Recently I was interviewed by a Muslim journalist named Rachel Elmalawany, who asked me a series of hostile, prosecutorial questions based on U.S. Islamic supremacist groups' libels of me. Here is our whole exchange, which I think is illuminating of how Islamic supremacists spread their lies and distortions. It also gives me a chance to set the record straight about these false charges, which Islamic supremacists frequently circulate.
RE: Since you've authored two books, The Post American Presidency and Stop the Islamization of America, I wanted to ask specifically, does your movement seek only to stop Islamization of America, or the rest of the world, too?
PG: Yes, I am the president of Stop Islamization of Nations, a multinational coalition of freedom fighters. We are fighting against Sharia's denial of free speech, of the freedom of conscience, and institutionalized oppression of women and non-Muslims. Many Muslims agree with us in this -- as is evidenced by the recent demonstrations in Egypt against Muslim Brotherhood Sharia rule.
RE: Do you know any practicing Muslims personally? If so, what has their feedback been in regards to your movement? I know that you've said there's no such thing as a moderate Islam, so I wonder how this would fit into any potential relationships you might have with Muslims.
PG: There is no such thing as moderate Islam, but there are many people who identify themselves as Muslims who have approached me personally and written to me with gratitude for the work I am doing for freedom. Many have told me they would speak out publicly and join me but do not for fear of violent reprisals from their friends, family, and community.
RE: I've interviewed many Muslims from various backgrounds and the general consensus is that this term taqiyya wasn't a relevant aspect of practice until recently when it began appearing often in anti-Islamization rhetoric. How important do you think taqiyya is to Muslims, and do you believe all Muslims either practice taqiyya or aren't practicing Islam at all?
PG: The Muslims you spoke to are misinformed. Taqiyya is rooted in Qur'an 3:28, as delineated by Ibn Kathir and others as sanctioning deception for the advancement of Islam. Obviously all Muslims do not practice taqiyya. However, the entire public presence of groups like Hamas-linked CAIR and its allied organizations is built on deception. It is irrelevant if some Muslims are unaware of this practice, just as it would be irrelevant if you found Jews who are unaware of the Torah -- their existence doesn't change the reality of the religion.
RE: Do you see any similarities between the anti-Islamization movement rhetoric and other movements of American history? For example, the Italians in the late 19th century/early 20th century, the Jews (even today there's a strong anti-Jewish rhetoric among some groups), the Japanese and African Americans? If not, what are the differences between the anti-Islamization movement and these other movements?
PG: This is a common slur against the work I do, but there is no substance to it. The three groups you mentioned were unjustly and falsely accused. None had a program in which they stated in their own words their intention of "eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within," as the Muslim Brotherhood states as its goal in a captured internal document. The fact that some groups have been falsely accused does not mean that any group accused of subversive activities is ipso facto innocent. Nor does the fact that some Muslims in the U.S. are manifestly engaged in subversive activities mean that all are, and I have never said anything to that effect -- contrary to false accusations.
RE: Lastly, I'd like to ask what the "call to action" is for the anti-Islamization movement? It certainly has identified the problem - jihad - but identifying the problem is only one step of a two-part process. There must be some kind of a solution. What is your proposed solution? How should America, or the world, rid itself of Islam? More importantly, what should the 1.6+ billion Muslims of the world, Muslims such as myself, do if they were all to accept the movement?
PG: I have never said that America should rid itself of Islam. I have said that Muslims who live in America should reject, explicitly and in deed as well as word, the elements of Islamic law that contradict Constitutional principles and freedoms. I have said that Muslims should reform the Qur'an and Islamic teaching to expunge it of Jew-hatred, misogny, incitement to violence, etc. If they did that, there would be no problem. I invite you and your friends and associates to join me in resisting not a people, but a radically repressive ideology -- one that clearly a huge number of Muslims in Egypt do not want imposed upon them any more than I want it imposed upon me.
Then Elmalawany came back with some follow-up questions, referring to her earlier questions and my answers:
RE: What about the denial of free speech, freedom of conscience and institutional oppression of women and minorities in this country and others that is not at the hands of Islam? What is it that has made you want to fight a Muslim's oppression rather than anyone else's oppression like, for example, Orthodox Judaism or Hinduism (or any other religion for that matter)? Do you not think that Halakha, "Jewish Law" can be interpreted as misogynistic also? Recently, I wrote a column in which I highlighted the imbalance in the perception that Muslim women are more abused that non-Muslim women. In the US, 1 in 4 women will experience abuse (and it can be at the hands of a very religious Christian or an atheist - abuse is abuse) while in Malaysia, the highest Muslim population in the world, that number is much smaller, and in Syria that number is slightly lower. How would you explain these statistics? http://www.theshorthorn.com/opinion/columnists/column-women-of-every-race-suffer-abuse/article_d00da1b8-6a6a-11e2-aea4-001a4bcf6878.html
PG: Spousal abuse occurs in all cultures. Only in Islam is it given divine sanction, with an exhortation in the Qur'an itself to beat disobedient women (4:34). This not only perpetuates a culture of abuse; it also leads to severe under-reporting of spousal abuse in Muslim countries. Since Allah sanctions such abuse, all too many women take it as their due, and wouldn't dream of reporting it, both for the dishonor that such reporting would bring upon their family, and for the threat of further abuse if they do so. They have to face the prospect of being abused or being shamed and punished further, perhaps even ostracized and killed, if they complain about or report the abuse.
RE: I agree that there is no such thing as moderate Islam in that you either practice it or you don't. However, Allah said in a hadith Qudsi that "Allah loves leniency in all things" and a major theme that's taught in many mosques across the world is the "middle path," or the one of moderation. Muhammad even said that taking practice of the religion too far is not what Islam is about, and this is what the "big jihad" is - trying to stay on the middle, balanced path. I think there are plenty of Muslims who would agree and who would speak out against oppression which is why you see the Arab Spring and the overthrow of dictators. What are your thoughts on this?
PG: The "Arab Spring" has now been abundantly established to have been an Islamic supremacist, pro-Sharia takeover of what had previously been at least partially secular countries. This has already resulted in escalating oppression of women and non-Muslims in Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere. And your definition of jihad ignores the grim reality that violent jihad warfare aimed at the subjugation of non-Muslims under Sharia is part and parcel of the teaching of every school of Islamic jurisprudence, both Sunni and Shia. That is what I mean when I say that Islam is not moderate, although individual Muslims may be insofar as they do not endeavor to implement those violent teachings in their own lives.
RE: The verse which you've referenced doesn't have any root in taqiyya. This term is only referenced a few times in ahadith as a way to protect Muslims from those trying to harm them. Taqiyya is not something that's widely taught in mosques in any country - I would invite you to attend any Friday sermon. I'm very familiar with CAIR and their involvement with Hamas was before Hamas was declared a terrorist organization by the US. I don't believe they operate under taqiyya and their work is similar to the Anti-Defamation league and other similar organizations.
This verse could easily be applied to the United States. Currently, we are fighting the Taliban and Al Qaeda. This verse, applied to the US, would mean that one does not simply leave one's country and ally with the Taliban or Al Qaeda - that would be treason. Do you agree with that?
PG: What you are saying here is not accurate. CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas terror funding case long after Hamas was added to the list of terrorist organizations. They have opposed every counterror measure that has ever been proposed or implemented, and counsel Muslims not to cooperate with law enforcement. Regarding the verse I referenced on taqiyya, your claims are also inaccurate. Ibn Kathir says that the phrase "unless (it be) that ye but guard yourselves against them" from Qur'an 3:28 means that "believers who in some areas or times fear for their safety from the disbelievers" may "show friendship to the disbelievers outwardly, but never inwardly. For instance, Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Ad-Darda' said, 'We smile in the face of some people although our hearts curse them.' Al-Bukhari said that Al-Hasan said, 'The Tuqyah [taqiyya] is allowed until the Day of Resurrection." Bukhari is thecollector of hadith that Muslims consider most reliable.
RE: Maybe I meant to refer to the effects of your movement rather than your movement specifically. Just as people of the anti-Islamization movement point out that Muhammad never killed anyone, I would say you also never killed anyone. However, your movement is largely associated with the strong anti-Muslim sentiment that average Americans hold due to their reading or listening to your materials and drawing conclusions. Just last December, Erika Menendez killed someone in a New York subway because she thought him to be Muslim. Perhaps she had read your book. If a Muslim were to kill someone and had read a book of radial ideas (good or bad), would the blame not be put on the author of that book? The fact that your website explicitly mentions only the crimes that Muslims have committed, purportedly in the name of Islam, may lead (and has been said to have actual influence) many to assume Islam is bad, and therefore Muslims are bad.
In fact, Pew studies have shown time and again that terrorism committed by Muslims has one goal: to remove foreign presence from their countries and not to spread Islam all over the world. The majority of Muslims are shown to not support terrorist attacks (and Islam itself does not support it as killing ones self is a sin and offensive rather than defensive warfare is forbidden). If the majority of Muslims don't support terrorist attacks and the few Muslims who do are fighting foreign presence, what does that mean for the goal of your organization and movement?
PG: Ibn Ishaq says that Muhammad personally beheaded between 600 and 900 men of the Jewish Qurayzah tribe.Muhammad also ordered people killed, including Abu Afak, Ka'b bin Ashraf, and Asma bint Marwan. I have never killed anyone or ordered anyone killed. Your comparison is odious, as is your invocation of Erika Menendez, who has a history of violence and attempted to kill a non-Muslim firefighter several years before she murdered the Hindu man in the subway. She is clearly insane. Also, why don't you mention the subway murder perpetrated just a week or so before that of Menendez, when a devout Muslim who went to mosque daily, Naeem Davis, murdered a non-Muslim? How do you know Menendez wasn't motivated by that? My books and other writings never advocate any kind of violence, or anything but the defense of freedom. If you think that books that do not advocate violence can lead to violence, what must you think of the Qur'an, which in many, many passages advocates violence? Your assertion about Muslims not committing terrorist acts in order to advance Islam is also inaccurate. Numerous terrorists have explained that that was exactly what they intended to do, and numerous Muslim spokesmen have also made supremacist statements about how Islam will take over the world -- including Ahmadinejad and Qaradawi, among many others.
RE: You can't take away shari'a and still practice Islam anymore than you can take Halakha out of Judaism and still have Judaism. It's interesting that a Jewish contract will be upheld in a court of law, but a Muslim contract will not. I conducted my marriage according to shari'a, but the United States will not recognize it if it were to be presented in a divorce hearing. Muslims practice shari'a all the time; it's not limited to whatever ills you believe it holds. I'm not quite sure what parts are conflicting with the US constitution. Treason is punishable by imprisonment or death under both institutions. Theft, murder and adultery are all crimes under both institutions. Women have freedom to act politically under both institutions, though these rights came much later for American women. Maybe it's the actions of despotic rulers (like Hosni Mubarak and others who ruled secularly, not religiously) that have convinced many of misogyny. However, Islam and shari'a have convinced many women to be feminists.
PG: Again your statements are false and/or severely misleading. Theft is indeed a crime, but U.S. law does not prescribe the barbaric punishment of amputation; Sharia does. Adultery is not a criminal offense in the U.S. Women in Islam are subjected to divinely sanctioned spousal abuse, genital mutilation, honor killing, their reduction to the status of chattel via forced marriage (arising from Sharia's treatment of them as possessions of men) and polygamy, and more. You call that feminism?
RE: A recent post on your website says to support Hindus and defeat jihad. Are you aware of the horrible Hindu and Buddhist attacks on Muslims in Sri Lanka and South India? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think your website has ever had anything that says to support Muslims and defeat extremism. I think this is why your message may be misleading. It seems as though what you say your goal is is very peaceful and progressive, but the results aren't happening - you've been identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League as a hate organization. How do you feel about that? Have you ever considered changing your rhetoric to reflect your message of peace and safe haven?
PG: You're quite mistaken. I have frequently reiterated my love for Muslims. If I had no love for Muslims, I would not work for their human rights against an oppressive system. The SPLC is a leftist propaganda organization that makes large sums of money by demonizing legitimate individuals and groups on the right. The ADL likewise parrots a leftist agenda, and is more concerned about demonizing Jews who deviate from its line than combating the antisemitism that is on the rise again everywhere -- not least because of the increasing prevalence and influence of Islamic antisemitism. These groups have no credibility among those genuinely dedicated to defending freedom and human rights.
RE: Ultimately, I think the people who are for justice and equality live all over the world and practice many different religions at varying degrees. Perhaps the battle is against those in power who have used culture and archaic beliefs to their advantage in order to oppress. Perhaps our battles should be geared toward all oppressors, misogynists and bigots regardless of what belief system they purport to hide behind - Islam, Christianity, Judaism or Hinduism, etc. Would you agree?
PG: You appear from your distortions and obfuscations to be working in the service of oppressors, misogynists, and bigots. Thus I find that a strange question for you to be asking.