In Suhail Khan’s debate with Frank Gaffney the other night, Khan defamed me repeatedly, but I was not the only recipient of his venom: he also slandered David Yerushalmi, an attorney and expert on legal issues involving Sharia. David Yerushalmi has kindly allowed me to post his response to Khan:
It appears that while Robert Spencer gets several mentions by Suhail Khan, Assistant to the Secretary of Transportation for Policy, as a hate-monger during a debate on Shariah with Frank Gaffney, I also got a special “drive-by” mention due to my legal scholarship pointing out the dangers of Shariah-compliant finance for U.S. financial institutions. Mr. Khan’s description of me is as some “guy who hates blacks, Muslims, women, Asians and liberal Jews.” I have asked Robert for a bit of space to respond specifically and generally to Mr. Khan and he has graciously granted it to me.
Keep in mind that Mr. Khan is an Assistant to the Secretary of Transportation for Policy. That is not an unimportant position in the Bush administration. He himself is a protÃ©gÃ© of Grover Norquist. Now you begin to understand the danger. No one will be blind to the danger of an Obama presidency in this battle space. But know that the Republicans, at least under the Bush administration, have not been much less dangerous.
Given that predicate, let’s examine Mr. Khan and his ad hominem attack. First, Mr. Khan could have read my legal analysis of Shariah-compliant finance had he chosen to and addressed the substance of my argument. He did not. In fact, he could have read my more political and polemical essays and criticized me for my actual statements. He did not.
Instead, without apparently reading a word I have written, or at least not more than ten words taken out of context, he simply read CAIR”s PR hit piece taking my work out of context and using the “racist” card. In fact, his description of me is a mirror of CAIR”s.
I did not respond by defending my written word when CAIR first played its crude race-baiting card against me, and I will not now as Mr. Khan takes up the CAIR mantle.
I will however point out two things that bear on his attack against me and more pointedly against Robert Spencer.
Mr. Khan had a chance to come clean. To tell the debate audience that Shariah is a dangerous doctrine being used by Islamic Jihadists the world over to engage in violent Jihad on the one hand and “soft” or “stealth” Jihad as a Fifth Column on the other. He could have characterized CAIR and ISNA and so many other similar Muslim groups as fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood and its Jihad against the West. He did not.
Instead, he reeled off the CAIR narrative from Alif to Tā (A to Z). Attack the critics as racists or Islamophobes and then lie about everything else.
The lies Mr. Khan told were of course legion. Most noticeably, his only substantive response to Frank Gaffney”s description of Shariah and its goal of a world wide hegemony ordered by Shariah and the use of Jihad to achieve that end was to say, “Nonsense. Shariah is “˜interpretive”.” Now, what did Mr. Khan mean by “interpretive”? He wanted the audience to believe that Shariah could mean anything to any one who sought to “interpret” it. In other words, Shariah was personal to the believer and quite subjective. And to make this point, he contrasted Shariah as “interpretive” with Jewish law or Catholic canon””the latter he argued being purportedly far more rigid.
This first example demonstrates that Mr. Khan’s mission was obfuscation at best because no one but a Muslim Brotherhood agent or apologist would actually propose such a contrast. Note that Mr. Khan could have responded by saying that for him and Muslims like him Shariah is “interpretive”, pietistic and subjective. In other words, he could have attempted an argument that conceded the institutional evil of Shariah but proposed that most Muslims are like him and reject this authoritative, institutional Shariah.
But he did not. What he sought to establish was that Mr. Gaffney was lying and that institutional Shariah, which has developed a 1200-year old corpus juris, allows for a plurality of views on all important subjects such as what to do with an apostate or an infidel. Mr. Khan was lying. And, he knew he was lying.
Thus, readers of Jihad Watch, having been educated by a real scholar of Jihad, know that Shariah is only “interpreted” legitimately in the Muslim world by recognized Shariah authorities””the ulema. Further, legal positions previously staked out by the heads of the various schools of Islamic jurisprudence (the maddhahib), which have reached a state of “consensus” (ijma) and are predicated upon specific verses in the Quran or the canonized Hadith, are in fact not open to “interpretation” unless of course it is their application to some new context. But even in this case, Shariah authorities are bound by the rules of interpretation set out in usul al fique (Islamic jurisprudence established by Shariah) and are not permitted to move beyond the bounds of the earlier consensus.
What this means in practice of course is that the fundamental goal of creating a world subjugated to Shariah and the use of violent Jihad to achieve that end is immutable and one can pick up the contemporary works of the leading Shariah authorities today as well as the classical sources of the “Golden Era” and see that to be true.
One very good example of such contemporary scholarship of course is Mufti M. Taqi Usmani, probably the preeminent Shariah scholar on “Shariah-compliant finance” today. He was for almost a decade the leading member of the Dow Jones Islamic Index (until Frank Gaffney and I embarrassed Dow Jones & Company with the public facts and they fired him) and who remains today a “Shariah authority” for more than a dozen other financial institutions around the world, including HSBC and Citibank. This is no crack pot and no “extremist”. He is as mainstream in the Shariah world as they get.
In Usmani’s book “Islam and Modernism”, translated into English in 1999 (the year he went to work for Dow Jones), Usmani dedicates an entire chapter to one theme: why Shariah obligates Muslims in the West to engage in violent Jihad against the West and at the very least sponsor such Jihad with their resources.
For his part, when Mr. Khan was challenged by a Muslim in the audience during Q&A to name just one recognized Shariah authority who rejects these doctrines of violence, he mentioned three “academics” in the West who have no following and who will “soon be publishing books”. A joke if it weren’t simply a dangerous deception Mr. Khan must be repeating to his associates in government at every opportunity. Mr. Khan is a dangerous man.
To bring even more context to this lie of Mr. Khan’s, below is what Harvard professors Vogel and Hayes, the two leading non-Muslim authorities on Shariah-compliant finance, have to say about the authoritarian nature of Shariah and its grip on everything a Shariah-adherent Muslim does:
Islamic legal rules encompass both ethics and law, this world and the next, church and state. The law does not separate rules enforced by individual conscience from rules enforced by a judge or by the state. Since scholars alone are capable of knowing the law directly from revelation, laypeople are expected to seek an opinion (fatwa) from a qualified scholar on any point in doubt; if they follow that opinion sincerely, they are blameless even if the opinion is in error.
If what our good professors describe above is “interpretive”, it is an interpretation that is quite at odds with Mr. Khan’s.
And, from an important text authored by a Bahrain Treasury official and an Australian economics professor who specializes in Shariah-economics:
Since Islamic law reflects the will of God rather than the will of a human lawmaker, it covers all areas of life and not simply those which are of interest to a secular state or society. It is not limited to questions of belief and religious practice, but also deals with criminal and constitution [sic] matters, as well as many other fields which in other societies would be regarded as the concern of the secular authorities. In an Islamic context there is no such thing as a separate secular authority and secular law, since religion and state are one. Essentially, the Islamic state as conceived by orthodox Muslims is a religious entity established under divine law.
(Both of these quotes are cited and referenced in my upcoming Utah Law Review article on Shariah-compliant finance.)
So we see that when Sunni al Qaeda (and the Muftis of Saudi Arabia etc.) and the Shia Ayatollahs of Iran tell us that Shariah does not countenance Western notions of a separation of Church and State, we see that this view is hardly “extreme” or “radical”. Indeed, it is pedigree and quite authoritative Shariah.
Another lie of course was Mr. Khan’s reference to Maimonides and the Jews of Yemen. Mr. Khan claimed that Shariah’s dictate to engage in taqiyyah or deception as part and parcel of Jihad against the infidel was nothing more or different than Maimonides allowing the Jews of Yemen to “deceive” their Christian inquisitors that they had given up their faith. Mr. Khan most assuredly knows that Maimonides and his community of Spanish Jews were driven out of their homes and out of Spain in the 12th century altogether by the Almohads, a fiercely Shariah adherent version of the Jihadists we see today around the globe. The Almohads took their Shariah seriously. And, the Jews suffered. And, as for the Jews of Yemen, they were not hiding their faith from the Christians. They were being brutalized by the Shariah faithful Muslims. Indeed, Maimonides, a Jewish legal codifier, philosopher, and physician, respected by Jews and non-Jews the world over, lived his entire life under Muslim rule. In fact, in Maimonides” legal responsa, he makes it clear that Jews should not even enter into theological discussions with Muslims for this will merely anger them and lead to even more Muslim oppression of Jews. He terms Mohammed a wild man (meshugga) who “invented” Islam which resulted in “practices [which] are confused and their opinions [which are] bizarre”. In the letter to the Jews of Yemen to which Mr. Khan alluded, this was what Maimonides had to say:
Remember, my co-religionists, that on account of the vast number of our sins, Gd has hurled us in the midst of this people, the Arabs, who have persecuted us severely, and passed baneful and discriminatory legislation against us, as Scripture has forewarned us, “˜Our enemies themselves shall judge us” (Deuteronomy 32:31). Never did a nation molest, degrade, debase and hate us as much as they “¦. Although we were dishonored by them beyond human endurance, and had to put with their fabrications, yet we behaved like him who is depicted by the inspired writer, “But I am as a deaf man, I hear not, and I am as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth.” (Psalms 38:14). Similarly our sages instructed us to bear the prevarications and preposterousness of Ishmael in silence. They found a cryptic allusion for this attitude in the names of his sons “Mishma, Dumah, and Massa” (Genesis 25:14), which was interpreted to mean, “Listen, be silent, and endure.” (Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, ad locum). We have acquiesced, both old and young, to inure ourselves to humiliation, as Isaiah instructed us “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair.” (50:6). All this notwithstanding, we do not escape this continued maltreatment which well nigh crushes us. No matter how much we suffer and elect to remain at peace with them, they stir up strife and sedition, as David predicted, “I am all peace, but when I speak, they are for war.” (Psalms 120:7). If, therefore, we start trouble and claim power from them absurdly and preposterously we certainly give ourselves up to destruction.”
So, what do we know now demonstrably? Mr. Khan is a liar. And, he attacks his critics with an ad hominem fierceness because he cannot survive a debate on substance. And, even when he does debate, he continues to lie because he knows the audience is fundamentally illiterate and they won’t take up Frank Gaffney”s challenge to “see for yourself” who is truthful and who is not.
But what have we really learned? We have learned that the Shariah-faithful and their agent-apologists use “race” and “rights” to attack the essence of who we are as a People. If every distinction between acceptable “First Amendment” religions and violent and seditious doctrines such as Shariah can be blurred, if our fear of “discrimination” prevents us from discriminating against our enemies, we will have lost the very will and means to be a distinct People and Nation. Mr. Khan, in his conservative libertarian garb, is no different from the Leftist who demands that we embrace the “ideals” of global liberty and democracy where all men will finally be “equal” and borders will no longer create artificial distinctions or discriminating laws. Mr. Khan adds to the libertarian twist the deception of a man on a mission. He knows that if he can open the door to Shariah, the West will succumb by its “own hands” — a phrase drawn right out of the Muslim Brotherhood playbook for Jihad in America. Mr. Khan wants a One World Government no less than his counterparts at the ACLU or Acorn or MoveOn.org. He dresses his One World Government up in libertarian and free market garb. But in the end, he also knows that Shariah is no libertarian. Mr. Khan is not merely a liar; he is a fraud.