Of all the attack pieces on me and my work, this is one of the most ludicrous -- but that's no surprise, considering that the author is the clownish Hussein Rashid, who published a review of my book Did Muhammad Exist?, without bothering to read it or even wait for it to become available.
In this piece, he (and Hamas-linked CAIR's Ahmed Rehab) proceeds from a false assumption -- that I equate all jihad with terrorism -- and then tries to make something out of my response to Rehab saying that my "jihad" was "countering your hate & defamation w/ truth abt Islam & Hamas-linked CAIR.” If I'm on a jihad, they say, I must by my own lights be calling myself a terrorist.
As twisted as this logic is, it is also simply inaccurate. Rashid and Rehab are probably too careless to know that this page has been linked on the front page of the Jihad Watch site since October 2003, and all that time it has said this: "Jihad (Arabic for 'struggle') is a central duty of every Muslim. Muslim theologians have spoken of many things as jihads: the struggle within the soul, defending the faith from critics, supporting its growth and defense financially, even migrating to non-Muslim lands for the purpose of spreading Islam."
They are also no doubt unaware that I discuss the various meanings of jihad, including that of spiritual struggle, in my 2003 book Onward Muslim Soldiers and many times elsewhere. On hundreds of radio shows over the years I have explained, as part of my basic explanation of the word, that "jihad" in Arabic has as many connotations and shades of meaning as "struggle" does in English -- as I explained in this 2008 interview: "The word means 'struggle,' and has as many connotations as the English word struggle does. The Islamic Republic of Iran has a Department of Agricultural Jihad, which has to do with the struggle to increase crop yields."
So this piece is a nice little illustration of the dangers of believing one's own propaganda. Hussein Rashid, who has probably never read a word I actually wrote, believed Rehab and his fellow thugs in their claim that I equate all jihad with terrorism, and so ends up just making himself look foolish. But there is nonetheless one redeeming feature of this article: it marks the first time an Islamic supremacist has ever acknowledged that -- at least sometimes -- jihad has something to do with terrorism. These guys spend all their time denying that there is any connection between the two, but as soon as I use the word in another sense, suddenly they're assuming what they've spent eleven years denying: that the primary and foremost meaning of jihad in Islamic law does indeed involve violence.
"Jihad of Islamophobes," by Hussein Rashid for Religion Dispatches, October 2 (thanks to Benedict):
Following on the successful #MySubwayAd campaign (disclosure: I was one of the organizers) to mock the racist ads members of the Islamophobia industry placed in New York City’s public transit system, Ahmed Rehab of CAIR-Chicago launched his own campaign, #MyJihad, designed as an “opportunity to get to the heart of the problem and to reclaim the word ‘Jihad.’”
He engaged with professional Islamophobe Robert Spencer, who apparently admits to practicing “jihad” himself. In response to Rehab asking what everyone’s “jihad” is, Spencer replied “mine is countering your hate & defamation w/ truth abt Islam & Hamas-linked CAIR.”
By coming out and saying he practices “jihad,” we are left with two choices: by his definition he hates America and should be arrested, or he has been manipulating the meaning of the word to make money by demonizing a group of Americans (therefore hating on America).
Either way, we now have confirmation from Spencer’s own mouth that he is not to be trusted. You’ll also note in the tweet that he’s out to get all Muslims, not just certain “bad” ones, which has been the normal defense of the Islamophobia Industry.