Although in this post I recount personal experiences, it isn't really a personal story. Virtually every non-Muslim who has ever engaged an Islamic supremacist in discussion or debate will have the same experience. The Islamic supremacist will:
- Charge the non-Muslim with ignorance.
- Charge the non-Muslim with dishonesty.
- Engage in often quite vicious personal attacks against the non-Muslim.
- Repeatedly fail to restate or summarize the non-Muslim's position accurately.
- Never actually prove his claims either about the non-Muslim's arguments, or about Islam itself.
It has long been established that Islamic supremacists and their Leftist allies will not debate me -- here, for example, is a long list that still comprises only some of those who have rejected my invitation to do so. Universally they claim that the reason for this is that I am so obviously evil, mendacious and moronic that debating me would be fruitless and unnecessary: the falsehood of what I say is supposed to be self-evident to all people of good will, and in any case I am too stupid and dishonest to engage.
The problem with this is rather obvious: many of the same Islamic supremacists who have rejected my invitation to debate and/or dialogue, such as Hamas-linked CAIR's Ibrahim Hooper and the American Society for Muslim Advancement's Daisy Khan, refer to me frequently in the front line of those they term "Islamophobes." In other words, they and others recognize that my views have a certain degree of influence: I have bestselling books, a website in the top 100 at Technorati, etc. If, then, they or someone else from among their party actually did debate me and win, it would go a long way toward substantiating their broad-based and oft-repeated claims that what I say about Islam and jihad is inaccurate, and do a great deal to lessen the influence that I do have by genuinely impugning the "credibility" that Muslim emailers are forever telling me I do not have.
A frequent claim is that this job has already been done by one or more of the websites that are devoted to "exposing" my "lies," but when I've stopped by those sites all I've seen them do is call me names, publish windy essays about how Christianity is more violent than Islam and how non-Muslim terrorism is a far greater problem than Islamic terrorism, and then spend a great deal of time thumping their chest about how they have vanquished the evil Spencer. This sort of thing is fun for awhile -- it's incongruous and amusing to see myself as loathed and feared as Darth Vader -- but it doesn't really accomplish any of the heavy lifting that Hamas-linked CAIR and others like to claim that it has: these sites, as antisemitic and pro-jihad as they are, hardly have the credibility that they so vociferously deny to me, and so we're back to square one.
So lately on Twitter I've received Tweets from numerous Muslims who come in with guns blazing, so to speak -- full of claims that I'm lying, ignorant, and evil. Since that is easier to claim than it is to prove, in every case I've asked for proof of the charge, and invited them to debate.
Most of the time I got no substantive response. Occasionally I got various statements I made that were supposed to be false, but when I defended my position, there was no give-and-take, just personal attacks from the one charging me with falsehood. And none of the Muslims who took the time to write and berate me -- not one out of around eight or ten different writers -- took up my offer to debate.
Sometimes they tangled themselves in knots as they avoided doing so. For example, an Islamic supremacist hate site that defames me and lies about what I say regularly charged that I was refusing to debate them:
I responded by repeating yet again something I had reiterated several times in the preceding weeks, when other Muslims had thrown up this site to me:
No response to that at all. Meanwhile, a certain Haroon Moghul, who teaches Middle East, South Asia, and African Studies at Columbia University, demonstrated his faulty grasp of the Western intellectual tradition by charging that there was something wrong with my wanting to debate in the first place:
That's right: one falsely claimed that I was running from debate, while the other claimed that my wanting a debate was itself wrong. Welcome to the twilight world of Islamic supremacists, where reality is whatever makes Muslims look good and kuffar look bad, no matter what contradictions may be entailed. And so enter Caner K. Dagli, Assistant Professor, Department of Religious Studies, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA, a particularly nasty and abusive character whose ad hominem attacks were so vile that I blocked him on Twitter several months ago. He popped up again (not sure how that block thing works on Twitter) with new charges, which I pointed out that he hadn't substantiated. He told me that he had already done so:
I then realized that I hadn't seen his Tweets for months because of the block, so I removed it and read back in his Twitter feed. I found them, and answered his charges, whereupon he wrote:
I was, of course, not actually asking him to repeat anything, as my responses to his Tweets were entirely new, since I hadn't seen what he had written before. But since he blocked me then, that was the end of that. Dagli added a Nazi-like coda reminiscent of Qur'an 9:28, which declares that unbelievers are unclean:
Meanwhile, other Muslims claimed they wanted to debate me, but never followed up on my invitation to email me and set a topic, date and venue -- including "Dr. Marranci" and others who had just moments before been crowing about how they would mop the floor in debate with a Satanic ignoramus such as I (to borrow Khaleel Mohammed's lapidary phrase).
And so we come to the heart of the matter: why can't Muslims debate? Is it really because I kick dogs, snarl at children, and eat nails for breakfast? Of course not. Nor is it because I tar all Muslims with the same brush and claim they're all terrorists, since I don't in fact, as any honest person who has actually read my work can attest. So the real reason why no Muslims will debate me is this:
They know that what I say about Islam and jihad is true, and don't want that fact to be illustrated to a wider audience.
Why can't Muslims debate? Because the truth is something they don't generally wish the Infidels to know. So they do all they can to shut down those Infidels by other means.
There is an ancillary reason also: Islam doesn't encourage critical thinking. It has no natural theology, only a series of laws declared by fiat. In some contemporary forms of Islam, hardly any premium is put on reasoning -- after all, the Qur'an itself warns Muslims not to question (5:101). Consequently, even superficially intelligent Islamic supremacists such as Reza Aslan and Ibrahim Hooper are abjectly incapable of building a cogent intellectual argument and defending it. All they and so many others like them can do, as is clear from their track record, is heap abuse upon those who oppose them.
And all the while, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) works at the UN to compel Western states to criminalize criticism of Islam. It's all of a piece: if you can't refute the other guy, you can at least shout him down and bully him into silence.
UPDATE: Must not paint with a broad brush, doncha know: I didn't mean to suggest that no Muslims would debate me. A good many have done so, including the delightful Moustafa Zayed twice. Grab some popcorn and enjoy these videos if you haven't already seen them:
It was because of Zayed and a few others that the good folks over at American Muslim raised the white flag: Cowards: The American Muslim begs Muslim leaders to stop debating Robert Spencer
UPDATE: "Danios of Loonwatch," a purveyor of pretentious puffery at the Islamic supremacist hate site Loonwatch, saw this post and, after several days, finally got around to acknowledging that I had actually accepted his debate challenge. Then, however, consistent with his previous cowardice, he made a number of demands and stipulations. He wanted to make the debate center on the flimsy, windy and irrelevant tu quoque arguments he advances at his hate site. I countered with other proposals. Rather than continue the discussion and negotiation, however, he retreated and resumed his smears. Apparently I was supposed to play the compliant dhimmi and accept all his proposals without question. Not surprising.
And still it remains so: Leftist and Islamic supremacist enemies of freedom fear to debate me, not because I am such a formidable debater, but because I tell the truth, and they know it. Defamation is all they have, since they can't counter the truths I tell.