Remember Mr. Science? The radio show? “Ask Mr. Science: he knows more than you do. He has a master’s degree…in science!” The same kind of one-upmanship and braggadocio is now coming from Dinesh D’Souza in National Review:
But several conservative reviewers and pundits, including Victor Davis Hanson, Roger Kimball, Scott Johnson, Robert Spencer, and Peter Berkowitz, have harshly attacked the book and launched the most extravagant accusations against me. I am especially struck by their wild charges of ignorance and superficiality in my analysis. Having grown up in a country, India, that has 200 million Muslims “” nearly as many as in the entire Middle East “” and having studied the leading thinkers of radical Islam (Sayyid Qutb, Ayatollah Khomeini, Maulana Mawdudi, Ali Shariati, and so on), I have more than a passing familiarity with Islam and its practitioners “” a lot more than they do, in fact.
Ask Mr. D’Souza: he knows more than you do! He lived in a country with 200 million Muslims!
Of course, Dinesh D’Souza doesn’t have the first foggiest idea of who I am or what I know or don’t know. But this kind of juvenile assertion establishes nothing. In fact, Dinesh D’Souza has never dealt with the substance of what I say at all. Instead, he has used me as a straw man, falsely claiming on several occasions that I believe there are no such people as those he calls “traditional Muslims,” when in fact I have written about the plight of peaceful Muslims in several of my books — which he claims to have read. He shows no evidence of actually having read them, repeating also on several occasions the claim that I am cherry-picking violent verses out of the Qur’an while ignoring peaceful ones — manifesting no familiarity with my expositions of the Islamic doctrine of abrogation and the Islamic idea of the stages of the Qur’anic revelations on jihad, in my books Onward Muslim Soldiers and The Truth About Muhammad.
But instead of dealing with all this, he plays playground one-upmanship against his fictional Spencer. This is a four-part series in NR. Let’s hope that in the rest, he shows some awareness of what I actually say, instead of again attacking what I don’t say.
What I say may be flawed or wrongheaded, and I am happy to learn from my mistakes, but why the savagery of the attacks? What heresy have I committed that the angry men of the Right have drawn their daggers against me?
Well, Mr. D’Souza, I dispute your allegation that my review of your book constituted a “savage” attack, but since I have revealed your straw-man tactics here some time ago, and I know you know about those postings, I trust you will not repeat your false statements in NR — since you are “happy to learn from [your] mistakes.”
One other thing: in this NR piece D’Souza says offhandedly: “The Koran, like the Old Testament, has a number of passages recommending peace and others celebrating the massacre of the enemies of God.” But nowhere does the Old Testament have a passage like Qur’an 9:29, which mandates warfare against and subjugation of unbelievers in the aggregate, and which has been interpreted by Islamic scholars as remaining normative for all time in a way that the peaceful verses do not. Has he never noticed that no Jews or Christians today are committing violence and justifying it by those Old Testament verses?
Dinesh D’Souza and I are scheduled to debate again tomorrow at 2PM PDT on Kresta in the Afternoon. I hope he will come ready for honest discussion and leave his straw men at home.