Debating Islamic supremacists
By Robert Spencer
TNN reported Monday that “a group of scholars who are also members of the powerful All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has invited controversial author Salman Rushdie to debate on Islam and the Prophet’s life. This is a significant change of position from the general Muslim view which has opposed Rushdie’s visit to India ever since his controversial novel The Satanic Verses created a storm in the 1980s.”
Mumbai is an ironic place for them to make a public stand claiming that Islam is a Religion of Peace, but Islamic supremacists never suffer from any shortages of chutzpah. Anyway, they don’t really want to debate Rushdie so much as interrogate him: “...let us invite Rushdie to this city and answer our questions. If he has the guts he should explain to us why he wrote such a blasphemous book.”
Typical. Islamic supremacists and their Leftists allies almost never agree to a free, open, even-handed debate with someone who genuinely opposes their agenda. It’s as if they’re aware of how flimsy their arguments are, and how easily they could be shown up. The list of Muslim spokesmen in the U.S. who have rejected my invitation to debate has grown very long, and gets longer almost daily. They uniformly say -- another indication of how they all work from the same talking points fed to them from higher-ups -- that I am too stupid to bother debating, as if the falsity of what I say is self-evident; or that I am too evil to debate, as they don’t want the taint of debating a greasy Islamophobe; or that I am too insignificant to debate, as their stature is so much greater than mine that they don’t want to give me and my views credibility by engaging us in discussion.
These are transparent enough as dodges, but I’ll explain why they're dodges anyway, in case there is any doubt. I may be very stupid indeed, but since I have two bestselling books, many other popular ones, and a website that gets 25,000 to 30,000 unique visitors a day, demonstrating that stupidity in live action would do a world of good for the purveyors of the “Islamophobia” myth. The same goes for my alleged evil: I may indeed be as terrible a fellow as they say, but that would seem to be all the more reason why it would be imperative for them to try to limit my influence. And they certainly do that, with no fewer than three hate websites now devoted almost completely to character assassination of me and supposed “refutations” of my work -- but none of these have any real bite unless they can stand up to rebuttal, and meet and best me in head-on discussion; yet they all clearly fear to do that. Finally, their claim that they’d be giving me credibility by debating me is clearly contrary to logic: if they defeated me, they’d be taking away any credibility I might have -- so evidently it is their awareness that they can’t actually defeat me that keeps them from taking up the challenge.
And so we have the spectacle of the stupid, evil, credibility-bereft “Islamophobe” writing reasoned refutations of the deceitful and misleading writings of the likes of Haroon Moghul and Harris Zafar, and in response, their ignoring these refutations entirely or slinging ad hominem smears. They have no interest in genuine, respectful, reasoned dialogue.
The problem with their approach is that anyone who still is interested in reasoned dialogue in our increasingly darkened age can see who is offering evidence and is willing to defend his views, and who is simply shying ad hominem bricks and then hiding behind contemptuous claims to an intellectual superiority that has been neither earned nor demonstrated, but only assumed.
I can understand why men like Zafar and Moghul and all the rest of them fear debating me: they know that what I say is true. And I know that they can’t say that, even if they know it in their heart of hearts. So they come up with excuses and excuses, just as the lion tamer, whip ripped out of hand, grabs the nearest chair to keep the lion at bay. But the lion is the truth, and despite their best efforts, it keeps coming closer, closer, closer.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is Did Muhammad Exist?.