The article no doubt knocked Spencer flat on his backside. In one swift move, LoonWatch completely neutralized one of his main lines of argumentation against Islam and Muslims–his pet issue of “dhimmitude” which he recurrently brings up to fear monger. One cannot underestimate the importance he gives to this issue–after all, he registered DhimmiWatch[dot]com! It is arguably his favorite topic.
And now…silence. Spencer, who has no real job other than this, has suddenly become as quiet as a mouse. What happened, Spencer? Cat got your tongue? Where did all the bravado go?
It’s not like Spencer is averse to going twelve rounds in debate…In fact, he had a debate with Omer Subhani on this very issue, and Spencer churned out not one but three (!) articles rebutting Subhani. (See here, here, and here.) Notice the blustering confidence Spencer exudes in those articles. Unfortunately, Subhani was by his own admission very busy during the time that he wrote his rebuttal (he’s a law student) and therefore was unable to do the in-depth research that we did.
Notice how detailed Spencer’s replies to Subhani are (complete with photographs that Spencer took of his own personal library and rotund self). It is clear that Spencer’s multiple replies took a lot of effort and time (he doesn’t have a real job like Omer Subhani does). So how come LoonWatch doesn’t get just one article rebutting our article on the same exact topic that Spencer was earlier willing to write three rebuttals of? Well, we all know the answer to that: Spencer has been defeated in debate, is boxed in, and has no possible way to respond to the points raised. And so the once ferocious Muslim eating tiger has turned into a cowardly chicken.
…An entire chapter of Spencer’s book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), was refuted and his response was monumentally weak and disingenuous…
Spencer is always whining about debating these issues. Now someone has come up and punched him in the nose. Will he respond, or will he avoid the conversation, thus proving the falsity of his claims that Islam treated Jews worse than Christianity? I ain’t holding my breath.
Mr. Subhani, we aren’t holding our breath either.
Robert Spencer argues in his book that the Jews historically fared (much) better in Christian Europe than they did in the Islamic world. It was this claim which I thoroughly debunked. After I published my article, two of our readers (hat tip: Reza and Nabeela) pointed out that even Daniel Pipes–an Islamophobe and one of Spencer’s own buddies–said in an interview:
Rachael Kohn: As an historian, you would know that Jews had comparatively better time under Muslim rule than they did under Christian rule. When did it change so radically?
Daniel Pipes: It was very radical and quick. The Jewish experience from the origins of Islam in the 7th century, until rather specifically in 1945, was better under Muslim rule than under Christian rule. And since 1945, it’s been better under Christian rule than Muslim rule. One can see it for example by exchange of populations. Jews fled the Christian countries for the Muslim countries, until 1945.
As late as the 1930s, when Jews fled Germany to go to Turkey. Since then, it’s been the reverse. I think this points to the fact that things change. You know, what looked like it was a permanent thing, the fact that Jews were better off in Muslim countries, just changed on a dime, in a moment, just changed. It also points to the fact that the Muslim world is going through a very difficult stage now, and it’s presumably a temporary one. It’s comparable again to Germany in the middle of the last century. It was a horrible, horrible period, did a lot of damage to Germany and to the outside world, but the Germans came out of it. And so the key now is to figure out how the Muslim world can come out of this particularly difficult time that it’s in.
Daniel Pipes even refers to Professor Mark R. Cohen’s book Under Crescent and Cross as an “excellent study.” (It is this book which I used as a template, and which convincingly outlines why life for Jews was so much more tolerable in the Islamic East as compared to the Christian West.)
Pipes noted (as did I in my rebuttal) that although dhimmis were second-class citizens, at least they were citizens–unlike the Christian world where they were excluded from society altogether; says Pipes:
…Non-Muslims were allowed to live under Muslim rule with the legal status of dhimmis (protected persons). They paid higher taxes and enjoyed fewer privileges, in return for which they had the right to practice their own religions. Such sanctioned toleration has no Christian counterpart; under Islam, Jews were second-class citizens but they were part of the legal landscape, not the problematic anomaly they presented the Christian world.
And he concludes:
In pre-modern times, they lived markedly better under Islam than under Christianity.
(Notice the words “markedly better.”)
To be clear, I don’t consider Daniel Pipes to be a reliable source, simply because he is a biased Islamophobe. But the point here is that Spencer considers Pipes to be a reliable scholar. Furthermore, it illustrates how even a staunchly anti-Islam ideologue such as Pipes (and Spencer’s comrade-in-arms) is forced to admit what Spencer in his unbelievable revisionism cannot: Jews fared better in the Islamic world than the Christian one. In other words, Pipes could not keep a straight face and argue Spencer’s point. This indicates the depths of Spencer’s lack of scholarship and sophistication.