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In “Sodomy for the Sake of Islam,” I wrote about Abdullah al-Asiri, the 2009 suicide-bomber who inserted explosives in his rectum, and how news emerged later that he likely relied on a fatwa permitting sodomy to “widen” his anus to accommodate the explosives. (Click here for a graphic picture of the aftermath of this approach.)
It wasn’t long before the infamous “hoax!” charge appeared—this time over at the anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian website, Electronic Intifada (henceforth EI). Writing that “The Advocate, an important US-based national gay and lesbian news magazine, has published a homophobic, racist, sectarian and Islamophobic hoax as if it is actual news,” one Benjamin Doherty unequivocally denounces my article, the Advocate’s source, as “pure nonsense,” a “vile Islamophobic hoax,” and a “defamatory joke targeting Muslims.”
Amazingly, despite all this sure language, the fact is, EI does not offer a shred of evidence to counter my article.
The first couple paragraphs are, as mentioned, devoted to portraying my article as a “homophobic, racist, sectarian and Islamophobic hoax,” with sporadic attacks on the David Horowitz Freedom Center, where I am a fellow.
So far, no evidence, just the usual smear campaign and ad hominem attacks to set the stage and influence the gullible and naïve.
Next EI spends time bemoaning how the Advocate mistakenly thought that the man who appears in the video I linked to was the actual cleric issuing the anus-fatwa, when in fact he is the man reporting on it, Abdullah al-Khallaf.
I had written, “A 2010 Arabic news video that aired on Fadak TV gives the details. Apparently a cleric, one Abu al-Dema al-Qasab, informed al-Asiri and other jihadis of an innovative and unprecedented way to execute martyrdom operations…” By linking to that video, I was indicating my source of information—not saying “the man who appears talking is Abu al-Dema.”
Either way, this misreading by Advocate is neither here nor there, and has absolutely nothing to do with the issue at hand: does such a fatwa exist or not? It’s just filler dressed as “evidence.”
Then, as if more unnecessary fluff was needed, EI offers a long retranslation of the sodomy fatwa, with no discernible difference between the substance of their translation and mine.
Mind you, we are more than halfway through this rambling diatribe that began by repeatedly screaming “hoax,” and still no evidence, though language implying the “proof” has already been given begins to appear. For example, EI casually goes on to declare that “Al-Khallaf reads the item [the fatwa] from the website as if it is real.” Well, why shouldn’t he? EI has yet to give evidence that it is not real.
Finally, we come to the “proof”—the only section that is bolded in the EI article, to emphasize its “importance.” EI claims that al-Khallaf
also characterizes the alleged protagonists as “Wahhabis.” It appears his intention is to incite his audience’s disgust at the supposed thinking and behavior of Wahhabi Sunni Muslims who, he suggests, will justify anything in pursuit of their goals.
And there it is—EI’s “ironclad proof” that the sodomy fatwa is a hoax: Al-Khallaf must be an anti-Wahabbi Shiite, and “it appears his intention” is less than honest.
Sorry, EI: “appearances” and “intentions” do not constitute proof. After all, I can easily argue that it “appears” EI’s “intention” in writing this article is simply to save face, since, as a pro-Palestinian, anti-Israeli website, it does not wish to see the recruitment of suicide bombers diminished by this scandal.
But that wouldn’t be “proof,” would it?
Needless to say, the rest of EI’s arguments consist of (second-rate) sophistry, lies and contradictions.
EI asserts that the fatwa’s
text appears to be at best an extremely vulgar joke and at worst sectarian defamation. It is written in a style commonly used for stories in which both the teller and listener know it is a joke or fiction…
Once again, EI continues treating “appearances” as proof. Whether it appears to be a “vulgar joke” or “sectarian defamation” is hardly evidence that the fatwa is a hoax. After all, fatwas almost always look like jokes to Western people (see here for some clear examples), which is what EI is counting on.
Next, EI contradicts itself. First, Al-Khallaf is portrayed as reading the fatwa on the air to “incite his audience’s disgust.” Yet now, EI claims that the fatwa “is written in a style commonly used for stories in which both the teller and listener know it is a joke or fiction.”
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