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Hot Post: Let me Know if You Find BigFoot While You’re Hunting for “Moderate Islam”

Posted on August 22 2010 7:00 pm
David Swindle is the Managing Editor of NewsReal Blog and the Associate Editor of FrontPage Magazine. Follow him on Twitter here

John, please pick me up a filet of fish, fries, and a mocha frappe when you get back from your search for Big Foot and "Moderate Islam."

Editor’s Note: This post was first published on August 16 here.

Yesterday I published a post at NewsReal Blog explaining the anti-Semitism embedded within Islam and the consequences we see today as a result.

John Guardiano submitted a rebuttal. His response in a nutshell: I’m helping the enemy by agreeing that their interpretation with Islam is correct. Instead of telling the truth about Islam — “demonizing” Islam in John’s words — I should be embracing some supposed “moderate Islam.” I should be labeling those who want to kill Jews and impose Sharia on the planet as “misinterpreters” of true Islam.

I decided to reject John’s post as he submitted it and explained my reasoning over the course of several time-consuming emails. John decided to publish this rebuttal at Frum Forum today instead. So now John is basically insisting that I make public my rationale for rejecting the piece. Very well.

Why did I pass on John’s post? First, because we’ve already had this debate about Islam with John before and by the end of it last time it became clear that John was talking through his hat on the subject. He has not studied Islam as deeply as a scholar like Robert Spencer. (He was unable to respond to Robert’s reply in the previous dialogue.) He does not know more than ex-Muslims who grew up in the culture and religion, namely Nonie Darwish, Walid Shoebat, Wafa Sultan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and my dear friend Bosch Fawstin.

Second, he didn’t really respond to any of the arguments I made in my post. He just brought up something irrelevant — usury laws in Sharia during the Middle Ages — and thought that the very direct calls to violence could be similarly sidestepped through some sort of legalese. (How the hell does one stay true to the spirit of the Sharia’s direct command of executing apostates while getting around the language?)

Third, he misidentified Calvin Freiburger as someone who disagrees with the Spencer/Darwish/Shoebat/Sultan/Ali/Freedom Center understanding of Islam. Calvin just thinks that using the phrase “eradicate Islam” is tactically bad in that it might be misinterpreted as meaning “kill all Muslims.” (Fourth, John misinterpreted Daniel Pipes’ position as I’ll explain shortly.)

And fifth, because John failed to support his key claim: that “moderate Islam” (defined as an Islam that’s a personal spiritual faith, that embraces religious pluralism, rejects Sharia law, denounces their Prophet’s anti-Semitism, denounces their Prophet’s ambitions to take over the world, denounces their Prophet’s injunction that wife-beating is OK, denounces death for apostates, and denounces their Prophet’s call for genocide of the Jews) exists today in any substantive, meaningful form. In other words: where are the Muslims who boldly reject Koranic literalism?

I told John that I would publish a post from him challenging me on this subject if he would provide evidence for his claim that “moderate Islam” exists. I wrote to him,

Who are the champions of this school and how many Muslims embrace it? You claim that it exists so PROVE it. If you’re right then it shouldn’t be hard.”

In fact I further set the condition that the next post we publish of John’s at NewsReal Blog would be devoted to this subject. He could either present his evidence that he’s correct and that “moderate Islam” exists today in a meaningful form or he could write about how his mind was changed and he had accepted that “moderate Islam” was a dream. We weren’t interested in other posts from him until he addressed this subject. John had ducked this issue in the past — and he was going to duck it again — unless he was forced to confront it so he could continue publishing at NRB on the subjects he cares the most about (namely, gays in the military, not giving up in Afghanistan, adequately funding the military, and having a “big tent conservatism.”) That John has just gone ahead and published his post at Frum Forum is further evidence that he does not want to actually take this subject seriously by doing the necessary research.

Pipes — who John cites as supposedly supporting his “moderate Islam” fantasy — does not agree with his claims.  Pipes agrees with Spencer’s analysis of Islam as it was and is today.

What John is unable to grasp is that while Pipes does not argue a “moderate Islam” exists now, he does have hope that it could develop. This is a wholly different proposition than what John puts forward in an unsupported fashion — that “moderate Islam” already exists now and we should support it but not “demonizing” all of Islam.

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