Tarek Fatah Derailment

Another “moderate Muslim” traincrash:

“traumatized & feelings hurt” –   by a lowly female……

Scratch the surface, and you find a headbanger, a mirage chaser or a radical in disguise…..

Tarek Fatah Calls Wafa Sultan an ‘Islamophobe’

Tarek Fatah attended that Daniel Pipes/Wafa Sultan debate at a Toronto synagogue, and was horrified by Sultan’s words:

Read it here on Scaramouche

The rebuttal is here, in the National Post:

Counterpoint: In defence of Wafa Sultan

By Joanne Hill

Tarek Fatah has used the National Post to present a one-sided, inaccurate and potentially dangerous editorial about statements made by Dr. Wafa Sultan during her March 3rd debate in Toronto with Dr. Daniel Pipes.

Mr. Fatah’s article is not an unbiased report:  it is an opinion piece full of loaded terms such as slur, attack, hateful, anguish, Islam haters and vitriol.  He misquotes Dr. Sultan and presents as fact a conclusion that is not supported by any of her statements:  a conclusion that I believe puts her life in danger.

I am a freelance reporter; I covered the debate between Dr. Pipes and Dr. Sultan for the Jewish Tribune. I have an audio recording of the entire event, including the Question and Answer period, so I can state with complete accuracy what was and was not said by Dr. Sultan.

Wafa Sultan would not have any of that. “There is no moderate Islam,” she wagged her finger at Pipes. There was only one Islam, she claimed– the Islam of rape, murder and hate.

To his credit — and this will surprise many of his Muslim naysayers —Daniel Pipes reminded his Jewish audience that Islam was not the bogeyman it has been made out to be. “Remember, for over 1,000 years, whenever Jews needed a place for sanctuary, they got it in Muslim lands … The problem is not Islam, it is Islamism,” he told them. Not. There is no “Islamism”. There is only Islam…..

Allow me to address this point:

This is BS, doctor Pipes. I’ll tell you why: The Myth of Islamic Asylum Generosity is just a myth:

Yusuf Ali

9:6:Quran- translation If one amongst the Pagans ask thee for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of Allah. and then escort him to where he can be secure. That is because they are men without knowledge.

Got it? Give the Pagan asylum to hear the word of Allah. If he doesn’t accept Islam, make him pay the jiziya. And if he doesn’t pay the jiziya, fight him, kill him, take booty, rape his wife and sell his children into slavery….. that’s the reason why there are no Jews left in the dar-ul Islam….

No. Thanks,  but no thanks.

Mr. Fatah assumes the authority of a mind-reader to reveal what he claims is Dr. Sultan’s hidden intention.  Given his first-hand experience of the eagerness of some Muslims (or “Islamists” if he would prefer) to issue death threats against anyone who is perceived as threatening Muslims, there are three reasons why I find it disturbing that he would attribute to Dr. Sultan this motivation:   “Perhaps the answer she had in mind was too outrageous even by her own standards:  Force Muslims to convert or die.”

This is disturbing, first of all, because Dr. Sultan said nothing that would lead the listener to come to this conclusion.  When asked during the Q&A, “How do you get Muslims to reform? Do you expect them to convert to another religion?” Dr. Sultan replied:

“Give them the freedom to choose: that’s all I’m asking for.  Give them the freedom to search, to ask, to be exposed to different sides, different values, different lifestyles.  I can tell you from my very own experience, what has helped me to reform myself is being exposed to Western values and being free to express my conclusion.  I always compare between my life under Islamic Sharia and my life as a free woman in America and I write about that on my website in Arabic.  So when you expose people to different [sic], and you give them the freedom to choose, that’s all we need in the Islamic world.  I’m not asking [them] to convert to a different religion; I’m asking to grant them the freedom to choose, the freedom to be, to follow whatever path they want to follow.  That’s all.”

Second, this is what Dr. Sultan said at the conclusion of the Q & A:

“I’m not speaking up against Islam to please anyone but my conscience.  We suffer a lot under Islamic Sharia.  It is not fair.  Enough is enough.  We need to live our lives as human beings.  I want you to know I’m not here to incite anyone against Muslims.  Muslims are my family:  my Mom, my brother, my sister.  You know, I cannot peel off my own skin.  I feel sorry for them because they are victims of a very hateful ideology.  Really, if you take a look at any Islamic country, what do you see?  Nothing but miserable situations, especially women who are living in this society.  So I am speaking up to save them, looking for a better future for them.  And believe it or not, when it comes to my readers in the Arab world, I feel it is easier for me to address my thoughts than to penetrate the Western mind.  People in the West live by the Western ethical code which doesn’t allow them to judge people based on their religion – and there’s nothing wrong with that-but they need to know that Islam is not merely a religion:  it is also a political ideology and that’s what I am fighting.  That’s what I am speaking up against.  And I hope one day, the future for our generation in the Muslim world will be much better than the life I lived under Islamic Sharia in Syria.”

And third, the terrible, secret motivation which Mr. Fatah attributes to Dr. Sultan is in fact a commandment made by Mohammed to his followers regarding non-Muslims:

“Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war…  When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withhold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them…  If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands.  If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah’s help and fight them.”   (Source: Sahih Muslim Book 19, Hadith #4294.)

There is more.

Contrary to what Mr. Fatah writes, Dr. Sultan did not say:  “Muhammed was a child rapist.”

Rather, she said:  “As a married man, Mohammed raped Aisha when she was nine; he was 54.”

If Mr. Fatah is hurt by this statement, perhaps he should consider the source:  Islamic doctrine.  I challenge Mr. Fatah to deny this.

When she said, “There is no moderate Islam,” Dr. Sultan stated quite clearly, more than once,  that she was quoting the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, who said in 2007 in response to the term “moderate Islam”: “These descriptions are very ugly, it is offensive and an insult to our religion. There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.”

Again, perhaps Mr. Fatah should take umbrage with Mr. Erdogan unless he, like the people who took Macleans Magazine to the “human rights” courts,  would suggest that it is no longer permissible in Canada to quote Muslims when they have said something unpleasant about Islam.

I was paying close attention throughout the debate and at no time did I see Dr. Sultan sneer.  She did not say, per Mr. Fatah, “I am ‘clean’ of Islam.”

Dr. Sultan was speaking of the long, difficult process of breaking free from a religious upbringing that has been embedded in one’s psyche from childhood.  She said,  “It is not an easy process:  it is very tough.  I still behave, in many ways, as a Muslim.  I debate in a way [that] I am right and everybody else is wrong.”  This drew laughter and applause from the audience.  Dr. Sultan continued, “So it’s under my skin.  I don’t follow a specific religion.  Of course I believe in God and I am empowered by Him.”

Mr. Fatah writes that he was “traumatized” by Dr. Sultan’s words.  If this is truly the case, I would suggest that Mr. Fatah’s sensitive feelings render him too delicate for this Western society in which he has chosen to live, because we in the free world are not required to continually couch our statements in qualifiers or cushion our strong words.  Dr. Sultan spoke plainly and strongly about her personal experience as a woman raised in an Islamic country under Sharia law.  Contrary to Mr. Fatah’s characterization, she was funny, down-to-earth and as far from hateful as one can get.

Besides, even if Dr. Sultan does hate Islam, what business is that of Mr. Fatah’s?  Is she not entitled to her express own opinion?  As a Christian, I was irked when Dr. Pipes  said that Christianity “started on a much lower base” than Islam.  But so what?  Only a fool would deny the history of crimes committed by Christians against Jews.

Why was Avi Benlolo required to spend at least 20 minutes after the debate placating the hurt feelings and smoothing the ruffled feathers of a self-described “hardened secular Muslim” who is supposed to be on the side of freedom of religion and freedom of speech?

I see at the bottom of Mr. Fatah’s article that his upcoming book is entitled, Unveiling the Myths that Fuel Muslim Anti- Semitism.  On the night of the debate, Mr. Fatah informed Avi Benlolo (in my presence) without a trace of irony that his new book was going to be called, Why We Hate Jews.

Unlike Mr. Fatah, I will not presume to know his motivation in saying that to Mr. Benlolo or in writing his misleading editorial about Dr. Sultan.  I will say, however, that I believe he owes Dr. Sultan, this newspaper and its readers an apology and a retraction.

National Post

Tarek Fatah Calls Wafa Sultan an ‘Islamophobe’

Tarek Fatah attended that Daniel Pipes/Wafa Sultan debate at a Toronto synagogue, and was horrified by Sultan’s words:

…Even a hardened secular Muslim such as myself was deeply hurt by what I heard that evening. I also was disappointed that the speech was at a synagogue, and the audience almost all Jews.

The speaker who caused me this anguish was Wafa Sultan, the Syrian-born American who shot to fame after her appearance on Al Jazeera Television in 2006, where she tore into the arguments of cleric Ibrahim al-Khouli about the ills of Muslim society. The 30-second clip went viral and won great acclaim even among Muslims who respected her for her candid and honest critique of what ails us as a people.

However, instead of using her newfound fame to challenge the established theocracies and corrupt kingdoms of the Middle east, Sultan veered off the deep end and could not resist the temptation of becoming the poster child of Islam haters, joining their ranks with the fervour of a convert.

Inside a Toronto synagogue last week, where she was debating with Prof. Daniel Pipes whether moderate Islam was a Western ally or a Western myth, Dr. Sultan wasted no time in lashing out at her former faith. Catering to the fears of her predominantly Jewish audience, she said, “Muhammad was a Jew killer.” To further inflame the crowd, Wafa Sultan delivered an astonishing account of how the Prophet had slaughtered Jews and then raped the wife of the defeated Jewish tribe.

The vitriol was so severe, it was left to the two Jewish speakers at the debate, the moderator Avi Benlolo and Prof. Pipes to praise Muslims and mention the fact that moderate Muslims were rising up against extremism. Benlolo specifically mentioned the recent 600-page fatwa by the Pakistani cleric Tahir ul Qadri denouncing suicide bombing and terrorism.

However, Wafa Sultan would not have any of that. She chided both Benlolo and Pipes for their naivete. “There is no moderate Islam,” she wagged her finger at Pipes. There was only one Islam, she claimed– the Islam of rape, murder and hate.

To his credit — and this will surprise many of his Muslim naysayers –Daniel Pipes reminded his Jewish audience that Islam was not the bogeyman it has been made out to be. “Remember, for over 1,000 years, whenever Jews needed a place for sanctuary, they got it in Muslim lands … The problem is not Islam, it is Islamism,” he told them.

I left the synagogue deeply disturbed. In the fight against Islamofascism, Wafa Sultan’s hatred of Islam was cultivating the very forces she claims to be exposing. When a questioner asked her “What is the solution?” she just shrugged her shoulders. Perhaps the answer she had in mind was too outrageous even by her own standards: Force Muslims to convert or die…

Er, I’m not sure that that’s the message she had in mind, Tarek. “Knock it off with Islamic supremacism and the jihad-is-the-way-sharia-is-the-goal stuff,” more like.

It’s not that Sultan is an “Islamophobe”–that is, someone with an irrational fear/hatred of Islam. It’s just that as a former Muslim–an apostate, an outsider–she is no longer a believer and, like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, another apostate, is no longer afraid to speak the truth about Islam, warts and all (even though it has earned her a fatwa, a death sentence). As practising Muslims–insiders–who renounce the primacy of sharia, Tarek Fatah and Salim Mansur may bravely criticize other Muslims, but you’ll notice they rarely if ever criticize the faith or its founder. For them, the two remain sacrosanct.

What I find disturbing is that Muslims like Fatah and Mansur who “get it” about sharia and who are on the right side of the free speech issue are so unwilling to take a good look at Islam–Islam, not Islamism–and acknowledge some unpleasant truths about it (as, for example, Dr. Tawfik Hamid, that rare Muslim who isn’t afraid to tell infidels the awful truth, is willing to do). Then, too, I have the sense that Fatah was particularly upset because Sultan was saying these things to aJewish audience (i.e. telling it things Jews shouldn’t be privy to)–which is also kind of disturbing.

Update: Here’s more of Sultan’s “Islamophobia” (from a review in FrontPage Magazine of Sultan’s book The God Who Hates):

For her part, Sultan emphasizes the fear inherent in Islam, where the Koran’s 99 attributes of God include “The Harmer,” “The Compeller,” “The Imperious,” “The Humiliator,” and “The Bringer of Death.” She traces this to the dangerous environment of the Arabian desert, in which life was fragile and unpredictable, heightening people’s fear of the unknown. She also emphasizes the traditional Bedouin practice of raiding; Bedouins feared raids, yet relied on them for their own survival. Muslims today, too, are governed by the philosophy of raiding, she suggests. She describes an incident soon after she arrived in the United States, in which an Arab neighbor took her to the supermarket:

We went into a Vons market and, once there, she began to open every packet she could, then she began to make holes in the lids of cartons of milk, Jell-O, and cream. Then she made holes in a number of bags of potato chips, packets of paper handkerchiefs, and packets of spaghetti.

I shouted at her disapprovingly: “Dina, what are you doing?”

“May God curse them. They stole our land!”

“And are you doing this to try to get it back?”

“I’m trying to hurt them! You’re still new here. Don’t you know the owner’s Jewish?”

This hatred of Jews is not peripheral or dependent on Israel or Israeli behavior. Rather, it is deeply rooted in Islam, which divides the world into two parts, Muslim and non-Muslim. As Sultan recalls from her own childhood: “Jew must be one of the words Muslim children hear most frequently before the age of ten. It is also one of the hardest words they hear, as in their imagination it conjures up visions of killing, depravity, lies, and corruption. When one person wishes to express his disdain for another, he will call him a Jew.”

With some humor, Sultan describes how, early on, she bolted out of a shoe shop in Hollywood, one foot bare, upon discovering that the shop assistant was an Israeli Jew. ”We imbibed with our mother’s milk hatred for the Jews,” she writes, “and for anyone who supported their cause. We justified this hatred by devising a conspiracy theory, and we called anyone who disagreed with us a Zionist agent. This conspiracy theory helped keep Muslims inside the straitjacket in which Islam had imprisoned their minds.”…

Yup. She’s an “Islamophobe,” alright.

Update: Unlike Tawfik Hamid, Tarek Fatah isn’t willing to ‘fess up to the unsavoury stuff in core Islamic teachings. For him, Islam and its founder are simply unassailable. How is he able to rationalize this non-scrutiny? He does so by arguing that Islam per se is not the problem. The problem arises when Muslims become hellbent on “chasing the mirage” [the title of his book] of an Islamic State.”

Here’s how he explains it in his book, which he calls “an appeal to those of my co-religionists” who are mirage-chasers:

In this book, I try to demonstrate that from the earliest annals of Islamic history, there have been two streams of Islamic practice, both running concurrently and parallel, but in opposite directions, leading to conflicting outcomes. From the moment the Prophet fo Islam died in 632 CE, some Muslims took the path of strengthening the state of Islam, while others embared on the establishment of an Islamic State.

The prase, “state of Islam” defines the condition of the Muslim in how he or she imbibes the values of Islam to govern personal life and uses faith as a moral compass. In contrast, the “Islamic State” is a political entity: a state, caliphate, sultanate, kingdom, or country that uses Islam as a tool to govern society and control its citizenry.  At times, these two objectives overlap each other, but most often they clash. Islamists obsessed with the establishment of the Islamic State have ridden roughshod over Quranic principles and the Prophet’s message of equality…

Hold it right there, Tarek. You want to talk about chasing mirages? I’d say the notion that Islam’s founder preached a message of equality is exactly that–a mirage. Did he say that infidels and women were the “equal” of Muslim men–in other words, equality as we understand it here in the West? Funny, I must have skipped that sura. As for the notion that you can bifurcate things into a “state” and a “State”: it’s an unwitting reminder of how Islam divvies up the planet–into the “world” of Islam and the “world” that’s up for grabs. And the idea that you can take the sharia–the heart and soul, the guts and entrails–out of Islam: sorry, but that’s a non-starter. That’s why as appealing as Fatah’s version of Islam–Islam without its innerds–it is to us kafirs, it is unlikely to entice the majority of Muslims for whom sharia and Islam are one and the same.

A while ago, he almost had me fooled:

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