Monday, August 07, 2017
Squaring the circle of the "Reformist Muslim"
I still plan on a second part to my recent essay, Signs of Intelligent Life on Planet Jihad Watch? -- based upon a second, more detailed (and therefore more useful) review published on Jihad Watch of the new book by Christine Douglass-Williams on the putatively viable prospects of Islamic "reform".
Until then, a brief note on the crux of the whole matter of these Muslim pseudo-Reformers. What better example than Robert Spencer who, by getting the crux subtly wrong, will help us to highlight a more accurate apprehension of it.
On the occasion of a recent news story about a school in Canada (Ryerson University) cancelling an upcoming speech by one of these pseudo-Reformers, one Tarek Fatah (who, by the by, is one of many such Muslims featured in the above-mentioned book by Christine Douglass-Williams), Spencer pens the following editorial remark:
Tarek Fatah is a paradoxical figure; indeed, he personifies the paradoxes of most moderate Muslims. He speaks out strongly against Muslim Brotherhood organizations and Sharia encroachment in the West, but is extraordinarily concerned at the same to absolve Islam of all responsibility for the crimes done in its name and in accord with its teachings.
First, we notice that Spencer here shows no signs of discriminating between the two types of pseudo-"Moderate" Muslims -- what I have called, in many essays over the years, the Good Cop Muslims and the Better Cop Muslims. Evidently, he can't tell that Fatah is not the standard-issue, garden-variety Muslim whose sales pitch about a "peaceful Islam" which "is against terrorism" is only geared to placate the broader Western Mainstream -- but is rather one of the smaller (but up and coming) minority of Muslim reformers who have fine-tuned their message to sound more daringly critical of Islam. This deficiency in analysis of the nature of the problem is part of Spencer's problem.
Secondly, we may note that once we factor in that taxonomy (of the pseudo-"Moderate" Muslims), there no longer remains a paradox (as Spencer would say, it -- voilà -- evanesces!). More specifically, the paradox vanishes as the optical illusion it is when we realize that this "Better Cop" Muslim's target audience is not other Muslims, not the West at large -- but rather, the slowly growing Counter-Jihad. I.e., we must reasonably assume that Tarek Fatah is lying about one half of Spencer's paradox:
He speaks out strongly against Muslim Brotherhood organizations and Sharia encroachment in the West...
And, of course, we also reasonably assume Tarek Fatah is not lying about the second half of the Spencerian paradox:
...but is extraordinarily concerned at the same to absolve Islam of all responsibility for the crimes done in its name and in accord with its teachings.
This would be the Better Cop form of the Islamic style of deceit known as kitman -- telling only half the truth.
As I've noted in my various essays on the Better Cop Muslims, their acrobatic, gymnastic, tap-dancing finesse at trying to sound like they "feel our pain" about the problem of Islam -- whilst at the same time they artfully (and sometimes ingeniously) defend Islam and most Muslims -- takes on various forms, some more subtle and sophistry-cated than others. And it often goes so far in seeming to be critical of Islam that it actually fools many in the Counter-Jihad. Some (like Sam Harris with his buddy Maajid Nawaz, or Frank Gaffney with his friend Zuhdi Jasser) just swallow the camelshit like it's watermelon on a hot summer day; others affect a guarded skepticism that however does not go far enough: "Either Jasser is deceiving us or he's a very confused fellow; I'm not sure what to think..." (I've seen and heard statements like this in various Counter-Jihad Mainstream venues more times than I care to count).
And by the way, such injuries these Better Cop Muslims suffer while they pursue their reformist careers -- as for example when Tarek Fatah is disinvited from a university speech (or when, more slyly, Maajid Nawaz complains about how he is branded as a "racist" for his pseudo-earnest reformism) -- are, we must reasonably assume, calculated to earn them Counter-Jihad Street Cred.
As I (and the fine blogger Logan's Warning) have noted, their target audience -- the Counter-Jihad Mainstream -- continues to exhibit dismaying vulnerability to their wiles.