Thursday, December 09, 2010

Robert Spencer didn't get the memo

In a Jihad Watch article today titled "Islamic cleric misunderstands Islam, says female genital mutilation is Islamic", Spencer remarks wryly that a certain Imam Piskandi, "although he holds a master's degree in Islamic jurisprudence,
didn't get the memo." [bold emphasis added]

The memo being the constantly reiterated insistence that female genital mutilation supposedly has nothing to do with Islam, because such a practice is merely "cultural" (as though Islam is not itself a culture -- indeed, a super-culture).

However, when Spencer then punches in his boilerplate quote that demonstrates how female genital mutilation in fact comports with the prescriptive strictures of Islamic schools of law, he reproduces, for the umpteenth time, a translation that actually tends to soften the mutilation -- a translation that anti-Islam writer Mark Durie has long maintained is seriously inadequate:

"Circumcision is obligatory (O: for both men and women. For men it consists of removing the prepuce from the penis, and for women, removing the prepuce (Ar. bazr) of the clitoris
(n: not the clitoris itself, as some mistakenly assert). (A: Hanbalis hold that circumcision of women is not obligatory but sunna, while Hanafis consider it a mere courtesy to the husband.)" -- 'Umdat al-Salik e4.3

I have bolded the passage in question to which Mark Durie objects, on grounds that it is an unwarranted editorial conclusion by the Muslim translator. (I have significant problems with Durie's analysis, not so much on substantive grounds as on methodological grounds -- but if Spencer too has problems with it, he is obliged to address them in a formal analytical essay.)

Time and time again (for Spencer punches in that boilerplate quote it seems at least a few times a year), when I was commenting in Jihad Watch comments fields (before I was unfairly banned three months ago), I patiently and maturely pointed this discrepancy out (see here, for example). Finally at some point at least Marisol, Spencer's right-hand editor, got the memo, and actually altered the quote to fit Mark Durie's emendation. That was about six months ago. Now here we see the boilerplate back to its original form, possibly flawed in a crucial way.

Does Spencer persist in supplying this possibly flawed quote because in this regard he operates on auto-pilot, and has not gotten the memo Mark Durie sent out years ago (and which, at least at one point, Marisol got, thanks to my "sideline swiping")?

Or is Mark Durie yet another anti-Islam analyst with whom Spencer has cut ties and burned bridges (joining the illustrious company of Diana West, Baron Bodissey and Dymphna, Michelle Malkin, Debbie Schlussel, Andrew Bostom, possibly Hugh Fitzgerald himself), resulting in his childish disregard for the important information he provides...?

As I wrote back in May of this year in a comment on Jihad Watch:

Why isn't the anti-Islam movement setting in stone Mark Durie's argument so that this one piece, the problem of FGM, of the jigsaw puzzle of the larger Problem of Islam can be used effectively? Or, if Durie's argument is unsound, why doesn't someone present a counter-argument to it?

We may never know the answers to these questions, as long as the anti-Islam movement remains inchoate, and as long as the "Gentlemen's Club" dominates the manner in which major anti-Islam analysts conduct their anti-Islam activities.

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