Daniel Martin Varisco and John Esposito are afraid. They are very afraid. What are they afraid of? Me. And this website. And yet while they could try to put their fears to rest by doing one simple thing, that remedy is the very one they fear to take.
I laughed more than once reading “Preaching ‘Islamophobia’ to the Choir at Saudi-Funded Georgetown,” by Andrew Harrod at FrontPage today, which provides an in-depth look at the abject fear of the “Islamophobia” mythmakers, and the corner into which they have painted themselves. Harrod attended the “Islamophobia” seminar on which I published a report from another attendee here. “Audience questions, however, focused on Spencer,” Harrod reports: “Varisco discussed his refusal to debate Spencer as ‘someone who just hates Islam,’ yet claimed that in any hypothetical encounter he ‘would beat the whatever out of him.'” Yet Esposito “sneered” that I “wrote ‘best-selling books’ while discussing worries about Spencer’s popularity. Noting the influence of popular culture, Esposito complained that ‘Islamophobic websites score very, very high.'”
Heh. This is high comedy. There is a very simple remedy of which Varisco and Esposito could avail themselves, but won’t: one or both of them could take me on in debate, “beat the whatever” out of me as Varisco boasts that he could do, and thereby strike a huge blow for their claim that their views of Islam and jihad are accurate and mine are not. They could go a long way toward ending the popularity of Jihad Watch and substantiating their dismissals of my work by doing this.
But they won’t. Why not? Because in reality, they know they would lose. They know their “Islamophobia” construct is a manipulative, propagandistic farrago, and that what I say is true. And they know I would establish that in debate with them. So they wring their hands over my “popularity” while refusing to take an obvious course of action to end it. Instead, they hope they will be able to demonize and smear me sufficiently so that decent people will turn away from me and listen to them just because they don’t know any better.
That is the one way they can stop the truth: using unscrupulous and frankly mendacious attack dogs such as Reza Aslan’s gunsel, Nathan Lean of Aslan Media, and the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations, they intimidate people into being afraid to discuss these issues for fear of charges of “Islamophobia,” and into canceling events featuring counter-jihad speakers, for fear of “controversy” that the smear merchants manufacture. Meanwhile, their cyberterrorist allies throw all their cyberskillz into trying to take down this website (to the applause of dull-witted thugs like Aslan and Lean, who don’t realize that one day they could find themselves on the wrong side of a world without free speech), out of the abject fear that someone might learn the truth about jihad terror and Islamic supremacism.
Their endeavor is foredoomed. Their problem is not just Robert Spencer. Their problem is that the truth cannot be hidden. Their problem is truth and reality, and the fact that multitudes of people beyond me know what that truth is, and can see reality for themselves. Their “Islamophobia” campaign is a huge Big Lie operation. They won’t debate me because they know I would expose it. But it is already exposed. Every day’s headlines expose it further. And there is nothing they can do, even if they hold a thousand seminars like this one, to prevent that.
“I don’t have any desire to debate Robert Spencer….I would never give someone like that a forum,” Hofstra University Professor Daniel Martin Varisco declared at Georgetown University on February 26, 2014. Addressing the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Christian-Muslim Understanding (ACMCU), Varisco’s equally flawed outlooks on Islam and intellectual inquiry had disturbing implications for modern academia.
Nothing improved during Varisco’s presentation on “Islamophobia,” described in a Powerpoint image referencing a 1991 Runnymede Trust report as an “unfounded hostility” towards all things and persons Muslim. One Powerpoint on “Combatting Islamophobia on the Internet” set a leveling tone with a recommendation of a “[f]ocus on interfaith efforts, noting that all religions have positive and negative aspects.” This accorded with Varisco’s prior call for scholars to “be doing all we can to refute the notion that Islam is intrinsically more violent than other religions.” “I am not saying that these things don’t happen,” Varisco conceded when showing a picture of a woman undergoing a sharia stoning to death. Another Powerpoint, meanwhile, simply dismissed as “fallacy” controversies that “Muhammad was a pedophile and Islam is cruel to women.”…
The little discussed elephant in the room for perceptive “Islamophobia” observers during Varisco’s presentation, though, was “Islamophobe” Number One, Jihad Watch website founder Spencer. Varisco cited a Spencer quotation from his book Inside Islam: A Guide for Catholics …Varisco once again failed to explain why Spencer’s condemnations of Islam as an “often downright false revelation” and “threat to the world at large” were unacceptable. Varisco also noted a recent Jihad Watch entry criticizing his very Georgetown briefing.Audience questions, however, focused on Spencer. Varisco discussed his refusal to debate Spencer as “someone who just hates Islam,” yet claimed that in any hypothetical encounter he “would beat the whatever out of him.” ACMCU head John Esposito concurred with the “Combatting Islamophobia in the Internet” assessment of “little value in debating Islamophobic speakers in academic settings since it gives them a forum.” Such encounters with Spencer “would be enhancing his credibility.” Yet in discussing partisan websites, Esposito complained that “nobody accepts the other side as objective.” “Cranks” like Spencer, an audience member meanwhile argued, belonged at Hyde Park Corner.
Although Esposito dismissed Spencer as a scholar, he nonetheless sneered that he wrote “best-selling books” while discussing worries about Spencer’s popularity. Noting the influence of popular culture, Esposito complained that “Islamophobic websites score very, very high.” Varisco bemoaned that such websites outperformed his own Tabsir website and without irony cited a need for people like him to create “more books…that people can read.”
Ha. You guys don’t write books that people can read.
The “Vast Rightwing Conspiracy is better at” advocacy “than our lefty friends,” the audience member who had called Spencer a “crank” agreed. “Lots of money” also appeared as an advantage for “Islamophobic” groups to Esposito. Esposito did not say whether this money outweighed the $20 million Saudi namesake grant to ACMCU or George Soros funding and six-figure salaries at the likeminded Center for American Progress and Southern Poverty Law Center, respectively.
Amidst this uniform opposition to Spencer et al. from fewer than 20 people in the briefing room, one audience member sounded an independent note. Observing that he was the only black person in the room, the young man discussed how he did not see Spencer’s work as a “race issue” but rather as opposition to Islamic extremism. Because of this “my country is in ruins now” he said with respect to the Somali homeland of his Muslim father.
Varisco answered by attributing violence in Somalia and other majority-Muslim societies not to Islamic ideology but rather to Somalia’s “colonial experience,” pre-Arab Spring dictators, or Western countries “pumping weapons” into these countries. Another audience member spoke of Somalia’s “tribal roots.” “I don’t think you put blame on one individual,” Varisco meanwhile responded to the black man’s query about responsibility for Afghan violence following Terry Jones Koran burning. Absolving Muslim murderers and other criminals at least partly from their individual responsibility, Varisco analogized to an arsonist setting alight a carelessly tended house.
In all, Varisco’s briefing exposed much of modern academia’s shallowness. True to multicultural shibboleth, Varisco refused to identify any uniquely disturbing aspects of Islam and dismissed all past aversion towards this faith as prejudice. Varisco’s minimalist treatment of Spencer, meanwhile, accorded with an unwillingness to respect this lucidly insightful scholar. Rather, Varisco grouped Spencer with far more lightweight individuals like Chick and Richardson with whom Catholics like Spencer or his colleague Robert Muise of the American Freedom Law Center have little commonality. The expressed worries of Varisco, Esposito, and others, however, give hope that their efforts to silence their opposition will fail.