There is a dispiriting number of self-described counter-jihad activists who spend more time sniping at other counter-jihadists instead of actually doing something constructive to fight the jihad. There are those who know all about how it can all be done better and more effectively, but never quite manage to get off their couch and prove it. There are those who sling around reckless and false charges against others, and those who style themselves as junior Machiavellis, maneuvering publicly and privately, in ways more or less transparent, to muscle out those they apparently regard as competition.
I find all this distasteful and wrongheaded, and do not participate, but am for whatever reason often the recipient of it. And so it is with Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi, who has in the past contributed some Spanish translations of portions of my Qur’an commentary and other material to Jihad Watch. But yesterday in the American Thinker, he published a curious attack that requires a response. Apparently his original article has since been revised to take out his most egregious false charge, and relevant comments have been removed; I wrote this before all that: “Robert Spencer Responds to Aymenn Jawad,” at the Thinker today:
It is unfortunate that The American Thinker published an incredibly irresponsible article on Saturday: “Anti-Jihadism and Unholy Alliances,” by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi. In it, Aymenn Jawad, a man with whom I have had friendly professional interaction in the past, criticizes my website Jihad Watch for unmoderated comments, not written by me, left there several years ago in support of the neofascist British National Party (BNP). Aymenn also takes issue with me for apparently not denouncing anti-Semitic statements by the Serbian anti-jihad writer Srdja Trifkovic. Aymenn Jawad at the same time bemoans rifts in the counter-jihad movement; but, it is sad to say, his false charges and unwarranted attacks on me and my work only serve to further such rifts.
Aymenn cites a writer named Mary Jackson, who took Jihad Watch to task several years ago for comments left there in favor of the BNP. It is worth emphasizing, however, that Mary Jackson’s complaints about BNP supporters in the Jihad Watch comments are several years old. I am not aware of any such people being around at Jihad Watch now, but even if they are, comments at Jihad Watch are unmoderated. We favor open discussion and debate. There are quite frequently people in the Jihad Watch comments who express support for Islamic jihad, as well as for Marxism and a host of other belief-systems and philosophies to which I do not adhere. At the leftist dhimmi UK blog Harry’s Place, where Aymenn Jawad also writes, there are occasionally commenters who express similar sentiments. Yet he is denouncing only Jihad Watch, not Harry’s Place. Now, why is that?
As for Srdja Trifkovic, I am aware of his pro-Israel activity, as well as his paradoxically antisemitic statements to which Aymenn Jawad referred in his article. It was, in fact, Aymenn himself who alerted me to the latter, leading me to add an update to the post at Jihad Watch about Trifkovic’s being barred from Canada. In that update, I made it clear that I was no friend or supporter of Trifkovic, and repudiated his antisemitic statements. I posted that update on March 1, and sent Aymenn Jawad an email on that day notifying him that the update was there. See for yourself.
Then four days after this update appeared, Aymenn Jawad published this article at the American Thinker, accusing me of not repudiating Trifkovic’s remarks, and including a link to the very place where I did exactly what he accuses me of not doing.
Initially it appeared to me that there were two possibilities, neither one of which reflected well upon Aymenn Jawad:
1. Aymenn Jawad is very careless, in not even bothering to check his email or the site to which he linked in order to verify that what he was saying was true. Or,
2. Aymenn Jawad is lying and attempting to discredit me and Jihad Watch, for reasons unknown to me.
After I posted those two possibilities in the comments field of his article, however, Aymenn wrote me to tell me that he had indeed contacted a Larrey Anderson at the Thinker, notifying him that I had actually repudiated Trifkovic’s anti-Semitic remarks and asking him to hold up the article. This email was evidently lost or ignored, as Aymenn’s article appeared on March 5 without any acknowledgment of that repudiation.
This may have been an innocent mistake or misunderstanding, but then Aymenn Jawad himself wrote in the comments field of his original article that I had neglected in my own earlier comment to “mention that I forwarded the update via Larrey Anderson to the editors whilst the piece was being edited, asking for the necessary alterations to be made. Unfortunately, however, the submission wasn’t altered in light of the new information.” Yet Aymenn knew when he wrote this that I didn’t know this until after writing that comment.
I ask the reader’s patience in retailing all this tedious back-and-forth, but I do hope that the disingenuousness of Aymenn Jawad will at this point be clear: he was now upbraiding me for not noting in my comment something that I had no way of knowing when I wrote the comment in question.
It is extremely disappointing and counterproductive that rifts arise between counterjihadists; one wonders at the motives and priorities of someone like Aymenn Jawad, however: when the world is aflame with jihad violence and Islamic supremacism, he thinks it a prudent allocation of his time to direct spurious and baseless criticism against a fellow freedom fighter, instead of against the common enemy of freedom.
Is this an attempt to gain readers, Aymenn? I expected better of you.