Over at Atlas Shrugs, I discuss how having the accepted political opinions is the sole criterion for being respected in the public square these days:
Catholic diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts invited me last June to speak at
their Catholic Men’s Conference this coming March 16; however, under pressure
from the Boston Globe and Islamic supremacists in the area, the diocese has
canceled my appearance. I am planning to buy an exhibitor’s table and be at the
confence anyway, but the whole episode raises important questions about who
exactly constitutes an authority to speak on issues of jihad and Islam (and,
indeed, any other issue as well), and how that authority is accorded to people
in contemporary society.
The diocese folded after receiving a
heated and defamatory attack on me from Abdul Cader Asmal, cochairman of
communications for the Islamic Council of New England, wrote a libelous and hysterical screed to
the diocese of Worcester, labeling me a “hatemonger” and demanding that they
cancel my appearance at the conference coming up this March 16. I posted it in
full here. Among Asmal’s many claims were these: “Mr Spencer has a
very deep rooted Islamophobia and argues by selective quoting of sacred passages
taken totally out of context, and exploits any and every opportunity he gets to
link the lunatic act of a Muslim in any part of the world as a direct
consequence of Islam. He
is not an academician, nor does he have a modicum of understanding of Islam.”
Says who? I don’t actually do any of these things, but for
the diocese of Worcester, it was apparently enough that Abdul Cader
Asmal said I did. But who is Abdul Cader Asmal? He is a Boston-area
endocrinologist who in
2011 was stripped
of his license to practice medicine for reasons unexplained. Even worse, according
to Charles Jacobs of Americans for Peace and Tolerance, he is a self-proclaimed
friend and supporter of the convicted jihad terrorist, Tarek Mehanna, who is at this moment in federal prison
for aiding al-Qaeda.
So why would the
diocese of Worcester hasten to do the bidding of Abdul Cader Asmal? Because
despite his affinity for al-Qaeda terrorists and his own questionable ethics,
he represents politically correct opinion, which virtually everyone in the U.S.
today — Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, atheist, whatever — desperately fears to
Consider, in a
similar vein, the case of Omid Safi. In her story on the cancellation of my
talk in Worcester, the Boston Globe’s Lisa Wangsness wrote this in response to
my observation that the Koran contains numerous texts exhorting Muslims to
commit violence against unbelievers:
Safi, an Islamic studies scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel
Hill, said that there are indeed references like that to holy war in the ÂKoran
and that some ÂMuslims in different periods of history have used them to
justify their actions.
does not mean, he said, that most modern ÂMuslims accept them literally.
we go flipping through each other’s scriptures to persuade ourselves that other
people’s scriptures contain violent elements, then that’s a losing game for all
of us,” Safi said. “The question is: How do we make sense of them, and which
ones do we call upon to live our lives today?”
the Gospel of Matthew, he notes, Jesus says, “I come not to bring peace, but the
Yeah, that’s why we see armed Christian
groups making war against non-Christians worldwide, and quoting this verse. Of
course, in reality we don’t see any such thing, and yet we do see armed jihadis
all around the world making war against non-Muslims and justifying their
actions by reference to the Qur’an. The difference is stark, and shows up the
dishonesty of Safi’s remarks.
“Safi also said,” according to
Wangsness, “that Spencer has no formal training in Islamic studies or Arabic.”
But this is an obvious dodge. Does Safi really expect us to believe that “slay
the idolaters” becomes “give the idolaters a hug” when rendered in Arabic?
Anyway, here again: why does Wangsness
turn to Omid Safi as an authority? Omid Safi is an extremely dishonest
pseudo-academic of extraordinarily low character. He has falsely claimed
that I threatened to kill him and his family. He has a long-standing hatred
of me based on my daring to challenge his dismissal of me with the manipulative
Muslim Brotherhood neologism of “Islamophobe” and my outrageous offer to come
to the class where he was discussing my work and engage in discussion and
debate with him and his students.
Threatening to kill someone is a felony
offense. Yet Omid Safi has never brought charges against me. Why? Because he is
lying. I never threatened him or anyone. He is merely engaging in defamation. I
complained to officials at the University of North Carolina about his highly
unethical behavior, but got no action, of course, because his opinions are
politically correct and mine aren’t. So now we have an academic liar being
cited as a source by a highly biased advocacy “journalist.”
Also, how did Wangsness dig Safi up?
Why did a Boston Globe reporter writing about a Massachusetts conference go to
an academic in North Carolina to get comment on me? Why not someone from
Harvard or Boston University or Tufts or any number of local universities? Was
it because someone tipped her off that Safi would reliably provide negative
comment on Spencer? Who did the tipping off?
But however she found him, she thought
his comments worth featuring not because he has any notable achievement, or any
connection to the events in Worcester. She obviously wasn’t concerned about the
manifest absurdity of what he said about violent passages in the Bible and the
Qur’an. Nor did she express any concern when I wrote to her to notify her about
Safi’s reprehensible dishonesty — it simply doesn’t matter, because Safi has
the proper politically correct opinions, and I don’t.
Such is the low state of the public
discourse these days.