Friday, June 22, 2007

Considering “Jihad Watch Watch”


I began this blog only a little over one month ago, and I’ve written over 30 essays so far.

As my two introductory essays laid out, the principal aspect about Jihad Watch which this blog was conceived to be “watching”—i.e., noting and analyzing—was its failure to appreciate the problem of PC Multiculturalism in its proper nature and scope and, closely related to this, its persistent error in alluding to PC incorrectly (when and where it deigns to mention PC at all), which tends to have the effect of causing more damage than simply ignoring PC.

In my 30-odd essays to date, it seems that I have explored pretty much every nuance and permutation of these particular faults at Jihad Watch, and I am not sure the benefits of continuing from this point on in basically repeating myself sufficiently outweighs the benefits of closing up shop.

Or maybe they do outweigh them.

Aside from the fact that I consider the principle of this blog to be of paramount importance in our War of Ideas on the Problem of Islam (which, as I have said numerous times, becomes more importantly and exigently a War of Ideas on the Problem of Western PC)—or, rather, stemming directly from that fact—, there is a secondary, technical fact about blogs which impinges upon their communications role: a blog that is allowed to become inactive by its blogger soon recedes into even further obscurity under the oceanic currents and crosscurrents of the Internet than it already tends to suffer. The only way to try to stay afloat in this world wide ocean is to keep posting, at least once or twice a month, and preferrably more often. So for that reason, if for no other, I might well continue repeating myself here at Jihad Watch Watch—particularly whenever Robert Spencer or Hugh Fitzgerald couch their myopia in particularly vivid and egregious manner; and they rarely fail to supply such for very long.

Another virtue to re-presentation and repetition: The patient and interested reader who tries to read all my essays here—even, preferrably, in sequence from beginning to the present—will experience a kind of layering complexity to the tissue of ideas presented along with an intellectual malaxation, in the subtly varying and tweaking repetitions in the presentations, of that complexity. The full picture of the problem of PC will then, hopefully, emerge, with its proper texture and density there for teeth to sink into. Such a reader, it is hoped, will graduate from elementary questions and disagreements (if any) about the problem of PC, to upper levels where the nexus between intellectual analysis and the brainstorming for pragmatic solutions can really begin to be joined.

To vary the theme here, however—and thereby to keep up my own interest—I will likely introduce separate problems about Jihad Watch which I have noticed over the roughly two years I have been reading and commenting there. These problems are:

1) The regard—or lack of sufficient regard—for its reading and commenting population.

2) The religious—and specifically Christian—bias that lurks now and then, not only in its head, Robert Spencer, but also as a significant current in its ever-present, ever-attendant reading & commenting population.

3) The problem of where Jihad Watch stands with regard to the evil and danger of Islam, and with regard to directly subsidiary questions, such as: Is a reformation of Islam possible? Can we, and do we, trust certain Muslims (however few they seem to be in numbers) who seem to be on our side in grappling with this global problem? Is Islam itself evil and dangerous, or is its evil and danger a peripheral, marginal, or somehow detachable chunk from its corpus—i.e., a chunk whose detachment would not entail the destruction of the body (let alone that such detachment is even feasible)?

Of these three, I would say #3 is the most important to be “watching”, but I have yet to touch on it here on this blog. My recent essays about the Barna survey—and some of the comments my essays triggered—did touch on #2, but only peripherally. As for #1, I have on a couple of occasions on this blog discussed it—but those essays became embroiled in a controversy (of which only this vestige remains) caused by the apparently (or so it seemed to me in my imperfect estimation, which could be incorrect) psychotic umbrage taken by their central figure who had become for me emblematic of one nodus of the problem of which #1 treats and who had therefore become useful for me to present under analysis; though I found it meet to delete those essays after the freakishly irrational and chillingly vituperative storm they aroused (or so it seemed to me in my imperfect estimation, which could be incorrect) in said figure.

So, in summation, we shall see what will become of “Jihad Watch Watch”.




11 comments:

Russell said...

Hey Erich,

Now you're talking! Not that I don't find your insights on PC fascinating, but a change of direction will really liven things up on your blog; especially your observations on the "Christian bias" comments you read on JW. And because I'm a Christian, I fully expect to be "watched" :)

OK -- so I have to ask -- what are you? Atheist? Agnostic? Anything?

We know you aren't Muslim!

Nobody said...

Erich

I don't know about you - but since the #1 principle about keeping websites interesting is updated content, I'm not sure that a monitoring of Jihad-Watch - once you've posted your initial observations - is a good use of your time: either this blog will stagnate, or the other one will. Nonetheless, given that you have been made unwelcome in JW, whenever compelling discussions - such as the Barna study - do come up, it would be interesting to see your views here.

On #3, it's your call - but the question of whether certain Muslims can be trusted or not - seems more suited to Hesperado, and its discussion of PC in general, than restricted to the JihadWatch crowd. The question of whether Islamic reform itself is possible or not is something that Hugh, and less explicitly Robert, have openly expressed doubts about, while the people at both FaithFreedom and Islam-Watch don't seem to be under any illusions that Islam is reformable (see the exchanges between Abul Kasem and Haidon on IW). However, your corrolary question to that - can we, and do we, trust certain Muslims (however few they seem to be in numbers) who seem to be on our side in grappling with this global problem? - seems more suited to come under the umbrella of PC, since it assumes that if some Muslims are genuine in siding with us on the problem, Islam is then reformable. As to the question of whether Islam itself is evil or not - a point that not just we, but SomethingAboutIslam and NeverPayRetail dwelt on - to the point that Robert had to ask for that argument to end - there may be something to be said for the apparent RS approach of just laying out the data, and inviting the readers to draw their own conclusions.

On the issue of Christian bias, it seems to me to be more of a Christian vs Athiest issue rather than Christian vs anything else, but the Barna survey that was at the root of this some days ago, the original article was more a criticism of the 56% of Athiests who see Christianity as bad as Islam. Despite being a Hindu-Agnostic myself, I do think that the anti-Athiest sentiments expressed by a lot of posters were uncalled for, and to the extent that this article and analysis opened the can of worms for a Christian vs Athiest flamefest, it was deplorable, particularly when RS himself is on record as stating that Christians, Athiests, Jews, Agnostics, Buddhists, Hindus, and others should all unite against this Islamic threat. The discussion that you & Kab have had about the 'All religions are bad' vs 'All religions are good' approach, and which one is more destructive in the confrontation against Islam was a good one to have.

Rev. Jim Sutter said...

There is a report available on Robert Spencer and Jihad Watch, his faults of logic, interpretation and historical perspective, with an abundance of links to factual sources, at http://hatewatchhallofshame.blogspot.com/2007/06/spencers-spin.html

Erich said...

Thanks Russell,

I think of myself as an Agnostic Christian (sort of in the same spirit as Camille Paglia called herself a "Catholic Atheist"). To unpack what I mean by this phrase would take me too long right now, but I might do it at a later date. One wrinkle of the Christian "bias" I have noticed in the Jihad Watch comments fields is the tendency to think that the problem of PC in the modern West is either caused by the Western movement of atheism, or that the same movement that gave birth to atheism & agnosticism in the modern West (at least in the socially prevalent sense) is the movement that also gave birth to all the bad things in the West like Communism, Socialism, Fascism and now PC. I think this over-simplifies the problem of PC -- not only in delimiting the cause of it too much but also in ignoring how many Christians and Jews are PC in the modern West --, and so it does have a tie-in with my main theme on this blog. This "wrinkle" seemed to have some resonance in Spencer himself, as I mentioned (and as amplified by Kab's comments) in my earlier essays/comments here regarding the Barna survey.

Erich said...

Nobody,

"the question of whether certain Muslims can be trusted or not - seems more suited to Hesperado, and its discussion of PC in general, than restricted to the JihadWatch crowd."

Well, as I see it, it has a place on either or both blogs. One of the "wrinkles" of this point was the pride of place given by Robert Spencer to the Muslim "reformer" Tashbih Sayyed and his position as a Jihad Watch Board member. At the very least, in my opinion, Spencer should have devoted an entire thread to the very placement of Tashbih Sayyed on Jihad Watch and opened up the comments field to questions and comments which Sayyed would then do his best to respond to (only responding, of course, to mature, intelligent and polite questions). This would have tied together two of my criticisms of Jihad Watch:

1) Spencer would have, by doing this, shown some consideration to his loyal readership, instead of largely ignoring them while still feeding off them and using them whenever he feels like it

and

2) he would have opened up the issue of whether we can trust any Muslims in our cause -- and even if most readers ended up disagreeing with Spencer in supporting Sayyed, at least we could respect his decision more after he had allowed us to question and vent. I don't know about you, but from the moment that Spencer elevated Tashbih Sayyed onward, I had a bad taste in my mouth and rather resented this inclusion that had utterly zero solicitation from Spencer of input from his loyal readership whose loyalty -- most of the time expressed not only sheer numbers on his site but also in relatively intelligent and mature comments -- plays a significant role in Spencer's career and book sales.

And, as you said later on, this wrinkle has connections with the problem of PC.

To continue with your comment:

"The question of whether Islamic reform itself is possible or not is something that Hugh, and less explicitly Robert, have openly expressed doubts about"

Well, expressing elliptical doubts about it is one thing, but putting the issue foursquare and center on the table is another, which Spencer and Hugh could do once in a blue moon in my opinion.

"see the exchanges between Abul Kasem and Haidon"

Thanks for the reference; I'll have to read that, as I have a fascination for Haidon's pleasantly bizarre mentality -- and such in interchange will be entertaining if nothing else.

"As to the question of whether Islam itself is evil or not - a point that not just we, but SomethingAboutIslam and NeverPayRetail dwelt on - to the point that Robert had to ask for that argument to end - there may be something to be said for the apparent RS approach of just laying out the data, and inviting the readers to draw their own conclusions."

I don't see why Spencer can't do both: i.e., most of the time, just keep doing what he's doing, and then once in a blue moon open up the issue front and center on the table of whether Islam is evil or not.

"I do think that the anti-Athiest sentiments expressed by a lot of posters were uncalled for, and to the extent that this article and analysis opened the can of worms for a Christian vs Athiest flamefest, it was deplorable"

Aside from some of the animosity that was expressed (sometimes on both sides), the larger issue is where anti-Islamic Christians (and some anti-Islamic Jews) tend to think of Atheism as directly, and wholly, a part of the PC problem that is both blinding us to the problem of Islam, and making us too weak to fight back. There is also the undercurrent of Dineshesque criticisms of "godless immorality" in the West one notices occasionally creep into the comments fields at Jihad Watch that one would be hard pressed to cleanly and logically separate from Dinesh's position itself.

"particularly when RS himself is on record as stating that Christians, Athiests, Jews, Agnostics, Buddhists, Hindus, and others should all unite against this Islamic threat."

This brings up another "wrinkle", insofar as Spencer seems sometimes to try to have his cake (of Christian moral superiority) and eat it too (of "we all need to unite"). His firm support of Hirsi Ali is commendable, though he couched it one time in a strange way, basically saying he thought she was wrong about certain moral-cultural assumptions that would have to be worked out after we are able to manage the Islam problem better. One wonders what "working out" would entail; one also wonders, extrapolating from this to the larger issue, where Spencer stands on the idea that the modern West is massively agnostic on a sociopolitco-cultural level and whether that is not both an unavoidable fact and an ultimately beneficial (not perfect) situation for the continual growth of Mankind into the uncertain, living, dynamic future. I tend not only to think the massive sea change the West has gone through in the last 200 years, moving exponentially toward a general state of sociopolitico-cultural agnosticism, is not only on balance beneficial (but not perfect), but also might represent part of the mysterious divine purpose that moves Christianity and/or other good religions. Many Christians (like many members of other religions), tend to have a rather childish (not childlike) attitude about their religion, wanting to freeze it and protect it from change, as though God did not create the human being to change and go through growing pains, but rather created human beings to be frozen entities who never change, never wonder, never doubt.

Rev. Jim Sutter said...

Erich, I was told there are questions in response to my comment here, but I do not see them here. Can you point me in the right direction? Thanks.

Erich said...

Rev. Jim Sutter,

I was told a reader of this blog wanted to ask you a question or two. He or she may yet post them soon.

I myself have three questions for you:

1) At the bottom of page 6 of your pdf document about Robert Spencer (which you link on your Hatewatch blog about Spencer, you make this claim:

“...it is important to note that Spencer... cannot speak or read Arabic...”

Can you provide smoking gun proof to back up this claim? If so, please show me that proof.

2) On your Hatewatch blog about Walid Shoebat, you make this claim:

“Yet he [Walid Shoebat] freely flies around the country, not being on anyone's watchlist or the no-fly list.”

Can you provide smoking gun proof to back up this claim? If so, please show me that proof.

3) I posted both of these questions on your blogs over 24 hours ago -- Question #1 on your blog about Robert Spencer, Question #2 on your blog about Walid Shoebat -- and they were posted several hours prior to your comment above in which you acknowledge receipt of my questions on your blog, since in my questions on your blog I included the information that somebody might have some questions for you here on my blog. So my third question to you is: Why did you not answer my questions which I asked you on your blog sites?

If you do not answer the above three questions in good faith and with a show of scrupulous attention to my wording of my questions, I might feel inclined to delete your comments already here and to continue deleting your comments here in the future.

Thanks,
Erich

Nobody said...

'Rev' Sutter

I was the one going to point out a few things here. While there are certain aspects of JihadWatch that we are critical of here, its opposition to Jihad, and the underlying Islam ideology isn't one of them. If anything, the criticisms levelled here have been on various shortcomings of JihadWatch, from the issue of PC to the tunnel vision of a large section of the posting population to even the inconsistency of the ownership in tolerating certain types of disruptive behavior, while cracking down on other less egregious behavior.

You, OTOH, seem to be coming from the POV that a wholesale condemnation of Islam by JihadWatch (something that Spencer denies, and hence, some of our issues with his approach) is hatred. While you're certainly entitled to that POV, it's very different from the POV we are coming from. Essentially, we are generally of the opinion that Islam is a 7th century version of Nazism that has masqueraded as a religion, and perpetuates that virulent hate filled ideology to this day. The various news stories cited at JihadWatch, with links to mainstream media sources worldwide, from CNN to NYT to BBC to London Times to Times of India to New Strait Times, et al all butress that POV, when read together, even though observers such as you may tend to either view them as separate unconnected events, or worse, de-couple them from Islam.

We don't buy that. And we do see a common thread - not only between Jihadi activities in Kosovo, Kashmir, Palestine, Yala, Mindanao et al - but we also see it as coming from the same source as the honor killings in the West, practices of intimidation of any anti-Islamic opinion that's stated in the West, et al. To you, that may be hate speech. But to us, it's a logical thing to conclude once one casts off the idea of having one set of standards for the West, Christians, Jews, Hindus, etc and another one for the Islamic countries and Muslims. If the things that are compiled on JihadWatch and DhimmiWatch daily were accounts of not Muslims, but, say, Western Christians or Jews, you'd see the same sort of universal opprobrium that there was for South Africa during the apartheid regime.

I can't speak for Erich, but while you are welcome to say whatever you like against JihadWatch and DhimmiWatch, kindly refrain from associating us from your efforts, since we are really polar opposites apart, once you look closely.

Rev. Jim Sutter said...

Erich, thanks for your additional suggestions on the Walid Shoebat article on my blog. I have incorporated your suggestion into a revision of the article, and also explained the combined watchlist he would be on, including a link to a site from the GAO that explains the new watchlist.

The TSA no longer uses the old ban them/additional screening type watchlist. The 12 individual agency watchlists were combined in Sept 2003 into the Consolidated Terrorism Watchlist (aka the TIPOFF list), monitored and managed by the FBI at their new Terrorist Screening Center. My article on Walid now explains what categories of people are on the new list.

Also, communications for further suggestions would be far more effective and come to my attention much sooner if you just wrote me directly at revjimsutter@yahoo.com

If you have a comment you wish to place on the blog, then it's fine to do it as a blog comment. But I would suggest that comments such as your most recent explanation of questions and suggestions for improvement could be more efficiently handled by emailing me directly.

Thank you for assisting in improvements to my site.

Rev. Jim Sutter said...

Nobody:

Your wrote:

"I was the one going to point out a few things here. While there are certain aspects of JihadWatch that we are critical of here, its opposition to Jihad, and the underlying Islam ideology isn't one of them. If anything, the criticisms levelled here have been on various shortcomings of JihadWatch, from the issue of PC to the tunnel vision of a large section of the posting population to even the inconsistency of the ownership in tolerating certain types of disruptive behavior, while cracking down on other less egregious behavior."

I also wholeheartedly oppose militant jihad, although it is more accurately called islamist terrorism. But I oppose it on practical and pragmatic grounds, as versus Spencer opposing it on made-up theology, twisted interpretations of Islam, and citations from 1,400 year old legal rulings. All terrorism should be condemned and dealt with in the most efficient manner, whether that be a bullet to the head or a trial and imprisonment. To use tunnel vision such as Spencer's, and not only ignore, but outright deny, that any other form of terrorism exists than Islamist, is not only foolish, but it tends to get people killed. When there are (for example) 200 active terrorist organizations, and you pay attention only to 5 of them, then one or more of the remaining 195 are going to attack you, your country, your facilities, etc. Spencer deliberately blows off all other terrorist groups in order to minimize any attention paid to them, thus leaving his readers with only Islamist terrorists to think about. This is wrong, this is dangerous, and as explained in my article, this is part of Spencer's campaign of hatred.

You also wrote:
"You, OTOH, seem to be coming from the POV that a wholesale condemnation of Islam by JihadWatch (something that Spencer denies, and hence, some of our issues with his approach) is hatred. While you're certainly entitled to that POV, it's very different from the POV we are coming from. Essentially, we are generally of the opinion that Islam is a 7th century version of Nazism that has masqueraded as a religion, and perpetuates that virulent hate filled ideology to this day. The various news stories cited at JihadWatch, with links to mainstream media sources worldwide, from CNN to NYT to BBC to London Times to Times of India to New Strait Times, et al all butress that POV, when read together, even though observers such as you may tend to either view them as separate unconnected events, or worse, de-couple them from Islam."

The fact is, that painting everyone with the same brush is always a way to failure, and the most common method used by bigots. I am NOT saying that you or anyone here is a bigot, I am just using this as an example of the tactics used by the many types of bigots that I've tried to reeducate or expose over too many years now.

If one carefully analyzes the articles that Spencer uses, (as many have) one would note that he cherry picks only the articles that show Islam and Muslims in a bad light. Certainly, there are many instances of Islamist extremists committing horrible acts of terrorism, of repressive Muslim regimes, of some Muslims who are stuck in the 7th Century.

Specifically, as an example of Spencer's use of articles, when Israel was hit by Kassam missiles last week, the JPost originally printed a two sentence article saying that both Fatah and Islamic Jihad had taken credit. Spencer took that and ran wild with it, using it as a basis to rip apart the US, Israeli, EU and UN support for the new government of moderates under Abbas and Fatah and Abbas's desire to continue peace discussions with Israel. Even though other publications more accurately stated that it was only the al Quds Brigade of Islamic Jihad that had carried out the attack, and even the JPost issued two corrections showing the same, Spencer still insisted that Fatah and Abbas were behind it. So he not only cherry picks articles, he ignores facts.

Spencer is well aware that there are thousands upon thousands of Muslim leaders, including political leaders, religious leaders, imams, mullahs, theologists, authors, teachers, scholars, etc., who have condemned terrorism, militant jihad, suicide bombing, and all acts of violence, clearly explaining why these violate the Qur'an and the hadiths (not just using out of context verses like Spencer does) using a clear, in context, complete explanation of why these are against Islamic beliefs, tenets, principles, etc. If you are interested in reading some of these, I can direct you to a site that has compiled a very extensive listing of the Muslim leadership condemnations.

Also, as to "trusting Muslims", remember that there are approximately 80,000 American Muslims serving in the US Armed Forces with courage and honor in the war against terrorism. Remember that the US has numerous Muslim countries as valuable allies in the war on terrorism.

Every legitimate study, poll and survey has shown that it is only a small percentage of Muslims who are extremists, just about the same percentage of extremists that one would find in any large group of people who adhere to the same ideology.

There is far more on these subjecs at my blog site. It won't all fit into this comments field. Thank you for your comments and for giving me the opportunity to address them.

Nobody said...

Reverend

Thanks for your response. Your quotes in {}, followed by my response, since blockquote doesn't seem to be one of the accepted tags around here.

{But I oppose it on practical and pragmatic grounds, as versus Spencer opposing it on made-up theology, twisted interpretations of Islam, and citations from 1,400 year old legal rulings. All terrorism should be condemned and dealt with in the most efficient manner, whether that be a bullet to the head or a trial and imprisonment. To use tunnel vision such as Spencer's, and not only ignore, but outright deny, that any other form of terrorism exists than Islamist, is not only foolish, but it tends to get people killed. When there are (for example) 200 active terrorist organizations, and you pay attention only to 5 of them, then one or more of the remaining 195 are going to attack you, your country, your facilities, etc. Spencer deliberately blows off all other terrorist groups in order to minimize any attention paid to them, thus leaving his readers with only Islamist terrorists to think about. This is wrong, this is dangerous}

The focus on Islamic terror is justified. The only non-Islamic terror groups that I'm aware of are the IRA in Ulster, ETA in the Basque area in Spain and the LTTE in the Northern and Eastern provinces in Sri Lanka. All these groups are evil and worth condemning. Yet, all of them have local ambitions, and while their use of violence is completely unacceptable, the fact remains that they can be appeased. The IRA has shown this, and while there are some fringe breakaways from them who still support terror, they've pretty much endorsed the Anglo-Irish agreement. Similarly, the LTTE has designs on Tamil areas of Sri Lanka, and possibly India, but not beyond that. In other words, all the non-Islamic terror groups that exist in the world - bad as they are - are limited to local aspirations.

This is not the case with Islamic terrorists. Everywhere in the world that there are Muslim and non-Muslim populations side by side, there is terror - be it Phillipines, Thailand, India, Serbia, Israel, and within Islamic countries, where terrorists have their visions of Islamic state, there is a systematic persecution or discrimination against non-Muslims. Also, since the 90's, even if, say, Abu Sayyaf in the Phillipines had nothing to do with say, Hamas in Gaza, the emergence of al Qaeda has brought Jihadi groups worldwide all under one umbrella. While you may look at it as an operational convinience, fact remains that all of them are singing out of the Quran and Sunnah.

As for painting everybody with the same brush, Spencer has often said that just because Islam is what it is does not imply that all Muslims follow it to the letter, since there is a range of opinions from the fanatical to the agnostical, just as exists in any religion. It's just that there is no saying when a Muslim may decide to take his faith seriously and suddenly go on a Jihad, as happened in several cases like Mike Hawash, Adam Gadahn, John Allen Mohammed, et al.

{If one carefully analyzes the articles that Spencer uses, (as many have) one would note that he cherry picks only the articles that show Islam and Muslims in a bad light. Certainly, there are many instances of Islamist extremists committing horrible acts of terrorism, of repressive Muslim regimes, of some Muslims who are stuck in the 7th Century.}

On your cherry-picking allegation, here's what's worth noting about the bad verses in Islam:

1. The very fact that there are bad verses is problematic, but in the case of the Quran, bad verses far outnumber the good. The problem actually gets exacerbated when one tries to look into the context of these verses, and use the Sunnah, which is why some attempts at reform of Islam have involved underplaying Hadith to rejecting them altogether.

2. Even one bad statement in a modern treatise on ethics, such as the writer advocating that opponents be condemned to hell-fires and torture, would be met with alarm and disapproval. The Koran has hundreds of such statements, and what's worse - these consequences aren't restricted to the Afterlife.

3. Criticism by its very nature involves focussing on bad parts. This should not be dismissed as cherry-picking, which implies that such critical focus is inappropriate. If the bad portions were overriden by subsequent good verses, it would be one thing. But given that they override the good verses, they are worth focussing on.

5. The alleged good verses that the critics allegedly overlook are not so good on closer inspection, once one factors in the Islamic definition of terms, such as truth (belief in and endorsement of Allah), justice (prevailence of Shariah law), oppression (Muslims being tempted away from Islam by prosperity of Infidels), etc.

The fact remains that in most Islamic countries, either they're already under Shariah law, and in cases where they aren't, there are attempts, not just by Jihad terrorists, but also political attempts to make those 7th century laws the laws of the lands. This has particularly lethal consequences for non-Muslim minorities, be it Copts in Egypt, Maronites in Lebanon, Assyrians in Iraq, Hindus in Bangladesh and Indonesia and Malaysia, Sikhs in Afghanistan, etc.

On the Israel issue, you're missing the point. The point is that even if Fatah didn't launch attacks on Israel, they have to claim that they did in order to prevent Pali public opinion from shifting to Hamas. That ought to say a lot about them, which is the point made in JihadWatch. The fact that bringing democracy to Islamic countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and PA have seen Jihadi elements get elected. Which says a lot about the people doing the electing.

{Spencer is well aware that there are thousands upon thousands of Muslim leaders, including political leaders, religious leaders, imams, mullahs, theologists, authors, teachers, scholars, etc., who have condemned terrorism, militant jihad, suicide bombing, and all acts of violence, clearly explaining why these violate the Qur'an and the hadiths (not just using out of context verses like Spencer does) using a clear, in context, complete explanation of why these are against Islamic beliefs, tenets, principles, etc. If you are interested in reading some of these, I can direct you to a site that has compiled a very extensive listing of the Muslim leadership condemnations.}

There are a lot of sub texts to this. First of all, most Islamic leaders aren't stupid enough to endorse terrorism openly, although a lot of them have been discovered to be saying one thing in English and another in Arabic/Urdu. Secondly, as Spencer points out, there has never been any comprehensive program in US mosques or elsewhere explaining why the terrorist interpretation is wrong, and there has even been the reluctance to acknowledge problematic portions of the Quran, such as 2:190-193: whenever he brings those up, he and others like him are accused of hate-mongering. Thirdly, as for the Quran, it has a mix of good and bad verses, and it's one thing for Islamic theologians to cite the good verses (really few in number), but quite another to explain why they trump the bad verses (as an example, do you have any imams explain why Surah 109 should trump Surah 9, instead of the other way around?) As for the hadiths, due to the several instances of the Quran directing Muslims to follow Allah by following Mohammed, there have been copious efforts by Muslims through the ages to filter out his genuine sayings and deeds from his fake ones, with the result that it isn't difficult to pick what Muslims recognize as fake hadiths and use them in conjunction with the innocuous verses in the Quran to create an impression of an innocuous Islam.

In other words, all these statements and teachings that you cite actually have to be directed at Muslims to dissuade them from engaging in activities out to subvert the various countries they are in - both Islamic and non-Islamic - to Shariah law, rather than simply be fed to Western public opinion for public consumption.

{Also, as to "trusting Muslims", remember that there are approximately 80,000 American Muslims serving in the US Armed Forces with courage and honor in the war against terrorism. Remember that the US has numerous Muslim countries as valuable allies in the war on terrorism.}

As was the case with Hasan Akbar, there is a case to be made that any number of those 80,000 troops have a potential conflict of interest between their Islamic duty to spread Shariah to the US vs their support of the US constitution. While it may seem churlish to cast aspersions on their loyalty, as the Hasan Akbar episode showed, it's impossible to determine which Muslims will stay loyal to the very end, and which ones will turn.

The US does not have Muslim allies in the war on terror, or else, this would be a lot easier. If there were Azeri troops in Najaf and Karbala, do you think there would be a problem? Had there been Egyptian or Pakistani troops in al Anbar province, do you think there would be Americans dying every day? And do you buy the official US State Department policy that identifies Egypt, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia as 'staunch allies'?

{Every legitimate study, poll and survey has shown that it is only a small percentage of Muslims who are extremists, just about the same percentage of extremists that one would find in any large group of people who adhere to the same ideology.}

The Pew poll, that was out recently, when looked at more closely, revealed a lot more disturbing trends than what the cover summary of the poll indicated. I detailed the problems with it on posts in JW when that poll came out - particularly what Muslims think about whether Mohammed should be strictly obeyed, whether they'd allow a relative to marry a non Muslim (38% said no, and of the 62% who said yes, since Islam allows Muslim men to marry non Muslim women but not vice versa, the question should have been more specific).

Also, what polls do you have of Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, et al that would indicate that the numbers of them who are extremists equal those in the Muslim community?