I have a lot to say about this debate between Robert Spencer and the dhimmi Dinesh D'Souza. It has been a vitriolic run up but primarily the question is, WTF happened to Dinesh? A once reasonable mind on the battle with Radical Islam (particularly after 9/11), he has become dogmatic and almost sophomoric in his "argument" (of which there is little) on the facts about Islam. And as if that weren't enough, he has taken to throwing the Jews under the bus as well.
Dinesh did not debate. He resorted to sloganeering and barb throwing.
I have the other half of this debate when I am able, but the tech situation in this hotel is killing me. Slow slow unbearable access (this video took 3 hours to upload, so bear with me.)
UPDATED: PART I - CORRECT CLIP
UPDATE: PAMELA INTERVIEWS ROBERT SPENCER ON D'SOUZA
UPDATE Robert answers Dinesh's absurdities here; you've got to read it all.
D'Souza: Spencer "essentially agrees with Bin Laden"
Dinesh D'Souza has blogged here, in "Letting Bin Laden Define Islam," about our debate yesterday. I am still at CPAC and don't have much time to give a full answer, but since he repeats some familiar canards about me and my books, which I still think he shows no signs of having read despite his claims to the contrary, I thought I'd post some preliminary thoughts. For one thing, it is worth noting that he made exactly these points in the debate yesterday, and I answered them, but he takes no account here of the answers. Instead, he just continues to make the charges, as if I have said nothing in response at all. Personally, I don't think this kind of thing is a very fruitful avenue for dialogue.
Yesterday I debated Robert Spencer at the Conservative Political Action Committee annual conference in Washington D.C. The debate was aired live on C-Span. Our topic was essentially, Is Islam the Problem? My book The Enemy at Home says no, locating the problem in the way that liberal foreign policy and liberal values projected abroad have strengthened radical Islam and emboldened it to attack us. Spencer's books collectively answer yes, the problem is with Islam itself.
But Islam has been around for 1300 years and the problem of Islamic terrorism is a recent one. How can Islam be to blame? For me the intelligent question is: what is it about Islam today that has made it an incubator of a certain kind of fanaticism and terrorism?
The idea that Islamic terrorism is a recent development is absurd in light of the history of Islamic jihad, including in D'Souza's native India, where 70 million Hindus were killed by Islamic jihadists. D'Souza ignores the fact that today's jihad terrorists are motivated by exactly the same ideology that fueled those jihad conquests. It is indeed resurgent in the last 25 years, but D'Souza has not, and cannot, point to any doctrinal deviation from traditional Islam by the jihadists that could account for this resurgence if it is indeed something new within Islam.
Spencer iwill have none of it. He is part of an influential strain of conservatives who blame the teachings and practice of Islam for producing Islamic terrorism. Since the terrorists do what they do on behalf of Islam, Islam must be the source of their convictions and therefore Islam needs to be examined, denounced and reformed. This is how Spencer thinks we can win the war on terror: by demanding that Muslims stop practicing Islam as it has been practiced since Muhammad.
Yes. A doctrine of warfare against unbelievers must be denounced and rejected if people are going to live in peace. I make no apologies for pointing that out. Any Muslim who sincerely rejects the doctrines of violent jihad and Islamic supremacism should have no problem with it either.
In arguing his thesis Spencer locates all the violent verses in the Koran and all the hideous deeds performed by Islamic conquerors, especially in their early centuries of irredentist expansion. Then he links these to the words and actions of Khomeini, Bin Laden and today's Islamic radicals. Spencer is an effective polemicist.
Thanks, Dinesh. But here you breeze by what I pointed out yesterday: that all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence and all the orthodox sects teach warfare against unbelievers. If anyone is cherry-picking violent verses from the Qur'an, it is they, not I.
Read it all. Now!
How great is this? I grabbed this pic on my way to lunch with Bob.
UPDATE: Corrected video is up. SEE PART I.