Thursday, November 08, 2012

The Blogospheric Echo Chamber

The war of ideas is of crucial importance in the broader war against Islam which the West should be conducting with lucid rationality -- rather than bumbling about fending off with one hand (while with the other aiding and abetting stealth jihadists), by incompetent Keystone-Kops whack-a-mole proxy, the "terrorism" of "extremists".

If that isn't bad enough, the war of ideas itself isn't really being waged adequately, and innumerable civilians (led by a smattering of more influential analysts-cum-activists among them) have had to take it upon themselves to do so, largely through the medium of the Blogosphere.

This is where a previous essay of mine comes in.  As I wrote over three years ago in my essay Primary Sources 101 and the Blogospheric Anti-Islam Movement (and the situation, of course, remains no better now):

One important part of the activity of the anti-Islam movement in the domain of Communicationsi.e., getting the message out about how dangerous Islam isinvolves the verifiability of claims we make about Islam and about Muslims. There are many facets to this area, but today I only focus on one: the problem of primary sources.

On the Internet in general, there seems to flourish either a disregard for the importance of primary sources for verification of claims, or an ignorance of what they are. Its not a complex concept: a primary source is simply the original document that establishes evidence of a particular claim.

Inextricably related to the primary source itself is an adequate reference to it by the person making, or reproducing, the particular claim. That adequate reference must include, at minimum, the following:

the original author, 

the document in which the author wrote his relevant statement, 

the page number in that document, 

the date he wrote it, 

the editor(s) who published the reproduction of that document, 

the page number in which it appears in the edited reproduction,

and the date and place of publication or republication of that document. 

If an Internet link is provided, it's of little value unless it leads the mouse-clicker to the information itemized above (rather than, at best, a wild goose Googling that may take hours to succeed -- if one is lucky!).

All of the above items are necessary for the elementary function of providing enough information to the reader so that he himself may find the document and see for himself that it exists in the same form attested by the person making the claim in question.

[End quote.]

In that essay, I examined one particular -- and particularly juicy -- fact about Islam that has been bandied about the Internet without anyone bothering to attribute a proper reference citation for it; namely, the famous quote from the Muslim ambassador of Tunis to Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.  (Good (if rather old) news -- I finally found the actual primary source in a publication at my local college library.)

Today's unattributed quote is no less juicy and useful, from a contemporary Muslim scholar named Bassam Tibi; and it used to be bandied about quite a bit, from about 2007 to 2010 it seems to me, though not much anymore for some reason.  I have spent quite a bit of time trying to track down its proper source, to no avail.  

The following blogs have posted the quote, without a shred of proper source citation:


Republished (again without any source citation) in February of 2010 at Front Page Mag.

Meanwhile, Mark Durie (who should know better), quotes the least juicy part of the quote, then in his footnote simply cited "Bassam Tibi, “War and peace in Islam”, p.129".  Oh great, let me get right on that.

After nearly 2 hours of Googling, I found that apparently this Bassam Tibi quote originates from an essay he wrote which was included as one chapter in a scholarly edition of essays entitled The Ethics of War and Peace: Religious and Secular Perspectives, edited by Terry Nardin.

As that book is unavailable online, until I hold the actual hard copy in my cold, clammy fingers and see with my own eyes the Bassam Tibi quote, I cannot in good conscience use it. 

But man, what a juicy quote!

‘At its core, Islam is a religious mission to all humanity. Muslims are religiously obliged to disseminate the Islamic faith throughout the world. “We have sent you forth to all mankind” (Q. 34:28).

If non-Muslims submit to conversion or subjugation, this call (da’wa) can be pursued peacefully. If they do not, Muslims are obliged to wage war against them. In Islam, peace requires that non-Muslims submit to the call of Islam, either by converting or by accepting the status of a religious minority (dhimmi) and paying the imposed poll tax, jizya.

World peace, the final stage of the da’wa, is reached only with the conversion or submission of all mankind to Islam…Muslims believe that expansion through war is not aggression but a fulfillment of the Qur’anic command to spread Islam as a way of peace. The resort to force to disseminate Islam is not war (harb), a word that is used only to describe the use of force by non-Muslims. Islamic wars are not hurab (the plural of harb) but rather futuhat, acts of “opening” the world to Islam and expressing Islamic jihad.

Relations between dar al-Islam, the home of peace, and dar al-harb, the world of unbelievers, nevertheless take place in a state of war, according to the Qur’an and to the authoritative commentaries of Islamic jurists. Unbelievers who stand in the way, creating obstacles for the da’wa, are blamed for this state of war, for the da’wa can be pursued peacefully if others submit to it.

In other words, those who resist Islam cause wars and are responsible for them.’

What is curious -- though not surprising, given the schizophrenia we see so often among "reformist" Muslims (as well as some ex-Muslims) -- is that Bassam Tibi otherwise takes pains to defend Islam and to distinguish it from a dangerous extremist "Islamism".  And yet, in the above quote, he is discussing normative mainstream classical un-extremist Islam; and his description is unremarkably appalling and alarming.  

At any rate, shame on the jet-setting luminaries of the Anti-Islam Movement (such as it is) to leave this crucially juicy quote unattended and, for all practical purposes, useless to us Deputized Civilians out in the Blogospheric trenches of this war of ideas.

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