Thursday, 4 July 2013

Day of the Demagogue

The Apocalyptic Fantasies of the Liberal Left and the Far-Right


This nugget of wisdom from ostensibly liberal, anti-fascist, anti-racist organisation HOPE Not Hate (HNH) was occasioned by the British government's recent decision to deny American anti-Islam activists Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller entry into the UK to address an English Defence League (EDL) rally. HNH were understandably pleased with the Home Secretary's ruling - it was an outcome they had vigorously lobbied and campaigned to achieve.

The words quoted in HNH's tweet are lifted (clumsily) from a longer quotation within the linked Independent article, in which their own spokesperson Matthew Collins expresses his "delight" with the Home Office decision:
There is enough hatred in this country at the moment; it is tense. There is a line in the sand between freedom of speech and the right to use hate speech. Freedom of speech does not guarantee you that right. We live in a democracy and we believe in free speech. People will now quote Voltaire but he never had the benefit of going to the gates of Auschwitz and seeing where unfettered free speech ends up.
The objection Collins anticipates is the absolutist defence of free opinion often (mis)attributed to French Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire:
I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
So, apparently responsibility for the Shoah lies with this most noble defence of liberty and tolerance rather than a fascist regime not noticeably overburdened with a fondness for either. Anyone under the impression that pre-war Nazi Germany suffered from a surfeit of free expression - or a surfeit of freedom of any kind for that matter - would do well to revisit the topic and reacquaint themselves with the facts.

The broader parallel being drawn - that pre-war persecution of European Jewry is somehow analogous to what is called 'Islamophobia' in the West today - is no less stupid.

Under the 1935 Nuremberg Laws, Jews were systematically stripped of their citizenship, their vote and their political rights. Subsequent laws mandated their complete exclusion from the German economy and institutionalised policies of "Aryanisation' aggressively enforced their segregation and stigmatisation. All of this was backed by an unrelenting flood of State-sanctioned pseudo-scientific anti-Semitic propaganda of the most dehumanising kind.

By contrast, in today's Western democracies, not only are the equal rights of Muslim men and women rightly protected by binding human rights agreements and enshrined in law, but exemptions are not infrequently made to indulge demands for special treatment made on religious and cultural grounds.

In the wake of an Islamist atrocity such as the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby, one would expect a genuinely racist and bigoted society to use the opportunity to pass swingeing, collectively punitive laws designed to marginalise Muslims as a group. Instead, as befits a society in which this kind of prejudice is seen as culturally unacceptable, mainstream politicians of all stripes immediately urged restraint and were at pains to reassure Muslims that their faith would remain untainted by those jihadists claiming to act in its name. This did nothing, however, to subdue hysterical accusations of Islamophobia and intolerance.

At a time when Britain ought to have been preoccupied by the question of how better to address, contain and counter Islamist terrorism, Fiyaz Mughal, tin-eared founder and chairperson of the organisation TellMAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks) announced that there had been a "massive spike in anti-Muslim prejudice". "The scale of the backlash is astounding!" he cried:
A sense of endemic fear has gripped Muslim communities . . . I do not see an end to this cycle of violence. There is an underlying Islamophobia in our society and the horrendous events in Woolwich have brought this to the fore.
But, as reported by Andrew Gilligan in the Telegraph, this counsel of despair turned out to be fear-mongering without foundation. 57% of the 212 anti-Muslim 'incidents' recorded in the week following Rigby's murder were revealed to have occurred online (some from abroad). Only 17 were said to have involved a physical encounter. No injuries were reported at all.

It would of course be far better if the number of physical encounters were zero, and if people did not call other people names on the internet. However, the idea that this reaction to Islamist terror justifies Mughal's apocalyptic language or HNH's warnings about the "gates of Auschwitz" is simply dishonest.  And yet it seems to meet with very little resistance. We are regularly reminded by liberal Cassandras (for example, here and here) that Britain is confronted by a "tide" or a "scourge" of Islamophobic bigotry and violence. And it doesn't appear to have occurred to the Independent journalist interviewing HNH's Matthew Collins to point out that his Voltaire-to-Auschwitz theory is very silly indeed.

Islamists, needless to say, find all this doomsaying to be highly satisfactory. Islamism is a supremacist ideology which seeks to overthrow democratic governments, either by force or by stealth, and to establish a totalitarian theocratic caliphate under Sharia law. This hasn't prevented Islamists from exploiting Europe's post-war guilt about the Holocaust and post-colonial guilt about the subordination of people of colour to further their own spurious claims to victimhood.

In his response to the 7/7 bombings in 2005 which had just claimed the lives of 52 innocent people, Tony Blair took care to distinguish between ideology and people:
What we are confronting here is an evil ideology. It is not a Clash of Civilisations - all civilised people, Muslim or other, feel revulsion at it. But it is a global struggle and it is a battle of ideas, hearts and minds, both within Islam and outside it . . . This is a religious ideology, a strain within the world-wide religion of Islam, as far removed from its essential decency and truth as Protestant gunmen who kill Catholics or vice versa, are from Christianity. 
Nonetheless, Mohammed Naseem, Islamist chairman of the Birmingham Central Mosque and Home Affairs spokesman for the Islamic Party of Britain, responded to the government's subsequent announcement of new anti-terror legislation by comparing Tony Blair to Adolph Hitler:
[Hitler] was democratically elected and gradually he created a bogey identity, that is, the Jewish people, and posed to the Germans that they were a threat to the country. On that basis, he started a process of elimination of Jewish people. I see the similarities. Everything moves step by step. I am saying these are dangerous times and we must take note of this.
That the immediate aftermath of 7/7 felt like a particularly dangerous time is no excuse for the BBC to be indulging those inclined to delusional prognostication. It's particularly galling to have to read this kind of thing, given that there isn't an Islamist alive prepared to defend the existence of the Jewish State, but plenty prepared to dispute the historicity of the Holocaust.

Besides which, as Rumy Hasan matter-of-factly points out in his book Multiculturalism: Some Inconvenient Truths:
[C]ontrary to the fear-mongering by the likes of Naseem, we are certainly not dealing with a situation remotely comparable to the Jews under the Nazis in the 1930s . . . If the situation had been akin to [this], then we would surely have witnessed a mass exodus of Muslims to Islamic countries. This has patently not been the case. In fact, the reality is quite the opposite: large numbers of people from many Muslim-majority countries have sought, and continue to seek, asylum in Britain and other Western countries...[T]he alleged Islamophobia in the West appears to be of little or no concern. Contrast that with Nazi Germany: no Jew or gypsy in their right mind sought entry into Germany during the period of Nazi rule. [Pg. 127]
The need to be seen as sensitive to other cultures and ruthlessly critical of one's own has helped infantilise the debate about Islam. Worse, it has led to an apparent reluctance on the part of HOPE Not Hate and like-minded 'anti-racists' to criticise Islamist organisations like Unite Against Fascism with the same vehemence reserved for the nationalist extreme right, particularly if the Islamists in question denounce violent jihad.

The reasons for this silence are beyond the scope of this post, but important among them is a fear of espousing views that may be echoed or applauded by the white nationalist far-right. The irony is that in seeking to deny the far-right an opportunity to indiscriminately stigmatise a group of people, the paralysis of HOPE Not Hate and the broader liberal left has provided one.

This is what explains the growth in popularity and notoriety of far-right nationalist groups like the EDL and anti-Muslim demagogues like Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. Geller and Spencer style themselves as informed, principled and forthright critics of Islam; noble and fearless defenders of democracy and freedom. However, they share more in common with their enemies than either would care to admit.

Like Islamists, Geller and Spencer aver that the distinction between Islamic extremists and Muslim moderates and reformers is illusory, and that the only the most literal and cruel interpretation of Islam may be regarded as legitimate. Both Geller and Spencer frequently cite Islamist clerics in support of this contention and Geller invariably encloses the words 'moderate' and 'reformer' in scare quotes.

The claim that Islam is therefore "unreformable" satisfies the bigot's need for an eternal, immovable foe and is justified with reference to the Islamic belief that the Qur'an is the final and perfect word of God. Geller and Spencer both affirm (correctly) that Islam is a false religion and that its texts are the work of men, so it takes considerable perversity to insist that these particular man-made ideas are, uniquely, somehow immune to revision. When confronted with the opinions, beliefs and behaviour of secular, reformist Muslims, they either deride their opponents' views as "theologically baseless" and explain that 'their' Islam does not exist, or they accuse those claiming to be moderates of engaging in deliberate mass deception. Not only is this demonstrably false but, unpardonably, it stigmatises those who risk most in the battle to confront Islamism and reform their faith.

Just as Islamists promote a conspiratorial view of Jewish mendacity and evil, Geller and Spencer and the far-right promote a corresponding view of all Muslims. The refusal to recognise the distinction between moderates and extremists forces them to adopt the Islamist's claim that the West is at war with Islam, which in turn licenses the objectification of all Muslims as indistinguishable, deceitful members of a fascist army and fifth column puppeteered by the Qur'an.

I thought that this kind of defamatory cant had reached its squalid nadir in Geller and Spencer's endorsement of apologists for Serbian fascism and anti-Muslim genocide (examples here and here). But, more recently, Geller outdid herself in her eagerness to portray the ugly persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Burma as an elaborate Jihadi hoax:
Why doesn't the media ever ask, hmmmmm, everywhere Muslims immigrate there is conflict. The higher the population, the bigger the conflict. Why is that? Buddhist monks have to carry guns for self-defense. Think about that. Don't buy the Muslim myth of victimhood in Burma. What's comical is that Buddhism really is a religion of peace. [emphasis in original]
This argument and the language used are indistinguishable from anti-Semitic theories advanced by Islamists and the neo-Nazi far-right and used to justify the indiscriminate persecution of Jews. But this deranged anti-Muslim conspiracism is nevertheless attractive to some because Geller and Spencer speak with utter clarity and conviction in a debate largely disfigured by euphemism, double-talk and self-censorship. If people are repeatedly told that Islam is a religion of peace following each violent outrage committed in its name, they will start to conclude that their intelligence is being insulted and look for answers elsewhere. Like all demagogues, Geller and Spencer feed a hunger for certainty, provide a receptacle for bitter resentment and derive their popularity from a confusion of clarity with the Truth.

Which is why the banning of Geller and Spencer has been been so maddeningly counter-productive. In practice it will of course achieve little. After all, Geller and Spencer's views are all freely available online. And, as a strictly symbolic statement, it has only served to reinforce the paranoid far-right's conviction that a dangerous truth is being suppressed by the Establishment in order to perpetuate a lie. Upon receipt of their Home Office rejection letters, Geller and Spencer immediately (and predictably) posted scans on their respective websites (Spencer under the headline Britain Capitulates to Jihad while Geller went for UK Caves To Jihad) and have since been busily promoting their own vainglorious martyrdom narrative.

Fascist ideology is indeed present in the West, both on the Islamic far-right and on the white nationalist equivalent with which it shares so many characteristics. Islamist jihadis have already proven themselves to be a lethal menace and a recent rise in attacks on British mosques indicates that the nationalist far-right may yet become one. Racism, intolerance and bigotry exist in liberal democracies, just as they exist everywhere, but the apocalyptic predictions of civil war and death camps are lurid fantasies peddled by both the Islamic far-right and the nativist far-right to further their conspiratorial grievance narratives.

That some on the liberal left selectively co-opt these narratives in the name of restricting free and open discussion is depressing, if not particularly surprising. HOPE Not Hate would have us believe that the travel ban for which they campaigned sends a message of liberalism and tolerance. On the contrary, the ban is as petty, near-sighted and stupid as the United States' comparable decision to ban Islamist preacher Tariq Ramadan in 2004 (this was finally overturned by the Obama administration in 2010) or the decision by some European countries to criminalise Holocaust denial.

Voltaire's defence of free expression is perfectly suited to opinions like those of Geller and Spencer. HOPE Not Hate realise this which is why they tried to pre-empt it. But it's simply a reluctance to acknowledge just how absurd the parameters of this discussion have become that allows a supposedly serious-minded organisation like HOPE Not Hate to inform us that "unfettered" freedom of speech results in industrial mass murder, and that censorship can help save Muslims from the ovens.

What Voltaire understood but HOPE Not Hate apparently have not, is that the debate about free speech is not simply a quarrel about what we should be permitted to say. It is also a also a quarrel about what we should be permitted to hear. Those who censor opinions they do not like presume to make this decision on behalf of the rest of us. Not only is this reactionary and authoritarian on its own terms, but it will do nothing in this instance to advance a vital debate, already badly compromised by cultural taboos and a dearth of plain speaking, about how Western societies address the challenges presented by political Islam.

10 comments:

  1. Personally I wasn't bothered whether Geller and Spencer came over or not. Certainly the bru-haha has given them useful publicity because I'd never heard of them before the ban. What did bother me though was that a controversial Saudi cleric, Mohammed Al-Arefe, whom many Muslims community leaders warned could stir up anti-Shia sectarian tensions in the UK (something that is already being provoked by the civil war in Syria) was allowed to enter the UK. Where was the HNH petition to stop them? It's the lack of even handedness in dealing with ALL extremists that bothers me and the EDL are milking it.

    You only need to read the comments beneath an article on the EDL on the Huffington Post to see how much sympathy they get. The fact that apparently Tommy Robinson receives his own fair share of death threats that are never acted on by the police, and any negative comment, however benign, against Muslims on Twitter/Facebook is recorded by TellMAMA as an 'Islamophobic hate crime' allows the EDL to claim that a 2 tier system of justice is being operated, and with some justification.

    The banning of Geller and Spencer but not the banning of Mohammed Al Arefe also allows them to claim a 2 tier system of censorship. And this helps the EDL to garner more support from a disaffected, aggrieved British public who are still hurting from the gruesome murder of an unarmed British soldier in broad daylight on a London street in the name of Islam.

    To be fair, both TellMAMA and the EDL are exaggerating to further their own aims. As you rightly point out, there have been very few high level anti-Muslim attacks. Also, if you consider that only 4.8% of the UK population is Muslim, even if 50% of them wanted a caliphate & sharia in the UK, that would leave 97% of the UK who'd be against it. So the chances of it happening are zero, but we must still curtail the threat and stay vigilant.

    So I couldn't agree with you more. Hope Not Hate need to be much more vocal and robust in speaking out against Islamism. They claim they address all extremism but I see very little evidence of this. That is why the EDL is thriving in the void.

    Another well written, thought provoking post Jacobin. Thank you :-)

    JDS

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    1. And thank you for the thoughtful, eloquent comment. Much appreciated.

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  2. "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

    Though these words are regularly attributed to Voltaire, they were first used by Evelyn Beatrice Hall, writing under the pseudonym of Stephen G Tallentyre in The Friends of Voltaire (1906), as a summation of Voltaire's beliefs on freedom of thought and expression.[11]

    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Voltaire#Misattributed

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    1. Yes, I know. I did in fact acknowledge that with a link in the post. :)

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  3. An excellent piece. And I am glad to see that it has been cross-posted at Harry's Place, though not before HP had already had an article from Nick Lowles calling for HP readers to sign the HOpe not Hate petition to "keep Spencer and Geller out."

    I wanted to reproduce what I commented on HP here, but your comments section only allows a maximum of 4,096 characters. But it does make me think of how Harry's Place quotes in its banner from Orwell's proposed preface to Animal Farm - http://www.orwell.ru/library/novels/Animal_Farm/english/efp_go - but is now dealing with so much propaganda. And bizarrely, where Orwell is here so insightful, he misattributes the "Voltaire quote" you refer to above.

    Great blog, by the way.

    Adrian Morgan

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  4. I disagree with your point on Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer.

    You have to make a clear distinction between ideology (Islam) and people who follow that ideology (Muslims).

    Robert and Pamela criticize ideology (Islam) and people who follow that ideology very closely and therefore are violent (extremist Muslims).

    Now, if you want to evaluate ideology, you have to look at the sources, in this case, the Quran and Haddith, not at the people who follow that ideology, since there is a wide spectrum of behaviors in any ideology.

    When you take a look at Quran, Haddith, and Shariah, it becomes clear that yes, Islam as an ideology allows child marriage, slavery, sex slavery, wife beating, violence, and oppression of people of different religions, and, in fact, calls the believers to wage war against infidels and establish a wordwide Islamic caliphate.

    It's accurate to say that, although most Muslims today don't engage in behavior like that, a Muslim person can find justification in this religion for raping a child, beating his wife, killing infidels, or belonging to a terrorist organization that seeks to establish a worldwide caliphate


    Yes, of course Quran is not the perfect and unchangable word of god, and therefore can be changed, and Muhammad was not a perfect human being, and therefore shouldn't be perceived as such, but..

    In Islam, Quran is considered to be the perfect and unchangeable word of God, Haddith are considered to be reliable sources of information about the life of the prophet, and Muhammad is considered to be an example of excellent conduct.

    Therefore yes, if one wants to reform Islam, and condemn practices such as child marriage, slavery, wife beating, religious oppression, and waging war against infidels, and Shariah law, then one has to pretty much invent their own religion, since that would require to denounce the perfect word of God, and condemn the actions of his prophet, the example of excellent conduct. Is it still Islam then? Probably not, since that means changing the main tenets of Islam, don't you think?

    It's a mistake to think that reforming Islam is like reforming Christianity.There's a vast difference between the New Testament and Quran: for starters, Jesus didn't marry a 6 year old girl and had sex with her when she turned 9, he didn't own slaves, he didn't wage military campaigns, he didn't condone keeping captive females as sex slaves, he didn't commit genocide, etc. Everyone likes to say "Well, Christianity also had witch hunts, inquisition, crusades, etc.", but the difference is that none of these things are in the New Testament. Reformation in Christianity meant going closer to the original teachings, reformation in Islam would mean going away from original teachings, since extremists are the ones that follow the original teachings of prophet Muhhamad and the Quran very closely (btw, there are "reformist" sects, check out the Ahmadiyya sect, which is persecuted by other sects and are not allowed to enter Mecca, since they are not considered Muslims anymore because of their "reform"). Please not that I'm non-religious, therefore I don't say this because of some Christian agenda, I'm simply comparing to religious texts.

    (continued in next comment..)

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  5. It is correct to say that "moderate" Islam doesn't exist, because there's only one Islam: the one that was taught by Muhammad and recorded in Quran and Haddith. Sure, there are moderate Muslims, but in this case, "moderate" simply means that they are not following their own religion closely. Also, I suggest you to read up on Taqiyya, since that is what I believe Pamela and Robert are referring to when they are suspicious about mass deception.

    I think the main reasons why people like Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, or Tommy Robinson speak out is because there are real issues that are not being addressed.

    It's not conspiracy theory, it's a fact that both media and politicians apply double standards to Muslims and non-Muslims: Robert and Pamela banned, Saudi hate preacher allowed, someone threatens a Muslim, police is all over it, Tommy Robinson gets death threats everyday, police does nothing, extremists are allowed to protest holding provocative signs that call to violence ("Behead those who insult the Prophet", etc.), police does nothing, Tommy Robinson wants to do a charity walk, police arrests him for being in a "Muslim" area, TellMama causes panic in media over the wave of attacks against Muslims, yet no one cares that more than 50% of racial crimes victims are white, Pakistani Muslim rape gangs are named as "Asian" gangs in the media (have you ever heard that say, Lithuanian gang would be named as "European" in the media? No wonder all non-Pakistani non-muslim Asians are outraged about this), anyone who criticizes Islam is immediately called a racist (which is weird considering it's a religion not a race), etc. etc.

    I think that these double standards are the main issue here. You see, when Islam clearly gets a special treatment, of course people are not happy about it, and when they feel that their voices and legitimate concerns are not being heard, the resentment grows, and if it continues going that way, I'm afraid it might lead to an outbreak of violence. There would be no EDL (who address real and serious issues that no one wants to address) in UK if not for this double standard. It's not like Tommy Robinson's life is so much fun with all those death threats, assaults, arrests, and slandering. He's just saying what almost no one else dares to say.

    As Pamela Geller says, "Truth is the new hate speech", and that's a very bad sign. Sure, me saying that Muhammad was a pedophile might offend many Muslims, but that's how we call a 53 year old man who rapes a 9 year old girl, isn't it? It's the same with talking about other troubling things within Islam: sex slavery, wife beating, war against infidels, or addressing crimes prevalent in Muslim communities, such as honor killings etc, the fact that something is ugly doesn't make it less true. Yet for some reason it seems that even quoting verses from the Quran that are less than favorable to the "religion of peace image" is considered hate speech nowadays.

    (to be continued in next comment)

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  6. I think with the way things are going, it seems that it will lead to either the UK becoming an Islamic country governed by Shariah, or to outbreak of violence against Muslims, unless people will start addressing real issues.

    You are saying that Robert and Pamela engage in rhetoric very similar to Anti-Semitic theories used to justify persecution of the Jews. I disagree: I think that addressing the issues in the way they do might prevent violence against Muslims in the future. It's the double standard that breeds resentment, and resentment makes it easy to push people into violence, assuming a truly Anti-Muslim (not to be confused with Anti-Islam or Anti-Islamism) leader would emerge. Pamela and Robert and Tommy are all fighting against that double standard.

    I agree with you on the point that censoring the ideas is not the solution. I think the problem will be lowered once Islam will be a fair game for criticism and ridicule like all other religions are without having to fear violent retribution, as well as when any and all issues that concern Muslim community will be addressed in a straightforward manner and without having to sugarcoat things (aka "asian gangs"..) in order no to offend someone. Unfortunately, we are going to the opposite direction now, and this can't be good.


    P.S. I don't understand why people make denying Holocaust illegal. You know, if I'd be concerned about this idiocy, I'd organize a big debate, invite both legitimate historians and holocaust deniers, let historians wipe the floor with deniers, and broadcast it for everyone to see. Why make it illegal and therefore romanticize it or give food to conspiracy theories when you can make holocaust deniers a laughing stock by letting them embarrass themselves on air?

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  7. An excellent post - and efficient skewering of HnH - though after Nick Lowle's pathetic performance in a radio debate on BBC Asian Radio with Nihal it almost seems like taking a baseball bat to an incontinent puppy. Or would be if it were not for the fact that the Home Secretary apparently takes heed of and acts upon such drivel.

    Your point about Robert Spencer (I can't comment on Geller as I don't read her)likening him to the Islamists he criticises is not, I think, entirely fair. When David Toube used to post at HP he would accuse Spencer of essentialisng Islam, and I think you are making a similar point. I read Jihad Watch fairly regularly and would be the last to claim it is fair and balanced. That there is a pattern posts that dismiss Moderate Muslims as wolves in sheeps clothing or engaging in Theological wishful thinking or accusing them of Taquiya is undeniable.

    The problem is that pointing out such a pattern of posts does not really answer whether Spencer's dismissal of such moderates is just or not. To take three prominent examples - Tariq Ramadan, Mehdi Hassan and Ed Husein I think there is a good case for saying each is not simply illustrative of the three different objections to claims of a Moderate Mainstream Islam , but emblematic of it as well. Tariq Ramadan and to a lesser extent Mehdi Hassan do say very different things to their Muslim and non Muslim audiences - and these are sharply at odds. Sometimes - as in the case when confronted by Sarkozy on stoning the Pablum wears thin, or in Mehdi Hassan's case we get a helpful tape recording. Now it might not be deliberate taquiya they are engaging in - and the dichotomy might be explicable as the confusion and dissonance that face the devout in a secular society> but the reason why I don't think it's the same as the devout Catholic who must acknowledge the secular law on abortion rights is because the devout Catholic is prepared to say that whilst they hold abortion to be a sin they accept the right of secular law to govern this. That said I do think that, despite being strongly pro choice and believing a woman to be the absolute sovereign of her own body, that abortion is an issue on which reasonable people may disagree in a way that I don't think that it is reasonable to hold stoning adulterers to death merits a moratorium rather than condemnation or regarding kuffr as ignorant cattle.

    The other dismissal, namely that a moderate Muslim is ignorant of his own theology, did get a bit of a demonstration on the same Radio spot reffered to earlier - an Immam invited on to the show to refute Spencer remarkably claimed that the debate was unfair because Islam is Spencer's speciality. but Radio stunts aside I think there is a real problem with someone like Ed Husein - who I believe is entirely sincere in his (newfound - well not so new now) commitment to a genuinely moderate anti-islamist position. I think it was best exposed when he debated Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Google Ayaan Hirsi Ali vs Ed Husein). You can't help feeling that Husein is fooling himself.

    But where I think you are being unfair to Spencer is that he has another pattern of posts relating to what might be called Muslim reformers. Now it would be true to say that these reformers only ever manage to come to Spencers attention when other Muslims are trying to kill them. On the one hand this is a distressingly common occurence - so much so that you can tell if a Muslim is proclaiming an Islam that is genuinely moderate by whether they need armed protection or must live in hiding or under psuedonyms. On the other hand Spencer certainly loses points for only noticing these peoples peril rather than what they are saying.

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