Sunday, July 12, 2009
Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch recently posted a series of articles about an invitation he had by the American Library Association (ALA) to be part of a panel about Islam.
The first few articles were about how he might be blacklisted and his invitation rescinded—because, of course, he is an “Islamophobe”.
His last article was about how he in fact was disinvited. Indeed, all the other invited panelists quit in protest, for they could not stand to share the stage with this Islamophobe, Robert Spencer—and apparently the whole show was cancelled.
In that last article, Spencer aptly noted three “ironies” in this whole fiasco. Each of the three ironies is a direct quote from the ALA, expressing a solemn support of free speech and free intellectual inquiry:
“ALA actively advocates in defense of the rights of library users to read, seek information, and speak freely as guaranteed by the First Amendment. A publicly supported library provides free and equal access to information for all people of that community. We enjoy this basic right in our democratic society. It is a core value of the library profession.”
“We uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and resist all efforts to censor library resources.”
“We distinguish between our personal convictions and professional duties and do not allow our personal beliefs to interfere with fair representation of the aims of our institutions or the provision of access to their information resources.”
The irony involved here, of course, is that they stifled the free speech of Robert Spencer by succumbing to Muslim pressure and allowing the panel on Islam to be disbanded, rather than standing up to defend Spencer’s right to be part of that panel, as he was originally so invited by them—and in doing so, stifled the concrete expression of the principles of intellectual inquiry and dispassionate scholarly integrity they also claim to uphold.
Spencer himself, however, is guilty of an irony too, and he and virtually all of his followers seem utterly blind to it. And that irony is that Spencer forthrightly and clearly asserted (and has asserted many a time in so many words in the past) that Islam at its core is not a violent doctrine that encourages the murder of non-Muslims.
In response to an allegation made by a CAIR representative in a letter to the ALA arguing against Spencer’s invitation to the panel, charging that Spencer says “... that Islam at its core is a violent doctrine that encourages the murder of non-Muslims....”—Spencer responded that:
“No, I have never said that either, and don't believe it.”
The pièce de résistance of the irony here is that even though Spencer strenuously and directly disavowed this accusation, he still got disinvited from the ALA panel!
So if Spencer is maintaining these soft stances on Islam in the interest of wedging himself more deeply into the mainstream so that the anti-Islam (woops, I mean “anti-Jihad”) fight can have more sociopolitical effect, this strategy doesn’t seem to be working all that well. As I have noted many times before, no matter how much Spencer tries to soften his stance against Islam, he still gets vilified as a “hater” and an “Islamophobe”.
In a related follow-up to this article, Spencer published a criticism of him by a Muslim apologist, and answered one of his charges by stating:
I have never stated that “the interpretations of the fanatics…reflect the core values of Islamic faith and tradition...”
What this means is that Spencer thinks that the interpretations of the fanatics do not reflect the core values of Islamic faith and tradition.
Not only is this a preposterous position for Spencer to assert—to anyone who has been reading Spencer in any length and detail over the years—the preposterousness is bizarrely augmented by subsequent paragraphs in the same missive in which he is answering this Muslim apologist. Spencer goes on to challenge his Muslim critic:
Please supply, specifically, rulings by jurists from any of the recognized Sunni or Shi’ite madhahib, declaring that jihad is not to be waged against unbelievers in order to bring them under the authority of Sharia, but rather that non-Muslims and Muslims are to coexist peacefully as equals under the law on an indefinite basis, even when the law of the land is not Sharia. Please show evidence of any orthodox sect or school of jurisprudence that teaches this.
What Spencer is clearly saying here is that in fact the rulings by jurists from all the recognized Sunni and Shi’ite madhahib declare that jihad in fact is to be waged against unbelievers in order to bring them under the authority of Sharia, and that therefore non-Muslims and Muslims are not to coexist peacefully as equals under the law on an indefinite basis anywhere on Earth, and that furthermore no evidence has been found of any orthodox sect or school of jurisprudence that teaches this.
Furthermore, Spencer goes on in the next paragraph to challenge his Muslim critic:
...please explain why the fard kifaya/fard ayn distinction was elaborated in Islamic law, and why the various madhahib elaborated guidelines for offensive jihad — and how you propose to convince them today to discard those guidelines, even were a caliphate to be restored.
What Spencer is clearly saying here is that the various madhahib did in fact elaborate guidelines for offensive jihad.
If this isn’t evidence that the teachings of the fanatics do, in fact, “reflect the core values of Islamic faith and tradition”, I don’t know what is.
What is even more curious is how his followers seem utterly blind to this, and apparently cannot see that their Emperor has, in this respect at least, no clothes.
There is a second irony to this: a reader of Jihad Watch cannot help but notice that all around these articles about ALA—where Spencer asserts that, in effect, “I have never said that Islam at its core is a violent doctrine that encourages the murder of non-Muslims, and don’t believe it”, as well as that, in effect, “the interpretations of the fanatics do not reflect the core values of Islamic faith and tradition”—we encounter such additional articles as:
Somali Muslims behead seven people for being "Christians" and "spies"
Taliban truck bomb kills 12 schoolchildren
France: Muslim ringleader of gang whot tortured and murdered Jew sentenced to life in prison
U.K.: President of Civil Service Islamic Society back on the job after suspension for endorsing the killing of British, U.S. soldiers
5 Baghdad churches bombed in 24 hours
"Gunmen" assassinate Christian leader in Iraq
And that’s just less than one week’s worth of stories about Muslims, representing just the tiny tip resting on top of a mountain of similar stories documented by Jihad Watch over the years.
Now, what was Spencer saying about “I have never said that Islam at its core is a violent doctrine that encourages the murder of non-Muslims, and don't believe it”...?