UPDATE: Kamala, who wrote an excellent review of Aslan's book, How to Win a Cosmic War, writes: "To Aslan's statement 'No American Muslim, zero, absolutely none, not a single one has ever, ever called for the imposition of Shariah in America,' I wonder what he'd say about this guy. Also, Aslan said that 'Rauf was simply calling for a system in which Islamic law courts settle matters of family disputes among the Muslim community.' Don't know if you've read Rauf's book from 2000, 'Islam: A Sacred Law.' On p. 58, he writes, 'And since a Shari'ah is understood as a law with God at its center, it is not possible in principle to limit the Shari'ah to some aspects of human life and leave out others.' Oops!"
As we continue to expose Reza Aslan's pseudo-moderate deceptions and positive presentations of jihad terror groups, the gutter-minded adolescent, used to being fawned over by the useful idiots in the mainstream media, continues to show that he is feeling the heat -- and clearly, I continue to be on his mind to a point that is downright creepy.
But it is understandable. While hapless Leftist pseudo-journalists continue to swallow his nonsense, he is being exposed at Jihad Watch as he never has been before. To recap: Aslan has called on the U.S. Government to negotiate with Ahmadinejad and Hamas -- that is, with some of the most barbaric and genocidally-inclined adherents of Sharia. He has even praised the jihad terror group Hizballah as "the most dynamic political and social organization in Lebanon," recalling the useful idiots and fellow travelers who used to praise Stalinist Russia and even Hitler's Germany for their social services apparatuses.
Also, Aslan is a Board member of the National Iranian American Council, a group that genuine Iranian pro-democracy forces regard as an apologetic vehicle for the Islamic Republic of Iran. Thus it was no surprise that in a piece about the trouble Iran's Thug-In-Chief, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is facing at home, he offered not one critical word about Ahmadinejad's genocidal antisemitism, or the regime's persecution of non-Muslims. Instead, he praised certain domestic policies of Ahmadinejad. Yes, and Hitler built the autobahn.
"Is Islam 'Worse' Than Any Other Religion?," by Arnie Cooper for Miller-McCune, December 3:
Consider Pastor Terry Jones’ aborted Bonfire of Korans, Newt Gingrich’s remarks comparing organizers of lower Manhattan’s Islamic cultural center to Nazis, and Oklahoma’s pre-emptive strike against Shariah law and you can see why the term “Islamophobia” in vogue after 9/11 has re-entered the national lexicon.
Of course. It's all Terry Jones' and Newt Gingrich's and Oklahoma's fault. They're spreading "Islamophobia." It doesn't seem to occur to the illustrious Arnie Cooper that it's actually Mohamed Mohamud who is spreading "Islamophobia," if it really exists at all. Nidal Hasan is spreading "Islamophobia." Faisal Shahzad is spreading "Islamophobia." Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad is spreading "Islamophobia." Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is spreading "Islamophobia." Muhammad Atta and Anjem Chaudary and Omar Bakri and Abu Hamza and Abu Bakar Bashir and Zawahiri and Zarqawi and bin Laden are spreading "Islamophobia." Islamic jihadists, murdering in the name of Islam the world over, are spreading "Islamophobia."
For insight on this, Miller-McCune.com spoke with Reza Aslan. He’s the 38-year-old religious scholar, born in Iran but raised in the places like Oklahoma and California, who has been educating westerners on Islam’s place in the world ever since the release of his 2005 bestseller, No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam.
And this month, Aslan’s latest book, Tablet and Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East, appears. The anthology of poetry and essays is another of his attempts to reframe misguided perceptions of the Middle East....
Miller-McCune.com: Among certain segments of the U.S. population, anti-Muslim sentiment seems to be increasing. What’s happening?
Reza Aslan: I think it’s not just that anti-Muslim sentiment is increasing; it’s that these beliefs are becoming increasingly mainstream thanks to fringe characters like Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller, who six months ago were considered so radical that they never would’ve been involved in any kind of legitimate discussion or public debate about the role of Islam in the United States.
Aslan would like his luckless marks to believe that, but unfortunately for him, it isn't remotely true. Ordinarily I wouldn't call attention to any of this, but since Aslan is lying, I have to correct the record. He says that I am such a "fringe character" that six months ago I never would have been involved in any kind of legitimate discussion or public debate about the role of Islam in the United States -- yet I've written two New York Times bestsellers, The Truth About Muhammad and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades).
I've led seminars on Islam and jihad for the United States Central Command, United States Army Command and General Staff College, the U.S. Army's Asymmetric Warfare Group, the FBI, the Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the U.S. intelligence community. My work has been translated into Spanish, Italian, Czech, Danish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Finnish, and Bahasa Indonesia. I've discussed jihad, Islam, and terrorism at a workshop sponsored by the U.S. State Department and the German Foreign Ministry. I've appeared on the BBC, ABC News, CNN, FoxNews's O'Reilly Factor, the Sean Hannity Show, Fox and Friends, and many other Fox programs, PBS, MSNBC, CNBC, C-Span, France24 and Croatia National Televison (HTV), as well as on hundreds of national and local radio programs.
I've been a featured speaker at Dartmouth College, Stanford University, New York University, Brown University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Virginia, the University of Rhode Island, DePaul University, the College of William and Mary, Texas A &M, Washington University of St. Louis, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, and many other colleges and universities.
And yes, hardly any of that was done in the last six months. So while I am uncomfortable calling attention to my own accomplishments, it is necessary in this case, because Aslan is practicing the Alinsky tactic: "'Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.' Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)" I know what he is doing, and he knows what he is doing. And so it is necessary to stand up to it, and to point out that I am not remotely the marginal fringe character he describes me as being, because by saying this, he hopes to make it true.
As for my colleague Pamela Geller, before six months ago she had been featured several times on the Joy Behar Show, Fox's Hannity and Red Eye, and other shows, and had conducted interviews over the years with people such as John Bolton, Geert Wilders, Bat Ye'or, Benjamin Netanyahu, Mark Steyn, Steve Emerson, Christopher Hitchens, Natan Sharansky and many others. A "fringe character." Sure.
After all, Pamela Geller, [executive director of Stop Islamization of America] who invented the phrase “mosque at ground zero,”...
Note Aslan's contempt for the American people: does he actually expect anyone to believe that 70% of Americans oppose the Ground Zero mosque because Pamela Geller fooled them into thinking that an Islamic "community center" somewhere in the vicinity of Ground Zero was actually a...Ground Zero mosque? In reality, while Pamela Geller has led the national resistance to the Ground Zero mosque, the American people didn't need her to tell them that the Burlington Coat Factory building that will be torn down to build the mosque is part of the attack site, as the landing gear from one of the 9/11 planes crashed into its roof and fell five stories to the basement. The building is thus an essential part of Ground Zero itself, which will greatly enhance the mosque's symbolic value in the Islamic world as another triumphal mosque, a la the Al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount, the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (the grandest cathedral in Christendom for a millennium, converted to a mosque in 1453, now a museum), and thousands of others throughout the Islamic world. And as for its being a mosque in the first place, Daisy Khan admitted that long ago, although she, like Aslan, lies about it now.
...insists that President Obama has declared jihad on America...
Gee, where would anyone get that idea? See here -- not for the Egyptian Foreign Minister's statements, but for the March 2009-June 2010 timeline.
...and Robert Spencer [director of Jihad Watch] claims that 85 percent of all mosques in the U.S. are preaching violence and extremism, which has been debunked. I think the Department of Homeland Security would like to know where he gets his information. It’s sort of like having a member of the KKK in the middle of a legitimate discussion about race in America.
Actually, I never said 85%. It's 75 to 80%. Where did I get my information? I will be happy to supply it to the DHS. It comes from three separate studies -- Sheikh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani's in 1998 (summarized in his testimony before a State Department Open Forum in January 1999 that 80% of American mosques taught the "extremist ideology"), the Center for Religious Freedom's 2005 study, and the Mapping Sharia Project's 2008 study. Each independently showed that upwards of 80% of mosques in America were preaching hatred of Jews and Christians and the necessity ultimately to impose Islamic rule. I challenged Aslan two months ago, on October 4, to provide any evidence that any of these studies had been debunked by anyone. He has not done so, and cannot do so.
Aslan also retails his usual talking points:
M-M: How did we get to this point?
RA: Part of the reason is the economy. In times of economic distress, it’s natural for people to look for scapegoats, and the current victims for this recession happen to be Mexicans and Muslims. As I often say, God help you if you happen to be a Mexican Muslim in this country right now.
Yes, it's all because of racism and poor economic times. Never mind all those Islamic jihad plots. The Portland Christmas tree jihad bomber? The Fort Hood jihad mass-murderer? The Detroit airplane jihad underwear bomber? The Times Square jihad car bomber? The Arkansas military recruiting station jihad murderer? Pah! God help you if you're a Muslim Mexican!
More from Reza:
Part of it also has to do with war fatigue. We have been engaged in two wars in the Middle East for a decade. We were just told by the president of the United States that one of those wars in now over and a lot of Americans are wondering what we actually got for the trillions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of deaths that resulted.
On that I actually agree with him.
I also think that for a decade we’ve been discussing the possibility of homegrown attacks by Muslim Americans and for 10 years nothing had happened until the past year when we had two attacks back to back, one by Major Nidal Hasan at Fort Hood and the other one the attempted Times Square bombing by Faisal Shahzad. I think the true headline here is that in this time frame we’ve had just two attempts, but nevertheless, the fact that they came back to back has raised more suspicions.
Note how many he leaves out. Not only the Detroit airplane attempt, the Arkansas shooting, and the Portland bomber, but also the North Carolina jihad plot, the Sears Tower jihad plot, the Toronto (yeah, I know, Canada doesn't count, eh, Reza?) 18 jihad plot, the Fort Dix jihad plot, the JFK airplot plot, and on and on.
M-M: And this includes suspicions about the president.
RA: It’s not a coincidence that the same polls that show that 50 percent of Americans have a negative perception of Islam also show that 20 percent of Americans think that Barack Obama is a Muslim. That’s an 8 percent jump from a year ago.
And more interestingly, amongst Republicans that number is almost 40 percent. In fact, there is a direct correlation between whether you agree with President Obama’s domestic policy with regard to health care and financial reform and whether you think he’s a Muslim. The more you disagree with his view, the more likely you are to believe that. That proves that Islam has become sort of a receptacle in the U.S.; it’s become “otherized” in the sense that anything that’s foreign or frightening or exotic is immediately tagged with this label of Islam.
It actually isn't "almost 40 percent," it's 31% -- the actual number of surveyed Republicans saying they thought Obama was a Muslim. Anyway, Aslan here is apparently saying that "anti-Islamic sentiment" is rising because people think Obama is a Muslim, and they don't like Obama's policies, and so they blame Islam for them. Once again, he is insulting the intelligence of the American people. If large numbers of people believe Obama is a Muslim, it is because of his hostility (unprecedented in a president of the United States) toward Israel, his unwillingness to do anything effective about Iran's nuclear program, and his indefatigable dedication to coddling and appeasing the Dar al-Islam, even to the point of absurdity, as when he told NASA's chief that one of his primary responsibilities would be -- not space exploration! -- making Muslims feel good about the alleged scientific achievements of the Islamic world.
And the idea that people find things "foreign or frightening or exotic" and label them "Islam," well, sometimes even what Reza Aslan says is simply too absurd for comment. But of course he is trying to give the impression that opposition to jihad terror and Islamic supremacism is just a rescrudescence of nativism, and he will get to that presently.
M-M: In the debate over the cultural center in lower Manhattan, critics of the Imam, Feisel Rauf, say his real goal is to establish Shariah law in the West.
RA: This view is so idiotic that it’s barely worth responding to. No American Muslim, zero, absolutely none, not a single one has ever, ever called for the imposition of Shariah in America. There are two countries on the planet, on the entire planet, that have Shariah in their penal system, and that’s Saudi Arabia, our greatest ally-a country that, by the way, owns most of lower Manhattan and a great deal of Wall Street -- and Iran, our nation’s enemy. That’s it. Two countries on the entire planet. [Some states in northern Nigeria, however, have instituted Shariah for their Muslim citizens.] The declarations made by people like Newt Gingrich about how we need to pass federal laws to prevent something from happening that no one has asked to happen, is again the rankest kind of political deception. Rauf was simply calling for a system in which Islamic law courts settle matters of family disputes among the Muslim community.
Rauf has said that America is Sharia-compliant, and has never explained that he had no intention of bringing the political and supremacist aspects of Sharia to the U.S. If he has, I challenge Reza Aslan to produce the quote.
M-M: But what about the notion that Shariah is incompatible with democracy because of some of the draconian punishments for adultery, sexual offenses, etc?
RA: There is no single thing as Shariah. If you are talking about penal codes, then yes, of course it’s incompatible, which is why only two countries in the world allow it. But if you mean Shariah as it informs family law -- marriage, divorce and inheritance -- then it’s no less compatible than the dozen or so Halacha courts throughout the entire country that allow observant Jews to have a religious outlet for such issues.
The claim that "there is no single thing as Shariah" is yet another borrowed talking point that Aslan trots out in this interview. (In fact, the entire interview is made of questions that elicit answers from Aslan's standard talking points -- most of what I am writing in this post I have said before, in response to Aslan saying these same silly things before. Clearly this interview was a set-up from the beginning. I wonder how quickly Aslan would start weeping if he ever faced hostile journalists the way Pamela Geller and I do on a routine basis.)
Anyway, Islamic apologists in the West routinely insist that Sharia is so multifarious and complex that it is impossible to say definitively what it says about any particular issue. They say this when non-Muslims bring up uncomfortable matters such as stonings and amputations. In reality, the schools of Islamic jurisprudence (madhahib) agree on about 75% of all questions (including those uncomfortable bits about jihad, dhimmitude, the death penalty for apostates, stonings, amputations, etc.), so it is not at all illegitimate to speak of Sharia rules -- as Reza Aslan must know.
Aslan concentrates in his response largely on the aspects of Sharia that make it appear commonplace and non-threatening -- marriage, divorce, inheritance laws. He knows, of course, that those aren't the aspects of Sharia that make people concerned about it (although polygamy and divorce by a single word at the whim of the husband are indeed matters of concern, or should be, for feminists and everyone concerned about human rights).
If you can have one in this country, you can have the other, but the notion that that has anything to do with penal law, or the imposition of Shariah on America is utter bullshit and it’s used solely as a fear mechanism, as if the American Muslim community is clamoring for a law that allows them to stone adulterers. It’s a boldfaced, idiotic lie. There’s no place for a rational discussion with people who bring up such ridiculous notions.
Aslan's playbook: set up a straw man, knock it down, and then say there's no discussing matters with people who advance such ridiculous notions. Well, of course, I have never said that "the American Muslim community is clamoring for a law that allows them to stone adulterers," but I have no expectation that Reza Aslan will be ever be willing to engage in rational discussion on the actual issues involved regarding Sharia and American law. I don't think he is capable of it.
M-M: This isn’t the first time a religion has been singled out in this way.
RA: Yes. In [the Oct. 7, 2010] New York Times, there’s a really brilliant, beautiful piece about the 200th anniversary of St. Peter’s Church. About 200 years ago, when they were trying to build this church in lower Manhattan, which is about as far from ground zero as the Islamic community center would be, the exact words and phrases, the exact violence, the exact demonstrations that we see now, were being waged against its construction. There was this notion that the church was not a place of worship, but a means for the pope to extend his dominance over the United States and that the Catholics inside couldn’t possibly be true Americans because their loyalty has to go to the pope. There was this huge protest which resulted in some violence and deaths when a bunch of Protestants showed up to protest what they saw as an evil service taking place inside the church, which was actually Christmas Mass. It’s not a coincidence that we’re hearing the exact same stuff now about Muslims in this country that we heard about Catholics in the 19th century and that we heard about Jews in the early 20th century.
Here again, Aslan is not engaging in any real analysis or actual thought; he is just repeating talking points that we have heard before from the likes of Muslim Brotherhood-linked Congressman Keith Ellison and Nicholas Kristof, among many others. Christopher Hitchens ably took apart the central claim being made here: "'Some of what people are saying in this mosque controversy is very similar to what German media was saying about Jews in the 1920s and 1930s,' Imam Abdullah Antepli, Muslim chaplain at Duke University, told the New York Times. Yes, we all recall the Jewish suicide bombers of that period, as we recall the Jewish yells for holy war, the Jewish demands for the veiling of women and the stoning of homosexuals, and the Jewish burning of newspapers that published cartoons they did not like."
Anyway, later on Aslan says:
[...] There's nothing strange or unusual in the slightest about what's taking place in Islam and what's taking place in other religious traditions. If you wanna talk about the problems you see in the Middle East, you have to talk about the sociopolitical factors that play as much if not a greater role in these conflicts as any religion does. But Islam doesn't have a monopoly on the use of religious violence. The I.R.A. are Catholics, the Kach and Kahane movements in Israel that were eventually banned and disbanded, and even the radical settlers in Gush Emunim, those are Jews, the Tamil Tigers are Hindus, the Japanese organization Aum Shinrikyo are Shinto. All of these people have used terrorism and violence to achieve their goals.
M-M: But many people differentiate Muslims from all these other groups as being worse. Why?
RA: It's because Islam is considered the "other" in America and Europe.
No, but because Islamic texts and teachings contain exhortations to violence and supremacism; Jewish and Christian texts and teachings do not. For details, see here. That is, see there if you're interested in the facts. If you want smooth lies, Islamic victimhood-mongering and finger-pointing, libels of freedom fighters, and feeble bully-boy mockery, see Reza Aslan.
Meanwhile, in a recent column, Aslan, tool of the mullahs, spreads conspiracy theories about the U.S. and Israel killing Iranian nuclear scientists -- for which he doesn't have a shred of evidence -- and tries to frighten the U.S. off of attacking Iran's nuclear facilities:
If that is true and Monday's assassination attempt of Iranian nationals signals a shift in U.S. or Israeli strategy toward Iran (perhaps emboldened by what the recent WikiLeaks dump shows is growing Arab government support for a harder line toward Iran's nuclear program), then we may be entering a new and extremely dangerous phase in the nuclear standoff with Iran--one that could quickly get out of hand. The head of Iran's nuclear program, Ali Akbar Salehi, sounded a dire warning to the U.S. and Israel. "Don't play with fire," he said. "The patience of the Iranian people has its limits. If our patience runs out, you will suffer the consequences."
Reminds me of the Nazi sympathizers during World War II who warned that America would falter in trying to assault Hitler's Fortress Europe.