I’ve noted many times that many Ahmadi Muslim spokesmen in the West side with their persecutors and carry water for the jihadis. I’ve also noted many times that many Muslim spokesmen in the West are personally viciously rude, absolutely unwilling to engage their foes on the level of rational argumentation, or to accord them basic human respect — manifesting a deeply rooted supremacism and hatred for the Infidel. Both these tendencies were on abundant display in a recent and contentious Twitter exchange I had with Kashif Chaudhry, an Ahmadi who writes Islamic apologetics pieces at the Huffington Post and elsewhere.
I’ve dealt with Chaudhry before, when he claimed in May 2014 that I (like the Taliban and other jihadis) considered the Ahmadiyya to be non-Muslim. I produced evidence of my referring to the Ahmadis as Muslims in 2011 and 2012, showing that Chaudhry was a careless researcher, or a liar, or both. He never, of course, retracted or admitted that his claims had been completely false. And now he has further exposed himself with a deeply dishonest piece at his blog. I will go through it point by point below, because even though Chaudhry’s unwillingness to engage in rational discussion and contemptible personal behavior is obvious even in his piece, people like him have control of the mainstream. Thus they need to be exposed at every opportunity.
“Exchange with Hate Preacher Robert Spencer,” by Kashif Chaudhry, February 16, 2015:
Note first of all that Chaudhry traffics in the spurious concept of “Islamophobia,” a term that the enablers of jihad terror use to intimidate people into thinking it is wrong to oppose jihad terror. This is clear from the fact that anyone and everyone, even someone so energetically pro-Islam as Barack Obama, is tarred with this label for saying or doing anything, no matter how small, in opposition to jihad terror. Chaudhry follows this with an argument from authority, which logicians will tell you is the weakest of all arguments: the British government banned me, thus I must be terrible. Why does Chaudhry believe the British government to be sober and judicious in such rulings? Because he finds this one useful. Apparently Chaudhry would therefore also endorse the British government’s admission of the Saudi Sheikh Mohammed al-Arefe, who has said: “Devotion to jihad for the sake of Allah, and the desire to shed blood, to smash skulls, and to sever limbs for the sake of Allah and in defense of His religion, is, undoubtedly, an honor for the believer. Allah said that if a man fights the infidels, the infidels will be unable to prepare to fight.” If Chaudhry thinks al-Arefe should have been banned, he has to admit that the British government can make an error on such matters. And there goes his whole argument — an easy illustration of exactly why the argument from authority is the weakest of all arguments.
A letter from the UK Home Office said the decision – effective for up to 5 years – was based on Spencer’s vicious Islamophobic views. A government spokesperson reportedly said:
“We condemn all those whose behaviors and views run counter to our shared values and will not stand for extremism in any form.”
The letter to me from the UK Home Office actually said that I was banned for saying: “[Islam] is a religion and is a belief system that mandates warfare against unbelievers for the purpose for establishing a societal model that is absolutely incompatible with Western society because media and general government unwillingness to face the sources of Islamic terrorism these things remain largely unknown.” This is a garbled version of what I actually said, but the meaning is clear enough, and the assertions are accurate. I was, in other words, banned for telling unwelcome truths.
The fact that the UK considers Spencer more hateful than Anjem Chowdhry should alarm anyone to the extent of his bigotry. In reality, they are both made of the same protoplasm.
“The fact that the UK considers Spencer more hateful than Anjem Chowdhry” is not a fact; it’s an assumption. The UK may have other reasons for not moving against Anjem Choudary (why the idiosyncratic spelling of his last name, Kashif?): maybe they don’t want to enrage their so easily enraged Muslim community by moving against him, or maybe he really is an agent of the British government, as has been widely asserted since the fact that he is running around loose puzzles so many people, or maybe it is something else altogether. But this is an example of how Kashif Chaudhry runs with false assumptions.
The BBC reported Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, who had called for Spencer (and his associate Pamela Geller) to be banned from the UK, saying:
“I welcome the home secretary’s ban on Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer from entering the country. This is the right decision. The UK should never become a stage for inflammatory speakers who promote hate.”
A researcher with the anti-fascism organization Hope Not Hate, Matthew Collins, said:
“These two are among some of the most extreme anti-Muslim activists in the world. They’ve nothing to contribute to life in this country. They’re not here to contribute to good community relations. They only wanted to come here and help the EDL stir up more trouble. Britain doesn’t need more hate even just for a few days.”
More arguments from authority. Why should we should trust Vaz and Hope Not Hate? Keith Vaz is a foe of the freedom of speech who, in 1990, actually led a demonstration against Salman Rushdie and The Satanic Verses — something particularly grotesque to contemplate when one recalls that Rushdie was at that time in hiding, in fear for his life after the Iranian death fatwa. Hope Not Hate is likewise a far-Left anti-free speech outfit that for years has demonized all foes of jihad terror as “racists” and “hatemongers.”
In this day and age, bigots who promote racism, antisemitism or Islamophobia are rightly called out by those seeking a peaceful world. Spencer is well known for wrongly claiming that Islam is represented by terrorists like the Taliban. In a recent exchange with him, he claimed the Taliban were true Muslims, but hesitated to call me a Muslim because of my progressive reformist views on Islam. Read Exchange Here: Spencer & Geller identify Taliban – but not Ahmadis – as Muslims.
He is, of course, lying. I never have called the Taliban or anyone else true Muslims. As Islam has no central authority, no group can legitimately claim to be the true Muslims at the expense of any other group. What Chaudhry is trying to obscure here is that I have often noted that the Taliban and groups like them make recruits among peaceful Muslims by pointing to the Qur’an and Muhammad, and that Muslims (like Chaudhry) who claim to reject their view of Islam have never formulated an alternative compelling enough to stop that recruitment. And as I noted above about my supposedly refusing to call Ahmadis Muslims, I showed him to be lying in my rebuttal piece, but he never retracted.
I belong to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, one of the largest organized communities of Muslims worldwide, with tens of millions of members in over 200 countries in the world, united under His Holiness, the Khalifa of Islam. We promote universal justice, freedom of conscience and speech, and free exchange and criticism of ideas in accordance with the teachings of Islam. We extend humanitarian service in all parts of the world irrespective of faith or creed (e.g. www.muslimsforlife.org). We condemn violent Jihad, and apostasy and blasphemy laws as un-Islamic and inhumane, and champion the separation of Church and State. We speak loudly for the rights of persecuted minorities in parts of the Muslim world, just as we despise persecution elsewhere.
In reality, Ahmadis are around one percent of Muslims worldwide: there are about 10 to 20 million Ahmadis out of a Muslim population of over a billion — a minuscule group that is not considered legitimately Muslim by mainstream Sunnis and is violently persecuted as heretical in Pakistan and Indonesia. Chaudhry’s misrepresentation of this and attempt to portray the Ahmadis as numerous and mainstream is odd — but makes sense in light of his vicious attacks on foes of jihad terror: he wants to keep non-Muslims ignorant and complacent about the nature and magnitude of the jihad threat.
Because Muslims like us do not fit the description of the Muslim Spencer wants to project to the world – angry gun-wielding terrorists – he tries hard to discredit us and our views. And when he fails, he bursts into ‘ad hominem mode,’ turning to repeated slander and abuse. Spencer frequents my twitter timeline, and is known for engaging in abusive trolling for hours on end. We recently had another exchange on twitter in which he called me a terrorist enabler, Jihadi apologist etc etc.
Projection. Chaudhry tweets abuse at me occasionally, and I respond — which he then characterizes as “trolling.” As for his being a terror enabler, jihadi apologist, etc., facts are facts. In the balance of his piece he takes numerous tweets from me, but doesn’t reproduce his own — thus giving the impression that I am writing him out of the blue. Anyone can go back to the Twitter feed and see that that is not the case — and that Chaudhry is habitually supercilious, arrogant, contemptuous, and hateful. Like other Leftists and Islamic supremacists, he thinks that those whom he hates don’t deserve even basic human courtesy, and have no rights that he is bound to respect.
Keep in mind, the Ahmadi Muslims are persecuted in parts of the Muslim world, especially in Pakistan, where hundreds have been killed by the Taliban, and the State continues to enforce laws restricting their freedoms and basic human rights. Why would Spencer identify me with my killers?
I don’t do this, of course. In reality, I have noted that Chaudhry and other Ahmadis such as Qasim Rashid and Harris Zafar, instead of standing with me and other defenders of the Ahmadis, stand with their killers and persecutors, and parrot their rhetoric about how opposition to jihad terror is “Islamophobia” and “hatred.”
Robert Spencer co-runs the extreme far right, and Islamophobic, organization “Stop Islamization of America,” which has been listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. FBI defines a hate group as one who’s “primary purpose is to promote animosity, hostility, and malice against persons belonging to a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity/national origin which differs from that of the members of the organization”. The Southern Poverty Law Center has described SIOA as a “propaganda powerhouse” that paints moderate Muslims as radical terrorists. No wonder Spencer was quick to label me a radical and a terror apologist.
“Extreme far right” is meaningless, unless speaking out in defense of the freedom of speech, freedom of conscience and equality of rights of all people before the law is “extreme far right.” The SPLC, as its recent debacle with Ben Carson illustrates, is now in the business (and it’s big business) of branding anyone who dissents from its far-Left views with the “hate” label — it’s a political tool, not genuine or honest analysis. The FBI’s hate group definition that Chaudhry quotes here does not remotely apply either to SIOA as a group or to me as an individual, for we do not promote animosity, hostility, or malice, but rather stand in defense of Constitutional freedoms and recognized principles of human rights that are today being threatened. We’re not a “propaganda powerhouse,” we’re a truth powerhouse — and the truth is that while I did not label Chaudhry a “radical” (how many lies does that make from him so far?), I did indeed call him a “terror apologist.” To rebut that charge by pointing out that the Southern Poverty Law Center says I am a bad person is a quintessential example of an ad hominem attack. Anyway, it will become clear why I called him that as we go on.
The Southern Poverty Law Center website has a long section documenting Spencer’s bigotry. Here is a small excerpt:
“Spencer also attacks individuals and organizations that claim to represent moderate Islam. This is most commonly done through accusations of those entities acting as secret operatives to destroy the West. Spencer engages in fear-mongering through steady reference to theories like “stealth jihad,” eminent “Islamization of America,” and the infiltration of Congress by “Muslim spy interns.”
So attacking individuals and organizations who “claim to represent moderate Islam” is apparently now ipso facto evidence of “bigotry.” Yet are there people who “claim to represent moderate Islam” but who actually do not? Certainly — look at the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), now designated a terror organization by the United Arab Emirates. It’s a “civil rights” group that has seen several of its former officers imprisoned on jihad terror convictions, and that routinely tells Muslims not to cooperate with authorities. False moderates? Absolutely. It’s just the truth — and truth is not bigotry.
Also: “Muslim spy interns”? I have never, as far as I recall, spoken of such a thing, and am not sure what they are. I did a search at Jihad Watch; the phrase did not come up. I suspect that here the SPLC, which has morals comparable to those of its friend Chaudhry, is…lying.
Spencer is known to have associations with European racists and neo-fascists. However, he claims that his contact with them is merely incidental.
This is absolutely false. I’ve never had any associations with European racists and neo-fascists. Not ever. Not once. The assertion that I claim that my “contact with them is merely incidental” assumes that I have acknowledged such associations. I have not, for in reality, I have had associations with some people who were falsely accused of being racists and neo-fascists. Those charges were false. Leftists and Islamic supremacists always try to defame foes of jihad terror as “racist” and “neo-fascist,” often while trying to get them forcibly silenced, which is a quintessentially fascist act.
Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian terrorist who slaughtered 77 people, mostly teens, in Oslo and the nearby island of Utoya on July 22, 2011, referenced Spencer’s writings dozens of times in his 1,500-page manifesto. He believed that Islam was destroying Western civilization.”
According to Heidi Beirich, Deputy Director of SPLC, Geller and Spencer’s writings were “the primary sources for the anti-Muslim propaganda that had helped give voice” to Breivik’s 1500+ page manifesto.
Regarding Breivik, I am no more responsible for his murders than the Beatles were for Charles Manson’s. Those who employ this smear want to give you the impression that I called for violence against innocent people. I have not. If ideas were discredited by people committing violence in their name, Chaudhry’s belief system would have been utterly discredited long ago. Also, Breivik was actually, by his own account, trying to discredit the counter-jihad movement. More on him here as well (scroll down).
The well-known hate preacher is known for his twitter trolling as well. I will address parts of our recent twitter exchange here briefly.
As I said above, Chaudhry is the Twitter troll, for he has actually initiated all of our Twitter contact except one time, when I responded to his chest-thumping that “Islamophobes” feared to debate him by offering to do so. In his piece, he republishes only selected tweets, to give the appearance that I was badgering and chasing him, when actually it was the other way around. Read the whole exchange at Twitter, if you can stomach his arrogance and contemptuousness, and I will publish some of the Tweets he left out below.
1) Doctrine of Jihad
Spencer claimed he was my Savior. “You attack those who defend you against Jihadi terrorism. You are a terrorist enabler,” he kept repeating like a broken record.
Note how Chaudhry’s descriptions of what I say don’t match what I actually said. I never said I was his “Savior” — that isn’t even something I ever would say, to anyone, in any context. Even worse, he quotes me as saying, “You attack those who defend you against Jihadi terrorism. You are a terrorist enabler.” That didn’t ring true to me, so I went back and checked the Twitter exchange, and sure enough, I never said it. Chaudhry fabricated the quote. He might claim that he was paraphrasing, as at one point I said, “I constantly highlight persecution of Ahmadis, yet you attack me,” but the whole idea of quotation marks is that they’re for quotes. If you use them, you should be quoting what someone actually said. Putting things in quotation marks that people didn’t say is a sign of being either sloppy or dishonest, or both. And I wouldn’t have said this, as while I’ve spoken out for the Ahmadis and against their persecution many times, it would be grandiose and silly to say to an Ahmadi that I “defend you against Jihadi terrorism.” Chaudhry wants to make me out to be grandiose and silly, but that doesn’t mean I wrote the words he attributes to me here, and in fact I didn’t. Nor would I use the phrase “Jihadi terrorism.” So…yet another lie from Chaudhry.
And is Chaudhry enabling terror by defaming those who oppose it and speak out against it? Oh, yes. Absolutely. That’s the real hate preaching here.
Lets [sic] be clear. Spencer’s focus is not in fighting ‘Jihadi terror,’ but in insisting that this extremism is real Islam. Any Muslim who does not conform to his imagination is quickly attacked through repeated slander, labelled a terror apologist or even a terrorist.
I’ve never insisted that “extremism is real Islam.” Again, I’ve only pointed out that those called “extremists” claim to represent real Islam, and people like Chaudhry are more interested in pelting me with libels than with fighting their influence in the Muslim community. Note also that he provides no examples of my “slanders,” because he can’t, because there aren’t any.
He misrepresents Islam’s teachings, flaunting the narrative of Jihadist terrorists as authentic and any other as deviant. Spencer is no fan of Muslims like me who fight the ideology of the Jihadists, and are killed in places like Pakistan for standing up to extremism. The reason he doesn’t like us is because we challenge his narrow world view on Islam. A pluralistic, tolerant worldview from a Muslim is anathema to his personal agenda. It terrifies him. This is why, instead of siding with us in this fight, he choses [sic] to fight us instead.
Here again, he offers no quotations showing me “flaunting the narrative of Jihadist terrorists as authentic,” because there are none. And the rest of this is no less fantasy-based. I would love nothing better than to see genuinely pluralistic, tolerant Muslims form a movement to fight the jihad ideology and doctrine within Muslim communities. But genuinely pluralistic, tolerant Muslims are unlikely to be so intolerant as to savage people as “bigots” and “Islamophobes” for pointing out how jihadis use the texts and teachings of Islam toi justify violence and supremacism. Kashif Chaudhry is here indulging in pure projection: he spends his time fighting “Islamophobes” instead of the violent jihadis he supposedly opposes. Meanwhile, I speak out for Ahmadis and against their persecutors — only to have wolves in sheep’s clothing like Chaudhry attack me in turn instead of working with me as an ally.
There is no doubt “Jihadi terrorism” is a real problem. All terrorism is – including “Christian terrorism” in parts of the world like CAR, Uganda, South Sudan and Mexico. We Ahmadi Muslims have been condemning Jihadi violence since the inception of the Community at the hands of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in 1889. For condemning the prevalent belligerent view on Jihad at the time, the founder of the community faced edicts of heresy and death threats by some of his contemporaries.
Condemning is easy. Teaching against the doctrines and beliefs that give rise to it — that’s what’s not being done.
Jihad is an Arabic word which means struggle. I wrote about the Islamic concept of Jihad in this The Record oped: The Doctrine of ‘Jihad. There is doubt that Islam categorically forbids violence. The killing of one human is akin to killing the whole of humanity (5:32). The physical Jihad at the time of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was an existential necessity to defend against onslaughts, and protect religious freedom. In this age, Ahmadi Muslims engage in a Jihad of the pen through intellectual discourse to debunk myths about Islam and its Holy Prophet. The Muslim Writers Guild of America, of which I have been a former Chairman, is one such forum.
“There is doubt that Islam categorically forbids violence. The killing of one human is akin to killing the whole of humanity (5:32).” This is particularly cynical and deceptive in light of the fact that Chaudhry must know that the very next verse, Qur’an 5:33, says this: “Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment.”
Instead of doggedly insisting that I recognize the Jihadists who are out to kill me as true representatives of my faith, I invite Spencer to side with me against their narrative, which I consider inhumane and unIslamic. He won’t accept this invitation because my peaceful intellectual narrative is a threat to his bigoted agenda. The whole hate empire he has built comes crashing down with such an admission. A Muslim fighting the Jihadis, yet claiming to follow Islam? Let’s call him a terror apologist. Smh!
This is funny — he is inviting me to side with him and I am inviting him to side with me. Which one of us is bluffing? Let’s see: he wants me to side with him? Very well. I hereby invite him to stand with us and attend our AFDI Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest on May 3, 2015 in Garland, Texas. I’ll pay for his ticket. By attending, he can show that is against the “inhumane and unIslamic” jihadis who murder people over cartoons, and demonstrate that he is as “pluralistic” and “tolerant” as he claims to be by attending an event that may contain material he finds offensive, so as to show that he stands for the freedom of speech and tolerance and pluralism, and will not demand suppression of the free speech or murder just because he is offended. I hope he will accept this invitation. Meanwhile, I’d be glad to speak at any Ahmadi anti-jihad terror event, and will travel there at my own expense. So which of us is sincere about being willing to stand with the other and which is lying? Your move, Mr. Chaudhry.
Spencer claims I must accept him as my Savior. In fact, he is only the Savior for the extremist narrative that I fight.
Again: Chaudhry should back up this false claim, which sounds here in the language that he uses here as if he is trying to claim that I am blaspheming Christ, or retract it. But I won’t be holding my breath.
2) Death for Apostasy
In the same conversation, Spencer said the “dangerous” Koran prescribes death for apostates.
It will come as no surprise to anyone who has read this far that Chaudhry actually initiated the exchange about apostasy by claiming that death for apostasy was Biblical, not Qur’anic, and that jihadis who murdered people for apostasy were actually following the Bible, not the Qur’an. More importantly, I just checked the whole exchange on Twitter, and never once did I call the Qur’an “dangerous.” I see now that I didn’t even need to answer Chaudhry, as he was going to put words in my mouth anyway.
“Are you referring to this verse?” I asked:
“If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying: Let us go and worship other gods (gods that neither you nor your fathers have known, gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other, or gods of other religions), do not yield to him or listen to him. Show him no pity. Do not spare him or shield him. You must certainly put him to death. Your hand must be the first in putting him to death, and then the hands of all the people. You shall stone him to death with stones, because he sought to draw you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. And all Israel shall hear and fear and never again do any such wickedness as this among you.” (Deuteronomy 13:6-11)
Deuteronomy 17:3-5 and 2 Chronicles 15:13 reinforce the same injunction about death for apostates.
Spencer became furious. “You are a terrorist enabler,” he said. Christians do not act on these verses anymore, he claimed.
“I am glad they don’t,” I responded. But show me ONE verse in the Koran that speaks of death for apostasy. He mentioned 4:89.
I just checked: I never wrote the words “You are a terrorist enabler” to Chaudhry during this entire exchange — yet another lie. In fact, I responded to his Biblical quote by saying, as he reproduces in his piece, that “neither Jews nor Christians view Bible this way.” Neither Judaism nor Christianity teaches death for apostasy, or murders apostates. Both interpret this passage as referring to a specific time and place, or spiritualize it. Only Muslims are killing apostates, but he claims that is all a misunderstanding:
This verse speaks of specific hypocrites – not apostates – who were keen on fighting the State of Medina. “They (hypocrites mentioned in preceding verse) long that ye should disbelieve even as they disbelieve, that ye may be upon a level (with them). So choose not friends from them till they forsake their homes in the way of Allah; if they turn back (to enmity) then take them and kill them wherever ye find them, and choose no friend nor helper from among them.”
The reference here is to those Bedouin tribes that had formed mutual alliances with Muslims, but were planning on entering into a confederation with the Meccans against Prophet Muhammad at the same time. Muslims were advised against befriending such hypocrites. In case they resorted to treason through open hostilities, Muslims were commanded to engage them in a fight. The next verse makes this even clearer. In 4:90, God forbade the Muslims from fighting those of the hypocrites that remained peaceful. “…if they hold aloof from you and wage not war against you and offer you peace, Allah alloweth you no way against them.”
Where is apostasy mentioned?
Right here: “So choose not friends from them till they forsake their homes in the way of Allah; if they turn back (to enmity) then take them and kill them wherever ye find them.” They “forsake their homes in the way of Allah,” that is, they leave their pagan communities and join the Muslims. But then they turn back, i.e., they leave Islam. In any case, Chaudhry tries to argue that this passage refers only to one specific incident, never to be repeated. Then why is it in the perfect book that is applicable for all times and places? And where did the “extremists” who are murdering people for apostasy get the idea, if it wasn’t in the Qur’an, as well as the Hadith, which has Muhammad saying, “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him” (Bukhari 9.84.57)?
The Koran upholds free speech and freedom of conscience. I have debated this with an anti-Islam anti-theist activist here: Does the Koran Endorse Apostasy Laws? Spencer is free to rebut the piece.
Funny how so very many Muslims misunderstand Islam regarding both the freedom of speech and the freedom of conscience.
For a detailed scholarly take on this subject, I invite readers to study this chapter on apostasy from the book Murder In The Name of Allah by Mirza Tahir Ahmad, the late fourth Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
Spencer immediately took to the back foot. Some other Muslims “interpret” the verse this way, he claimed. This was subtle admission that the verse itself said nothing of the sort he implied. It was not the Koran, but “interpretations” by men that he was leaning on.
Why not show the screenshots of me taking “to the back foot” and making this “subtle admission” that he was right? Because it didn’t happen that way at all. Here is the exchange that followed Chaudhry’s screenshot above. Note that I don’t say anything about “some other Muslims” interpreting the verse. That’s right: Chaudhry is lying yet again.
Note again the arrogance and condescension.
1) Show me ONE verse in Koran that speaks of death for apostasy, without relying on “interpretations” by others, let alone terrorists?
Note his inconsistency here: he relies on a dubious reading of incidents from Muhammad’s biography above, and invokes the interpretation of Mirza Tahir Ahmad to explain away Qur’an 4:89, but he won’t allow me to use “‘interpretations’ by others.” Anyway, if he won’t accept 4:89, there is this: “And whoever of you reverts from his religion and dies while he is a disbeliever – for those, their deeds have become worthless in this world and the Hereafter, and those are the companions of the Fire, they will abide therein eternally.” (Qur’an 2:217)
Since scriptures cannot be properly understood in isolation from the communities that revere them, I am going to refer to a Muslim interpretation of this, and not one from a “terrorist,” but from the Tafsir al-Qurtubi, a classic and thoroughly mainstream exegesis of the Qur’an. About 2:217, Qurtubi says this: “Scholars disagree about whether or not apostates are asked to repent. One group say that they are asked to repent and, if they do not, they are killed. Some say they are given an hour and others a month. Others say that they are asked to repent three times, and that is the view of Malik. Al-Hasan said they are asked a hundred times. It is also said that they are killed without being asked to repent.” Al-Qurtubi died in 1273. He was not a terrorist, but a scholar of the Qur’an and Islamic law. How did he come to misunderstand this passage so drastically, and report that the various schools of Islamic law also misunderstood it as to mean that apostates should be killed?
2) If you are indeed honest in your hatred for such cruel punishments for mere free choice, would you condemn the Biblical verses I referenced above? Shall we remove them from the Bible?
Yes, certainly, I’d absolutely condemn anyone who departed from Jewish and Christian tradition and took these verses as meaning that apostates should be killed today. There are, of course, no such people. Anyway, there is no need to remove these verses from the Bible, any more than there is any need to remove 2:217 and 4:89 from the Qur’an, and it would be impractical (and indeed, impossible) to do either, since they’re revered as scripture. What is needed is an interpretation of these passages that actually convinces those who are killing apostates that it is wrong, and that they should stop. Kashif Chaudhry seems much more interested in making sure that people like me who point out that traditional Islamic law actually carries such a penalty are vilified than in making sure that Muslims are not actually carrying out the penalty.
3) Death For Blasphemy
Spencer then mentioned the punishment of blasphemy in certain Muslim-majority countries as proof of Koran’s evil nature. Once again, I asked Spencer if he was referring to this verse:
“Anyone who blasphemes the name of the LORD is to be put to death. The entire assembly must stone them. Whether foreigner or native-born, when they blaspheme the Name they are to be put to death.” (Leviticus 24:16)
Spencer said no Christian or Jew followed these laws anymore. Thats [sic] great to know. I pray extremist Mullahs in parts of the Muslim world also stop following these unIslamic Biblical laws. The Ahmadi Muslims condemn blasphemy laws in Pakistan and elsewhere. They have no basis in the Koran whatsoever.
After the tragic Charlie Hebdo attacks, I penned down this oped on Blasphemy: Reacting To Charlie Hebdo — Two Extremes. Read and see for yourself what the Koran says.
Here again, Chaudhry begs the question: if these laws are Biblical and not Qur’anic, why is it that only the Islamic Republic of Pakistan has a death penalty for blasphemy? There are myriad people in Pakistan who devote their lives to studying the Qur’an and Islam. They know that Muhammad had people put to death for insulting him. Muhammad ordered the deaths of Abu Afak, who was over one hundred years old, and the poetess Asma bint Marwan, for making fun of him. Abu Afak was killed in his sleep, in response to Muhammad’s question, “Who will avenge me on this scoundrel?” Similarly, Muhammad on another occasion cried out, “Will no one rid me of this daughter of Marwan?” One of his followers, “Umayr ibn Adi, went to her house that night, where he found her sleeping next to her children. The youngest, a nursing babe, was in her arms. But that didn’t stop Umayr from murdering her and the baby as well. Muhammad commended him: “You have done a great service to Allah and His Messenger, Umayr!” (Ibn Ishaq, 674-676)
Then there was Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf. Muhammad asked: “Who is willing to kill Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf who has hurt Allah and His Apostle?” One of the Muslims, Muhammad bin Maslama, answered, “O Allah’s Apostle! Would you like that I kill him?” When Muhammad said that he would, Muhammad bin Maslama said, “Then allow me to say a (false) thing (i.e. to deceive Kab).” Muhammad responded: “You may say it.” Muhammad bin Maslama duly lied to Ka’b, luring him into his trap, and murdered him. (Bukhari 5.59.369)
Pakistani supporters of the blasphemy laws take Muhammad’s example as normative, as they’re commanded to do in Qur’an 33:21. How did the huge numbers of people in Pakistan who support the death penalty for blasphemy, and celebrate Mumtaz Qadri, the killer of a foe of the blasphemy laws, as a hero (there is even a mosque named after him) come to misunderstand Islam so spectacularly?
Spencer then mentioned Kaab and Asma as examples of people punished for their free speech. In fact, Kaab was punished for inciting war and partnering with a warring enemy. Asma’s account is controversial, many scholars considering it a fabrication. No wonder Spencer has to rely on fabricated or distorted accounts, and not the Koran, to prove his own point – and that of the extremists. Why would he go to such lengths to prove the extremists right, and me wrong?
Again we hear the familiar excuses: blasphemers weren’t really killed for blasphemy, it is all a misunderstanding. So how did Muslims get this wrong idea in the first place, and why did it become so widespread? If the account of the killing of Asma is a fabrication, why did it become a cornerstone of Islamic law regarding blasphemy, with all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence teaching death for blasphemy?
And as for trying to “prove the extremists right, and [Chaudhry] wrong,” that is not the point at all. The point is that Chaudhry and his ilk are not addressing the material that the “extremists” use to justify their actions in a way that directly confronts the “extremist” understanding and challenges the “extremists” to see that they’re wrong on Islamic grounds. If they’re not doing that, then they’re just lulling Infidels into complacency by making them think that the jihad threat is not nearly as large or lethal as it is. And the “extremists” are likely to see Chaudhry’s dismissal of the cases of Ka’b and Asma as based on inaccuracies, since there is indication that Muhammad did put people to death simply for insulting him, as in this hadith: “Narrated Ali ibn AbuTalib: A Jewess used to abuse the Prophet and disparage him. A man strangled her till she died. The Apostle of Allah declared that no recompense was payable for her blood.” (Sunan Abu Dawud 38.4349)
Related: Read renowned author, lawyer and Muslim leader Mr. Qasim Rashid’s book on common Islamophobe allegations against Islam: EXTREMIST: A Response to Geert Wilders & Terrorists Everywhere.
Qasim Rashid: another desperately dishonest and viciously arrogant individual — links to many refutations of his deceptive pieces are here.
1) Show me ONE verse in the Koran that prescribes death for blasphemy?
Muslim defenders of the death penalty for blasphemy point to Qur’an 5:33, quoted above, and to this: “Indeed, those who abuse Allah and His Messenger – Allah has cursed them in this world and the Hereafter and prepared for them a humiliating punishment. And those who harm believing men and believing women for [something] other than what they have earned have certainly born upon themselves a slander and manifest sin. O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful. If the hypocrites and those in whose hearts is disease and those who spread rumors in al-Madinah do not cease, We will surely incite you against them; then they will not remain your neighbors therein except for a little. Accursed wherever they are found, [being] seized and massacred completely.” (Qur’an 33:57-61) Chaudhry will surely say that the curse in this world for those who abuse Allah and his messenger doesn’t refer to being put to death, and that the later reference to those who are to be “massacred completely” doesn’t refer to “those who abuse Allah and his messenger,” but unfortunately, all too Muslims believe otherwise. What is he doing to convince them?
2) If you are honest in your disgust for blasphemy laws, would you condemn the specific verses of the Bible that speak of this barbarity? Just as I condemn all States – Muslim or otherwise – that have blasphemy laws in place.
I happily and unhesitatingly condemn anyone who advocates any violence or commits any act of violence against anyone considered to be a blasphemer. Neither Judaism nor Christianity actually teach death for blasphemy, but Chaudhry completely ignores the interpretative traditions and history of both religions, and pretending that everything in their scriptures applies to all people at all times and in all places. This is not the case, and never has been the case. And yes, I also condemn all States, Muslim or otherwise, that have blasphemy laws in place, and call for the repeal of all such laws.
4) Prophet of terror?
Spencer then claimed that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was a man of terror. He referenced this quote attributed to Prophet Muhammad in a narration: “I have been made victorious with terror.”
The Arabic word used in the narration is “Ru’b,” which is Arabic for awe, panic or trance. It is also used in another narration. The Prophet (pbuh) said:
“I was given victory through Ru`b. The enemy becomes filled with Ru`b even though they are the distance of a month’s journey away from me.”(Ahmad #20337).
This makes it clear that he was referring to the awe, fright or panic the enemies felt when plotting against him from afar. Indeed, we see that his enemies were never successful against him despite much larger numbers and equipment. This psychological fear prevented further attacks on the Muslims and saved many lives, and the unnecessary hardships of war.
Chaudhry’s argument is particularly weak here. He is claiming that Muhammad did not mean and apparently could not possibly have meant that his enemies were filled with terror even when they were far away from him. But why not? It is much more likely that an army about to go to war and seeing that the odds were against it would be filled with terror than with awe.
1) Why did you mislead your readers (as always) by implying that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) meant violence when he used the word ‘Ru’b?’
Chaudhry put it this way during our Twitter exchange: “he didn’t use the word terror. You lied again. Arabic is ‘ru’b’ meaning fear in enemy.” Apparently then he also thinks that the Muslims over at quranexplorer.com lied also, as they translated ru’b as “terror” in the passage to which I was referring: “Allah’s Apostle said, ‘I have been sent with the shortest expressions bearing the widest meanings, and I have been made victorious with terror (cast in the hearts of the enemy)…” (Bukhari 4.52.220).
In any case, the implication that Muhammad meant violence doesn’t in the least rest on this hadith alone. There are so many others, such as these two: in one hadith, Muhammad is depicted as saying: “I have been commanded to fight against people so long as they do not declare that there is no god but Allah, and he who professed it was guaranteed the protection of his property and life on my behalf except for the right affairs rest with Allah.” (Sahih Muslim 30) The bit about protection for life and property makes it clear that this is about hot warfare fighting, not figurative fighting. Muhammad is also depicted as saying: “Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war…When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withhold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them….If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah’s help and fight them.” (Sahih Muslim 4294)
2) In Mathew 10-34, Jesus is reported to have said: “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” I do not believe Jesus (on whom be peace) was a man of terror, but the Jesus presented in this verse does not appear to be as peaceful as the one I read in the Koran. Do you believe Jesus was a man of terror based on what you consider his own authentic words?
No, and the best response to this ridiculous claim that Jesus advocated terror in this statement is the simple fact that while there have been over 25,000 jihad terror attacks worldwide since 9/11, each carried out by a Muslim invoking the Qur’an and Muhammad to justify his actions, there have been absolutely no terror attacks, not one, committed by a Christian anywhere who justified it by quoting Jesus saying he came to bring not peace, but a sword. This is because all — all — Christian exegetes understand this passage not as advocating violence, but in other ways.
After each rebuttal, Spencer would change the topic of the conversation.
I changed the topic of conversation, eh? Well, you see his screenshot there. Now let’s see it in context — you know how much Islamic supremacists love context:
Does that look to you as if I was changing the topic of conversation? Yet another lie.
He then agreed to debate me on “Islamophobia.” What is there to debate about it? Islamophobia and antisemitism are evils that the world must denounce and call out. This is exactly why countries like the UK have decided to bar Spencer from entry. He is a dangerous hate preacher who’s [sic] empire is built on lies and false propaganda.
What is there to debate about it? How about this: is it real? I offered to debate him on the thesis of whether or not Islamophobia was a trumped-up term designed to intimidate people into fearing to oppose jihad terror. I would argue yes, he would argue no. He responded only with contempt, of course.
He is part of an industry that is well-funded to spread fear of the minority Muslims in the West. Read this report on this industry: The Islamophobia network.
I’ll be writing a rebuttal to this in the next few days. Suffice it to say now that this report, which makes so much (and quite inaccurately) of money that disparate organizations have received over a period of years, was created by a group that brings in more money in one year than all of these groups combined over many years. The well-heeled network is the one that is trying to convince people that “Islamophobia” is a big problem (even though hate crimes against Muslims are rare and far outstripped in numbers by hate crimes against Jews) and that the freedom of speech must be shut down in order to prevent it.
When I mentioned this to Spencer, he became furious. In his madness, he indadvertedly admitted to benefitting from this network.
Here again, what I actually said is nothing like what he made it out to be. There is no “Islamophobia Network.” Neither I nor anyone else benefits from this nonexistent entity.
See, I have nothing personal against Spencer. I am only opposed to bigotry – be it racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia etc etc. I am equally vocal against the Mullahs in the Muslim world.
Really? Where and when?
Those Christians who blindly follow hate preachers here in the USA are no different from those ignorant Muslims who follow extremist Mullahs and hate preachers in countries like Pakistan.
Really? Where are the “Christians who blindly follow hate preachers here in the USA” blowing people up, beheading people, flying planes into buildings, etc.?
It is time my fellow Christian friends condemn their own Mullahs, just as we loudly condemn our own. Extremism and bigotry should be sidelined, and taken out of the mainstream.
You see what he is trying to do: fool people into thinking that opposing jihad terror is the same thing as advocating it. The endgame is that foes of jihad terror would be silenced, thus allowing the jihad to advance unopposed and unimpeded. That makes him the real hate preacher here.
While I preach this, Spencer’s ad hominem attacks continue. Who cares about intellectual discourse?
I do. Kashif Chaudhry doesn’t. He ends his piece with copies of tweets from me supposedly making ad hominem attacks. He conveniently leaves out all the hateful tweets he was sending to me. So to get the full picture, here are a few of his own tweets that he left out of his piece:
That’s right: he offered a debate in the Huffington Post. When I asked him how to go about submitting my part, he said I was “chickening out,” and that he would post his piece on his blog. Clearly he wasn’t interested in debate at all, but in a platform to defame me in which I would not have a chance to respond.
He was also repeatedly and venomously abusive, belying his self-righteous posturing:
You get the idea: the same adolescent taunts, unstinting contempt, and defamatory charges of ill-gotten gains and “hate” that we see from other Islamic supremacists such as Reza Aslan, Qasim Rashid, etc. These people are incapable of or unwilling to have a rational discussion in an atmosphere of mutual respect. They have a need to demean and belittle that betrays their own insecurity and awareness that they can’t really defend their positions — all they can do is try to hide that fact with bluster.
And it is to clear away that bluster that I write these lengthy, tedious posts — to help people of good will see that their arguments, however superficially impressive they may be, are actually hollow, and to show that these strutting, preening, self-infatuated emperors have no clothes. The mainstream accolades and respect they enjoy come to them because they parrot the establishment line, not because of their competence or acumen. They have all the money and all the power, and all the moneyed institutions that they can get to validate their hatreds and libels, but intellectually and morally they are bereft. That is the low state of the world these days.