In today’s Jihad Watch, Spencer reproduces a list from a Rand Corporation think tank study that purportedly delineates a kind of litmus test by which to determine the qualifications of a
The problem is that Spencer reproduces this list completely uncritically; in fact, approvingly.
However, had Spencer bothered to check out the comments at the site where the list was published (the site of one Jeffrey Carr), he would have seen an excellent critique of that list by somebody named “cantor”.
Before I reproduce the critique of cantor, I will post cantor’s trenchantly apt conclusion:
Now if a mere mortal and non-"expert" like me could spot these flaws so easily and in a matter of 60 minutes correct them, why did Angel Rabasa -- "
I would second cantor’s rhetorical question—and would add that it applies even more searingly to Spencer himself, who should have anticipated at least most of the points cantor articulated.
Here then, is cantor’s critique of the
The excerpt that Jeffrey Carr provides, of a list of questions designed to vet genuine "moderate Muslims", from the RAND study under the title "Application of Criteria", has numerous flaws.
My comments in brackets:
1) * Does the group (or individual) support or condone violence? If it does not support or condone violence now, has it supported or condoned it in the past?
[This is an insufficient question, for it does not cover the enormous problem in Islam of the notion of the supposedly righteous deployment of violence for "self-defense", and the directly related secondary problem in Islam of the murky fungibility of the notion of "self-defense" on the one hand, with the idea -- robustly supported in Islamic texts, traditions and history -- of militarily (or guerilla-style) offensive expansionism as the supremacist birth-right of domination over the Earth granted by Allah to Islam and its representatives. The thin line between "defense" and "offense" can be seen, for example, in Ibn Kathir's tafsir of the Koran where he explains that when non-Muslims are successfully promulgating Shirk (anything resembling "polytheism" which includes ignoring Allah's Commandments) and Fitna ("disorder in the land" which can be broadly interpreted to mean anything un-Islamic), those non-Muslims are in effect OFFENDING Islam and must be fought against -- logically in "defense" of Islam.
Thus the linchpin here is the notion of "self-defense": it has to be extracted from its roots out of Islam. The question then appropriately re-worded becomes:
"Does the group (or individual) support or condone violence even in the name of "self-defense" of Islam? [Correct answer: No] Or is the group (or individual) willing to leave all corporal "self-defense" of Islam up to secular authorities -- police and armies of their respective secular nations -- who will protect Muslims no less, and no more (and only after due process under a system of secularist equal rights), than they protect any other groups or individuals who feel their rights, persons or property are being threatened?" [Correct answer: Yes.] ]
2) * Does it support democracy? And if so, does it define democracy broadly in terms of individual rights?
[Again, this is insufficient. Supporting "democracy" is not good enough, unless the "democracy" you are supporting guarantees complete EQUALITY of the rights of all individuals and groups. The phrase in the above question, "in terms of individual rights" could easily be accepted under Shari'a law and the system of Dhimmitude, for the Shari'a-supporting Muslim could accurately (and cleverly) say: "Of course we support 'individual rights' and will defend them" -- without, however, acknowledging the necessity of treating everyone EQUALLY under the law. The Shari'a-supporting Muslim could therefore maintain a system of governance where 'individual rights' are 'supported' while at the same time enforcing the superiority of Muslims over non-Muslims in various ways (as for example enumerated in the Pact of Umar): for this is to 'support' 'individual rights' after all -- the 'individual right' of the Muslim in his superiority, and the 'individual right' of the non-Muslim in his inferiority. Question #2 then appropriately re-worded becomes:
"Does it support democracy? And if so, does it define democracy broadly in terms of individual rights, full equality of all groups and individuals under the law, and systems of representational leverage to ensure that the rights of equality of minorities are not being abused by the majority?" ]
3) * Does it support internationally recognized human rights?
[This question should be sharpened by specifically asking the Muslim to choose between the UDHR (Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, explicitly rejected by all Muslim countries in 1948 and ever since then right up to the present), and the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights of 1990 which makes sure to limit human rights by legalistic wiggle room enabling Shari'a law. Question #3 could easily be answered "Yes" by a clever Muslim who simply considers the Cairo Declaration to be a manifesto of "internationally recognized human rights" -- since it was, and continues to be, the officially recognized manifesto of the OIC (Organization of Islamic Conference) representing over 50 Muslim countries around the world.
Finally, not only should the Muslim appropriately answer the re-worded question in light of my above explanation, he or she should also provide an answer in essay form articulating WHY he or she supports the UDHR over the Cairo Declaration.]
4) * Does it believe that changing religions is an individual right?
[Not good enough: The question should be re-worded:
"Does it believe that changing religions
a) should be a right of all people and groups protected under law
b) and that the law should appropriately punish any individual or group who tries to intimidate, ostracize, slander, threaten to fire from a job, or physically hurt or threaten violence any individual or group who has changed religion or supports changing religion?" ]
5) * Does it believe the state should enforce the criminal-law component of shari’a?
* Does it believe the state should enforce the civil-law component of shari’a? Or does it believe there should be non-shari’a options for those who prefer civil-law matters to be adjudicated under a secular legal system?
[These questions are fine, but should be supplemented by questions that will ask whether the individual or group supports any style of vigilantism, such as individuals, family members, tribal members or simply crowds of Muslims taking the Divine Law of Allah (Shari'a) into their own hands when the authorities are so wicked and corrupt as to shirk their responsibility in this regard. This supplementary question should also probe for whether the Muslim respondant accepts and supports the social virtue of actually PUNISHING under law any individuals or groups who pursue any form of vigilantism designed to unofficially enforce Divine Law.
6) * Does it believe that members of religious minorities are entitled to build and run institutions of their faith (churches and synagogues) in Muslim majority countries?
[This question either ignorantly, or perhaps very cleverly, omits some crucial things: I will re-paste the question, adding the crucial stipulations in caps:
"Does it believe that members of religious minorities are entitled to build AND RE-BUILD AND REPAIR CHURCHES, SYNAGOGUES OR TEMPLES, AND BUILD THEM OR RE-BUILD THEM WITH HEIGHTS AND VISUAL SPLENDOR THAT EXCEED THOSE OF MOSQUES IF THEY SO DESIRE (WITH CERTAIN EXCEPTIONS TO BE ADJUDICATED ACCORDING TO CITY CODES UNDER A SYSTEM OF FULL EQUALITY OF RIGHTS SUBJECT TO LEGAL ACTION IF THOSE RIGHTS ARE DEEMED TO BE ABUSED); and to run institutions of their faith (churches and synagogues AND TEMPLES) in Muslim majority countries?"
Explanation for the above additions:
The Pact of Umar specifically forbids non-Muslims from
a) re-building and/or repairing their churches or synagogues that are destroyed or need repairs
b) the building of churches or synagogues taller than, or the same height as, mosques.
Secondly, the above question only focuses on Jews and Christians, but the rights of Buddhists and Hindus are also abused, e.g., Malaysia and Indonesia, Pakistan, and their temples are being demolished or vandalized even today (while they were destroyed by the thousands during the centuries of Islamic conquest).
Finally, an additional question needs to be added:
"Does it believe that members of religious minorities are entitled to express their religiousity with the same entitlements granted to Muslims -- example, that Christians should be allowed to preach in public and Christian churches should be allowed to ring their bells?"
[The Pact of Umar specifically forbids the ringing of bells.]