Saturday, March 29, 2008

Fitna is good propaganda, but we still need an Anti-Islamic Manual

The anti-Islamic short by Geert Wilders entitled Fitna is a good rhetorical ploy in the ongoing War of Ideas. But it is no substitute for our most exigent necessity: an Anti-Islamic Manual.


Because it is not merely Muslims who would protest against
Fitna. It is the vast swathe of the broad majority of Westerners who will deem it to be an inflammatory propaganda piece motivated by “Islamophobia”. For, the essence of Fitna is the linkage between the core text of Islam—the Koran—and various expressions of violence by certain Muslims in various locales around the world. That linkage is not permitted according to PC MC, and most people in the West will dismiss Fitna as an unfair attempt at such linkage.

Not only that. Fitna provides only the barest of bones of a schematic of the Problem of Islam. Certainly, that schematic is more than enough for loyal Jihad Watchers. But most Jihad Watchers do not seem to understand that most of the West does not think like them. What eminently suffices for Jihad Watchers does not suffice for most Westerners who are still beholden to the PC MC paradigm. Therefore, much more is needed to turn the worldview of the West, profoundly formed by PC MC as it is, around to rationality with regard to the menace of an Islam Redivivus.

Only an Anti-Islamic Manual will help to begin to chip away at the PC MC paradigm that massively prevents the contemplation of the possibility that the founding texts and the historical traditions of classical Islam are, in fact, a major source of the violence exhibited by Muslims all over the world.
For, the film Fitna is missing most of the Sunnah—which is as important (if not more so) to the majority of Muslims than the Koran—, as well as many key verses of the Koran and tafsirs thereof that would copiously supplement its point. In addition, Fitna is lacking in documentation of current legal rulings by Islamic clerics and scholars of the 20th and 21st centuries that reflect and keep alive the supremacist barbarism of medieval Islam.

Without such an Anti-Islamic Manual, Fitna will make a brief splash, but will end up being a drop in the bucket—or worse yet, it will add its splash to the bewildering ocean of too much information, luxuriantly disorganized and confusingly complex, about Islam out there.


Nobody said...

The manual, as we've discussed in the past, would be a good tool for those already grasping the situation trying to convince others. But in terms of an emotional persuation tool for the Infidel audience, these documentaries - Fitna, Islam: WTWNTN and to a lesser extent, Obsession, all deal with the average audience at their level, whereas when you start getting into hadiths, tafseers and quranic verses, you risk people glazing their eyes around the room.

One thing I've concluded - deal with the average audience at their level, rather than at a scholarly plane. Most people aren't scholars, and neither are most Islamic apologists, and most of the books that would supplement what we are discussing here have been out there, but read only by those interested in this topic. OTOH, when one makes or takes a movie composed of current events, appropriately overlaid with evidence that Islam sanctions the evil activities of its followers, it forces the pro-Muslim apologists to either hurl abuse at the movie makers (that's something you'll get either way), but at the same time, makes it more difficult for them to argue.

From an intellectual standpoint, I do think that the side that can produce sources from Islamic texts would normally have an edge; however, from a practical conversational standpoint, when following such discussions, I'd rather leave it to the Mohammedans to pull out the Islamic texts rather than have our side do it. Reason being - the side that does it is more likely to lose the audience, while the side that doesn't, and instead uses the available evidence - is more likely to end up winning converts (in a manner of speaking)

A manual would be good, but it would have to be light on verse citations, and instead, when one is running a conversation, it's better to say 'Islam calls for...' rather than 'Quran 8:60 states...'. The latter should only be invoked if the other side insists on it being provided, so that they are the ones explaining 'No, verse 8:20 calls for...', thereby making them be the ones risking losing the audience.

Sorry to say it, but the effect needs to trump the content

Erich said...


I think you're misunderstanding my position on the AIM (Anti-Islamic Manual).

First of all, I don't advocate AIM as a replacement for presentations like "Fitna" -- but as a necessary supplement.

The problem with the prevailing PC MC mindset is that when presentations like "Fitna" are published, immediately a whole set of axioms are triggered by PC MC people (who are the majority in the West).

It is those automatically triggered axioms that the AIM is to deal with. Presentations like "Fitna" do not provide any way to deal with those axioms. We need a comprehensive yet concise way to deal with them.

Secondly, I dispute that the AIM will be rocket science, and therefore over the heads of most people. One major point I have argued in my previous essays about AIM is that it most definitely should NOT be rocket science. (That is why I objected to the ways that Archimedes and Carol drafted their contributions to the fledgling project of an AIM that never got off the ground -- their drafts were way too complex.) There is a basic grasp of Islam that cannot be avoided, and I believe that grasp being part of an AIM can be utilized in efficient and simple ways that will not be "scholarly". Words like "tafsir" can easily be explained as "commentary" -- but the general PC MC public has to know how vitally important "tafsirs" are to shaping the Muslim mind. This need not be accomplished by providing scholarly essays about "tafsirs", but simply by

1) using tafsirs (commentaries) wherever they relevantly buttress our point

2) simply pointing out (and providing citations to at least 3 instances of evidence -- writings/speeches of clerics) that tafsirs are extremely important to Islamic culture.

Finally, to sort of repeat my first point way up above, the AIM is not so much a front-line propaganda tool: the user of AIM does not begin the conversation by opening up his Manual and thumbing through and reading long passages to his bored listener. No, the user of AIM has his Manual handy whenever PC MC people have their automatic elbow spasms of reaction against anything critical about Islam -- and since that happens all the time, virtually anywhere and everywhere (whether in response to a news item, or in response to a presentation critical of Islam, etc.), we will be unable to deal definitively with those spastic reactions without having the facts at our fingertips. I'm a reasonably intelligent guy and Lord knows I have been reading about Islam for years now, but I commonly find myself in situations where I am at a loss to continue the argument effectively after the front line has been breached (whether occasioned by "Fitna" or anything else). Frequently, I find myself in a situation where I have to "get back to" the person I'm discussing the issue with, while I go off and try to slog through mountains of semi-relevant excesses of information & analyses of Islam that exist on the Net before I can pinpoint the specific constellation of facts that deal directly with the discussion I was having.

The AIM would make that virtually unnecessary.

While the AIM, once published, would work fairly easily, the process of getting AIM research, put together, and published will be far more difficult and would involve thousands of hours and competent researchers and writers (including a few Arabic readers), and unavoidably, contributions of money.

crs said...

another FITNA

Kab-bin-Ashraf said...


You wrote:

"...the film Fitna is missing most of the Sunnah—which is as important (if not more so) to the majority of Muslims than the Koran..."

That statement is misleading at best. The Quran is almost universally claimed by Muslims to be the most important book. The Hadith (the most important part of the Sunnah from a legal standpoint) is important, but not as important as the Quran. The Hadith provides context that helps them interpret the Quran, but that does not mean it is as important or more so.

You might argue that, regardless of what Muslims say, the Hadith (or Sunnah) is as important as--if not more so than--the Quran, but if you were to argue that you would probably have to drop the "to the majority of Muslims" part of your claim. In any case, you would still have to acknowledge that most Muslims believe the Quran is most important.

Erich said...


"That statement is misleading at best. The Quran is almost universally claimed by Muslims to be the most important book."

I used to think so too, until I found an interesting little statement, by the Muslim professor of law, Chibli Mallat:

“...none [of the 4 schools of Islamic law] would disagree with the statement attributed to the Syrian jurist Awza’i (died 774 a.d.) that the Book is in greater need of the sunnah than sunnah is of the Book.”

From Islamic to Middle Eastern Law a Restatement of the Field (Part I)
Chibli Mallat
The American Journal of Comparative Law, Vol. 51, No. 4 (Autumn, 2003), p. 724.

The above statement was also affirmed by another scholar which I read of Islam writing almost 100 years ago, but for which I lost the reference for now.

Kab-bin-Ashraf said...


The phrasing you used, which I addressed, concerned "important" and "most Muslims." I think you would be hard pressed to find any Muslim who believes the Hadith is as (or more) "important" than the Quran. The couple of scholars you cite do not say the Sunnah or Hadith are more important than the Quran. In any case, you initially said "most Muslims," not "a couple of scholars say..."

At the very least take this a caution that if you try to use your claim against an Islamic apologist they will easily counter what you are saying and you will have lost credibility in the eyes of the audience. This is a very basic, Islam 101 point: The Quran is regarded by practically all Muslims as the most important book/text in Islam.

Erich said...


I will marshall a talent I have learned from reading Spencer over the years: what seems to be punctiliously weaselly quibbling (of which he is a master):

I wrote:

" the Sunnah—which is as important (if not more so) to the majority of Muslims than the Koran..."

This may sound like a fine point, but what I wrote is not exactly the same as saying what your language implies I said, namely (emphasis in caps mine):

"...Muslim who BELIEVES the Hadith is as (or more) "important" than the Quran"

"The Quran is REGARDED BY practically all Muslims as the most important book/text in Islam."

What I said in my quote of myself above is that the Sunnah is as important if not more so TO most Muslims -- my statement does not speak to the mental reception or apprehension of those Muslims. The scholar I cited speaks of all the schools of Islamic law establishing that the Sunnah is of higher importance than the Koran (the Koran needs the Sunnah MORE than vice versa) -- and insofar as Islamic law is central to the inculcation of religious culture in Islam over the ages, "most Muslims" would be steeped in a view they may not consciously willfully advert to if a pollster asked them "is the Koran more important than the Sunnah", but which nonetheless influences their worldview on life and truth (= Islam).

This does not negate the obviously talismanic significance of the Koran in the Muslim psyche and not one iota of the obsessive reverence for the Koran need be detracted while acknowledging the profoundly influential and unique role of the Sunnah in concretizing the Koran for Islamic psychology and society.

As unicorns like Tom Haidon show us, a Koran devoid of a Sunnah is like a fish out of water: a useless fantasy. The Sunnah is that necessary all-encompassing medium for the Koran to exert its role.

Kab-bin-Ashraf said...


Saying that the Sunnah is more important than the Quran will be read as a wrong statement by anyone who knows even the basics about this. The reader will automatically assume you don't know what you're talking about, unless you add some long explanation about how you think the Sunnah is really more important for whatever reasons you care to cite. You can avoid the whole problem by rephrasing the misleading statement instead of wasting so much energy trying to defend it. I see no problem with simply saying that the Sunnah is also important. There's simply no need for you to say, misleadingly, that the Sunnah is as important (if not more so)

You wrote: "my statement does not speak to the mental reception or apprehension of those Muslims."

Yes it can. "To Muslims." What more can I say?

Give up, for goodness sake. You've made a misleading statement. Just acknowledge it and then improve the wording to avoid misunderstanding. Is your goal with the statement in question, in your article, to make the point that Sunnah is important to Muslims and should have been included in Fitna, or is it to take the reader off on some tangent about whether the Sunnah is more important than the Quran?

Erich said...


I understand your last points and I largely agree. However, the context in which statements are embedded, and the way those statements are embedded and presented, make a difference.

Had I made the issue of Sunnah vs. Koran the dominant theme of my post (and still left it unexplained), I would agree totally and would rectify it.

However, my statement was part of a sub-point, and was further embedded as a parenthetical remark -- and that remark was, in addition, rather bland, not bold ("as important as the Koran if not more so"). Finally, readers of my blog can easily scroll down to read the Comments -- in which we are having this discussion that sufficiently deals with any significant problems that arise from whatever inadequacies my original parenthetical remark might be seen to have.

So because of all these factors, I don't see any need to change what stands. Surely, there are enough clues both in my article and in all the Comments for any reader of intelligence to at the very least be provoked into learning more, if not to agree or fruitfully disagree without being irrationally dismayed. As for readers who don't read enough of the pertinent material on my blog before making judgments, they don't concern me.