Mohamed Elibiary, who is no less a personage than “the country’s leading Muslim deradicalization expert,” was quite unhappy with this post, in which I noted that he was one of the speakers at a December 2004 conference in Dallas entitled “A Tribute to the Great Islamic Visionary,” Ayatollah Khomeini, and that when Rod Dreher of the Dallas Morning News called him on this, he threatened Dreher, telling him: “Expect someone to put a banana in your exhaust pipe.”
Elibiary demanded a retraction and an apology in an email in which he accused me of “character assassinating others when you claim to be standing up for freedom of speech instead of debating their ideas.” This is yet another example of the projection we have seen so often from Islamic spokesmen, since in reality it is I who have so often reiterated my willingness to debate both Muslim and non-Muslim Islamic apologists, while they have contented themselves with making broad-based and inaccurate attacks on my scholarship and integrity, and declining to defend their claims in debate with me. These include:
Brave Ahmed Rehab
Anyway, Elibiary asked me to post his explanation of his appearance at the Khomeini tribute conference, from here:
“I have been asked whether, if I had realized before I spoke that the event honored Imam Khomeini, I would have left immediately. I don’t know. My activism, which is designed to bring Muslims into the mainstream, calls upon me not to cede any territory to radical views without presenting a moderating counterpoint.”
“I have been asked what I would say to someone who believes that there is no good reason to attend a tribute to Imam Khomeini. If their concerns revolved around the American experience of him, I would say that I echo their feelings. But if anyone wishes to learn about their opponent, they must listen, or they’ll remain ignorant and make mistakes that cost them in their struggle to defend their values and views.”
Elibiary claims, as you can see here (along with some libelous claims about this website), that he didn’t know beforehand that the event was a tribute to Khomeini, and that he never saw the poster advertising it as such. I told him I would have been livid if I had been invited to speak at one kind of conference that turned out to be a different kind, and asked him if he had taken any action against this craven bait-and-switch; no answer. In light of attempts by CAIR and its tool and ally, the libelblogger Charles Johnson, to demonstrate that I have spoken at “racist” or “neofascist” events, when I never have done so and never would, I take this kind of thing very seriously. I can only imagine how indulgent Elibiary’s jihadist coreligionists and their non-Muslim stooges on the Left would be if I ever did speak at a conference that really was unsavory in some way, and then claimed that I had not known beforehand what the conference was really about.
Thus I admit to a certain skepticism, but nonetheless, as I am only interested in true and accurate reporting, I pass on to you Elibiary’s claim for what it’s worth. Perhaps he could clarify matters by being so kind as to repudiate and reject in no uncertain terms Khomeini’s assertion that “Islam says: Kill in the service of Allah those who may want to kill you!…There are hundreds of other [Koranic] psalms and hadiths [sayings of the prophet] urging Muslims to value war and to fight. Does all that mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim.” Would Elibiary be a recipient of Khomeini’s spittle? We can only hope so, and perhaps he will enlighten us.
Elibiary also claimed in his email to me that Rod Dreher fabricated the banana-in-the-exhaust-pipe threat:
Concerning the banana threat issue with Rod Dreher. it like some of Rod’s postings is a fabrication. There was never a threat to him and his superiors at the DMN and FBI who reviewed the email chains also found no threat. So I don’t see any reason to say anything further on that topic other than what I told Rod when he tried to concoct this threat instead of addressing my arguments by cutting partial sentences out of context, call the police/FBI if you feel you were threated [sic].
Note that Elibiary doesn’t actually claim here that he didn’t say “Expect someone to put a banana in your exhaust pipe.” He just says that Dreher was taking his words…that’s right…”out of context,” and that the Dallas Morning News and the FBI didn’t see any threat in them. The “out of context” defense is so tired and flimsy that I am surprised Elibiary was not embarrassed to haul it out again, but maybe it’s true: maybe Elibiary said that someone would want to surprise Dreher with a fruit for his lunch and would mistake his exhaust pipe for his glove compartment. You just never know. But the fact that the DMN and the FBI saw no threat in these words doesn’t strike me as impressive; after all, this is the same FBI that didn’t see any particular threat to me in the words “Motherf**ker, I am coming to kill you. I will hack the head off your face and i will kill your family.”
Anyway, Elibiary says that he didn’t say it, or didn’t say it like that, or didn’t mean it as a threat, or something, and there you have it. I know how I would take those words if I were the recipient of them.
And so there you have it. Mohamed Elibiary wants me to retract my statements that he spoke at a conference honoring Khomeini — except he did, but claims he didn’t know it was a conference honoring Khomeini. Since all I said was that he spoke there, and he did, no retraction is necessary on that score. And he also wants a retraction of my statement that he threatened Dreher, and yet Dreher himself took his words in that way, as I believe any reasonable person would.
And so no retraction for that one either, Mr. Elibiary. And certainly no apology for telling the truth.
However, if you wish to present some honest and genuine clarifications, rather than more detours, deceptions, and defamation, I’ll be glad to publish them here.