Robert Spencer’s response to Mary Habeck’s fanciful assertions about Islam and Jihad is unanswerable. And it will not be answered. What can she say when she has already admitted that no Islamic sects "reject the proposition that the umma must wage war in order to establish Sharia” -- and yet she continues to prate about a “hijacked” Islam? Instead of sober realism, the Grand Strategy in the War of Ideas today, in and around Washington, is to play the game of Let's Pretend with Muslims, so as to win the hearts and win the minds of the "moderate" Muslims (vide my article "Ten Things to Think When Thinking About Moderate Muslims"). It's in the air. It's among the higher-ups, among generals, for example.
But among the captains and the majors and the colonels who have served in Iraq, and certainly among most of the soldiers who have, through experience, unbrainwashed themselves about the "mission" and about the essential wonderfulness or just plain common decency of Muslims, the thoughts and understandings, thank god, are far more realistic, and quite different from those of the higher-ups.
Is Mary Habeck by any chance now at the Johns Hopkins School of... not International Studies, but something far grander, Advanced International Studies? That is the institution where that Middle East expert Paul Wolfowitz was once Dean, and where the new head is the charming are intelligent Fouad Ajami. Ajami is the one who used to smite Edward Said hip and thigh, but who on his own trip to Iraq, he found himself stirred elementally by his visit with Sistani. He called his book on Iraq "The Foreigner's Gift" instead of, as it ought to have been called, "The Infidel's Gift." And clearly, like other "good" merely "cultural" or Muslim-for-identification-purposes Muslims, he listened to a bit too much to the soothing blandishments being peddled. And neither Fouad Ajami nor still less Vali Nasr or others of that ilk could conceive of or could bear to hear about the only policy that makes sense: to educate Infidels, and then to create the conditions that will force a sufficient number of Muslims as well, to recognize that the political, economic, social, intellectual, and moral failures of Islamic states and societies suffused with Islam are a direct result of Islam itself.
It would be fascinating to gather together the signers of the St. Petersburg Declaration, including Ibn Warraq and Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Wafa Sultan, people born and raised in Islam (or is one simply struck with total amnesia the minute one becomes an apostate from Islam, and become completely unreliable narrators, as Muslim spokesmen appear to believe?), and see whether they think Robert Spencer has understood Islam better, as a Belief-System, or that Mary Habeck has understood it better.
I already know the answer. It wasn't even close.
Mary Habeck in her writings appears to believe that after the second, failed siege of Vienna by the Ottoman Turks in 1683, the doctrine of Jihad simply disappeared. It did not. It was as much a part of Islam then as it was in 700 A. D. or 2007 A.D. What changed was the ability of Muslims to act on the doctrine, and as long as Muslims understand their duty of Jihad, and attempt to fulfill it whenever and wherever it proves possible, they need not quixotically attack, through military means, those Infidels who are simply too strong. Besides, the instruments of Jihad are now far more varied than they were in 700 A. D. or in 1683 A.D. There is today the "money weapon" to pay for mosques and madrasas, academic centers taking their orders, subtly or openly, from their Arab funders. And of course there are small armies of Western hirelings, journalists, businessmen, public relations experts, former diplomats, former intelligence agents for Western countries, all of whom have in the past, and still now, are hired to limit the Western understanding of, and hostility to, Saudi Arabia, the Arabs, and Islam.
Habeck is confused -- she who just began her study of Islam a year or two ago (as the non-tenure handwriting on the wall at Yale became clear, she began to repackage herself as an "expert on Islam"). If Judith Kipper the sociologist could overnight transform herself into a "Middle East expert," why then, so can any man...or woman.