Eboo Patel has a used car to sell you. “Nine years after 9/11, a debate about Islam,” by Eboo Patel in the Washington Post, October 4 (thanks to all who sent this in):
How is it that fear of Muslims in America is actually higher nine years post 9/11? Watching Christiane Amanpour’s special on Islam Sunday provides plenty of clues.
Patel, you see, wants to fool his eminently foolable Washington Post readers into thinking that If there is any actual suspicion of or negative feelings toward Muslims in the United States, it is the fault of people like Franklin Graham and me. He would prefer that you not think about Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood jihadist; Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Christmas underwear jihadist; Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, who killed one soldier and murdered another in a jihad shooting outside a military recruiting station in Little Rock, Ark.; Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square jihadist; Khaled Sheikh Mohammed and Osama bin Laden on 9/11; the London jihad bombers of July 7, 2005; and so many others.
The most striking voices in the debate were Amjad Choudry [sic! Patel is referring to Britain-based jihadist Anjem Choudary] and Reverend Franklin Graham. Choudry wore a regulation size beard, looked menacingly at the television camera and declared that the flag of Islam will one day fly over the White House. He knew full well that he was playing the scary Muslim figure from central casting. His message: Islam requires me to dominate you.
“He knew full well that he was playing the scary Muslim figure from central casting.”
Franklin Graham talked about church-burnings in the Sudan, the dangers of Sharia law, and the purpose of mosques as vehicles of conversion and domination. In other words, he agreed with Amjad [that is, Anjem]: Islam requires Muslims to dominate others.
Patel is here attempting a sleight-of-hand: Graham discussed church burnings in the Sudan, Sharia’s oppressive features, and mosques as vehicles of conversion and domination. See? — says Patel — he’s just like Anjem Choudary (although Patel does manage to spell Graham’s name correctly, so at least in that they differ). He doesn’t mention, of course, and apparently hopes that you won’t bring to mind the fact that it wasn’t Franklin Graham or Anjem Choudary who burned churches in the Sudan. It wasn’t Franklin Graham who used mosques to preach hatred; to spread exhortations to terrorist activity; to house a bomb factory; to store weapons; to disseminate messages from bin Laden; to demand (in the United States) that non-Muslims conform to Islamic dietary restrictions; to fire on American troops; to fire upon Indian troops; or to train jihadists.
When that kind of thing is known to have gone on in mosques, and when Muslims implementing Sharia in Saudi Arabia and Iran have victimized non-Muslims and women, people aren’t thinking that “Islam requires Muslims to dominate others” because Franklin Graham or Anjem Choudary told them so; they can see with their own eyes. And no amount of smoke blown into those eyes by Eboo Patel and his ilk can ultimately obscure the truth.
There are Muslims who go on television representing Islam and non-Muslims who go on television representing “Why you should fear Islam” and they are saying the same scary things. Is it any wonder that many Americans, whose first conscious experience with Islam was 9/11, are thinking: “I’m scared of these people.”
The idea that people saying “scary things” on television makes Americans “scared” of “these people” is as ridiculous as it is condescending. Americans are not that stupid, Mr. Patel. Manipulative talking heads, Muslim or non-Muslim, are not the problem in this: Nidal Hasan and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and Faisal Shahzad and innumerable others are. But for Eboo Patel to face that, he would have to face up to the reality of the Islamic texts and teachings that inspired those jihadis. And that is a reality that he seems determined to obscure.
What about the moderate Muslims?
Daisy Khan, leader of a group called the American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA), explained that she was moved by the events of 9/11 to leave her corporate career to start an institution to grow the moderate voice in Islam. She has led Muslim youth and women’s events all over the world. One of the “fear Islam” panel members was unimpressed. “How do we know you are not a secret radical?” he asked.
A blunt but apposite question, given Daisy Khan’s dishonesty about whether or not this “community center” would be a mosque — she has said so in the past in my presence, but has now adopted the line that it is not a mosque, with no explanation for or acknowledgment of the change. Moreover, her husband, the Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, is an open proponent of Sharia, and calls for restrictions on the freedom of speech in his book What’s Right with Islam. These things should cause concern for free people. And that Patel would hold the likes of Daisy Khan up as an example of a moderate Muslim doesn’t speak well of him, either.
The imam of a Muslim community in Murfreesboro, TN pointed out that Muslims had been a visible part of Murfreesboro for 30 years and not one member of the community had been involved in a single crime in that time. Recently, the community’s mosque construction site had experienced vandalism and arson, likely because of the fear of Islam cutting through the culture. Robert Spencer’s response: Muslims have a pattern of fabricating such things, and perhaps the imam was making this up as well.
Do Muslims fake hate crimes, or is this just an invention of that greasy Islamophobe Spencer? From “CAIR’s Hate Crimes Nonsense” by Daniel Pipes and Sharon Chadha:
CAIR cites the July 9, 2004 case of apparent arson at a Muslim-owned grocery store in Everett, Washington. But investigators quickly determined that Mirza Akram, the store’s operator, staged the arson to avoid meeting his scheduled payments and to collect on an insurance policy. Although Akram’s antics were long ago exposed as a fraud, CAIR continues to list this case as an anti-Muslim hate crime.
CAIR also states that “a Muslim-owned market was burned down in Texas” on August 6, 2004. But already a month later, the owner was arrested for having set fire to his own business. Why does CAIR include this incident in its report?
CAIR lists the March 2005 lawsuit filed by the Salmi family for the firebombing of their family van as one example of a hate crime report it received in 2004. However, the crime named in the lawsuit occurred in March 2003, was already reported by CAIR in 2003, and should not have been tabulated again in the 2004 report.
CAIR reports that “a home-made bomb exploded outside of the Champions Mosque in the Houston suburb of Spring, Texas,” staking its claim on eyewitness reports that on July 4, 2004, “two white males” were seen placing the bomb. We inquired about the incident and found that Spring’s sheriff department could not locate any police files about an explosion. Further inquiries to the mosque and an e-mail to CAIR both went unanswered. There is scant evidence that any crime even occurred.
CAIR notes that “investigators in Massachusetts are still investigating a potential hate-motivated arson against the Al-Baqi Islamic Center in Springfield.” However the case was long ago ruled a simple robbery, news that even CAIR’s own website has posted. The Associated Press reported on January 21, 2005, that prosecutors determined the fire was set by teen-age boys “who broke into the Al-Baqi mosque to steal money and candy, then set the fire to cover their tracks.” The boys, they clarified, “weren’t motivated by hatred toward Muslims.”
CAIR describes what happened to a Muslim family in Tucson, Arizona: “bullet shots pierced their home as they ate dinner in October 2004” and two months later their truck was smashed and vandalized. But the only evidence that either incident was motivated by hate of Muslims is the Dehdashti family itself, not the police. Detective Frank Rovi of Pima County Sheriff’s Department, who handled the shooting investigation, said that according to the neighbors, the desert area by the Dehdashti house was often used for target practice. Neither incident was classified as a hate crime and both cases were closed by February 2005, long before the CAIR report went to press.
Of twenty “anti-Muslim hate crimes” in 2004 that CAIR describes, at least six are invalid – and further research could likely find problems with the other fourteen instances.
Would Eboo Patel really say, in light of all this and more, that it is unreasonable for non-Muslims to be suspicious when a Muslim claims that he has been the victim of a hate crime? How many times must we submit to being fooled?
There you have it in a nutshell. The forces of intolerance scream from the rooftops, “Islam is about domination”. The forces of moderation are questioned with the intent of delegitimizing them (they’re either just liars, or liars and secret radicals).
Well, Patel, it would help if you could come up with an example of a “force of moderation” who wasn’t a public and demonstrable liar like Daisy Khan.
Patel then proceeds to build a “fear bomb,” to hoodwink his hapless readers into being afraid to resist the advance of Islamic supremacism:
How do you build a fear bomb? Here’s how:
1) A high-profile event like 9/11 that raises fears and suspicions of a religion and a community.
2) People like Amjad Choudry [sic!] who claim to represent that religion and community who look scary and say scary things.
3) People who claim to want to protect everybody else who point to people like Amjad Choudry and say, “See, he represents Islam. Told you they were scary.”
4) A deliberate campaign to delegitimize humanizing, moderate voices.
This is all so patently dishonest. If Eboo Patel really wants to present himself as an alternative to the person he persists in calling “Amjad Choudry,” he needs to counter Choudary’s influence in the Muslim community. Then if non-Muslims see that the “humanizing, moderate voices” are really doing something among Muslims to neutralize Islamic supremacists and jihadists, and to counter their appeal, it will be a lot harder for anyone to make the case that “Choudry” “represents Islam” — which of course I have never said anyway.
And that Patel would also praise the likes of Reza Aslan, a Board member of an organization that can’t think of a single move the U.S. should take to counter the actions of the Islamic Republic of Iran, is telling as well:
The role played by Reza Aslan in the conversation was hugely important. He made a few compelling key points. Number one: Islam is a huge religion with a long history. Saying all of its adherents are about one thing – domination – is the very definition of bigotry.
This case would be a lot easier to make if the people Patel praised weren’t so unsavory. Daisy Khan and Reza Aslan are the voices of reason and moderation? Then we are indeed in trouble. Aslan is a Board member for the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), which has clear links to the Islamic Republic of Iran, and he has called for the U.S. to “squeeze a deal out of” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Number two: people like Franklin Graham and Amjad Choudry say they’re on different sides of the debate, but really they represent the same position (and ought to go have coffee together and leave the rest of us alone, as Reza colorfully suggested).
Finally, people like Robert Spencer who seek to intentionally delegitimize moderates are advancing a not-too-subtle form of racism, and their ideas will join anti-Semitism and anti-Catholicism in the dustbin of history.
I don’t “delegitimize moderates.” They do that all by themselves. Daisy Khan said at a Lower Manhattan Community Board meeting that the building was a mosque. I was there. Then she said on ABC News that it wasn’t a mosque. I am supposed to trust her now? And Reza Aslan is part of a group that seems to have numerous links to the bloodthirsty Iranian mullahcracy. Moderate?
And this business about anti-Semitism and anti-Catholicism, in which Patel echoes Aslan and the latest talking points that are making the rounds among the Islamic supremacists, is supremely specious. Jews and Catholics weren’t shooting people at military bases, or hijacking planes and flying them into skyscrapers, or setting off bombs in their underwear on other airplanes, or trying to blow up Times Square, etc. etc. etc. There is simply no comparison between concern about Islamic supremacism and jihad and nativism, which was baseless and indeed racist.
Patel’s agenda is clear, and the Washington Post ought to be ashamed of itself for publishing him — that is, if it had any shame.