Jihad Watch reader Eric sent me a link to the Letters to the Editor page of Crisis magazine, a Catholic publication. On it are various reactions to an interview with Dinesh D’Souza that ran in the February/March issue. I didn’t see it, but in it I am sure D’Souza retailed his usual nonsense.
One letter caught my eye:
I have been reading pretty much everything I can get my hands on about Islam lately, and I have never read anything as enlighteningly sane and as spiritually bull’s-eyed as the Dinesh D’Souza interview, “Knowing the Enemy: Dinesh D’Souza on Islam, America, and the Left’s Responsibility for 9/11,” in the February/March crisis. Thank you for the light.
I knew Peter Kreeft many years ago. He is a good man, a superb teacher, and the author of some witty and useful books. He is also the author of a book almost as spectacularly wrongheaded as D’Souza’s, and for almost the same reasons. Kreeft’s is called Ecumenical Jihad, and in it he counsels alliances with Islamic groups with the same disregard of the realities of Islamic supremacism and dhimmitude that D’Souza displays. At least Kreeft’s has the excuse of having been written sometime in the 1990s, long before 9/11.
Anyway, after another letter-writer recommends my books, along with those of Robin Wright, David Horowitz, Daniel Pipes, Daniel Ali, George Grant, Steven Emerson, and Serge Trifkovic, D’Souza weighs in with his by-now dispiritingly familiar straw man tactics:
Writers like Spencer have made a career out of selective quotations, making it look like the whole religion is violent, and citing people of no consequence as if they are speaking for Islam as a whole.
I just sent this letter to Crisis:
In his response to various letters in Crisis, Dinesh D’Souza has charged that I “have made a career out of selective quotations, making it look like the whole religion is violent, and citing people of no consequence as if they are speaking for Islam as a whole.”
In this he demonstrates yet again that he has no familiarity with my work, and prefers to misrepresent it rather than take the trouble of learning what I actually say. If he read my books, he would discover that I discuss all the verses — peaceful and violent — relating to non-Muslims in the Qur’an, and explain how emphasis and preference is given to the violent verses not by me, but by mainstream Muslim exegetes including Ibn Kathir, Ibn Juzayy, As-Suyuti and others. Nor do I cite “people of no consequence” to show that such violent interpretations are mainstream, not marginal, in Islam today, unless D’Souza believes that the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar, whom the BBC some years ago called “the highest spiritual authority for nearly a billion Sunni Muslims,” and Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi (of Al-Jazeera and IslamOnline fame), who has been called “the closest thing the Islamic world has to a pope,” are marginal.
It is a pity that Crisis is giving such space to such an irresponsible and inaccurate writer as Dinesh D’Souza.