At Jihad Watch and in my books I explore the motives and goals of the jihad terrorists as they themselves explain them — and this necessarily involves exploring the Qur’an and Sunnah, and how Muslims have understood them historically and understand them now. This is obviously a controversial area, but as Ali Sina says he’ll remove his site if proven wrong, so will I. But no one has. Anyway, this comes up again because Joe Kaufman has kindly alerted me to this thread on the Young Muslims site, where this comment is made:
Spencer, Sina, and the Rest
I’ve been looking around the web, and I like to go around and look at books dealing with Islam and various sites with different viewpoints. But, recently (although I’m sure this is nothign new) I’m noticing a stronger and more organized effort at Islam bashing. There are sites like FaithFreedom.org and books by people like Robert Spencer, which simply wrap hundreds of lies together and claim it as the “truth”, and their popularity is surging. Anyone who tries to proves them wrong using the Koran or Hadith is simply ridiculed, and told that they are wrong.
I don’t think we should stress over what others think or say, but it does get to a point where you just want to fire back, or explain how things really are. My best bet is to lead by example and leave it in the hands of Allah, but still.
“Hundreds of lies,” but nary a one specified. This reminded me of an email I got the other day from Jihad Watch reader Jon:
If you go to Amazon.com and read the reviews for Robert Spencer’s books, or watch any interview with a Muslim moderate, you’ll see and hear the following arguments from the Muslim side repeated over and over again:
1. He’s taking verses out of context
2. He’s an Islamophobe/racist/bigot
3. He doesn’t know Arabic, and you can’t understand the Qur’an unless it’s in Arabic
4. He’s not an expert on Islam/he has no credentials
5. The Qur’an, the mind of Muhammad, and Islam in general are too complex and mysterious for infidels to understand
6. What about the Crusades (and other violent Christian actions of the past)?
7. What about the violent verses in the Bible?
8. Those Muslims are not real Muslims
9. Only Muslims can address the tough topics
Good summation. I can add from the Young Muslims site:
10. He’s lying
11. If you prove him wrong from Qur’an and Hadith, you just get ridiculed
And another I’ve seen now and again:
12. He has been refuted hundreds of times, and thoroughly discredited
Refuted and discredited, sure, although no one ever says who did the refuting, or when, or how. Anyway, Jon asked me to answer these, and I was in the midst of an extremely lengthy answer when I noticed that the link on the interview thread was broken, and went to fix it, crashing my machine in the process and losing my lengthy answer.
Rather than lose the will to live, and yet lacking the necessities, as Al Campanis might say, to reconstruct my lengthy post entirely, I’ve decided to throw open the floor. Above are 12 common replies to people who attempt to expose the elements of Islam that jihadists use to justify violence and gain recruits from among peaceful Muslims. Note that none of them say simply “He is factually incorrect, because of this evidence.” They don’t say that, because they can’t. So instead they obfuscate and mystify, pretending that Arabic cannot be translated (even though most Muslims don’t speak Arabic and translating the Qur’an is a big industry among Muslims themselves), and attack the messenger (I asked CAIR’s Hussam Ayloush on a radio show awhile back, when he started attacking my “credentials” to divert attention from my request that he condemn Hamas and Hizballah as terrorist groups, “If I had a PhD. would you condemn Hamas and Hizballah?”), and engage in similar dodges. Most of them are quite flimsy dodges, too.
Post your own answers. There are plenty of good ways all of these can be approached. And the more we have published, the better equipped we will all be to refute the next jihadist apologist who drags out these tired arguments. Also, add your own jihadist obfuscations. This list, currently a 12-pointer, can certainly be expanded.
It can also come in handy in debate. Next time you see a Muslim spokesman on TV, if he is challenged about the jihadist use of the Qur’an and Sunnah, check off the ones he trots out in response. I can imagine a conversation like this: “Ibrahim Hooper hit #’s 1, 4, 7, and 11 last night on CNN.” “Oh yeah? That’s nothing. Hussein Ibish hit every one except #10 on Beck.” “Really? Wow. Once I saw Ahmed Bedier score a perfect 12 on Paula Zahn’s show.” “Ah, yes, that was a classic performance, one for the ages.”
In fact, next time I speak before an audience containing jihad apologists, I plan to make things easy for them: to speed up the process during the question-and-answer period, I’ll give them a card containing these twelve points. They can just check off the ones they want to hit that evening. Everyone will save a bit of time and trouble. And I’m sure they’ll be grateful also, for this handy time-saving device.