Robert Spencer’s book on Muhammad is banned because he, Robert Spencer, sets out Qur’anic passages, stories from the Hadith, and the facts of Muhammad’s life as they are presented by the most authoritative, early, Muslim biographers. He provides the very facts or “facts” that are presented to Muslims as constituting the life of Muhammad, and devoutly believed, and at times proudly emulated — for Muhammad is uswa hasana, al-insan al-kamil.
He is banned because he quotes from the canonical texts. He is banned, as he shows clearly in his comments here, because he quotes or refers to hadith in one of the two most authoritative collections of Hadith, the Sahih Bukhari. He is banned, as he shows clearly in his comments, because he quotes or refers to hadith in the other of the two most authoritative collections of Hadith, the Sahih Muslim. He is banned because he dares to quote from some of the most famous commentators on the Qur’an and jurisconsults, and writers on Islam, including Ibn Kathir, Ibn Juzayy, the jurist As-Suyuti, and such modern writers who have had great influence, such as Qutb and Maududi.
And Spencer quotes from General Malik, a Pakistani whose own book on Jihad as the relevant doctrine for the Pakistani military is of such obvious significance, and of such importance for Infidels to understand the living doctrine of Jihad — as applied by a Muslim general not a thousand years ago, but today, and not in some tiny and remote and insignificant sheikhdom, but in Pakistan, with 150 million people and nuclear weapons. This is a country which has for decades been one of the largest recipients of American military aid, aid which started, incidentally, long before America started to send such aid to Israel (that began only after the 1967 war). Long before that, it was supplying the Pakistani generals with all kinds of things.
So what is Robert Spencer guilty of, and why is he being banned? He is guilty of knowing too much. He is for Pakistan The Man Who Knows Too Much. But, of course, what he knows and attempts to disseminate is what others can also come to know — and that is why he is engaged in such dissemination. Islam is not a secret; the contents of the texts, and the attitudes and atmospherics to which those texts naturally give rise, are known to hundreds of millions of Muslims. They are discussed openly all over the Muslim lands and among Muslims, on Muslim television stations, in khutbas, in books. Free for all of us to find out about. And we are free, too, to find out about the history of Jihad-conquest, and about the remarkably similar treatment meted out by Muslims to those non-Muslims whose lands they conquered, and whom they subjugated — when they did not kill or convert them — by enforcing a status of humiliation, degradation, and physical insecurity.
Many people are now engaged in finding out what Islam is all about — and it simply cannot be hidden or disguised much longer, no matter how many armstrongs, espositos, akbar-ahmeds, or noah-feldmans (to go from lowest to highest in the hierarchy of apologetics) come along. We can find out what Muslims are taught and what so many of them apparently are perfectly willing to believe about the 1350-year history of Muslim Jihad-conquest and of the subjugation of Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Hindus, Buddhists, and indeed of every kind of non-Muslim — a subjugation that across time and space can be shown to have been similar in its effects.
And as more and more Infidels engage in a vast act of auto-didactism, finding out about Islam not vaguely but in detail, they render themselves stonily immune to the apologists and the hissing-snakes of taqiyya (smiling Tariq Ramadan comes slitheringly to mind). For the truth is quite unlike the bush-blair-scott-appleby-new-duranty-times view of Islam. And so we become a danger, an offense, worrisome to Muslim governments and to Hizb ut Tahrir, and to CAIR, and to so many others. But banning Spencer will do little. The book is there. And other books. And what is more, the knowledge of what Islam is all about is contained in the texts of Islam itself, and on the very websites of Muslims who are attempting to disseminate the message of Islam to Muslims, but are unable to keep non-Muslims from eavesdropping on what they say and hearing those recorded sermons, and reading what al-Qaradawai or Sheik al-Azhar Tantawi have written and have said.
No, it’s all there. And such knowledge cannot be prevented.
So what exactly did Spencer do? He wrote what Muslims wrote. Or rather, he wrote, “This is what Muslims teach, write, believe.” But he did not write as a Muslim, full of admiration and acceptance. He wrote as an Infidel. He is not a Believer. He does not endorse. He does not agree with what he presents. Had that book, had any of Spencer’s books, been signed by him as a Muslim convert, had he written about the contents of Islam exactly as he had written, only written as a Believer, approvingly, of the intolerance and inculcated hate, that would have been fine.
It’s all, as the Screenwriter’s Guild would tell us, in the POV.
Robert Spencer just has the wrong POV.
And now it is time for many others to make the time, in order to become Men Who Know Too Much.