It's back to Michael Coren, talking now to Steve Gilchrist right there in the studio. Gilchrist is a center-right politician, or was. He is, I gather, a business man and solid citizen reeking of respectability, positively putrid with probity. He is someone who, in the language of those who live in Eastern Canada (mind your Ps and Qs now, lest Hochelaga and surroundings slip out of the Federation), amidst what Voltaire dismissed as "quelques arpents de neige," might in far-off France have been called "l'Honnête Homme" -- not in the 17th century French sense but in the etiolated later sense of a Good Burgher. You often meet his type, even if you try to avoid them - or did I make this point before? - at alumni gatherings.
Gilchrist is, physically, a large and even beefy man. And his manner is that of someone who doesn't tolerate nonsense, cuts right to the chase, is unafraid to tell it just as he sees it, no matter what anyone thinks. That's right, that about sums up Steve Gilchrist, not one to mince words, so he tells us, not someone afraid to tell the truth. And what is it that no-nonsense unafraid-to-tell-the-truth-when-all-around-him are so afraid, tells us? Well, he tells us - take a look at 5.11-5.20 - that nowhere in the Qur'an is anyone told to kill Unbelievers, Infidels. Just like that. It's clear. It's obvious. Steve Gilchrist knows this. I, we, don't quite know how he knows this, for surely, if he read the Qur'an, he must have come across hundreds of Jihad verses. He must have read Sura 9, he must have read 9.29 and 9.5 at least. Did none of the following verses ever swim into his Canadian ken?
Qur'an 9:111: "The believers...shall fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain..."
Qur'an 9:5: "When the sacred forbidden months for fighting are past, fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them, take them captive, torture them, and lie in wait and ambush them using every stratagem of war."
Qur'an 5:33: "The punishment for those who wage war against Allah and His Prophet and perpetrate mischief [reject Islam or oppose its goals] in the land, is to murder them, to hang them, to mutilate them, or banish them. Such is their disgrace. They will not escape the fire, suffering constantly."
Qur'an 47:4: "So when you meet in battle those who disbelieve, then smite the necks until when you have overcome them, then make (them) prisoners, and afterwards either set them free as a favor or let them ransom (themselves) until the war terminates. That (shall be so); and if Allah had pleased He would certainly have exacted what is due from them, but that He may try some of you by means of others; and (as for) those who are slain in the way of Allah, He will by no means allow their deeds to perish."
Qur'an 21:44: "Do they not see Us advancing, gradually reducing the land (in their control), curtailing its borders on all sides? It is they who will be overcome."
Qur'an 47.35: "And be not slack so as to cry for peace and you have the upper hand, and Allah is with you, and He will not bring your deeds to naught."
Qur'an 3:56: "As for those disbelieving infidels, I will punish them with a terrible agony in this world and the next. They have no one to help or save them."
Qur'an 4.89: "They desire that you should disbelieve as they have disbelieved, so that you might be (all) alike; therefore take not from among them friends until they fly (their homes) in Allah's way; but if they turn back, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them, and take not from among them a friend or a helper."
Qur'an 2:191: "...kill the disbelievers wherever we find them."
Qur'an 9.33: "He it is Who sent His Apostle with guidance and the religion of truth, that He might cause it to prevail over all religions."
Qur'an 2:193: "And fight with them until there is no persecution, and religion should be only for Allah."
Qur'an 8:71: "And if they intend to act unfaithfully towards you, so indeed they acted unfaithfully towards Allah before, but He gave you mastery over them."
Qur'an 8:12: "Your Lord inspired the angels with the message: 'I will terrorize the unbelievers. Therefore smite them on their necks and every joint and incapacitate them. Strike off their heads and cut off each of their fingers and toes.'"
Qur'an 8:58: "If you apprehend treachery from any group on the part of a people (with whom you have a treaty), retaliate by breaking off (relations) with them. The infidels should not think they can bypass (Islamic law or the punishment of Allah). Surely they cannot escape."
Qur'an 8:39: "So, fight them till all opposition ends and the only religion is Islam."
Qur'an 8:59: "The infidels should not think that they can get away from us. Prepare against them whatever arms and weaponry you can muster so that you may terrorize them. They are your enemy and Allah's enemy."
Qur'an 8:60: "Prepare against them (non-Muslims) whatever arms and cavalry you can muster that you may strike terror in the enemies of Allah (non-Muslims), and others besides them not known to you. Whatever you spend in Allah's Cause will be repaid in full, and no wrong will be done to you."
Qur'an 8:7: "Allah wished to confirm the truth by His words: 'Wipe the infidels (non-Muslims) out to the last.'"
Qur'an 4:101: "The unbelievers (non-Muslims) are your inveterate foe."
Qur'an 9.29: "Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Apostle have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection."
Qur'an 9.30: "And the Jews say: Uzair (Ezra) is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them; how they are turned away!"
Had enough? Of course you have. And so have I, and so has any sane man. But do you think adducing this evidence from the Qur'an might convince, or at least give pause, to the steve-gilchrists of this world? Don't be silly. What's the Qur'an to him? It's only words, and possibly words taken out of context, and besides, he knows plenty of Muslims who haven't tried to strike his head off - so there. Answer that one, Mr. Smarty.
And when Tarek Fatah talks about the Saudis sending those tens of thousands of Qur'ans to Toronoto (and presumably millions more around the world), and he claims that those "Wahhabi" Qurans gave inserted into them, as glosses on the Arabic terms in the Qur'an, words or phrases -- e.g., "Christians and Jews" -- where, Tarek Fatah insists, those words give a false interpretation -- they do not -- how can Steve Gilchrist (or even Michael Coren unless he is thoroughly prepared on such matters), see right through Tarek Fatah's claims and rebut them on the spot?
Oh, I know it's hard to believe. You look at that good burgher and solid Steve Gilchrist, and you think, I don't believe he really didn't read and study the contents of the Qur'an. I don't believe he didn't find out about the Sunnah, that is, the Hadith, and the different collections of Hadith, varying in significance, and the rank, according to putative authenticity, to which each Hadith is assigned. And I don't believe he didn't read the Sira, doesn't know that Muhammad was the Perfect Man, has never heard of the Banu Qurayza, and the Khaybar Oasis, and Asma bint Marwan, and Abu Afak. Surely he must know all of those things. And surely he has looked into some of the great Western scholars of Islam. Which ones do you think he found most impressive? Was it Joseph Schacht? C. Snouck Hurgronje? Henri Lammens? Samuel Zwemer? St. Clair Tisdall? Georges Vajda? Arthur Jeffrey, for so many years the editor of "The Moslem World"? Who was it? Oh, you're not serious. You don't think he would consider Karen Armstrong or the venal John Esposito to be "scholars of Islam," do you? Oh, I see. Sorry. I shouldn't have asked.
But he's heard of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, hasn't he? Didn't he read Infidel? And before taking Tarek Fatah's side about that awful Wafa Sultan, he did read with care, didn't he, her book A God Who Hates? No? He didn't feel he had to, because Tarek Fatah, his friend, told him it was malicious filth? Was that the end of the matter? Oh dear. What about Magdi Allam? Has he ever seen Magdi Allam speak? You can catch him on the Italian television, the RAI, and I know the RAI reaches Canada.
In the full light of the television cameras and of history, Steve Gilchrist, politician (of the center-right, so I gather from a quick googling, but these labels mean so very little, far less than do levels of intelligence) and businessman, has himself declaring that nowhere in the Qur'an does it call for the killing of non-Muslims. He doesn't even bother to discuss the significance of the Sunnah as preserved in the written records of the Hadith and Sira. But let's just stick to the Qur'an. Has Steve Gilchrist never seen the "Jihad verses" in the Qur'an? Has he never heard, for example, of the Calcutta Qu'ran Petition, which helpfully lists many dozens of those verses? Does he not understand that Islam is based on the opposition of Muslim to Non-Muslm, that the faith itself was created out of bits and pieces of pre-Islamic pagan Arab lore, along with major figures (Jesus, Moses, Noah, and many others) and stories appropriated, in vastly distorted forms, from both Judaism and Christianity? Does he not know that Islam, the faith, the ideology of Islam, has no place for what we would call "tolerance" but reduces all others, at best - that is, if they are People of the Book, Ahl Al-Kitab - to the permanent status of dhimmi, that is, to a state of humiliation, degradation, and physical insecurity, for what security there is depends on the scrupulous observance by the non-Muslims of every onerous requirement imposed on all of them? And in times when scapegoats are needed, it was easy, in the past, to take even one dhimmi's failure to meet his obligations as the occasion for attacking a larger group, or even the whole community, of dhimmis.
Islam is based on a clear division of all of humanity into two parts: Believers and Unbelievers, Muslims and Infidels. Between the two there is not to be any equality, nor any kind of ultimate synthesis, or reconciliation. There is to be only a state of permanent warfare (though not always of open war). It is the duty of Muslims to engage in the "struggle" or Jihad, to push ever back the frontiers of Dar al-Islam at the expense of Dar al-Harb, that is, the House or Domain of War, where Infidels still dominate. Muslims must engage in Jihad that will force the removal of all obstacles to the spread, and then the dominance, of Islam, all over the world.
When Steve Gilchrist asserted that nowhere in the Qur'an is there any call to kill non-Muslims, what should Tarek Fatah have done, if he were an honest man and not an apologist pretending to be an honest man? He was sitting right at the same table in the same television studio. His silence would of course be taken by others to mean that what Steve Gilchrist said was accurate. For surely, naïve viewers would have thought, had it been inaccurate, the truth-telling moderate who bravely takes on other Muslims would have said something, would have corrected any misapprehension.
But Tarek Fatah was silent.
Here is what Tarek Fatah might have said:
"Well, Steve, I'm afraid you've got it wrong. I'm afraid that in the Qur'an, and in many Hadith deemed by most authoritative muhaddithin to be the most authentic Muhammad's own behavior, his words and his acts, show that the message -- Kill the Unbelievers - certainly is there, explicitly in some places, and in many other places, it is the implicit message. And that, Steve, is exactly the kind of thing we have to know about, if we are to have any hope of convincing Muslims to re-interpret the Qur'an, to see it as a historical document, to put it back into history, and thus to truly "contextualize" what Muhammad said and did, as part of early seventh-century Arabia, as reflecting the mores and attitudes of that time, but not as if Muhammad himself were divine - Muslims like to mock Christians for believing in the divinity of Christ - and to convince themselves that to treat Muhammad as the Perfect Man, al-insan al-kamil, is to endow him with a quasi-divinity that comes perilously close to shirk, that is, polytheism. We must, Steve, if we are to save Islam, change its teachings, re-configure its meanings. I know this, I admit this, and that is what I am trying, nel mio piccolo, in my own little way, to do."
But this is not what Tarek Fatah, the Brave Truth-Teller, did. Not a word. He remained completely silent. I put it to him right here: do you, Tarek Fatah, agree with Steve Gilchrist that nowhere in the Qur'an does it call for the killing of Unbelievers?
Please note that just as Steve Gilchrist makes his remark about there being nowhere in the Qur'an a call to kill Unbelievers, Tarek Fatah remains silent and then, does something even worse. Before there is time for Michael Coren to come in and ask again, point-blank, about Steve Gilchrist's amazing assertion, before, that is, Michael Coren can turn to Tarek Fatah and say (as he, Michael Coren, should have said, and as I allow myself to believe he would have said), "Well, Tarek, is that true? Is it true, as Steve has just told us, that nowhere in the Qur'an is there a call to kill the Unbelievers?," Tarek Fatah, quick to sense dangers of this sort, immediately switches the discussion away from this, and starts talking about something else.
For Tarek Fatah is hoping that no one will stop things, that no one in the audience will really be paying attention, that no one will question or, still worse, ask Tarek Fatah, on camera, if Gilchrist's assertion was right. He, Tarek Fatah, smiling plausible rumpled suited-and-betied Tarek Fatah, who knows his Canadian audiences so well, wants to avoid being put on the spot. He can say nothing, and thereby leave the impression that Gilchrist spoke correctly, that nowhere in the Qur'an does it say to kill Unbelievers, but he has to be careful about receiving a direct question about this and then answering untruthfully.
You see, he's beginning to find out what others like him are beginning to find out. While there is a certain irreducible minimum of fools who are not about to start finding out what the texts say, what the tenets are, there are many in Canada, as in the United States, and in Western Europe, who have begun to realize that they cannot rely on the press, radio, and television, nor on their mostly-disastrous political class, and will have to find out by studying themselves. And they are doing so, and they reply on the Internet to the nonsense and lies that many have put up with till now. But no longer. They understand what is at stake.
And Tarek Fatah is beginning to get wind of this. He got wind of it when one of his softest targets, a Toronto synagogue audience, did not boo or shout down Wafa Sultan, but listened not only respectfully to her, and seemed to take in what she was saying, seemed to find it convincing. Oh, dear, thinks Tarek Fatah. What if not only Wafa Sultan, but a dozen others - Nonie Darwish, Ibn Warraq, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ali Sina - were to find ways of getting to those whom he has had largely to himself? What if members of such congregations, what if those watching the Michael Coren show, began to find out more? Why, in Great Britain, you have Ian McEwan and Martin Amis saying things about Islam that he, Tarek Fatah, would never have expected. In France, the little game of Tariq Ramadan has been seen through, and he has prudently moved his operation elsewhere, and is hoping to bring it to the United States. When even members of a synagogue - heretofore one of the places that Tarek Fatah could always count on for a warm and unquestioning reception - now appear willing to listen respectfully, and to show evident appreciation for, Wafa Sultan, well then, Tarek Fatah must now be careful.
And now it's back to Steve Gilchrist. He has taken care, in his blunt way, of the false and ridiculous idea that somewhere in the Qur'an there is a call to kill Infidels. It just isn't there, says Steve. That's it. Let's not here any more of this nonsense, shall we?
But Steve Gilchrist knows that even though the Qur'an doesn't say anything about killing Infidels, and even though Steve Gilchrist doesn't know - so it doesn't bother him - that the Hadith and Sira exist, and perhaps he should look into them, too, with the same attentive vigilance with which he apparently studied the Qur'an, there is something not quite right, something disturbing, about the behavior and attitudes of some Muslims. So if it isn't in the Qur'an, and the Sunnah for Steve Gilchrist doesn't exist, what could it be? You may be puzzled, you may not know the answer.
But Steve Gilchrist does, and he's not going to be afraid to state it, state it no matter what the consequences, no matter what anyone thinks. And what is that explanation, what is that answer, what is the "root cause" of all this terrorism and all this other bad stuff? Oh, he knows people aren't going to be happy with his answer, he knows it is daring of him to say it, but in the interests of the truth he, Steve Gilchrist, has just got to say it.
But first - start at around 4.40, in Part II, he goes through a little of the preliminary Tu-Quoque that non-Muslims like to perform, not against Muslims, but in defense of Islam. So Steve Gilchrist mentions David Koresh, and the Branch Davidians, and says that no Christians would regard them as Christians, which means, of course, that no Muslims would regard the "extremists" who call themselves Muslims as real Muslims. That's right: in just the same way.
And who, after all, are these so-called Muslims whom no real Muslim would ever call a Muslim, just as no real Christian would ever call the Branch Davidians real Christians? Well, it may be bold, it may be daring, but it's got to be done, it's got to be said, and honest Steve Gilchrist, forthright Steve Gilchrist, is just the man to say to, to go where no man has gone before.
Listen carefully. Here is what Steve Gilchrist knows: It's Wahabism. That's right, the whole problem in Islam comes from this crazy sect, a sect so strange and so marginal that it can only be compared to David Koresh's several-hundred-strong Branch Davidians, wiped out in Waco.
Look at 4.49, and listen to Steve Gilchrist replying to a point about Muslim behavior, Muslim attacks on non-Muslims, raised by Michael Coren:
"You're absolutely right. And on that score I don't think you and I would disagree...We have failed to recognize the real problem. We don't have the courage to come right out and say the Wahhabi sect should be banned. There is nothing good has come out of the billions of dollars that have flowed out of Saudi Arabia to foment [at least, unlike Joan Crockatt, Steve Gilchrist can pronounce the word "foment" correctly] unrest within the mosques themselves."
And at 5:15:
"If I was a Muslim I would be extremely concerned that imams are not standing up and reading from the Qur'an where it says that you should NOT kill non-believers. It does not say in the Quran that you should go out and kill non-Muslims."
And there's more:
"We haven't had the courage to say the Wahhabis don't represent all Muslims. ..We just don't have the guts to say that at its very core that is a terrorist...."
So Steve Gilchrist presents as his own brave uninhibited take on the matter, the fact that the "Wahabis" are behind all the problems. He is apparently unaware that this blaming-the-Wahabis business has been a staple, a cliche, the most obvious cop-out (I never thought I'd use that word, but now I am, for the first time in my life) practiced by those seeking to divert attention from Islam itself, along with such other diversionary tactics as seeking "the root causes" in poverty and unemployment among Muslims, or in the "confrontation with modernity" (modernity being another way of describing the world of non-Muslims), or in "the resentment of American foreign policy" - try explaining that to Hindus in Pakistan or Buddhists in Thailand, or Christians in Nigeria or the Sudan, as the reason for Muslim murders). And so he presents this cliché of thought as a brand-new notion, and how brave of him to bring it forth.
Coren, however, isn't buying. The "Wahabis" as responsible for all of Muslim terrorism and Muslim unpleasantness? Surely that doesn't explain the behavior of the Shi'a, the Shi'a now running the Islamic Republic of Iran? The Shi'a in Hezbollah? Not to mention all of the other, non-Wahabi Sunni Muslims who are just as unpleasant, just as dangerously anti-Infidel, as any Wahabi?
Oh,don't bother me with that, Steve Gilchrist says. Look, I told you what the problem is, and that's it. Listen, he says, they have, all of them, all those non-Wahabis, all those Shi'a who are the mortal enemies of the Wahabis, been "corrupted" by Wahabism. Apparently Steve Gilchrist has never seen the Saudi clerics denouncing the Shi'a as the "worst kind of Infidels," apparently he is unfamiliar with the anti-Shi'a rants of Al-Zarqawi and Al Qaeda in Iraq. "Yes sir, they've all been corrupted."
And that's all you need to know. And don't bother finding out that the Wahabis persecute the Shi'a whenever they can - do so, in fact, in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, where the Shi'a of Saudi Arabia are mostly gathered, and where they lead most unhappy and uneasy lives under Wahabi rule.
It's time to close.
But before we do, why don't we all, one more time, watch, from beginning to end, those two tapes of the Michael Coren Show, starring Michael Coren, with his guests Tarek Fatah, and Joan Crockatt, and Steve Gilchrist. Please don't fail to notice a high point of the whole farce, and that is how Steve Gilchrist, at the end of Part 2, picks up the "Tamil Tigers" who had been mentioned with such confused certainty by Joan Crockatt in Part 1, and uses them to make a point: "just as the Tamil Tigers don't define all of the Sri Lankans," so the "extremist" Muslims shouldn't be allowed to define all Muslims. If Joan Crockatt can confuse Tamil Tigers with Sikhs, well then, Steve Gilchrist, possibly out of a sense of gallantry, wishes to rescue her from unfair obloquy by sharing her confusion, and he not only sees her, but raises her, in the idiocy stakes, by appearing to think that all Sri Lankans are Tamils, but that only some of those Tamils are Tamil Tigers, "just as only some of the world's Muslims are Wahabis." He apparently does not know that the Tamil Tigers -- the Hindu Tamils on Sri Lanka being linked to the Tamils in southern India - were waging war on other non-Tamil Sri Lankans, and mainly, against the Buddhist Sinhalese. I'm not sure that Steve Gilchrist understands that, and I know that Joan Crockatt doesn't understand it. In fact, I suspect that if we were to give them both a test of their knowledge of men and events over the past half-century or century - ask them, say, to tell us about Biafra, or about Hassan al-Banna and the Muslim Brotherhood and whether it is correct to describe Hassan al-Banna as "anti-colonialist" (as admiring stories about his grandson Tariq Ramadan often say) or if another word might be more accurate, they would fail abysmally. But this is the problem, isn't it? So many such people are on the air, being asked and, still worse, giving their opinions.
Now that you've seen, several times over, these tapes, don't you agree that Tarek Fatah is quite different, in what he is willing to say about Islam, than Wafa Sultan, or Magdi Allam, or Ibn Warraq, or Ayaan Hirsi Ali? And how much deception, or self-deception, must we tolerate from those who call themselves and who think of themselves as "moderate Muslims" who are bravely criticizing Islam when in fact, they are protecting Islam and trying to deflect criticism onto other targets, such as the factitious "Arab Islam" that Tarek Fatah invokes? Fatah is a kind of Anwar Sheikh manqué. Anwar Sheikh was an apostate from Pakistan who lived in England. His major theme is highlit in the title of one of his books, Islam: The Arab National Religion. Tarek Fatah cannot stand Arabs, cannot stand the "Arab" element in Islam, and he allows himself to believe that, if only those nice Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, just like himself, could take a stand against the "Arab" element, then Islam would be fine, and the trouble between Islam and, not the West but All The Rest, would disappear. He can't bring himself to do what Anwar Sheikh did. He can't bring himself to march out the door and never look back. He can't leave Islam.
But as more and more non-Muslims in the West, those intelligent and aware enough to recognize the need to inform themselves about Islam, and do so, the harder it will become for the tarek-fatahs of this world to continue their activities with the same impunity.
Tarek Fatah is not prompted by the same sinister motives as, for example, the colubrine Tariq Ramadan so clearly possesses. He is embarrassed by what he knows of Islamic doctrine, but he's made the decision not to give up on Islam but instead to misstate, to omit, to mis-quote, to deliberately misunderstand, and to refrain from correcting non-Muslims in their own miscomprehensions of Islam. He's not, however, an innocent. He knows better. We see this in the way in which he calumniates Wafa Sultan. We see it in his preposterous missing-the-point insistence that Aisha is at least fourteen and perhaps as old as nineteen or twenty-one. We see it in his never correcting the egregious errors of Steve Gilchrist, especially when Gilchrist claims that nowhere in the Qur'an does it call for the killing of Infidels. His truly hysterical reaction to Wafa Sultan is prompted, I think, by his realization that she is not alone, that there are others who, as ex-Muslims, are determined to tell the truth. And if they can do so, if they can get an audience especially perhaps in synagogues that have provided such a good living to Tarek Fatah, they will be able to open many eyes among those Fatah himself has confused. For so many have been eager to have him come and relieve everyone of their palpable anxiety about Islam, and Tarek Fatah is just the man to do it, even if his means are deplorable and his effect dangerously lulling.
Just as before there was Wafa Sultan there were Anwar Sheikh, and Ibn Warraq, and Ali Sina, and at the same time as Wafa Sultan there have been Magdi Allam and Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Nonie Darwish, now still younger dissenters and truth-tellers have appeared, such as the remarkable son of a Hamas leader, Mus'ab Hassan Yousuf. He can be seen and heard here.
In all of these people one detects a note that Tarek Fatah overlooks, or does not sense: a note of sad empathy with those simple people who have their natural humanity extinguished by Islam, their minds permanently damaged by enslavement to Islam, by their lives as "slaves of Allah," and the discouragement of their faculty of free and skeptical inquiry. It is not Tarek Fatah who cares about these people, but Wafa Sultan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Magdi Allam, Mus'ab Hassan Yousuf, and the other apostates. Tarek Fatah is making his own career, and his career is that of a professional well-paid speaker - a variant of the motivational speaker, because in the end he's got a message of hope, a message of interfaith understanding, a message of false comfort disguised as truth-telling.
In his unwillingness to speak truthfully about little Aisha, at the beginning of this program, and in his quickly starting to talk about something else just as soon as Steve Gilchrist make his statement of what the Qur'an does not say about Infidels, he invites legitimate suspicion. If he is willing to continue to misinform Infidels, no matter how, in the end, that causes them further anguish and endangers their societies, their laws, their customs, their social arrangements, their physical security, he should expect no immunity from severe criticism. Tarek Fatah should assume that just as with this little tape, other tapes will be made of his appearances, and what he says looked at, and held up for public inspection, analysis, criticism.
Hard to know how long he can continue the farce. For he can't, he just can't, jettison Islam, and therefore he has got to misrepresent it. For if he were to speak truthfully, his audiences of Infidels (Muslims pay him no attention) would ask: how is it that you, Tarek Fatah, can continue to call yourself a Muslim? Why are you still a Muslim? Living in Canada, enjoying the mental freedom of Canada, what keeps you still in thrall to this ideology? Fear? Filial piety? Fond memories of pious grandparents, or of Iftar dinners past? That "human warmth" that you find lacking in the West but that you recall feeling in the bosom of your family back in Pakistan? Is that it?
Muhammad, the Perfect Man, had sexual intercourse with a nine-year-old girl, or at least, that is what Muslims believe he did. And they do not fault him. Are we not then entitled to pass judgment on those who believe this or who, like the Ayatollah Khomeini, also think that it is right for Muslims today to marry nine-year-old girls? Are we not allowed to take into consideration all of this, and to form a judgment of Muslims and of Islam on this basis? Are we not to investigate the words and deeds of the person whom Muslims consider to be the Perfect Man? Why are we not allowed to do so? Why is this, or that, off limits to our critical scrutiny?
No, Tarek Fatah can't allow any such questions to be put to him, and can't allow himself to provide the most inadequate and misleading answers he is likely to provide. He exists, one supposes, in a state of mental tension because he has decided to remain a Muslim, and so he has condemned himself to a lifetime of apologetics that, little by little, will be taken apart, and his mental enslavement come better to be understood. Even in the freedom of Canada, he can't unlock those mind-forged manacles, and he will continue to earn his sad keep, and keep his sad fame, as a "brave Muslim moderate" who, in truth, remains a guide to nothing and nowhere.
He can't do any other. He can't. He just can't.
And as long as there are non-Muslims who possess the same grasp of Islam and of current history as displayed by Steve Gilchrist and Joan Crockatt - and there are so many of them - he doesn't have to. And he needn't worry.