Saturday, January 12, 2008

The pointlessly persistent “moderate Muslim”

Once again, Robert Spencer feels obliged to avow that he believes in the “moderate Muslim”—and not only in the existence of that paradoxical species, but also in its majority abundance throughout the world. In a recent altercation with the PC idiot Jeffrey Carr
in a Jihad Watch thread about the firing of Stephen Coughlin, Carr challenged Spencer thusly— claim that you also believe that moderate Muslims exist. You just have trouble finding them. Do I have that right?

—Spencer responded:

No, of course you don't. As I have said many, many times, there are hundreds of millions of Muslims who are not waging jihad and never will. They aren't hard to find. Lots of them are in the U.S.

Again, the mere fact that these hundreds of millions are not waging jihad and probably never will (most likely, statistically speaking) is not sufficient to grant them the title of “moderate Muslim”—for, as I argued in my immediately preceding essay on this blog, that title connotes more conscious thought and action than those hundreds of millions demonstrate.

The vast majority of those hundreds of millions are really merely not being extremist—simply by the fact that they are refraining from uttering and writing extremist sentiments, and refraining from doing extremist deeds. Thus, the term “moderate Muslim” is being used by Spencer (and many others) to denote a passive stance: it is a negative definition, denoting only the absence of extremism, not a positive definition that would denote actual substantive concrete conscious expressions and actions.

And what would those actual substantive concrete conscious expressions and actions be that this
“moderate Muslim” would say and do? Ay, there's the rub. There is a paradoxical dynamic in the approximation toward this zero point called the “moderate Muslim”, involving two vectors:

1) The vector of

2) The vector of

If “Muslim” is defined according to essence—the canonical writings of the foundational texts (Koran and Sunna, as well as the Sunna's equivalent in Shia Islam)it is clear that moderation is excluded.

If, however, “Muslim” is defined according to accidents—the history and current behavior of Muslims (including all extra-canonical writings that are based upon those canonical writings)—and one attempts to separate these accidents from the essence, with the additional claim that the essence is perfectly harmonious with moderation but has been “corrupted” by the accidents, then one has at least an abstract theory of a “moderate Muslim” as the Muslim who recovers the allegedly moderate essence of Islam. The problem here, of course, is the massive resistance such a recovery would encounter throughout the Muslim world, rendering such a recovery of dubious practical value to the current exigency of the threat of Muslims, in various locations around the globe which we cannot predict, who want to mass-murder as many Infidels as possible and destroy as much Infidel infrastructure as possible.

The more pronounced is the
vector of “moderation”, the less realistic is its effectiveness for our exigent problem; and of course the more pronounced is the vector of “Muslim” defined as it always has been defined and continues to be massively defined, the less moderate will be its fruits.

The are additional problems as well:

1) We Infidels cannot sufficiently know which Muslims we deem to be “moderate Muslims” will remain “moderate”

2) We Infidels cannot even sufficiently delineate overall who are the “moderate Muslims” and who are the extremists.

Of course, every time a Muslim explodes, or is caught by a photographer holding up a sign “Behead Those Who Insult Islam”, or participates in a lynch mob attacking someone who insulted Mohammed, or writes an essay dancing evasively around whether Koran 4:34 actually condones the beating of wives and female sex slaves—then we do know (and of course, my little list hardly exhausts the 1,001 different ways Muslims can demonstrate their

The problem is, our fairly constant situation is that our overall data about Muslim populations around the world represents a trans-national mass (wonderfully diverse like a lovely tapestry, of course) out of which pullulates in various locales around the globe extremist behaviors of various flavors, ranging from terrorist attacks all the way down to clever evasions and whitewashings of Islamic history, with many gradations in between, including cultural pathologies like honor killings and female genital mutilation, intolerance against people of other religions, lynchings and mass protests in support of regressive idiocy, etc. ad nauseam.

So once again, I call for a new term: the AHM—the Apparently Harmless Muslim. The new term is more accurate and descriptive of those hundreds of millions of Muslims out there who just happen to be not saying or doing anything extremist. It also covers that tiny minority of Muslims who claim to articulate moderate sentiments, but about whose sincerity we do not have the luxury of wholly trusting, given the exigent danger we are in.


Anonymous said...


As far as I can tell, JW/DW is slipping. Their breadth of coverage is not as good as other sites such as RoP and Islam-Watch. They are missing lots of important news items. I find Spencer and Hugh are very repetitious, and it gets tiring to read the same types of responses over and over again. They need the Handbook, but they don't grasp this basic, obvious point. The comments section suffered a major blow after the whole MS affair. JW commenting policies are seriously in question because MS is allowed to continue posting after all her major infractions while others have been banned or had posts deleted for far less. Spencer wastes his time with the likes of Jeff Carr, et al., instead of dealing with them categorically in the Handbook or delegating such tasks to other JW staff members or volunteers. The whole issue of the moderate Muslim should be dealt with in the Handbook so that when the Jeff Carrs come along--and they do, daily--all Spencer needs to do is push a button and voila there's the refutation. Indeed, if Spencer were to produce or otherwise effect the development of the Handbook, he would not even need to push a button or even look at Jeff Carr's posts. JW readers would eagerly direct Jeff Carr et al. to the link. As you've said, this should be a machine. It should run itself, and, once complete, should not take up Spencer's time. A major virtue of the Handbook is that, once completed, Islam propagandists and apologists will be the ones wasting their time and effort talking to our machine while we happily go about our various interesting and enjoyable non-Islam related activities.

It must be kept in mind that a major objective of the various Muslim propagandists is to try and occupy everyone's time and attention with Islam and Muslims. It amazes me at how they are able to tie Spencer up for long periods of time. Again, the Handbook, which I believe should be constructed by some group unrelated to JW, will save us lots of time, time that we would love to spend on something other than Islam and Muslims.

Anonymous said...

And by the "we" who would ideally like to spend our time on non-Islam-related subjects and activities, I mean all the anti-Jihadists and anti-Sharia non-Muslims and apostates. Islam seeks to not only occupy and dominate our space but also our time, energy, and our minds...we need to resist that also.

Also, a suggestion: Provide links on your blog to other like-minded or related sites...this will increase the number of viewers to your site.

I like the idea that the Islam meme should be handled with machines, computers, robots, rather than us having to waste our valuable time on it.

Anonymous said...

So we need a Handbook that allows us, as you say, to "debate like a machine"--minimal involvement, routine yet precise and comprehensive responses.

And we need an actual machine or software that is programmed to debate, like a human, against the usual (and machine-like) Islam apologetics.

Erich said...


Yes, you and I are on the same page with regards to the necessity of a Booklet.

"And we need an actual machine or software that is programmed to debate, like a human, against the usual (and machine-like) Islam apologetics."

I'm not sure an actual machine software would do the trick -- it would be difficult to get the machine to recognize all the various permutations of challenges/assummptions from the apologists. A human of basic intelligence, however, can recognize them (i.e., recognize the variations as belonging to the same class) -- then at that point, he can punch in the machine to do the rest of the work.

It seems, with people like Spencer, we are witnessing still the anti-Islam movement in its embyronic stages. It seems that many years will have to go by before enough people (particularly people of influence) recognize the need for a Booklet.

Nobody said...


I've noticed that as well - that JW/DW is slipping. Yesterday, they did some good touching on Clinton, but given the election schedule, they'd have done well to have had different posts highlighting the different candidates as they aim for their respective milestones e.g. Romney in MI, Thompson in SC, et al.

I ignore MS nowadays, and thankfully, her pro-Islamic posts on Serbia are gone, even though her anti-Orthodox views remain, such as on Russia. Also, once Jeff Carr cited Jim Sutter, that should have been enough to get him banned, just as Roobart Sbunser was.

Maybe it's just me, but these days, the stories look boring.

Erich said...

Kab and Nob (sorry, couldn't resist the alliteration),

Oddly enough, I don't share your increasing disenchantment with JW. It doesn't seem to have deteriorated in my view; it's just that some latent flaws continue to present themselves.

On the other hand, I think Spencer should have a powwow with his staff and consider whether he wants to keep the site going in the same style, or revamp it. One possible revamping I have already suggested before, which would more overtly and massively integrate his reader population.