CAIR’s attempt to bully, with legal threats, the Young America’s Foundation into cancelling my talk later today is receiving a bit of coverage.
Charles Johnson has reported the facts of the case; Michelle Malkin has background on previous bullying by CAIR, and Bryan Preston at Hot Air has a roundup. Robert Stacy McCain at the Washington Times’ Fishwrap has reactions from the YAF conference, and Kevin Mooney has written a good article on the whole thing for CNSNews. I am grateful to all of these folks for shedding light on this: the more this kind of legal bullying is exposed, the less the perpetrators will be able to get away with it in the future.
Joel Mowbray, meanwhile, has written a piece at FrontPage. Joel is a good fellow, and I appreciate his writing this, but a couple of paragraphs leapt out at me:
Spencer, who has courted controversy with his JihadWatch.org and his bestselling book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam, is a genuinely provocative figure with whom reasonable people can disagree. But he pales in comparison to some of the characters who have headlined CAIR conferences.
CAIR’s primary objection in its attempted legal blackmail is that Spencer is “a well-known purveyor of hatred and bigotry.” But if the group objects to “purveyors of hatred and bigotry,” why would it feature a neo-Nazi at several of its conferences?
Plenty of reasonable people can take serious issue with Spencer””and plenty do””but shouldn’t CAIR be more troubled by neo-Nazis, 9/11 conspiracy theorists, and Islamic terrorists?
It would have been kind Joel to dissociate me a bit more strongly from CAIR’s charges that I purvey “hatred and bigotry,” which are politically motivated and preposterous. And if telling the truth is “courting controversy,” then I plead guilty. But the main reason why I am writing this, although I am grateful for Joel’s taking the time to write this piece, is the business about “reasonable people” who disagree with me.
Really? Plenty of “reasonable people”? I wish Joel had taken the time to supply some names. Does he perhaps have in mind Dinesh D’Souza, with his relentless attributing to me of things I do not actually say, and his claim that I want Muslim countries to replace the Qur’an with the Torah? Is that “reasonable”? Or does Joel mean maybe Robert D. Crane, the former Nixon aide who called me demonic and falsely charged that I was misrepresenting the content of Islamic texts, when those texts actually clearly bore out my point?
And this is how it has always gone, for years: people claim I say things I don’t say, or make false claims about the data and my use of it, or heap abuse. That’s all. I would love to encounter some reasonable disagreement, and I invite it. I hope Joel Mowbray will forward me a list of his reasonable people, and maybe we can set up a useful public dialogue or debate.
So all you reasonable people out there, let me know where I’m wrong. I’d love to hear it. Because ultimately, this isn’t about me at all: the issues I discuss at Jihad Watch and in my books are too important to continue to ignore, or to dismiss as just one man’s opinion, with which reasonable people can disagree. Let’s bring this reasonable disagreement out in the open, shall we?
UPDATE: I apologize for being touchy. Joel Mowbray is a fine reporter and writer, and I am grateful for his writing this piece. Also, it seems to have been revised, and I thank him for that. I am not saying that no one can have a reasonable disagreement. I’ve just been bombarded with so many unreasonable ones that it is sometimes hard to keep that in mind.