The Corner

A Response to Matt Duss: Defamation by Any Other Name . . .

Indicative of Matt Duss’s dishonesty in his response to the article I co-wrote with David Horowitz about the manipulative neologism “Islamophobia” is his initial labeling of us as “anti-Muslim activists” and his characterization of our work as “the dissemination of hateful anti-Muslim ideas.” This appellation is not only inaccurate; it is highly defamatory, as it is intended to mislead Duss’s readers into assuming that we oppose a group of people out of sheer racism or bigotry, rather than opposing a radically intolerant and oppressive ideology.

In reality, neither David Horowitz nor I are “anti-Muslim,” as I have stated many times. It is neither “anti-Muslim” nor “hateful” to stand for human rights for all people, including Muslims, and to defend the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience, and equality of rights for women, all of which are denied under traditional forms of sharia.

Duss claims that we are part of “an organized campaign to spread misinformation about the religious faith of millions of Americans” — while denying that he is “peddling ‘conspiracy theories’” about us. He makes much of the fact that the reliably Leftist Anti-Defamation League has smeared us also, asking rhetorically, “Should the Anti-Defamation League also be lumped among the ‘jihadist apologists’?” Why not? Why should it be surprising that an organization that consistently follows a far-Left political line would follow it in this also?

Above all, like the CAP report itself, Duss does not and cannot provide any evidence either that an “organized campaign to spread misinformation” exists, or that anything that Horowitz or I or any of the other targeted “Islamophobes” have said is false. He does try, however. He quotes, as if it is self-evidently false, my statement that Islam “is the only major world religion with a developed doctrine and tradition of warfare against unbelievers,” but offers no refutation of it.

If Duss can produce evidence of another major world religion with a developed doctrine or tradition of warfare against unbelievers (the Crusades, for those who may wish to toss them in here, did not proceed on the basis of any such Christian doctrine; no sect of Christianity ever taught as a matter of faith that believers were obligated to make war upon unbelievers), or that the sects of Islam and schools of Islamic law do not contain such developed doctrines and traditions, I will duly retract. But with Al-Azhar University, the most prestigious institution in Sunni Islam, endorsing (as conforming “to the practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni community”) a manual of Islamic law that declares that Muslims must wage war “upon Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians . . . until they become Muslim or pay the non-Muslim poll tax,” Duss may find such a refutation rough going.

Duss shows a similar lack of knowledge of Islamic doctrine and law when he attempts to refute my statement that “there is no form of sharia that does not contain . . . [the] death penalty for apostasy” by asserting that I am “obviously ignorant of the manner in which Islam is practiced by millions of sharia-adherent Muslims in the United States.” The ignorance is his: #more#Muslims in the U.S. do not adhere to sharia in its fullness, as no less an authority than the Ground Zero Mosque imam Faisal Abdul Rauf recently affirmed when he said that “the only truly clashing area” between Islamic law and modern Western society “is the penal code, and no Muslim has the intention of introducing that to America.” So if Rauf affirms that Muslims in America do not adhere to the sharia penal code, and Duss affirms that Muslims in America are “sharia-adherent,” whom should we believe? I will go with the internationally renowned imam over the non-Muslim Leftist ideologue, thank you. And as for whether or not there is actually a form of sharia, that is, a school of Islamic jurisprudence, that does not teach that apostates deserve death, I challenge Duss to find it. But he will search in vain.

Duss then claims that “the unmistakable implication of these claims is that all observant Muslims should be viewed with suspicion simply by virtue of being observant Muslims,” and that “that’s obviously Islamophobic.” In reality, the unmistakable implication of these facts is only that there are aspects of traditional Islamic law that are incompatible with constitutional values. Here again, Rauf himself says nothing less. Is he, too, an “Islamophobe”?

In concluding his new smear piece, Duss complains that National Review published our article in the first place, and pleads that we be read out of honorable American conservatism. Here he exposes his real agenda in all its ugliness. Duss’s Center for American Progress, the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and other leftist and Islamic-supremacist groups are conducting an ongoing campaign to discredit and marginalize everyone who dares to stand up against the jihad and Islamic supremacism. They are bent on destroying every last individual who does not adopt a warmly positive stance toward the spread of sharia in the West and all other manifestations of the advancing jihad. The stakes are very high. If we don’t resist this Islamic supremacist thuggery, Duss and his Islamic-supremacist allies will succeed in stamping out all discussion of the truth about Islam and jihad, thereby rendering us mute and defenseless before its advance. That’s why we have to resist now, at every step, and continue to expose this propagandistic “Islamophobia” campaign.

— Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth about Muhammad.

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