the objects of proselytizing, but must not engage in it themselves;
17. “Beat any Muslim.”

Meanwhile, the Christians will:

1. Allow Muslims to rest “in our churches whether they come by day or night”;
2. “Open the doors [of our houses of worship] for the wayfarer and passerby”;
3. Provide board and food for “those Muslims who come as guests” for three days;
4. “Respect Muslims, move from the places we sit in if they choose to sit in them” – shades of Jim Crow;
5. “Have the front of our hair cut, wear our customary clothes wherever we are, wear belts around our waist” – these are so that a Muslim recognizes a non-Muslim as such and doesn’t make the mistake of greeting him with As-salaamu aleikum, “Peace be upon you,” which is the Muslim greeting for a fellow Muslim;
6. “Be guides for Muslims and refrain from breaching their privacy in their homes.”

The Christians swore: “If we break any of these promises that we set for your benefit against ourselves, then our Dhimmah (promise of protection) is broken and you are allowed to do with us what you are allowed of people of defiance and rebellion.”

Today, the Islamophobes believe this document to be of critical importance, and it forms one of the pillars of their anti-Islam ideology.  Notice how Spencer calls the document “the foundation for Islamic law regarding the treatment of the dhimmis.”  Spencer et al. believe–or at least they would like you to believe–that Muslims are on the verge of once again implementing the Pact of Umar upon non-Muslims.  Spencer’s goal, as enunciated by his comrade-in-arms Pamela Geller, is to  “scare the bejeezus outta ya.” It is necessary then, these Islamophobic bigots argue, to get “them” before “they” get you.  (Most forms of hate revolve around instilling senseless fear.)

The Pact of Umar Has Fallen into Disuse and Obscurity

Admittedly, the Pact of Umar did reach some level of significance during the Middle Ages.  It is found in the books of many classical Islamic jurists, and was also implemented (inconsistently) to various degrees. (Please read this here.)  Yet, the reality is that the Pact of Umar has fallen into disuse and obscurity.  Whereas some of the medieval jurists gave importance to the document–such as Ibn Taymiyyah who went so far as to call it the foundation of Muslim-dhimmi relations–it is now virtually non-existent in modern day Islamic texts.  Mention of the document has now been relegated to two basic categories: reprints of medieval texts, and responses to critics of Islam.

I myself contacted several Muslim clerics, asking them about their opinion on the Pact of Umar.  The majority of them responded that they had no knowledge of the document (i.e. “I’d have to look it up”), or had only heard the name in passing.  In fact, the Pact of Umar has in the Islamic world fallen into such disuse and obscurity that the vast majority of Muslims have never heard of it.  Those who do know what it is almost invariably heard of it first from critics of Islam; many of them will then look up the Muslim responses to these anti-Islam attacks.  (How many Christians–including priests–have heard of the Church’s doctrine of Perpetual Servitude?)

The idea, furthered by lunatics like Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller, that Muslims are secretly instructed in the Pact of Umar (the “stealth Jihad” is coming to get you!) is not only conspiratorial but absurd.  Ninety-nine percent of Muslims have never heard of it–until of course Robert Spencer et al. inform them of it.  Zaid Shakir, an Islamic scholar from the Zaytuna Institute, said:

There is this absurd idea spread by these bigots that Muslims want to implement this pact today.  Most Muslims have never even heard of it! [1]

Robert Spencer et al. knows this very well.  So don’t be fooled by this Islamophobic conspiracy talk.  It is calculated fear-mongering.

But could it be that the Pact of Umar is inherently part of the Islamic religion, even if the vast majority of Muslims are not aware of this?  One only needs to read the Islamic responses to the anti-Islam ideologues to know that this is not the case.

Contemporary Muslims Recognize the Pact of Umar as a Forgery

The document is attributed by medieval jurists to Umar ibn al-Khattab, the second caliph (secular leader) of the early Muslim community.  However, modern day Islamic scholars–such as Yusuf al-Qaradawi [2], Maher Abu-Munshar, and Abdulaziz Sachedina–reject the authenticity of the Pact of Umar.  Abu-Munshar writes:

The humiliating conditions enumerated in the so-called “Pact of Umar” are utterly foreign to the mentality, thoughts and practices of this caliph…The deficiencies [in the textual integrity] support the contention that Umar was not the originator of the document.  In addition to the remarkable care and concern displayed in Umar’s attitute to dhimmis confirms the rejection of the so-called Pact of Umar as attributable to Caliph Umar Ibn al-Khattab.  The Pact of Umar was not the work of Umar Ibn al-Khattab. [3]

Sachedina writes:

It is a historical fact that the Prophet condemned oppression of the ahl al-dhimma [dhimmis] as a sinful deviation declaring in no uncertain terms, “On the Day of Judgment I myself will act as the accuser of any person who oppresses a person under the protection [dhimmi] of Islam, and lays excessive [financial or other social] burdens on him”. In the most highly rated compilation of Hadith among the Sunni Muslims, the Sahih of al-Bukhari, there is a chapter-heading that reads, “One should fight for the protection of the ahl al-dhimma and they should not be enslaved.” Under this heading Bukhari narrates the following instructions on the authority of Umar b. al-Khattab, when the latter was stabbed anddied of the wound inflicted upon him by a Persian slave: “I strongly recommend him [the next caliph] to take care of those non-Muslims who are under God and His Prophet’s protection [dhimmat allah wa dhimmat rasulih] in that he should remain faithful to them according to the covenant with them, and fight on their behalf and not burden them [by imposing high taxes] beyond their capacity. After reading these instructions, left by the caliph as the head of Muslim state to honor the sacred covenant offered by God and his emissary to the people of the Book, it is hard to believe that the Pact of Umar ascribed to the second caliph could be authentic in its representation of the situation of the non-Muslims in the early days of Islam. [4]

These Muslims argue that as a forgery the document has no religious value at all and ought to be ignored.  They believe that in actuality Umar ibn al-Khattab ratified the tolerant Umari Treaty, and not the restrictive Pact of Umar. The Umari Treaty explicitly prohibits Muslims from degrading or belittling non-Muslims; the text reads (emphasis is mine):

In the name of God, the Most Merciful, the Beneficent.

This is what the slave of God, Umar b.Al-Khattab, the Commander of the Faithful, has offered the people of Illyaa’ of security granting them amaan (protection) for their selves, their money, their churches, their children, their lowly and their innocent, and the remainder of their people:

Their churches are not to be taken, nor are they to be destroyed, nor are they to be degraded or belittled, neither are their crosses or their money [to be harmed], and they are not to be forced to change their religion, nor is any one of them to be harmed…

Upon what is in this book is the word of God, the covenant of His Messenger, of the Caliphs and of the believers if they gave what was required of them of the poll tax. [4]

Ibn Kathir, an Islamic exegist of the medieval era, writes that the Pact of Umar stipulated “conditions that ensured [the] continued humiliation, degradation and disgrace” of the People of the Book (see Tafsir Ibn Kathir, 9:29).  Surely then, argue contemporary Muslims, the Pact of Umar–which advocated “humiliation, degradation, and disgrace”–conflicted with the Umari Treaty, which categorically prohibited “degrad[ation] and belittle[ment]” of non-Muslims.

Western scholarship itself considers the Pact of Umar to be a forgery, falsely attributed to Umar ibn al-Khattab.  In fact, Umar was known for his relative mildness towards non-Muslim subjects, and the Umari Treaty is much more in line with his views than the Pact of Umar.  It is known that generally “the [Four] Rightly Guided Caliphs left the people of the protected religions alone.” [5]

Historian Abraham P. Bloch concludes:

Omar ibn al-Khattab (634-644), the second caliph, conquered Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Persia, and Egypt.  Jews and Christians were permitted to continue their communal existence.  Omar was a tolerant ruler, unlikely to impose humiliating conditions upon non-Muslims, or to infringe upon their religious and social freedoms.  His name has been erroneously associated…with the restrictive Covenant of Omar. [6]

Interestingly, not even Robert Spencer contests the doubtful historicity of the document.  Spencer writes:

Now: did I actually say the thing was historical? Nope…I wasn’t actually dealing with the question of whether or not it was a real seventh-century document. I was and am interested in the patent and manifest fact that it became the basis for Islamic law regarding dhimmis. Whether the law came first and then was read into a fictional pact Umar made, or whether there really was a Pact of Umar and the fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) regarding dhimmis was influenced by it, simply doesn’t concern me, except as a matter of historical interest.

If we were debating the historical treatment of dhimmis, then Spencer’s point makes some sense.  I conceded as much in my rebuttal.  But now I will use Spencer’s own logic and conclude as follows: the actual historicity of the document is largely irrelevant so long as contemporary Muslims view it as a forgery.  (But in this case, the matter is even clearer: the document is a forgery and contemporary Muslims agree with that.)

In other words, if you witness a debate between an Islamophobe and a Muslim–with the former claiming that the Pact of Umar is authentic and/or that the classical scholars viewed it that way, and with the latter claiming that it is a forgery and therefore religiously invalid as a source–that in itself invalidates the Islamophobic line of argumentation.  Remember: their end game is to prove that Muslims today want to reimpose the dhimmitude as defined in the Pact of Umar.  But if contemporary Muslims view the document as a forgery–and this much is evidenced by their participation in the debate–then that’s all that matters.  If contemporary Muslims don’t view it as authentic (regardless of what the true historicity of the document is and/or what the classical scholars said), they would have no reason to reimpose it.

In conclusion, contemporary Islamic responses view the Pact of Umar as a forgery, and instead look to the tolerant Umari Treaty as more in line with the Islamic view.

The Pact of Umar is not a Part of Islamic Canon

There are of course some conservative Muslims (a small minority) who have written responses to the Pact of Umar and are unwilling to reject the historicity of the document, due to the fact (as pointed out by Spencer) that many classical scholars viewed it as authentic.  Does this fact prove Spencer’s point?  No.  Just because the document is viewed as authentic does not mean it is binding upon Muslims from a religious perspective.  The Pact of Umar is not contained in the Quran nor in the Sunnah, the twin canonical sources of Islam.  In other words, the document is not a religious document at all, but a secular and temporal agreement made between a secular/temporal authority (the caliph) and his subjects.  (I say “secular/temporal” because there is no pope in Islam; the caliph of the Muslims is their leader in worldly affairs, not religious ones.)

The pact was a political agreement made between two parties, not a divinely revealed religious text from God or His Messenger.  In fact, the document was said to be dictated by the Christians themselves, who supposedly said: “We made a condition on ourselves…”  The conservative Salafi/”Wahhabi” apologist Bassam Zawadi remarked: “How can the Pact of Umar be considered religiously inspired when it was from the mouths of the Christians themselves?” [7] In other words, Muslims believe that their religious doctrines come from God (the Quran) and His Messenger (the Sunnah).  How then can a Muslim take the words of a Christian–who doesn’t even believe in the prophethood of Muhammad–as being authoritative in matters of faith?  The Christians supposedly thought of the conditions themselves and requested them; how then can a Muslim think of these conditions as being from God or His Messenger?  (The idea that the Christians themselves requested such terms is of course absurd, which is why modern day scholarship considers the pact as a forgery;  but the point here is: those conservative Muslims who refuse to reject the authenticity of the document believe that the document was from the words of the Christians and as such they do not view it as being divine, infallible, or religiously binding.)

The classical scholars did debate whether the Pact of Umar ought to be “inherited” by the children of the Christians or be renegotiated each time.  Some of them did say that it does not need to be renegotiated but remained in effect for the children.  But the document was not binding because of the religious nature of the document; as discussed above, the Pact of Umar is not considered canonical.  Rather, the document was binding because of the religious obligation to fulfill covenants.  The Pact of Umar was a (secular and temporal) covenant of security between that particular government and the residents of the area.  It was to be fulfilled, as all covenants of security are binding.  (This is why I argue here that Muslim Americans are obligated to fulfill their covenant of security with the U.S. government.)

The jurisprudential tradition of Islam is known for its (sometimes excessive) reliance on legalism, much like the Jewish rabbinical tradition.  The classical scholars did argue that the mandatory conditions of the Pact of Umar had to be enforced, but at the same time they also forbade any additions to it.  The medieval jurist Imam al-Shawkani, a follower of the heterodox Zaydi Shi’ite sect [8], decreed that dhimmis ought to be forced to clean the latrines of the city.  This came to be known as the Latrines Decree.   Interestingly, the mainstream Muslim jurists of that era refuted Imam al-Shawkani and forbade such an addition, which they considered to be a violation of the Pact of Umar.  (One cannot add conditions to a document after it has been ratified.)  Jan Platvoet writes:

The Latrines Decree became an issue of judicial controversy…It caused confrontation between Muslim scholars (such as al-Shawkani and al-Kawkabani) almost all of whom belonged to the dominant Zaydi Shi’a…Most of them criticized the Decree, arguing that nothing can be added to or modified in the dhimma status…According to this line of argument, non-Muslims should be treated neither more leniently nor more harshly…These scholars felt they could not stand aloof while seeing the ardent wish of al-Shawkani and the authorities to worsen the dhimma stipulations. [9]

The purpose here is not to justify the discriminatory views of the medieval jurists: clearly, the need to protect the rights of minorities is morally more important than blindly enforcing a document.  But the point I am trying to make here is that the Pact of Umar was enforced not because it was viewed as being divine, canonical, or infallible, but because it was a temporal/secular covenant agreed upon by two parties, and thus ought to be honored like all covenants.  This is why modern day Muslims (even conservative ones) have no right to force the Pact of Umar on non-Muslims living in Muslim majority lands, since they [the non-Muslims] did not agree to such stipulations.  Remember: the classical jurists argued that the dhimmis ought to be fulfill the conditions of the Pact of Umar because “they themselves requested these terms!”

The Objectives Resolution (now a part of the Constitution of Pakistan) reads:

Adequate provision shall be made for the minorities to freely profess and practice their religions and develop their cultures…Wherein shall be guaranteed fundamental rights including equality of status, of opportunity and before law, social, economic and political justice, and freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship and association, subject to law and public morality; Wherein adequate provisions shall be made to safeguard the legitimate interests of minorities and backward and depressed classes.

This enlightened piece of legislation is referred to as “The Islamic Provisions of the Constitution.” Clearly, contemporary Muslims believe freedom of religion and protection of minority rights to be inherently part of their religion. The Objectives Resolution is a covenant of security that guarantees protection to non-Muslims.  Enforcing the discriminatory conditions of the Pact of Umar would be impermissible in Islam because it would contradict the rights granted above.  Remember: additions to the covenant are not allowed, which is why the classical scholars forbade the Latrines Decree.  The modern day Pakistani government has a covenant that they must fulfill.

The conservative Salafi/”Wahhabi” instructor Ayman bin Khaled writes:

The Pact [of Umar] itself is just [because both sides agreed to it] and it is a contract like any other contract[;] if both sides agree to it then it is valid. No one was forced to accept such pact esp. knowing it was suggested by people of the book themselves. [10]

In other words, even the conservative Muslims who hold the document to be authentic believe that it cannot be enforced upon peoples against their will.  It was only historically applied, according to these conservative Muslims, because the Christians accepted the terms.  Not only this, but the Christians were the ones who came up with the terms to begin with.  (This, according to the traditional belief in the Islamic jurisprudential tradition.)

Precedent

Critics may argue that Umar ibn al-Khattab set a precedent, which could be emulated by Muslims today.  After all, Umar was one of the early caliphs of the Muslim community.  Yet, one could similarly argue that the manner in which the papacy treated Jews–the doctrine of Perpetual Servitude–could be considered precedent, which could be emulated by Christians today.  The papacy, unlike the caliphate, exerts far more power from a religious perspective than do caliphs.  Caliphs are not considered infallible, ever.

Furthermore, the Pact of Umar is not the only historical precedent Muslims can turn to.  Historically, there were many other covenants of security which were forged between the Islamic government and non-Muslim populations.  The very first constitution in Muslim history, the Constitution of Medina, is one such example.  In this document, signed by the Prophet Muhammad, the non-Muslims were granted “help and equality”; the document reads (emphasis is ours):

In the name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful.

This is a document from Muhammad the prophet (governing the relations) between the believers and Muslims of Quraysh and Yathrib, and those [non-Muslims] who followed them and joined them and labored with them.

They are one community (umma) to the exclusion of all men…

To the Jew who follows us belong help and equality. He shall not be wronged nor shall his enemies be aided. [11]

There are about forty-seven points enumerated in this document, and not a single one of them places any discriminatory or humiliating restrictions upon the non-Muslims.  They were not forced to wear certain clothing or hair cuts, nor forced to give up their chairs for Muslims, etc.  In all respects, they were treated as “equal[s]” and citizens of the same “nation” (ummah) as the Muslims, with similar rights and obligations as the Muslims.

After the Constitution of Medina, there is the example of the Treaty of Khaybar, signed between the Muslims and Jews of Khaybar.  Had the Prophet Muhammad wanted to “degrade” the non-Muslims with such “humiliating” restrictions as found in the Pact of Umar, then surely this would have been the time to do it, considering that–according to Islamic sources–the Jews of Khaybar had been found guilty of high treason.  Yet, we find in the Treaty of Khaybar none of the discriminatory laws of the Pact of Umar.  Similarly, the Prophet Muhammad signed the Treaty of Tabuk and the Treaty of Najran, two separate documents which afforded protection to non-Muslims without any mention of discriminatory laws, as long as taxes were paid to the government.

The Constitution of Medina promised Jews “equality”; another document attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, known as the Achtiname of Muhammad, afforded inalienable rights to Christians.  A copy of this document, sealed with an imprint representing the Prophet’s hand, is preserved in the library of St Catherine.  The Achtiname of Muhammad reads:

This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far: we are with them.

Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by God! I hold out against anything that displeases them.

No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries. No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses.

Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate.

No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray. Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants.

No one of the (Islamic) nation is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day. [12]

The tone of voice in this document is 100% contrary to that in the Pact of Umar.  Nowhere does it say for Christians to be humiliated or degraded; in fact, Muslims are instructed to “hold out against anything that displeases” the Christians, and nothing can be done “that they hate.” (Surely, the humiliating conditions in the Pact of Umar would fall under this category, argue contemporary Muslims.)  Even more specifically, the Achtiname of Muhammad forbids preventing Christians from repairing their churches; the Pact of Umar violates this condition explicitly.  For the contemporary Muslim, the words and actions of the Prophet Muhammad would trump even those of the Companions such as Umar.  Furthermore, the Achtiname sets out inalienable rights that must not be violated “till the Last Day.” Whereas the Pact of Umar is restricted to a single population of a single time, the Achtiname of Muhammad is for those “near and far” and “till the Last Day.”

Dr. Muqtedar Khan, Director of Islamic Studies at the University of Delaware, writes:

The first and the final sentence of the charter are critical. They make the promise eternal and universal. Muhammed asserts that Muslims are with Christians near and far straight away rejecting any future attempts to limit the promise to St. Catherine alone. By ordering Muslims to obey it until the Day of Judgment the charter again undermines any future attempts to revoke the privileges. These rights are inalienable. Muhammed declared Christians, all of them, as his allies and he equated ill treatment of Christians with violating God’s covenant.

It should be noted that the authenticity of this document is disputed amongst Western scholarship–a fact that Islamophobes like Robert Spencer would be quick to mention.  It is strange, however, that they would so easily dismiss the Achtiname of Muhammad as a forgery, but then at the same time declare the Pact of Umar (which Western scholarship has declared to be a forgery) as the most authoritative Islamic document on the topic.  In other words, we have two documents, both of questionable authenticity, which contradict each other; one promises inalienable rights to a minority and the other invokes discriminatory conditions upon them.  The Islamophobe’s methodology is to highlight all the negative texts and dismiss the positive ones.  One could easily do such a hatchet job on Christianity, selectively quoting texts to paint a horrific picture.

Regardless of the historicity of the Achtiname of Muhammad, the fact is that contemporary Muslims view it as authentic and religiously binding (because it is attributed to the Prophet Muhammad).  In fact, the Muslim World League published the full text of the document in its journal (vol. 31, 2003).  So we can use Robert Spencer’s own logic here: the authenticity of the document is merely of “historical interest;” if contemporary Muslims view it as authentic and binding, then that’s all that matters.

Moving on, we have the example of the first caliph, Abu Bakr, who agreed to the following covenant with the non-Muslim peoples of Najran:

In the Name of God, the Most Beneficent, the Merciful.

This is the written statement of God’s slave Abu Bakr, the successor of Muhammad, the Prophet and Messenger of God.

He affirms your rights of [being] a protected neighbor: yourselves, your lands, your religious community, your wealth, retainers, and servants, those of you who are present or abroad, your bishops and monks, monasteries, and all that you own, be it great or small.  You shall not be deprived of any of it, and shall have full control over it. [13]

There is no mention of any discriminatory laws, such as found in the Pact of Umar.  Abu Bakr was the very first caliph of Islam, and as such, his example would serve as precedent over that of Umar’s.

Another example we have is of the Muslim general Khalid ibn Waleed, a Companion of the Prophet Muhammad, who wrote in his covenant with the people of Anat:

They are allowed to ring their bells at any time of the day or night, except at the Islamic prayer times. They are allowed to bear their crosses in their festivals. [14]

Both of these allowances would contradict the Pact of Umar, which forbade the Christians from loudly ringing their bells or from bearing their crosses publicly or enjoying their festivals outdoors.  Khalid ibn Waleed allowed them to ring their bells at any time day or night, so long as it did not coincide with the Islamic call to prayer (adhan) for the five daily prayers; there is no stipulation that they use clampers, a clause that would make the requirement not to ring the bells during the adhan moot.

In light of this evidence, it would seem inappropriate to focus on the Pact of Umar, and not on the more normative and prophetic Constitution of Medina, which is of undisputed authenticity.  Though the Prophet Muhammad had extensive dealings with non-Muslims, he never once advocated laws of humiliation and degradation on any minority group.  Surely this precedent is more important to contemporary Muslims than that set by the questionable Pact of Umar.  There were several covenants of security that were established in the early days of Islam, and it seems biased to focus exclusively on the most restrictive (and spurious) of them.

Turning the Tables Around

Robert Spencer’s line of argumentation is as follows: the Pact of Umar is inherently part of the Islamic religion; after all, it is attributed to the second caliph of Islam and endorsed by classical jurists.  Any attempts to dismiss the Pact of Umar by contemporary Muslims, Spencer would argue, are not only disingenuous but theologically weak.  I will now turn the tables on Spencer, and see how he likes using this same line of argumentation against his own religion: he is a Catholic and often white-washes the papacy’s legacy.  Criticism of the Catholic popes is simply not tolerated by Spencer.

In order for Spencer to prove his claim, he must establish that the Pact of Umar is inherently part of Islam.  Yet, any of his arguments are going to be weaker than arguments that could be made by critics of Catholicism with regard to the doctrines of Witness and of the Perpetual Servitude of infidels.  (I’ve discussed this Christian doctrine here.)  Pope after pope declared their belief in the doctrines of Witness and of the Perpetual Servitude of infidels, especially Jews.  Critics of Catholicism could argue that these two beliefs are inherently part of the religion, because the papal decrees are considered infallible.  Whereas Umar ibn al-Khattab was simply a temporal/secular/worldly leader without any divine authority (there is no pope in Sunni Islam), the pope was (and is) considered a religious leader with divine authority.  Whereas Muslims believe that Umar was not infallible, Catholics believe that the popes were (and are) infallible.  Furthermore, the Pact of Umar was not really written by Umar ibn al-Khattab at all (but forged by unknown persons who have no position of respect in the Islamic religion), whereas there is no doubt that the papal decrees declaring the doctrines of Witness and of Perpetual Servitude were issued from the popes.  These were official doctrines espoused by the infallible Church.

Spencer would argue back that Catholics don’t think the Church or the papacy are infallible in all aspects, only matters of theology, faith, and morals.  The Catholic Encyclopedia writes that the Church has “immunity from…error or failure; in particular in theological usage, the supernatural prerogative by which the Church of Christ is, by a special Divine assistance, preserved from liability to error in her definitive dogmatic teaching regarding matters of faith and morals.”  The encyclopedia goes on to say that “the infallibility claimed for the pope is the same in its nature, scope, and extent as that which the Church as a whole possesses; his ex cathedra teaching does not have to be ratified by the Church’s in order to be infallible.”

I’m no expert of Catholicism, but just from my outsider perspective, the papal decrees about the Jews (the doctrines of Witness and Perpetual Servitude) fit all the criteria necessary to be considered infallible.  It is, after all, a theological issue, expressed ex cathedra (“from the chair”).  Should I now run around wildly flailing my arms declaring that the doctrines of Witness and Perpetual Servitude are inherently part of the Catholic religion, and that the Catholics are about to enforce this upon us infidels?  Of course I’ve read Catholic responses which explain why these particular papal decrees are not considered infallible; however, as an impartial outsider, the explanations honestly seemed to be unconvincing mumbo-jumbo.  I in fact ask Robert Spencer to explain why these particular decrees are not infallible according to the Catholic doctrine.  I know he will respond with some complex explanation, so I am not saying that there is no explanation for why not.  I am simply saying that the explanation is neither simple, straightforward, nor very convincing to an outsider.  Meanwhile, the Islamic responses to why the Pact of Umar is not infallible are very easy to understand: the document is a forgery, the only infallible documents in the Islamic religion are the Quran and the authentic hadiths (Sunnah), etc. (If the papal decrees supporting the doctrines of Witness and Perpetual Servitude were found to be forged–and not from the papacy at all–it would suddenly become very easy for a Catholic to deny the infallibility/applicability of said doctrines.)

But let me be very clear: I am not trying to argue that the doctrines of Witness and Perpetual Servitude are inherently part of Catholicism.  I leave that decision up to the Catholic believers.  If they say these are not infallible, who am I to insist otherwise?  But I think Muslims should also be taken at their word, especially since their responses on this particular topic seem more straightforward.  If we give the benefit of the doubt to the Catholics, then why not to the Muslims?

Quranic Endorsement of the Pact of Umar?

Robert Spencer attempts to bolster his argument, by arguing that the Quran itself endorses the Pact of Umar. Spencer writes:

Verse 29 of chapter 9 of the Qur’an, as we saw last week, mandates that the Muslims fight against the Jews and Christians “until they pay the jizya [poll tax] with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” …The imperative to subjugate non-Muslims as mandated by Qur’an 9:29 and elaborated by this Pact became and remained part of Islamic law.

We shall discuss this verse (9:29) in greater detail in part 3 of this series (does it really mandate Muslims to fight against the Jews and Christians?), but right now I will focus on the last line; Spencer uses the following translation: “until they pay the jizya [poll tax] with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”  The Arabic word in question is “saghirun”, which some medieval jurists translated as debasement, humiliation, etc.  Robert Spencer loves these quotes, and pretends that they are the only interpretations that exist.  You can find the following quote on JihadWatch:

Dhimmis must be kept in a permanent state of abasement (saghar). This why jizya must be paid in a public ceremony in which the dhimmi at the moment of payment is given a tap on the neck and pushed forward to show him he has thus escaped the sword. This abasement is more important than the sum paid.

Yet, contemporary Muslims do not understand the verse this way.  In fact, there were many medieval Islamic jurists who rejected such discriminatory interpretations.  The classical jurist, Imam Ibn al-Qayyim, rejected the interpretation that “saghar” means debasement:

This is groundless and the verse doesn’t imply that. It is not related that the Prophet or the companions acted like that. The correct opinion regarding this verse is that the word “saghar” means “acceptance” by non-Muslims of the structure of the Muslim right and their payment of the poll tax. [15]

Ibn Qudama, another classical jurist, wrote that the Prophet Muhammad and the four rightly guided caliphs said that the poll tax ought to be taken with gentleness and respect. (see Al-Mughni, Vol. 4, p.250) [16] In fact, the classical jurist Imam al-Nawawi wrote that the majority of scholars rejected such an interpretation:

As for this aforementioned practice [of degrading or humiliating non-Muslims], I know of no sound support for it in this respect, and it is only mentioned by the scholars of Khurasan. The majority (jumhur) of scholars say that the Jizyah is to be taken with gentleness, as one would receive a debt (dayn). The reliably correct opinion is that this practice [of degradation or humiliation] is invalid and those who devised it should be refuted. It is not related that the Prophet or any of the rightly-guided caliphs did any such thing when collecting the Jizyah. [17]

If this was the case with the medieval jurists (who had no incentive to white-wash Islam), then it is no surprise that contemporary Muslims take a similar enlightened view.  They believe that the verse must be contextualized: it was revealed during a time in which the People of the Book–namely the powerful Roman empire–were seeking to snuff out the early Islamic nation-state.  In this context, the early Muslim community was instructed in the rules of war, and it was decreed that the enemy be fought until they laid down their arms and their belligerence was subdued.  But the opponents were to be left alone once they accepted the hegemony of the Islamic nation-state, just like any nation will fight its belligerent enemies until they are subdued.

Once again, when we apply the same line of argumentation to Christianity, Robert Spencer refuses to accept it.  If we point to the numerous verses used historically by the Church to justify the doctrines of Witness and Perpetual Servitude, suddenly Spencer cannot accept this methodology.  Numerous verses in the Bible can be used to justify the subjugation and exile of Jews (i.e. the doctrines of Witness and Perpetual Servitude).  For example, the Bible reads:

The Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men…the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost. (I Thessalonians 2:14-16)

And there are many others.  Can these verses be interpreted in more tolerant ways?  Sure.  But so can the Quranic verse in question.  But the Islamophobes want to use one standard for Christianity and a completely different one for Islam.

But What about Extremist Muslims?

Fine, the vast majority of Muslims have never heard of the Pact of Umar, nor do they want to enforce it upon non-Muslims.  But what about the extremist Al-Qaeda types?  Is it not this document that motivates them to fight the West?  I do not think so.  Even most extremist Muslims have never heard of the Pact of Umar.  Again, those that have would most likely have first heard it from anti-Islam ideologues.  Maybe they wouldn’t reject it outright when they hear it from the anti-Islam critics, but the point is that no Muslim–not even the extremist ones–is being raised to follow this document.  It really has fallen into disuse and obscurity.  I am unaware of any Al-Qaeda literature, speeches, or videos making any reference to the Pact of Umar.  It is not the desire to reimpose the Pact of Umar that motivates them to fight; rather, they view their war with the West in terms of defensive Jihad against Western tyranny (this much is evidenced by their view that their holy war is fardh al-ayn and not fardh al-kifaya).

But ok, there are about one billion Muslims in the world…I can’t possibly deny that there may be a handful of Muslims out of the billion that believe in enforcing the Pact of Umar.  But it is really a measly minority, a fraction of even the extremist Muslim subset.  There are indeed many opinions championed by extremist Muslims that are worrisome, but this particular one (i.e. the Pact of Umar and its enforcement) does not find any level of significance in their discourse.  In fact, the paradigm trumpeted by extremists is: the Jewish/Christian West oppresses Muslims in the land, even though Muslims had historically treated them in an ideal way; based on this, they argue, Muslims must overthrow the West in order to reestablish this interfaith utopia.  For example, Hamas writes in its charter (interestingly quoted by none other than Robert Spencer!):

Under the shadow of Islam, it is possible for the members of the three religions: Islam,  Christianity, and Judaism to coexist in safety and security.  Safety and security can only prevail under the shadow of Islam, and recent and ancient history is the best witness to that effect…Islam accords his rights to everyone who has rights and averts aggression against the rights of others. [18]

Most Muslims (extremists included) believe that historically non-Muslims lived under Islamic rule in an interfaith utopia.  (This is of course not true.)  The extremists believe that overthrowing the Western hegemony is the only way to return to this.  Therefore, they believe when they come to power, all will be treated well (unlike the Western rule).  So the idea that Muslims want to reimpose the Pact of Umar on non-Muslims is way off.  Only a handful of Muslims would believe such a thing.  This fact is illustrated by Robert Spencer’s inability to quote Muslim scholars, leaders, intellectuals, etc. who have called for the reimposition of the Pact of Umar and/or its discriminatory provisions.  In his book, Spencer is only able to quote one contemporary Islamic cleric who said such a thing.  One.  (Some guy named Marzouq Salem al-Ghamdi, who said non-Muslims ought to “rise when a Muslim wishes to sit” and that they shouldn’t “ride horses”, etc.)  That’s it.  One single quote.  (I haven’t authenticated the quote, but I’ll just give it to him.)

I think I saw one other similar quote on his site, and that’s it.  That’s all Spencer can provide.  Two or three quotes from out of the billion Muslims.  That’s the best he can do.  That’s all he’s got.  Here, I will issue a direct challenge to Robert Spencer: provide us with a list of contemporary Muslim scholars, leaders, intellectuals, etc. who have called for a reimposition of the Pact of Umar and/or its discriminatory provisions.  List as many as you can.  Every single one.  Let’s see how long your list is. I guarantee you that it will be an incredibly short list.  That is why you will avoid this challenge like the intellectual chicken you are.

The Muslim World League published the full text of the Achtiname of Muhammad in its journal.  Can Spencer provide a similar contemporary reference for the Pact of Umar?  In fact, the only contemporary texts he will find on the Pact of Umar will be responses to anti-Islam ideologues.  I challenge Robert Spencer to provide as many contemporary Islamic texts that endorse the Pact of Umar as he can.  I will then provide a list of scholars/texts that reject the Pact of Umar altogether, and definitely my list will be longer than his.

Spencer’s desperation can be gauged from what he writes in his book (emphasis is mine):

All this is still part of the Sharia today. “The subject peoples,” according to a contemporary manual of Islamic law, must “pay the non-Muslim poll tax (jizya)” and “are distinguished from Muslims in dress, wearing a wide cloth belt (zunnar)…[etc etc]” [19]

I was surprised when I saw the words “contemporary manual.”  So I checked out the footnote, which cited Umdat al-Salik as the reference.  That’s a contemporary manual?  It was written six hundred and fifty years ago.  (Tisk, tisk…How dishonest.)  Like I said earlier, the only references to the Pact of Umar you will find now are (1) reprints of medieval texts, and (2) responses to anti-Islam ideologues.  (This is where the Islamophobes use their typical deceitful argument that such-and-such medieval text is “endorsed” by such and such Islamic authority; an endorsement of a text in the Islamic tradition does not at all mean 100% agreement on every single opinion. If that is the case, then show us that Islamic authority explicitly advocating the reimposition of the Pact of Umar.)

Nowhere in contemporary Islamic texts will you find an endorsement of the reimplementation of the Pact of Umar and its discriminatory conditions; meanwhile, contemporary Muslims widely publicize the Achtiname of Muhammad as a model for the treatment of non-Muslims. If you search Muslim websites, you will find the Achtiname of Muhammad published on them. If you search Islamophobic ones, you will find the Pact of Umar. (“No no, this is what you believe!”)

Christian Extremists Continue to Believe in Perpetual Servitude

Does the fact that there might be a handful of Muslims who believe in the reimposition of the Pact of Umar justify Spencer’s agenda?  Certainly not, especially when we consider the fact that a greater number of Christians still believe in the Perpetual Servitude of Jews.  We know that the extremist Muslims are the Al-Qaeda types.  OK, so who are the extremist Christians?  The white nationalists, a sizable portion of which are extremist Christians.  But those don’t count, argue the Islamophobes.  Why not?  Because they are loonies and racists.  So let me get this straight: the Muslim extremists aren’t also loonies?  How come the Muslim loonies define the Islamic threat, but the Christian loonies don’t define the Christian threat?  As for them being racists, so?  That’s completely in line with historic Christianity.  Unlike Islam, Christianity was wedded with racist thought, with bigoted theological positions revolving around the Mark of Cain.  (But let’s not be loony about what we say: clearly, the vast majority of Christians have jettisoned such beliefs.)  Fundamentalist Muslims rigidly adhere to medieval opinions, and so do the extreme right wing Christians…And nobody can deny that such racist opinions were not alien to historic Christianity.

People always wonder why there are so many extremist Muslims, but where are the extremist Christians?  In fact, it’s quite easy to identify them: they are the white nationalists.  (Not all of them are Christians, but a sizable portion are and they base their racism in Christian belief.)  In fact, white nationalism is becoming a scourge in the world arguably greater than extremist Al-Qaeda types.  There are millions of white nationalists in the world (they are greater in numbers than jihadists), and their movement is on the rise.  But of course, our minds have been infected with “stealth racism” (to borrow a term from Robert Spencer).  So when a Muslim flies a plane into a building, it’s automatically terrorism and we’re on high alert; when someone else does, then that doesn’t count as terrorism and who cares?  Well yeah, if you’re going to always exclude all non-Muslim acts of terrorism, then it’s no surprise you can blithely ask: why are all terrorists Muslim?  Similarly, if all Christian extremists “don’t count”, then of course there will be far more Muslim extremists in your books than Christian ones.

Anyways, the fact is that there exists a rising group of white nationalists who base their racism in historic Christian belief.  And if all of the Islamic community is to be shamed because there may be a handful of Muslims who believe in reimposing the Pact of Umar, then shouldn’t we have a similar reaction to Christianity?  After all, there exist far right wing Christians who believe that the doctrines of Witness and Perpetual Servitude ought to be reinforced.  Don’t believe me?  The white nationalist website, Stormfront (which boasts an impressive membership of a couple hundred thousand), published the following article, which argues that “the theologically correct, and socially just Catholic social policy is to subjugate [the Jews], regulate them, segregate them and expel them.” If you read that article in its entirety, you will come to know that these far right wing Christians base their belief in historic Christian beliefs and the traditional interpretations of the Bible.

Conclusion

The Pact of Umar has become the Islamophobe’s equivalent to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. I understand that there are certain shortcomings to this comparison, since the Protocols of the Elders of Zion were never accepted by Jews at all. But it is an apt comparison in so far as the xenophobes spreading a conspiracy that a certain religious group seeks to establish their rule and subjugate the natives. The reality is that this conspiracy is far-fetched and outright loony.  The vast majority of Muslims have never even heard of the document, let alone engage in a “stealth Jihad” to one day implement it.  Even extremist Muslims tend to focus on the utopic image of co-existence that supposedly existed in Islamic history.  The Pact of Umar has become an obscure text, with even Islamic scholars having a hard time recalling what exactly it is.  The only contemporary references to the document are in the form of responses against anti-Islam ideologues, invariably arguing against the Pact of Umar’s authenticity and/or applicability. No country on earth–including the ultraconservative Saudi Arabia and Iran–enforces the Pact of Umar. Yes, it is true that the rights of minorities are not properly protected in many Muslim majority countries, but this has nothing to do with the Pact of Umar.

The document may have reached some level of significance in the Islamic past, but it has now fallen into obscurity.  This is easy to understand when our Christian readers think about the doctrines of Witness and Perpetual Servitude.  I gander that virtually none of the Christians who read my article on that topic had ever even heard of the doctrines of Witness or Perpetual Servitude.  The first time they heard of it was from me.  This, even though these doctrines were of utmost importance at one time in Christian history.  Yet, now even religious Christians have no idea what these doctrines are.  In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Robert Spencer himself was unfamiliar with them.  When contemporary Christians do hear about these doctrines, they have to look for Christian responses, which explain (in a somewhat convoluted manner) why these doctrines are not infallible.

So why–when modern day Christians have no knowledge of a once popular doctrine in their religious tradition–is it so hard for them to believe that Muslims nowadays have no idea what the Pact of Umar is?  Robert Spencer and the rest of the Islamophobic goof troop trying to prove that Muslims want to reimpose the Pact of Umar is as inane as some Muslim fanatic trying to prove that the United States is attacking Muslim majority countries because they wish to reinforce the doctrine of Perpetual Servitude upon Muslims.  But for some reason, it’s so much easier to understand this about oneself, as opposed to the demonized other. 

You are a certified loon if you go on and on about how Muslims want to reimpose the Pact of Umar, just as a Muslim would be a loon if he were to claim that Christians were seeking to reimpose Perpetual Servitude.  Spencer, you are so proud of yourself that you found one spurious document from a caliph of Islam that became important in medieval Islamic texts; I can point to dozens of 100% authentic (and arguably infallible) papal decrees that became foundational to medieval Christian theology, restricting Jews and Muslims to a status of Perpetual Servitude…And yes, there continue to exist a section of Christians today who believe in reinforcing it.

(Cue Islamophobic whining of “tu quoque, tu quoque,” which translates to “please Danios stop hitting us back so hard, waah waah waah!” I will explain in a future article why this lame tu quoque chant is inappropriate and inapplicable in this context.)

Stay tuned for part 3 of this three part series, entitled “Do Muslims want to reimpose dhimmitude?” Danios has called part 2 his jab and part 3 will be his knockout punch.

Footnotes

refer back to article 1. Personal correspondence with Zaid Shakir; quote may be verified by directly contacting Shakir: http://www.zaidshakir.com/

refer back to article 2. Yusuf Qaradawi, Ghayr Al-Muslimeen fil Mujtama` Al-Islami

refer back to article 3. Maher Abu-Munshar, Islamic Jerusalem And Its Christians: A History of Tolerance And Tensions, pp.79-80

refer back to article 4. Tabari, Tarikh At-Tabari, Vol. 3, p.609

refer back to article 5. Mawdudi, The Rights Of The People of Covenant In The Islamic State, p.22

refer back to article 6. Abraham P. Bloch, One a Day: An Anthology of Jewish Historical Anniversaries for Every Day of the Year, p.314. ISBN 0881251089

refer back to article 7. Personal correspondence with Bassam Zawadi; quote may be verified by directly emailing Zawadi: b_zawadi@hotmail.com

refer back to article 8. It should be noted that Shawkani later converted to Sunni Islam.

refer back to article 9. Jan Platvoet, Pluralism and Identity: Studies in Ritual Behavior, 178-180. ISBN: 9004103732

refer back to article 10. Ayman bin Khaled, Multaqa Ahl al-Hadeeth

refer back to article 11. Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasul Allah

refer back to article 12. Testamentum et pactiones inter Mohammedem et Christianae fidei cultores. Paris, 1630

refer back to article 13. Abu Yusuf, Kitab al-Kharaj, p.79

refer back to article 14. Ibid., p. 146

refer back to article 15. Ahkam Ahlul Dhimma, Vol. 1, pp. 23-24

refer back to article 16. Hat tip: Bassam Zawadi

refer back to article 17. Rawdat al-Talibin, Volume 10, p.315-16

refer back to article 18. Robert Spencer, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), p.51

refer back to article 19. Ibid.

Robert Spencer, is the Pope a Dhimmi?

air-security-baird-306-7899

Over a week ago the Fiqh Council of North America, which is a council of Islamic scholars who give religious opinions said that Body Scanners (Nude-Scanners) violate the requirements of  modesty and respect for human dignity and were,

against the teachings of Islam, natural law and all religions and cultures that stand for decency and modesty.

This is a respectable position since the objectives of the body scanner can be achieved through a pat-down by an officer of the same sex. When the Council came out with the verdict it was big news with the usual culprits on Fox News saying, ‘here go Muslims again trying to get special treatment.’ Robert Spencer in fact commented that Muslims were seeking special treatment, and implied that the council was just up to some taqiyyah. His commenters and followers weren’t as ‘civil,’ one commenter stated that we should break out a shotgun on Muslims, another said Muslims should go back to riding ‘camels’ if they don’t like scanners, and other bile filled racism.

How ’bout this?

We stand them all in a line out in front of God and everybody and one-by-one break open like a shotgun each and every Muslim and Muslima who wants to get on any sort of mass transportation device and look until we find that for which we are searching.

And anyone who bitches about it goes through thrice.

Then there is this genius,

Too obvious – let ‘em saddle up the ol’ camels then.

Yet another reason for a new airline: “No-Mo Air” – they’ll serve pork rinds rather than chips, etc.

Then there is this comment from Vee who seems to think that only Muslims oppose body scanners,

Where are all the Catholic nuns protesting body scanners?

They are out there, right?

Well you’re in luck Vee because it seems not only are nuns protesting body scanners but the Pope himself opposes them. I’m sure Catholic Robert Spencer will just call him a Dhimmi, right?

The head of the Roman Catholic Church spoke out against the use of body scanners at airports, saying human dignity must be preserved even as countries attempt to protect their citizens against acts of terrorism.

Pope Benedict XVI , making his comments during an audience with airport workers and officials at the Vatican on Sunday, did not specifically use the words body scanner in his address, according to reports in U.K. newspapers the Daily Telegraph and the Guardian.

But he said that even when facing the threat of terrorism, airport security officials should not forget to respect “the primacy of the human person.”

“[With] every action, it is above all essential to protect and value the human person in their integrity,” he told the representatives from the aviation industry.

The United States began using the scanners capable of detecting items hidden under clothing at airports as part of new security protocols put in place in the wake of the failed bombing attempt on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day.

Canada and European countries have followed suit and begun installing their own scanners, particularly for flights destined for the United States.

The Pope is not the first religious leader to speak out against the scanners.
Muslims urged to choose pat-down over scanner

The Fiqh Council of North America, an Islamic group with membership in Canada and the United States, said earlier in February it believed the body scanners were “against the teachings of Islam, natural law and all religions and cultures that stand for decency and modesty.”

The group urged Muslim travellers to choose to be patted down by airport security rather than go through the scanners.

Canada is in the process of installing 44 scanners to be used on U.S.-bound passengers selected for secondary screening at Canadian airports.

The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority has said the scanners would protect the privacy of the passenger, and that the officer viewing the image would do so in a separate room and never see the actual traveller.

The focus on security measures stems from the failed attempt by a Nigerian man to set off a bomb on a Detroit-bound flight on Christmas Day.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, is accused of trying to ignite the bomb on the Northwest Airlines flight. Officials said he has told U.S. investigators he received training and instructions from al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen.