Here we go again. The unicorns held a press conference yesterday. Despite the low number, the media swooned and swarmed around the idea of moderate Islam. If only.
Attending ths press conference was Queens imam Qayyoom, whom I blogged about last week. Qayoom wants Muhammad's birthday declared a national holiday. Yes, he was one of the infamous 36. Thank to Pamela hall for the videos, go here.
I have had at this many times. Where Are All the Jassers? Jasser is living in his own private Islam without a theological leg to stand on when he makes sweeping statements that are patently untrue. In my radio interview with Zuhdi Jasser, he could not answer my questions on the "immutable" word of the Quran and the fact that "reformation" or "reinterpretation" is punishable by death. In other words, you can't have your private little Islam. Period. Jasser refutes Islamic antisemitism in the interview as well, calling antisemitic hadiths "illegitimate." Really? On whose authority? Jasser's? He may be well intentioned, but his approach and theology are just plain unislamic.
Alyssa Lappen wrote of my interview with Jasser:
Dr. Zuhdi Jasser is a decent man conflicted by what he wishes to be mainstream Islamic reality, as manifested in doctrine and practice since the creed's 7th century foundation, through the present.Dr. Jasser gave a one hour interview with Pamela Geller that aired on 5/22/2007 , which must be heard in its entirety to understand his Weltanschauung, as well as his predicament -- and ours.Although Dr. Jasser made some noble comments, and expressed views certainly worth championing, there were unsettling aspects of some of his statements and arguments. Dr. Jasser's apologetics> regarding Islamic Jew-hatred and misogyny were counterfactual. Such comments are delusive at best, perhaps out of Dr. Jasser's apparent genuine embarrassment regarding the tenets of mainstream Islam as practiced since its advent.From minutes 20:00 through 27:30, Jasser's discussion of Islamic Jew hatred is punctuated by ahistorical and doctrinally false apologetics (including "Golden Age" mythology; ridiculous claims about "bad Koranic translations"...etc.), possible taqiyya about what "allowing" a Muslim man to marry a Jewish woman actually means -- it is not "ecumenical," i.e., Jasser fails to acknowledge that a Jewish woman married to a Muslim man must allow the children to be raised as Muslims. Jasser then asserts that I share a "Wahhabist/Al Qaeda interpretation" of Koranic Jew hatred at 26:30-26:50. Specifically, Jasser objects stridently to what he claims are,
Geller: "Islamic Antisemitism is irrefutable..."
Jasser: "I will not accept that Antisemitism is part of Islam...the vast majority [emphasis added] of Muslims have a respect for Judaism that is ingrained in the way we're raised...on how we read our scripture."
Geller: "That statement you made is opposite to reality."In addition, Dr. Jasser offers an apologetic for Islamic misogyny at ~ minutes 44:00 to 47:00 of the interview. For a better grounded discussion of Islamic misogyny, see Ibn Warraq's "Lifting the veil of tears," and Reza Afshari's"Egalitarian Islam and Misogynist Islamic Tradition: A Critique of the Feminist Reinterpretation of Islamic History and Heritage."
This is a classic example of how the mainstream media frames the narrative and tries to form the opinions of the American people: three dozen Muslims show up to support the NYPD, and the media coverage is intense and adulatory. These Muslims were saying what all Muslims in the U.S. should have been saying for years, such that it should be taken for granted by now that most think this way -- after all, so much of our foreign and domestic policy is based on the assumption that they do.
But they don't generally say these things, and the media is so avid to find "moderate Muslims" that when a group appears that does say the right things, no matter how small the group is, the media hypes it into a major event. And so the AP story on this tiny rally was picked up all over: in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution; the Register-Guard of Eugene, Oregon; the Deseret News; NJ.com; PennLive.com; Cleveland.com; and elsewhere.
By contrast, we had tens of thousands of people at our Freedom Rally against the Ground Zero Mosque on September 11, 2010:
Nonetheless, we had virtually no mainstream media coverage. Why not? Because the media wanted the mosque built, and didn't want anyone interfering. So the many thousands of us who gathered on that day didn't exist, but these 36 Muslims certainly do exist.
Again: the 36 Muslims said all the right things, all the things that Muslims should have been saying since 9/11 and before that. The story the media is ignoring and hoping you don't notice, however, is that other Muslim groups that are much larger and more mainstream within the Muslim community in the U.S. are not saying these things. They have never said or done anything effective to oppose jihad terror, and in fact have impeded efforts to do so. But the media never, ever deals with that. It continues to treat Hamas-linked CAIR as a neutral civil rights organization, and to vilify those who are fighting to defend freedom against Sharia and Islamic supremacism.
Anyway, the 36 Muslims consisted of the usual suspects. Good heavens, what would the media and the fond, self-deluded folks on the Right do without Zuhdi Jasser? They would have to convert to Islam themselves to provide the "moderate Muslims" they assume exist and upon whom they place so much hope. Jasser is no doubt a capital fellow, but his Islam, unfortunately, is entirely eccentric and unrepresentative of any genuine currents within Islamic tradition or the Muslim community in the U.S. today.
Even worse, also among the group protesting in support of the NYPD was the false "moderate" Tarek Fatah, who exposed himself as an enemy of those who are truly interested in defending human rights against the global jihad and Islamic supremacism when he savaged the courageous freedom fighter Wafa Sultan in a National Post article, in which he accused her of the Muslim Brotherhood-invented crime of "Islamophobia": here. I responded here. And in a recent email exchange, Fatah resorted to rhetoric taken straight from the likes of Hamas-linked CAIR in smearing me and Ali Sina as "medieval hate mongering people, seething with feelings of revenge and wanting a Final Solution of all Muslims." No one who genuinely wants to defend free societies against Sharia and Islamic supremacism could or would resort to such defamation.
But anyone who calls himself "moderate" will do as far as the mainstream media is concerned.
"Muslims: Hoo-Ray! Group backs NYPD surveillance effort," by Jessica Simeone for the New York Post, March 6:A group of Muslims yesterday rallied in support of the NYPD’s controversial anti-terror surveillance of area mosques and Islamic social organizations and student groups.
“We stand behind transparency and police work,” said Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser of the American-Islamic Forum for Democracy outside Police Headquarters in lower Manhattan.
“In no way do we want to be spied on. But this is not about spying; this is about monitoring public programs,” said Jasser, one of three dozen Muslims who gathered to support the NYPD’s surveillance of their brethren.
“If you look at arrests for terrorism, of the last 200 arrests, 80 percent have been from Muslims, and yet we are only 1 1/2 percent of the population,” said Jasser, who narrated a documentary, “The Third Jihad,” about the dangers of radical Islam that the NYPD showed at training centers and later disavowed.
“So it’s rather a denial not to recognize that we have a responsibility to root out the radicalization,’’ he said. “To ignore the problem within our own family is to ask for this kind of surveillance.”...
But critics of the surveillance, noting the small size of yesterday’s gathering, said many more people oppose the program....