Another one from the Hate Mail Bag:
Dear Mr. Spencer,
I find it quite amusing that you share the same literalist, parochial and narrow-minded reading of the Qur’an as the so-called Afghan scholars.
You quote verses from the Qur’an completely out of their textual and historical context, with a utter disregard for the actual circumstances behind a particular ayat (verse). You follow in the footsteps of Osama bin laden and read the Ayat’s partially, and not wholistically.
Then, you simply mislead readers by not giving the full information, how typical.
Now, you call REAL Islamic jurists like Khaled Abou El Fadl (unlike the two-bit Afghanis), who has spent over 20 years immersed in volumes and volumes of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) in his Islamic legal training, studied the legal maxims of Islamic law, knows the complexities of the Arabic language etc., as an “Islamic apologist”?
Where do you get off with such outrageous and ridiculous assertions?
Your shallow and faulty analysis of the Qur’anic verses, coupled with your amateurish approach and knowledge of Islamic law and jurisprudence, reveals your efforts to be laughable.
Most people can recognizes this right away from your website and comments, which I’m sure helps to invogorate [sic] the bigots who post often on the site.
Go and join the Salafi/literalist so-called Islamic scholars in Afganistan, Saudi Arabia etc. They could use inept individuals like you. But they might not approve of your bland MA degree in Religious Studies.
But they might lend you some books of your favourite medieval literalist/Salafist jurist Ibn Taymiyya!
It is not my job to interpret the Qur’an. I only report on how it is interpreted.
If Khaled Abou El Fadl’s explanations were not so transparently apologetic, I would not call him an apologist. But invoking 2:256 [“There is no compulsion in religion”] against the death penalty for apostasy is something that only someone who thinks his hearers do not know the contents of the Qur’an and Sunnah would try to get away with. Does Abou El Fadl think that the clerics who invoke Muhammad’s words “Baddala deenahu, faqtuluhu ” [If anyone changes his religion, kill him] have never heard of 2:256? [Egyptian jihad theorist Sayyid] Qutb explains 2:256 in a way that is perfectly harmonious with violent jihad and the death penalty for apostasy. Please refute him.
Please also specify where I have written anything false about the asbab an-nazool [circumstances of revelation] of any ayat [verse], or anything false about the rulings of any of the madhahib [schools of Islamic jurisprudence] about apostasy.
If I “follow in the footsteps of Osama bin laden,” calling me names won’t do the job. People are listening to him all over the Muslim world. It’s up to Islamic experts like you to refute him. Go ahead. I’ll publish your refutation on my website. Send me examples of Islamic religious scholars rejecting, on Islamic grounds, jihad violence against non-Muslims; rejecting the idea that Sharia law should be instituted in the Muslim and non-Muslim world; and teaching the idea that non-Muslims and Muslims should live together indefinitely as equals. Send me rejections of the ideas that women should not enjoy full equality of rights with men. Send me information that shows that those who write such rejections are not lone voices crying in the wilderness, with the wolves of Islamic orthodoxy ready to pounce upon them, but that they represent broad traditions within Islam and have large followings.
I’ll be right here, at email@example.com.