That, I’m told, was Dinesh D’Souza’s nickname in his Dartmouth days, and I have come to see in my recent interactions with him how richly he deserves it. And now Jihad Watch reader James has told me that he’s at it again, touting a Hizballah supporter and a man who is barred from entering the United States as Muslim moderates in “Looking for Muslim Moderates? Here are Two.”
The Hizballah supporter is the Mufti of Egypt, Ali Gomaa, about whom D’Souza says:
Gomaa is the second highest ranking cleric in the Arab world, and he is known as the “show me” sheikh. When jihadists come to him claiming Koranic authority for attacks on civilians or fellow Muslims, Gomaa simply asks them to show him where the Koran gives them their justification. Usually they cannot, and if they try, they are typically overwhelmed with Gomaa’s superior knowledge and learning.
Here D’Souza reveals just how thoroughgoing is his ignorance about Islam and about the key issues involved in genuine Islamic reform. He says that Gomaa, with his “superior knowledge and learning,” refutes jihadists when they claim “Koranic authority for attacks on civilians or fellow Muslims.”
But in reality, jihadists don’t claim Qur’anic authority for attacks on civilians or fellow Muslims. What they do is challenge the meanings of those words themselves. For example, the director of the Al-Maqreze Centre for Historical Studies, Dr. Hani Al-Siba’i, said this on Al-Jazeera right after the London bombings of July 7, 2005: “The term ‘civilians’ does not exist in Islamic religious law. Dr. Karmi is sitting here, and I am sitting here, and I’m familiar with religious law. There is no such term as ‘civilians’ in the modern Western sense. People are either of Dar Al-Harb or not.” So if Ali Gomaa says Islam forbids killing civilians, has he done anything to refute Hani Al-Siba’i’s view, which is of course shared by innumerable jihadists? No, he hasn’t.
And as for attacks on “fellow Muslims,” it’s the same thing: jihadists pronounce takfir on their opponents, that is, declare that they’re not Muslims, and thereby render them fair game. So then Ali Gomaa comes along and says, “Don’t attack your fellow Muslims,” and jihadists will respond, “We aren’t. We’re attacking hypocrites and apostates.” Also, forbidding attacks on fellow Muslims doesn’t do anything to end attacks on non-Muslims.
But D’Souza, knowing nothing of the real loci of the controversies within Islam today, lets all this escape him.
Later on D’Souza adds:
We are not going to agree with these fellows on everything–Robert Spencer once complained that Gomaa has very intolerant views on sculpture, which you should keep in mind if you hire him to give art lessons to your children–but they are the ones who will reform Islam, if reform ever comes.
Here D’Souza displays once again his preference for snark over substance, and his talking-to-a-brick-wall method of dialogue. D’Souza plays the part of the brick wall, by ignoring the responses (and clarifications, and corrections) his opponents give to his arguments, and repeating his catch phrases as if they had never been answered at all. I responded to this art lessons quip four months ago, and will repeat my response here:
Anyway, D’Souza also says, “Gomaa apparently thinks sculpture is un-Islamic! A strange view, but it doesn’t bother me terribly, because I wasn’t thinking of hiring Gomaa to give my daughter art lessons.” That’s cute, but I put the Bamiyan Buddhas at the top of this post to show how dangerously naive it is. He is recommending that we ally with a man who believes that representational art is un-Islamic. Meanwhile, millions of this man’s coreligionists have settled in Europe, unhindered by any sane immigration policies, and no doubt many of them believe the same way Ali Gomaa does about this, since it is, after all, the traditional Islamic view. And now D’Souza is calling for a foreclosure on criticism of Islamic practices and beliefs, such that he would apparently not want us to challenge our new friend the Egyptian Mufti when he says this about sculpture. So what will become of Europe’s artistic patrimony? What if one of our new allies, one of Dinesh D’Souza’s new allies that is, decides that the Mufti is absolutely right, and that the Pieta, or the David, or the Last Supper, or the Mona Lisa, or the Girl with the Pearl Earring, or any number of other masterpieces of the human spirit, must go?
Should we not be concerned about this? Should we toss off concern about it with a quip about a little girl’s art lessons? Or should we take Ali Gomaa seriously enough to consider it as a possibility, and discuss what must be done about it? That the Bamiyan Buddhas remained in Muslim Afghanistan for centuries was only a matter of technology. When the Muslims who agreed with Ali Gomaa on this point were in power and able to amass sufficient explosives, that was the end of the Buddhas. Countless other Christian and Hindu artworks, in churches throughout the areas conquered by Islam in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, and in Hindu temples in India, have been destroyed throughout Islamic history by Muslims who agreed with Ali Gomaa. And now Dinesh D’Souza says we should have no qualms about allying with him? No thanks.
Then there’s Tariq Ramadan, D’Souza’s other great Muslim reformist, about whom he says:
A second reformer is Tariq Ramadan, who ironically was denied entry into the United States on the grounds that he once made a contribution to a charitable group affiliated with Hamas. Ramadan is also suspect to many neoconservatives because he is the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. Read Ramadan’s works, however, and you see that he is a trenchant critic of radical interpretations of jihad and sharia. He has also called on European Muslims to eschew violent groups and to become full and participating members of their society.
Was he really denied entry into this country, poor thing, because he once contributed to a charity affiliated with Hamas? Here’s some information from Daniel Pipes:
Here are some reasons why Mr. Ramadan might have been kept out:
* He has praised the brutal Islamist policies of the Sudanese politician Hassan Al-Turabi. Mr. Turabi in turn called Mr. Ramadan the “future of Islam.”
* Mr. Ramadan was banned from entering France in 1996 on suspicion of having links with an Algerian Islamist who had recently initiated a terrorist campaign in Paris.
* Ahmed Brahim, an Algerian indicted for Al-Qaeda activities, had “routine contacts” with Mr. Ramadan, according to a Spanish judge (Baltasar GarzÃ³n) in 1999.
* Djamel Beghal, leader of a group accused of planning to attack the American embassy in Paris, stated in his 2001 trial that he had studied with Mr. Ramadan.
* Along with nearly all Islamists, Mr. Ramadan has denied that there is “any certain proof” that Bin Laden was behind 9/11.
* He publicly refers to the Islamist atrocities of 9/11, Bali, and Madrid as “interventions,” minimizing them to the point of near-endorsement.
And here are other reasons, dug up by Jean-Charles Brisard, a former French intelligence officer doing work for some of the 9/11 families, as reported in Le Parisien:
* Intelligence agencies suspect that Mr. Ramadan (along with his brother Hani) coordinated a meeting at the HÃ´tel Penta in Geneva for Ayman al-Zawahiri, deputy head of Al-Qaeda, and Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind sheikh, now in a Minnesota prison.
* Mr. Ramadan’s address appears in a register of Al Taqwa Bank, an organization the State Department accuses of supporting Islamist terrorism.
Stellar moderates you have dug up, Dinesh. But no worries. I’m sure you will keep digging and digging, ever enlarging that big hole you’re already in.
ADDENDUM: A Jihad Watch reader points out D’Souza calls Ali Gomaa “the second highest ranking cleric in the Arab world,” and writes to me:
Wow, that D’Souza is quite a scholar. So who is the highest ranking? And does that mean that the Mufti of Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and all the rest acknowledge him as their superior? Sort of like the Pope? Interesting that Sunni Islam has such a clear-cut hierarchy. I say, find the top guy and make a deal with him!
If one tries to speculate, perhaps D’Souza thinks the head of al-Azhar is number-one? Or even better, perhaps he is referring to Qaradawi? Who knows? Let me know if you find out.
I have emailed D’Souza to ask.