Two debates today. This morning I taped a segment of the Mimi Geerges Show. It was supposed to be a debate about Muhammad and Islam, between me and Daniel Peterson, a professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Brigham Young University and author of a book called Muhammad, Prophet of God. However, Dr. Peterson and I agreed on just about everything, which may not have made for a dramatic radio show, but certainly did make for a pleasant and I think informative conversation. I don’t know when it will be broadcast, but will post an update.
When I arrived in the green room, five minutes before the debate began, I learned that the format had been changed from what I had been told previously. But no matter. D’Souza played to the galleries with some yay-for-our-side irrelevancies about the disastrous presidency of Jimmy Carter and the errors of cultural appeasement, and he and Khan did their best to keep me occupied with their straw-man characterization of my positions — Khan asked me at one point how I could explain, since I said in my books that Muslims were commanded to kill unbelievers, the fact that he himself was taught to be peaceful. So I had to spend time explaining that I don’t actually say that in my books, and detailed the triple choice of conversion, subjugation, or war (cf. Sahih Muslim 4294).
D’Souza several times accused me of “cherry-picking” violent passages from the Qur’an and applauding bin Laden; he ignored my explanation that all the Sunni madhahib, as well as the Shi’ites, teach warfare against and the subjugation of unbelievers, and that it is not I who originated the idea that the violent verses take precedence over the peaceful ones, but this is founded in the mainstream Islamic doctrine of naskh, or abrogation. D’Souza drew some boos from the crowd when he acknowledged that, yes, you can find the phrase “kill the unbelievers” in the Qur’an, but you can also find it in the Old Testament. And he deserved those boos, since there is no such passage in the Old Testament. The violence in the latter book is undeniable but nowhere does it contain a mandate for believers to make war against unbelievers on a generalized and indefinite basis. The Qur’an, however, does.
And no, he never did give us the name of even one “traditional Muslim” with whom we should, in his view, ally. I mentioned Ali Gomaa, the one he mentioned during our last debate, and noted his support for Hizballah.
Anyway, you can soon see for yourself how it went, for I understand that it was taped by CSpan. I’ll let you know when it runs as soon as I know.
UPDATE: I just found out, after the fact, that CSpan ran the debate at 10:51 PM EST last night and 2:46 AM this morning. I apologize for not being able to give you notice of this before it happened.