Lately it seems to have become fashionable to attribute to me or to Jihad Watch positions that I don’t hold. In a way this is a tribute to the success of our work, as we have become a symbol of something, although no one seems exactly sure of what. Recently, Dinesh D’Souza, Karen Armstrong, the Asia Times columnist who calls himself “Spengler,” and Cathy Young, a columnist for the misnamed “Reason” magazine, have indulged in this sport. And now National Review’s born-again atheist, John Derbyshire, has joined the fun. At “The Corner” this morning, Derbyshire adds this aside in the course of an otherwise worthwhile observation about Nation of Islam members being included in the Pew Research Center poll of Muslims in America:
Solution-wise, none of the policies proposed by “separationists–”for example, bribing foreign Muslims to leave the U.S.A., preventing further Muslim immigration””is relevant. Nation of Islam is here, and has no place to go.
The word “separationists” links to Jihad Watch. Now search for the word “separationists” at Jihad Watch. Nothing. “Separationism”? Nope, nada. All you’ll turn up is this post itself. Apart from the merits or lack thereof of “separationism,” which I believe is a proposal advocated at some other sites, it is strange, is it not, that the site Derb chose as his sole link for it has never mentioned it at all, until now?
Derb then explains “separationism” as involving “bribing foreign Muslims to leave the U.S.A.” and “preventing further Muslim immigration.” The first of these is absurd, and I have never heard of anyone advocating it, though someone may. I certainly don’t. As for the second, it is eminently sensible, since no Muslim group anywhere in the world has pronounced takfir on Osama bin Laden and his ilk — that is, ruled them out of Islam — and so there is no reliable way to distinguish peaceful Muslims from actual and potential jihadists. But at the same time it is fraught with difficulties, some of which I discuss here. In any case, before it can even be discussed intelligently in the public sphere, there has to be a significant increase in public awareness about the jihad ideology and Islamic supremacism, and if anything, at this point we’re generally going in the opposite direction on that.
So Derb, in sum, attributes to us a label we do not use and a position that we do not hold. Of course, this is the guy who invoked Muhammad Atta as an example of how religion did not ennoble one in the middle of a discussion that was otherwise completely about Christianity, and who thinks Karen Armstrong’s fantasy-ridden and hagiographical biography of Muhammad is worth reading, so perhaps I shouldn’t expect better.
UPDATE: In a new Corner entry, Derb quotes a secondary source to establish positions held by Hugh Fitzgerald about Muslim immigration, although that is not remotely the point of controversy here, since I call immigration restrictions “eminently sensible” above. Since he has had his own conflicts with that source, it is peculiar that he here relies on his summary as accurate. He also goes on to suggest that Hugh, and I also, I guess, ought to believe in bribing Muslims to leave the West even if we don’t, because he, Derb, thinks it follows from what we do believe. That’s what passes for high-level analysis these days, I suppose.