Thursday, December 14, 2017
As I've developed the term "Better Cop" over the years -- to distinguish the craftier, cleverer Muslim apologist from the standard-issue, garden-variety "Good Cop" who only fools the broader Western Mainstream but can't fool the Counter-Jihad as well as the Better Cops can -- I've noticed that some Better Cops seem better than others. (Meanwhile, there is the less interesting because obvious "Bad Cop" about which I've not written much, until recently.)
Of course, "better" is often relative. An Asra Nomani, for example, will be more likely to fool many in the Counter-Jihad than a Maajid Nawaz because she's a personable woman who doesn't seem to suffer from the off-putting narcissism of Nawaz; but on the other hand, that distinction for many others doesn't matter that much, since both are pretty much equally trusted to be sincerely trying to "reform" Islam.
If the reader wants a list of most of the latest Muslim apologists whose seemingly more moderate & secular cream has risen to the top to surpass the Good Cops, he can consult the latest book by the colleague of Robert Spencer from Jihad Watch, Christine Douglass-Williams, The Challenge of Modernizing Islam: Reformers Speak Out And the Obstacles They Face (see my two-part essay discussing the tortured mess of problems associated with this meme).
It has occurred to me, however, that the same dynamic that has (we reasonably conjecture) made the development of the Better Cop necessary -- to wit, the slowly growing nucleus of awareness in the West, expressed by the still amorphous coalescence of a "counter-jihad", that there's a serious (if not horrific) problem with Islam which cannot be papered over with the typical bromides of the Good Cops ("Islam means peace!" "We do not support terrorism!" "Jihad is an inner struggle!" "We love America!" "Don't be a racist!" etc.) -- would logically make necessary (in a "just to make sure they don't wake up" spirit) the development of an even better Better Cop: the "Best Cop".
I.e., as that still minuscule (albeit growing) part of the West called "the Counter Jihad" shows signs of increasing suspicion of some of these Better Cops whose sole raison d'être has been to soften up the Counter-Jihad to make sure it does not toughen up into a rational prejudice against all Muslims, along come Muslims (or even putatively "ex"-Muslims) to perform the same high-wire act, but even higher: Where the Better Cops try to foster a specious distinction between Islam and "Islamism" (the latter cleverly functioning as an effective insulation of the former from condemnation), the Best Cops, seeing they have precious little ground to continue any sort of disinformation since they affect to reject that distinction (between Islam and "Islamism"), realize the best they can do is to reinforce the general haze of uncertainty which is, so to speak, the last bastion defending against the dreaded rational prejudice against all Muslims.
For, if that rational prejudice is cultivated by the mainstream West (beginning with its Canaries-in-the-Coalmine, the Counter-Jihad), that will become the best, if not the only, chance of definitively cutting the Stealth Jihad off at the knees. But if that Stealth Jihad is not stopped in time, it will enable a future Jihad of the Sword so horrific, so widespread, enabled by a Muslim demographic so deeply penetrated in the West, that it is likely to be the eventual ruination of our civilization -- a prospect, needless to say, devoutly to be wish'd by Muslims.
One interesting thing I've noticed over the years is that the Better Cops never go after the Good Cops -- nor do they go after other Better Cops. The target of the Better Cops, when they are bothering to go after fellow Muslims at all (and that's only a small part of their kitman-bag), are the Bad Cops. When for example a Maajid Nawaz (Better Cop) goes after an Anjem Choudhary (Bad Cop) at a public debate, it is transparent (to those with discerning eyes) that they need each other -- but more importantly, the Better Cop needs the Bad Cop, so that he (the Better Cop) can distinguish himself as a "reforming moderate" in the face of this almost clownish contrast who personifies a caricature of the "I weel keel you" extremist. It's almost as though the Choudhary type Bad Cop is in on the game (though he doesn't consciously have to be for the game to work) -- though it is the same collusion (only better) that the Good Cop and Bad Cop ply. Similarly, it seems that Better Cops avoid confronting Good Cops: Why haven't we seen Maajid Nawaz or Zuhdi Jasser (or any of the other Better Cops) go after Tariq Ramadan or Reza Aslan or Mustafa Akyol, three of the most notorious Good Cops? Thus -- so our logic goes -- what distinguishes the Best Cop from the Better Cop is not only that their seeming criticism of Islam makes deeper cuts even than does that of the Better Cops, the Best Cop will also go after both the Good Cops and also even the Better Cops.
This is all by way of introducing a possible candidate for "Best Cop" -- one Shazia Hobbs, who out of the blue this past week, has become a burgeoning contributor to Jihad Watch. In her inaugural essay there, titled "Losing My Religion", she introduced herself to the Counter-Jihad Civilian Readership. She discusses the difficulty of growing up in Scotland as the child of a mixed marriage between a Muslim Pakistani father and a Scottish idiot (i.e., her mother, who lost her head and married a Pakistani Muslim). Shazia emphasizes the difficulties she's experienced have been emanating chiefly from Muslims, and she goes on to sound all the right notes, critiquing various pernicious effects of Islam. What interested me was that nowhere in the essay did Shazia Hobbs explicitly disavow Islam or indicate that she is in fact no longer a Muslim. The net effect of reading the essay (not to mention the title of her piece) may lead the reader to infer these things, but nowhere are they spelled out (much less explained). For example, she uses at one point the phrase "...I was a Muslim..." but if the reader thinks about it, this does not rule out that she is still a Muslim (since contextually, she was describing her past growing up in Scotland). Similarly, she describes her arranged marriage to a Pakistani man: "I was forced to marry a man I met for the first time on my wedding night. I stayed in the marriage for three years until I found the courage to walk out. Walking out meant losing my family, extended family and the Pakistani community I had been part of my entire life." She "walked out" of her arranged marriage and out of her family -- but did she walk out of Islam? She doesn't say. A more refined & rarified form of kitman? As we shall see, it is precisely this haze of uncertainty which is the very heart & métier of the Best Cop's tactics.
More importantly for the unique strategy of the Best Cop, unlike the Better Cops who never go after their fellow Better Cops (or even their lesser God Cop co-religionists), Shazia devotes her second essay on Jihad Watch, "Reforming Islam", critiquing the Better Cop Maajid Nawaz. At first glance, it's a welcome roast of Maajid over the coals. Much, if not most of what Shazia observes about Maajid is spot on. That would be the point, if she were a Best Cop -- to wrap her ulterior motive in a comfortingly rich & thick pita wrap of zesty & tasty spices catered to the counter-jihad's taste. Example:
Nawaz has set a rigid and uncompromising strategy which is entirely reliant on decoupling Islam from its evil “political” twin “Islamism”. Whether intentional on his part or not, this exploits Western liberals’ desperation, ignorance and gullibility to believe that Islam is inherently good and is being “misinterpreted” or at the very least is benign and merely in need of some nips and tucks by way of “reformation” [bold emphasis added]
Why is Shazia ambivalent about Maajid's motives? If the Counter-Jihad is going to wake up the West to the problem of Islam, it's not doing its job if it reinforces our general haze about whether or not to trust a given Muslim. Particularly with the tissue of suspect circumstantial facts surrounding Maajid -- facts Shazia ably describes (and there is more she does not mention) -- there should be no room for doubt. We must reasonably exercise what I call rational prejudice. No longer should we worry about "whether" Maajid meant this or that, "whether" he's still waging jihad (only now of the stealth variety) or "whether" he is just a vain narcissist who has good intentions, blah blah blah. No: we damn him now, and stop scratching our heads about his motives. The net effect of Shazia's critical analysis, however, is a strong but ultimately ambivalent case against Maajid, still leaving the door (and all the vents) open for the haze, and for a smattering of congenial "agree to disagree" responses from the still disorganized milieu of the Counter-Jihad. Shazia's apparently strong criticism of Maajid earns her counter-jihad cred; meanwhile, her efforts to further the ambiguous haze helps to advance the stealth jihad's most important objective: to do anything it takes to dampen & defuse any signs in the West of an evolution toward a rational prejudice against all Muslims.
And what better way to do this than the best way -- to couch it in a vehicle that appears no-nonsense and tough against Islam, even to the point of one-upping -- yea, besting -- the better attempts by Maajid Nawaz to do the same!
[perhaps a Part 2 to come...]