Several Jihad Watch readers have informed me that the Wikipedia wars have broken out again, with apologists for jihad dredging up anything negative anyone has ever said about me and putting it into my biography there, while editing out anything positive. Those who may be interested can read Jihad Watch News Editor Anne Crockett’s account of earlier campaigns here. I have also heard from several other prominent anti-jihadists that their biographies have been targeted recently also.
I am not too interested in Wikipedia, although I appreciate the efforts of all those who are trying to keep it balanced; its free-for-all editing policy makes it too easy a prey for propagandists, such that it would not be worth bothering with at all were it not for the odd fact that many seem to take it seriously. I am more interested in the recurring phenomenon of critics making blanket dismissals of my work without providing a single particular example of its inaccuracy. The current version of the Wikipedia entry (which may, of course, be much changed by the time you read this) quotes something written several years ago by Dr. Carl Ernst, author of Following Muhammad. So I just wrote Dr. Ernst this letter:
Dear Dr. Ernst,
I had the honor of meeting you briefly several years ago when I spoke at the University of North Carolina.
Shortly thereafter it came to my attention that you had written a criticism of my work, not on the basis of what it actually says, but on the basis of my publishers, alleged political agenda, and lack of credentials.
I made no response to this and confess I had quite forgotten about this until recently, but recently it has come to my attention as part of a larger-scale attempt to discredit my work.
Accordingly I added this reply to the FAQ section at my website, www.jihadwatch.org: “I present the work not on the basis of my credentials, but on the basis of the evidence I bring forth; evaluate it for yourself. One example: after I spoke at the University of North Carolina, Professor Carl Ernst of the university wrote a piece about me warning that my books were non-scholarly and were published by presses that he believed reflected a political agenda of which he did not approve. That kind of approach may impress some people, but Carl Ernst did not (and cannot) bring forth even a single example of a supposed inaccuracy in my work. I would, of course, be happy to debate Carl Ernst or any other scholar of Islam about Islam and jihad; this is a standing invitation. Also, as this site has shown, I am always open to new information.”
And to your charge of bigotry: “It is not an act of hatred against Muslims to point out the depredations of jihad ideology. It is a peculiar species of displacement and projection to accuse someone who exposes the hatred of one group of hatred himself: I believe in the equality of rights and dignity of all people, and that is why I oppose the global jihad. And I think that those who make the charge know better in any case: they use the charge as a tool to frighten the credulous and politically correct away from the truth.”
The invitation to a debate remains open. If you accept, we will, of course, need to agree on the precise subject, but I suggest something concerning the nature of jihad in Islam, the role of Muhammad’s example as al-insan al-kamil in contemporary jihad recruitment, or some related topic. My own schedule permitting, the debate can be at a time and place, and in a format of your own choosing.
I look forward to hearing from you.