Maybe the “Scholar” missed it; maybe he didn’t really know; maybe, his “Muslim police blotter” failed to pick it up. But, Robert Spencer seems to conveniently ignore exculpatory facts that strike at the heart of his relentless argument that Islam is violent, evil, etc. Just the latest case in point: his decrying the death threat against Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris. He writes, in part:
It should be front-page news in every newspaper in the country: Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris has given up her job, her home, and even her identity because of death threats for Islamic supremacists. That Islamic jihadists can force an American citizen into hiding for exercising her freedom of speech is bad enough; that her cause has aroused only indifference from the media and the nation’s leading officials is even worse.
Although I can’t believe I’m actually saying this, he is right: the threat against Molly Norris is nothing short of repugnant. Norris, if you will remember, started the “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day” on Facebook, which turned into a vile anti-Muhammad orgy. It was so bad, in fact, that Molly Norris backed away from it completely. Yet, Spencer’s “defense” of Norris is really a thinly veiled attack against President Obama:
Molly Norris’s cause should be taken up by all free people – not least the President of the United States. Obama could have explained that human beings control their own reactions to things. If Muslims chose yet again to riot and murder because of Terry Jones or Molly Norris, that would be a choice they would be making out of an unlimited array of other choices. Instead, Western authorities have fallen into the Islamic supremacists’ trap and are starting to behave in just the way they want them to: thinking that they must not do certain things, because if they do, there will be violence from Muslims. Yet that violence is in every case solely the responsibility of the perpetrator, not of anyone else.
Yet, Spencer seems to have ignored the fact that some of Molly Norris’ most passionate defenders are Muslims themselves. Soon after the news of Norris being forced to go into hiding became public, a group of Muslim journalists, academics, writers, and scholars issued a statement:
A DEFENSE OF FREE SPEECH BY AMERICAN AND CANADIAN MUSLIMS
We, the undersigned, unconditionally condemn any intimidation or threats of violence directed against any individual or group exercising the rights of freedom of religion and speech; even when that speech may be perceived as hurtful or reprehensible.
We are concerned and saddened by the recent wave of vitriolic anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic sentiment that is being expressed across our nation.
We are even more concerned and saddened by threats that have been made against individual writers, cartoonists, and others by a minority of Muslims. We see these as a greater offense against Islam than any cartoon, Qur’an burning, or other speech could ever be deemed.
We affirm the right of free speech for Molly Norris, Matt Stone, Trey Parker, and all others including ourselves.
As Muslims, we must set an example of justice, patience, tolerance, respect, and forgiveness.
The Qur’an enjoins Muslims to:
* bear witness to Islam through our good example (2:143);
* restrain anger and pardon people (3:133-134 and 24:22);
* remain patient in adversity (3186);
* stand firmly for justice (4:135);
* not let the hatred of others swerve us from justice (5:8);
* respect the sanctity of life (5:32);
* turn away from those who mock Islam (6:68 and 28:55);
* hold to forgiveness, command what is right, and turn away from the ignorant (7:199);
* restrain ourselves from rash responses (16:125-128);
* pass by worthless talk with dignity (25:72); and
* repel evil with what is better (41:34).
Islam calls for vigorous condemnation of both hateful speech and hateful acts, but always within the boundaries of the law. It is of the utmost importance that we react, not out of reflexive emotion, but with dignity and intelligence, in accordance with both our religious precepts and the laws of our country.
We uphold the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Both protect freedom of religion and speech, because both protections are fundamental to defending minorities from the whims of the majority.
We therefore call on all Muslims in the United States, Canada and abroad to refrain from violence. We should see the challenges we face today as an opportunity to sideline the voices of hate—not reward them with further attention—by engaging our communities in constructive dialogue about the true principles of Islam, and the true principles of democracy, both of which stress the importance of freedom of religion and tolerance.
The list of signatories keeps growing. There is no mention of this statement by Spencer on his website. I wonder why? Is it because it debunks Spencer’s notions about Islam and Muslims?
Maybe Spencer didn’t know about the statement…or maybe, he chose to look the other way, because the truth is too inconvenient.