Dinesh D’Souza spoke at UNLV and stirred everyone up. From the Las Vegas Review Journal, with thanks to Twostellas:
True to form, D’Souza’s lecture on Saturday, “Islam and the West: A Clash of Civilizations,” generated some conflict, dividing the approximate 250 audience members between those who spoke out against D’Souza’s view of Islam and his admirers who heckled them.
But in an interview Friday, D’Souza noted, “True conflict resolution … is not based on a denial of difference. Sometimes conflict resolution requires conflict.”
During the lecture, D’Souza, a Christian native of India, outlined Islamic criticisms of the United States and rebutted them, drawing on arguments from his recent book, “What’s So Great About America?”
D’Souza also gave his definition of America’s war against terrorism, calling it a battle against Islamic fundamentalism, not acts of terrorism.
While the religion is more than 1,400 years old, the concept of Islamic terrorism is less than 25 years old, he noted. D’Souza attributed that to a growing “species” of Muslims who are attempting to explain the decline of their civilization through theology.
Their objective, he said, is to turn the people back to Allah and away from separation of church and state.
This subset of Islam, which is pitted against moderate Muslims, is fighting an intellectual war against America’s foreign policy, he said. Their argument is that the United States is interested only in serving its own interests and not the world’s….
D’Souza also defended America’s culture and morality. He said he did not consider veiled Muslim women virtuous because their society has forced them to cover themselves.
“By allowing the citizens … to choose the right path, our actions take on a deeply moral luster,” he said. “Compelled virtue is no virtue at all.”
The center provided other panelists to counter D’Souza’s views.
Mujahid Ramadan, founder and president of Ramadan Ballard & Associates, a diversity consulting firm, noted the great Islamic contributions to modern society and emphasized that suicide bombers and terrorists are not Muslims.
“To say they are Muslim terrorists, I say, would be erroneous,” he said.
He likened such a label to describing members of the Irish Republican Army as Christian terrorists. “We would not label Christianity that way,” he said.
This is, as any regular reader of Jihad Watch will know, a commonly used page from the playbook. It sounds convincing, but dissolves at a moment’s thought: the IRA was made up of Christians, but they weren’t fighting because of Christian principles, or justifying their actions with quotes from the Bible and other Christian texts. The contrast is sharp with Muslim terrorists who have avowed again and again that they are fighting jihads, and fill their communiques with quotes from the Qur’an and Hadith.
He and another panelist, Jean Sternlight, director of the conflict resolution center, advocated humanizing Muslims as a way to create peace.
“We have so much more in common than you would believe if you were dictated by this paradigm of clash of civilizations,” Sternlight said, referring to the title of D’Souza’s lecture.
Muslims don’t need to be humanized: they are already human. The problem with stressing all that we have in common is that our opponents will not do so. It is a posture of surrender, not of dialogue, for the jihadists will brook no dialogue.
UPDATE: In my haste when I originally put this up, I didn’t notice this statement: “While the religion is more than 1,400 years old, the concept of Islamic terrorism is less than 25 years old, he noted.” This is, of course, sheer fantasy, and I am surprised if D’Souza really said that. It would show he is utterly ignorant of the derivation of modern Islamic terrorist groups (beginning with the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928 — hardly 25 years ago), as well as of the larger history of Islamic jihad.