One of the biggest falsehoods going around about Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week is that we drew a connection between Islam and violence, and the Qur’an and the oppression of women and religious minorities, etc., that wasn’t there already. In reality, it is Islamic supremacists worldwide who have made these connections, and we are merely reporting on them.
Yet another example of this comes from the Brown Daily Herald, in an article on my talk there last week, entitled “Islamofascism speaker misses the point.” I just heard from the author of the article, a Mr. Jebediah Koogler:
Dear Mr. Spencer,
I am a student at Brown University. I wrote an op-ed response to your recent speech which has appeared this morning in the Brown Daily Herald.
I have posted a copy of it on my blog: http://fpwatch.blogspot.com/2007/11/islamofascism-speaker-misses-point.html
I would be interested in your response. That being said, I strongly hope that we can maintain a civil debate that focuses on substance and avoids any personal attacks.
A civil debate that focuses on substance and avoids any personal attacks. Coming from a student at Brown, where I was greeted by a flyer that claimed I was a white supremacist and by questioners who repeatedly impugned my motives and basic integrity as a human being, while I myself have never engaged in such attacks on anyone, this was a bit much. I wrote back to him:
Dear Mr. Koogler,
I don’t know what speech you were listening to, but your characterization of my talk is so far from accurate that it borders on the fictional. In reality, I spoke of the oppression of their fellow Muslims by Salafists, and discussed at some length the fact that “the overwhelming majority of Muslims don’t actually follow the passages that [I] cited.” My point was that that overwhelming majority needs to confront and counter the jihadists’ claim to Islamic purity that they buttress by reference to the passages of the Qur’an and Hadith in question.
You may also recall, if you were actually there, that a questioner began by noting that the content of the Islamic texts was one thing, and the reality of Islamic practice was another, and I responded by saying that that was exactly my point.
It is a pity that instead of dealing with the reality of what I actually said, you felt it necessary to construct this straw man. I doubt that such a tactic is conducive to the genuine dialogue you profess to support.
Furthermore, with respect, I strongly resent your condescending second paragraph below. I do not engage in personal attacks, and challenge you to produce a scrap of evidence to the contrary. You, on the other hand, have characterized my address at Brown as “provocative,” which it was not, and Brown’s paper has published other material about me charging me with racism and more. Physician, heal thyself, as someone once said.
At a similarly high level comes “Fascism as Bigotry” by Bret Vallacher in The Dartmouth Independent, which amid numerous inaccuracies about my talk there says this:
He cites the Koranic verse that “[women] are supposed to be beaten if they are not obedient.” He believes that because the practice is rampant and that clerics approve of it, the Koran must be the cause. What he fails to realize is that this, too, is not without precedent. The Old Testament was formerly used to condone slavery. He needs to be reminded that slavery, less than 200 years ago, was rampant in the United States, and some, if not most, southern clerics condoned it.
Yes, I need to be reminded of that. I might have forgotten it in the six months since I wrote about it at length in my book Religion of Peace?. But of course, I don’t expect Bret Vallacher to have read any of my books. I do wonder, however, what point he is trying to make. Does the use of Christian Scripture for bad purposes in the past free peaceful Muslims from any obligation to confront the use of Islamic Scripture for bad purposes today? Apparently, in his mind, it does. I respectfully disagree.