A Jihad Watch reader pointed out to me today that the silly anti-“Islamophobia” site that criticized me for being unsophisticated has taken exception to my post here, in which I note the New York Times’ January 2005 characterization of the now-disbanded Al-Muhajiroun as “Britain’s largest Muslim group.”
Now, this “Islamophobia” site generally isn’t worth replying to: the writer there seldom if ever presents any evidence for his positions, and contents himself with presenting things that people like me and Daniel Pipes have written as if they were self-evidently false. So I am not posting this to refute him — there’s no there there, as Gertrude Stein might say — but to point out his indulging in a particularly common type of smear.
Here is his post:
Britain’s biggest Muslim group were Al-Qaida admirers — Robert Spencer
Robert Spencer has words of advice for Tony Blair: “I’m sure many Muslims in Britain are indeed decent and law-abiding. But I see no indication that Blair has considered the implications of the New York Times’ January 2005 assertion that the now-disbanded jihadist group Al-Muhajiroun was Britain’s largest Muslim group.”
Perhaps that is because Blair’s advisers, unlike this self-styled expert on jihad and Islamic terrorism, are not so gobsmackingly ignorant as to believe that Omar Bakri’s tiny band of Al-Qaida admirers was ever anything of the sort.
The link to the Times (which you can find above) is not in his piece. This indicates how gobsmackingly ignorant he must take his readership to be, in trying to pass off something the New York Times said as if it popped out of my own head.
Is the New York Times gobsmackingly ignorant? I don’t think so — not about simple matters of fact like that. I take issue with their analyses, as any regular reader of this site well knows, and with their selective portrayals of many incidents, but I find it striking how matter-of-factly they present this assertion about Al-Muhajiroun. It is, of course, inconceivable that the Times cooked this up out of “Islamophobia” or “ignorance.”
This kind of sleight-of-hand is common. When I repeated on an MSNBC TV show Sheikh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani’s 1999 assertion that 80% of American mosques were controlled by extremists, CAIR’s Ibrahim Hooper, who was on the show with me, dismissed this as a fabrication of “hatemongers” like me. Never mind that I am not a hatemonger, and more importantly, that I did not originate the figure. Hooper wanted to deflect attention away from Kabbani’s statement, and he largely succeeded, although I did get a chance to emphasize the real origin of the assertion.
In the same way, this “Islamophobia” character evidently hopes that no one will notice that it was not I, but the Times, that said this — and tries to use it as an example of my “Islamophobia” in the process. He is constructing an edifice without a first floor. It is useful, I think, to note such flights from reality (moonward flights, no doubt) on the part of our Politically Correct friends, and not to let them get away with it.