Jihad Watch reader Mike has sent me a new article by Louay Safi, the Indianapolis ISNA op who is unhappy that plans are afoot for me to lead a seminar for the Joint Terrorism Task Force in that city. I have replied to his attacks before, albeit belatedly. Since he mostly rehashes what he said in his earlier piece here, and I’m tired of cherry-picking the Qur’an, I think I’ll cherry-pick his article instead, and just point out a couple of things.
First, he repeats a 1997 definition of the trumped-up term “Islamophobia” that I think bears scrutiny.
In Britain, the term “Islamophobia” was not used in government policy until 1997, when the race relations think tank Runnymede Trust published the report “Islamophobia: A Challenge For Us All.”  In a section entitled The Nature of Islamophobia, the report itemizes eight features that Runnymede attributed to Islamophobia:
* Islam is seen as a monolithic bloc, static and unresponsive to change.
The fact is that Islam is not a monolithic bloc, static and unresponsive to change. There are innumerable variations in Muslim observance all around the world. There are innumerable variations in cultural traditions of Islamic observance. It is also true that all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence teach that it is part of the responsibility of the Islamic community to wage war against and subjugate unbelievers, and that this view is sealed by scholarly consensus (ijma) and the closing-off of new rulings on settled issues (see here about the gates of ijtihad). Jihadists are capitalizing upon these facts to make recruits among peaceful Muslims by calling them back to what they are able to represent on the basis of the Qur’an, Sunnah, and Islamic jurisprudence as “pure Islam.”
So in other words, it is the jihadists who are portraying the traditional teachings on jihad warfare as incumbent upon all Muslims, and unable to be changed. But when Western non-Muslims take note of this, it’s called “Islamophobia.”
* Islam is seen as separate and “other”. It does not have values in common with other cultures, is not affected by them and does not influence them.
This one is silly. No one is claiming that Islam has no values in common with other cultures, or exists in a vacuum. However, it is not the values in common that are a cause for Infidel concern, it is the values that are held by non-Muslims that Islam does not teach in any of its orthodox manifestations: freedom of conscience, equality of rights of all people before the law, including women and religious minorities, and so on.
* Islam is seen as inferior to the West. It is seen as barbaric, irrational, primitive, and sexist.
I am not going to apologize for saying that elements of traditional Islam are barbaric, irrational, primitive, and sexist. When Muslim clerics protest against a rape law that calls for forensic evidence to establish guilt, rather than disqualifying the victim’s testimony and establishing guilt only on the testimony of four male witnesses (cf. Qur’an 24:13), yes, that is barbaric, irrational, primitive, and sexist. If Louay Safi and other Muslims want non-Muslims not to have this perception, let them go to Pakistan and Iran and elsewhere and take up their conflict with these clerics. But they don’t. And they won’t.
* Islam is seen as violent, aggressive, threatening, supportive of terrorism, and engaged in a Clash of Civilizations [an idea enunciated by Prof. Samuel P. Huntington, with the publication of his book, “The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order” Simon & Schuster; 1998].
Here again: when 49.9% of Muslims affirm that they support Osama, and when jihadists worldwide explain and justify their actions by reference to the Qur’an and Sunnah, the problem of seeing Islam as aggressive does not lie with “Islamophobes,” but with Muslims.
* Islam is seen as a political ideology, used for political or military advantage.
Yet again: “Islamophobes” did not invent the idea of Islam as a political ideology. The man who recently said that “Muslims will take over the world” was not an “Islamophobe.” The Muslims who decided that the Year One of the Islamic calendar would not be the year of Muhammad’s birth or death, or the beginning of his prophethood, but rather the year of his becoming a political and military leader, was not an “Islamophobe.”
* Criticisms made of ‘the West’ by Islam are rejected out of hand.
What is this monolithic “Islam” that Safi envisions criticizing the West? But anyway, yes, they are dismissed, and should be, because while the West has many problems, Westerners would be deceiving themselves with D’Souza-like abandon if they imagined that addressing any of the Muslim grievances against the West would end the jihad. The jihad proceeds from Islam’s supremacist imperative, which does not depend on anything non-Muslims do, but simply on the fact that they are non-Muslims. Qur’an 9:29 tells Muslims to fight the People of the Book, not just the evil or immoral People of the Book.
* Hostility towards Islam is used to justify discriminatory practices towards Muslims and exclusion of Muslims from mainstream society.
* Anti-Muslim hostility is seen as natural and normal.
Hogwash. Jihad actions and other Islamic supremacist activity calls for defensive action by non-Muslims. That’s all.
Anyway, here’s the unintended irony. Safi says about me:
Out of the hundreds of the Qur’anic verses left out of Spencer’s discussion are those that direct Muslims to initiate fighting only to repel aggression while urging them to seek peace when the other party seeks peace: “Fight in the way of God those who fight you, but do not commit aggression, for God loves not aggressors. And fight them wherever you meet them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out; for persecution is worse than slaughter. But if they cease, God is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. And fight them on until there is no oppression and the religion is only for God, but if they cease, let there be no hostility except to those who practice oppression.” (2:190-193)
Did you catch that? I supposedly ignore Qur’anic verses “that direct Muslims to initiate fighting only to repel aggression while urging them to seek peace when the other party seeks peace.” In support of this Safi quotes 2:190-193, which I’ve actually discussed at some length in both The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. But here’s the irony. That verse contains this: “fight them on until there is no oppression and the religion is only for God.”
So Muslims are to fight until “the religion is only for God.” They are to fight, in other words, until Islam reigns supreme, for Islam is the only religion acceptable to Allah (Qur’an 3:85). If Muslims must fight until “the religion is only for God,” they must fight until Islam is the dominant religion all over the world. So in accusing me of cherry-picking the Qur’an to portray Islam as violent, Safi has inadvertently highlighted a verse that is one of the principal foundations of the Islamic supremacist imperative.