Phi Beta Cons

The Koran and Violence: Frum, Spencer and Bat Ye’or

The debate about whether today’s Islamic violence is rooted in the Qu’ran and Muhammad rages on. Going to the heart of the disagreement, Robert Spencer takes issue with David Frum for adopting:  

the common idea, which I [Spencer] debunked here, that the “most lurid verses” of the Qur’an are relatively newly minted, and planted into translations by wicked Saudi Wahhabis. In reality, as you can see from my discussions of sura 9 and other passages in the Blogging the Qur’an series, mainstream pre-Wahhabi Qur’an interpreters affirm that the Qur’an teaches warfare against and the subjugation of non-Muslims under the rule of lslamic law. 

Spencer also maintains that Frum has done “sincere Muslim reformers a disservice by painting an overly optimistic picture of what they need to do, without even bothering to mention that even to begin this undertaking puts their lives at risk.” 
In his original commentary Frum suggests that not only Spencer, but also the historian Bat Ye’or, are extremist in their views on violence in the Qu’ran. Bat Ye’or has now  responded to Frum, claiming that the latter

ignores the rules and the meaning of the subject itself … [In addition] Between the dehumanization of dhimmitude and the inalienable right to freedom, dignity and equality, there is no meeting in the middle …
[Frum’s wisdom] hangs on the usual love paradigm of interfaith dialogue … , while waiting with humble timidity for a powerful Muslim majority to reinterpret the Koran as a book of universal love and peace. I do not object to that, except that meanwhile, Muslim reformers even in Europe must hide to save their lives, while terrorism claims countless innocent victims throughout the globe, and tomorrow we might be facing a global nuclear jihad.

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