Thursday, May 15, 2008

Contradiction Watch 3









An ostensible contradiction can be either of three things:


1) An actual contradiction—in which case only of its two poles can be true.

2) An apparent contradiction—in which case its two poles only seem to contradict each other, but really dont.

3) A feigned or an incoherently held contradiction—in which case the person expressing it either really only holds one of its two poles and is deceiving his audience by conveying the impression that he really holds both poles; or he is holding together the contradiction out of stupidity, stubbornness or other psychological reasons (or all of the above).

To remind our readers, Robert Spencer’s contradiction is essentially between the following two poles:

Pole #1: There exist moderate Muslims out there in sufficient numbers whose moderateness is of a viability for reform such that we the West can reasonably and pragmatically adjust our behaviors with regard to the Problem of Islam in light of that sufficiently potential viability for reform.

Pole #2: Our ability to tell the difference between dangerous and deceitful Muslims, on the one hand, and Muslims who genuinely belong to category #1 is sufficiently impaired, due mainly to factors intrinsic to Islamic culture, that the pragmatic use of category #1 Muslims for our purposes of self-defense does not rise to the level of reasonably potential viability.

Put more simply:

Pole #1: We should use moderate Muslims to help us solve the Problem of Islam.

Pole #2: We can’t identify and locate enough moderate Muslims to help us with the Problem of Islam, and we never will, mainly because of the Islamic culture of deceit, which essentially renders all Muslims untrustworthy for our purposes of self-defense, even if we know theoretically that many trustworthy Muslims exist.

If Robert Spencer’s contradiction, about which we have written specifically here and here (and which we have analyzed at length in eleven previous essays on this blog (including the 4-part series Robert Spencer: Soft on Islam?), falls under the type we listed second at the very top of our essay, then Spencer can be let off the hook.

Our previous essays in this Contradiction Watch series (as well as the other eleven essays we mentioned above) lead us to conclude that Spencer’s contradiction is of the #3 variety. Whether his is an incoherently held contradiction, maintained through the sheer tenacity of his prickly obstinacy and egotism, or whether he is selectively stupid (since it is clear he is not stupid about other matters), or whether he is feigning a contradiction dissembled as only an apparent contradiction—only his hairdresser knows for sure.

One can only conjecture. One reason could be—if Spencer only believes in Pole #2 of the contradiction—that he is using the contradiction as a rhetorical device to force his critics to face the logical consequence of the contradiction to which they themselves contribute: one pole manifested in their hope for Muslim reform and the other pole manifested in the evidence of Islamic danger, injustice and evil which Spencer, in his “day job”, helps to bulldoze into an ever-increasing mountain. We have in the prior essays mentioned above already considered this and tentatively rejected it. Another reason could be—if Spencer only believes in Pole #1 of the contradiction—rooted in his Christian humanism. This, however, would make his “day job” most curious indeed, salvageable perhaps as a kind of massive demonstration of “tough love” for all those millions and millions of Muslims he believes are God’s children who need to be saved from Islam. Or perhaps, at the end of the day, our explanation briefly entertained above is the case—sheer contrarian obstinacy undergirded by egotism—, since his mode of dissemblement rarely rises to the level of the sophistry indicative of a person trying to deceive with regard to such a transparently untenable position; and we know all too well that Spencer is capable of disingenuous sophistry, so it cannot be for lack of ability.

Who knows. The point is, Spencer is presenting a contradiction of one form or another regularly and emphatically. And that’s a problem for the Anti-Islam Movement, since he is such an otherwise influential and worthy leader of it.

Thus, from a recent Jihad Watch article:

Allegation about Robert Spencer from Muslim apologist Omer Subhani:

[Spencer] says that moderate and peaceful Muslims need to speak out against the elements within their religious doctrine that jihadis use to justify violence and "reform" those elements.

Response from Spencer:

Yep.

Omer Subhani continued:

But based upon Davis' definition of taqiyya how could a person ever know who a sincerely peaceful Muslim is? How would we know such a person isn't deceiving us into thinking that they are a peaceful Muslim when in reality they are just hiding their true jihadi beliefs?

Response from Spencer:

Good questions!

In his second response, Spencer’s snippily cheerful and breezy reply serves to support the rhetorical nature of Subhanis questions—i.e., because they are “good questions” then there is no good way to answer them definitively such that we could in fact trust Muslims in sufficient numbers to make a difference for our self-defense.

And yet, in his first response, Spencer implies that we can in fact hope to trust Muslims in sufficient numbers—else why do supposedly moderate and peaceful Muslims “need” to speak out? There can be no “need” because, according to Spencer’s second response, there is no way to measure the sincere reality of moderate and peaceful Muslims! So which is it, Spencer?

Good questions!

16 comments:

Omer Subhani said...

Erich,

Maybe you should ask him why he refuses to address my arguments in full. In his latest post today he did not address my argument in it's entirety: http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/021069.php

I think for you especially my arguments about taqiyya are important since you have shown the glaring contradiction of Spencer's words.

I made two points about the exegesis of the verses in the Qur'an about taqiyya or deception:

1. Muslims had to have been persecuted in a non-Muslim land.

2. The more important point, which Spencer failed to address, or simply ignored because he knew he could not comment on it coherently, was that Muslims had to be forced to offer words of unbelief, as occurred during the time of the Prophet Muhammad himself, in order for them to be allowed a dispensation to lie in order to save their lives.

Your concerns about not knowing which Muslims could be trusted and hence, our nation should not trust any of them, is flawed on the assumption that Islam, in its Sunni form, does not provide a dispensation for Muslims to deceive non Muslims in a non Muslim nation in order to install an Islamic government.

I would like to you to show me one historical example where such a method was employed and was successful. The idea that this method was being employed was highlighted by Steve Emerson about some members of the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S. It seems the notion of innocent until proven guilty does not apply to Muslim Americans unfortunately.

Erich said...

omer subhani,

You wrote:

"I think for you especially my arguments about taqiyya are important since you have shown the glaring contradiction of Spencer's words."

There is an ostensible contradiction in Spencer's words, which as I wrote in my essay above could be either only an apparent contradiction or an actual contradiction. I object to the contradiction, which means that I only support one of the two parts that are in contradiction:

1) that Muslims practice taqiyya sufficiently to be an intractable problem for us Infidels

or

2) the millions and millions of harmless Muslims that probably exist are useful to us Infidels as partners in the world.

I believe (1), not (2). I object to Spencer regularly implying both (1) and (2), which injects confusion into this debate, when we need clarity.

You wrote:

"I made two points about the exegesis of the verses in the Qur'an about taqiyya or deception:

1. Muslims had to have been persecuted in a non-Muslim land."

The problem with this is that "being persecuted" is a relative, subjective concept. As we know from Muslim writings (such as Ibn Kathir), the mere dominance and flourishment of Shirk anywhere in the world for example can be perceived by Muslims as "persecution" (not to mention as a horrible unbearable blasphemy that cannot be allowed to remain for long). At any rate, Muslims don't need a special religious doctrine to support a case for practicing lying when they are being directly persecuted in the real sense -- by unlawful torture, oppression -- this is the right of EVERYbody. Muslims need to give up their special universe of political laws and join the human race and its modern laws which will protect them as much as anybody else. But Muslims won't, because their ultimate agenda is more than mere self-defense and getting along with others: it is conquest and supremacism.

You wrote:

"2. The more important point, which Spencer failed to address, or simply ignored because he knew he could not comment on it coherently, was that Muslims had to be forced to offer words of unbelief, as occurred during the time of the Prophet Muhammad himself, in order for them to be allowed a dispensation to lie in order to save their lives."

Which is it then? General "persecution" or specifically being "forced to offer words of unbelief"? And when you decide which it is, then what is your evidence for making the claim?

However, even "forced to offer words of unbelief" can be broadly interpreted, if "Belief" means that the whole Earth should be under the rule of the truth of Islam -- under this circumstance, when a Muslim lives under a realm where the truth of Islam is denied socially, culturally, politically and legally, then the Muslim just by living in that realm and supporting it with his existence as a working citizen is in effect being "forced" to deny his Belief -- unless he puts his mind in the frame of taqiyya and knows "in his heart" he really believes in the ultimate domination of Islam, but "outwardly" pretends that co-existence in the world with Unbelievers, and the regional political and legal dominance of Unbelievers that goes along with that co-existence, is forever okay (not just "temporarily" okay).

You wrote:

"Your concerns about not knowing which Muslims could be trusted and hence, our nation should not trust any of them, is flawed on the assumption that Islam, in its Sunni form, does not provide a dispensation for Muslims to deceive non Muslims in a non Muslim nation in order to install an Islamic government."

Why do the Sunni Muslims al-Zawahiri, bin Laden and their supporters around the world disagree with you, and they offer evidence from the Koran, hadiths and Islamic tradition?

My experience with the attitude of Muslims in conversations does not encourage me that they are capable of a sincere debate that is not disingenuous, evasive, and irrationally defensive at every turn. And why should they be sincere and forthright, when an Infidel is challenging them to be good according to Infidel standards? How dare that Infidel do that! For Islam has its own universe of rules and laws, better than the Infidel's rules and laws. What's the point of dialogue, when there are two separate worlds of rules, with the presumption of superiority rather than indefinite compromise? The only thing the rational West will not compromise with, is a system like Islam that does not believe in indefinite compromise with other systems it deems to be blasphemous (conceived as practicing and nourishing Shirk, Fitna, Fasad throughout the Earth).

You wrote:

"I would like to you to show me one historical example where such a method was employed and was successful."

911.

"The idea that this method was being employed was highlighted by Steve Emerson about some members of the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S. It seems the notion of innocent until proven guilty does not apply to Muslim Americans unfortunately."

Innocent until proven guilty applies to the realm of citizens accused of crimes. It does not apply to a trans-national army that is trying to infiltrate us in order to destroy us -- using infiltration, subterfuge and sabotage in tandem with small commando operations mainly because their overall command structure has been rendered too weak (including Headless, without a Caliph) over the past 300 years to mount the kinds of official military invasions they used to deploy during the "Golden Age" of Islam.

Omer Subhani said...

The al-Qaeda individuals you mentioned have never, to my knowledge, urged Muslims to follow taqiyya. Even Hugh Fitzgerald acknowledges that: "Among those who see no need to practice taqiyya when rousing fellow Muslims, but instead see the need to remind their listeners of the central tenets and teachings of Islam, are Osama Bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi."

Al-Qaeda has never called for the implementation of this unorthodox use of taqiyya.

Moving along, or backward actually in reference to your points, you asked me which definition I would choose for taqiyya and what proof I had to support my claim.

It's rather elementary actually. The proof comes from a famous hadith where the following occurred: "The nonbelievers arrested `Ammar Ibn Yasir (RA) and (tortured him until) he (RA) uttered foul words about the Prophet (PBUH&HF), and praised their gods (idols); and when they released him (RA), he (RA) went straight to the Prophet (PBUH&HF). The Prophet (PBUH&HF) said: "Is there something on your mind?" `Ammar Ibn Yasir (RA) said: "Bad (news)! They would not release me until I defamed you (PBUH&HF) and praised their gods!" The Prophet (PBUH&HF) said: "How do you find your heart to be?" `Ammar (RA) answered: "Comfortable with faith." So the Prophet (PBUH&HF) said: "Then if they come back for you, then do the same thing all over again." Allah (SWT) at that moment revealed the verse: "....except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in faith...[16:106]"

So lying is permitted clearly when a Muslim is forced to utter words of disbelief in God or His Prophet. And not for the type of strange belief you mentioned, i.e. belief that Islam should rule the world. When we speak of beliefs for Muslims it should be understood that the belief has to do with articles of faith, such as the Muslim belief in the oneness of God, belief in Prophets, divine books, the Day of Judgment, etc. Believing that the world should be ruled by Islam or Muslims is not an article of faith.

In addition, the Prophet gave dispensation to lie under other circumstances, as narrated in Sahih Muslim. The lying is allowed during battle, to make reconciliation amongst two parties, and between husband and wife for, again, reconciliation.

And when we say battle we would have to refer it back to what was understood at the time of the Prophet Muhammad. Battle meant actual warfare, combat, etc.

As far as Muslims conducting jihad against non Muslims indefinitely you should read Sherman Jackson's article on Jihad and the Modern World. In that paper he argues conclusively that based upon clear evidence in the Qur'an and Sunnah there does not have to be a never ending jihad against non Muslims. Islam and Muslims can live in peace with non Muslims and non Muslim nations in peace forever.

And under your definition of innocent until proven guilty I'm glad I'm a citizen then.

awake said...

Erich,

It appears that Omer Subhani has mistaken your continuous assault on Spencer as tacit approval for his criticism of Spencer as well.

Odd, don't you think?

Omer Subhani said...

Sorry, awake, but that's not the case. We just happen to both agree that Spencer made an obvious blunder when replying to me on the point Erich pointed out. On everything else, as you can see from our discussion, we don't see eye to eye.

awake said...

"We just happen to both agree that Spencer made an obvious blunder when replying to me on the point Erich pointed out."

Omer,

What is it exactly that you and Erich agree upon?

Erich said...

awake,

Not really odd; it's happened at least twice before, with a Muslim commenter as well as with that flake Jim Sutter (both of whom initially thought I must be anti-Spencer in the way they are). I think it's easily explained by the fact that they haven't bothered to read my blog (a reading of pretty much any two essays here would quickly dispel their misunderstanding).

awake said...

Erich,

Even after reading your initial response to him on this thread, he still thinks that you two agree on something.

No wonder Spencer took delight in destroying Subhani's "arguments" against him.

Like I said to you earlier, I think you have a lot to offer in the counter-jihad movement, but I think your continuous assault on Spencer and Fitzgerald is misplaced and quite frankly, personal.

There is not a fine line between Spencer's position and Islamic apologism.

I just read your latest entry and I must disagree.

Regards.

Erich said...

omer subhani,

You wrote:

"The al-Qaeda individuals you mentioned have never, to my knowledge, urged Muslims to follow taqiyya."

The al Qaeda Manual has a section for instructions to Muslims engaged in undercover commando operations that includes:

"1. Have a general appearance that does not indicate Islamic orientation (beard, toothpick, (long) shirt, small Koran)

2. Be careful not to mention the brother's common expressions or show their behaviors (special praying appearance, "may Allah reward you", "peace be on you", while arriving and departing, etc.)

3. Avoid visiting famous Islamic places (mosques, libraries, Islamic fairs, etc.)"

Later in the same Manual, is written:

"Concerning the issue of clothing and appearance (of true religion [Arabic was probably "Deen" here]), Ibn Taimia -- may Allah have mercy on him -- said, "If a Muslim in in combat or godless area, he is not obligated to have a different appearance from (those around him). The (Muslim) man may prefer or even be obligated to look like them, provided his actions bring a religious benefit... resembling the polytheist in religious appearance is a kind of "necessity permits the forbidden" even though they (forbidden acts) are basically prohibited."

Keep in mind the al Qaeda Manual was written probably in the late 80s, early 90s, when certain types of taqiyya were necessary. For fanatics intent on succeeding in their missions, any adaptation would be expedient. For example, they could recognize that in our politically correct climate today, it would probably be easier for a Muslim to infiltrate key places by looking and acting like a Muslim, because so many Infidels are afraid of "offending" them by discriminating against them out of a surrounding crowd of people who don't look and act Muslim. But the underlying principle is the same: Do whatever you need to do to help Islam, including lying and deceiving, as long as in your heart you remain a Believer.

(Source: http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/cpc-pubs/post.pdf)

The issue is not the word "taqiyya". The issue is the expediency of lying -- whatever word you want to call it (in order to help Islam.

Example:

Sahih al-Bukhari, v7, p102, wrote that Abu al-Darda' said:

"(Verily) we smile for some people, while our hearts curse (those same
people)."

The word "taqiyya" is not here, but who cares? The concept of lying and pretending to people who are thought to be against Islam is there, hallowed by the most authoritative Sunni collector of hadiths in history.

Erich said...

awake,

"Even after reading your initial response to him on this thread, he [subhani] still thinks that you two agree on something."

If subhani is talking about Spencer's contradiction between

1) agreeing that taqiyya logically makes all Muslims suspect

and

2) his continuing refusal to suspect all Muslims,

then that would be the agreement between subhani and me.

Any other point of agreement would likely be a misunderstanding on subhani's part.

"Like I said to you earlier, I think you have a lot to offer in the counter-jihad movement, but I think your continuous assault on Spencer and Fitzgerald is misplaced and quite frankly, personal."

If it is partly personal, that is not relevant to the non-personal parts. Both pertain. My non-personal objections to the analytical methodologies of Spencer and Fitzgerald are cogent in my view, and until I see someone present a counter-argument based on what I have written on this blog, I will stand by the usefulness of my critiques.

"I just read your latest entry and I must disagree."

If you are referring to the "Strike One" essay I just put up today, I'd like to know why. Do you disagree that Spencer is patently incorrect when he says I "claim that [Spencer] want[s] the West not to resist the jihadists" !? That's a ridiculous characterization my position.

awake said...

Erich,

Of course I do not think that Subhani and you have anything in common. I was merely pointing out another embarassing admission by Subhani to erroneously declare such a bond.

This is solely based on your continued criticism of Spencer.

That fact, Subhani's misapproprited loyalty to your criticism, even though you explicitly refuted him in your first post, is easily understood.

Simply, Subhani is a dolt, for I have no other demeaning yet proper terms to render him as.

I reject your posts because they are manifestly biased from a personal level about Spencer and JW's well-defined cause.

No one would take Spencer's re-directed criticism of you (and Auster) on the personal level that you do. This problematic personal rift needs to be addressed and overcome. I assure you however, that Robert will not be moved.

You are certainly entitled to your opinion, and neither I, nor Champ, nor Robert will forcibly dissuade you from that, but I think we all ask you to reconsider your position.

You owe a great deal to Fitzgerald and Spencer in terms of education to what Islam really is, whether you choose to admit that obvious fact or not.

As a self-proclaimed Christian, there is always the lesson of the prodigal son to consider. I speak from the head. I defend Spencer solely on logical terms for his opponents never offer a logical counter argument.

You, on the otherhand, with the ability of nearly irrefutable logical foundations, have adulterated yourself and rendered yourself into near self-imposed exile.

Champ, (Peace be upon her) speaks from the heart. She, like myself, is confused as well, to the dedication that you have put in to ridicule Robert and Co.

By your own admission, JWW was created after the Hesperado, yet JWWW's post count leads to this day.

Please, reconsider.

Regards,

awake

Erich said...

awake,

No leader of a movement worth his salt vilifies his opponents the way Spencer does.

Spencer is excellent as a Reporter of the Problem of Islam.

However, he is flawed as an Analyst.

I like the way he refutes criticisms from Islam Apologists.

The way he resists criticism from anti-Islamists who challenge him, however, is disturbing. I have copious evidence on my blog.

If you and other Spencer supporters choose not to read my evidence, then you don't have a leg to stand on to refute me. First read my evidence and analyses, THEN refute me, with detailed references to my words. That's all I ask.

Too much to ask, apparently.

awake said...

Erich,

Your criticism of Spencer seems to hinge on one positional difference.

Spencer says that reform of the jihadist supremacy principle and certain other aspects (e.g.women's rights) is necessary for Islam to be considered non-threatening to non-muslims, whereas your position deems Islam inherently corrupt to the core, unreformable and therefore the perpetual enemy of non-mulsims in totality.

Am I missing something, or do I need to write an unecessarily long response to make that point?

Erich said...

awake,

"Spencer says that reform of the jihadist supremacy principle and certain other aspects (e.g.women's rights) is necessary for Islam to be considered non-threatening to non-muslims, whereas your position deems Islam inherently corrupt to the core, unreformable and therefore the perpetual enemy of non-mulsims in totality."

It is this, and more:

Spencer does not merely seem to call for Islamic reform, he also:

1) in his major activity of his "day job" amasses the mountain of evidence that exists out there and that keeps growing, of Islamic horrors + Islamic duplicity and false moderation -- a mountain of evidence that would lead anyone with half a brain to conclude that any expectation of reform is not only pragmatically useless, but possibly positively harmful to our self-defense needs

2) has made statements that indicate he does not really believe in the viability of Islamic reform (most recently, in his retorts to "anonymous" on that Koran-kissing thread the other day, when "anonymous" challenged Spencer on why he keeps calling for Islamic reform, Spencer replied "Don't you know what 'calling their bluff' means?" -- indicating that he is 'calling their bluff' when he calls for Muslims to reform.

3) indicated recently that he accepts the logical conclusion of the problem of taqiyya (that it renders all Muslims suspect, not just some of them, since we have no way of telling the difference even if we concede that there must exist some honestly peaceful Muslims out there somewhere).

So, Spencer does not merely seem to be calling for Islamic reform of the jihadist principle, he also seems to contradict that expectation in his other statements and in his major activity of amassing that mountain of Islamic horrors and lies that would indicate to anyone with half a brain that any expectation of reform is pragmatically useless, and even dangerous, given the risks we face of innumerable Muslims plotting in secret in various undetectable places (with their ability to hide and move around unsuspected augmented by our PC MC idiocy) to mass-murder as many of us as possible and to destroy as much of our infrastructure as they can.

(the above is a quick reply; I may have left out key points in my hurry)

awake said...

"I spoke in the first statement above about calling the bluffs of pseudo-reformers"

http://jihadwatch.org/archives/020749.php

Actually, that is the true contextt of that statement that appeared in response to "anonymous" the other day, calling the bluffs of pseudo reformers, not all Muslims. It is disingenuous to pick and choose what articles to define Spencer, while omitting a specific one by him clarifying your accusation of his logical contradiction.

Erich said...

awake,

I've already dealt in at least one previous essay here on this blog the phrase "pseudo-reformers". Spencer when he frames his expectation of reform does not always direct it at "pseudo-reformers"; he also directs it generally at the Muslim world with no explicit limitation.

Obviously, anybody with half a brain is against a "pseudo-reformer", since such a creature is already defined by the "pseudo" as false!

Consider what Spencer said when he repudiated the Nazi/Islam analogy:

Islam has meant many things to many people at different times. There are Muslims that know nothing of what I am saying here. This is a fact that must be reckoned with.

One wonders about that last sentence of Spencer’s: “reckoned with” exactly how? In such a way as to temper our policy with respect to the exigencies of our self-defense? If not, then why even mention it? Would “reckoning with” all those multitudes of peaceful Muslims that exist out there somehow help our self-defense? Exactly how? If not, then why even mention it?

To Spencer's "reckoned with" statement one should also add his claim that there are "millions and millions" of peaceful Muslims, and that he is "not anti-Islam".

Of what possible practical use are those "millions and millions" of peaceful Muslims, if we cannot locate them mainly because of taqiyya; if they are not stepping up to the plate to do anything about Islam; if peculiar unique features of Islamic culture facilitate even passive and seemingly harmless Muslims to enable the dangerous Muslims; and, finally, if the threats against us are so potentially horrific + the ability of Muslims to hide amongst us and plot mass-murders is so easy?

Enough already with Spencer's gingerly Fred Astaire tap-dancing!