As Oklahoma has now voted to ban Sharia, and an openly pro-Sharia Imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf, is going ahead with plans to build a triumphal mega-mosque at Ground Zero, Sharia is more in the public consciousness than ever — and so Islamic supremacists such as Reza Aslan are working harder than ever to confuse the American people about what Sharia is, so as to defuse opposition to it.
Aslan, although considered to be a moderate exponent of a modern Islam, is actually a Board member of the National Iranian American Council, a group that is widely regarded as an apologetic vehicle for the Islamic Republic of Iran. He has called on the U.S. Government to negotiate not only with Ahmadinejad but with Hamas — that is, with some of the most barbaric and genocidally-inclined adherents of Sharia. And so it should come as no surprise that on this Australian television show, “Fear of Islam,” from SBS Insight, November 2, he retails some of the most common talking points that Islamic supremacists are circulating these days in order to deceive people as to the nature of Sharia and belittle resistance to the spread of elements of it in the United States and in Western countries in general. (The transcript is full of errors, some slightly amusing — “idea logs” — but is clear enough.)
The program, predictably enough, is focused not on the manifest increase in jihad activity, but on the alleged increase of “anti-Islamic sentiment”:
Anti-Islamic sentiment is on the rise across Europe and the United States. In the Netherlands, Sweden, France, Britain and Germany debate is raging about immigration and the compatibility of Islam with Western values – the latest foiled terror plot originating in Yemen has done nothing to quell people’s fears.
No kidding, really?
In the United States anti-Islamic sentiment is higher now than after the September 11 terror attacks. Recent polls show nearly half of Americans hold unfavourable views of Islam. So, what is driving this increased hostility, that’s what we are talking about tonight and you can join us via Facebook and Twitter as well.
JENNY BROCKIE: Welcome everybody, good to have you all here. I’d like to start by going to the United States, and to you Reza Aslan in Los Angeles, you were an American Muslim, you were born in Iran. Why do you think anti-Islamic sentiment is higher now than immediately after September 11 – is it related to these foiled terror plots or is it deeper than that?
REZA ASLAN, RELIGIOUS SCHOLAR: Well I think there are a number of reasons for it, certainly the economy plays a role in all of this, in times of economic distress, it’s only natural for people – and Americans have done this for many years – to look for a scapegoat. Depending on where you live in this country, the scapegoats are either, frankly, Mexicans or Muslims. So, you know, God save you if you happened to be a Mexican Muslim in America right now.
There are many things Reza Aslan is not, and one of them is an original thinker. He is in this retailing talking points that we saw just recently coming from Rashad Hussain, Obama’s Special Envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference: that the bad economy has people looking for a scapegoat, and that they’ve fastened upon Muslims.
I don’t know who originated this theme, but it is a brazen attempt to divert attention away from the sole and obvious cause of any actual suspicion of Muslims or Islam in the U.S.: the ever-increasing number of terrorist attacks carried out by Muslims who explain and justify their actions by reference to Islamic texts and teachings. That Aslan did not lead with that as his answer to the question about why “anti-Islamic sentiment” is supposedly rising is the clearest indication that he is not intending to clarify matters or deal with this problem honestly.
Also part of it has to do with a sense of war weariness in the United States – we have been involved in wars in the region for about 10 years and I think there’s something important here that isn’t talked about enough, and it’s Barak [sic] Obama. One-fifth of Americans, 20% believe that Barak [sic] Obama is, himself, a Muslim and in fact – amongst Republicans that number is almost 40%. Polls show in this country, that the more you disagree with Barak [sic] Obama’s domestic policies, the more likely you are to think that he is a Muslim.
I don’t know by what method of calculation Aslan determined that 31% (which is the actual number of surveyed Republicans saying they thought Obama was a Muslim) was “almost 40%,” but hey, they invented algebra. Anyway, Aslan here is apparently saying that “anti-Islamic sentiment” is rising because people think Obama is a Muslim, and they don’t like Obama’s policies, and so they blame Islam for them. Once again, he is insulting the intelligence of the American people. If large numbers of people believe Obama is a Muslim, it is because of his hostility (unprecedented in a president of the United States) toward Israel, his unwillingness to do anything effective about Iran’s nuclear program, and his indefatigable dedication to coddling and appeasing the Dar al-Islam, even to the point of absurdity, as when he told NASA’s chief that one of his primary responsibilities would be — not space exploration! — making Muslims feel good about the alleged scientific achievements of the Islamic world.
And if there is any actual rise in “anti-Islamic sentiment,” it is not because befuddled American yahoos think that nationalizing health care and the banking and auto industries are Muslim policies implemented by a Muslim president, but because Islamic jihadists just in the last few days sent bombs via UPS to synagogues in Chicago and stormed a church in Baghdad, murdering 58 people. Then there was the Fort Hood jihad shooting, the Arkansas recruiting center jihad shooting, the Christmas underwear bomb jihad attempt, the Times Square jihad car bomb attempt, the Fort Dix jihad plot, the North Carolina jihad plot, the Seattle jihad shooting, the JFK Airport jihad plot, and on and on. But Reza Aslan, not surprisingly, doesn’t mention any of that.
The reason I bring this up is because what’s happened in the United States is something that has already happened in Europe and that is that Islam is become ‘otherised’, it has become a kind of receptacle into which fears and anxieties about the political or economic situation, about the changing racial landscape of this country are being thrown.
This is something common to the United States – Make no mistake – In fact, every single thing that has been said about Muslims, that they are un-American, that they are foreign, that they are exotic has been said in this country about Jews in the 20th century, was said about Catholics in this country, in the latter part of the 19th century, so it’s a common occurrence in the United States.
I think by all accounts in the same way we look back on the anti-Catholic and anti-Jewish sentiments of our history with shame and derision and with a healthy dose of mockery, that’s how we will very likely look back on this sort of anti-Muslim sentiment as well in the next generation.
Here again, Aslan is not engaging in any real analysis or actual thought; he is just repeating talking points that we have heard before from the likes of Muslim Brotherhood-linked Congressman Keith Ellison and Nicholas Kristof, among many others. Christopher Hitchens ably took apart the central claim being made here: “‘Some of what people are saying in this mosque controversy is very similar to what German media was saying about Jews in the 1920s and 1930s,’ Imam Abdullah Antepli, Muslim chaplain at Duke University, told the New York Times. Yes, we all recall the Jewish suicide bombers of that period, as we recall the Jewish yells for holy war, the Jewish demands for the veiling of women and the stoning of homosexuals, and the Jewish burning of newspapers that published cartoons they did not like.”
And as for Aslan’s assertion that “in the next generation” Americans will “very likely look back on this sort of anti-Muslim sentiment” with “shame and derision and with a healthy dose of mockery,” that’s all he has besides borrowed talking points originated by others. Aslan, as I will eventually demonstrate definitively when I publish his emails to me, cannot and will not deal on the level of facts and discuss matters rationally, but instead works consistently from the gutter. It is the only refuge he has given his manifest and abject intellectual vacuity.
Anyway, then the Australian TV show goes on to Nonie Darwish, who states some truths about the Qur’an, which are then contradicted by Muslim spokesmen. The problem with such discussions is that they deal in generalities; there is no time in such a setting for any extended examination of the contents of the Qur’an, and so the discussion amounts essentially to one person’s word against another’s. And so to Reza Aslan’s response:
REZA ASLAN: First of all, I have to say that it’s a weird feeling to have to respond to a Christian leader of an anti-Muslims organisation – it would be like having to respond to a Muslim leader of an anti-Jewish organisation about Judaism so the whole thing is kind of weird. Let me just say it’s kind of convenient to simply pick and choose whatever violent bits and pieces one finds in the Koran and ignore the equally important versus that talk about compassion and peace. There’s nothing strange or unusual about the Koran, the same Tora [sic] that gives us the 10 commandments commands the Jews to enact genocide upon every non-believer of Yaway [sic]. The same gospel telling us to turn the other cheek, also says “Jesus says I’ve come to bring the sword and not peace, and that he who doesn’t have a cloak should sell the cloak and buy a sword”.Pages: Page 1 Page 2