In a recent Jihad Watch post, Robert Spencer dealt lucidly with the treatment of women, adducing the unambiguous Qur’anic texts, explaining the hierarchy of both muhaddithin and of the hadith assigned rankings of authenticity by those same muhaddithin (and keeping in mind that Qur’anic passages cannot be trumped by hadith). In doing so, he offered exactly the resource needed for those who are tongue-tied, or not quite able to come back when, as talk show hosts or as guests, they are forced to endure the nonsense of some apologist for Islam.
Those apologists include the greedy Esposito; some pseudo-fighters-for-women’s-rights in Islam who keep telling us that the “problem is entirely cultural” and “has nothing to do with Islam” (Fatima Mernissi and Leila Ahmad in their recent much more defensive incarnations, Sherin Ebadi who is not quite the heroine to Iranians in free-throated exile that one might have been led to believe); and the plummy-voiced Akbar Ahmed, who prides himself on his own “moderation” but who is objectively furthering the Jihad when he utters nonsense about Islam. He once denied flatly that Ibn Khaldun ever mentioned Jihad until presented with the clear text from Ibn Khaldun mentioning Jihad — not what one should expect from the “Ibn Khaldun Professor” at American University.
Ahmed is objectively furthering the Jihad even more when he takes his “American students” on “field trips” to Pakistan. Once there he puts on a great show for them, taking them to a mosque, ostentatiously demanding that they be treated well, for they are “guests” and so on. The American students, already entranced with his way with words, fall for this hook, line, and sinker. He can now tell them that Islam is whatever he says it is and those innocent students will believe him — a nice example of Daniel Pipes’s bizarre attempt to hold out hope by telling us that “Islam is whatever Muslims say it is,” instead of what the Qur’an and Hadith say it is.
A few more such handy guides such as that provided by Spencer here are needed: on the permanent duty and definition of Jihad, on the treatment of non-Muslims when first encountered, and then after they are conquered, and another few topics. Then every talk show host and every Op/Ed editor will be mentally prepared to take on those apologists. And so will, eventually, even the slow and dimwitted among our rulers, who will have to stop uttering hopeful banalities or pretending that Islam is something it isn’t, as if we could wish away a grim reality.
Print out the one Spencer wrote here. Put it in your wallet. The next time you hear on the radio some apologist being unchallenged on this very point, call up — and read him Sura and ayat. Have those hadith ready. Then make a general point, about the army of apologists attempting to mislead all of us.
And have such texts ready when you call your newspaper’s ombudsman, to complain about the nth appearance of some apologetic nonsense. Or use those passages in your own Letter to the Editor, and to letters written by a dozen others you know. Force the lies to stop, or at least force the torrent of lies to be reduced to a rivulet.
And make sure that you manage to get the conversation around to Islam at every gathering, every party, every alumni reunion, every informal meeting — it isn’t hard once you practice. Explain that you’ve been reading steadily about the subject, and then raise one or two or three points, even giving when appropriate the relevant passages. Some may put up initial resistance, but not for long when it is clear what you know and what they don’t know. You will now be arguing not to win over the unwinnable, but for the other audience, that of the curious onlookers and eavesdroppers whose minds are not made up, and are willing to consider the evidence.
And if, in addition, you can link the true nature and menace of Islam to the need to remove our troops from Iraq so that the ethnic and sectarian divisions within Islam can take their natural course, you will find an enthusiastic response among all kinds of people who never thought of things that way, and are sick of Iraq and the squandering, and sick of leaders who repeat meaningless phrases and do not know where to put their feet and hands.