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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-burnings, anti-Muslim hate protests, anti-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.