Tuesday, August 21, 2012

This Arlandson guy is getting on my nerves

James M. Arlandson has been publishing a series of essays about Islam on Jihad Watch for two months now. So far, Jihad Watch has featured at least eleven very long essays by Arlandson.  Each essay tackles a major subtopic of Islam, and is broken down into sections (following a brief introduction) by which to examine that subtopic -- "The Quran, The Hadith, Classical Law, Modern Islam" -- followed by a conclusion.

As Arlandson writes in his own boilerplate introduction to every essay:

This series on Islamic shariah law is intended for educators, legislators, city council members, lawyers, judges, government bureaucrats, journalists, think tank fellows, TV and radio talk show hosts, and anyone else who occupies positions of authority and influence. 

I.e., his intention is to educate (and influence) sociopolitically influential people in the West about Islamic Sharia.

This would be peachy, if the project were not flawed with asymptotic assumptions which may well tend to reinforce the very same PC MC we are supposed to be trying to disabuse these influential people of (and thereby tending to reinforce the continued amplification of more and more Islamic infiltration into our societies -- a process that continues to chug hummingly ahead with no sign yet of any hint of anyone entertaining the dim possibility of even remotely edging toward the distant vicinity of applying any brakes).

When I first saw the Arlandson project, I thought I'd take a look-see.  Sure enough, the first couple of installments had problems.  In the comments thread of his very first, titled "Introduction to a Series on Islamic Shariah Law", I posted a robustly no-nonsense critique.

In that critique, I also adverted to the fact that two other Jihad Watch readers before me had spotted problems with Arlandson's essay as well, and I theorized that what may be afoot with his series is a kind of Christian Wilsonianism that hopes for an Islamic reform perhaps both because it's the Christianly humane thing to do, and because it will facilitate a Christian conversion of Muslims probably more than would a policy of grim and implacable self-defense.

Whatever Arlandson's motive is, the more pertinent point involves the flaws in the ointment.  I encourage the reader to read my critique -- for it is too long and detailed to include here.

Incidentally, after I posted that critique there (posting under my current nickname there, "LemonLime"), a long-time Jihad Watch reader, "Battle_of_Tours", wrote:

Very good LemonLime, excellent summation of where this whole Islam as 'religion' fails miserably...

And even my nemesis, "Kinana of Khaybar", rather than attacking me (as he normally would), ignored my comment, and instead took Arlandson to task far more thoroughly than did I.  He wrote:

Arlandson's piece is a big disappointment for me, because I am an admirer of his work after having read many of his articles over the years...  Unfortunately, the present piece suggests the author has taken too many steps down the path of accommodationism. I'm not sure how much of this accommodationism is just the usual persuasive writer's method of trying to appear impartial, but assuming these are Arlandson's genuine views, I have to say it suggests a surprisingly naive view of Islam's and sharia's supposedly innocuous elements.

And indeed, in subsequent comments, Kinana of Khaybar went on to articulate an excellent analysis diagnosing the faults in Arlandson's piece, with an excellent follow-up, and then an equally excellent conclusion.  This three-punch knockout combination of analyses proved devastating to Arlandson's thesis in that essay.  Of course, neither Arlandson nor his patron, Robert Spencer, saw fit to respond at all, and the latter continues to publish him on Jihad Watch full steam ahead.

Following that essay, I was understandably Arlandson-leery.  I approached further installments in the series as though looking for Waldo; and wouldn't you know it, as Bart Simpson remarked on one of The Simpsons episodes, as he pointed to the cover of a copy of Where's Waldo? that was literally littered with a dozen Waldos in plain view -- "Man, they're not even trying anymore!"

In his essay "What is Shariah?", for example, I found indications of a tendency to reinforce the meme of Koranic pre-eminence that relegates the hadiths to a relatively minor importance -- when just the reverse would seem to be the case, at least according to an expert on Islamic law, Chibli Mallat, with ostensibly more academic cred than Arlandson (and a Muslim to boot).  I developed an essay on this -- The Koran's important, but don't forget the hadiths -- which I published over at the 1389 Counter-Jihad blog (the reader should also see the comments there, where long-time Jihad Watch reader "traeh" brings up some good questions and I try to respond).

Another Arlandson essay in the series -- Free Speech In The Quran, Traditions, and Shariah Law -- showed disturbing signs of what seems to be thematic for the whole series: namely, an unrealistic expectation of Islamic reform because somehow the modern world may well be changing Muslims for the better.  As I wrote in the comments thread to that essay:


The expectation of reform in any part of Islam, among any number (however small) of Muslims, is worse than wasted energy: it positively reinforces the dangerous meme that enables false moderates to further infiltrate our societies.

And, as part of my reasoning for [this]...  while Arlandson handles the public letter of Muslims about cartoons fairly well, his citation of Mansour is not only unhelpful, but positively inculcates the kind of false hope that will tend to enable the stealth jihad.

The rule of thumb for us is to assume that a learned Muslim like Mansour who claims to think that Islam can jettison the hadiths and just float on the Koran -- and then adds insult to injury by thinking that the Koran can be twisted to be a benign, productive motivating force for hundreds of millions of Muslims -- must be either 1) clinically insane; or 2) precisely doing stealth jihad through deceitful tagiyya.

There is no third alternative by which to explain such "Koran-only" Muslims.

For, if even a "reform" committee of learned Muslims from Moderate, Modern Turkey concluded that Islam cannot tinker with, but must rather fully accept as normative, the entire sahih hadith corpus as is, how is one Mansour, or even a smattering of Mansours peppered here and there going to make one whit of difference to the problem we face?

In fact, the only effect of a Mansour will be not on his fellow Muslims, with rabid fanatical and OCD zeal believing in the 1,001 Dos and Don'ts of Mohammed as gleaned copiously from the hadiths by their jungle of respectable fiqh scholars and Q&A clerics -- but rather on our persistently gullible Westerners who continue to hold out a vain hope for a sufficient mass of reform amongst the world's Muslims, who are showing no signs of any reform but are rather showing the very Allahdamned opposite, massively and globally for anyone with sense with an eyepatch on one eye and an astigmatism in the other to see.

[End quote.]

Then we were treated to another in the Arlandson series -- Mosque and State in Early Islam -- in which he put his foot in his mouth in a rather egregious way: he touted the Muslim snake Mustafa Akyol as a "modernist" emblematic of the type of Muslim who should instill hope in our expectation of Islamic reform.  I don't usually use the word "eviscerate" -- whether describing other authors or myself -- but I must say, the essay I wrote in response to this grotesque faux pas -- Arlandson never fails to disappoint -- does rather eviscerate him in this regard.

After that, I gave up on Arlandson and didn't bother to read him anymore.  Today, however, I made the mistake of taking a dip into his latest -- "Marriage To Prepubescent Girls In Early Islam" -- just to see if perhaps he wasn't so bad.  

Alas, alack, alay.

There, Arlandson writes:

...many Muslim nations have reasonable legal ages to marry, though tribal customs sometimes follow the old ways. Nonetheless, these new and modern laws demonstrate that Islam can be reformed...

No, these laws do not demonstrate that Islam can be reformed. How absolutely, breathtakingly silly of Arlandson to so assert, notwithstanding all his rubrics, headings, and subheadings that structure his Edifice of a Series, undergirded by his copious footnotes. 

Those laws to which he refers rather demonstrate that the combination of Western Colonialism -- which went in and physically forced Muslims to modernize -- along with the post-Colonialist legacy of semi-West-friendly Muslim dictators dictatorially blunting the flowering of full Sharia (for which Muslims are forever voracious), led to the peculiar situation in the 20th century of various patchwork Muslim countries manifesting a variety of semi-civilized policies and laws (which, however, needless to say, were nowhere near enough to sufficiently mitigate a variety of hideous horrors and atrocities throughout the Muslim world). The "Arab Spring" has shown that Muslims in mass numbers want to topple the only rulers who were trying to enforce -- if only partially (and of course inadequately) -- brakes on, and dilution of, Sharia with mild, and partial, introductions of Western-style policies and laws. 

Also, Arlandson's showcasing of one Muslim's hypothesis about why Western/American Muslims seem to be more modern and secular sends the wrong message. In doing so, Arlandson may well be (unwittingly, of course) aiding and abetting the stealth taqiyya (stealthy to dupes only) of "Haider Ala Hamoudi... an Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law". 

After all we have learned about Muslims and their deceitfulness and deadliness, we are supposed to take, without so much as a grain of salt, the word of some Mohammedan barbarian occupying a faculty position in hallowed Pittsburgh -- a city that, for all its urban blight and problems, is infinitely superior to any Muslim hellhole ruined by Muslims in the world now, and throughout all Islamic history?

No: the only salt relevant here need not be "of the earth" We-Are-The-World-wise, but rather, wisely world-weary, and fleeing from the whole evil lot lest we turn into one of their Five Pillars, would remind us of the savor of Carthage.

Time is running out.  We don't need 1,001 "Islam 101"s -- particularly not ones with holes in them.


Traeh said...


Hesperado, I've noticed that on Jihad Watch, you use various four-letter words without asterisk-elisions, i.e., "fuck" instead of f**k or the like.

Just in case you don't know, that may be annoying Spencer. He's said in the past that he wants Jihad Watch to be a place that is suitable for prime time. And in today's culture that still excludes four-letter words if they aren't elided with asterisks.

You may know all this and be cursing intentionally at Jihad Watch nevertheless. But I thought I would just tell you these things in the off chance you don't know them, since I suspect they may add to the chance of your getting ejected again.

Hesperado said...

Thanks traeh,

I -- as Johnny Carson used to say -- did not know that. I'll rein in my F bombs there.