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The Top Five Ways Jewish Law Justifies Killing Civilians; #2: Collective Punishment is Kosher (II)

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2011 by loonwatch

(image by Carlos Latuff)

Please make sure to read my disclaimer: Why Religious Zionism, Not Judaism, Is The Problem.

Read the Introduction: Does Jewish Law Justify Killing Civilians?

Previous: #2 Collective Punishment is Kosher (I)

In The Treatment of Hostile Civilian Populations: The Contemporary Halakhic Discussion in Israel, Prof. Ya’acov Blidstein cites Rabbi Yoezer Ariel’s opinion that the Israeli government–but not the Israeli citizen–is permitted to target and kill civilians in order to incur a collective punishment on the enemy population.  Blidstein notes that this is accepted as the “moderate” opinion–and the mainstream one–in Religious Zionism.  It is moderate in relation to the more extreme view taken by the Jewish Underground, which permits individual Israeli citizens to take the law into their own hands.

Blidstein writes that Rabbi Yoezer Ariel’s view allowed

for the deliberate killing of citizens in times of war.  However, the term “at times of war” is itself critical.  According to Rabbi Ariel, war may only be conducted by “a king or by the public, whose authority is like that of a king,” a condition already hinted at in the words of Rabbi H. D. Halevi.  There is no state of war without such an authorized decision [from the king or its equivalent]; hence, “an individual may not declare war [on his own].”  Rabbi Ariel interprets Maimonides’s references to the event [of Dina] in a similar way.

Blidstein concludes:

On the whole, then, the thrust of [Rabbi Yoezer] Ariel’s article is pragmatic, not principled.  The killing of civilians is acceptable, provided it is initiated by sovereign authority, not by individuals taking the law (quite literally) in their own hands.

What is more disturbing is that the great Maimonides does not restrict this permission to the government; writes Blidstein:

Rabbi [Yoezer] Ariel admits that this approach is not shared by all the medieval authorities.  It does not reflect, for example, the Maimonidean attitude toward the subject; Maimonides allows–and even encourages–the individual to act. However, Ariel argues, the vast majority of the rishonim did not concur with this view, recognizing as legitimate such action only on the part of the state, and not the individual.  This is true even if study of the sources which he cites indicates a more complex study.

So, we have an accepted, minority view–held by Maimonides no less–that individuals (such as Israeli settlers) are permitted to kill civilians as a form of collective punishment.  Meanwhile, the so-called “moderate,” mainstream opinion is that this right rests with the Israeli state alone.  (Note, however, that Blidstein is hesitant to agree with Ariel’s claim that “the vast majority of the rishonim [the “classical” halakhic authorities] did not concur with this view,” arguing that the reality is much more “complex.”  What one can glean from this is that there were other rabbinical authorities of the past who permitted individual Jews to kill non-Jews, who can be quoted by the Jewish Underground types.)

It should also be pointed out in The Orthodox Forum’s annual book War and Peace in the Jewish Tradition, Rabbi Michael J. Broyde rejects Rabbi Shlomo Goren’s view that collective punishment (even against babies) is prohibited.  Indeed, Prof. Ya’akov Blidstein notes that Goren’s view was not taken seriously by other Religious Zionist rabbis because it “is not based upon Talmudic sources,” which “naturally weakens its halakhic impact and authority.”

Rabbi Shlomo Goren was the first Chief Rabbi of the IDF.  Although he had some very extreme views (such as calling it a “tragedy” that Jews did not “blow up” the Dome of the Rock Mosque and Al-Aqsa Mosque–a view held by the Jewish Underground), with regard to “collective punishment” he held the non-Talmudic view.

Yet, by Operation Cast Lead (the Gaza War) in 2009, the IDF rabbinate had shifted to the right.  The new Chief Rabbi of the IDF, Avichai Rontzki, issued statements in line with the majority view among Religious Zionists, commanding soldiers that “no mercy should be shown” to the enemy (the Gazan population).  An “IDF rabbinate publication” quoted the works of Rabbi Shlomo Aviner saying “When you show mercy to a cruel enemy, you are being cruel to pure and honest soldiers.”  To make it very clear that “the enemy” referred to here was the civilian population, the IDF publication likened the Palestinians to the Bible’s Philistines, who were exterminated to clear the land for the Jews.

When an Israeli human rights group cried foul at this IDF publication, the Israeli government scrambled to do damage control.  Naturally, their “investigation” claimed that the publication was distributed only in a few isolates places and had not been properly vetted.  Western news outlets reassured us that Rabbi Shlomo Aviner was just an “ultra-nationalist,” a fringe, radical element in Israel.

Yet, Rabbi Shlomo Aviner is not some fringe, radical element in Israel.  Instead, he is a well-respected rabbi of Modern Orthodox Judaism in Israel.  As the Jerusalem Post notes, R. Aviner “is considered one of the spiritual leaders of the Religious Zionist movement.”  The Jewish Daily Forward calls him “one of the leading Religious Zionist rabbis.”  Ynetnews, the English website of Israel’s most-read newspaper, calls him ”one of Religious Zionism’s leading rabbis.”  Haaretz calls him “a leading Yesha rabbi” and “one of religious Zionism’s most influential rabbis.”  Israel National News, part of Arutz Sheva (an Israeli media network aligned with Religious Zionism), calls Aviner “a well-respected rabbinical authority within much of the religious-Zionist sector.”

TorahMusings.com, an extremely popular blog supervised by Orthodox rabbis, says:

To place R. [Shlomo] Aviner into contemporary society, he is on the left wing of right wing Religious Zionists.

Left wing?  One can only imagine what the right wing is.  In other words, Rabbi Shlomo Aviner is perfectly in the mainstream of Religious Zionism–nay, he is one of its “spiritual leaders.”

R. Aviner is well-respected in Orthodox circles.  He has written articles that appear on many mainstream Jewish and mainstream Orthodox Jewish websites, including The Jerusalem PostOrthodox Union website (ou.com), Israel Nation News, and TorahMusings.

Aside from this, of course, Rabbi Shlomo Aviner is the rosh yeshiva (dean) of the Ateret Cohanim Yeshiva, a Religious Zionist Talmudic academy in Jerusalem that fundraisers in the United States.  It is the same institution where Rabbi Abraham Kook, the “main ideologue of modern religious Zionism,” sent his son to study.  Shlomo Aviner is also the Chief Rabbi of Beit El.  He can hardly be considered a fringe character.

Indeed, R. Shlomo Aviner moves in the same circles as the Modern Orthodox rabbis of The Orthodox Forum and the authors of War and Peace in the Jewish Tradition.  On TorahMusing’s website, we find that Rabbi Shlomo Aviner shared the same podium in New York state with none other than Rabbi Michael J. Broyde and Rabbi Norman Lamm.

Yet, when this controversy broke about the IDF’s chief rabbi using a publication with quotes from Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, Israel’s defenders in the West tried to portray R. Aviner as some “ultra-nationalist” fringe lunatic.  Yet, this is clearly misleading.  One should hardly be surprised, considering that I have found virtually the exact same views in the book written by The Orthodox Forum, which is the combined work of Orthodox Jewish experts from around the world.  The only difference, of course, is that (1) R. Aviner’s wording is more direct and frank, whereas The Orthodox Forum says the same thing but in a more “sophisticated,” intellectual way; (2) Aviner was unfortunate enough to catch the media’s attention during the Gaza controversy.  It is the latter reason that forced Israeli apologists to throw him under the bus and take one for the team.

*  *  *  *  *

What then does Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, the “left-wing” of the Religious Zionist right, argue?  He argues that “Purity of Arms” applies only to Jewish civilians.  He says on his very own website (emphasis added):

We are all for “Purity of Arms” and for saving citizen lives. But which civilians? Our civilians

Aviner concludes by saying: “They are guilty, we are not.”  He also extends “purity of arms” to Jewish soldiers (but not to Palestinian civilians).  In a question and answer section, Rabbi Aviner argues that “purity of arms” refers to protecting the lives of Jewish soldiers, not to Palestinians.  He warns: “Don’t tarnish the purity of arms with the blood of our own soldiers.”

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner writes:

 The Mechilta (halachic midrash) says “The best of the non-Jews should be killed.”

He clarifies that “this statement refers to a time of war,” at which time “even a ‘pleasant’-seeming non-Jew is killed.”  He justifies carpet bombing civilian populations, saying “it is permissible according to the Halachah based on the law of ‘rodef.’”  The entire civilian population, including children and babies, acquires the title of “rodefim” and is thus licit to kill.

Where have we heard all this before?  In fact, it is the exact same argument heard in “the contemporary halakhic discussion in Israel.”  Is it not misleading then to categorize Rabbi Shlomo Aviner’s views on this subject to be the rantings of some fringe “ultra-nationalist” extremist?  R. Aviner did not make this view out of thin air; rather, he points out that ”this is also the ruling of Ha-Rav Shaul Yisraeli in the book ‘Amud Ha-Yemini’ at the end of chap. 16.”  He is here citing the tract written by Rabbi Shaul Israeli, who justified the Qibya Massacre in 1953, in which two-thirds of the victims were women and children.   R. Israeli’s influential tract has been used to justify killing civilians from the early years following Israel’s birth all the way to the Gaza Massacre in 2008-2009.

Next: #2 Collective Punishment is Kosher (III)

The Top Five Ways Jewish Law Justifies Killing Civilians; #2: Collective Punishment is Kosher (I)

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2011 by loonwatch

(image by Carlos Latuff)

Please make sure to read my disclaimer: Why Religious Zionism, Not Judaism, Is The Problem.

Read the Introduction: Does Jewish Law Justify Killing Civilians?

Previous: #1 Civilians Are Really Combatants

As I documented in the previous article, the first way in which Jewish law justifies the targeting and killing of civilians is by classifying civilians as combatants if they indirectly take part in the war effort–even if by “mere words.”

But what about civilians who neither directly or indirectly participate in the war effort?  Surely they will be protected, right?

Not so.

Jewish law permits targeting civilians who “passively” support the war effort.  A “hostile civilian population” is guilty of “passive” support if they fail to root out the combatants/terrorists living in their midst.  If the city’s population does not do this, then they are all liable to be killed–including women, children, and babies.

In War and Peace in the Jewish Tradition, the highly esteemed rabbi and professor Michael J. Broyde finds support for collective punishment in the Bible: on page 6, he cites the story of the Rape of Dina.  Dina is raped by a man named Shekhem, and the entire city of Shekhem is put to the sword for this crime.  (The rapist, Shekhem, has the same name as the city he lives in.)  Broyde quotes Maimonides as saying that “the inhabitants of Shekhem [the city] were liable to be killed since Shekhem [the person] stole [Dina], and the inhabitants saw and knew this and did nothing.”

Rabbi Broyde reflects on this story by saying:

Consequently, if one is in a situation where innocent people are being killed by terrorist acts that cannot be stopped by catching the perpetators themselves, and those terrorists are supported by a civilian population that passively protects them and does not condemn them, collective punishment might well be permitted by Jewish law.

Broyde permits the “collective punishment of vast segments of society for the active misconduct of the few.”  In other words, civilian populations are “liable to be killed” if terrorists commit “active misconduct” and they [“the inhabitants”] “saw and knew this but did nothing.”  If the civilian population does “not condemn them [the terrorists],” then they [the civilians] can be killed.

Rabbi Broyde invokes the views of two of the most authoritative rabbinical authorities in Jewish history, Maimonides and Nahmanides.  Broyde notes: “Both share the basic approach of permitting collective punishment.”  He writes on p.6: “Maimonides rules that…all members of society may be punished,” and on p.7 that Nahmanides would “permit regulations that include collective punishment.”

This view, justifying collective punishment, is promoted within the first few pages of the book War and Peace in the Jewish Tradition.  Prof. David Shatz writes on p.xiv of the Introduction that “Jewish sources present a view of jus in bello [conduct of war] that is more permissive than many secular accounts,” and that Jewish law permits

imposing collective punishment on vast segments of an enemy society in response to the misconduct of a few, as could happen when terrorist perpetrators escape capture.

He goes on to say that “the Jewish polity may licitly embark on hostilities in a way that might involve causing civilian deaths.”  This allowance is beyond just collateral damage–which, under Jewish law, is a given–and encompasses civilian populations that are targeted as punishment for “passively” supporting terrorism.  This “passive” support is also to be understood differently than “indirectly” supporting terrorism (“material support”).  Passive support refers to mere inaction: if the PLO and the rest of the Palestinians cannot stop terrorists from firing rockets, then they are all guilty and can be killed via collective punishment–including women, children, and babies.

*  *  *  *  *

This view is supported by Torah MiTzion, the national and international Religious Zionist movement that promotes Torah study with service in the Israel Defense Forces, providing a “generation of Religious Zionism, balancing between safra v’sayfa (book and sword).”  In an article entitled Jewish Law in Our Times, the legal adviser of the group asks rhetorically “Can Collective Punishment Against Fighters and Citizens Be Justified?”, a question which he answers in the affirmative, saying:

Whenever a battle is waged by one nation against another, there is no need to differentiate between one person and another, even if many members of that nation do not actually take part in the actual fighting.

The author goes on to say that “if we are faced with a situation defined as war, there is no obligation to differentiate between fighter and citizen.”  The principle of discrimination simply does not apply in times of war.  This is especially true “because the State of Israel has been in a perpetual state of (halachically defined) war ever since its inception.”  He then quotes the esteemed Netziv (Rabbi Naftali Tzvi Yehudah Berlin) who said that a person is only punished for spilling blood

at a time when it is otherwise appropriate to act with brotherhood [peacetime]. But this is not the case during war, when it is a time to hate. Then it is a time to kill and there is no punishment whatsoever for so doing, because this is the way of the world.

*  *  *  *  *

As I discussed earlier, Rabbi Shaul Israeli’s “thoughtful article” is hearkened as “the starting point” for discussion of “war-related topics” in the Jewish religion; in it, R. Israeli uses a complex religio-legal argument to justify collective punishment.  He invokes the Jewish law of din rodef–the law of the pursuer–which basically says that if a person is chasing you trying to kill you, you can kill him first.  It stands to reason, therefore, that a bystander could also kill the rodef (pursuer) as well, in order to save your life.  In fact, it may even be considered obligatory to do so.  This religious law is used to justify killing civilians by transforming entire civilian populations into rodefim [pursuers].

In The Treatment of Hostile Civilian Populations: The Contemporary Halakhic Discussion in Israel, Prof. Ya’acov Blidstein notes the trend in halakhic circles to use “the definition of a hostile population as a rodef [pursuer], direct or indirect.”  Blidstein notes:

There is also a tendency in contemporary halakhah to categorize as rodef a population that is “supportive and encouraging” of hostile, murderous actions.

Once dutifully transformed into rodef, the entire civilian population becomes licit, or even mandatory, to kill.  This justification was given for the Qibya Massacre, in which 69 Palestinians were slaughtered (of which two-thirds were women and children).  Writes Blidstein:

In his essay, Rabbi [Shaul] Yisraeli argues that a group of civilians, such as the residents of Qibia, who were notorious for their support and encouragement of terrorist acts, are likewise to be treated as rodefim [pursuers].

He goes on to say:

Rabbi Yisraeli concludes from this that even those citizens who support and encourage acts of terror, for example, are considered rodefim, and one may deal with them in kind.  In so ruling, however, he has offered many people a very far-reaching justification for aggressive treatment of civilian populations…[He] is speaking of people who provide the murderer with support and encouragement, but do not take an active, directly conspiratorial part in the act itself.

He is also speaking of those who give “passive support” to terrorism, i.e. doing nothing other than happening to live in the same city as the terrorists.  Unless you actively hand over the terrorists or their names to the Israeli authorities, it is assumed that you are guilty–you are a rodef–as well.

*  *  *  *  *

Instead of protecting civilians from the killers, Jewish law seeks to protect the killers of civilians (by shielding them from prosecution). Prof. Ya’acov Blidstein entitles one sub-section of his article as “Protection of the Aggressor,” in which he discusses this disturbing issue.  Once the civilian population has been deemed rodefem, Jewish soldiers may kill them and are to be protected from all prosecution for doing so.  This is because the rodef–in this case the civilian population–is legally considered a “dead man” and their “blood is like water.”  Therefore, lethal force may be used, even when less than that may have sufficed. Writes Blidstein:

One who deliberately kills the rodef is in any event exempt from punishment by the court because the “pursuer” is defined as gavra katila–an individual who is already considered as if dead in a legal sense…

Rabbi [Shaul] Yisraeli follows a similar line in his article on the Qibia incident, but arrives at a more far-reaching conclusion, equating the license granted the bystander with that of the person threatened.  Not only is the bystander who kills the pursuer (when he could have used less lethal means) exempt from punishment; he is allowed to behave in such a manner ab initio [from the beginning]. “…When he [the rodef] has been warned and continues to pursue…there is no rule at all requiring one to take care to use non-lethal means, for then [spilling] his blood is permitted, and one may kill him by virtue of the rule, that his blood is like water.”

In times of war, Halakha accepts collective punishment as acceptable, even when applied to the “innocent child.”  Writes Prof. Blidstein:

Behavior in war, according to Rabbi [Ya’akov] Ariel, is based upon the collective identity of the members of the participating nations.  In this organic view, even the innocent child is an organ of the greater body of the nation.  Thus, one waging war against this body is allowed to harm the child as well, just as the fighting body may itself demand of all its organs that they devote themselves to the war effort.  This argument dismisses the question of the personal innocence of the one injured–on one side or the other–as irrelevant.

Rabbi Ya’akov Ariel reasoned:

Just as in a personal struggle…it is your right to protect yourself by striking the soft belly [of the aggressor]…so in war against the collective, you may strike those organs of the [enemy] nation that seem [appropriate] to you, in order to prevent a strike on the part of other organs.

The civilians of the enemy nation (including children and babies) become licit to kill, just as “the Biblical Simeon and Levi killed all of the inhabitants of Shechem (Gen. 34), including those who had nothing to do with the rape of Dinah.”

On p.24 of War and Peace in the Jewish Tradition, Rabbi Broyde writes of Rabbi Ariel:

War is the collective battle of societies, R. Ariel posits, and thus there are no innocent civilians, even babes in their mothers’ arms are to be killed, as harsh as that sounds. [96]

In footnote 96, Broyde gives his view, agreeing with the statement but limiting the right of killing “innocent civilians, even babes in their mothers’ arms” to the [Israeli] government.  Here is footnote 96, found on page 40:

96.  R. Yaakov Ariel, “Haganah Atzmit (ha-intifida ba-halakhah),” Tehumin 10:62-75 (1991).  He basis his view on the famous comments of the Maharal on the biblical incident of Shekhem, which defend the killing of the innocent civilians in that conflict along such a rationale.  R. Shlomo Goren, “Combat Morality and the Halakhah,” Crossroads 1:211-231 (1987) comes to the opposite conclusion.  See also the article of R. Yoezer Ariel (brother of Yaakov Ariel), who also reaches a different conclusion; R. Yoezer Ariel, “Ha’onashat Nokhrim,” Tehumin 5:350-363 (1979).  In this writer’s view, R. Yoezer Ariel’s paper correctly distinguishes between individual and national goals in this matter.

As can be garnered from Broyde’s own words, R. Yoezer Ariel agrees with his brother R. Ya’akov Ariel in principle, permitting targeting and killing innocent civilians (including children and even babies).  He does, however, limit this right to the government (the Israeli state), not to individuals (such as Israeli settlers).  This is the most popular view among Religious Zionists: the Israeli state is allowed to impose collective punishment, targeting and killing “hostile civilian populations.”

Should we call these views representative of The Halakha (Jewish law), just as Zionist Islamophobes insist on categorizing one particular interpretation of Islamic law as The Sharia?  Should we smear all of Judaism because of such views, just as Zionist Islamophobes would smear all of Islam for the views of Radical and Ultra-Conservative Muslims?

Note: Page II of “Collective Punishment is Kosher” will be published within 24-72 hours…

The Top Five Ways Jewish Law Justifies Killing Civilians; #1: Civilians Are Really Combatants

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2011 by loonwatch

(image by Carlos Latuff)

Please make sure to read my disclaimer: Why Religious Zionism, Not Judaism, Is The Problem.

Read the Introduction: Does Jewish Law Justify Killing Civilians?

The first way in which Jewish law justifies targeting and killing civilians lies at the very heart of the issue.  The starting point of the just war theory (and international law) in regards to jus in bello (just conduct during war) revolves around the definition of combatant and civilian.  Jewish law (Halakha), as understood by mainstream Modern Orthodox Judaism in Israel, utilizes very different definitions for these two words.

International law, as enshrined in the Geneva Conventions, narrowly defines combatants as those who take direct part in hostilities of an armed conflict.  The T.M.C. Asser instituut in The Hague notes:

Article 3 [of the Fourth Geneva Convention] indicates that during non-international armed conflicts the persons who enjoy protection against the various forms of violence and infringement mentioned are ‘[p]ersons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention or any other cause…’

Similarly, the following groups are protected under international law:

…medical officers, corpsmen, chaplains, contractors, civilian war correspondents and armed forces personnel who are unable to engage in combat because of wounds, sickness, shipwreck or capture (ie. POWs)…

In essence, “direct participation in hostilities” refers to using a weapon.  This is the fundamental underpinning of international law with regard to distinction and protection of civilians.

Jewish law, on the other hand, deems anyone who indirectly ”participates” in the hostilities to be a combatant and therefore fair game.  Those who ”materially contribute to the war effort” can be licitly targeted and killed.  On p.xvii of War and Peace in the Jewish Tradition, Prof. David Shatz writes:

[Rabbi Michael] Broyde also raises the issue of who is a combatant.  In his view, Halakha maintains that anyone who materially contributes to the war effort is a combatant and thus a fair target.

Based on this “definition,” the modern-day state of Israel takes a very expansive view of “combatant,” legitimizing the targeting and killing of Palestinian civilians.  We clearly see an example of the great latitude taken in this regard by modern-day Jewish religious authorities in the case of the Qibya Massacre.  Rabbi Shaul Israeli, considered  “one of the most important rabbis of the Religious Zionist school of thought,” penned one of the most influential monographs on this subject, entitled “The Qibia Incident in Light of Halakhah.”  In it, he legitimized indiscriminate violence against civilians.  This tract, as we shall see, has defined the Religious Zionist view towards the issue of distinction.

The esteemed rabbi and professor Michael J. Broyde writes on p.22 [note: all citations are from War and Peace in the Jewish Tradition, unless otherwise indicated]:

Indeed, the earliest modern discussion of this topic was presented by R. Shaul Israeli in 1954 in response to the killing of civilians by Israel Defense Forces Unit 101 at Kibia (Qibya) in 1953.  R. Israeli argues that civilians who conspire to assist in the undertaking of military operations can be killed through the pursuer rationale, as they are materially aiding the murderers.

He continues:

Indeed, R. Israeli goes even further, and seems to adopt the view that those who simply extend support to terror–by encouraging acts of violence with mere words–can be labeled combatants as well.  This is not, R. Israeli posits, any form of collective punishment, as only people who are guilty (whether of murder or conspiracy to commit murder) are actually being punished.

The reference to “the killing of civilians by Israel Defense Forces Unit 101 at Kibia (Qibya) in 1953″ refers to the Qibya Massacre, in which sixty-nine Arabs were slaughtered–of which two-thirds were women and children.  Prof. Avi Shlaim, a prominent Israeli historian at Oxford University, writes on p.91 of The Iron Wall:

[Acting defence minister Pinhas] Lavon’s order was executed by Unit 101, a small commando unit created in August to carry out special tasks. Unit 101 was commanded by an aggressive and ambitious young major named Ariel (“Arik”) Sharon.  Sharon’s order was to penetrate Qibya, blow up houses, and inflict heavy casualties on its inhabitants.  The full and macabre story of what happened at Qibya was revealed only during the morning after the attack.  The village had been reduced to a pile of rubble: forty-five houses had been blown up, and sixty-nine civilians, two-thirds of them women and children, had been killed.  Sharon and his men claimed that they believed that all the inhabitants had run away and that they had no idea that anyone was hiding inside the houses.  The UN observer who inspected the scene reached a different conclusion: ”One story was repeated time after time: the bullet splintered door, the body sprawled across the threshold, indicating that the inhabitants had been forced by heavy fire to stay inside until their homes were blown up over them.”

There are too many issues to comment on here.  There is the obvious inhumanity and depravity of the IDF–the Most Moral Army in the World™–firing upon civilians to keep them in their houses and then blowing up those houses on top of them.  Prof. Martin E. Marty writes on p.286 of Fundamentalisms Observed that, in the context of war, Halakha would indeed permit tactics “such as blowing up homes of parents of Arabs who harm Jews.”

What is truly amazing, however, is that this scenario–the Israelis blowing up and bulldozing Palestinian homes–is a pattern repeated throughout Israel’s short history.  All this was done to terrorize the Palestinian population, in order to get more Palestinians to flee their homes to make way for Israeli settlers.  This perfectly fits the quintessential definition of terrorism, yet all we ever hear about is Hamas this or Hamas that.

Then, there is the fact that the war criminal responsible for carrying out this massacre, Ariel Sharon, would later be elected Israel’s prime minister.  Such is the moral state of the modern day state of Israel–war criminals and terrorists are voted into power.  One continually hears about how evil the Palestinians are for voting in Hamas to power, while hearing almost nothing about how Israelis have routinely voted terrorists and war criminals into office.

Another interesting thing to comment on is that discussions of Ariel Sharon and Israel’s war crimes focus on events such as the Sabra and Shatila Massacre, in which Israel only played a support role.  It is my opinion that the focus on the Sabra and Shatila Massacre is a mechanism that deflects attention away from those massacres that were directly carried out by Israeli soldiers.  There are countless such instances, so why the emphasis on Sabra and Shatila?

In any case, it was following the Qibya Massacre that Rabbi Shaul Israeli published a monograph entitled “The Qibia Incident in Light of Halakhah,” which articulated the halakhist view towards the targeting and killing of “hostile civilian populations.”  It was reprinted with some expansions under the title “Military Actions for the Protection of the State” in chapter 16 of Amud ha’Yamini.  This work has had lasting influence in modern halakhic discussions in Israel, and came to form the majority view of the Religious Zionist movement, which is the dominant form of Orthodox Judaism in Israel.  On p.32 of War and Peace in the Jewish Tradition, Rabbi Michael Broyde refers to Rabbi Shaul Israeli’s article as a “thoughtful article” that is “the starting point” for such discussions. Commenting on a vast collection of Jewish articles on “war-related issues,” Broyde notes that “the overwhelming number of [them] agree with the starting point of R. Israeli.”

But perhaps we ought to look at a dissenting opinion to see what is contained in Rabbi Shaul’s tract.  Prof. Ya’acov Blidstein published an article entitled The Treatment of Hostile Civilian Populations: The Contemporary Halakhic Discussion in Israel in which he criticizes R. Israeli’s view, saying:

[Rabbi Shaul] Yisraeli develops a systematic and extensive discussion concerning the issue of the attitude to be taken toward a hostile civilian population that supports and encourages violent, murderous acts.

He notes that Rabbi Israeli legalized the killing of entire civilian populations “for their support and encouragement of terrorist acts,” instead of just those actually involved in terrorist acts. ”People who provide the murderer with support and encouragement, but do not take an active, directly conspiratorial part in the act itself” are licit to kill.  Therefore, “‘supportive and encouraging’ civilian population[s]” become “combatants” and can be killed en masse.

Prof. Blidstein notes that “the exact meaning of the terms ‘encourage’ and/or ‘support’” are left wide open.  That the state of Israel takes the widest possible meaning is apparent by the incident in which the view itself was first articulated by R. Israeli: in the Qibya Massacre, “two-thirds of them [were] women and children.”  How children and babies can be guilty of “encouragement and support” of terrorism and be licitly killed by the Israeli military is as much a mystery to me as the Canaanite or Amalekite children and babies being killed in the Bible for the “crime of idolatry.”

Blidstein concludes:

It seems to me that the general direction revealed here is quite clear.  Most of the authors surveyed read the halakhic sources in a manner that allows for extremely forceful action toward various Arab populations, whether these populations encourage and support hostile activity, or only have Arab ethnic identity.

He notes ruefully:

We have also encountered authors who attempted to limit this tendency, but these seem to be less than fully effective in their treatment, and are, within the school surveyed, in a minority.

Prof. Blidstein says his “general thesis” is

that there is a tendency in this school [Religious Zionism] to legitimate more aggressive activity against the civilian population, and to read rather narrowly those restrictions intended to limit and circumscribe such activity.

The fast and loose way in which Israel strips non-combatants of their protected civilian status is very disturbing.  Here, we have the justification of a brutal massacre of 69 civilians of which two-thirds were women and children–an act of state terrorism in its purest form–based on the claim that these were “civilians who conspire[d] to assist the undertaking of military operations”–those who supposedly “simply extend[ed] support to terror–by encourag[ing] acts of violence with mere words.”  In reality, however, there is no way to reasonably determine even this much, and it is simply assumed that the civilians “encouraged and supported” terrorism.

The truth is that the state of Israel routinely strips civilians of their protected status by claiming that they “materially contribute[d] to the war effort.”  This is a very easy charge to levy, requiring very little proof and certainly the issue of proof becomes moot when the civilians have already been killed.  It is especially convenient considering that most indigenous populations indirectly support resistance movements against the occupiers, and the Palestinians can hardly be expected to be different in this regard.

By this all-encompassing definition of combatant, the American women factory workers during World War II who produced parts for planes and tanks would be classified as “combatants” and become licit to kill.  By this definition, American journalists who wrote in support of the war against Nazi Germany would become “combatants” and become fair game.  The millions of American citizens who bought war bonds would similarly become “combatants.”  When we apply this standard to ourselves, it seems truly unthinkable, immoral, and evil.  But when we apply it to Palestinians, it becomes something acceptable.

*  *  *  *  *

To be fair, Israeli apologists from “liberal, secular” Judaism voice similar ideas.  Case in point: Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, who is one of Israel’s greatest defenders from the “liberal, secular” spectrum of the Jewish faith.  Dershowitz is credited as being “Israel’s single most visible defender” and “the Jewish state’s lead attorney in the court of public opinion.”

One would hope that as a law professor and self-professed liberal Alan Dershowitz would adhere to international law by respecting the idea of distinction and protection of civilians.  Unfortunately, one would be quickly disabused of such a notion by reading Dershowitz’s writings.  He argues that the word civilian is “increasingly meaningless.”  Dr. Norman Finkelstein documents Dershowitz’s morally repugnant ideas on p.xvi of Beyond Chutzpah:

The main target of Dershowitz’s “reassessment of the laws of war” has been the fundamental distinction in the laws of armed conflict between civilians and combatants.  “The preservation of this sharp dichotomy,” Yoram Dinstein has written [a world-renowned expert on international law and the laws of war], “is the main bulwark against methods of barbarism in modern warfare.”  However, ridiculing what he deems the “increasingly meaningless word ‘civilian’” and asserting that, in the case of terrorist organizations like Hezbollah, “‘civilianality’ is often a matter of degree, rather than a bright line,” Dershowitz proposes to replace the civilian-combatant dichotomy with a “continuum of civilianality”:

Near the most civilian end of this continuum are the pure innocents–babies, hostages and others completely uninvolved; at the more combatant end are civilians who willingly harbor terrorists, provide material resources and serve as human shields; in the middle are those who support the terrorists politically, or spiritually.  [189]

[189] He goes so far as to suggest that combatants might deserve more solicitude than civilians in time of war, depending on “the precise nature of the civilian’s ‘civilianality.’” (Preemption, p.247)

Prof. Alan Dershowitz is but one voice in a pro-Israeli movement trying to “revise” international law in order to strip civilians of their protected status (more on this later).  By “revising” the definition of “civilian” to include those who provide “indirect” assistance to the war effort–or who “materially support” the war (even if by “mere words”)–these pro-Israeli defenders are taking a sledgehammer to international law.

One can imagine the absolute outrage if the shoe was on the other foot–if pro-Palestinian groups were justifying the targeting of Israeli civilians for their “material support” of the war effort and military occupation.  If, in the words of these Orthodox Jewish authors, “mere words” in support of the combatants stripped civilians of their protected status–or if, in the words of the “liberal, secular” Jewish law professor Alan Dershowitz, “politically[] or spiritually” supporting the war effort reduced one’s “civilianality”–then the majority of the Israeli population would no longer be considered purely civilian; in that case, wouldn’t Hamas or Hezbollah be legitimated in targeting and killing them?

But as Dr. Finkelstein notes on p.xvii, Dershowitz “imagines that this revision won’t apply to Israel because ‘the line between Israeli soldiers and civilians is relatively clear.’”  Finkelstein asks:

But is this true?  Israel has a civilian army, which means a mere call-up slip or phone call separates each adult Israeli male from a combatant.

As Finkelstein quips presciently on p.xviii, “it remains to consider Dershowitz’s own location on the continuum of civilianality.”  Wouldn’t being “Israel’s single most visible defender” constitute providing “material support” to Israel’s military occupation of the Palestinians?  Using the elusive and expansive word “material support” one is able to strip most civilians of their protected status.

During the Gaza War, in which Israel massacred scores of civilians, the Israelis used this “extended definition” of “combatant.”  Amos Guiora, who served as a military lawyer in Israel for 19 years, wrote:

Israel declared war on an organisation [Hamas], and by extension on all those involved in that organization – active and passive alike.

Prof. Alan Dershowitz is certainly correct about one thing: Israel’s apologists, from the Orthodox Jewish to secular sectors, have successfully rendered the word civilian “increasingly meaningless.”  By extending combatant status to civilians who “indirectly” contribute to the war effort, the Israeli state is able to justify killing civilians whenever it wants: wherever Israeli rockets land, there is a Palestinian terrorist.  Ergo, Israel never targets anyone but terrorists.

The principle of distinction and protection of civilians is the basis for war ethics under international law: could it be said then that Jewish law is fundamentally at odds with the just war theory?  Wouldn’t this be the conclusion our anti-Muslim Zionist opponents would arrive at if this were about Islam?

Next: The Top Five Ways Jewish Law Justifies Killing Civilians; #2 Collective Punishment is Kosher (I)

Why Religious Zionism, Not Judaism, Is The Problem

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 10, 2011 by loonwatch

This is my disclaimer to the series entitled Does Jewish Law Justify Killing Civilians?

Pro-Israeli pundits often argue that they have a problem with “Islamism,” which they define as the politicization of the religion of Islam.  Prof. Jeffrey Herf of the University of Maryland clarifies, for example, that he doesn’t have a problem with Islam but with “Islamism,” a religio-political ideology enjoining Muslims to reestablish the pan-Islamic Caliphate.

If pro-Israeli propagandists insist that “political Islam”–which they call Islamism–is the problem, then in a similar vein am I arguing that Religious Zionismnot Judaism, is the problem.  It is the mixing of the political ideology Zionism with Judaism that I criticize.  I believe criticizing Judaism en toto would be Anti-Semitic.  Judaism, without the infusion of Zionism into it, is–in my opinion–a wonderful religion.  I believe it would be absolutely detestable to take my criticisms of Religious Zionism and use them to justify vilifying Judaism as a whole.

*  *  *  *  *

The dangers of falling into Anti-Semitism are very real.  Historically, Anti-Semitism has been a major problem, and it continues to be in some parts of the world today.  One of the primary ways in which Anti-Semites unfairly targeted Jews was to vilify Halakha, digging up intolerant views in the rabbinical tradition to smear Judaism with.

But herein lies an irony: many Zionist Jews are now joining Anti-Muslim Christians in vilifying the Islamic tradition in a very similar way.  Once Halakha was the target of bigots; today, it is Sharia.  Rabbi Eliyahu Stern has written an excellent article about this topic, entitled Don’t Fear Islamic Law in America.

I will be applying the same standards our opponents apply to the Islamic tradition to the Jewish one, to show that Judaism is equally vulnerable to such criticisms.  It is hoped that this exercise will encourage people of Judeo-Christian background to be more hesitant in vilifying and targeting Islam.  This is purely an exercise in thought, a what if scenario (what if we applied the same standards to your religion as you do onto others?) designed to be the antidote to religious and cultural arrogance.

By clarifying that this constitutes an “exercise in thought” one should know that I am not saying Judaism is XYZ because of ABC, but rather simply that if you insist on arguing that Islam is XYZ due to ABC then–based on your own logic–Judaism and Christianity are also XYZ because they too have ABC.  This is a what if? and an if-then argument.

*  *  *  *  *

This is not to say, however, that religion has nothing to do with the matter.  I am extremely critical of Religious Zionism, which has a very real and deleterious impact in world affairs.  Religious Zionists are now among the most influential voices in Israel’s hawkish right-wing, using religion to justify even more regressive policies towards the Palestinians.  Dr. Claudia Baumgart notes in Democracy, Diversity, and Conflict: Religious Zionism and Israeli Foreign Policy that Religious Zionism “started to play a major role” in Israeli foreign policy by the late 1960′s.  Today, its impact is absolutely pernicious.

Religious Zionism went even further than secular Zionism, declaring the settlement of Palestinian land–all of Palestine–a mitzvah, a religious obligation under Jewish law.  While it may be possible to convince secular Zionists of the need for a two-state solution, this is not possible with Religious Zionists who believe it is forbidden in their religion–nay, it is a blasphemy of the highest order and greatest magnitude–to cede even one inch of Eretz Israel to the Palestinians.  This is why Religious Zionism is a major impediment to peace in the region.

Much like how Radical and Ultra-Conservative Islam is a problem (“Islamists” as some incorrectly say), so too is Religious Zionism a major problem.  I agree with Dr. Baumgart’s assessment that “religion is not an independent cause of conflict in and between states.  But it can be an important intervening variable…”  In other words, Religious Zionism did not independently and all by itself create the problem of Israeli oppression of Palestinians, but it certainly is one important causative factor among a myriad of others.

This is of course not much different than my view of Radical and Ultra-Conservative Islam.  Some critics may assume that I do not think Radical and Ultra-Conservative Islam are part of the problem–that only American and Israeli foreign policy are to blame.  This is incorrect: I believe that terrorism is the result of a myriad of factors, and although American and Israeli neo-colonialism certainly tops the list, Radical and Ultra-Conservative Islam plays an important role as well.

Criticism of Religious Zionism should not tarnish Judaism as a whole no more than criticism of Radical and Ultra-Conservative Islam should tarnish Islam as a whole.  One should stay clear of the bigotry that would compel oneself to smear an entire faith for the actions of a particular strand of a religion.

*  *  *  *  *

My need to criticize Religious Zionism is also founded on the link between Zionism and Islamophobia. Pro-Israeli apologists are often anti-Muslim; conversely, anti-Muslim bigots are almost invariably pro-Israeli. In fact, Islamophobes fanatically support the state of Israel, which they see as the embodiment of the Crusader state in the heartland of the infidel Muslim world.  Meanwhile, Israelis see the Islamophobes as useful to their cause against their Muslim foes.  Often, however, there is no distinction between the two: Zionist Islamophobes form a large chunk of the anti-Muslim camp.  Pamela Geller, an extremist Zionist Islamophobe, is a case in point.  In light of this, it is important to hold Religious Zionism to the same standard that these Zionists/Islamophobes so mirthfully apply to Islam.

*  *  *  *  *

One may quite reasonably criticize my choice of title, “The Top Five Ways Jewish Law Justifies Killing Civilians:” after all, it does not make it clear that I am herein criticizing the Halakha of Religious Zionists, not of all Jews.  This is acceptable criticism, which I agree with in principle.

However, remember that this article series is a “thought exercise:” the entire purpose is to show how Judaism and Christianity could not possibly live up to the high standards anti-Muslim Jews and Christians insist on applying to Islam.  Our Islamophobic opponents certainly do not differentiate between different interpretations of Sharia.  They take Radical and/or Ultra-Conservative interpretations of Islamic law as The Sharia.  Likewise, I will take the Orthodox Jewish interpretation of Halakha–as understood by “mainstream” Modern Orthodoxy–to be The Halakha.  Then, we will see how much anti-Muslim Jews and Christians like it.  How will Pamela Geller respond to holding her religious faith up to the same standards she insists upon for Islam?

*  *  *  *  *

Having said all of this, the primary reason I chose to speak about Halakha is that it is our opponents themselves who invoked the comparison between the supposedly peaceful Judeo-Christian tradition on the one hand and the supposedly warlike Islamic tradition on the other.  This argument–that the modern-day Judeo-Christian interpretations are overwhelmingly peaceful, whereas those of Islam are warlike–is raised by both the King and Queen of Islamophobia, Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller.

Robert Spencer’s The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) invokes this comparison multiple times.  For example, he says on p.31:

When modern-day Jews and Christians read their Bibles, they simply don’t interpret the passages cited as exhorting them to violent action against unbelievers. This is due to the influence of centuries of interpretive traditions that have moved away from literalism regarding these passages. But in Islam, there is no comparable interpretive tradition. The jihad passages in the Qur’an are anything but a dead letter.

Meanwhile, the Queen of Islamophobia published a letter by David Yerushalmi which said:

[T]he historical comparison between the response to sharia in this country and Europe’s objection to Jewish law centuries earlier is a result of poor scholarship and faulty logic.  Jewish law, certainly since the destruction of the Jewish Commonwealth almost two thousand years ago, has had nothing to do with political power or the desire to effect dominion over another people. 

To the contrary, the opposition to sharia is the fact that throughout the Muslim world, sharia is the call to an exclusive Islamic political power with hegemonic designs (see the two most prominent surveys cited here: http://mappingsharia.com/?page_id=425).  The war doctrine of jihad is part and parcel of sharia.  It is alive and well as such throughout the Muslim world.

Therefore, I am left no choice but to compare Islamic understandings of religious law to their Jewish counterparts.  This comparison was foisted upon me by my opponents.  There is no way to disabuse the King and Queen of Islamophobia (and their loyal subjects) of their claims except to respond in the way I am.

Naturally, “bystanders” will be caught in the crossfire.  Good-hearted, fellow Jews may be offended by such an article series that takes such a critical look at Jewish law.  This is why I explained my absolute reluctance to go down this path in my opening disclaimer.  But, the constant barrage of Islamophobic polemics, encouraged by Israeli activists, convinces me that this is something unavoidable.  Thus it is so, that with a grudging heart, I proceed forth.

*  *  *  *  *

Update I:

It is true that Ultra-Orthodox Judaism within Israel is just as disquieting as Modern Orthodox Judaism (as I will show in a follow-up article). This is due to their unthinking acceptance of Zionist ideology.  On the other hand, those Ultra-Orthodox Jews who forcefully reject Zionism, such as the Neturei Karta, do not justify Israel’s killing of Palestinian civilians.  Perhaps then it would be more appropriate to say that Zionism, not just Religious Zionism, is the problem.  Once again, however, it should be stressed that it is the mixing of a racist political ideology with religion that is to be condemned, not the religion itself.

Update II:

A reader who posts under the user name “Just Stopping By” gave some valid criticism in the comments section, arguing that it would be too broad a generalization to categorize all Religious Zionism as one way–that dissenting opinions do exist.  Admittedly, this article series does deal in some generalizations, but these are acceptable, I think, in the context of this being a “thought exercise.”  One could, for example, hardly expect Islamophobes to recognize that even in Ultra-Conservative Islam there exists nuance.

Having said that, it is fair criticism–especially in an article intended to be a disclaimer and explanation of my viewpoints–that I should recognize the existence of a spectrum of views in Religious Zionism, instead of viewing it as one rigid monolith.  This I readily admit, even though I of course disagree with Religious Zionism as a whole, just as I do Ultra-Conservative Islam.

Update III:

Two additional points need to be addressed here: the first is my choice to use Carlos Latuff’s artwork.  I was unfamiliar with him until I started searching for images to use in my article series, and realized that I’ve used one of his images in the past (without properly accrediting him).  My use of some of his cartoons should not be seen as an endorsement of his political views, which are not very clear to me.  One can only speculate what a cartoonist’s political views are based on his comics.  The images I chose are very applicable to the article series, and that is why I used them.  Nothing more, nothing less.  To give credit where credit is due, I do think Carlos Latuff is a very gifted artist and political cartoonist.

I have seen accusations against him by pro-Israeli apologists that he is an Anti-Semite.  These do not seem to be anything other than the typical Israeli tactic of accusing Israel’s critics of Anti-Semitism in order to vilify and silence them.  One critic claimed that Latuff uses images of “hook-nosed Jews.”  However, this seems baseless to me: notice the perfectly normal nose of the Israeli soldier below.  One could hardly expect a critic of Israel’s war crimes to portray IDF soldiers as anything but evil.  This hardly amounts to Anti-Semitism.  Would these pro-Israeli apologists desire political cartoonists to draw Israeli soldiers with roses coming out of their butts?

The second accusation I have seen against him is that his cartoons use the Star of David.  However, he explained to the Guardian:

Part of the supposed ‘evidence’ for my antisemitism is the fact that I’ve used the Star of David, which is a symbol of Judaism . . . But check all my artworks – you’ll find that the Star of David is never drawn alone. It’s always part of the Israeli flag. Yes, it’s a religious motif, but in Israel it has been applied to a state symbol; and it’s the institutions of the state – the politicians and the army – that I’m targeting. Including the flag of Israel in a cartoon is no more an attack on Judaism than including the flag of Turkey would be an attack on Islam.

The tactic of smearing critics of Israel with the “Anti-Semitic” slur is perfectly pictured by Latuff himself:

I do think some of Latuff’s comics may be over the top and are beyond my comfort level, such as this depiction of an Israeli soldier, which is not Anti-Semitic but just too hyperbolic for me.  One can understand that an artist might want to push the boundaries and invoke strong reactions from his work.  In any case, do I have to agree with every single one of a political cartoonist’s comics before I can reproduce any of them?

The other issue is my reliance on Dr. Norman Finkelstein’s work.  He is one of the world’s leading experts of the Israel-Palestine conflict, and it thus seems obvious why I would draw on his writings.  Despite my deep respect for his scholarship and his person, I must however issue a clear disclaimer distancing myself from his equivocation in response to a question about Palestinian terror attacks against Israeli civilians.  I categorically reject all attacks targeting civilians, no matter who does them.  After all, my entire article series is designed to point out the hypocrisy of anti-Muslim Jews and Christians who condemn Muslims for what they themselves endorse (i.e. the targeting and killing of civilians).  If I would condone such terror attacks, this would be another layer of hypocrisy.

Along these lines, I might as well also state my views on Hamas and Hezbollah, since pro-Israeli apologists and Islamophobes use this as a sort of litmus test to silence opposition (DO YOU CONDEMN HAMAS?  DO YOU?).  Let it be known then that I condemn and reject Hamas and Hezbollah.  Although I recognize the right of the Palestinian people to defend their land and resist occupation (to deny them this right while accepting the right of the occupying power to “defend itself” is the height of colonialist mentality), under no circumstances–none whatsoever–is one allowed to target and kill civilians.  Even if Hamas and Hezbollah were to categorically renounce such tactics (and back up their words with actions), I would still not support these groups, which–like the Israeli and Jewish groups I will discuss–hold extremist religious views.

This does not mean that I do not “understand” why some occupied Palestinians would resort to such tactics.  (One cannot say the same for Israelis, who are the occupiers.)  “Understand” here is to be understood in the sense that one “understands” why a criminal was led to a life of crime due to an abused childhood.  This “understanding” does not equate to condoning, accepting, or justifying.

The desire to support Hamas and Hezbollah is born out of emotionalism, not principled ethics.  Many Muslims feel the need to side with “the Muslim side,” just as many Jews feel compelled to support “the Jewish state.”  I do not support groups or states, but rather ethics and principles.  Groups and states will always let you down; ethics and principles won’t.

Does Jewish Law Justify Killing Civilians?

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 4, 2011 by loonwatch

Islamophobes like Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller claim that Islam is more violent than other religions, particularly Judaism and Christianity.  To prove this, they argue that the Islamic holy book, the Islamic prophet, and the Islamic God are all uniquely violent–certainly more so than their Judeo-Christian counterparts.

We proved these claims completely bunk by showing the Bible to be far more violent than the Quran, the Biblical prophets to be far more violent than the Prophet Muhammad, and Yahweh of the Bible to be far more violent than Allah of the Quran.  (See parts 123456-i, 6-ii, 6-iii, 6-iv78, 9-i, and 9-ii of LoonWatch’s Understanding Jihad Series.)

Instead of defending their initial claim (which they simply cannot), the Islamophobes quickly shift gears and rely on a fallback argument: they argue that “the Bible doesn’t actively exhort its believers to commit acts of violence, unlike the Quran.”  I refuted this argument in part 6 (see 6-i6-ii6-iii6-iv) in an article entitled The Bible’s Prescriptive, Open-Ended, and Universal Commandments to Wage Holy War and Enslave Infidels.

Once that argument goes to the wayside the Islamophobes then jump to their next fall back argument: “most Jews and Christians don’t take the Bible literally like Muslims do the Quran!”  I refuted this argument in part 7, showing that they do in fact understand the Bible very, very literally.

In a very predictable pattern, once this argument fails, the Islamophobes rely on yet another fall back argument, the famous cop-out “But That’s Just the Old Testament!”.  I’ve refuted this argument in part 8.

Once this fall back argument is refuted, Islamophobes once again do not defend it.  Instead, they move on to the next fall back argument:  they argue that “Jews and Christians simply don’t interpret their holy book in a violent manner, unlike Muslims.”  Writes Robert Spencer on p.31 of his book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades):

When modern-day Jews and Christians read their Bibles, they simply don’t interpret the passages cited as exhorting them to violent action against unbelievers. This is due to the influence of centuries of interpretive traditions that have moved away from literalism regarding these passages. But in Islam, there is no comparable interpretive tradition. The jihad passages in the Qur’an are anything but a dead letter.

This is Spencer’s preemptive parry to any counterattack whenever anyone (like myself) responds to his cherry-picking of Quranic verses by reciprocating and finding similar (and even worse) passages in the Bible. We are told that modern-day Jews and Christians simply don’t take those passages seriously any more, that they are merely symbolic or that they are dead letters.

Spencer et al. will then take a break from copying-and-pasting Quranic passages, and instead focus on “classical opinions” in the Islamic tradition, which they claim continue to be to this day the “orthodox, mainstream opinions according to the four schools of Islamic jurisprudence [madhaib].” By contrast, argues Spencer, classical and modern-day orthodox, mainstream interpretations of Judaism and Christianity have moved away from literal understandings of the Bible and opted for non-violent, peaceful understandings.

However, I will prove that this is not the case at all. The violent verses in the Bible helped formulate the “classical opinions” of the Judeo-Christian tradition, and continue to be held by “mainstream, orthodox” groups today.  In this article, we will examine the Jewish rabbinical tradition (both the “classical” and modern day situation); in a later article, we will grapple with the Christian side of things.

Rabbi Eliyahu Stern published an article in the New York Times entitled “Don’t Fear Islamic Law in America.”  Stern’s balanced article noted that the anti-Muslim demonization of Islam (and Islamic law) “is disturbingly reminiscent” of “19th-century Europe” Anti-Semitism.  Pamela Geller, an extremist Zionist Islamophobe, published an irate letter from David Yerushalmi (who she describes as the “leading legal mind on sharia in America and my lawfare attorney”), who huffed (emphasis added):

[T]he historical comparison between the response to sharia in this country and Europe’s objection to Jewish law centuries earlier is a result of poor scholarship and faulty logic.  Jewish law, certainly since the destruction of the Jewish Commonwealth almost two thousand years ago, has had nothing to do with political power or the desire to effect dominion over another people. 

To the contrary, the opposition to sharia is the fact that throughout the Muslim world, sharia is the call to an exclusive Islamic political power with hegemonic designs (see the two most prominent surveys cited here: http://mappingsharia.com/?page_id=425).  The war doctrine of jihad is part and parcel of sharia.  It is alive and well as such throughout the Muslim world.

This is the same argument raised by Robert Spencer: Jewish law is peaceful and certainly does not call to violence or war like Islamic law does.

I will absolutely nuke this argument into oblivion.  (In the words of one of our readers: “Danios doesn’t make the mistake of bringing a knife to a gun fight–he brings a nuclear bomb.”)

*  *  *  *  *

One of the fundamental differences between the Islamic canon (Quran and hadiths) and the Bible is with regard to discrimination: the Islamic texts explicitly, categorically, and emphatically command soldiers to fight combatants on the battlefield only, and totally forbid targeting and killing innocent civilians (women, children, the elderly, the decrepit, etc.). On the other hand, the Bible is replete with verses in which God Himself commands the believers to target and kill innocent civilians. In fact, the God of the Bible becomes very upset with those of his followers who fail to complete acts of ethnic cleansing and genocide.

It is perhaps no big surprise then that one of the main ways in which the “classical” and so-called “orthodox, mainstream views” of the Islamic tradition differ from those in the Jewish tradition is with regard to discrimination: the Islamic tradition forbids its followers from targeting and killing civilians, whereas the Jewish counterpart permits it.

Rabbi Norman Lamm, convenor of the Orthodox Forum

Every year leading Orthodox Jewish luminaries from around the world–including “rashei yeshivah [deans of Talmudical academies], rabbis, educators and academicians from America and Israel”–flock to The Orthodox Forum to discuss “a single topic affecting the Jewish world.”  In 2004, the topic of choice was “War and Peace,” which was chosen due to “the United States’ involvement in Iraq” and “Israel’s ongoing war with terrorism” (quotes from p.xiii of War and Peace in the Jewish Tradition).

After these influential experts discussed the issues surrounding “war and peace,” they published their discussion in the fourteenth volume of “the Orthodox Forum Series” in a book entitled War and Peace in the Jewish Tradition.  As such, this book does not merely reflect the views of one or two Jewish authors.  Instead, it “brings together the thinking of a wide range of distinguished American and Israeli academicians and religious leaders from various disciplines, to shed light on the historical, philosophical, theological, legal and moral issues raised by military conflict and the search for peaceful resolution” (p.xi) with the goal of appreciating “the relevance of Jewish sources in approaching contemporary challenges” (p.xii).

[Note: Throughout this article series, readers should assume all emphasis is mine, unless otherwise indicated.  Also note that Rabbi is abbreviated to R., as is the accepted convention.]

Reading this very authoritative book, written by the brightest minds of Orthodox Judaism, I came to appreciate at least five major ways in which Halakha (Jewish law) permits shedding the blood of innocents–at least five major exceptions to the law of discrimination.

The reader should keep in mind that these five different exceptions have nothing to do with “collateral damage,” the incidental or unintended killing of civilians, which is generally accepted by international law (with some important caveats).  Instead, these five exceptions have to do with targeting and killing civilians.

I purposefully say “at least five different exceptions,” since there are most certainly more, which I shall discuss in future articles.  However, those other exceptions are debatable or held as minority opinions, such as the concept of targeted assassinations (debatable, I guess) and the idea that Palestinians should be exterminated because they are the modern-day Amalekites (a valid but minority “halakhic opinion”).  Instead, I will focus on views held by the majority of mainstream Orthodox Jewish rabbinical leadership.

*  *  *  *  *

In the United States, Judaism is split into three main sects: Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox.  In Israel, however, Reform and Conservative Judaism do not exist in large numbers.  Instead, the battle lines are drawn between secular and Orthodox Jews.  According to The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 20% of Israeli Jews are secular, 25% are Orthodox (17% are Religious Zionists [Modern Orthodox Judaism] and 8% are Ultra-Orthodox [Haredi]), with the largest group of Israeli Jews (55%) falling under the rubric of “traditional.”

The views of “traditional Jews” towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict seem to fall in between the two major ideological groups: secular and Orthodox Jews.  For example, whereas “only” 36% of secular Israelis support “price tag” terrorism against Palestinians and a whopping majority of Orthodox Jews support such tactics (70% of Religious Zionists and 71% of Ultra-Orthodox Jews), just over half of traditional Jews (55%) condone terrorism against the Palestinians.

Orthodox Judaism is split between Modern Orthodox Judaism and Ultra-Orthodox Judaism (Haredi Judaism).  In Israel, Modern Orthodox Judaism is dominated by Religious Zionism (alternatively called “national-religious”).  This sect is widely considered to be the “mainstream” of Orthodox Judaism in Israel.  It is this sect, therefore, that I will focus on in my article series.

One should not, however, be led to believe that Ultra-Orthodox Judaism is much better in this regard.  Although Agudat Yisrael (the original major political party that represented Ultra-Orthodox Jews) initially opposed the Zionist enterprise, this changed after the creation of the state of Israel.  These Ultra-Orthodox Jews saw the Israeli state as a means for “state enforcement of religious laws” and wanted “increased state financial support for their schools and for religious institutions” (quotes taken from the Zionism & Israel Center‘s official website).

Today, “though still non-Zionist, [these Ultra-Orthodox Jews] tend to favor perpetuation of the occupation and vote with the right against peace moves or negotiations.”  Their right-wing attitudes towards Palestinians are reflected in the earlier statistic I cited, which showed that an overwhelming majority (71%) of Ultra-Orthodox Jews support price tag terrorism against Palestinians, which is almost exactly the same percentage of Religious Zionists (70%) who do.  Ultra-Orthodox Judaism in Israel has been heavily influenced by Zionism and Religious Zionism, especially in their hostile views towards the indigenous Palestinians.

However, because many Israelis feel that Ultra-Orthodox Jews are “extreme,” I will focus my discussion here on the more “mainstream” sect, Modern Orthodox Judaism.  (In a follow-up article, I will outline the Ultra-Orthodox view on such subjects in order to prove that there is an emerging “bipartisan” consensus on these issues within Orthodox Judaism in Israel.) For now, however, I will largely stick to the generally accepted views within Religious Zionism.

Therefore, in my article The Top Five Ways Jewish Law Justifies Killing Civilians–the title that will be used for the remaining article series–I will not focus on Yizhak Shapira’s book the King’s Torah.  Despite the fact that Modern Orthodox Judaism’s rabbis seemed to accept Shapira’s views “governing the killing of a non-Jew’ outlined in the book [as] a legitimate stance” and a valid “halachic opinion,” I will bypass all such discussion by focusing on majority views held by Religious Zionism and Modern Orthodox Judaism, not the more extreme Kahanist sect of Religious Zionism.

In so doing, I will show that these majority views are hardly less worrisome than Rabbi Shapira’s opinions expressed in the King’s Torah.  I will show that one need not look to settler rabbis, Kahanists, or Ultra-Orthodox Jews to find extremely warlike views.  The mainstream Modern Orthodox rabbinical leadership will suffice.  Worse yet, Israeli Jews–deeply religious Jews–are leading the fight against the concept of distinction, the fundamental aspect of the just war theory.  They are applying pressure to change international law and to abrogate the regulations of the Geneva Conventions, which they believe are “archaic” and inapplicable today.  Could it be said, using the emotive language of our opponents, that Judaism is waging war against the principle of distinction?

The purpose of this is to prove that if there are problems within the house of Islam (which there certainly are), let it be known that the house of Judaism is no different in this regard.  It would behoove us to remind ourselves of this before we point the accusatory finger at The Other.  Extremist Zionist Islamophobes like Pamela Geller–and their Christian comrades-in-arms like Robert Spencer–should take note.

Disclaimer:  Before we get into it, please read my disclaimer, Why Religious Zionism, Not Judaism, is the Problem. (This is in addition to my earlier disclaimer, which you should also read):

Update:  

The Top Five Ways Jewish Law Justifies Killing Civilians;#1 Civilians Are Really Combatants

#2 Collective Punishment is Kosher (I)

#2 Collective Punishment is Kosher (II)

#2 Collective Punishment is Kosher (III)

#2 Collective Punishment is Kosher (IV)

Hypocrisy Alert: Jihad Watch Gets Desperate Against LoonWatch Yet Again

Posted in Feature, Loon Sites with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2011 by loonwatch

JihadWatch just published this:

Incitement to violence against Robert Spencer at “Spencer Watch”

Spencer Watch is a site affiliated with an larger propaganda outfit that had to go and steal the name of a perfectly nice site about birds.

Yes, idiotic comments happen, and here, we delete them as soon as we are aware of them. Ordinarily, we have better things to do than read anything Spencer Watch puts out, but a reader kindly brought this comment to our attention, which has remained for over a year on a rather major page within the site, intended to imitate our “Why Jihad Watch?”

Wow. Way to refute everything about Acts 17, “RefutingActs17.” You totally put St. Paul in his place there, dude.

Robert Spencer always enjoys giving himself an air of mystique by boasting that his life is in mortal danger, which is why his books such as The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) say that “He lives in a Safe, Undisclosed Location.”  This, even though he quite openly says here that “I live in New England.”  Couldn’t his book have said that, instead of the melodramatic “He lives in a Safe, Undisclosed Location” (all capitalized for some odd reason)? It’s not really “Undisclosed” then, is it?

The reason for this fraud is obvious: nothing boosts ratings more than a fatwa on one’s head.  So, it is no wonder then that Robert Spencer has been desperately trying to accuse LoonWatch (or its affiliate site SpencerWatch) of threatening him.  For the first time, Spencer and the Islamophobes have an organization that is really sticking it to them.  He has to find a way to discredit us. Unfortunately, nothing sticks!

The fact that JihadWatch has absolutely nothing to use against us–that Robert Spencer has no substantive responses to issue whatsoever–is painstakingly clear to see when we look at the frustrated, almost pathetic, attacks on our site.  Awhile ago, he published an article condemning a comment Mosizzle posted [“Like all cancers, this one needs to be cut out before it spreads”] which wasn’t even posted by a LoonWatch or SpencerWatch writer.  Not only that, but Mosizzle explained that his sentence was meant to be understood in a proverbial, not literal, way.

Once again, JihadWatch couldn’t find a single sentence written by a LoonWatch or SpencerWatch writer to take issue with, so it has to once again dig up a comment by some random posterRefutingActs17–who says: “It’s time Robert Spencer got schooled–the hard way.”  Apparently, that’s supposed to constitute “an incitement to violence.”

According to urbandictionary.com, “taking someone to school” means:

Being taken to school means that you have been owned, pwnt, ownt, pwned, beaten, defeated, SHOWN HOW ITS DONE. Nubs usually get taken to school in games such as Counter-Strike.

Oh my God!  Maybe RefutingActs is challenging Robert Spencer to a game of Counter-Strike!  (I’m going to hazard a guess that Spencer will play with the Counter-Terrorists.)

As I pointed out previously in response to Spencer’s spazzing out over Mosizzle’s comment, all of this reeks of profound hypocrisy:

Robert Spencer, on the other hand, physically threatened me (Danios), calling for me to be lashed 100 and 101 times on two different occasions respectively, saying about me (“the slick liar”):

The slick liar who penned that piece ought to get 100 lashes

And:

The slick liar who penned that piece ought to get 101 lashes

Calling for someone to get lashed 100 or 101 times cannot really be understood as “proverbially speaking” nor is it a common saying. (Admittedly, I think it was nothing more than him just losing his temper…) So basically on the one hand we have on LoonWatch a comment using a phrase most commonly used in the proverbial sense by a random reader of our site who is not even a part of the LoonWatch team…(Nowhere in the quote by Mosizzle is violent action called for.)  And on the other hand we have a threat that explicitly says I should be lashed, a threat issued not by some random reader of JW, but by the main man himself!

I smell something: it’s the smell of desperation.

All of this desperation coming from JihadWatch just because LoonWatch and SpencerWatch are really getting under their skin.  Most humiliating of all, of course, is that Robert Spencer is scared to debate us here at LoonWatch. But I guess whining about a comment here and there posted by random visitors to our site is just as good as facing me in debate?

Instead of defending the arguments he raised in his book (many of which I have refuted and will continue to refute), Spencer’s site spends time analyzing the name of our website. Oh no, we stole the name of a bird site (even though our site existed beforehand).  To respond using the words of JihadWatch: Wow.  Way to refute everything about LoonWatch.  You totally put Danios in his place there, dude.  You just refuted us, and now we give up.  All our base are belong to you.

Note: Make sure to read our earlier article on a very similar topic, Robert Spencer of JihadWatch Becomes Desperate Against LoonWatch

$42 Million From Seven Foundations Helped Fuel The Rise Of Islamophobia In America

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 29, 2011 by loonwatch

money bags

A very interesting report on the funding of the anti-Muslim movement. It is unfortunate that despite a few citations there is scant mention of our taking the haters on day in and day out for over two years.

REPORT: $42 Million From Seven Foundations Helped Fuel The Rise Of Islamophobia In America

By Faiz Shakir on Aug 26, 2011 at 9:30 am

Following a six-month long investigative research project, the Center for American Progress released a 130-page report today which reveals that more than $42 million from seven foundations over the past decade have helped fan the flames of anti-Muslim hate in America. The authors — Wajahat Ali, Eli Clifton, Matt Duss, Lee Fang, Scott Keyes, and myself — worked to expose the Islamophobia network in depth, name the major players, connect the dots, and trace the genesis of anti-Muslim propaganda.

The report, titled “Fear Inc.: The Roots Of the Islamophobia Network In America,” lifts the veil behind the hate, follows the money, and identifies the names of foundations who have given money, how much they have given, and who they have given to:

The money has flowed into the hands of five key “experts” and “scholars” who comprise the central nervous system of anti-Muslim propaganda:

FRANK GAFFNEY, Center for Security Policy – “A mosque that is used to promote a seditious program, which is what Sharia is…that is not a protected religious practice, that is in fact sedition.” [Source]

DAVID YERUSHALMI, Society of Americans for National Existence: “Muslim civilization is at war with Judeo-Christian civilization…the Muslim peoples, those committed to Islam as we know it today, are our enemies.” [Source]

DANIEL PIPES, Middle East Forum: “All immigrants bring exotic customs and attitudes, but Muslim customs are more troublesome than most.” [Source]

ROBERT SPENCER, Jihad Watch: “Of course, as I have pointed out many times, traditional Islam itself is not moderate or peaceful. It is the only major world religion with a developed doctrine and tradition of warfare against unbelievers.” [Source]

STEVEN EMERSON, Investigative Project on Terrorism: “One of the world’s great religions — which has more than 1.4 billion adherents — somehow sanctions genocide, planned genocide, as part of its religious doctrine.” [Source]

These five “scholars” are assisted in their outreach efforts by Brigitte Gabriel (founder, ACT! for America), Pamela Geller (co-founder, Stop Islamization of America), and David Horowitz (supporter of Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch). As the report details, information is then disseminated through conservative organizations like the Eagle Forum, the religious right, Fox News, and politicians such as Allen West and Newt Gingrich.

Over the past few years, the Islamophobia network (the funders, scholars, grassroots activists, media amplifiers, and political validators) have worked hard to push narratives that Obama might be a Muslim, that mosques are incubators of radicalization, and that “radical Islam” has infiltrated all aspects of American society — including the conservative movement.

To explain how the Islamophobia network operates, we’ve produced this video to show just one example of how they have mainstreamed the baseless and unfounded fear that Sharia may soon replace American laws:

*We published this piece earlier but took it down for technical reasons.

Website Reviews Anders Behring Breivik’s Manifesto: Reads Just Like Jihad Watch, Atlas Shrugs, and Other “Counter-Jihad” Websites

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2011 by loonwatch

Robert Spencer and his biggest fan: Anders Behring Breivik

LoonWatch was recently referenced by an interesting website that reviews “odd books.”  IReadOddBooks.com reviewed Anders Behring Breivik’s book 2083: A European Declaration of Independence. Breivik, the Norwegian terrorist who killed over 70 people in Oslo (he was targeting “jihad-supporting Leftists”), penned this 1500 page manifesto and wanted it to be read widely.

What’s interesting is how similar–in fact, how  completely indistinguishable–Breivik’s book is from any of the multitude of “counter-jihad” websites such as Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch and Pamela Geller’s Atlas Shrugs.

Here it is:

2083 by Andrew Berwick, aka Anders Behring Breivik

Book: 2083: A European Declaration of Independence

Author: Andrew Berwick, real name Anders Behring Breivik

Type of Book: Paranoid manifesto, conspiracy theory

Why Do I Consider This Book Odd: Sigh…

Availability: It’s all over the Internet.

Comments: When I learned that the Norway mass murderer had salted his manifesto all over the Internet shortly before he went on his rampage, I knew I was going to have to read it. After all, I read odd books. And more to the point, I have an unapologetic interest in the aberrant mind. From all the commentary I read online and from news reports, Anders Behring Breivik was a fundamentalist Christian, he was a fascist, he was a racist, he was an Aryan supremacist, he hated Muslims, he was a loner, he was a part of a larger anti-Islam group, he was a lunatic, he was a mastermind – he was all kinds of inconsistent things and I wondered what was correct and what was the typical media rush to judgment.  I wondered if the people who were postulating about him and his sources had actually read the manifesto.

So I read it. Every last word. I will admit that at about page 1200 things at times got a little vague for me. Reading every word of this disjointed, strange monster of a manuscript would make even an Adderall addict bleary. I also admit that after a while, all the articles explaining the horrors of Islam and all the terrible things Muslims have done wore a bit thin. I have a feeling that were I forced to read some of them again, it would be like I was reading them for the first time. That’s okay  because all that “evidence” was not likely to be of much interest to me anyway. It’s largely unimportant because I examined this manifesto from the perspective of a person interested in strange minds and conspiracy theory. On both fronts, this manifesto was quite interesting.

Strangely, Anders Behring Breivik (to be called ABB from here on out) is not the most interesting part of this manifesto. Rather, it was the cast of characters who led him to the conclusions he reached and provided confirmation for his strange ideas. Most notable is Fjordman. So notable is Fjordman that I intend to devote two entries to discussing him. Initially, I declared Fjordman to be a complete asshole, and parts of that assessment still seem true, but as I reread and wrote my discussion, I began to find him pitiable. Not pitiful, but definitely pitiable.

Fjordman, who revealed his identity recently as Peder Jensen, a 36-year-old man who seems largely unremarkable, greatly inspired ABB’s thoughts and the terrible rampage that killed 77 people. Because Fjordman influenced many of ABB’s ideas, it seems logical to me to discuss him first. You see, though much of this manifesto consists of articles from other writers, the bulk of the articles came from Fjordman. If you have not read or browsed the manifesto, many articles from anti-Islamists are reproduced in full in the manifesto. Part two of this three-part manifesto was almost a static wiki of articles from other people. Though my eyes admittedly glazed over at times, I believe I counted 40 articles from Fjordman reproduced throughout the 1500 pages. Though there are articles from other writers (one of them a hilarious pearl-clutching treatise on the horrors of rap music), Fjordman’s words take up the most space and show a very clear path of how his words affected ABB. Though there are theories about a Brit in Malta who may have influenced ABB’s rampage, the fact is Fjordman’s paranoiac and violent rhetoric influenced ABB’s mindset and his plans more than any other writer or thinker. In fact, the subtitle of this manifesto comes from the title of one of Fjordman’s articles, and the date of 2083 seems very much influenced by estimates that Fjordman posits about the decline of Europe if Muslim immigration is not stopped soon. So logically, for me at any rate, to understand ABB, we first must talk about Fjordman’s articles and the part they played in ABB’s anti-Muslim fears.

Before you read part one of my discussion about Fjordman, there are some things I would like to share with you, gentle reader. Unpleasant things. Of course, I will never not be a little shocked when I discover a whole mess of people willing to accept conspiracy theory as irrevocable fact. I may devote my life to reading books about conspiracy theory, but it is unsettling when it hits home how deeply people can believe in it. It was shocking to realize that there are people who take the word of Bat Ye’or, the woman responsible for creating what I like to call The Protocols of the Elders of Mecca, as historical truth. It was horrifying to realize that people like Diana West (ahahahaha!), Daniel Pipes, and Robert Spencer are not laughed out of every quarter of contemporary political thought. It was disgusting to realize that there are no depths too low for the likes of Glenn Beck, Pamela Geller and Debbie Schlussel to sink as they try desperately to keep their names and ideas relevant in the minds of those who live and breathe race hate and bigotry.

But as unpleasant as all of this is, it is important that we understand how common conspiracy theory is in some form or other for a good many people in this world. For many the natural impulse is to dismiss ABB as a crazy man, and we dismiss him as a lunatic at our own risk because if he is a lunatic, so are many, many others. It is hardwired into the human brain to believe strange things, I think, and it’s hard to look at a man like ABB and realize that he is just one of many, a man who is different solely because he took things just one step further. That is why I ultimately feel pity for Fjordman. Fjordman, a True Believer in Bat Ye’or’s Eurabia conspiracy theory was building castles in the air via his online essays, never once thinking that his words, taken at face value, could have been seen as a call to arms.

We have a vested interest in dismissing all violence as crazy, labeling people like ABB as The Other, but his views are derived from other people and are influencing other people even after anyone with common decency would dismiss him. Killing innocent teenagers for a bizarre political and social agenda should have rendered ABB’s ideas untouchable for anyone with sense and a conscience – Fjordman is appalled by what happened on Utøya – but there is a fringe element who see what ABB did as being the work of a patriot. Think I’m exaggerating? I don’t recommend visiting Pamela Geller or Debbie Schlussel’s sites because if you do, you are rewarding their dreadful antics to draw attention to themselves. Rather, check out the analysis of some of these people on sites like Loon Watch, Spencer Watch, and, interestingly enough, Little Green Footballs. (It had been years since I had visited Little Green Footballs. Last time I visited the site, it was a hive of scum and villainy. Discovering the site is no longer devoted to race hate and biogtry was perhaps the sole pleasant element to come from reading 2083.)

Before I begin my discussion of 2083, I need to make it clear, very clear, that I am not discussing any specifics of the immigration situations in other countries or the specifics of Muslim immigration in Europe. I am not qualified to discuss it and I have no interest running to ground all of the statistics, determining what information is sound and what information is not. But even though the sites I have read that discussed some elements of 2083 focus solely on the question of Islamic immigration, there is so much more than that to be found in 2083. So much, in fact, that what began as just another of my long-winded looks at strange writings turned into what I think will be a four part series: two entries about Fjordman and two entries about ABB.

But being who I am, only part of the manifesto interested me. If you want a hard political look at Muslim immigration and the social implications of it, there are plenty of political sites on both sides of the issue to accommodate you. My examination of Fjordman will look at his beliefs and an analysis of his writing. My examination of ABB will be to look at his plans and his theories, and some postulation about his brain because I cannot resist the urge to armchair psychoanalyze him. And it should be mentioned that I am not going to stray from the text. Everything I discuss about either man comes directly from 2083, and to make it clear, every word from Fjordman comes from articles that ABB found so important that he reproduced them in full in 2083. I also will end up snarking some because, given the text we are discussing, how can I not? Some ideas, even those that lead to tragedy, have an arrogant comedy in them that cannot be ignored by a woman who has a black belt in sarcasm.

So begins Part One: Fjordman.

2083, though categorized into three sections, is a mess in terms of coherence. So discussing the book chronologically is impossible for me. Instead, I am going to write in categories, first about the elements of the book that are most important in understanding the Eurabia conspiracy theory, Fjordman’s distaste for Muslims, and understanding how Fjordman’s words, however unintentionally on his part, could have inspired violence.

It’s also important to note two things before I begin. Fjordman and ABB are not native English speakers, so I will not be noting any usage errors in their writing. To include the traditional [sic] would have been time-consuming and more than a little pedantic had I been consistent. Second, if there are any errors in the way book names are presented or any other formatting differences between the original text and my quotes, assume those errors are mine. I copied from a PDF into Word then into WordPress and I can imagine some things got lost in the transfers.

So let’s begin and have a look at Fjordman, the man who influenced a mass murderer.

The Eurabia Conspiracy Theory
I want to start with the whole Eurabia theory because if we really want to assign blame for what happened in Norway, the blame begins and ends with ABB. Full stop. Non-negotiable. But at the same time, it is not hard to see how it is that conspiracy theory can lead a mind utterly astray. If Fjordman is the man who influenced ABB, then Bat Ye’or is the woman who influenced all of those who believe that there is a master plan to sell out Europe wholesale to the Muslims.

Fjordman is a true believer in Bat Ye’or’s theory of Eurabia, wherein Marxism, political correctness, cultural relativism (routinely called multiculturalism), traitor governments and the EU have collided and colluded to permit an Islamic invasion that will wipe out Western civilization. Here’s a small sample of what Bat Ye’or believes and has written about, as described by Fjordman on page 281:

In an interview with Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Bat Ye’or explained how French President Charles de Gaulle, disappointed by the loss of the French colonies in Africa and the Middle East as well as with France’s waning influence in the international arena, decided in the 1960′s to create a strategic alliance with the Arab and Muslim world to compete with the dominance of the United States and the Soviet Union.

“This is a matter of a total transformation of Europe, which is the result of an intentional policy,” said Bat Ye’or. “We are now heading towards a total change in Europe, which will be more and more Islamicised and will become a political satellite of the Arab and Muslim world. The European leaders have decided on an alliance with the Arab world, through which they have committed to accept the Arab and Muslim approach toward the United States and Israel. This is not only with respect to foreign policy, but also on issues engaging European society from within, such as immigration, the integration of the immigrants and the idea that Islam is part of Europe.”

To sum up, France tried to ally themselves with the Muslims as a counter-balance to the Soviets and now, as a result, all European leaders have an alliance with the Muslim world that affects policies toward the USA and Israel and will result in the West becoming Islamic satellite nations.

From page 283, we get the following two quotes:

A wide-ranging policy was sketched out. It entailed a symbiosis of Europe with the Muslim Arab countries that would endow Europe – and especially France, the project’s prime mover – with a weight and a prestige to rival that of the United States. This policy was undertaken quite discreetly, and well outside of official treaties, using the innocent sounding name of the Euro-Arab Dialogue. The organisation functioned under the auspices of European government ministers, working in close association with their Arab counterparts, and with the representatives of the European Commission and the Arab League. The goal was the creation of a pan-Mediterranean entity, permitting the free circulation both of men and of goods.

European leaders went behind their citizens’ backs in order to sell their countries out to the Muslims.

On the cultural front there began a complete re-writing of history, which was first undertaken during the 1970s in European universities. This process was ratified by the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe in September 1991, at its meeting devoted to “The Contribution of the Islamic Civilisation to European culture.” It was reaffirmed by French President Jacques Chirac in his address of April 8, 1996 in Cairo, and reinforced by Romano Prodi, president of the powerful European Commission, the EU’s “government,” and later Italian Prime Minister, through the creation of a Foundation on the Dialogue of Cultures and Civilisations. This foundation was to control everything said, written and taught about Islam in Europe.

There is a movement to control information about Islam, including what is taught in schools, all under the auspices of European leaders working behind the scenes to give their countries over to Islam.

More from page 284:

Eurabia is a novel new entity. It possesses political, economic, religious, cultural, and media components, which are imposed on Europe by powerful governmental lobbies. While Europeans live within Eurabia’s constraints, outside of a somewhat confused awareness, few are really conscious of them on a daily basis.

This Eurabian policy, expressed in obscure wording, is conducted at the highest political levels and coordinated over the whole of the European Union. It spreads an anti-American and anti-Semitic Euro-Arab sub-culture into the fiber of every social, media and cultural sector. Dissidents are silenced or boycotted. Sometimes they are fired from their jobs, victims of a totalitarian “correctness” imposed mainly by the academic, media and political sectors.

Okay, this is important because the reason those kids were targeted on that island is because they were attending a Labor Party summer camp. ABB makes this clear in the beginning of the manifesto, but key to the Eurabia conspiracy is the idea that cultural Marxists, the people responsible for political correctness, are the ones permitting Muslim immigration into Norway. By taking out future Socialists whom he thought would continue to harm his country, ABB was trying to stem the tide of immigration that Bat Ye’or insists comes from this conspiracy of European leaders.

And it goes on and on. To save the reader from having to read more long quotes on this matter, here is the summary: Europe’s leaders have sold out Europeans to the Muslims, who are evil and seek to destroy a Western identity. All non-Muslims will be forced into a state of “dhimmitude,” a neologism coined by Ye’or to express the perpetual second-class citizenship and a state of near-slavery that she believes Muslims will inflict on non-Muslims. Fjordman believes Bat Ye’or’s conspiracy theory and therefore so does ABB.

What I later found so interesting about Fjordman’s belief in this conspiracy theory is that there are glimpses of a reasonable mind (and note I did not say rational – conspiracy theorists are some of the most rational people on the planet but they are seldom reasonable). There are moments when, as I read, I could see the wheels turning in his mind and if he had just let them turn a bit more, he might have come out on the other side of the machine. But alas, he got stuck. For instance, Fjordman is strangely aware of how dumb his particular brand of conspiracy sounds but is unaware that he is just like every other True Believer out there in how he rationalizes his ideas. From page 280:

I decided to write this essay after a comment from a journalist, not a Leftist by my country’s standards, who dismissed Eurabia as merely a conspiracy theory, one on a par with The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. I do not disagree with the fact that conspiracy theories exist, nor that they can be dangerous. After all, the Protocols and the
Dolchstosslegende, or “stab in the back myth” – the idea that Germany didn’t lose WW1 but was betrayed by Socialists, intellectuals and Jews – helped pave the way for Adolf Hitler and the Nazis before WW2.

So he’s aware of conspiracy theories. He understands that they exist and that others look at the Eurabia conspiracy and dismiss it along with other conspiracies. But like all True Believers, his conspiracy is different, somehow, than all the other conspiracy theories. As much as I loathe his ideology and as much as I mock and deride his beliefs, I also know that there is a critical mind in there somewhere that has been corrupted by hate because there is no way anyone could know the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a load of pants but not be able to see how Eurabia is the same unless one is deliberately shutting down the part of one’s mind that permits reasonable comparisons.

We continue seeing how strangely his mind works on page 280:

However, what puzzles me is that it is a widely-held belief of many (not just in the Islamic world but in Europe and even in the United States) that the terror attacks that brought down the Twin Towers in New York City on September 11th 2001 were really a controlled demolition staged by the American government and then blamed on Muslims. I have seen this thesis talked about many times in Western media. While it is frequently (though not always) dismissed and mocked, it is least mentioned.

In contrast, Eurabia – which asserts that the Islamisation of Europe didn’t happen merely by accident but with the active participation of European political leaders – is hardly ever referred to at all, despite the fact that it is easier to document. Does the notion of Eurabia hit too close to home? Perhaps it doesn’t fit with the anti-American disposition of many journalists? Curiously enough, even those left-leaning journalists who are otherwise critical of the European Union because of its free market elements never write about Eurabia.

Fjordman doesn’t seem to understand that only a small number of people believe that 9/11 was an inside job, and that when it comes up, it is being brought up and discussed by the self-same people who believe in it. Aside from Charlie Sheen and the whole “Loose Change” crowd, people feel no need to deflect blame for the terrorist destruction of the World Trade Center from the Muslim terrorists responsible for it. Therefore it is not that unusual that Eurabia seldom comes up either. The reason no one reputable mentions Eurabia as truth is because it is, as I said already, The Protocols of the Elders of Mecca. Even though there are some news outlets willing to let Glenn Beck shit up the place and therefore may have an open-door lunatic policy,  most of them are not, in fact, run by anti-Western freedom haters who want to see the entire world taken over by political correctness so that the Muslims can enslave us all. Rather, people don’t discuss it outside of Jihad Watch and The Gates of Brussels because most people are not bigoted paranoiacs. Even better, they aren’t saying it because Islam is not trying to take over the world. The reason it is “hardly ever referred to at all” is because it does not exist

Fjordman has really swallowed Bat Ye’or’s conspiracy theory hook, line, and sinker, to the point that he simply cannot see that this belief set is really a different side of the same coin used as currency in race hate and bigotry directed at Jews. From page 296:

According to Bat Ye’or, fear of awakening opposition to EU policy toward the Arab Mediterranean countries led to the repression of all discussion of the economic problems and difficulties of integration caused by massive immigration. Any criticism of Muslim immigration is basically brushed off as being “just like the Jews were talked about in Nazi Germany,” a ridiculous but effective statement.

It’s not ridiculous. It’s the same goddamned hate that has plagued mankind since we evolved into differing tribes. The arguments are the same – the Muslims want their own law system derived from their beliefs, they won’t assimilate, they commit crimes against native Europeans, etc. Just replace the world Muslim with Jew and we can reenact those same accusations of 70 years ago.

Bat Ye’or’s acolytes are no different than anyone else who bases their life around bizarre conspiracy. From page 296 we see the victim mentality that all these True Believers seem to possess:

Professional harassment, boycott and defamation punish those who dare to openly challenge the Politically Correct discourse. According to Bat Ye’or, this has led to the development of a type of “resistance press” as if Europe were under the “occupation” of its own elected governments.

What harm has befallen Bat Ye’or, or the people at Gates of Brussels, or Robert Spencer, or anyone else for speaking this nonsense other than earning the censure of their peers? If you say stupid things that have no basis in reality, people mock you. That’s life, not persecution for your beliefs. Moreover, I find it amusing that these folk consider themselves as equivalent to “resistance press.” They are tilting at windmills and are trying to give their bigoted conspiracy a patina of respectability, harking back to the real resistances that fought against actual occupying armies, like the French during WWII. This is not a resistance press that requires pseudonyms for personal safety – it’s a bunch of miserable people publishing bigotry as history, many of whom don’t want to eat the shit sandwich that being bigots would earn them. Bat Ye’or is no Lucie Aubrac. It is offensive that anyone would even try to associate this mess of hate with movements that genuinely did fight against occupying armies. But they must adopt this guise of being the voice for freedom, persecuted for their beliefs, lest they have to face the fact that their base beliefs are rejected because they are stupid and because they are wrong.

It’s all very sad, in a way, how such beliefs, so strange on their face, would influence anyone to believe. But they do believe. And a man killed 77 people because of the perpetuation of conspiracy theory as fact. Never forget this. ABB believed this conspiracy theory, but so do many others. The basis of the belief behind his rampage is shared by many other people.

Fjordman is a religious bigot
The force behind the Eurabia conspiracy theory is hate – bigotry aimed at a religion. Saying this in no way lessens the impact of any Muslim atrocity that may have happened. Religion is, in my atheist opinion, a shield behind which many terrible people have done terrible things. Bat Ye’or suffered a shattering upheaval because of political machinations in Egypt and calling her and those who believe her conspiracy bigots should not reduce the perception of the impact bad politics had on her life. But regardless of how she came to have the ideas she does, the basis of this conspiracy theory is hate and Fjordman definitely has the hate.

Hate makes it impossible to see any blood except that which is on your enemy’s hands. Fjordman has some odd ideas about the sanctity of other religions in comparison to Islam. From page 58:

Moreover, there are hundreds of calls in the Koran for fighting against people of other faiths. “If it is correct that many Muslims view the Koran as the literal words of God, which cannot be interpreted or rephrased, then we have a problem. It is indisputable that the texts encourage terror and violence. Consequently, it must be reasonable to ask
Muslims themselves how they relate to the text, if they read it as it is,” says Magaard.

Fjordman cops to the fact that he is not a Christian, though he thinks Christian Identity could play some role in ending Muslim immigration, so perhaps he has no idea the hilarity that ensues when one engages in comparative religious examinations of the horrors religions espouse. But suffice it to say that for every line from the Koran one uses to damn the Muslims, I can find find an equally appalling line from the Bible and/or Torah to damn the Christians and/or Jews. Let us ask all the Christians and Jews how they relate to the text, if they read it as it is. That should be fun and illuminating.

More of the same, plus some bizarre rhetoric from page 337:

Muslims are stuck with their problems and their corrupt leaders and blame everybody else for their own failures because they can never admit they are caused by deep flaws in their culture. We shouldn’t make the same mistake. Europeans export wine; Arabs export whine. That’s the way it should be.

This comes from a section wherein Fjordman is postulating that the Europeans have been too weak and have the weak government they deserve. The part I am focusing on here is the statement that Muslims never admit they cause problems and that throwaway line about wine and whine. Ugh. This is ridiculous stereo-typing (based on what – I had no idea that Muslim are considered whiny – none that I know are whiny…) and really helps the case that Fjordman is just a bigoted, strange little man willing to say outrageous things because he hates. And if all Arabs exported was whine then why all the fear? What does it say about Fjordman that he has such hate for a group that is evidently so weak he uses words like “whine” to describe them?  Of course, that was a rhetorical throwaway line, but still, it is quite grating.

Then Fjordman goes on to quote a commenter from some anti-Islam sites:

Thus, from a purely economic point of view, Islam seems to be a collective of people who live by the ethos of “beg, borrow or steal.” So why do we, the capitalist countries, who do not believe in offering anyone a free lunch, subsidise the most lazy yet aggressive bunch of people on God’s planet, who are bent on subverting our democratic system? The nub is, how has it come about, that the natural progression of the most advanced civilisation on earth is towards stupidity?

Yep, from the entirety of all the Muslims on this Earth we can safely say that every single one of them is a beggar, a moocher or a thief. This is very sound reasoning and no one should ever question when anyone makes huge, sweeping, bigoted statements like this.

But Fjordman and those he quotes don’t let anything like facts get in their way of Islamic demonization. From page 414:

Former Muslim Ali Sina[51] claims that even in the USA, which has a smaller Muslim population and less social security benefits than Western Europe, Muslims are a huge drain on the economy: “Because about 2 million Muslims live in America and among them there are some who are terrorists, Americans are forced to expend hundreds of billions of
dollars on homeland security. I have no idea how much is the actual cost. Let us be conservative and say it costs only $200 billion dollars per year. In reality it could be many times more. Does anyone have any idea? With just $200 billion dollars, every Muslim, including their children cost the taxpayers $100,000 dollars per year. This is the real “contribution” of Muslims to America Mr. President. Once you add the cost of the real damage caused in terrorist attacks, such as to planes, buildings, etc. this cost will be much higher.

Just for the record, power needs no excuse to crawl up people’s asses. Seriously, if the TSA had not been the agency that more or less destroyed the Bill of Rights, some other government agency would have. I know, I know, I am totally sounding like Alex Jones. We all have our weaknesses. But back to this quote. It is a quote that assumes there are Muslim terrorists living in America and that is why the Department of Homeland Security is doing all that it does. It assumes the number of terrorists in the USA is the sum total of Muslims in the USA, because it breaks down the amount spent by the DHS per Muslim. And then the number spent by the DHS is also speculative. Fact, schmacts! Let’s yell about terror and money and stuff because who cares about real numbers and accurate statistics?

From page 523:

As I have demonstrated above, it is perfectly accepted, and widely practiced, by Jihadist Muslims to lie to non-Muslims about their true agenda. I have also demonstrated that the relationship between radicals and so-called moderates is a lot closer than we would like to think. At best, they share the goals of establishing sharia around the world, and differ only over the means to achieve this goal. At worst, they are allies in a good cop, bad cop game to extort concession after concession from the infidels. Moreover, even those who genuinely are moderate and secular in their approach may later change, or their children may change. This can be triggered by almost anything, either something in the news or a crisis in their personal lives, which will create a desire to become a better, more pious Muslim. The few remaining moderates can easily be silenced by violence from their more ruthless, radical counterparts.

So, even the moderate Muslims are scary because they are some sort of religious Manchurian Candidate wherein they can be triggered into extremism and violence. We have to fear them even if they are not fearsome because they may become fearsome. I don’t know how anyone could look at this and not see that this is nothing but religious bigotry.

Fjordman sees the Muslims as relentless baby-making machines, echoing language that I have read condemning Italian and Irish immigrants in the United States 100 years ago, and Hispanics today. From page 286:

The growth of the Islamic population is explosive. According to some, one out of three babies born in France is a Muslim. Hundreds of Muslim ghettos already de facto follow sharia, not French law. Some believe France will quietly become a Muslim country, while others are predicting a civil war in the near future.

I am unsure how Fjordman comes by these statistics and lack the will to find out. As far as I know, France does not collect birth information using  religion statistics. However, given that Muslims make up 9% of the French population, it is hard to see how the Muslim women included in that 9% can possibly have so many children each year that they make up 33% of the total births in any given year. Oh yes, of course, the French must be deliberately misrepresenting the number of Muslims because they are a part of the Eurabia conspiracy. Or the Muslims have babies in litters like cats. Either way, this is irrational bigotry.

Fjordman also has a hard time explaining why some religions pass inspection with him and why some don’t. From page 295:

What the European Union does, however, is to treat Islam as a traditional, European religion on par with Christianity and Judaism. This is a crucial component of Eurabian thinking and practice.

At what point does a religion’s presence obtain a traditional status. Though Muslims were expelled from Spain, there was a significant Muslim presence left behind. How long does it take to become a tradition? Christians invaded Scandinavia, replacing pagan and heathen ideals with Christian ideals in some quarters and Scandinavia has only been “Christian” for 800-1200 years. If Christianity is considered a traditional religion for all of Europe, then why not Islam? Well, because Bat Ye’or’s conspiracy theory has led Fjordman to conclude that Muslims are evil.  (And while I am aware of some of Fjordman’s story that he told when he revealed his real name, I am doing my best to stick to the manifesto. However, I will say that while Fjordman has lived in Egypt and studied there, and was appalled by some Muslim reaction to the 9/11 attacks, such ideas are worthless in determining a unified outlook in the world. Taking the specific and making it the general for all people within an entire faith is a bad way of forming ideas.)

I’ll end this section on Fjordman’s religious bigotry with this quote from page 335:

There is, however, a big difference: The Islamic world always has been our enemy and always will be. China and Russia do not have to be our enemies, although our relations will be complicated because of their size and their own Great Power ambitions. We can, at best, persuade them that directly opposing us isn’t going to pay off.

So, we can reason with the Chinese and the Russians so they will not stand in the West’s way as they contain the Muslim Menace, but we can’t reason with the Muslims. Interesting… But even more interesting is the notion that the Islamic world was, is and always will be our enemy. See, this is why this is nothing but hate. This mindset is no different than those who insist that the beliefs of the Jews mean they will always be the enemy of civilization. But when you are in the depths of such beliefs you can’t see how they are the same hatred perpetuating itself over and over and over.

I don’t even have the time or desire to discuss all the various Muslim fears that Fjordman has, but he thinks the Muslim Brotherhood has a multi-point plan to take over Europe. Investments in Europe evidently mean they are setting the stage to have a strong financial foothold once they kill off or enslave whitey. At any rate, this is perilously close to New World Order bullshit because at this point, international trade and foreign investments are a part of the world economy. Get over it. There were many times I wanted to tell Fjordman to pull up his socks and get over it – the world has changed, and as much as he demeans the tribalism of Islamic adherents, he sure cloaks himself in his own tribal identity. But seeing conflicts in thinking are not the strong point of any conspiracy theorist. I will touch more on some of Fjordman’s inconsistencies in the second part of my look at his words.

Fjordman’s bleak, urgent and violent rhetoric is alarming
I have to state pretty clearly that Fjordman was pulled into this against his will. Evidently he never exchanged ideas directly with ABB and declined to meet him. In a way he didn’t ask for this. But in a way, he did. Information placed on the Internet reaches all kinds of readers and in writing in such a vehement, angry manner, using terminology for war, battle, and siege, as well as stating the urgency of the dire situation in Europe, it is not unreasonable to look at his words, note their inclusion in the manifesto, and understand the role his rhetoric played in ABB’s rampage. I don’t agree with some bloggers that Fjordman bears a criminal culpability, and he may not even bear a moral culpability. But there is no way to look objectively at his words and not come to the conclusion that they could have been read by a fellow True Believer as a call to arms.

I have seen some pundits say that if Fjordman is to bear any responsibility then the Beatles must be held responsible for the actions of the Manson family or that Salinger must be responsible for the murder of John Lennon since Mark David Chapman was carrying a copy of The Catcher in the Rye when he shot him. That is all nonsense. Paul McCartney did indeed write a song about the fall of a civilization but at no point did he say that there was to be a race war and that someone needed to start it off by killing a pregnant starlet. And god only knows what Chapman extrapolated from a book about a kid who hated phonies but at no point did Salinger indicate that perhaps the way to rid the world of phonies was to shoot a politically active rock star. However, Fjordman does, in fact, indicate that there needs to be some drastic action to stop Muslim immigration, which he sees as a part of a larger scheme to create a Eurabia wherein white Europeans are enslaved by Muslims, and he uses violent language as he shares his ideas. More importantly, he made a very convincing case that there is no hope for change via the political process or even peaceful demonstrations, which would lead some True Believers to think that the only method by which change could be achieved is the individual acting against the state.

At some point, the blogging world is going to have to understand that our words mean something, that they have overt meaning plus subtext, and that when information is so easily disseminated, words laden with subtext may reach an audience that may not know you were writing hypothetically. I can understand why Fjordman went into hiding. The horror of this situation alone has to be killing him.

But none of that changes the fact that the proof for his exhortations for urgent action, possibly violent, are clear as day in his words. Though he did not state outright that one should kill members of the Labor Party in Norway (cultural Marxists) in order to stem the tide of Islamification, he engages in fear-mongering, uses violent language that gives lie to the idea that he did not tacitly encourage violence, and proves his case that things are beyond hope. Did he mean to set off ABB? Of course not. This is less an insinuation about Fjordman’s role inspiring the Norway murders than it is an attempt to show those who still have not made up their mind about the text that there is a strong sense of urgency and a call to violence that cannot be denied simply with good intentions.

I want to begin with some quotes, offered with no commentary. In this entire section, for all quotes that have words in bold, the emphasis is mine. We start on page 322:

I know many Americans, and Europeans, too, have more or less written off Western Europe as lost to Islam already. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t think this too sometimes, but I do see encouraging signs of a real shift of public opinion beneath the surface. Judging from information such as the extremely high number of Germans hostile to Islam, I still believe, or at least hope, that Europe can be saved.

But this hope hinges on the complete and utter destruction of the European Union The EU must die, or Europe will die. It’s that simple.

From page 331:

It is conceivable that Islam in some generations will cease to be a global force of any significance, but in the meantime it will be a constant source of danger to its neighbours, from Europe through India to Southeast Asia. The good news is that Islam may not be able to achieve the world dominance it desires. The bad news is that it may be able to achieve a world war. We can only cage it as much as possible and try to prevent this from happening.

More dire language from page 378:

I’ve suggested before that native Europeans face three enemies simultaneously when fighting against the Islamisation of their lands: Enemy 1 is the anti-Western bias of our media and academia, which is a common theme throughout the Western world. Enemy 2 are Eurabians and EU-federalists, who deliberately break down established nation states in favor of a pan-European superstate. Enemy 3 are Muslims. The Netherlands from 2001 to 2007 is a clear case in point where enemies 1, 2 and 3 have successfully cooperated on breaking down the spirit of the native population through intimidation and censorship and by squashing any opposition to continued mass immigration.

From page 613:

Scandinavia is a Utopia lost. Previously quiet Scandinavian nations now suffer Islamic terror threats and death threats[28] against people criticising Islam. Norway celebrates 100 years as an independent state[29] this year. Judging from this new discrimination act and the runaway Muslim immigration, perhaps the anniversary should be called “From independence to colonisation”. At the same time as their women are no longer safe in the streets because of immigrant gangs, the authorities respond by making Norwegians defacto second-rate citizens in their own country. They use their own people as stepping stones for their personal careers in the UN bureaucracy.

From page 520:

Centre Democrat Ben Haddou[27], a member of Copenhagen’s City Council, has stated: “It’s impossible to condemn sharia. And any secular Muslim who claims he can is lying. Sharia also encompasses lifestyle, inheritance law, fasting and bathing. Demanding that Muslims swear off sharia is a form of warfare against them.”

Read that statement again, and read it carefully. Muslims in the West consider it “a form of warfare against them” if they have to live by our secular laws, not their religious laws. Will they then also react in violent ways to this “warfare” if they don’t get their will? Moreover, since sharia laws ultimately require the subjugation of non-Muslims, doesn’t “freedom of religion” for Muslims essentially entail the freedom to make non-Muslims second-rate citizens in their own countries?

It goes on and on and on. From page 342:

This war by Islam against Europe, the West and indeed mankind has been going on for more than 1300 years. This is the third major Jihad, the third Islamic attempt to subdue the heartland of the West. Although I cannot prove this, I have a very strong feeling that this will also be the last attempt. There will be no fourth Jihad. Either Muslims will win this time, or Islam itself will be handed a defeat and a blow so powerful that it may never recover from it. This is perhaps the longest, continuous war in human history. And it’s about to be decided within the coming decades. I’m not sure how all of this will play out. What I do know is that it could all be decided on my watch, and I don’t want to be the weak link in something my ancestors kept intact for 1300 years.

Fjordman is making his case about the Eurabia theory – Islam is coming to get Europe. In this one passage he spells out that the time to fight is at hand, giving urgency to the situation. He calls it a war, one of the longest in human history. He says that if Islam is not crushed this time there will be no second chance. He says he does not want to be part of the reason the West succumbs to Islam. There is no way for anyone but a Fjordman apologist not to see the implications in his ideas and his loaded word choice.

Just some more examples of the descriptive language Fjordman uses as he discusses his conspiracy theory. From page 603:

Since its inception, Islam has been waging an aggressive war against the rest of mankind, with the stated purpose of bringing every single human being on earth under Islamic rule. Infidels have been presented with only three options: Convert to Islam, die, or submit under Islamic rule as a dhimmi, a second-rate citizen in your own country subject to serious financial pressure, constant verbal humiliations and frequent physical abuse. Islam hasn’t changed in the last 1400 years.

This entire quote is incendiary in the mind of anyone who believes in Eurabia conspiracy, and ABB was definitely a True Believer.

How about this from page 636:

According to Politikerbloggen[9], AFA have produced a manual about how to use violence in order to paralyze and hurt their opponents, and they encourage their members to study it closely. Meanwhile, senior members of law enforcement are too busy waving plastic penises to care. It’s all for tolerance, and then there is this small group at the back, behind the police, the media and the cultural and political establishment, ready to assault, beat up and hospitalise anybody deemed to be insufficiently tolerant.

The people who want tolerance will beat people to a pulp to get it. With incendiary words like this one wonders if ABB decided to fight Fjordman’s fire with fire.

The urgency that Fjordman brings to making the case for Eurabia is also strong and persuasive to a True Believer. From page 677:

Several recent incidents have demonstrated that Muslims are now trying to apply these dhimmi rules to the entire Western world. The most important one was the burning of churches and embassies triggered by the Danish cartoons depicting Muhammad. This was, down to the last comma, exactly the way Muslims would treat the persecuted non-Muslims in their own countries. The cartoon Jihad indicated that Muslims now felt strong enough to apply sharia rules to Denmark, and by extension NATO. Hardly anybody in the mainstream Western media made any attempts to explain this to the public.

We are hurtling toward slave status now, this very minute. The Denmark cartoon incident proves it, in Fjordman’s eyes.

More about the cartoon situation in Denmark. From page 593:

The status given to non-Muslims who accept being second-rate citizens, dhimmis, under Islamic rule is technically referred to as “protected.” During the Cartoon Jihad, the leftwing coalition government demonstrated in public that Norwegian authorities did not control the security of their citizens, and thus had to accept Muslim intervention to secure their safety. This amounted to the acceptance of Islamic rule according to sharia law, a view which was subsequently strengthened by payments to Muslims at home and abroad. Undoubtedly these payments offered by Mr. Giske on behalf of the government were viewed by Muslims as jizya, the “protection money” non-Muslims are required to pay in willing submission (Koran, 9:29) as a sign of their inferior status vis-a-vis Islam, as a compensation for not being slain.

When the government in Norway failed to protect its citizens from Islamic backlash, they effectively sold out Norwegians into a state of protected, Islamic slavery and tacitly accepted Sharia law. This is clearly making the case that urgent action is needed, right here and right now, because the government has already made Norwegian citizens Islamic slaves.  Christ, as I reread this, I sort of think that Fjordman should kiss the ground that this did not turn out worse than it did.

Here’s some more urgency from page 600:

My bet is still on Britain, or possibly Denmark, as the first Western country to face a civil war due to Muslim immigration, but the Netherlands is a potential candidate as well.

Muslim immigration will cause civil war in Europe. A True Believer and a patriot would want to avoid civil war, using any means to prevent it.

And for the love of sanity, bear in mind that I am only culling a small percentage of the alarmist quotes from Fjordman available to me. From page 586:

Sweden was presented during the Cold War as a middle way between capitalism and Communism. When this model of a society collapses — and it will collapse, under the combined forces of Islamic Jihad, the European Union, multiculturalism and ideological overstretch — it is thus not just the Swedish state that will collapse but the symbol of Sweden, the showcase of an entire ideological world view. I wrote two years ago[3] that if the trend isn’t stopped, the Swedish nation will simply cease to exist in any meaningful way during the first half of this century. The country that gave us Bergman, ABBA and Volvo could become known as the Bosnia of northern Europe, and the “Swedish model” will be one of warning against ideological madness, not one of admiration. I still fear I was right in that assessment.

Ignore the trivialization of centuries of Swedish society summed up in “Bergman, Abba and Volvo.” Were those things not to have existed, I am sure the world and Sweden would have been just fine. Just pay attention to the panic implicit in the idea that Sweden is near collapse and may cease to exist unless something is done.

Some more panicky information for the True Believer, from page 521:

It is true that Jihad is not exclusively about violence, but it is very much about the constant threat of violence. Just like you don’t need to beat a donkey all the time to make it go where you want it to, Muslims don’t have to hit non-Muslims continuously. They bomb or kill every now and then, to make sure that the infidels are always properly submissive and know who’s boss.

We are becoming donkeys who will continue to be trained by violence until we are overcome. Something needs to interrupt this training process before it is too late.

Here Fjordman is discussing the imminent fall of France to Muslims, on page 287:

The impending downfall of France is bad news for the rest of the West. What will happen to French financial resources? Above all, who will inherit hundreds of nuclear warheads? Will these weapons fall into the hands of Jihadist Muslims, too?

This is clearly setting up the idea that the world is going to be in danger of a nuclear event if something does not stop Eurabia from becoming a reality. Nuclear warheads in the hands of terrorists would make the average person jittery. Imagine how such an idea can create a sense of utter urgency in the mind of a Eurabia believer.

More of Fjordman’s charged urgency from page 326:

New anti-discrimination laws to combat Islamophobia are to be enacted, as they already have been in Norway, where Norwegians need to mount proof of their own innocence[15] if Muslim immigrants accuse them of discrimination in any form, including discriminatory speech. The EU also wants to promote an official lexicon[16] shunning offensive and culturally insensitive terms such as “Islamic terrorism.”

Ah, so now Norwegians will have to prove their innocence much like those accused of witchcraft in the 17th century, in anti-Democratic attempts to label all Norwegians Islamophobics. Again, note the urgency and overblown horror, words meant to instill fear and a need to act in the reader.

Fjordman’s sense of impending doom includes all Europeans being put to death for Islamic blasphemies:

Remember that blasphemy against Islam carries the death penalty according to sharia. Multiculturalism in Europe is about to reach its openly totalitarian phase. Those who think this is a joke can look at the Dutch cartoonist Gregorius Nekschot[13] who was arrested in 2008 for cartoons that “insulted” Muslims. Several documents that are publicly available (but little known by the general public because they are never referred to by the mainstream media) state that the EU should “harmonise” the education and legal systems with the Arab “partner countries” within the coming decade. This is being negotiated as we speak, behind our backs.

So, Europeans will one day face the death penalty for criticizing Islam. Act now or we will all face the sword for criticizing Islam. According to Fjordman, the details are being decided now behind everyone’s backs.  Can we all agree that this would create a sense of urgency to act now in a True Believer?

Now here’s where things get sticky and ugly for anyone who really wants to maintain that Fjordman’s intent was never to inspire anyone to commit acts of the sort ABB committed. It is true that Fjordman describes a plan to defeat cultural Marxists and stop Muslim immigration. From page 330:

The best way to deal with the Islamic world is to have as little to do with it as possible. We should ban Muslim immigration. This could be done in creative and indirect ways, such as banning immigration from nations with citizens known to be engaged in terrorist activities. We should remove all Muslim non-citizens currently in the West. We should also change our laws to ensure that Muslim citizens who advocate sharia, preach Jihad, the inequality of “infidels” and of women should have their citizenship revoked and be deported back to their country of origin.

Okay, within the confines of his irrational, bigoted hated for Islam, this is not that incendiary. Changing laws sounds like a pretty middle of the road option. This would still be a bit iffy given the Eurabia theory that is behind it but overall one does not want to shake Fjordman by his shoulders until he sees reason.

Well, it would be somewhat acceptable if he did not go on at length, detailing in depth the fact that changing laws is impossible, that every reasonable move the Islamophobe in Europe can make is not only doomed to failure, but could in fact, be criminalized. Fjordman unfortunately makes his case about the dire, irrevocable situation Europe is in, being at the mercy of governments in collusion with Muslims. In the face of all that he writes, it is impossible for a True Believer in Eurabia to walk away with the sense that anything legal or sensible will end the plight of the native Europeans.

Here’s an example of this, from page 599:

In March 2007, native Dutch residents of the city of Utrecht rioted to protest against harassment by Muslim youths and government inaction to stop this. The authorities immediately suppressed the riots by sealing off the area and installing surveillance cameras to control Dutch non-Muslims, but they have done virtually nothing to address the underlying problem of violence from immigrant gangs. The case is far from unique.

Such incidents demonstrate that the authorities throughout Western Europe are now dedicated to implementing continued mass immigration and multiculturalism no matter what the natives think. If they object, they will be silenced. The Dutch voted “no” by a very large margin to the proposed EU Constitution that will formally dismantle their country, as did Irish and French voters, but they are simply ignored. At the same time, the EU elites obediently respond to calls from Islamic countries to ban “stereotypes and prejudice” targeting Islam. European political elites implement the agendas of our enemies and ignore the interests of their own people. They are thus collaborators and traitors and should be treated accordingly.

So from this example we see that peaceful protests do not work and result in an Orwellian crackdown on the protesters. Any attempt to speak out will result in being silenced. The political officials reject the will and the vote of the people and are allowing the enemy to take over. The governments are full of Islamic collaborators. What good will voting or waking up the “sheeple” do if the will of the voters is ignored anyway? What is the only option left for the patriotic True Believer when even peaceful protest is taken from him?

From page 599:

In Brussels, Belgium, gangs of Muslim immigrants harass the natives on a daily basis. We have had several recent cases where native girls have been gang raped by immigrants in the heart of the EU capital, yet when the natives wanted to protest against the Islamisation of their continent on September 11th 2007, the demonstration was banned by the Socialist mayor of Brussels, whose ruling party is heavily infiltrated by Muslims. Those who attempted to carry on with a peaceful protest were arrested by the police.

So, gang rapes are common and peaceful protest against Islamization is criminalized. The options for a patriot who wants to save his countrywomen from violent rape are becoming more and more limited in Fjordman’s rhetoric.

Then we have this strange passage from page 590:

Is it just a coincidence that the one country on the European continent that has avoided war for the longest period of time, Sweden, is also arguably the one Western nation where Political Correctness has reached the worst heights? Maybe the prolonged period of peace has created an environment where layers of ideological nonsense have been allowed to pile up for generations without stop. I don’t know what Sweden will look like a generation from now, but I’m pretty sure it won’t be viewed as a model society. And if the absence of war is one of the causes of its current weakness, I fear that is a problem that will soon be cured.

Of course Fjordman means Sweden got soft and allowed the cultural Marxists to run amok because of peace, but it can be seen as a call to arms to end the peace in Scandinavia. In this sense, peace means cultural death and ABB certainly interrupted any sense of Norwegian peace. And even if that is not the case, the last line implies a vicious war with Islam looms, another heavy idea for a True Believer who thinks he is in a cultural war with Islam.

More about peace and war, from page 522:

Furthermore, the Islamic world has not only the attitude of open war. There’s also war by infiltration, as we can see in Western countries now. Is there a possibility to end this dance of war? According to Moshe Sharon, the answer is, “No. Not in the foreseeable future. What we can do is reach a situation where for a few years we may have relative quiet.”

Fjordman makes the case that there are several ways that the Muslims are committing Jihad against the West, one of them being immigration and excessive child-bearing. So even in times of peace, the warrior must be preparing for war with Islam. Even if the Muslims in some areas are not creating the panoply of problems Fjordman talks about, they are quietly infiltrating and the canny Westerner must be ready, even in the face of “relative quiet.”

This bit from page 588 is a call to arms, pure and simple:

Why does the government dispense with the social contract and attack its own people like this? Well, for starters, because it can. Sweden is currently arguably the most politically repressive and totalitarian country in the Western world. It also has the highest tax rates. That could be a a coincidence, but I’m not sure that it is. The state has become so large and powerful that is has become an autonomous organism with a will of its own. The people are there to serve the state, not vice versa. And because state power penetrates every single corner of society, including the media, there are no places left to mount a defence if the state decides to attack you.

The governments are attacking their own people because they have no accountability anymore. The state is so large and so ominous that there is nothing anyone can do if the state decides to turn against them. The implication, of course, is that a True Believer must launch an offensive because all defensive moves are doomed to failure.

From page 587:

This is a government that knows perfectly well that their people will become a minority in their own country, yet is doing nothing to stop this. On the contrary. Pierre Schori, Minister for immigration, during a parliamentary debate in 1997 said that: “Racism and xenophobia should be banned and chased [away],” and that one should not accept “excuses, such as that there were flaws in the immigration and refugee policies.”

In other words: It should be viewed as a crime for the native population not to assist in wiping themselves out.

That is hardcore, right there, the idea that failure to cooperate will be a crime. If failing to cooperate is a crime, then it makes any other sort of action the only moral course, since we seem to be dealing in black and white. And once the case is made that there is no way to affect the government as they ignore the voters (which one presumes would make it difficult to “throw the bums out” as we used to say in America), that they turn against the native citizens at every provocation, that they have criminalized protest AND may criminalize non-compliance, there really is no course of action left for a True Believing patriot than to act against the government in a direct offensive.

There is no hope of change via the democratic process, from page 376:

In 2007, former German president Roman Herzog warned that parliamentary democracy was under threat from the European Union. Between 1999 and 2004, 84 percent of the legal acts in Germany – and the majority in all EU member states – stemmed from Brussels. According to Herzog, “EU policies suffer to an alarming degree from a lack of democracy and a de facto suspension of the separation of powers.” Despite this, the EU was largely a non-issue during the 2005 German elections. One gets the feeling that the real issues of substance are kept off the table and are not subject to public debate. National elections are becoming an increasingly empty ritual. The important issues have already been settled beforehand behind closed doors.

If there is no way to change things via a political process, is it surprising ABB took to his guns and bombs? Fjordman is raising these issues with the intention of waking up Westerners but if there is nothing legal they can do to stop immigration, what else is there for them to do when rhetoric wakes them up? Blog about it? Amusingly, that will come up in my discussion of ABB, a section wherein he takes a small jab at those awake and still writing and not acting.

In fact, here is a little snippet of Fjordman’s own strange, backhanded criticism of blogging. I will touch on his other inconsistencies in part two. From page 377:

In the eyes of American theorist Noam Chomsky, “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.” This is undoubtedly true, which is why it’s strange that Chomsky thinks that the Internet, currently the freest medium of all, is “a hideous timewaster.”

And yet Fjordman kept writing about all these horrors in a hideously timewasting manner. One wonders if ABB was trying to best his teacher by not wasting time.

There is no middle road for the Eurabia conspiracy True Believer to trust even mainstream Muslims, from pages 518-519:

Examples such as these leave non-Muslims with a very powerful dilemma: How can we ever trust assurances from self-proclaimed moderate Muslims when deception of non-Muslims is so widespread, and lying to infidels is an accepted and established way ofhiding Islamic goals? The answer, with all its difficult implications, is: We can’t.

Does this mean that ALL Muslims are lying about their true agenda, all of the time? No,of course not. Some are quite frank about their intentions.

So, even the moderate Muslims are lying about their true intentions and the only ones not lying are the ones telling the West to their faces that they plan to defeat them. Doesn’t really leave a lot of wiggle room for negotiations. People may be willing to say that Fjordman and writers like him are trying to wake up Westerners but to what avail? In the process of making their case for Eurabia conspiracy theory, writers like Fjordman painted themselves into corners. Fjordman gave lip service to changing the situation via changing laws but goes into excruciating depth about how it is impossible to do that to which he gave lip service.

It’s sad, in a way. Fjordman proved the Eurabia theory so well that his acolytes had no choice, if they wanted to change things, but to act violently. Of course, Fjordman was engaging in rhetoric. All politics is rhetoric, it seems at times. People who bloviate about conspiracy theory mainly want to be believed, and belief in the theory, the comaraderie of being among people whom you think are not deluded and see the world as you see it is one of the heady reasons conspiracy theory will never go away. It is comforting to have others who believe as you do, and there is a lovely sense of arrogance wherein all those people know they are right and the others are wrong. This arrogance fuels endless debates, it fuels political action, and when those arrogant folk throw around violent, urgent rhetoric that offers no peaceful recourse, they should not be surprised when someone who believes them takes action.

So we come to end of Fjordman: Part One. Come back in a couple of days for Fjordman: Part Two, where I will discuss things like Fjordman’s take on feminism, some of his strange notions, and other elements to his writing, like his misuse of literature and popular culture in his articles.  Next week I will post my discussion of ABB, but I need to mention again that I find Fjordman so much more interesting than ABB. Don’t be surprised if my analysis of Fjordman’s words far outweighs my analysis of ABB’s words.

Since I suspect these entries may attract new readers , please take a moment to read my comment policy.   And welcome!  Be sure to tune back in on Thursday for more from 2083.

Adam Barnett’s response to Robert Spencer

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2011 by loonwatch

By: Adam Barnett

Adam Barnett co-wrote One Law for All’s Enemies Not Allies: The Far:Right report. Here he responds to Robert Spencer’s statement on the report.

Following the publication of ‘Enemies Not Allies: The Far-Right’, our new report which investigates his and similar organisations, Stop Islamization of America director Robert Spencer has invited One Law for All to ‘substantiate [our] charges, or withdraw them and issue a public apology.’ One could simply recommend that Mr. Spencer read our report. Indeed, in his ‘rebuttal’, he writes as if he has answered all of these charges before. It’s therefore strange that he felt the need to reply to them at ‘11:53pm’ on a Sunday night, and to attempt to smear his critics as ‘racist anti-Semites’ and ‘supporters of Jihad’. One could be forgiven for thinking that Mr. Spencer hoped to prevent people from reading the report for themselves.

In any event, I’m happy to list our main charges against his group and refer interested readers to the relevant citations in our report:

– Stop Islamisation of Europe is the ‘expansion’ of a Danish anti-Muslim party, Stop Islamiseringen af Danmark (SIAD), which was itself the result of a split within a xenophobic lobby group. (p.36-37) It calls for a boycott of all ‘Islamic countries’, for the Qur’an to be banned, for the mass deportation of immigrants from Europe, and protests against the building of Mosques. (p.37, 44-46) SIOE’s leadership consider all Muslims to be congenital liars who have a ‘culture of deceit’, and never tire of announcing that they ‘do not believe in moderate Muslims’. (p.40-41, and here)

– SIOE’s leaders have collaborated with and defended Julius Borgesen, former spokesperson for the right-wing extremist group Danske Front, which has ‘co-operated’ with Blood & Honour and Combat 18. Borgessen has reportedly participated in a march to celebrate Rudolf Hess, and was imprisoned in 2007 for calling for an arson attack against a Danish minister. SIOE insist that Borgesen is ‘in no way Nazi [or a racist], but is fighting for the democracy and freedom of Denmark’. (p.38-39) Further, there is evidence to suggest that other Danish neo-Nazis, as well as members of the BNP and the National Front, have attended SIOE and SIAD events. (p.38, 47)

– Stop Islamization of America is the U.S. branch of the SIOE umbrella group, and was entrusted by its leadership to Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer in January 2010. Geller and Spencer have praised SIOE, endorsed its political programme, published its statements and expressed admiration for its leaders. (p.48-49)

– SIOA’s leaders have surpassed SIOE’s defence of war criminal Radovan Karadzic, (which included offering justifications for his actions), by defending Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, denying Serbian atrocities including the Srebrenica genocide, publishing the work of professional apologists for the Milosevic project, and in Spencer’s case working on an institutional level with such people to oppose an independent Kosovo. Ms. Geller has gone so far as to say that Bosnian Muslims killed themselves in order to ‘manipulate media coverage’, and refers to the 1995 genocide as a ‘propaganda lie’ which was ‘manufactured [by] the international community’ as part of ‘the ongoing blood libel against the Christian Serbs’. (p.42-43, 53-54 and here)

This is presumably what Mr. Spencer means when he writes of SIOA’s ‘opposition to the jihad in the Balkans and skepticism (sic) about some of the charges made of Serbian war crimes.’

– SIOA’s leadership has supported, defended and praised the English Defence League, (without equivocation until recently), and has promoted their events, published their statements and attacked their critics. (p.55-59) Co-director Pamela Geller’s web log has featured conspiratorial articles regarding the President of America’s religion, his family, his sexual history, and the circumstances of his birth, and has likened his ‘stealth jihad on the White House’ to ‘an SS officer getting elected president during WW II’. (p.52-53) In 2010, Robert Spencer defended his and Geller’s ‘colleague’ Joseph John Jay, who had recommended the ‘wholesale slaughter’ of Muslim civilians, including children, on the grounds that he had been ‘misinterpreted’. Spencer maintains this still, and Ms. Geller has recommended Jay’s writings as recently as July 2011. (p.51-51)

I could go on, but I ought to address Mr. Spencer’s direct challenge regarding a quote of his which we included. Here is the quote, published on his Jihad Watch site in 2005: ‘there is no distinction in the American Muslim community between peaceful Muslims and jihadists. While Americans prefer to imagine that the vast majority of American Muslims are civic-minded patriots who accept wholeheartedly the parameters of American pluralism, this proposition has actually never been proven.’

Writing today, Spencer claims ‘what [he] meant was there is no institutional distinction, so jihadis move freely in Muslim circles among those who oppose them and claim to do so’. However, when asked by a commenter on the original article in 2005 ‘how distinctions can be made’, Spencer replied: ‘That’s simple. Let American Muslims renounce all attachment to violent Jihad and Sharia, refuse all aid from Sharia states (chiefly Saudi Arabia), and cooperate fully with anti-terror efforts aimed at rooting jihadists out of American mosques.’ (p.52) Having thus identified all Muslims as suspects who are guilty until proven innocent, Spencer does not specify how to treat Muslims who do not ‘cooperate fully’, or who fail to make the prescribed disassociations. But based on his record and the company he keeps, I’m glad we’ll never have to find out what it might entail.

I think this meets Mr. Spencer’s challenge, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to bring all of this to people’s attention. I’m not sure how one squares the above with the claim that SIOA ‘stand[s] for the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience, and equality of rights for all people’. Perhaps Mr. Spencer will enlighten us.

The problem with Jihad Watch

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2011 by loonwatch

(cross-post from Harry’s Place)

Guest Post, August 17th 2011, 10:40 am

This is a guest post the centrist (Lucy Lips’ boyfriend)

For someone who spends the majority of his time blogging, Robert Spencer is remarkably thin skinned. Ever since One Law for All published its report about how the far-Right has hijacked the anti-Islamist debate, Spencer has been howling with his characteristic sense of righteous indignation and victimhood. Dissent and disagreement is not allowed in Spencer’s world. Detractors are immediately branded ‘Marxists’, ‘anti-Semities’, ‘Dhimmis’, ‘stooges’ or practitioners of Spencer’s favourite slur ‘Taqiyyah’.

Spencer might claim not to hate all Muslims, but his work belies that vacuous claim. Jihad Watch essentalises Muslims on a daily basis, as if they were a monolithic whole acting in unison for the pursuit of an unspoken grand agenda. Every action performed by a Muslim, no matter what their actual motivation, is immediately ascribed to Islam. It is as if no Muslim ever acts without reference to their Islamic identity.

Consider this wild theory posted on Spencer’s website. An article posted by ‘The Anti-Jihadist’ claims that allegations of rape made against Dominique Strauss-Kahn are actually part of a ‘stealth jihad’. What matters, long before any real facts have been established in that case, is that Strauss-Kahn’s accuser is a Guinean Muslim immigrant.

It also so happens that Mr. Strauss-Kahn is Jewish. Coincidence?…Why would a Muslim, and a ‘pious, devout’ one at that, be so adept and experienced at lying? Surely Islam has nothing to do with this woman’s pathological lying, and nothing to do with her criminal attempts to extort money from a powerful, rich Jew. Of course.

Perhaps Strauss-Kahn’s accuser was trying to extort a rich and powerful man. The facts are far from settled. But if she were, why is Spencer not content to think of her as simply a crook? Rather, what is singled out and stressed is that she is Muslim. Indeed, the article is quite explicit in arguing that Muslims are inspired to become ‘pathological liars’ by Islam.

That is the modus operandi of Jihad Watch. Elsewhere on his site, Spencer posts a picture of an unknown Muslim woman wearing a headscarf while working for the TSA (Transportation Security Administration). After offering an insincere caveat, “I am sure the TSA employee pictured here is as loyal and patriotic as the day is long”, Spencer gets to the nub of the matter. He objects to seeing a Muslim TSA worker because:

we are forced tacitly to acknowledge either that that belief-system [Islam] had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks — even though the attackers themselves invoked it and only it as their motivation — and that therefore we must do nothing to oppose its spread in the West, or that even if that belief-system did motivate the 9/11 jihad attacks, it is continuing to advance in the West and we can do nothing about it.

The two goals may coalesce: in other words, Islamic jihadists who wished to infiltrate the TSA may decide that a hijabbed TSA worker would be preferable to one in secular dress, as a gesture of Islamic supremacist assertiveness as well as the placement of an agent who could weaken security at the right moment.

So any Muslim woman wearing the hijab is making ‘a gesture of Islamic supremacist assertiveness’? Remember that Spencer claims not to hate all Muslims or be immediately suspicious of them, yet he ascribes such conspiratorial motives to women who simply cover their hair.

Back to Spencer’s bizarre logic:

A hijabbed TSA worker is the personification of a dare: Islamic supremacists are daring the TSA to question her about her belief-system, thereby acknowledging that that belief-system has something to do with terror and violence.

Again, the hijab is linked to a ‘supremacist’ plot, this time as part of an ‘Islamist dare’. Spencer’s claims not to hold all Muslims in disdain and under suspicion is palpably false as demonstrated by articles like that, and literally hundreds of others on his website.

Spencer and supporters of his essentialist view automatically ascribe the beliefs of Islamist political parties, terrorist organisations, and the most regressive, literalist interpretations of Islam to all Muslims. Suspicion and distrust naturally follow, creating the climate in which the delusions that consumed Anders Breivik are formed.

Spencer has howled wildly that Breivik has nothing to do with him. Yet, it is not that simple. Spencer may not advocate actual violence but that is his only difference with Breivik – one of style rather than substance. They share a general diagnosis of ‘the problem’: the supposed ‘colonisation’ of Western societies by Muslims and the hysterical claim that there will be a ‘Muslim takeover’.

This is no different to groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and Hizb ut Tahrir which condemned 9/11 and 7/7. They might oppose those attacks, but do so over issues of style only. They share al-Qaeda’s overall diagnosis and worldview: that Islam is under attack by a belligerent West and that the only solution is the revival of puritanical Islamic societies.

In any event, Spencer’s claims about being opposed to violence require serious examination. When the Egyptian revolution began one might have expected Spencer to support a group of people fighting for their freedom. Instead, an article on Jihad Watch by ‘Roland Shirk’ could only imagine the worst.

What Muslims want, around the world, is to impose political Islam…For us to be prattling on about the virtues of self-government in this context is suicidal, like Russian aristocrats hosting Bolsheviks in their salons.

So much for all the pieties about not hating Muslims and always suspecting the worst about them. Shirk then offered a very unique solution to avoid the ‘suicidal’ situation he saw arising in Egypt, arguing:

If I could have Mubarak’s ear, I would whisper just two words of wisdom: Tiananmen Square.

That sentence was later removed, presumably after its inexpediency was realised, but you can see a screenshot of the original below.

This is a very serious charge which Spencer must answer. Yes, the offending line has been removed but who uploaded the original article – Spencer or someone else? If not Spencer, then who? And, perhaps most damning of all, why has Roland Shirk continued to post articles on Jihad Watch since calling for the massacre of countless Egyptians as they demonstrated against one of the Middle East’s most brutal regimes?

Rather than descending into wild name calling, it would be good for Spencer to engage with the issues at hand if he is sincere.

*  *  *  *  *

The problem with Jihad Watch: Addendum

Edmund Standing, August 17th 2011, 12:51 pm

The Centrist writes:

Spencer has howled wildly that Breivik has nothing to do with him. Yet, it is not that simple. Spencer may not advocate actual violence but that is his only difference with Breivik – one of style rather than substance. They share a general diagnosis of ‘the problem’: the supposed ‘colonisation’ of Western societies by Muslims and the hysterical claim that there will be a ‘Muslim takeover’.

This is indeed the case. Here’s Spencer, speaking in 2007:

There will be civil war in Europe. The European citizenry, for the most part, are not ready to accept Islamic law and there will be armed conflicts.

Here’s Dennis Prager, a man praised on Jihad Watch:

It is difficult to imagine any other future scenario for Western Europe than its becoming Islamicised or having a civil war.

Fjordman, a Norwegian writer whose work has been featured on Jihad Watch (see, for example, here, here, and here) claims, in an article recommended by Spencer:

The West is becoming so overwhelmed by immigration that this may trigger civil wars in several Western nations in the near future.

In another article, Fjordman writes:

If the Leftists and the Globalists have their way then our civilization will die, plain and simple. That’s why this ongoing struggle is likely to get ugly, because no compromise is possible. Since similar ideological struggles are taking place throughout the Western world, this situation could trigger a pan-Western Civil War.

The Fjordman quote above is taken from a ‘Brussels Journal’ article. Spencer is a supporter of the Brussels Journal (see approving quotes here and here, for example), despite it featuring articles such as this one, which speaks of ‘the sustained persecution that BNP members are subject to in the archPod state of ex-Great ex-Britain’, and goes on to advocate racial separatism:

Integration is not possible except by hoisting the white flag, as white Body Snatchers do. But separation ought to be possible, and is likely to occur in the future.

[…]

Saving Western Civilization must entail as well separation from Muslims and from Third World Latinos, which these groups already practice toward whites. How to separate without cruel and unjust policies is an issue beyond the scope of this discussion, as it requires a fully-informed consideration of the specific circumstances in each Western country separately.

What is clear is that the fault for the disaster of bringing to the West tens of millions of unassimilable Muslims, tens of millions of subliterate Mestizo laborers, millions of chaos-generating Africans, lies not with such Muslims, Mestizos and Africans but with the crazed Body Snatcher elite that has brought them – by naïve intention and by purposeful inattention, both. The separation therefore, cannot be guided by animus toward such immigrants, who have done what comes naturally, but toward those who have brought them to the West.

In a 2010 article published by Jihad Watch, Fjordman writes:

Wherever possible, non-Muslims should seek to physically separate themselves from Muslims.

Spencer, both via his own writings and the writings of others that he promotes on Jihad Watch, clearly supports a paranoid worldview in which it is only a matter of time before Europe is torn apart by wars brought about by its Muslim minority. He is happy to promote authors and journals that advocate various forms of confessional and even ethnic separatism.

The Centrist argues:

Spencer might claim not to hate all Muslims, but his work belies that vacuous claim. Jihad Watch essentalises Muslims on a daily basis, as if they were a monolithic whole acting in unison for the pursuit of an unspoken grand agenda. Every action performed by a Muslim, no matter what their actual motivation, is immediately ascribed to Islam. It is as if no Muslim ever acts without reference to their Islamic identity.

Again, this is indeed the case, and another good example of this is found in Spencer’s claims about various car accidents being part of a low-level jihadist plot.

As I noted in a post in April this year, Spencer has collected stories of Muslims involved in hit-and-run incidents and built a bizarre narrative around them.

He suggests that a man who had drunk six cans of Budweisser before crashing into six people during a police chase may have drunk the beer ‘to steel himself’ before committing a supposed act of ‘jihad’.

In another case, this time involving a man who reportedly is ‘mentally ill, suffers from depression and hasn’t being taking his medication’, Spencer nonetheless concludes that on the basis of the man’s name – Ismail Yassin Mohamed – the case may ‘possibly’ be an example of ‘Sudden Jihad Syndrome’.

Spencer can launch foaming-at-the-mouth attacks as much as he likes, but the fact of the matter is that he long ago crossed the line that separates legitimate criticism of Islam and opposition to Islamism from anti-Muslim bigotry and fearmongering.

The Rush to Blame Muslims and the Meaningless Term “Terrorism”

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2011 by loonwatch

Glenn Greenwald on point as always:

The omnipotence of Al Qaeda and meaninglessness of “Terrorism”

(updated below – Update II)

For much of the day yesterday, the featured headline on The New York Times online front page strongly suggested that Muslims were responsible for the attacks on Oslo; that led to definitive statements on the BBC and elsewhere that Muslims were the culprits.  The Washington Post‘s Jennifer Rubin wrote a whole column based on the assertion that Muslims were responsible, one that, as James Fallows notes, remains at the Post with no corrections or updates.  The morning statement issued by President Obama — “It’s a reminder that the entire international community holds a stake in preventing this kind of terror from occurring” and “we have to work cooperatively together both on intelligence and in terms of prevention of these kinds of horrible attacks” — appeared to assume, though (to its credit) did not overtly state, that the perpetrator was an international terrorist group.

But now it turns out that the alleged perpetrator wasn’t from an international Muslim extremist group at all, but was rather a right-wing Norwegian nationalist with a history of anti-Muslim commentary and an affection for Muslim-hating blogs such as Pam Geller’s Atlas Shrugged, Daniel Pipes, and Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch.  Despite that,The New York Times is still working hard to pin some form of blame, even ultimate blame, on Muslim radicals (h/t sysprog):

So if this is somehow not considered “terrorism”, are we admitting that whether something is “terrorism” is solely a function of who did it?

That Terrorism means nothing more than violence committed by Muslims whom the West dislikes has been proven repeatedly.  When an airplane was flown into an IRS building in Austin, Texas, it was immediately proclaimed to be Terrorism, until it was revealed that the attacker was a white, non-Muslim, American anti-tax advocate with a series of domestic political grievances.  The U.S. and its allies can, by definition, never commit Terrorism even when it is beyond question that the purpose of their violence is to terrorize civilian populations into submission.  Conversely, Muslims who attack purely military targets — even if the target is an invading army in their own countries — are, by definition, Terrorists.  That is why, as NYU’s Remi Brulin has extensively documented, Terrorism is the most meaningless, and therefore the most manipulated, word in the English language.  Yesterday provided yet another sterling example.

One last question: if, as preliminary evidence suggests, it turns out that Breivik was “inspired” by the extremist hatemongering rantings of Geller, Pipes and friends, will their groups be deemed Terrorist organizations such that any involvement with them could constitute the criminal offense of material support to Terrorism?  Will those extremist polemicists inspiring Terrorist violence receive the Anwar Awlaki treatment of being put on an assassination hit list without due process?  Will tall, blond, Nordic-looking males now receive extra scrutiny at airports and other locales, and will those having any involvement with those right-wing, Muslim-hating groups be secretly placed on no-fly lists?  Or are those oppressive, extremist, lawless measures — like the word Terrorism — also reserved exclusively for Muslims?

UPDATE:  The original version of the NYT article was even worse in this regard.  As several people noted, here is what the article originally said (papers that carry NYT articles still have the original version):

Terrorism specialists said that even if the authorities ultimately ruled out terrorism as the cause of Friday’s assaults, other kinds of groups or individuals were mimicking al-Qaida’s signature brutality and multiple attacks.

“If it does turn out to be someone with more political motivations, it shows these groups are learning from what they see from al-Qaida,” said Brian Fishman, a counterterrorism researcher at the New America Foundation in Washington.

Thus: if it turns out that the perpetrators weren’t Muslim (but rather “someone with more political motivations” — whatever that means: it presumably rests on the inane notion that Islamic radicals are motivated by religion, not political grievances), then it means that Terrorism, by definition, would be “ruled out” (one might think that the more politically-motivated an act of violence is, the more deserving it is of the Terrorism label, but this just proves that the defining feature of the word Terrorism is Muslim violence).  The final version of the NYTarticle inserted the word “Islamic” before “terrorism” (“even if the authorities ultimately ruled out Islamic terrorism as the cause”), but — as demonstrated above — still preserved the necessary inference that only Muslims can be Terrorists.  Meanwhile, in the world of reality, of 294 Terrorist attacks attempted or executed on European soil in 2009 as counted by the EU, a grand total of one — 1 out of 294 — was perpetrated by “Islamists.”

UPDATE II:  This article expertly traces and sets forth exactly how the “Muslims-did-it” myth was manufactured and then disseminated yesterday to the worldwide media, which predictably repeated it with little skepticism.  What makes the article so valuable is that it names names: it points to the incestuous, self-regarding network of self-proclaimed U.S. Terrorism and foreign policy “experts” — what the article accurately describes as “almost always white men and very often with military or government backgrounds,” in this instance driven by “a case of an elite fanboy wanting to be the first to pass on leaked gadget specs” — who so often shape these media stories and are uncritically presented as experts, even though they’re drowning in bias, nationalism, ignorance, and shallow credentialism.

The Anti-Muslim Inner Circle

Posted in Loon People, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 22, 2011 by loonwatch

The Anti-Muslim Inner Circle

By Robert Steinback
Illustration by Bri Hermanson

The apparent recent surge in popular anti-Muslim sentimentin the United States has been driven by a surprisingly small and, for the most part, closely knit cadre of activists. Their influence extends far beyond their limited numbers, in part because of an amenable legion of right-wing media personalities — and lately, politicians like U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), who held controversial hearings into the radicalization of American Muslims this March —who are eager to promote them as impartial experts or grassroots leaders. Yet a close look at their rhetoric reveals how doggedly this group works to provoke and guide populist anger over what is seen as the threat posed by the 0.6% of Americans who are Muslim — an agenda that goes beyond reasonable concern about terrorism into the realm of demonization.

Of the 10 people profiled below, all but Bill French, Terry Jones and Debbie Schlussel regularly interact with others on the list. Most were selected for profiling primarily because of their association with activist organizations. People who only run websites or do commentary were omitted, with two exceptions: Schlussel, because she has influence as a frequent television talk-show guest, and John Joseph Jay, because he is on the board of Pamela Geller’s Stop Islamization of America group. Three other activists, Steve Emerson, Daniel Pipes and Frank Gaffney, have interacted with many of the core group as well and also have offended many Muslims, but they are somewhat more moderate in their views of Muslims than those who are profiled below.

Bill FrenchBILL FRENCH
ORGANIZATION
 Heads the for-profit Center for the Study of Political Islam in Nashville. 

CREDENTIALS Former Tennessee State University physics professor; author of Sharia Law for Non-Muslims (2010; under the pen name Bill Warner).

SUMMARY French has no formal training or background in law, Islam or Shariah law — which in any case is not an established legal code, as the book title implies, but a fluid concept subject to a wide range of interpretations and applications. He garnered attention recently by leading the opposition to a proposed mosque in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

IN HIS OWN WORDS “The two driving forces of our civilization are the Golden Rule and critical thought. … There is no Golden Rule in Islam. … There is not really even a Ten Commandments.”
—Quoted in The [Blount County, Tenn.] Daily Times, March 4, 2011

“This offends Allah. You offend Allah.”
— Quoted in The Tennesseean, Oct. 24, 2010, speaking to opponents of the Murfreesboro mosque while pointing to an American flag

Brigitte GabrielBRIGITTE GABRIEL 
ORGANIZATIONS Founder and head of ACT! for America and American Council for Truth.

CREDENTIALS Author of Because They Hate: A Survivor of Islamic Terror Warns America (2006) and They Must Be Stopped: Why We Must Defeat Radical Islam and How We Can Do It (2008). Co-producer and co-host of weekly ACT! for America television show.

SUMMARY Gabriel views Islam in absolute terms as a monolithic threat to the United States, Israel and the West. She is prone to sweeping generalizations and exaggerations as she describes a grand, sophisticated Muslim conspiracy bent on world domination. Of the people profiled here, she alone has focused on building a grassroots organization, claiming 155,000 members and 500 chapters around the country. Questions persist about the accuracy of her autobiographical account of being a victim of Muslim militancy in Lebanon.

IN HER OWN WORDS “America has been infiltrated on all levels by radicals who wish to harm America. They have infiltrated us at the C.I.A., at the F.B.I., at the Pentagon, at the State Department.”
— Quoted in The New York Times, March 7, 2011

“The difference, my friends, between Israel and the Arabic world is quite simply the difference between civilization and barbarism. It’s the difference between good and evil and this is what we’re witnessing in the Arab and Islamic world. I am angry. They have no soul! They are dead set on killing and destruction.”
— From a speech delivered to the Rev. John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel Convention, July 2007

“Tens of thousands of Islamic militants now reside in America, operating in sleeper cells, attending our colleges and universities, even infiltrating our government. They are here — today. Many have been here for years. Waiting. Preparing.”
— ACT! for America website, undated

P. David Gaubatz

P. DAVID GAUBATZ
ORGANIZATION Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE).

CREDENTIALS Co-author of Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That’s Conspiring to Islamize America (2009). As director of operations for SANE’s Mapping Shariah project (see David Yerushalmi, below), a privately operated effort to infiltrate American mosques in an attempt to expose radical elements, Gaubatz was paid $148,898, according to Sheila Musaji of The American Muslim website.

SUMMARY A civilian agent who worked in the Middle East for the U.S. Air Forces Office of Special Investigations, Gaubatz made it a personal project — and the theme of his book — to prove the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is linked to international terrorism. In October 2009, four members of Congress led by Sue Myrick (R-N.C.) held an embarrassing press conference claiming the book revealed a Muslim plot to infiltrate government. Their hardest “evidence” was a document showing that CAIR had encouraged young Muslims to become Capitol interns — much like many other Washington, D.C., interest groups.

IN HIS OWN WORDS “As an ideology [Islam] is a terminal disease that once spread is hard to destroy. Once the ideology (cancer) takes hold it is like trying to remove millions of cancerous cells in one’s body. Not impossible to remove, but very, very unlikely.”
— Essay on the Northeast Intelligence Network website, June 10, 2008

“[T]he political ideology of winning over the West and the world for an Islamic Caliphate is NOT specific to some extremist group of Muslims. This is mainstream Islam and Shari’a. … The goal remains the same: all of the non-Islamic world, and indeed all of the Islamic world, must submit to Shari’a. A Muslim who refuses to do so will be killed. … A non-Muslim, assuming he is not a pagan (typically a Christian or Jew) might be given the opportunity to live in a subservient status in an Islamic society and pay a special head tax to prove his submission. But this option is left to the Caliph or ruler at the time.”
— Essay carried by the Assyrian International News Agency, Feb. 13, 2008

PAMELA GELLER Pamela GellerORGANIZATIONS Executive director and co-founder (with Robert Spencer; see below) of Stop Islamization of America (SIOA)

and the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), an umbrella group encompassing SIOA. Both are listed as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Runs the Atlas Shrugs blog.

CREDENTIALS Self-styled expert on Islam with no formal training in the field. Co-produced with Spencer the film “The Ground Zero Mosque: Second Wave of the 9/11 Attacks,” which was first screened at the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference. Co-author with Spencer of The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America (2010).

SUMMARY Geller has seized the role of the anti-Muslim movement’s most visible and influential figurehead. Her strengths are panache and vivid rhetorical flourishes — not to mention stunts like posing for an anti-Muslim video in a bikini — but she also can be coarse in her broad-brush denunciations of Islam. Geller does not pretend to be learned in Islamic studies, leaving the argumentative heavy lifting to SIOA partner Spencer. She is prone to publicizing preposterous claims, such as President Obama being the “love child” of Malcolm X, and once suggested that recent U.S. Supreme Court appointee Elena Kagen, who is Jewish, supports Nazi ideology. Geller has mingled with European racists and fascists, spoken favorably of South African racists and defended Serbian war criminal Slobodan Milosevic. She is a self-avowed Zionist who is sharply critical of Jewish liberals.

IN HER OWN WORDS “Islam is not a race. This is an ideology. This is an extreme ideology, the most radical and extreme ideology on the face of the earth.”
— On Fox Business’ “Follow the Money,” March 10, 2011

“No, no, they can’t. … I don’t think that many westernized Muslims know when they pray five times a day that they’re cursing Christians and Jews five times a day. … I believe in the idea of a moderate Muslim. I do not believe in the idea of a moderate Islam. I think a moderate Muslim is a secular Muslim.”
— Quoted in The New York Times, responding to a question as to whether devout practicing Muslims can be political moderates, Oct. 8, 2010

“In the war between the civilized man and the savage, you side with the civilized man. … If you don’t lay down and die for Islamic supremacism, then you’re a racist anti-Muslim Islamophobic bigot. That’s what we’re really talking about.”
— Quoted in The New York Times, Oct. 8, 2010

DAVID HOROWITZ

ORGANIZATION Front Page Magazine (online), published by the David Horowitz Freedom Center.David Horowitz

CREDENTIALS Organized “Islamofascism Awareness Week” which brought prominent anti-Muslim activists to college campuses in 2007. Author of several books including Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left (2004), which claims that American leftists support Islamic terrorists.

SUMMARY Horowitz, who spent his young years as a Marxist, has in recent years become a furious far-right antagonist of liberals and leftists. He also provides some funding support for other anti-Muslim ventures, including, according to the blog SpencerWatch.com, paying Spencer $132,537 to run the JihadWatch website. Horowitz sees no philosophical gradations; if you’re not in total agreement with his view of Islam, you’re in favor of Muslim hegemony. He believes the Muslim Brotherhood and “Islamofascists” control most American Muslim organizations, especially Muslim student groups on college campuses.

IN HIS OWN WORDS “I spent 25 years in the American Left, whose agendas are definitely to destroy this country. The American left wanted us to lose the Cold War with the Soviets and it wants us to lose the war on terror. So I don’t make any apologies for that.”
— On the “Riz Khan” Show, Al Jazeera, Aug. 21, 2008

“Some polls estimate that 10 percent of Muslims support Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. An al-Jazeera poll put the number at 50 percent. In other words, somewhere between 150 million and 750 million Muslims support a holy war against Christians, Jews, and other Muslims who don’t happen to be true believers in the Quran according to
bin Laden.”
— In the Columbia Spectator, Oct. 15, 2007

“There are 150 Muslim Student Associations on American campuses. The Muslim Student Associations were created by Hamas and funded by Saudi Arabia. … [The associations] are Wahhabi Islamicists, and they basically support our enemies.”
— On Fox News’ “Neil Cavuto Show,” Aug. 15, 2006

JOHN JOSEPH JAYJohn Joseph Jay
ORGANIZATION summer patriot, winter soldier (a website; Jay doesn’t use capital letters in his website’s name or in his writings). Board member, SIOA. Listed as one of the founders of American Freedom Defense Initiative, SIOA’s umbrella group (see also Pam Geller, above).

CREDENTIALS Jay worked for 25 years as a prosecutor and criminal defense attorney in Washington, D.C. Geller’s Atlas Shrugs blog describes him as a constitutional scholar. In addition to his anti-Muslim commentary, Jay blogs prolifically on the right to bear arms.

SUMMARY Jay is remarkable for his unreconstructed hatred of all Muslims. He believes attacks by Muslim terrorists justify any violence directed at any Muslim, adding that, as he sees it, the Koran itself justifies such blind retaliation.

IN HIS OWN WORDS “every person in islam, from man to woman to child may be our executioner. … there are no innocents in islam. … there is no innocence in islam. all of islam is at war with us, and … all of islam is/are combatant[s.] … islam has established without intellectual doubt that there are no innocent muslims, that the myth of the ‘moderate muslim’ is precisely that, and that muslims are no more entitled to exemption or protection from retaliation that [sic] any of the other ‘non-innocent’ combatants in the world. … there are no innocent muslims.  islam is subject to killing on grounds of political expediency on the same basis as islam kills its victims, and islam cannot ethically and morally claim otherwise.”
— From his website, July 14, 2010

“in short, dear muslims, g_d in his infinite wisdom saw in advance this struggle between men and religions to win his favor, and the only thing that is foreordained, is that the strong and the resolute shall win his favor, and so far, it has been amply demonstrated that he has chosen the jews as his people, and favored christianity with science, technology, culture and military power. to islam, he has given the hind and dry tit, and the sewers and the deserts of the world in which to inhabit, and in which to fester.”
— From his website, June 27, 2010

TERRY JONESTerry Jones
ORGANIZATION Dove World Outreach Center of Gainesville, Fla. Listed by the SPLC as a hate group.

CREDENTIALS Pastor of Dove World; instigator of “International Burn a Koran Day,” which was slated for Sept. 11, 2010, but canceled after worldwide protests and calls from senior officials of the Obama Administration. On March 20, however, Jones did burn a Koran, leading to several days of rampages in early April by religious rioters in Afghanistan, including the storming of a United Nations compound, that resulted in the deaths of at least 20 people. Jones showed no remorse over the deaths, which included at least seven foreigners. Author ofIslam is of the Devil (2010). Jones has admitted never having read the Koran. He has no academic or theological degree; his “doctorate” is honorary.

SUMMARY A true fanatical extremist who seems to be driven mostly by the need for self-promotion and publicity. Operates entirely outside of the core circle of anti-Muslim activists. Jones is also virulently anti-gay.

IN HIS OWN WORDS “Here’s your opportunity, all you so-called peaceful Moslems [Jones’ pronunciation]. … We are accusing the Koran of murder, rape, deception, being responsible for terrorist activities all around the world. … Present to us your defense attorney who is going to defend the Koran. Let us really see. We challenge you: do it. Let us not talk. Let us have some action and proof. … The Koran, if found guilty, can be burned … Or the Koran will be drowned. Or the Koran will be shredded into little bitty pieces … or the Koran will face a firing squad.”
— From an undated video on the Dove World Outreach website announcing “International Judge the Koran Day”

“The world is facing a great danger, which, if it is not stopped, will sooner or later be a threat to freedom in all nations and specifically to the United States. This danger is the growing religion of Islam.”
— From the introduction to Islam is of the Devil, 2010

DEBBIE SCHLUSSELDebbie Schlussel
ORGANIZATION Columnist; eponymous website.

CREDENTIALS The granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, Schlussel is a Detroit-based attorney and MBA. Frequent guest on conservative talk shows.

SUMMARY Uncompromising, viciously anti-Muslim commentator who dismisses ostensible allies if they are willing to believe in the concept of moderate Islam. She has even berated Hollywood for its failure to depict Muslims as sufficiently villainous. She has referred to Muslims as “animals.” Her intense animosity toward Muslims appears rooted in strong pro-Israel sentiments.

IN HER OWN WORDS “So sad, too bad, Lara. No one told her to go there. She knew the risks. And she should have known what Islam is all about. Now she knows. Or so we’d hope. … How fitting that Lara Logan was ‘liberated’ by Muslims in Liberation Square while she was gushing over the other part of the ‘liberation.’ Hope you’re enjoying the revolution, Lara! Alhamdillullah (praise allah) [sic].”
— From her website, following the gang sexual assault on CBS Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Lara Logan in Cairo, Feb. 15, 2011

“[T]he fact is that the majority of Muslims support terrorism. The vast majority. Not just a few hijackers and a few suicide bombers. But the MAJORITY. This isn’t me saying it. It’s Muslims saying it. And not just in poll after poll of Muslims around the world including in America. Go to the streets of ‘moderate Muslim’ Dearbornistan [Dearborn, Mich.] and see how many Muslims dare condemn Hezbollah and HAMAS. It’s like playing “Where’s Waldo?”
— From her website, Oct. 8, 2008

ROBERT SPENCERRobert Spencer
ORGANIZATION Runs the Jihad Watch website, a project of the David Horowitz Freedom Center. Co-founder with Pamela Geller (see above) of Stop Islamization of America and the American Freedom Defense Initiative.

CREDENTIALS Spencer has a master’s degree in religious studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Co-produced with Geller the film “The Ground Zero Mosque: Second Wave of the 9/11 Attacks” (2011). Author of numerous books including The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion (2007) andThe Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) (2005).

SUMMARY Spencer is entirely self-taught in the study of modern Islam and the Koran. Critics have accused him of doggedly taking the Koran literally — Spencer considers it innately extremist and violent — while ignoring its nonviolent passages and the vast interpretive tradition that has modified Koranic teachings over the centuries. Spencer believes that moderate Muslims exist, but to prove it, they’d have to fully denounce the portions of the Koran he finds objectionable. Spencer has been known to fraternize with European racists and neo-fascists, though he says such contacts were merely incidental. Benazir Bhutto, the late prime minister of Pakistan, accused Spencer of “falsely constructing a divide between Islam and West” in her 2008 book,Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West. Spencer, she wrote, presented a “skewed, one-sided, and inflammatory story that only helps to sow the seed of civilizational conflict.”

IN HIS OWN WORDS “Osama [bin Laden]‘s use of these and other [Koranic] passages in his messages is consistent … with traditional understanding of the Quran. When modern-day Jews and Christians read their Bibles, they simply don’t interpret the passages cited as exhorting them to violent actions against unbelievers. This is due to the influence of centuries of interpretative traditions that have moved them away from literalism regarding these passages. But in Islam, there is no comparable interpretative tradition.”
— From The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), 2005

“Where is moderate Islam? How can moderate Muslims refute the radical exegesis of the Qur’an and Sunnah? If an exposition of moderate Islam does not address or answer radical exegeses, is it really of any value to quash Islamic extremism? If the answer lies in a simple rejection of Qur’anic literalism, how can non-literalists make that rejection stick, and keep their children from being recruited by jihadists by means of literalism? Of course, as I have pointed out many times, traditional Islam itself is not moderate or peaceful. It is the only major world religion with a developed doctrine and tradition of warfare against unbelievers.”
— Jihad Watch, Jan. 14, 2006

DAVID YERUSHALMIDavid Yerushalmi
ORGANIZATION President of the Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE); principal of Stop the Madrassa.

CREDENTIALS General counsel for the Center for Security Policy (see Frank J. Gaffney Jr., above); also, an attorney representing SIOA. Yerushalmi drafted a proposed law filed this year in the Tennessee legislature that would subject anyone who advocates or adheres to Shariah customs to up to 15 years in prison; he drafted a similar bill in Georgia in 2008.

SUMMARY Yerushalmi equates Shariah with Islamic radicalism so totally that he advocates criminalizing virtually any personal practice compliant with Shariah. In his view, only a Muslim who fully breaks with the customs of Shariah can be considered socially tolerable. He waxes bloodthirsty when describing his preferred response to the supposed global threat of Shariah law, speaking casually of killing and destroying. Ideally, he would outlaw Islam and deport Muslims and other “non-Western, non-Christian” people to protect the United States’ “national character.” An ultra-orthodox Jew, he is deeply hostile toward liberal Jews. He derides U.S.-style democracy because it allows more than just an elite, privileged few to vote.

IN HIS OWN WORDS “On the so-called Global War on Terrorism, GWOT, we have been quite clear along with a few other resolute souls. This should be a WAR AGAINST ISLAM and all Muslim faithful. … At a practical level, this means that Shari’a and Islamic law are immediately outlawed. Any Muslim in America who adopts historical and traditional Shari’a will be subject to deportation. Mosques which adhere to Islamic law will be shut down permanently. No self-described or practicing Muslim, irrespective of his or her declarations to the contrary, will be allowed to immigrate to this country.”
— A 2007 commentary entitled “War Manifesto — The War Against Islam,” as reported by The American Muslim

“The more carefully reviewed evidence, however, suggests that because jihadism is in fact traditional Islam modernized to war against the ideological threat posed by the West against Islam proper,there is no way to keep faithful Muslims out of the war. If this is true, any Muslim who sticks his neck out of the mosque to yell some obscenity at the West should be considered an enemy combatant and killed or captured and held for the duration of the war. If you kill enough of them consistently enough, those disinclined to fight in the first place will find a way to reform their religion.”
— Review of Mary Habeck’s book Knowing the Enemy on the American Thinker website, Sept. 9. 2006

Robert Spencer rankled by Muslim rights hearings, blames Muslims for Islamophobia

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs, Loon Sites with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2011 by loonwatch
Robert Spencer

We will be live blogging the hearings tomorrow on Twitter, follow us @ Loonwatchers.

Robert Spencer has a very big problem. Important people in high places are catching on to the fact that Islamophobia is a form of bigotry as vile and dangerous as anti-Semitism. Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) plans to consider “measures to protect the rights of American Muslims” in a March 29 hearing. With the recent barrage of Qur’an-burningsanti-Muslim hate protestsanti-Muslim hate crimes, and White-supremacist-inspired anti-Sharia laws in many states, it only makes sense that a responsible government will move to protect a vulnerable minority. But not if you’re Robert Spencer.

In his latest excuse to hate on Muslims, he writes:

On a day when Islamic jihadists exploded a bomb in Jerusalem that murdered at least one woman and wounded thirty, and when Islamic jihadists opened fire on and killed two Christians outside a church in Pakistan, Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) announced that he was going to hold hearings on the rise in “anti-Muslim bigotry.”

This opening paragraph displays the stupidity of Spencer’s thinking: violent fringe extremists strike in far off parts of the world and somehow all Muslims, especially American Muslims, are implicated, and because all Muslims are collectively guilty, we shouldn’t be concerned if peaceful, law-abiding Muslims lose their constitutional rights. Most Jewish people, like Lesley Hazleton, can recognize this as an obvious example of “the stereotyping of millions of people by the actions of a few,” no different than equivalent attacks lobbed against Jews by anti-Semites. In this case, the glaring similarity between Spencer’s Islamophobia and classical anti-Semitism cannot be missed.

Spencer then takes a cheap shot at Rep. Ellison, whose moving testimony displayed the humanity of a people Spencer would like to dehumanize. He writes:

Ellison used the bully pulpit King gave him to paint a lurid picture of Muslim victimhood, all the while saying nothing (of course) about the sharp increase in jihad terror plots in this country over the last two years. How can Durbin top that?

Actually, it was King who was in control of the bully pulpit. Nevertheless, when Muslims criticize government policy or Islamophobic hate, Spencer dismisses all such criticism, valid or not, as simply whiny, Muslim “victimhood.” Once again, Spencer precisely displays the sixth point of the Runnymede Trust’s comprehensive definition of Islamophobia: “Criticisms made of the West by Islam are rejected out of hand.”

Predictably, Spencer claims “Muslims” (meaning all Muslims in all times and all places forever) are solely responsible for the venom spewed at them through politicians, pundits, and countless blogs. Taking the typical ritual shots at CAIR, he writes:

If anyone in the United States today is suspicious of Muslims in general, it is because of those jihadis and others like them – and because of Muslim spokesmen like Keith Ellison and CAIR’s Ibrahim “Honest Ibe” Hooper, who never acknowledge that the Muslim community in the U.S. has any responsibility whatsoever to teach against the jihadist view of Islam that they supposedly reject.

Of course, nearly every mainstream American Muslim organization has led public campaigns against terrorism and extremism: CAIR’S “Not in the name of Islam” campaign, MPAC’s anti-terror campaign, ISNA’s history of counter extremism and promoting tolerance, youtube videos by respected American Muslim leaders, and the list goes on. With respect to CAIR, anyone who wishes can read for themselves what a prominent leader in the organization believes. But none of that matters to Spencer, who plays the game of “six degrees of people who don’t eat bacon” to connect anyone and everyone to the allegedly omnipresent Muslim Brotherhood. He continues:

The “anti-Muslim bigotry” industry, in sum, is generated by Muslims and perpetuated by Muslims. And only Muslims have the power to end that bigotry.

Perhaps, in a Freudian slip, Spencer admits that Muslims are facing a mounting bigotry industry in America; but rather than see this as a problem (because he is a big part of that industry), Spencer wants you to think that Muslims deserve that bigotry. So how can Muslims end such bigotry, you ask?

Here’s how they can do it, if they care to:

1.     Focus their indignation on Muslims committing violent acts in the name of Islam, not on non-Muslims reporting on those acts.

Okay, “if they care” (because, according to Spencer, Muslims need hate crimes to score political points) Muslims should focus all their energy on fringe extremists and basically stop criticizing Islamophobes. Just shut up and take it, alright?

2.     Renounce definitively, sincerely, honestly, and in deeds, not just in comforting words, not just “terrorism,” but any intention to replace the U.S. Constitution (or the constitutions of any non-Muslim state) with Sharia even by peaceful means.

Okay, Muslims should denounce the non-existent conspiracy to overthrow America. Nevermind that even ultra-conservative fatwas (Sharia legal verdicts) demand that Muslims obey American law. Good Lord, this is like asking Jews to denounce the fictional plot of the Elders of Zion! What’s next?

3.     Teach, again sincerely and honestly, in transparent and verifiable ways in mosques and Islamic schools, the imperative of Muslims coexisting peacefully as equals with non-Muslims on an indefinite basis, and act accordingly.

Spencer knows very well that the majority of modern Islamic seminary institutions and the ordinary Muslim masses are not adhering to the 12th century jurisprudence of the Abbasid Empire. Shaykh Al-Azhar Mahmud Shaltut’s treatise, Qur’an and Fighting, makes this perfectly clear (peace is the norm, war is the exception). But again, basic knowledge of facts on the ground threatens to diminish the fat cheques his boss Horowitz cuts for him every month. Anything else?

4.     Begin comprehensive international programs in mosques all over the world to teach sincerely against the ideas of violent jihad and Islamic supremacism.

Academic studies (you know, those conducted and reviewed by real scholars) have shown that terrorist radicalization doesn’t take place in mosques, but that doesn’t stop Spencer from promoting forged statistics and demanding Muslims solve a problem that doesn’t exist. Are you done yet?

5.     Actively and honestly work with Western law enforcement officials to identify and apprehend jihadists within Western Muslim communities.

Spencer probably knows (or should know) that Muslims have been responsible for thwarting numerous terror plots, or that there are plenty of Muslim cops who put their lives on the line every day for their fellow citizens, or that Muslims loyally serve in our country’s armed forces. But none of that is important when your day job is to hate on Muslims, right Spencer?

If Muslims did those five things, voila! “Anti-Muslim bigotry” will evanesce almost immediately!

Guess what, Bob? Muslims have done all those things and more, but you intentionally hide these facts from your gullible conspiracy-minded audience, lest your network of closed-information systems dissolve in light of the truth. Hence, the obvious need for Durbin’s hearings, which are bound to strike a devastating blow to your hate-filled machinations.

Reza Aslan was right. The day is growing closer when people will catch on to your scheming and these hearings are bringing that day even closer. Perhaps one day we will wake up and, Viola! Anti-Muslim bigotry will evanesce almost immediately! But that would put you out of a job wouldn’t it?

Better start working on your résumé, Bob.

When Anti-Muslim Websites Use Bogus Translations…and Then Try to Cover it Up!

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2011 by loonwatch

by: Dawood and Danios

The Translating-Jihad site is one of the newest additions to the anti-Muslim blogosphere.  Its creator,Al-Mutarjim (The Translator), defines his site’s goal as translating Arabic documents into English in order to “expose this darkness” of Islam and to “to open the eyes of those already enslaved by Islam.”

The fact that Islamophobes routinely use bogus translations and out-of-context quotes is well-known.  But as if only to prove our case, the Translating-Jihad website challenged us to “refute this translation”, referring to an Arabic fatwa that he “translated” on his website. We accepted this challenge and exposed his “translation” as completely bogus.  Al-Mutarjim had completely mistranslated words and purposefully neglected to translate 4/5ths of the fatwa, including the mufti’s conclusion–a conclusion which directly contradicts what Al-Mutarjim claimed the fatwa said (and which he incidentally chose as the title of his article!).

Eventually, Al-Mutarjim was forced to reply to our site.  Instead of admitting fault, he issued an “updated” translation in which he attempted to “explain away” his academic dishonesty.  Al-Mutarjim whined:

First of all, I have no desire or need to take anything about Islam out of context. This is the tired old accusation that CAIR-types like to drag out whenever anybody in the West points out some of the objectionable material inherent in Islam.

Both Al-Mutarjim and his anti-Muslim colleague Staring at the View (SATV) use “whenever” and “anybody” arguments quite frequently.  Whenever anybody in the West…”  LoonWatch is not talking about “anybody”.  We’re talking about one particular person and one particular site here: Al-Mutarjimspecifically and his site specifically.

Just as Al-Mutarjim quite stupidly chose to use a bogus translation when he challenged us to “refute this translation”, once again he quite stupidly validates “the tired old accusation” –namely, that Islamophobes take Islamic texts out of context.  Think, McFly, think! Al-Mutarjim ends up unknowingly validating the “the tired old accusation” by “translating” a fatwa completely out of context, which is evident for everyone to see!

Nikah as “Sexual Intercourse” or “Betrothal/Marriage”?

Al-Mutarjim mistranslated the following:

فيؤخذ من الآية جواز نكاح البنت قبل البلوغ”

As this:

we can take from this verse that it is permissible to have sexual intercourse with a prepubescent girl.

When it actually translates as:

and from this verse we take the permissibility of betrothal/marriage (nikah) with pre-pubescent girls.

In Al-Mutarjim’s response, he bumbles:

That being said, Loonwatch is being dishonest when they say that the Arabic wordnikah, which they translated as ‘marriage/betrothal’, “does not mean sexual intercourse at all.” The truth is, nikah can mean either ‘sexual intercourse’ or ‘marriage.’ (Need proof? Plug نكاح into Google Translate.)

Al-Mutarjim accusing LoonWatch of being dishonest? How rich!  Once again, Al-Mutarjim is guilty of “half-quoting”, splicing up quotes to support his argument.  In fact, what LoonWatch actually said was (emphasis added):

The word nikah here does not mean “sexual intercourse” at all.

Notice the key word “here”, which Al-Mutarjim leaves out.  Even if–for argument’s sake only–we conceded that “nikah” could sometimes mean “sexual intercourse”, can this meaning work in the sentence above?  For example, the English word “sex” can refer to intimate relations in one sentence, but gender in another.  The meaning “intimate relations” cannot be used to explain the meaning of sex in the following sentence:

Please state your name, sex, and age.

Would Al-Mutarjim have a case if he were to claim that the word “sex” above could also mean “intimate relations”?  Of course not.  And neither does he have a leg to stand on when he claims that “nikah” means “sex” in the sentence reproduced from the fatwa.  Even his primary “academic” proof–Google Translator–does not back his claim: when we enter the entire Arabic sentence into it, here’s what Google says:

We are of course not surprised that Al-Mutarjim invoked “Google Translator” since we have long since suspected–based on noticeable similarities–that Al-Mutarjim’s and Robert Spencer’s translations are simply “cleaned up” versions of Google Translator.  Again, this speaks to the profound academic qualifications of the self-appointed experts of Islam.  Perhaps The Translator ought to change his name to The Google Translator.

How about we rely on some real academic sources, instead of Google Translator?  Here’s what Al-Mawrid, arguably the most commonly used Arabic-to-English and English-to-Arabic lexicon, says:

As can be clearly seen above, the highlighted areas dealing both with nikah and nakaha (the verb/root nikah comes from), all relate to marriage. In fact, the compiler of the dictionary equates nikah with zawaj, which Al-Mutarjim himself translates as “marriage” in the fatwa.  Similarly, the verb nakaha is equated to tazawwaj, which means “to be married”.

The authoritative Hans Wehr dictionary, regarded as an essential tool for the English-speaking student of Arabic, says:

Notice that every single word the dictionary gives from the root letters “n k h”–including nikah–all refer to marriage.

When we look at Al-Mu‘jam al-Wasit, which is an established and popular Arabic-Arabic dictionary (similar to the Oxford English Dictionary in English, for example), we find likewise:

The underlines within the red box show the word zawaj (marriage) as being synonymous to nikah–and in fact to all the various words from the root “n k h”. In other words, all refer to marriage, marrying and the procedure of marriage.

Nowhere do we see the meaning of “sexual intercourse” in any of these dictionaries!  It is the reader’s decision whether to rely on Google Translator in its beta form or to refer to actual academic sources.

Al-Mutarjim whines:

I concede that the Mufti could have meant marriage, but he also could have meant sexual intercourse.

No, he couldn’t have.  If Al-Mutarjim had not used ellipses (…) everywhere to mask the fatwa’s real meaning, he would have noted this immediately above:

ومن المهم كذلك أن نعرف أن الفقهاء وإن أجازوا تزويج الصغيرة فإنهم منعوا زوجها أن يطأها حتى تطيق الوطء ، وهذا يختلف باختلاف الأزمنة والأمكنة والبيئات.

And it is important for us to know that even though the jurists approved betrothing a child, they prevented her husband from having intercourse with her until she could bear it [lit. intercourse], which can differ according to the time, place and environment.

What is amazing is that Al-Mutarjim himself–in his updated version–is forced to translate the passage above, which he renders as:

It is also important that we understand that the scholars, while they permitted marrying off young girls, they forbade her husband from having intercourse with her until she could bear it…

This sentence in and of itself completely invalidates his “translation” of the sentence (“we can take from this verse that it is permissible to have sexual intercourse with a prepubescent girl”) as well as the title given to his article (“It Is Permissible to Have Sexual Intercourse with a Prepubescent Girl”).  This is the case even using his own translation!  The Mufti could not possibly mean “sexual intercourse” in the sentence translated, since he clearly states that the jurists forbade/prevented it.

What the mufti was saying, quite clearly, was:

(1) Betrothal/marriage of young (prepubescent) girls is technically permitted.

(2) However, this does not mean that sexual intercourse may take place.

(3) Later on in the fatwa, he states that the ruling permitting such early betrothals/marriages is archaic and does not apply to today’s situation.

Al-Mutarjim’s deceitful manipulation of the fatwa changed (1) above to say that sexual intercourse is permitted, and completely omitted points (2) and (3).  If this is not academic dishonesty, then what is?

Yet, Al-Mutarjim says:

Translation is an art, not a science, and translators can and do argue over the correct translation of certain words and phrases.

In this case, the only art that Al-Mutarjim has mastered is the art of deception!  (Yet another example of how the Islamophobes are guilty of projection when they cry about taqiyya.)

Al-Mutarjim continues to build a case against himself, explaining why he chose “sexual intercourse” instead of “betrothal/marriage”:

In this case, I went with ‘sexual intercourse’ because from the context, it seems clear to me that the Mufti is not just talking about signing a marriage contract without consummating it. Right after that statement he talks about how Muhammad not only married ‘A’isha but then had sex with her when she was only nine years old, i.e. a prepubescent girl.

Here, Al-Mutarjim’s lack of educational qualifications and profound ignorance of Islam come to the fore!  Here’s what the fatwa said, which he refers to:

وقد صح أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم عقد على عائشة وهي بنت ست سنين إلا أنه لم يدخل بها إلا وهي بنت تسع سنين، رواه البخاري.

And it is verified that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had contracted with Aisha when she was six years old, but he did not have intercourse with her, until she was 9 years old, as narrated by Bukhari.

Does he not see that this is a great proof against his claim!?  The mufti is saying that Aisha was betrothed/married to the Prophet Muhammad at the age of six, but sexual intercourse did not take place for three years.  This three year delay supports the idea that the mufti was permitting betrothal/marriage of prepubescent girls (hence, the marriage at the age of six) but forbidding sexual intercourse (for three years in this case), until the girl was able to bear it without harm coming to her, which he says is “the age of puberty.”

Although many reformist Muslims question the age of Aisha, the traditionalist opinion has been that Aisha had passed through puberty at the age of nine, which is why sexual intercourse was–according to this opinion–permissible.  Clearly, the mufti’s invocation of Aisha is wholly consistent with the idea that betrothal/marriage was permitted before puberty, but sexual intercourse allowed only after it.  Traditionalists believe that Aisha was betrothed before puberty, and that the marriage was consummated after puberty.

“Sexual Intercourse” is a “Tropical Meaning”

The primary, well-known, and common meaning of nikah is “betrothal/marriage”.  This is the meaning that any competent Arabic translator would know to use.  As for the meaning of “sexual intercourse”, this is considered an unusual translation of the word.  In fact, Lane’s Lexicon–widely considered the best classical Arabic-English dictionary in the world–notes that such usage is a “tropical expression”, something outside the normal range of meaning. [Lane’s Arabic-English Lexicon (1968), Vol. 8, p. 2848]

This fact is something very easily verifiable by simply asking any (neutral) Arabic speaker.  And this is certainly confirmed by the images of the dictionary pages we have reproduced above, where we do not even see the meaning given!  That is how obscure that definition is!

Furthermore, using the translation “sexual intercourse” is even stranger in the context of a fatwa (religious verdict).  It is well-known that fatwas use Islamic legalese.  Religious terms that are used in Islamic law have very specific meanings.  Words like halalharamcaliphimamzinasahih, etc…These are all religious terms that even non-Arabic speaking Muslims will know, because they have special religious significance.  The word nikah is most definitely one such “religious term”, used for example even by Pakistani Muslims who don’t usually speak Arabic.

The well-known religious meaning of the word is found in the Quran itself.  Prof. Joseph Schacht, who is considered by many to be the pioneer of Islamic legal studies in the West, notes in theEncyclopedia of Islam (2nd Edition) that while “sexual intercourse” is a meaning, “in the Kur’an [it is] used exclusively for the contract of marriage.”  Wherever the word nikah is used in the Quran, it means the contract of betrothal/marriage–not sexual intercourse.  (For the record, Prof. Schacht is hardly known to be sympathic towards Islam, and his work is routinely cited by the Islamphobic polemicist Ibn Warraq.)

This trend is found in the books of hadith and the Islamic legal literature as well. For example, the hadith collection known as Sahih al-Muslim has a chapter entitled “Book of Marriage (Kitab al-Nikah)”–in it are sayings regarding marriage, i.e. who should marry, who one can marry, who one can propose marriage to, conditions of marriage, etc. etc.  Nary a soul would dare claim it is the Book of Sex, since its topics are far more wide-ranging than that.

As for Islamic legal literature, we can cite a book that Islamophobes love to cite, The Reliance of the Traveler, that also has in it a “Book of Marriage (Kitab al-Nikah)”–which cannot possibly be understood to be the Book of Sex.  The examples we could cite are numerous.

It is quite telling that Al-Mutarjim invoked a “tropical definition” to a term that Arabic speakers–even non-Arabic speaking Muslims–know immediately as meaning “betrothal/marriage.”  Additionally, the mufti uses three different words to clearly refer to sexual intercourse:

يدخل عليها (he enters into her)
الوطء (mounting)
الجماع (coming together)

There is no ambiguity here.  But to top off the absurdity of using a “tropical meaning” is the fact that the context of the fatwa itself–as noted in the above section–would completely negate such an unusual usage.  The desire to do so can only be born out of a specific agenda.

Conclusion

We must reiterate here that we do not agree with the IslamOnline fatwa.  Therefore, we do not see the need to defend its substance.  (Future articles will tackle the dispute about Aisha’s age, the minimum age of marriage in Islam [although it was briefly discussed here], etc.)  The focus here ought to be Al-Mutarjim’s misleading and dishonest translations. Our readers simply need to compare the original “translation” he provided to the updated translation he was forced to publish after we exposed his original. The dramatic difference–between his own initial translation and the new one we forced him to provide–speaks volumes!

Al-Mutarjim argues:

Regardless of whatever personal (and vague) advice the Mufti gives much later in his fatwa, the case is already closed per the Qur’an and Sunnah.

We are not going to argue what the Quran and Sunna say regarding the matter, as that is another topic altogether.  The fact that the mufti himself does not understand the Quran and Sunna to imply what al-Mutarjim states it implies, is itself telling. The issue here is that Al-Mutarjim translated a fatwa from an IslamOnline mufti, making it seem as if the mufti was perfectly fine with sexual intercourse with prepubescent girls.  But here is what Al-Mutarjim purposefully excluded from his “translation”:

(1) The mufti forbade sexual intercourse before puberty, arguing that “at the very least” puberty should be the minimum age for marriage.

(2) The mufti noted that sexual intercourse with prepubescent girls should be prevented because it can cause severe “negative physical and emotional ramifications that would stay with her for the rest of her life.”

(3) Betrothal/marriage of prepubescent girls is, according to the mufti, a thing of the past and no longer applicable.

All of this was hidden in those ever so strategic ellipses.  Al-Mutarjim’s response seems to imply that our criticism of his translation revolved solely around that one word (nikah) and that one sentence. 

Yet, even if we pretend, for argument’s sake only, that he translated it correctly (which he didn’t), this does not change the fact that he has produced a highly misleading and dishonest translation.  He purposefully deleted all three points above (and 4/5ths of the fatwa), a deception that is even greater than simply mistranslating one sentence.

The fact that Al-Mutarjim and his defenders are trying to make it all about one word and one sentence indicates their desire to obfuscate the issue.  So let’s be very clear: Al-Mutarjim’s translation is fraudulent not just because of one sentence but because he purposefully omitted key information from the fatwa.

This begs the question: why?  Why did Al-Mutarjim hide these very important points?  Why did he neglect to translate 4/5th’s of the fatwa?  Why was there even a need for an “updated version” of the translation, which magically only appeared when we criticized his first one?  Had his first translation been an honest one, why the need for an update?  We think the reasons for this are patently obvious.

To conclude: Al-Mutarjim had “translated” a fatwa making it seem as if it permitted sexual intercourse with prepubescent girls, even though it said the exact opposite–namely, that the age of puberty is to be considered the minimum age “at the very least.”  Using ellipses, the Translating-Jihad site manipulates texts…kind of like if we rendered Al-Mutarjim’s words like so:

I previously produced an excerpted translation…deliberately taking things out of context…

My goal…is being dishonest.

Addendum I:

SATV’s dishonesty can be gauged by his conciliatory comment on our site:

I believe that much of your response to Translating-Jihad was also quite good. I won’t speak for him, but I agreed with much of your grammatical analysis. Where I disagree is your assumption that people critical of Islam deliberately mistranslate Arabic.

and his completely opposite attitude on his blog.  Would SATV like to be honest and state on his blog that he agrees with our grammatical analysis of Al-Mutarjim’s “translation”?

Also, note here the invocation of a “whenever” and “anybody” argument once again: “your assumption that people critical of Islam deliberately mistranslate Arabic“.  Here, we are talking about oneparticular person and one particular site.  Each stands on its own merits. Al-Mutarjim specifically and Translating-Jihad specifically are deliberately mistranslating and obfuscating Arabic.  The evidence speaks for itself, and SATV’s refusal to admit this speaks to his own dishonesty.

Update I:

Staring at the View (SATV) has issued a response to our article, saying (emphasis added):

I have carefully read Loonwatch’s grammatical analysis of the Fatwa that caused this duststorm, and I can say that I agree with that analysis. I agree that the primary meaning of the word Nikah is marriage, and I agree that the Mufti who issued theFatwa was not advocating sex with young girls.

We must give credit where credit is due.  It is pretty stand up of him to admit this.

Of course, the fact that even SATV agrees with our analysis of Al-Mutarjim’s flawed translation does not fare well for Al-Mutarjm and the Translating-Jihad website.  What’s interesting though is that SATV himself seems to be connected to the Translating Jihad website; Al-Mutarjim introduced SATV on his website as follows:

My buddy over at Staring at the View has agreed to start cross-posting his excellent articles here at Translating Jihad.

It’s just barely a stretch then to say that even Translating Jihad doesn’t think Translating Jihad is reliable!

Proof that Robert Spencer’s JihadWatch.org Relies on Bogus Translations

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on March 2, 2011 by loonwatch
Robert Spencer

Translating-Jihad is one of the newer anti-Muslim blogs to make its debut to the world wide web.  The site’s creator, Al-Mutarjim, fancies himself as a professional Arabic translator and states that his objective is to translate Arabic texts into English in order “to expose [the] darkness [of Islam].”

Robert Spencer, director of JihadWatch.org (arguably the internet’s most popular anti-Muslim website), was absolutely delighted by the emergence of Translating-Jihad.  Spencer gushed about Al-Mutarjim:

You are great. I love your work… Thank you so much for doing what you’re doing.

On January 14th of 2011, Al-Mutarjim posted a supposed translation of an Arabic fatwa on his website; he entitled his translation as follows: Fatwa: “It is Permissible to Have Sexual Intercourse with a Prepubescent Girl”.  Guess who reproduced this “translation” on his website?  None other than Robert Spencer.  See JihadWatch.org: Fatwa: “It is Permissible to Have Sexual Intercourse with a Prepubescent Girl”.  Spencer opined:

Here is evidence that mainstream Muslims…consider child marriage to be completely justified by the Sharia.

This “translation” by Al-Mutarjim’s Translating-Jihad blog was the “evidence” that the fake scholarRobert Spencer gives to justify his claims.

We here at LoonWatch investigated the matter and discovered that Translating-Jihad’s “translation” was utterly bogus.  Read our expose: Translating-Jihad’s Completely Fraudulent Translations.  To summarize, Al-Mutarjim claimed that the fatwa says: “It is permissible to have sexual intercourse with a prepubescent girl”, when in fact the fatwa says the exact opposite. The fatwa forbids sexual intercourse with prepubescent girls, and warns:

It is clear that the marriage of children has health concerns, because their reproductive organs are not ready for sexual intercourse yet, nor are they emotionally prepared for sexual intercourse, especially the female child who will most likely be physically damaged. This is especially if her husband is an old man! Sexual intercourse might cause negative physical and emotional ramifications that would stay with her for the rest of her life and affect her sexual future!

Not only did Al-Mutarjim not translate the above (all tactfully hidden in those ever so strategic ellipses), but he also purposefully omitted to translate the fatwa’s conclusion: “In view of medical grounds, we admonish against marriage before puberty at the very least.

Translating-Jihad’s translation is the epitome of academic dishonesty,  and Al-Mutarjim is a fraud, cheat, and liar.  But, Robert Spencer has no problem with that, so long as Al-Mutarjim is anti-Muslim.  Not only does Al-Mutarjim get high praises from Spencer, but the bogus “sex with prepubescent girls” translation was reproduced on JihadWatch.  It can still be found here.  As of yet, Spencer has not removed it or issued a correction of any sort.

There can be only a few reasons why Robert Spencer reproduced such a bogus translation on his website:

(1)  Robert Spencer is lying when he claims the ability to read and understand Arabic fluently.  In that case, maybe he couldn’t understand the fatwa.  If that is the case, then he is a liar for falsely pretending to read the language.  How can anyone rely on a liar as a credible source?

(2)  If #1 is not the case, then maybe Spencer reproduced the translation without bothering to click the link to the original fatwa.  If that is the case (which is highly unlikely), then what kind of editorial standards and vetting process does JihadWatch.org have!?  What kind of a “scholar” would reproduce something like that without bothering to check the original (which is just a click away)?  How reliable can a site be that just believes anything on the internet?

(3) But the most likely explanation is that Robert Spencer is completely dishonest and has absolutely no problems reproducing bogus translations to further his anti-Muslim agenda.  Would you really rely on such a guy for your knowledge of Islam?

We wouldn’t be surprised, however, if Spencer comes up with one of his classic explanations about how someone else logged into his user name and posted it, without him first taking a look, yadda yadda yadda.  This sort of explanation–which Spencer has used in the past (remember the whole “I got tricked into joining a genocidal facebook group” thing?)–is just about as believable as the teenage kid telling his mom that the marijuana or porn under his bed is really his friends.

Whatever the case, will Robert Spencer have at least the academic honesty to issue a correction?  Will he take back his glowing praise of Al-Mutajim and the Translating-Jihad blog? We sincerely doubt it.

It is troublesome to think that Robert Spencer is considered an “expert” on Islam, when clearly he is merely a pro-Christian anti-Muslim fanatic–just like Al-Mutarjim of Translating-Jihad is a religious wing nut.  It is frightening to think that Spencer–who has no problems using absolutely bogus translations to further his Islam-bashing ideology–was even used to educate the FBI.  No wonder the FBI is completely misguided in its “war on terror”.  This country is in trouble when it relies on complete frauds and liars to learn about the world’s second largest religion.

 

Translating-Jihad: The Holy Spirit Inspires Me to be an Intolerant Bigot

Posted in Loon Blogs, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on February 27, 2011 by loonwatch
“Don’t take away our guns!”

This is a follow-up article to this here.

In his response to our site, Al-Mutarjim (creator of the anti-Muslim website Translating-Jihad) exposed himself to be a religious wing nut, saying:

…This country and its constitution were founded by the hand of God, and that it was His destiny for His children that we should be free to worship Him according to the dictates of our consciences…

Being familiar with the teachings of Christ and the influence of His Holy Spirit, I was able to discern between the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the darkness of these sacred texts of Islam. With this knowledge, I resolved to work to expose this darkness, in order to defend this country and its inhabitants, and also to open the eyes of those already enslaved by Islam…

I know that the Lord has given me a gift to be able to learn Arabic. I do not understand all the purposes of the Lord, but I do believe that He has a purpose for me in this work. So I will press on, and continue to work tirelessly to help the non-Arabic-speaking audience understand what Islam really teaches.

Al-Mutarjim has set himself to the task of exposing the intolerant, violent, and totalitarian faith of Islam. Yet, in fighting the envisioned monster, he has become the monster. Al-Mutarjim is certainly intolerant: one can simply insert the word “Christianity” for “Islam” and see that. For example, he says in his response that “there was something very dark about the teachings of Islam itself…” and called the religion of Islam “violent, intolerant, and totalitarian.” If Al-Mutarjim came across the words of some mufti who said the exact same of Christianity–if this mufti said that “there is something very dark about the teachings of Christianity…” and that Christianity is “violent, intolerant, and totalitarian”–it would be on Al-Mutarjim’s blog the very next day (with the help of Google Translator of course)! In fact, he has already done so! Al-Mutarjim posted a fatwa in which a mufti stated that Christianity is “vain and perverted”. Al-Mutarjim cannot see that he is the mirror image of the Islamic crazies he rants against!

More importantly, however, we don’t really see the point of his site. He has endeavored, in his own words, to translate Arabic texts into English because:

It is common to hear these doctrines expressed candidly by Muslims when they are speaking to other Muslims in Arabic, but it is not so common to hear them expressed freely by Muslims speaking to Western audiences.

Islamophobes believe in this conspiracy theory: those “smooth-speaking Muslim spokesmen” say one thing in English to “gullible” non-Muslim audiences, but meanwhile–when they are amongst their own evil selves–they sing another tune in Arabic. This adds another lair to the conspiracy. It also adds to the novelty of the Islam-basher: “I am going to translate Muslim stuff that they don’t want you to see!” With that as a selling point (“leaked Arabic documents reveal…!!!”), the reader is drawn in to see what is so secretive.  More importantly, this accomplishes the task of making the Mooz-lums seem even more villainous–”you just can’t trust them!”

But the truth is that there is no such conspiracy. To the chagrin of many Muslims, there is no shortage of Islamic crazies saying all sorts of nutty things in the English language. Al-Mutarjim hardly had to go to an Arabic website to find Islamic fundamentalists saying it’s OK to marry off a girl at a young age. Has he never heard of the Saudi Wahhabi fatwa site Islam-qa.com or the even crazier Taliban and Usama bin Ladin-supporting fatwa site Ask-Imam.com? Both websites provide endless ammunition to Islam-bashers, making the need to translate “secretive” Arabic documents hardly necessary. This is all a gimmick invented by Islamophobes. Both English-speaking websites (see here and here) say similar to the Arabic fatwa that Al-Mutarjim “translated” for us. Indeed, even the English section of the IslamOnline website has fatwas that say exactly the same thing as Al-Mutarjim’s selection from the Arabic section. (This becomes apparent once we corrected his false translation.) So again, we wonder: what is the point of his site?

Robert Spencer of the nefariously anti-Muslim website JihadWatch.org has made a living out of documenting the Islamic crazies in order to falsely portray them as representative of all Muslims–which is why we call him the police-blotter “scholar”. Al-Mutarjim has simply used the same strategy using Arabic sources. Because his audience does not read Arabic (and he barely does either), nobody is the wiser to the fact that he is very selectively choosing material. He assiduously avoids reproducing liberal voices from the Arabic-speaking world. But at the end of the day, Al-Mutarjim adds nothing new to the discussion, since we have never denied the presence of the Islamic crazies. Our disagreement with the anti-Islam blogosphere is that they define the entire Muslim community by the crazies, not that the crazies don’t exist (or don’t need to be intellectually opposed).

Response to Staring at the View

Al-Mutarjim has posted a second (and third) response from a blogger who goes by the name ofStaring at the View (good thing this blogger didn’t make the mistake of going by the name of “Starred at the View”). We’ll call him SATV for short. SATV tries downplaying Al-Mutarjim’s mistake by saying it’s just the error of using a fatha instead of a kasra. It’s just an error in one vowel! Big deal, right?

The example I gave before–of a Chinese immigrant applying for the position of fifth-grade English teacher–applies here. If the applicant were to say “I work as professional translated”, he wouldn’t get the job. He could certainly protest that “it’s only the difference between two letters!” To a person who doesn’t speak English fluently, the difference between the word “translator” and “translated” seems minuscule. It is, after all, just the difference between -or and -ed. But, to one fluent in English, this mistake is huge! Similarly, the difference between the two vowels (fatha and kasra) is huge in Arabic.

SATV tries to downplay the issue even more, saying:

I can’t tell you how many times I have been listening to an Arabic lecture or interview and heard the speaker self-correct as in, “wal-mutarjam la la, al-mutarjim” – “and the Mutarjam…no, I meant to say the Mutarjim.”

Certainly everyone misspeaks once in awhile. Had Al-Mutarjim simply said “and the Mutarjam…no, I meant to say the Mutarjim”, there would have been no issue. The problem arises in that it wasn’t simply misspeaking or a typo or even “hastily speaking”. It was a consistent error that went on for a year. For Pete’s sake, it was his user name! Show me a fluent Arabic speaker that would keep his user name as Al-Mutarajjam! Show me! The idea that fluent Arabic speakers say Al-Mutarajjam instead of Al-Mutarjim is as false as saying that fluent English speakers say The Translated instead of The Translator.

Furthermore, even if we accept that Arabic speakers might say “and the Mutarjam…no, I meant to say the Mutarjim”, they certainly wouldn’t say “and the Mutarajjam…”.  Al-Mutarjim did not simply make a mistake of one vowel. He used the name Al-Mutarajjam–a word that simply does not exist. It was only after we allowed him leeway in transliteration that we even get to Al-Mutarjam (The Translated). Therefore, it is not true that it is simply a one vowel mistake that Al-Mutarjim made. Rather, it is the error in a vowel as well as the addition of an extra letter–a shadda. Al-Mutarjim didn’t just make the error of writing Al-Mutarjam, but Al-Mutarajjam–which should have been Al-Mutarjim!

SATV issued a second response (or one can count this as Translating-Jihad’s third response, depending on how one is counting), in which he pointed out several English grammar mistakes in our original article. By so doing, SATV is trying to invoke a Sarah Palin-esque defense. When Palin was questioned about her invented word “repudiate”, she and her defenders pointed out other “misspeaks” from leading politicians. For example, Joe Biden made several speaking gaffes, so can’t we call it even? Yet, the truth is that Biden’s slip-ups were in no way comparable to that of Palin’s masterful “refudiate”. Had SATV found a “refudiate” equivalent error in LoonWatch’s writing, then perhaps he would have a case to make.

Similarly, LoonWatch’s petty grammar mistakes in English are in no way comparable to Al-Mutarjim’s epic fail in Arabic. Ours were just typos or–as SATV himself says–a case of “writing hastily”. But can Al-Mutarjim’s error be attributed to “writing hastily”? Not at all. He has been using this user name for a year now. He has posted numerous times on various websites, each time repeating this error. For Pete’s sake, it’s his name that he chose for himself! Therefore, it’s not an equivalent comparison between minor slip-ups in our articles and Al-Mutarjim’s name. On the other hand, if LoonWatch had been written as LoonWach (with the ‘t’ missing), and if we repeated this mistake for over a year whenever we sign off, then that would be equivalent. And in that case, you would be justified in laughing at our English speaking abilities all you want. But even in that case, it’s not really relevant since our site is not an English translation site. If you wished to have your documents translated, wouldn’t you steer far away from a company that got its name dead wrong!?

We didn’t write an article pointing out the minor mistakes in Al-Mutarjim’s translations (which are plentiful), because those are certainly different than getting his name completely wrong for a year! It is even more comical when that name was meant to be The Translator. Surely SATV appreciates the humor in that.

Naturally, if someone cannot speak a language properly, that doesn’t mean they have nothing worthy to say. SATV is claiming that this is what we are saying. To bolster his case, he provides an example, which he likens to us:

I came across a scathing review by a Muslim Arabic-speaking professor of a State Department diplomat who had delivered a lecture in Arabic. The criticism was not directed at the ideology of the diplomat, nor the content of his lecture. What aroused the ire of the professor was that the speaker had misprounced an Arabic word; he had pronounced it with a fatha (the short “a” vowel), when it should have been akesra (the short “i” vowel). “What could he possibly have to say of value,” fulminated the professor, “When he cannot even speak Arabic properly?”

Yet, his example of the diplomat is hardly analogous to that of Al-Mutarjim. The diplomat was simply giving a talk in Arabic; he was not claiming to be a professional Arabic translator. Had Robert Spencer made the mistake of writing Al-Mutarajjam instead of Al-Mutarjim, we might have passingly mentioned the error, but we certainly wouldn’t have made such a big deal of it. The reason it is a big deal here is only because Al-Mutarjim claims to be a professional Arabic translator. More than that, his very name is The Translator! Had the diplomat in the example claimed that he was a professional Arabic translator–and if he had said in Arabic that he was a professional Arabic translated (instead of translator)–then everyone would be quite justified in having a good laugh at him. The fact that SATV doesn’t see the difference between these two very different situations is telling.

Furthermore, the diplomat made one mistake–we all do from time to time. But going around saying you are The Translated–using it as your user name–is truly something quite funny! Again, imagine a Chinese immigrant advertising his translation skills, using the pseudonym of The Translated. That’s totally different than a Chinese professor of science mistakenly slipping on an English word or two when speaking of science–something that has no relation to translation.

In any case, we were hardly trying to prove that Al-Mutarjim has nothing worthy of saying simply because he got the word “Al-Mutarjim” wrong. What we are trying to say is that he is not a qualified Arabic translator, which is what his whole website is geared around. What we here at LoonWatch were trying to prove was that Al-Mutarjim–like the whole list of Islamophobes we cited (including Al-Mutarjim’s hero, Robert Spencer)–is not academically qualified. These are not scholars, experts, or academics. No real scholar, expert, or academic would rely on Al-Mutarjim for translation.

Al-Mutarjim has nothing to do with academia. And his response to us reveals something even worse: he learned about Islam not through academic sources but through Robert Spencer’s joke of a book,The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades)–and of course, “self-study”. Why is it that not a single one of these leading Islamophobes studied Islam in a proper academic environment? Why do academic scholars reach far more sober conclusions about Islam than the childish ones reached by these wikipedia educated “Islam experts”? Why do they use Bat Ye’or’s instead of real scholars?

There is another interesting nugget from SATV’s response to us, as follows:

…Loonwatch then mocked the fact that after he recognized his grammatical faux pas he went back and corrected it. Hello? Is anybody home? That is what makes America great. When we make mistakes we correct them.

The issue is that he tried to cover up his mistake, as we painstakingly show with our snapshots of his ever changing site. Admitting and correcting mistakes might be what “makes America great”, but covering up mistakes is only American in the sense of trying to crush Wikileaks to hide the truth from getting out. First, Al-Mutarjim tried to deny the importance of his error, by saying “so what?” On the other hand, he went back and deleted all evidence of his mistake. He quickly removed the comments critiquing his name, and disabled comments altogether from his website. If he was simply correcting a mistake, why did he remove all the comments criticizing his name!? Is this what “makes America great”?

Even now, Al-Mutarjim pretends that it was someone other than Dawood who pointed out his mistake. Yet, somehow magically the timing worked out that exactly after Dawood pointed it out on LoonWatch, suddenly Al-Mutarjim changed his user name, his website, his contact address, his About section, removed and disabled comments, etc. (In fact, after we published our featured piece on his site, he changed his About page once again, removing altogether the troublesome “About the Name” section.) All of this cover-up, denial, and lying is hardly something laudable–it’s dishonest, deceitful, and fraudulent. These are not good qualities to have in a translator.  Al-Mutarjim’s translations are exactly that: dishonest, deceitful, and fraudulent–as we clearly saw here.

 

Translating-Jihad’s Completely Fraudulent Translations

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on February 26, 2011 by loonwatch

By: Dawood (guest contributor) and Danios

The smoking gun against Al-Mutarjim, creator of the Translating-Jihad blog

We recently published an article criticizing the anti-Islam website known as Translating-Jihad.  The owner of this website, Al-Mutarjim (the blogger formerly known as Al-Mutarajjam), parades around as a qualified and reliable Arabic translator.  Our article questioned his Arabic language skills, and we showed that he can’t even translate the word “translator”–which he kept as his user name for months on end.  For an entire year, he was calling himself The Translated (Al-Mutarajjam) instead of The Translator (Al-Mutarjim)…he only changed it after we pointed out the error (and then he scrambled to cover up his mistake).

Al-Mutarjim issued a rebuttal.  The gist of his response is that he made a mistake (“so what?”) but that doesn’t change the fact that his translations are accurate.  He argued that we are focusing on this “minor mistake” because we can’t deal with the substance of his translations.  Al-Mutarjim challenged us (emphasis added):

Translating Jihad

I started this blog in winter 2010 to expose the violent, intolerant, and totalitarian doctrines of Islam. It is common to hear these doctrines expressed candidly by Muslims when they are speaking to other Muslims in Arabic, but it is not so common to hear them expressed freely by Muslims speaking to Western audiences.

A perfect example of this comes in a fatwa posted on the Arabic-language section of Islamonline.net, which was founded by Muslim Brotherhood leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi, regarding the Prophet Muhammad having intercourse with his prepubescent wife ‘Aisha. An excerpt of my translation follows:

…it is permissible to have sexual intercourse with a prepubescent girl. The Qur’an is not like the books of jurisprudence which mention what the implications of things are, even if they are prohibited. It is true that the prophet (PBUH) entered into a marriage contract with A’isha when she was six years old, however he did not have sex with her until she was nine years old.

A fatwa on the same topic on the English side of the site smooths over this uncomfortable bit of Islamic history:

As for the Prophet’s condition before this marriage, it clearly explained what we’ve said that it was a purely sublime aim and purpose that motivated him to marry `Aisha. That’s why the marriage was not consummated until sometime after the emigration to Madinah, when she had reached maturity.

The author of the [LoonWatch] article which calls me a fraud was unable to refute this translation, or any of my other translations. He spent hours on my site over several days, scrutinizing every piece of it. If he could have refuted any of them, he would have. I take pride in my work, which is to produce accurate translations exposing the violent and intolerant doctrines of Islam to the English-speaking audience. I invite all to come and scrutinize my work.

We are delighted to accept Al-Mutarjim’s challenge.  The only reason that [Dawood] did not criticize this translation before was that Al-Mutarjim had disabled comments after [Dawood] refuted him.  Al-Mutarjim says that [Dawood] “was unable to refute this translation, or any of my other translations…”  Well yes, since Al-Mutarjim disabled commenting, it was not possible to post rebuttals! [Danios], on the other hand, has been M.I.A. from the LoonWatch site for several months and just returned.

But now that Al-Mutarjim has challenged us, we are but compelled to expose him.  Al-Mutarjim, remember how you said in your response that you never received any formal schooling to learn Arabic?  Well, sit back and relax, because you are about to get some schooling today.

In his response to us, Al-Mutarjim has claimed that the Arabic version of IslamOnline.net permits sexual intercourse with prepubescent girls, whereas the English version misleadingly avoids mentioning this.  As proof, Al-Mutarjim claims that the Arabic fatwa on IslamOnline says “it is permissible to have sexual intercourse with a prepubescent girl.” This line is critical to Al-Mutarjim’s claim, so surely he translated it correctly, right?

In fact, Al-Mutarjim’s translation is completely fraudulent.  The proper translation of this line is actually as follows: “and from this verse we take the permissibility of betrothal/marriage (nikah) with prepubescent girls.”  The word nikah here does not mean “sexual intercourse” at all.   In fact, the mufti issuing the fatwa says the exact opposite: namely that although a girl may be betrothed when she is prepubescent, no sexual intercourse ought to occur until (1) at least after she passes puberty and (2) she can physically bear it without any harm to her.

To understand the duplicity of Al-Mutarjim’s claims, let’s review: Al-Mutarjim claims that the fatwa says that it is permissible to have sexual intercourse with prepubescent girls, but in reality the fatwa actually says that sexual intercourse may occur only after puberty and once the female can bear it without any harm to her.  Quite simply, the fatwa says the exact opposite of what Al-Mutarjim claims!

Here is the original Arabic:

فيؤخذ من الآية جواز نكاح البنت قبل البلوغ”

which Al-Mutarjim translated as:

we can take from this verse that it is permissible to have sexual intercourse with a prepubescent girl.

When it actually translates as:

and from this verse we take the permissibility of betrothal/marriage (nikah) with pre-pubescent girls.

Al-Mutarjim’s dishonest translation becomes even more apparent when we look at the rest of the fatwa.  But first, let’s look at the way his blog, Translating-Jihad, translated the fatwa:  Fatwa: “It is Permissible to Have Sexual Intercourse with a Prepubescent Girl”.  (This is the original blog post that Al-Mutarjim was referring to in his response to us–the one we supposedly couldn’t refute.)

Notice how he uses ellipses (…) everywhere.  As with other authors in the anti-Islam blogosphere, the use of ellipsis is of strategic importance, purposefully placed to mislead the reader and to superimpose false meanings onto the text.  Al-Mutarjim’s translation is under 400 words long, whereas the actual fatwa on IslamOnline [when translated in full] is just under 2,000 words.  In other words, his “translation” is less than 1/5th the actual length of the fatwa.  The other 4/5ths of the fatwa is tactfully hidden within the ellipses.  Most troubling is the fact that Al-Mutarjim hid the mufti’s final verdict regarding the issue, which directly contradicts Al-Mutarjim’s claims.

So what exactly did Al-Mutarjim hide inside those ever so helpful ellipses?

The following key part was mysteriously not translated by Al-Mutarjim:

. ومن المهم كذلك أن نعرف أن الفقهاء وإن أجازوا تزويج الصغيرة فإنهم منعوا زوجها أن يطأها حتى تطيق الوطء ، وهذا يختلف باختلاف الأزمنة والأمكنة والبيئات.

And it is important for us to know that even though the jurists approved betrothing a child [before puberty], they prevented her husband from having sexual intercourse with her until she could bear it, which differs according to the time, place, and environment.

Al-Mutarjim’s deceit becomes quite clear from this!  The fatwa states that sexual intercourse before puberty would not be proper as it would bring great harm to the female.  It says (editor’s note: we’ve broken down the English text into two paragraphs just for ease in reading, though in Arabic it appears as one paragraph):

ولا يخفى بأن زواج الصغار لا يخلو من محاذير صحية ، لأن أجهزتهم التناسلية لا تكون مهيأة للجماع بعد ، كما أن الصغار لا يكونون مهيئين نفسياً لممارسة الجنس ، وبخاصة البنت الصغيرة التي يغلب أن تتضرر جسدياً ولاسيما إذا كان زوجها رجلاً كبيراً ! فقد يسبب جماعها مضاعفات نفسية وجسدية سيئة ترافقها طوال حياتها وتؤثر في مستقبلها الجنسي ! ولهذا ذهب الفقهاء إلى أن الزوجة الصغيرة التي لا تحتمل الوطء لا تُسلَّم إلى زوجها حتى تكبر وتصبح في سـن تتحمل فيه الوطء ، حتى وإن كان الزوج عاقلاً أميناً وتعهد ألا يقربها ، لأن هيجان الشهوة فيه قد يحمله على وطئها فيؤذيها

It is clear that the marriage of children has health concerns, because their reproductive organs are not ready for sexual intercourse yet, nor are they emotionally prepared for sexual intercourse, especially the female child who will most likely be physically damaged. This is especially if her husband is an old man! Sexual intercourse might cause negative physical and emotional ramifications that would stay with her for the rest of her life and affect her sexual future!

And that is why the majority of jurists say that the child wife who cannot bear sexual intercourse must not be given to her husband, until she is grown and is of age in which she could bear sexual intercourse, even if the husband was intelligent and trustworthy and promised not to touch her, since the force of the sexual need in him might compel him to have intercourse with her and harm her.

Oh, how convenient that all of this was removed from the Translating-Jihad translation!  And yet Al-Mutarjim has the gall to say to us:

The author of the [LoonWatch] article which calls me a fraud was unable to refute this translation, or any of my other translations. He spent hours on my site over several days, scrutinizing every piece of it. If he could have refuted any of them, he would have. I take pride in my work, which is to produce accurate translations…

The mufti asks:

إذا كان من يريدون ذلك يبحثون حقا عن المصلحة العامة فلماذا لم يكتفوا بسن البلوغ؟ وهل يقول الأطباء : إن وطء البالغة مضر بها؟

If they really were looking for public interest, then why not suffice with the age of puberty [as the minimum age for sexual intercourse in marriage]? And do doctors say that intercourse with a girl that had reached puberty brings harm to her?

This is a rhetorical question he is asking, and he means to say that sex after puberty is not harmful.  (This is where the mufti is sadly mistaken, but the point is that the fatwa does not at all permit sexual intercourse with prepubescent girls, as Al-Mutarjim claims.)  The IslamOnline mufti argues that puberty ought to be the absolute minimum age for sexual intercourse.  In his concluding paragraph, the mufti issues his final verdict:

ونحن بدورنا ننصح من الوجهة الطبية بعدم الزواج قبل البلوغ على أقل تقدير؛ لأن البلوغ مؤشر فطري يدل على أن الجسم أصبح مهيأً للمعاشرة الزوجية ، كما أن الإنسان بالبلوغ يصل إلى درجة مقبولة من الوعي الاجتماعي الذي يساعده على تكوين الأسرة .. علماً بأن معظم القوانين المعمول بها في البلدان الإسلامية وغير الإسلامية تمنع الزواجَ قبل سِنِّ الرُّشْدِ ، أو سنِّ ثماني عشرة سنة .

In view of medical grounds, we admonish against marriage before puberty at the very least, because puberty is an intuitive sign which indicates that the body is ready for marital intercourse, and because humans at puberty reach an acceptable degree of social awareness that would help them in forming a family unit, especially since most applied laws in Islamic countries and non-Islamic countries prohibit marriage before the age of puberty or before the age of eighteen.

Amazing how the mufti’s conclusion did not appear anywhere in Al-Mutarjim’s translation!  All of this hidden in those magical ellipses.  As we stated before, Al-Mutarjim deceitfully translated the fatwa as follows:

we can take from this verse that it is permissible to have sexual intercourse with a prepubescent girl.

which should read:

and from this verse we take the permissibility of betrothal/marriage (nikah) with prepubescent girls.

Not only does the mufti forbid sexual intercourse before puberty, he also speaks against marriage before puberty (even if the married couple abstain from intercourse).  The IslamOnline mufti explains that the permissibility to betroth prepubescent girls is a thing of the past, due to the societal needs of a time gone by.  The mufti argues that hundreds of years ago, the vast majority of people were illiterate.  Without schooling in the way, it was the norm for early marriage to occur.  But today, most people are educated for several years, and early marriage would interrupt this.  Therefore, it is not proper to betroth/marry off a child.  Says the mufti (again, not translated by our dishonest Translating-Jihad translator):

ولا ننسى كذلك أن الثقافة وقتها كانت محدودة، فقد كان بمقدورها أن تحيط بها في سن صغيرة، ولم يكن الحال كما هو عليه الآن من أن الولد ذكرا، أو أنثى يظل يتعثر في القراءة والكتابة حتى يجاوز العاشرة.

And we should not forget also that the culture at the time was quite limited, and so she could easily be familiar with it [i.e. get to know everything she would need to know for adult life] at a young age, and things were not the way they are now, in which the child, male or female, remains stumbling through schooling [lit. reading and writing] beyond the age of ten.

In another IslamOnline fatwa–also in Arabic–it says:

ومعنى هذا … أن زواج الصغار جائز من حيث الأصل، ولكن قد يمنع من باب المصلحة ، والسياسة الشرعية.

The meaning of this [is that] the marriage [note: betrothal, not sexual intercourse] of youngsters is permissible in terms of theoretical principle; however, it may be better to prevent it so as to guarantee the well-being of the community and [conformity with] Islamic societal policies

He argues that although there is a theoretical permissibility, in actuality it would be harmful in today’s day and age.  Therefore, it would go against the maslaha (public welfare), and the ruler is permitted in Islam to ban it and ought to do so.

And the fatwa concludes:

We admonish against marriage before puberty at the very least.

The original fatwa, mistranslated by Al-Mutarjim, concludes that betrothal/marriage and sexual intercourse ought not to be initiated until at least after puberty.  Yet, if one were to read Al-Mutarjim’s translation of the fatwa, one would get a completely different understanding of the text.  Al-Mutarjim is wholly unreliable, completely dishonest, and indubitably fraudulent.

This topic–minimum age of marriage in Islam–is a hefty one and one which [Danios] will write on in the future.  Unfortunately, many misconceptions circulate the internet regarding this issue.  For example, it is commonly assumed that traditional Sharia dictates that the consummation of marriage may take place at puberty, and that the onset of puberty is considered to be menarche (the start of a female’s menstrual cycles).  This is not true.  Traditional Sharia did not dictate a specific age of the consummation of marriage and only dictated that a “woman may be able to bear it (i.e. sexual intercourse)” without any harm coming to her from it.  Prof. Suad Joseph of U.C. Davis writes on p.57 of the Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures:

From cases that were brought to court we learn that muftis and qadis would ensure that the minor girl was able to “endure” intercourse (tutiq al-wat’).  This explains why there was no need to mention to mention a “minimum age” [of consummation of marriage]: It was the girl’s physical appearance (“plump and boxom”) that signaled whether the marriage could be consummated without undue harm [to the female].

In other words, consummation of marriage was to be permitted only if the female’s body had developed, undergoing pubertal changes such as the development of breasts and other womanly features.  The very dictum regarding a minimum age of marriage is exactly opposite of what is commonly assumed about Islam: it requires the female to have the body of a woman, not a child.  Islamic jurists abstained from specifying a specific age, as they reasoned that different girls matured at different ages.  Instead, they argued that each case should be judged individually on a case by case basis.  Furthermore, clerics point out that the average age of puberty can vary from one generation to another and from one location to another.

It should of course be noted that we here at LoonWatch don’t agree with the mufti’s fatwa and find many things objectionable in it. However, what Al-Mutarjim and the other Islamophobes do is pretend that the IslamOnline mufti’s opinion is the only one in the Islamic world.  In fact, many Islamic clerics have argued that the age of marriage ought to be eighteen, regardless of any other factors.  Even in the ultraconservative Saudi Arabia, there are clerics like the prominent Mohsen al-Obaikan and the Justice Minister Mohammed al-Eissa (both links are from none other than IslamOnline) who are pushing to ban marriage below the age of eighteen.

These clerics argue that Islam does not specify a specific age for marriage, but rather leaves it up to each society and generation to adjust it according to the needs of the time.  More specifically, a female may not be married (and certainly may not engage in sexual intercourse) “until she could bear it, which differs according to time, place, and environment”.  These quoted words appear in the same IslamOnline fatwa that Al-Mutarjim translated (if we can call it a translation), except that these other clerics would argue that a girl who is post-pubertal but still young would not be able to “bear it (i.e. sexual intercourse)”.  Indeed, the medical evidence is overwhelming that such marriages are harmful to girls.  Since the only requirement under Islamic law for ascertaining a minimum age of marriage is that no harm come to the female, the conclusion then is that marriage ought to be prohibited before eighteen years of age.  Furthermore, they argue that instead of issuing such rulings on a case by case basis (which has a large potential for abuse by forceful men), the government should pass a general law, since generally it is harmful for a female to marry before the age of eighteen.

Their opponents–both Islamic and anti-Islamic–would argue that it would not be permitted in Islam to place an arbitrary age of marriage like this, since the Islamic scriptural sources do not seem to mandate it.  How can Muslims prohibit what God didn’t?  However, the more reform-minded Islamic clerics argue that a temporal ban is permitted in Islam.  They argue that Islam leaves the question wide open so that each generation and society can adjust the minimum age of marriage to their needs.  Therefore, it might make sense to ban marriage under the age of eighteen in the modern day United States, but it may not have been appropriate for a pre-industrial society on the remote outskirts of Africa one hundred years ago.  If times change again, then the age can be adjusted as well, either up or down.

In essence then, the fact that Islam does not specify a specific age for marriage is a blessing and part of the leeway given to the people by the Merciful God.  The permission to marry before the age of eighteen is not a requirement (i.e. a female is not obligated or commanded to get married at this time; it is not sinful for her to postpone marriage until she is older); therefore, it would not be forbidden to issue a temporal ban on it, in order to fulfill one of the higher ethical objectives of Islamic law, i.e. the right of a female to obtain happiness, the removal of harm, etc.  Indeed, not placing such a restriction–in an attempt to maintain rigid fidelity to the letter of the law–would end up destroying the spirit of the law.  By prohibiting marriage before the age of eighteen, the ruler is upholding the higher objective of the Sharia in an ever changing time.  Such a restriction would only be prohibited if the ruler were to argue that this is a divine and immutable law, instead of a temporal and adjustable one.

Mohammad Hashim Kamali writes on p.227 of Shari’ah Law: An Introduction:

Government decisions are not always based on legal text [scriptural texts and fatawa] and principle. Legal text as well as political and economic considerations, custom and even exceptional conditions all play a role and constitute the premises of decision-making. Siyasah shar‘iyyah aims at securing benefit for the people and efficient management of their affairs, even if the measures so taken are not stipulated in the [religious] text…It also enables the state to change the operative rules, law and policy as the conditions of the society may demand.

He concludes on p.229:

Essential harmony with the spirit of the Shari‘ah may at times even justify a certain departure from its letter.

Heavy stuff, right?  Not for wikipedia-educated “experts on Islam”, no doubt.

The fact is that amongst the religious establishment in Islam, there is a lively debate about what the minimum age of marriage should be. The IslamOnline website itself gives two differing opinions on the issue.  A questioner asks the site:

Recently, we have heard about some Muslim countries issuing laws stating a minimum age for marriage.  Is there a minimum age for marriage in Islam?  Is enacting such laws permitted?

The fatwa site responds:

As far as the issue of enacting laws specifying the minimum age of marriage , this issue is subject to debate among Muslim scholars. Some of them say that the ruler cannot enact such a law, while others say the ruler is entitled to issue such laws as long as the public interest of the society is maintained.

They give both opinions by two separate clerics; the second opinion, by the former Head of the Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee, rules:

I think that enacting some laws to specify the age of marriage as done by some governments, is a good step. However, these governments should take into consideration all the circumstances relating to the subject and specific to the society. Obeying the ruler in following such laws is surely an obligation so long as they bring about benefit to the whole society.

The fatwa concludes:

Based on the above fatwas, it can be said that the issue of enacting laws specifying the age of marriage is governed by the public interest of the Muslim society taking into consideration the Shari`ah-based objectives in this regard.

In other words, it is permitted to enact laws specifying the minimum age of marriage as eighteen.

One might be bothered by the fact that there exists no shortage of clerics who think it’s OK for really young girls to get married, and that’s a legitimate gripe that we share.  But it would be dishonest to say that no other views exist in the Muslim world.  Many Islamic clerics think otherwise, and most Muslims in general would never marry their daughters off at a young age.  The last point is the most relevant, since–contrary to what Islamophobes and conservative Muslims believe–Islam is not limited to its religious establishment, which–like other religions–is generally far more conservative than the lay follower.

Had Al-Mutarjim limited his website to the criticism of fundamentalist, extremist, and/or ultraconservative Islam, we’d have no problem with his site.  But to place all of Islam–and all Muslims–into one box, is just not right.  It’s just not honest.  Not only are there other views about this topic in the Islamic world, there are other views on the topic even on the IslamOnline website itself!  If the website itself is not a monolith, then why would one think that the entire Muslim world is?

Jewish and Christian Views

In his response to us, Al-Mutarjim reveals himself to be a religious wing nut:

…This country and its constitution were founded by the hand of God, and that it was His destiny for His children that we should be free to worship Him according to the dictates of our consciences…

Being familiar with the teachings of Christ and the influence of His Holy Spirit, I was able to discern between the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the darkness of these sacred texts of Islam. With this knowledge, I resolved to work to expose this darkness, in order to defend this country and its inhabitants, and also to open the eyes of those already enslaved by Islam…

I know that the Lord has given me a gift to be able to learn Arabic. I do not understand all the purposes of the Lord, but I do believe that He has a purpose for me in this work. So I will press on, and continue to work tirelessly to help the non-Arabic-speaking audience understand what Islam really teaches.

Surprise, surprise–another leading Islam-basher just happens to be either a hawkish Zionist Jew or a fervent Christian proselytizer!  But of course Robert Spencer will reassure us that his being Catholic has absolutely nothing to do with his criticisms of Islam.  This, even though Spencer has penned the proselytizing book entitled Religion of Peace?: Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn’t.  That Spencer and Al-Mutarjim are Christian proselytizers is ignored in an attempt to portray them as neutral “analysts” and “terrorism experts”.

It is a bit troubling that Al-Mutarjim thinks the Holy Spirit divinely inspired him to become a bigot.  But, since he invoked the Judeo-Christian tradition, and because in his response he specifically compared the “light” of Christianity to the “darkness” of Islam (“I was able to discern between the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the darkness of these sacred texts of Islam”)–it seems completely fair and fitting to apply the same standards he uses against Islam to the Judeo-Christian tradition he exalts.  As I stated in my previous article, Islam is hardly the only religion that has “uncomfortable” traditional opinions.

Both the Torah and Talmud permit child marriage of girls, which includes sexual intercourse.  If Al-Mutarjim will cite the IslamOnline fatwa site, let us cite a Jewish “fatwa” site.  Rabbi Naftali Silberberg of AskMoses.com (which boasts that it is the “world’s most popular Jewish website”) issued the following religious verdict:

What is the minimum age of marriage according to Jewish law?

…Technically speaking, a girl may be betrothed the moment she is born, and married at the age of three.  A boy may betroth and marry at the age of thirteen.

Following the example of Al-Mutarjim, we could leave it at that, using our ellipses as strategic weapons of misinformation.  However, unlike Al-Mutarjim and Translating-Jihad, we’re honest–so we’ll fill in what the website is actually saying:

There is the technical rule, and then there is the proper, practical, and wise thing to do. The Talmud, too, agrees that technically according to Torah law a girl can be married at a very young age, but the rabbis imposed a prohibition on such an unwise practice.

And here’s what we hid in the ellipses:

Our Sages state that it is forbidden for one to marry off his daughter until she is an adult and says ‘this is the one I want to marry.’

Under Jewish law (Halacha), a female becomes an “adult” at puberty, estimated to be twelve years of age: the same website, AskMoses, says: “a girl is considered to reach adulthood at 12.”  When we consider that IslamOnline says that Islamic law requires the consent of the female for marriage, we find that the traditional (and now orthodox) views in Judaism and Islam are virtually identical–both websites (AskMoses and IslamOnline) say that technically marriage before puberty is permitted (keep in mind that unlike Al-Mutarjim’s claim, IslamOnline still forbids sexual intercourse), but practically it (marriage) must be done after puberty. JewFaq.com says: “The minimum age of marriage  under Jewish law is 13 for boys, 12 for girls; however, the kiddushin can take place before that, and often did in medieval times.”  The kiddushin is the equivalent of the nikah; according to the same website, it means that the “woman is legally the wife of the man.”

Al-Mutarjim’s own religion, Christianity, is hardly any better.  The Catholic Encyclopedia states:

The marriageable age is fourteen full years in males and twelve full years in females, under penalty of nullity (unless natural puberty supplies the want of years).

Although we do not claim to be experts of Christianity, the words in parenthesis seem to mean that a girl can be married off before the age of twelve if she goes through puberty before that (“natural puberty supplies the want of years”).  Prof. Cathy Yandell confirms this, saying on p.37 of Carpe Corpus that although twelve years old was the general rule, “if one is capable of carnal cohabitation before this age, marriage is permitted.” A Christian man who married underage girls avoided punishment if he already had sexual relations with her, this fact proving that her body was in fact mature enough for marriage.

Child Marriage: A Muslim-Only Problem?

Our opponents will quickly switch their argument to “well, nowadays Jews and Christians no longer engage in child marriage, whereas Muslims still do.”  Then, they’ll reproduce a few stories of child marriage in the Islamic world.  Yes, it is true that child marriage is a major problem in many parts of the Muslim-majority world.  Yet, it is hardly a Muslim-only problem. According to UNICEF, forty percent of the world’s child marriages occur in Hindu-majority India.  Traditional Hindu texts permit marriage of girls at the age of seven or eight.  Should we now demonize Hinduism?  But you will find that the anti-Islam bashers will single out Islam and Muslims alone, which is what prompted our series entitled “What if they were Muslims?”

Meanwhile, only 5% of child marriages take place in the Middle East and North Africa combined.  On the other hand, double this number (10%) of child marriages take place in Latin America and the Caribbean (where the majority of inhabitants are Christian, not Muslim). Over 91% of child marriages take place in South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, East Asia, and the Pacific.  Even if we account for the fact that there are some Muslim majority regions in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, it would hardly be the case that child marriage would be a Muslim-only problem.  It is a global problem, and tied to poverty and lack of education.  Religion is a lesser factor.

As always, our anti-Islam opponents wish to compare Europe, the U.S, Canada, and Israel–all part of the “First World”–with the impoverished “Third World” Muslim countries in South Asia and Africa.  Yet, it would be far more reasonable to compare Christian parts of Africa with the Muslim majority world (or alternatively to compare the Christian-majority parts of Africa with the Muslim-majority parts of Africa).  Once we do this, it seems that the matter has less to do with religion and more to do with socio-economic factors.  But the truth is that the Islam-bashers who speak about Islam and child marriage have absolutely no interest in actually saving girls from child marriage; rather, they just want to exploit the suffering of these girls to further their hateful agendas and use it to score proselytizing  points, giving Team Jesus one more point against Team Muhammad.

Conclusion

Al-Mutarjim’s translations are dishonest, deceitful, and fraudulent.  We’ve shown that he completely manipulated the fatwa on IslamOnline, purposefully misleading his audience to further his pro-Christian anti-Islam agenda.  He entitled the fatwa as “It is Permissible to Have Sexual Intercourse with a Prepubescent Girl”, even though the fatwa says the exact opposite. Al-Mutarjim’s translation could not possibly have been more dishonest and misleading.

What makes this truly remarkable is the fact that he chose to use this particular translation of his in his response to us, taunting us by saying we are “unable to refute this translation” and challenging us by “invit[ing] all to come and scrutinize my work.”  This religious wing nut was dense enough to give us an absolute freebie by posting such a dishonest translation when he challenged us. We didn’t even need to search.  For this, we should thank him.

Certainly, it is a horribly fraudulent translation, and had Al-Mutarjim actually been in academia, our critique of his “translation” would have ended his career.  He would rightfully be condemned to the academic waste bin along with plagiarists, cheats, and frauds.  But even in the internet world–which unfortunately sets a very low bar for “expert”–we think Al-Mutarjim is done for.  No amount of damage control can repair his reputation after this article is published.  His translation is just too dishonest, misleading, and fraudulent.

Or would Al-Mutarjim have us believe that his fraudulent translation of the IslamOnline fatwa is simply a case of a fatha instead of a kasra?

(Read an addendum to this article here.)

 

Epic Arabic 101 Fail: “Translating-Jihad” Arabic Translator Can’t Translate the Word “Translator”

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , on February 23, 2011 by loonwatch

By: Dawood (guest contributor) and Danios

So-called “experts and acclaimed scholars of Islam” rely on Arabic 101 level translator for their “anti-Jihad” work.

Translating-Jihad, a new blog purporting to expose “Islamic totalitarianism and intolerance by translating it from Arabic into English”, has recently appeared online. The site has received glowing praise from such Islamophobic luminaries as Robert Spencer, Nonie Darwish, and Andrew Bostom. The site’s creator, Al-Mutarajjam (more regarding this choice of name later), boasts on one anti-Muslim website:

[M]y blog is already regularly read by experts on Islam such as Robert Spencer, Daniel Pipes, and Dr. Andrew Bostom, and nearly half of my translations have been featured on the highly-popular website jihadwatch.org

The controversial blog aims to become the premier translation wing of the so-called “anti-jihad” movement, and was created by someone who openly states that he works as a professional Arabic translator. As always, the anti-Islam bloggers seek to portray themselves as bona fide experts of the field. But is Al-Mutarajjam, the site’s creator, really an expert in the Arabic language?

The evidence suggests otherwise. His Arabic language abilities are consistent with the level of an Arabic 101 student. (Arabic 101 is the introductory class to the language.)  His “epic Arabic 101 fail” speaks to that: he chose his pseudonym to be “Al-Mutarajjam”.  When he chose this alias, he thought it meant “The Translator.” It doesn’t. Even if we account for a “slip” in transliteration, it would mean: “The Translated.”

This word is the passive participle (ism maf3ul) and means the object translated (see Hans Wehr, p. 93)—not “translator” (which would be al-mutarjim). This is an issue of very basic Arabic grammar, something learned very early on in Arabic language study. To understand how truly basic this is, we see that it is one of the very first words learned in the near-standard text used in American universities to teach Arabic: Al-Kitaab fii Ta’allum al-‘Arabiyya.  That’s an Arabic 101 textbook.

The word “mutarjim” (translator) on p. 19 of standard Arabic 101 textbook (Al-Kitaab fii Ta’allum al-’Arabiyya)

When this error was pointed out to the blog’s creator [by Dawood], he responded to this critique with “so what?” The “so what” is of course that it’s a huge mistake, understood best if we give an English equivalent. Just imagine if a Chinese immigrant applied to be a fifth grade English teacher in Texas and if he stated that “I was official translated at other school I work for.” Immediately the employer would know that this applicant has very poor English and would not be appropriate for the position of English teacher. If this is the case for an elementary school position, shouldn’t the standard be at least as high for the official “translation wing” for so-called “experts and acclaimed scholars of Islam”?

The difference between “the writer” and “the written” is clear, as is the difference between “the translator” and “the translated”. Calling yourself “the written” or “the translated” instead of “the writer” or “the translator” is almost something worthy of being featured on Engrish.com (a website that documents humorous English language gaffes in Asian countries). For someone attempting to portray himself as a competent Arabic translator, this is a huge mistake. It certainly calls into question the credentials of a person who has taken on such a lofty role as anti-Jihad translator extraordinaire.

Al-Mutarajjam’s Reaction

Al-Mutarajjam’s blunder was pointed out on LoonWatch.com here [see comment by Dawood]:

First of all, I am not entirely sure how strong your Arabic is. For a state your name “Al-Mutarajjam” (by which I think you mean “al-mutarjam”) is the passive participle (ism maf3ul), and means the object translated—not translator (which would be “al-mutarjim”). See Hans Wehr, p.93

To which Al-Mutarajjam responded:

(…Yes, I know that the correct transliteration of ‘translator’ is al-Mutarjim—so what? It’s just an alias.)

His reaction is reminiscent of Sarah Palin’s tweets explaining her usage of the word “refudiate”.   In any case, Al-Mutarajjam attempted to make it seem as if the critique of his name did not faze him, or that it did not warrant sufficient attention. He responded with “so what?” But Al-Mutarajjam’s actionsbelied his words. He in fact had a frenzied reaction and immediately removed his name (Al-Mutarajjam) from the blog.  If you go to his website now, the error has disappeared into oblivion. He changed his name and even his email address.

Here’s what his site looked like before we pointed out his epic fail (we’ve circled the relevant parts):

Then Al-Mutarajjam quickly took the incriminating error off his site and changed his contact info as well:

 

After a few days had passed, Al-Mutarajjam quietly fixed his name and put the corrected name up.  As of today, his site looks like this now (notice the dramatic change):

He also corrected the mistake on other sites where his articles were found, such as Andrew Breitbart’s site.  (We’ll ignore the fact that Al-Mutarajjam’s work features on a site like Andrew Breitbart’s website which lost what little credibility it had by posting manipulated videos of Shirley Sherrod and ACORN.)  This means Al-Mutarajjam was so worried about his blunder that he went through the effort of frantically contacting Breitbart’s site.  Here is what Breitbart’s site looked likebefore the change:

And here is what it looked like after Al-Mutarajjam attempted to do damage control:

 

Most importantly, he immediately shut down the comments section—all the previous comments critiquing his choice of name vanished.

Here is what the Translating-Jihad blog looked like before the vanishing comments:

After the comments [by Dawood] criticizing Al-Mutarajjam’s name were posted, suddenly the comments were removed and commenting on the site was banned altogether:

Such a dramatic reaction–making the comments on the entire site vanish and disabling commenting altogether–belies the “so what?” response.  So what indeed!

Not satisfied with the So What Defense, Al-Mutarajjam started to think of ways to explain away his mistake.  This is similar to how Sarah Palin later came out and stated that she simply made a typo.  No doubt aware of the catastrophic nature of his mistake, Al-Mutarajjam came up with the “likely” story that he chose his user name long time ago during his earlier days of Arabic study.  In other words, the mistake was supposedly made when he was a newbie to the Arabic language, but now he is a seasoned veteran.  Not only did he post this explanation in the comments, but he also felt the need to add an “About the Name” section to his website:

Note that this “explanation” only appeared on his website after his name was critiqued on LoonWatch.  (In fact, the explanation appeared right after we questioned him about it.)  Prior to us bringing up this issue, not only was there no explanation about the curious choice of “Al-Mutarajjam” but in fact there was no “About” section to his website at all.  Here is what his site looked like before the change (notice no “About” section in the top right hand corner):

But after we pointed out the error, suddenly he found the need to create an “About Me” section:

All of these changes–from changing his pseudonym altogether, changing his contact address, scrambling to contact other friendly websites to correct the mistake, adding an About section, etc.–show how concerned he was about his epic fail.  His explanation that this was simply a mistake of the past is hardly believable.  If he later learned that his pseudonym was incorrect, why didn’t he have an explanation on his website (the About Me/About My Name) section?  Why did that only appear right after we pointed out to him this error?  If this was indeed a “so what?” problem, then why did he find the need to scramble to make changes right after being exposed on LoonWatch? Al-Mutarajjam was quite happy to use the name ever since the creation of the blog…until after the critique came up on LoonWatch. Why did he delete all the comments made on his website about this topic?  It seems far more likely that he had no clue about this mistake until it was pointed out to him.  Then he tried to cover it up.

It seems that Al-Mutarajjam thinks that he has gotten away with his mistake, since now he has removed the explanation from his site altogether. Here’s what the About Me section looked like shortly after we pointed out his mistake and his subsequent name change to Al Mutarjim:

After some time had passed and he was hopeful that his mistake was forgotten, Al-Mutarajjam carefully deleted the sentences about his previous name–hoping no doubt to remove any evidence of his initial gaffe:

In any case, even if we believe Al-Mutarajjam’s “likely” story, then this does not exonerate him.  His explanation was that “he mistransliterated the name way back when he first began blogging.”  Well, when was “way back”?  In fact, his very first blog posting was only one year ago (on Feb. 21, 2010).  So in just one year he went from being an Arabic 101 level student to a professional full-time Arabic translator!?  This is reminiscent of Pamela Geller’s claim that she became an “expert on Islam” afterjust one year of reading anti-Islam books.  The fact that these jokers think they can become “experts” after a year indicates their disdain for true academia.

Additionally, this raises another issue: why was he parading around on the internet as “The Translator” during his early days of Arabic study (just one year ago)? If at that time he didn’t even know the basics of Arabic 101, why was he feeling confident enough to call himself The Translator? The fact is that whenever he made the cocky name of “The Translator”, he didn’t even know how to translate the word “translator”! Whether he was guilty of this mistake now or before (the difference being only one year), it shows that he is a complete fraud who has no qualms in pretending to be what he is not.

The Frauds and Hucksters of the Anti-Muslim Blogosphere

This of course means that Al-Mutarajjam (who is now Al-Mutarjim) fits right in with the anti-Islam blogosphere, which is full of frauds pretending to be experts on Islam. Similarly does Robert Spencer’s website boast that Spencer is “the acclaimed scholar of Islam.” This, even though Robert Spencer has not obtained a single degree in an Islam-related subject from any recognized university. Al-Mutarajjam’s standards of what constitutes an “expert” can be ascertained by the fact that he considers Robert Spencer one of the “experts on Islam” (see above quote). Interestingly enough, Spencer doesn’t even have Al-Mutarajjam’s “concentration in Middle Eastern Studies” (noting of course that a “concentration” in something is not equal to a degree in it).

One could go down the list of notable Islamophobes and not find a single scholar amongst the entire lot, even though they all claim to be erudite scholars and esteemed experts in the subjects they propound. From Andrew Bostom who is a professor of Islam medicine to Pamela Geller who spent awhole year reading anti-Islam books to become an expert on the subject, one cannot find a scholar. The same is the case with the legion of other Islamophobes: Bat Ye’or, Brigitte Gabriel, Debbie Schlussel, Walid Shoebat, Joe Kaufman, Wafa Sultan, etc. The notable exception is Daniel Pipes, but he doesn’t count since he retired from academia in the 1980′s. (In his own unusually honest words: “I have the simple politics of a truck driver, not the complex ones of an academic. My viewpoint is not congenial with institutions of higher learning.”)

The lack of academic qualifications of these so-called “Islam experts” is apparent in their usage of an Arabic 101 level speaker as a source.  Robert Spencer, who uses Al-Mutarajjam’s work (and had gushing praise of Al-Mutarajjam’s site) never noticed the glaring mistake in Al-Mutarajjam’s alias. Spencer has repeatedly claimed to be fluent in Arabic. The fact that Spencer didn’t pick up on this grave mistake speaks volumes. Imagine, for example, if an anti-American Iranian website claimed to have an expert English translator, and how much fun we would poke if that “expert English translator” went around claiming he was “The Translated”. Wouldn’t we notice the mistake immediately? Well, why didn’t Robert Spencer ever notice that Al-Mutarajjam’s name was completely off? It seems like Al-Mutarajjam is not the only one faking his Arabic abilities!  This indicates the completely unprofessional and sophomoric nature of the self-proclaimed “Islam experts” of the internet.

Why Translating-Jihad and Other Islamophobic Websites are not Taken Seriously By Academics

The absolute lack of qualifications and credentials of the Islam-bashers is something we’ve harped on again and again. Robert Spencer and the other Islam-bashers diligently try avoiding the topic. Their minions on the other hand will say “so what?” or “their qualifications or lack thereof does not impact the content of what they are saying.” Of course, we know this is not true by the fact that the Islam-bashers wouldn’t be seeking to portray themselves as “experts and the acclaimed scholars of Islam” if it were not important to be so.

But more than this, the anti-academic background of these people has very real consequences in the substance of what they argue. While their arguments may appeal to non-academic minds (like their vitriolic foaming-at-the-mouth fans who comment on their sites), these arguments would be ripped asunder by actual scholars. This is certainly the case with Al-Mutarajjam’s website. For example, he earlier debated with us about a fatwa (religious edict) he translated about Muslims being forbidden from transporting Christians to church. Al-Mutarajjam posted this fatwa following a bomb blast in Alexandria, Egypt (after which many Egyptian Muslims called for solidarity with the Christian community). Al-Mutarajjam posted:

Lest all the calls of Muslim-Christian solidarity from smooth-speaking Muslim spokesmen in the wake of the Alexandria bombing fool you, here comes this fatwa from the highly-popular Islamic website Islamweb.net ruling that Muslims are not allowed to drive Christians to church, as that is tantamount to “support[ing] them in their vain and perverted rites and religion.” Apparently Muslim-Christian outreach and understanding is only one-sided.

Notice how he uses the term “smooth-speaking Muslim spokesmen”, implying that they are being deceitful and lying. To “prove” this, he cites a fatwa that implies the exact opposite of solidarity. Thus, he concludes, these Muslim spokesmen must have understood solidarity as only one-sided. The non-academic Islam-haters nod in agreement and wonder in amazement at their great discovery.

Yet, such a line of argumentation would hardly be taken seriously in an academic setting. No scholar—no person with even an above average intelligence—would take this seriously. Obviously, the problem with Al-Mutarajjam’s argument is that the “calls of Muslim-Christian solidarity from smooth-speaking Muslim spokesmen” did not come from the mufti who issued the fatwa on the Islamwebsite. The fact that Muslims are not the Borg—one singular organism where what one Muslim says or does means another Muslim is also responsible for that—is lost on Islamophobes.

There are over a billion Muslims in the world; one mufti issuing one fatwa doesn’t represent the views of them all. Some Muslims would support solidarity with Christians, while others would oppose it. Similarly, some Christians support solidarity with Muslims, and others oppose it. Would finding one Muslim from the second group prove that the first group is lying? What odd logic!

The “Fatwa Team” on the Islamweb site consists of “a group of licentiate graduates from the Islamic University, Al-Imaam Muhammad Bin Sa’oud Islamic University in Saudi Arabia.” The fact that the site has nothing to do with Egypt (remember, it was Egyptian Muslims calling for solidarity with Christians) means nothing to Al-Mutarajjam. The fact that the fatwa site belongs to the ultraconservative Wahhabi (Salafi) sect of Islam—which only a very tiny percentage of Egyptian Muslims follow—means nothing to him. Somehow they are all interchangeable, so when an Egyptian Muslim spokesman says one thing and a Saudi Wahhabi cleric says something else, then aha!, I told you they can’t be trusted!

The Wahhabi (Salafi) mufti makes clear at the end of his fatwa that transporting Christians anywhereexcept to church or religious festivities is absolutely permissible. Considering that this represents the hardline approach of Wahhabi Islam, it goes without saying that more liberal Islamic interpretations would differ.  This is especially true since no clear Quranic support can be found for such a restriction, nor even in the more nebulous Prophetic traditions (Sunnah).  In light of this fact, no Islamic cleric can compel a Muslim to do or not do anything.  Fatwas–contrary to popular misconception in the Western world–are considered completely non-binding on the Islamic faithful.  They are just opinions, and Muslims can look for other fatwas with completely differing conclusions.  Even hundreds of years ago, the Hanafi school of thought permitted transporting Christians to church and their religious festivals. If that was the case then, one can imagine the liberality with it now.  Indeed, it takes place all the time in the Islamic world, such that it is only the rare exception that a cab driver would refuse such a service.  The fact that this type of situation happens in real life all the time in the Middle East shows that the mufti is projecting an imagined reality into the world, instead of dealing with the facts as they are.

Also absent from Al-Mutarajjam’s sensationalist analysis is the fact that such views are hardly singular to Islam: one only need look at Orthodox Judaism’s views towards interaction with unbelievers to see similar (and often times harsher) restrictions.  While for instance we are talking about cab drivers, let’s take a look at this interesting Orthodox Jewish rule in Halacha (Jewish Law, which is the Jewish equivalent of the nefarious Sharia); Jewish-American professor Dov S. Zakheim (who has served under various posts in the Department of Defense) explains how peaceful Jewish interaction with non-Jews is

based on Jewish self-interest…[something] that continues to resonate in contemporary halakhic literature.  For example, in discussing whether a Jewish taxi driver must compensate his non-Jewish counterpart for damages caused in an accident, Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch, when still residing in Johannesburg, argued that the primary criterion is whether the non-Jewish taxi driver is aware that his vehicle was damaged by a Jew.  If he knows this was the case, the Jew must pay damages…If the non-Jew is unaware that the Jew was the actual cause of the accident, however, Rabbi Sternbuch ruled that there is no need for the Jew to pay anything. (Dov S. Zakheim on p.499 of War and Peace in the Jewish Tradition)

But perhaps the Jewish taxi-driver might at least be able to drive the injured non-Jew to church if that’s where he happened to be going…?  (Actually, Orthodox Jews are not allowed to step foot inside churches–and since we don’t fancy ourselves as experts of Jewish law–we hope our more informed readers might let us know if Orthodox Jews are allowed to drive Christians to church.)  In any case, one can only imagine how the Islam-bashers would use this divine Hit-and-Run Law against Muslims had this been part of Islamic and not Jewish law.  Islam is certainly not alone in having uncomfortable opinions found in its hundreds year old religious tradition and honored by its ultraconservative followers in the modern day; one can easily find similar examples in Judaism and Christianity.  Such revelations, which provide proper contextual understanding to scholars, are dismissed by anti-Islam ideologues as “tu quoque fallacies” that shouldn’t get in the way of bashing Islam.  Meanwhile, the most fundamentalist, ultraconservative, and extremist views of Islam should be cited as proof that Muslims with more tolerant, pluralistic, and liberal views are being deceitful and lying.

In any case, the “calls of Muslim-Christian solidarity” were heeded by Egyptian Muslims and were certainly not understood by them as being “one-sided.” Just as Egyptian Christians sought to protect Muslims with their lives, so too did Egyptian Muslims act as “human shields” to protect the lives of Christians praying in churches. That seems like pretty reciprocal solidarity to us.  But to the fraudster—The Translated—these hundreds of Muslims risking their lives for Christians are just putting up an act—those “smooth-speaking Mooz-lums” just can’t be trusted!

Trusting an Arabic “translator” who can’t even translate the word “translator” on the other hand? No problem with that.

 

Robert Spencer Goes Bonkers for Austrian Fascist Ewald Stadler

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 7, 2010 by loonwatch

Birds of a feather flock together and in Robert Spencer’s case it seems that he has latched onto a fellow Catholic in Austria by the name of Ewald Stadler.

The only problem is that Stadler is a politician with the BZO, a group that he found along with Jorg Haider, a neo-fascist. Stadler has also made some controversial statements on Nazism.

Here is the video Spencer posted on his site and his comments, it has been reposted by the BNP since,

Austrian MP Ewald Stadler, addressing the Turkish ambassador to Austria, here dares to tell the truth about Islam in Turkey and in Europe. It’s breathtaking. Ewald Stadler surely deserves to be nominated for Anti-Dhimmi Internationale of 2010.

(Video thanks to Pamela Geller.)

Here is his bio translated from the German (hat tip: Leonora),

Ewald Stadler is an Austrian politician and was a member of the Austrian Freedom party until 2007. He was counted among the so-called “German National” wing of the FPÖ (Austrian Freedom Party/ freedom party Austria) but was also a proponent of the (previously less known) conservative catholic views in his party. Stadler constantly attracted attention with his controversial statements on the Nazi era. He asserted that the end of the National Socialist(nazi) command in Austria would not give any relief/liberation.  In the European elections in Austria in 2009 he was the top candidate of the BZÖ .

Bündnis Zukunft Österreich(BZÖ)= Alliance for Austria’s Future (BZÖ) is an Austrian party . It was founded in April 2005 by members of the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) by Jörg Haider. It is classified as right-wing (right-populist).

Is it any surprise that Spencer is so awe struck by Stadler? A fascist whose party is classified as right-wing (right-populist), and who has made borderline Nazi favorable comments? In reality it once again peels away at the facade that Spencer has created as a defender of the West when in reality he is nothing more than an anti-Freedom fascist.

It also adds to the list of Fascists that Spencer has supported and spoken with:

-EDL (English Defense League), SIOE (Stop the Islamization of Europe), Geert Wilders, Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa, Ewald Stadler, BZO, Sergei Trefkovic (Serbian Nationalist, genocide denier), etc.

 

What “Scholar” Robert Spencer Will Never Tell You

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs with tags , , , , , , , , on December 3, 2010 by loonwatch

Police Blotter Scholar” Robert Spencer, of course, was all over the arrest of the Somali-American man in Oregon as another piece of evidence that Islam is really violent and it only inspires violence and “jihad.” But, like I said before, there are very important things he won’t tell you.

In this latest episode, Spencer did not (and will probably never) tell you that the FBI was tipped off to the young Somali-American by his own father:

However, a prominent member of the Somali community in Portland (estimated to number 8,000) says a relative played some role in helping to put the FBI on the young man’s trail — though that relative was almost certainly unaware of the scale it would assume. “Before this happened, the father informed Homeland Security and the FBI that something was going on with his son,” claims Isgow Mohamed, executive director of the Northwest Somali Community Organization, who says he knows Mohamud’s family well and had been in touch with them.

In fact, Adam Serwer at the American Prospect elucidates how many terrorist plots have been foiled with the help of the Muslim community:

October 2001: The conviction of “Portland 7” case was substantially helped after a local police officer encountered the suspects engaged in target practice. The police officer had been sent to the area after a local citizen notified police that he heard gunfire.

September 2002:Members of the “Lackawanna 6” are arrested. FBI first becomes aware of their activities in June 2001 when a local Muslim community member tips off the FBI.

March 2002: FBI become aware of a possible terror plot by Imran Mandhai (and laterShueyb Jokhan) after they are notified by an American Muslim named “Saif Allah” who attended Mandhai and Jokhan’s same mosque provides a tip.

June 2003: FBI receive two tips from community members notifying them “military-style training” was being conducted suspect by Ali Al-Tamimi. The tip set in motion an
investigation later leading to the arrest of the so-called “Paintball 11” in Northern Virginia.

August 2004: James Elshafay and Shahwar Matin Sirajare arrested largely based on the controversial use of an informant in the investigation. However, NYPD were first notified of Siraj after a Muslim community member anonymously notifies New York police about consistently troubling rhetoric coming from the suspect.

February 2006: Muslim community members in Ohio provide information helping to arrest and eventually convict 3 suspects planning attacks in Iraq.

July 2009: Mosque leaders in Raleigh, North Carolina, contact law enforcement to notify them of “violent, threatening action … considered to be dangerous” leading to the arrest of Daniel Boyd and 6 other individuals.

November 2009: Five Virginia Muslim youth are arrested in Pakistan, allegedly seeking to join a terror group, after family members told American federal authorities they went
missing.

April 2010: Senegalese Muslim Alioune Niass first spots the suspicious vehicle used as a bomb to attack Times Square in New York City. Clues from the vehicle and defused explosive immediately led to the suspect, Faisal Shahzad’s, arrest.

June 2010: Suspects Mohammed Mahmoud Alessa and Carlos Eduardo Almonteare arrested, after the FBI first receives an anonymous report in 2006 from one of the suspects’ family members. News reports indicate one of Alessa’s family members provided the tip.

But, of course, this goes against the narrative that Spencer wants to put forward. Thus, he will not tell you anything that will put the Muslim community in a positive light. Now, I really don’t expect anything else from the likes of Spencer, but it is important that you, the reader, know the truth.