I thought this exchange was amusing, as well as illuminating of certain attitudes. Aziz Poonawalla writes the City of Brass blog over at Beliefnet. He started out by using me as a symbol of what I’m sure he would call “Islamophobia” and ended up claiming we were “allies of a sort.” Then he posted our email exchange with the bits about both of those things cut out — after all, claiming we were allies wouldn’t play well with his Talk Islam audience, where he is again discussing demeaning Photoshops of the guy who was his ally last night.
Easier than refutation, I know!
Our latest exchange began when I took exception to his posting a photo of me, complete with a caption full of obscenities, on a story that I had nothing to do with, and ended with his claiming, improbably, that we were “allies of a sort.” Funny thing: I don’t generally smear my allies with obscene Photoshops, but that’s just me. Then he posted only a selection of the email exchange at TalkIslam, with the parts that make him look bad left out. I am, in contrast, posting the whole thing.
1. Spencer to Poonawalla (subject line: “Taking the high road as usual, eh?”):
I see with your customary sense of fair play and decency, you have used a picture of me, saying something I have never said in language I never use, implying that I endorse a story I have not run at Jihad Watch (it doesn’t ring true to me).
How proud you must be!
Belated eid mubarak.
2. Poonawalla to Spencer:
I apologize. I will take down the photo.
3. Spencer to Poonawalla: (He had taken down the photo, and put up a note saying he had done so at my request.)
Thanks, I see your note, but actually I didn’t ask you to take down the photo.
Appreciate the apology, however.
4. Poonawalla to Spencer:
ah, my wording does imply you asked it be removed. I’ve fixed it now…
5. Spencer to Poonawalla (He had changed his note to read: “Photo removed after complaint by Robert Spencer”):
Tx. At least the new note is honest.
Looking at the new note, however, I saw a comment appearing under my name at the City of Brass site, so I wrote again.
6. Spencer to Poonawalla
Now you’re posting comments by people impersonating me….
7. Poonawalla to Spencer:
I’m not responsible for comments left by others at Beliefnet – its an opaque system and I try to avoid it. I dont even read them, let alone participate. I just write posts.
8. Spencer to Poonawalla:
You know, when I see an abusive comment at Jihad Watch, I remove it. But of course, the comment there under my name is useful to you. I understand that.
9. Poonawalla to Spencer:
If its offensive, please click the “Report Abuse” symbol. The Beliefnet people will handle it. I’ll log in later this evening and look for it too and delete it if the havent dealt with it.
I’m pleased you’ve started also monitoring your own comment threads. I am sure you will return the favor for me if/when the occasion warrants.
10. Spencer to Poonawalla:
I don’t monitor jw comments. I take them down if I see them or they’re brought to my attention — as I brought this to your attention, apparently to no avail
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
11. Poonawalla to Spencer:
to no avail? didnt i say that i would delete the comment when i logged in later this evening? did you bother to report the comment? if not, thats ok. i said, i will delete it. it seems that your impatience trumps my dinner and my daughter’s bath.
if i am not moving fast enough for you, here is my cell phone number: [removed]. Call me in an hour if the comment is still up.
12. Spencer to Poonawalla:
Relax, Aziz. All is well. God is everywhere. Life is good. I haven’t had a chance to go back there. I apologize; I was reading your earlier comment on a blackberry and missed your saying you would take it down.
And you know something else? It doesn’t matter. You say anything you want about me, all right? Make up all the snarky photoshops you want and put them up on any and every story that I have nothing to do with. It’s fine. It’s all good, you know what I mean? Put the picture back up if you want. I didn’t think it was funny, but perhaps our senses of humor differ. I will not complain to you again, I promise.
Kindest regards to you. Hope you enjoyed dinner and that daughter enjoyed bath.
Yr friend as ever
13. Poonawalla to Spencer:
thanks for pointing out the comment; its gone. i dont like that sort of behavior on my blog either.
You seem to think I have some agenda against you, and you value my word as worthless, but I give you it anyway – i did not create the image, and I hold no ill will against you.
On the most fundamental issues – relating to our patriotism, and our activism against slamist [sic] extremists – we dont differ. If you read my blog daily like I yours, youd know that we are as we have always been, allies of a sort.
14. Spencer to Poonawalla:
You made me smile. I gotta hand it to ya, my friend. From obscene-language guilt-by-association photoshopping to professions of alliance within a matter of hours. My hat is off to you, sir. Whatever else you may be, you are nimble of foot.
Kindest regards and thanks
Background: I first encountered Aziz Poonawalla during my dialogue of the deaf with the spitting, sputtering hateblogger Dean Esmay, as Poonawalla was and may still be a contributor to his blog. Poonawalla and I also have had several unpleasant exchanges, during which — as you can see if you read them — he didn’t demonstrate an overwhelming commitment of honesty or integrity.
And I see nothing has changed.
I would never have written him in the first place — after all, opponents say all sorts of things about me, and given the Alinskyite tendencies and intellectual bankruptcy of the Left and their jihadist allies, most of it is vile. Combine that with the fact that Islamic jihadists and their allies are trying to portray any and all opposition to Islamic supremacism as “hate speech,” so as to get it outlawed in the Brave New Obamaite World, and I have no expectations at all of honest discussion and genuine give-and-take. But because I’ve had contact with Aziz Poonawalla in the past, and because I believe it is important to deflate the self-righteous victimhood posturing of Islamic spokesmen in the West when they indulge in it, I thought I would call him on his use of the photo. His self-righteous victimhood, however, is still quite firmly in place.