I’m always happy to defend the truth and accuracy of my positions, and so I ignored his smears and defamation and accepted the challenge. I asked the Calgary chapter of the Jewish Defense League, the host of my recent talk in Calgary, to help set up the debate. I hadn’t proposed them as providing the venue or the moderator, but only to organize the event, but Soharwardy rejected their involvement, basing his rejection upon years-old false charges against the JDL. He in turn proposed that the Interfaith Council of Calgary host the debate and provide the moderator, and when I rejected that, he proposed the Beth Tzedec synagogue in Calgary, which I also rejected.
Why did I reject his proposals? Because the Interfaith Council of Calgary and Rabbi Shaul Osadchey of the Beth Tzedec Congregation both denounced me when I came to speak in Calgary, before I had said a word, basing their denunciations on the libelous and highly tendentious smears of Leftist and Islamic supremacist groups in the U.S.
The idea that either group could or would host a fair and impartial debate is laughable, and Soharwardy knows that. It is clear that he doesn’t want an open and honest discussion of the agreed-upon topic (“The Qur’an Teaches Violence Against Unbelievers,” with him arguing no and me arguing yes), but a Stalinist show trial in which he and his hand-picked moderator vilify and defame me for “Islamophobia” to the delight of his hand-picked audience.
I’ve noted it many times: why can’t Muslims debate? Why are Muslim spokesmen almost to a man so brittle and insecure about their beliefs that they are afraid to debate them in a genuinely open forum? If they really believe what they’re saying is true, why not defend them in a debate that isn’t rigged? What is Syed Sohwarwardy afraid of?
My agreement to debate stands. If he can come up with a genuinely neutral moderator, I’m there.