Noting my remark below, “for the umpteenth time someone assumes I am saying something that I am not saying,” which I made in reference to the dialogue of the deaf here, Steve Schippert over at Threats Watch (thanks to James) says:
When he says “for the umpteenth time someone assumes I am saying something that I am not saying,” if so often people are assuming something that he is indeed not saying, there is a distinct pattern of miscommunication.
Spencer himself acknowledges a trend. With all due respect to Mr. Spencer, are the “umpteen” consistently misinterpreting him because they are all dolts, or is it perhaps that Mr. Spencer is failing to articulate what he is indeed trying to say? Is his tone perhaps causing misperception?
In business, if the employees are all misunderstanding your direction, is the most effective corrective measure to berate the employees or to adjust the delivery? For at the end of the day, what matters is that the employees understand the directions or requests, not that the employer bends the employees to understand his language. Results matter.
Sadly, I expected the discussion on Iran’s “˜Vice List” to descend into an “everything that is wrong with Islam” discussion. It did that in short order.
Read the FrontPage Symposium for yourself and draw your own conclusions on whether I am an apologist for radical Islam or Mr. Spencer’s tone pushes away otherwise reasonable Muslims from its outset.
Point well taken, although of course I never called him “an apologist for radical Islam,” or anything remotely close to that, which may indicate here again that the problem lies with what he thinks he is reading rather than what he is actually reading. But I readily admit that I may be a very poor writer, and just haven’t managed to articulate what I mean properly, so as to rule out misapprehensions like Schippert’s.
But as far as I am concerned, I articulated it several times during our exchange, linked above: Islamic law teaches certain things, and indeed all the schools are unanimous about certain issues. But when I say that, Mr. Schippert and others like him seem to haer me saying that all Muslims believe a certain way or act a certain way. They don’t seem to be able to make the elementary distinction between belief and practice — that is, between the teachings of the religion and the huge spectrum of belief, knowledge and fervor among the adherents of the religion.
It’s a common problem: speak about Islamic supremacism, and people think you’re saying that all Muslims are terrorists. But it really isn’t a difficult distinction to make, much as it seems to elude Mr. Schippert. Taking his own words, I ask you to read the FrontPage Symposium for yourself and draw your own conclusions: am I saying that all Muslims believe or act in any particular way, or am I merely calling upon sincere Muslim reformers to acknowledge that there are elements of Islamic teaching and tradition that need reforming?
Finally, Mr. Schippert never specifies what it is about my “tone” that he thinks “reasonable Muslims” will find so offensive. Do I say that all Muslims are evil terrorists? Do I say anything remotely insulting? Do I say anything that is false or inaccurate? I submit that no one except someone who has imbibed Sharia standards of offense could find anything wrong with my tone in this exchange.