Now more than ever, Muslim and non-Muslim Islamic apologists are making broad-based and inaccurate attacks on my scholarship and integrity; but when it comes to backing up their claims in debate with me, they suddenly get cold feet. The list of Islamic “scholars” and non-Muslim “experts” who have refused to debate me keeps growing; it now includes Ahmed Afzaal; Akbar Ahmed; Karen Armstrong; Reza Aslan; Jamal Badawi; Robert Crane; Dinesh D’Souza (although I did best him in debate at CPAC in 2007, he refuses a return engagement, perhaps sensing the outcome would be the same); Carl Ernst; John Esposito; Mark LeVine; Khaleel Mohammed; Grover Norquist; Ahmed Rehab; Louay Safi; and the viciously mendacious academic propagandist Omid Safi, who ought to have been fired from UNC-Chapel Hill long ago for his vile false claim that I had sent him death threats.
And now we can add Juan Cole, the heavy hitter who has equated Sarah Palin with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and defended Saudi Wahhabism. Jihad Watch reader David wrote to him asking him to debate me. He received this response from Cole:
Spencer is a fraud with no academic credentials in Islamic studies. For me to debate him would bestow on him a level of legitimacy his falsehoods have not earned him.
When David sent that to me, I wrote this back to him and to Cole:
Hello, David. Manifestly, from what is below, it is Juan Cole who is the fraud, hiding behind the MESA ideological control of the academy to cover up his mediocrity and utter intellectual vacuity. He does not and cannot point out anything false in what I say, and smears me to hide the fact that he cannot defend his own positions and fears to debate me. In reality, if I were the “fraud” he says, he could debate me, win handily, and in doing so show me up. After all, he cannot deny that my work has influence — how many bestselling books has he written again? Isn’t it interesting that neither this coward nor any of his fellow academic poseurs, although their influence is far lesser than mine, will deign to do the world the service of showing me up publicly and thereby ending my baneful influence forever? Could it be that they can’t do it? Sure looks like it, as Cole cowers in fear, fashions excuses, and slings insults. All that is easy. Refuting my work is not so easy.
Meanwhile, speaking of debates, I had neglected to note a speaking engagement this Friday on my calendar, and thus inadvertently scheduled a conflict when I agreed to a rematch with the hapless Moustafa Zayed at that time. When I discovered the conflict I asked that the debate be rescheduled, and it has now been set for the following week, August 12, at 9PM EDT. The wretched Zayed took advantage of my request to claim that I was ducking him, thus revealing his utter desperation, but after all, he can only hope to win by lying. Here is our first debate, and watch for the rematch on the 12th: