Spencerdanism: A new cult?

Finally Mr Spencer has answered my questions, of course in Spencer’s style, despite his traditional protestation and much crocodile tears, sees a great degree of victimization, demonization of the ‘enemy’, and manipulation of others’ viewpoints. Yet this post is not about Spencer’s answers, which in any case you can read and draw your own conclusions about. It is not about his lack of humour, and his self-centric business related, attitude. It is more about the kind of people who seem to orbit around him.

Indeed, due to such a reality, it becomes impossible to have any serious (or even humorous) discussion with him. You can read the slandering comments by his supporters posted on his post about me (with some comments lacking humour and sounding more like a jihadist-style rant), and the hundreds that I have received on my blog: some unpublished because of the vulgarity within them, and others which have even included, more or less serious death-threats.

I am an anthropologist, and as such I am fascinated by the situation. I may have discovered a new cult: Spencerdanism.

Go to the post in which Spencer has reacted to my discussion of Islamo-Fascism, read the supporters’ comments and Spencer’s answer to them. Analyse the comments through the available theories about cult formation and you can see that what Mr Spencer (consciously or unconsciously) has created is a new cult, of which he definitely is the much loved guru. And it is clear that, as any cult, you can accept it, you can reject it, but you cannot not discuss with it.

I leave aside psychological and psychoanalytical reasons for which Mr Spencer, (who I thought to be a commentator and a right-wing politician) has decided to move towards the formation of a sect, complete with a virtual (or at least so I hope) personal militia.


I can only observe that, while he has the time to reply to his worshipers, he leaves on his blog frantic, concerning, and often sinister comments about me and others (those of course he does not like). I am sure that Mr Spencer would never say the things that his adepts say about Muslims, Islam, and academics who disagree with him; but this is exactly what gurus do: let the others say and do what the guru cannot.

We have to admit that Mr Spencer, as well as his work, which I know and I have read, has changed a lot, as has JihadWatch. The new turn towards cult-movement can be understood if we think that Mr Spencer has to win his bread though popularity, politics and selective controversy. But a T-shirt – which he himself advertises on his own post, goes beyond any imagination. Is this serious, or a joke? Of course, I expect that he would say that he did not design the T-shirt, he only mentioned it (or at least I really hope so!)

Cults are serious things. Often gurus can lose control of them and the given cult can acquire a life of its own. Mr Spencer seems unaware of the danger related to his (wanted or unwanted) fanatic worshipers’ movement. I have written (seriously and humorously, since it is after all, only a blog) about BNP, fascist organizations, crazy Islamic movements, scholars, politicians, popes, religious leaders, critically and even sarcastically, but never have I witnessed such vitriolic and hateful reactions. All this only for expressing my own opinions and doubts about Mr Spencer’s views (and I am not the only one to see them as flawed!).
I can understand that fanaticism, in particular when cults are involved, is very much the same: irrational emotion.

If a poor English teacher has recently experienced hatred and threats to her life from fanatics for innocently naming a teddy bear ‘Mohammed’, I can bear to be offended and death-threatened by Mr Spencer’s fanatic followers for daring to call him, with kind humour, a worshiped guru.

Happy New Year


UPDATE:  I thank Robert Spencer for sending me as a gift ‘his’ T-shirt pictured above. It is very nice.  If the US decides to lift the ban on our loved authentic haggis I will gift  him with  a real one. By the way, I have to notice that he has not autographed the T-shirt. So, I will keep it unused until the day we have an occasion to meet for a debate where I am sure he will be able to offer answers more sophisticated than “Some of ‘em. Not all of ‘em'” . I will not forget the pen.


61 thoughts on “Spencerdanism: A new cult?

  1. Dear all,

    Clearly the comments, though interesting, are becoming a bit of everything and nothing and among the same three readers.

    At this point, I think that we can leave theological diatribes for further occasions.

    I thank everybody for the debate.

    Best wishes

  2. “I can make speling mistake, tupo but if you point to it I will not play a Mullah”

    This is exactly what you are doing when you try to pass off your intepretation of said verse as valid and legitimate, you are putting yourself up to be a scholar of Islamic theology, despite the fact you admit that you are merely a layman.

    Although I am not putting myself out there as a scholar of Islam, I would assume that one with the ability to refer back to the source books would have a more authoritative say than one without it, regardless of whether he is a “mullah” or not.

    The verse you bring (v.5:33) is a verse concerning highway robbers and terrorists, as is explicitly mentioned by Ibn Nâsir as-Sa’dî. “Causing corruption in the land” as mentioned in the verse is not mutually exclusive from “warefare with Allah and His messenger”, as is indicated by both exegetes in their explanations.

    And as is the case in Islam, legislated punishments are to be implemented and carried out by the authorities. After the portion I quoted above from Ibn Nâsir as-Sa’dî, he explains, “The exegetes differed: is that according to choice, that with each highway robber, the leader or his deputy does whatever benefit he saw from the mentioned matters–and this is the apparent [meaning] of the wording–or [is it] that their penalty is according to their crime; thus each crime has an equity that repays it, just as the verse with its wisdom and its conformity to Allah’s wisdom, exalted is He, indicates … ?”

  3. Dear Neoneo

    Sorry, but really you do not know anything about Anthropology, or anthropologists…

    by the way, a reading suggestion

    By my friend Gary Bunt

    May Freedom from ignorance be with us 🙂


  4. Dear Rasheed,
    Again apologies, reference to 5.52-53 was tupo, and if you follow link I mentioned
    you may see that it is 5.32-33 I discuss. Abridged version can’t add anithing and look here is your translation of Arabic version :

    “Warfare [against Allah and His messenger] is ***contrast and contradiction*** i.e., ***sanctioning disbelief***, highway robbery (lit. cutting off the path), terrorism (lit. inciting fear upon the way/path), and likewise, [the term] corruption is applied …

    and here is translation I copied:

    `Wage war’ mentioned here means, ***oppose and contradict**, and it includes *** disbelief***, blocking roads and spreading fear in the fairways. Mischief in the land refers to various types of evil. Ibn Jarir recorded that `Ikrimah and Al-Hasan Al-Basri said that the Ayat,

    In essense (by this I mean content conveyed by the words I marked) there is no much difference. And you are free to draw conclusion that Kufars (Buddhists, Hindus, Atheists, and other disbelievers) are exempt from 5.32 just as highway robbers

    I will not press on with my “charges” of dishhonesty, for I understand that we all can make mistake. You too could think and comperhand the fact that I have no intention to misrepresent willfuly what is written. I can make speling mistake, tupo but if you point to it I will not play a Mullah, or an Italian who think that he is right even when he is wrong 🙂

    I may accept that you read it and have not noticed the things which I marked, and the “well known” meaning is all what you see and remeber. But you are not a mullah either , right?
    You did not notice it. The point I make that it is there and there are other people who notice it and act upon it. Gabriele calls those “extremists,” but in fact they are the ones who do their homework better than other Muslims.

    Dear Gabriele,

    Long ago I had chances to interact with those guys. They are not terrifying, they are nice polite people and they believe that they do good things.

    You can do interviews, but newertheless, not knowing what is there in the web makes you sound conterfactual if you make any far reaching conclusion. I do not have doubt that you can sell your field works, and may be you can ensure that they do not tell lies to you, though I doubt, but if your conclusion are counterfactual then I only wonder how can you publish anithing which goes beyond of simple reports of what you heared from your subjects.

    May Freedom of Thoughts be with you !
    (American Freedom of course)

  5. Rasheed Gonzales (48)
    Apologies for being imprecise. More accurate statement would be that Quran 5. 53 describes exemptions from 5.52 and one of those exemptions is disbelief or merely disagreement!!!:

    From Tafsir Ibn Kathir (with my marking):

    neoneo, when one is engaged in discussion regarding a particular issue, it really helps to know what exactly what one is discussing. You originally cite v.5:32-33, and now cite v.5:52-53. Please verify which of the two passages you’re actually referring to and correct your references.

    Secondly, http://www.tafsir.com contains an abridged translation of Ibn Kathîr’s exegesis. I on the other hand am referring to the unabridged Arabic original of the work, which you can view here, if you wish. In the Arabic, Ibn Kathîr states, “Warfare [against Allah and His messenger] is contrast and contradiction i.e., sanctioning disbelief, highway robbery (lit. cutting off the path), terrorism (lit. inciting fear upon the way/path), and likewise, [the term] corruption is applied to [various] types of evil.” Ibn Kathîr is explaining both terms together, as is indicated when he says, “likewise”. Ibn Nâsir as-Sa’dî, mentions pretty much the same thing in his exegesis and states, “[Those] warring against Allah and His messenger are those who contest them with enmity, and they cause corruption in the land by disbelief and killing, taking wealth [unlawfully], and inciting fear on the paths. It is well-known that this noble verses is regarding the rulings of highway robbers (lit. those who cut off the path), those who turn to the people in the towns and the Bedouins, then usurp their wealth, kill them, and incite fear in them, preventing the people from traversing the path which they are on.”

    Do not blame me for merely reporting what is there in your books

    One who cannot refer to the original source books to verify what is actually contained within them, can hardly be considered as someone reporting what they contain.

  6. Gabriele,

    to borrow a quip from Pepys, I find your argument for an equivalence between Spencer and Islam through culthood both original and good; however the good bits are not original, and the original bits are not good.

    But humour is a funny thing, isn’t it… it’s said that it is the hardest of all things to master in a second tongue, or culture. Some people appear to master it effortlessly. You do not appear to be one of these people, I am afraid. That said, there are also many people who should only retail tried & tested humour, or sound variations on a theme (& that is no great dishonour); some again who will never master humour at all in any language. Whilst the majority of listeners are usually reasonably polite & will sit patiently through bungled attempts at humour, it is prudent to always remember: interpreting an audience’s seeming lack of gusto & appreciation, as that of a failing on their part to grasp what real humour is, can be, to be charitable, misguided at the best of times I’m afraid.

    Now, come, enough of this Spencerphobia. Should this cult of Spencer ever equal or surpass the cult of Mohammed in the ills committed against man in its name, I will be quite willing to undertake a more sympathetic examination of your allusion. I may give a small world weary chortle & nod knowingly, to show the group at large I have understood a deep thing (that they have missed). But at the moment it is hardly valid, consequently there is no true jest in it.

  7. It may be true that some terrorist do not know how many jihad verses there are in Quran, so what about that? Do not they have leaders whom they trust (Trust and obedience are part of Islamic culture) and can’t those leaders explain them all things in simple term if they are not educated.

    – In the civilised West neoneo, we have leaders exactly like these terrorist leaders, and we call them the ‘President of the United States’ and the ‘Prime Minister of Great Britian and Northern Ireland’.

    Both these leaders demand obedience and explain things in such simple terms that even you neoneo, can ‘understand’ their messeges of hate and violence.

    Blair, Bush, Brown and Olmert aren’t trusted which is why they have to lie and carry out campaigns of racist propaganda, in order to carry out the same crimes as Hitler using the same excuses (ie the Fatherland/Homeland is under attack from Jewish/Muslim terrorists – don’t laugh, neoneo actually believes this utter tosh!)

    Of course, terrorists only carry out terrorist crimes while the Governments of the civilised West carry out War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity and Genocide (as in Iraq today), costing hundreds of billions of pounds (dollars) and involving vast swathes of humanity across West Asia and beyond.

    As the US Defence Budget alone, reaches a trillion dollars a year and the US military currently has over 750 military bases stationed in over 170 countries and territories, not including its submarines and naval surface ships and satellites in space – just remember, the American Empire is the result of what somebody wrote down in a book, long ago, in early medieval Arabia.

    all the best IMaaA
    and a Happy New Year, both Scottish and Muslim (10th of January I believe!)

  8. Dear Neoeno

    “Gabriele, Have you ever visted jihadists websites? There are many of them, for example here is one, it describes Hamas party”

    You make me laugh with this sentence, this time…I think that you do not really know what an anthropologist or anthropology is. Thanks.

    Do you wish to meet some in flesh and bone? I can bring you with me next time I go on fieldwork. Oops, I suppose that you will feel very uncomfortable, and maybe even terrorised, to meet them and speak to them, won’t you? Easy to stay behind a keyboard and understand the world with the ‘truth’ made of links.

    love and peace (Islamic of course)


  9. Gabriele wrote (32) : I really do not understand why Dar al Islam and Dar al Harb matter at all. Do you think that suicide killers study these things? Do you even think that extremists are discussing about this stuff before planning to bomb me, you and Abdulhaq in the tube? Do you think that Muslims (ordinary and extraordinary) spend time in these sophisticated Middle Age diatribes? Have you spent time with some (extra)-ordinary ‘fanatic’ for whom killing you, me or Abdulhaq on a bus will end the Palestinian land occupation or ‘destroy the Satan’?

    Dear Gabriele,
    This post of yours makes me wonder in which year you and your European colleagues live? Forget about obvious facts about good education background of “magnificent 19” of 9/11 and those 7/7 bombers…Well, but even I being not a scholar of Islam came across multiple statistical studies which show that in average terrorists have much higher education than the rest of the population. I am really surprised that you ignore those findings. I can’t recollect all those studies I bumped into, since I have a very little archive on Islam, I am not a scholar ,remember,so here is only one of them:


    Some random quotes from that article:

    “Among Palestinians, almost 60 percent of the suicide bombers had more than a high school education, compared with less than 15 percent of the general population.”

    “The evidence suggests that terrorists care about influencing political outcomes. They are often motivated by geopolitical grievances. To under¬stand who joins terrorist organizations, instead of asking who has a low salary and few opportunities, we should ask: Who holds strong political views and is confident enough to try to impose an extrem¬ist vision by violent means? Most terrorists are not so desperately poor that they have nothing to live for. Instead, they are people who care so fervently about a cause that they are willing to die for it.”

    This guy unfortunately does not specify what those geopolitical views he is talking about. But those views are well known. Read e.g. the Hamas chapter.

    Sorry Gabriele, but I think that this thesis of yours and of your European colleagues about unimportance of theological orientation of terrorist is absolutely lame. I afraid it is only your wishful thinking lead your to believe that theology is not matter, it is all about poverty and lack of Education. This reminds another socialist construction: Before 1917 Russian communists seriously believed that crime is result of poverty and should they build socialism there will be no crime whatsoever. They were indeed surprised that crime did not vanish magically after they built socialist utopia in Russia.

    The contradictions with facts did not make them to change their Marxist dogma. And so I wonder, how much respect do you have for those statistical facts? Do you care about facts that most terrorist acts have been done by Muslims? Do you care about simple common sense logic: e.g. if Islam is not the reason of terrorism, but say e.g. the poverty is the reason, then perhsp those poor Hindus and poor Budhists (there are many of them) should be become terrorists as often as Muslims do.

    Do you care about facts and logic at all, in your multiculturalist paradise or is that only your goals to build multicultural society and your fear to appear politically incorrect (what if they call me racist, bigot,..) completely define your academic views?

    It may be true that some terrorist do not know how many jihad verses there are in Quran, so what about that? Do not they have leaders whom they trust (Trust and obedience are part of Islamic culture) and can’t those leaders explain them all things in simple term if they are not educated.

    Gabriele, Have you ever visted jihadists websites? There are many of them, for example here is one, it describes Hamas party:

    Some quotes:
    “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before
    “There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.”

    Definition of the Movement
    Ideological Starting-Points
    Article One:
    The Islamic Resistance Movement: ***The Movement’s programme is Islam.*** From it, it draws its ideas, ways of thinking and understanding of the universe, life and man. It resorts to it for judgement in all its conduct, and it is inspired by it for guidance of its steps.
    The Islamic Resistance Movement’s Relation With the Moslem Brotherhood Group:
    Article Two:
    The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of *** the wings of Moslem Brotherhood*** in Palestine. ***Moslem Brotherhood Movement*** is a universal organization which constitutes the largest Islamic movement in modern times.

    As you see they have high profile connection (Muslim Brotherhood) and would you tell me that Muslim Brotherhood has nothing to do with theology?

    Read it all at http://www.mideastweb.org/hamas.htm
    Not much theology, but the role of Islam in their geopolitical agenda is very obvious. And Gabriele, I think if your really read those document written by terrorist you will finally be able to understand “why Dar al Islam and Dar al Harb matter at all.”
    I also highly recommend you to have a look Al Queda Reader http://www.amazon.com/Al-Qaeda-Reader-Raymond-Ibrahim/dp/038551655X which is collection of speeches by Osama Bin Laden. Comon, these are just talks by a Muslim, no theology 🙂

    Or may be reading those political documents and speeches would lead you away from your subject of anthropology of Islam according to you bosses or sponsors view of your subject?

    Wishing you all the best in your academic endaviors,

  10. Rasheed Gonzales (48)
    Apologies for being imprecise. More accurate statement would be that Quran 5. 53 describes exemptions from 5.52 and one of those exemptions is disbelief or merely disagreement!!!:

    From Tafsir Ibn Kathir (with my marking):

    (The recompense of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and do mischief in the land is only that they shall be killed or crucified or their hands and their feet be cut off on the opposite sides, or be exiled from the land.) `Wage war’ mentioned here means, oppose and ***contradict***, and it includes *** disbelief***, blocking roads and spreading fear in the fairways. Mischief in the land refers to various types of evil. Ibn Jarir recorded that `Ikrimah and Al-Hasan Al-Basri said that the Ayat

    (The recompense of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger) until, (Allah is Of-Forgiving, Most Merciful,) “Were revealed about the idolators. Therefore, the Ayah decrees that, whoever among them repents before you apprehend them, then you have no right to punish them. This Ayah does not save a Muslim from punishment if he kills, causes mischief in the land or wages war against Allah and His Messenger and then joins rank with the disbelievers, before the Muslims are able to catch him. He will still be liable for punishment for the crimes he committed.” Abu Dawud and An-Nasa’i recorded that `Ikrimah said that Ibn `Abbas said that the Ayah,……..
    End of Tafsir quote

    Whatever it is, in the end I was right that Atheists, Buddhists and Hindus are automatically exempt from 5.52. Rasheed, you spoken as if you looked at Ibn Kathir on 5.53. Now I have to wonder who is dishonest?

    Sorry folks, it is not I who makes Islam look evil, those are your prophet and your scholars. Do not blame me for merely reporting what is there in your books 🙂 I would be happy if it were not there, but I can not just cut it from there. Neither you can cut verses 9.5, 9.29, 8.39 from your Quran. I do not know what you are going to do with those evil and intolerance bwhich saturates Quran and Suna. Write some sort of “Talmud on Quran” perhaps and assign it hihgher authority than all tafsirs?


    Your excitement was premature, sorry for that :-). Regarding 5.52 I was right in the end. And my reluctance to talk about Jews on this forum has some valid reason. And I do not think I made any error while speaking about context, though let as see what Husain says about it. I am looking forward to his comment.


    Your policy of publishing /non publishing comments seems changing all the time. This time I welcome the change of your policy and I thank you for publishing comments of Hijabun which call us (most likely me) “nutters.” I do support freedom of expression, Freedom and Liberty are two most fundamental values I have, just as many Americans.

    I think it would only help you to make your case if you had published all insulting comments that came from JW readers. The problem is that I was trying to find those insulting comments left by JW readers to your personally but I did not find anything striking, disrespectful, may be, but it is not much, those would not qualify those people as thugs as you wanted to represent them. And how can I belive if what you received were actual death threats, but by reading those posts?

    In US we do not care much about those verbal “insults.” Say I do not care about Hijabun calls me nutters, given the fact that I express my complete disrespect to what he holds sacred. I would be happy to be respectful to Muslim’s believes, but my respect for truth (facts and logic) is higher than my respect for any beliefs, including my own. And if Islamic sources say that Muhammad was a rapist and a terrorist I can not help but report it. I can change my believes if proven conterfactual or illogical.

    Zionistically Yours,

  11. Husain (49),
    I have no concerns about Judaism and their Talmud for several reasons: (1) It is not a blog on Judaism and your attempt to turn discussion to Judaism is red herring tactics ….I wrote a lot about Jews but I think I should not post it, so …. (4) Even if Talmud permits Jews to cheat el-goim, Islam allows Muslims to cheat al Kafiroon too, and even more than to cheat but kill. Kufar is a fair game in Islamic country (for those 5% of “extremists”. By this I do not say that majority of Muslims can not be hospitable to a Kufar. In fact they do have stronger traditions of hospitality than European and Americans.)
    I care about immediate danger which comes from Islam. Those Jews just as Hindus, Buddhists, etc happen to be our allies because all we suffer from the attacks of Muslims. And I support Jews and I wish they build that bloody fence and keep Palestinian terrorists away. And do not tell me about the inconveniences that families of terrorists have to suffer. So much for Jews we are discussing Islam.

    I do not have it “four ways” as you said. Regarding my qualification/authority:

    Your world is build on the concept of respect of authority, our world is build on the respect to facts and logic. Your believe to authorities, such as Muhammed, I believe in what I see in real world and deduce with my mind. In our part of the world one does not need special authority to ask questions about Islam and remember the answer and then repeat the answers to the public. In your world it is necessary. I do not go to your world and I have luxury not to care about the rules of your world and despise them, I think they (your rules) are poison for us Westerners. And as long as I do not try to publish a paper on Islam driving money from Saudi grants or go and preach in Al-Azhar Mosque it works fine for me.

    I do not claim any authority besides authority of facts and logic. If I say something which is not fact and you note it, I will do my homework and would reconsider my point (as I did)

    I believe that one does not have to be a scholar to make a judgment about evil nature of German fascism, because evidences are elsewhere in popular media. Similarly one can see evidences about evil nature of Islam even in popular media:

    Regarding problem of context:

    As I heard it from Muslims I do believe that most verses in Quran are either stories (stolen from Bible and Talmud) or rules of behavior, translate it “marching orders” and 5.52-53 are marching orders just as 8.29 and 9.5 and 9.29 . All those marching orders are valid in all times. I give full citation for each verse I quoted, what is your problem with this? What did I get wrong?

    Bush’s citation with cut of the middle part and missed the 5.53 which provides context for that. So what is your problem when I point to this omission?

    I do not need qualification to ask question and memorize the answers, including those about the context. Without being a scholar I can talk to scholars of Islam such as yourself and ask very simple questions such as:

    “If you are a scholar you know how to read Tafsirs, so perhaps you could tell me and the rest of us, how do you prove that those verses are not the marching orders valid for all times, but only orders for the time of the war with Quriyash as so called moderate Muslims claim. I do not see that this is the case from Tafsir Ibn Kathir. I asked many Muslims who say they are scholars, but no one had fetched such proof for me, though many made a claim that they are contextual and context restricted to war with Quriyash.”
    Would you please answer this question without trying to turn all discussion to Jews 🙂

    Zionisticaly Yours,

  12. Assalamualaikum
    Well done Bro for trying to start some sort of a debate with the nutters over at Jihadwatch.
    After reading the comments above from the disciples of Spencer I can see that they are completely ignorant of Islam outside of the rubbish generated by Spencer himself.
    They just want to argue and bicker and at the end of the day think themselves so superior to Muslims.
    Well done for trying!

  13. Neoneo, [35&46]

    I am glad to see that you have apologised for wrongly claiming that the book was “a classical codex of Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence” and I am also pleased to see you admit that you are a “layman” (i.e. untrained/not qualified) when it comes to understanding Islamic theology.

    What still puzzles me – and I’m sure everyone else in this forum- is by which token of authority do you expect people to take you seriously when you make your sweeping claims about knowing what Islam really teaches? The other problem I have with your methodology is that you seek to reserve the right to dismiss anyone who uses verses that do not fit your doom and gloom portrayal of Islam by saying they are quoting “out of context” but somehow you remain supremely immune the that same error. I am sorry but you cannot have it both ways- sorry – all four ways. You cannot be unqualified, qualified, context-denying and context-affirming, all at the same time!

    Anyway, the most revealing aspect of your last post is your deafening silence regarding Judaism. Despite going into quite a lot of detail to respond to my post (44), you remain completely silent on what I said about Judaism. Could it be that you are hoping that people will get so engrossed in your “distraction” discussions about Islam that they will forget that Judaism stands apart from Christianity and Islam when it comes to telling the truth and falsehood to Gentiles? I think, given that countries are at war on the basis of lies and over a million people have died in the past 6 years, this is a more pertinent and urgent discussion.


  14. 5.33 The punishment of those who wage war against God and His Apostle, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter;

    Now, everyone knows that fitnah is a mischeef and so those who spread fitnah can be killed. All Hindus , Buddhist and Atheists automaticaly qualify for 5.33 because they spread fitnah:-)

    Translating the Arabic word used in this verse as “mischief” is incorrect, as the word used in the verse is fasâd, which means “corruption” and refers to crimes such as highway robbery and terrorism, and other types of evil, as mentioned by Ibn Kathîr in his exegesis.

    As mentioned by BS, to say that this verse is justification for Muslims to kill all Hindus, Buddhists, and atheists is a bit of a stretch. In fact, I’d say it’s down right deceitful and dishonest.

  15. to neoneo:

    I can see you’re quite desperate :

    “All Hindus , Buddhist and Atheists automaticaly qualify for 5.33 because they spread fitnah”


  16. Dear Husain,
    Apologies, it is not Hanafi, but Shafi Fiqh. I told that I am a layman in Islam (and I do spelling mistakes too)…

    Do I want to see Muslims and Christians at war permanently? Actually I do not, but I do not have any say in this, neither you have, for your “prophet” and your “god” have decided it for you long ago:

    2.193 And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah) and (all and every kind of) worship is for Allah (Alone). But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists, and wrong-doers, etc.)
    8.39 And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and polytheism: i.e. worshipping others besides Allah) and the religion (worship) will all be for Allah Alone [in the whole of the world]. But if they cease (worshipping others besides Allah), then certainly, Allah is All-Seer of what they do.
    9.5 Then when the Sacred Months (the Ist, 7th, 11th, and 12th months of the Islamic calendar) have passed, then kill the Mushrikun (see V.2:105) wherever you find them, and capture them and besiege them, and prepare for them each and every ambush. But if they repent and perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), and give Zakat, then leave their way free. Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

    If you are a scholar you know how to read Tafsirs,so perhaps you could tell me and the rest of us, how do you proove that those verses are not the marching orders valid for all times, but only orders for the time of the war with Quriyash as so called moderate Muslims claim. I do not see that this is the case from Tafsir Ibn Kathir. I asked many Muslims who say they are scholars, but no one had fetched such proof for me, though many made a claim that they are contextual and context restricted to war with Quriyash.

    Thanks for pointing to 22:30, indeed it can pass as prohibition to tell lie. On the other hand prohibition to tell lie is in the same phrase as “avoid idols worship”:
    22:30(Hilali Khan) That (Manasik prescribed duties of Hajj is the obligation that mankind owes to Allah), and whoever honours the sacred things of Allah, then that is better for him with his Lord. The cattle are lawful to you, except those (that will be) mentioned to you (as exceptions). So shun the abomination (worshipping) of idol, and shun lying speech (false statements)

    Does not this look a bit odd? In translation of Sale saying truth interpreted as “Being orthodox in respect to God,” which is not the same as not teling lies in order to pursure a rightful goal such as spreading Islam. (Say if you have to lie to a non Muslim in order to make a good Image of Islam, like one Imam said in US TV interview that Women and Men have the same right in Islam, obviously he was telling a lie, but he was pursuring an obligatory goal, so lie become obligatory.)

    22:30 (Sale) This [let them do]. And whoever shall regard the sacred ordinances of God; this will be better for him in the sight of his Lord. [All sorts of] cattle are allowed you [to eat], except what hath been read unto you, [in former passages of the Koran, to be forbidden]. But depart from the abomination of idols, and avoid speaking that which is false: Being orthodox in respect to God,

    If I look at Tafsir Ibn Kathir, I tend to believe that Sale got it right:

    You say “Perhaps the text is referring to the few exceptional situations in Islam where a person is allowed to lie, for example, a husband is allowed to complement his wife for her extraordinary beauty even though he may not consider it extraordinary but that does not deny the fact that lying remains a major sin in Islam.”

    I think that the sentense “When it is possible to achieve such an aim by lying but not by telling the truth, it is permissible to lie if attaining the goal is permissible…, and obligatory to lie if the goal is obligatory. ” is sufficiently abstract. Anyway, the book as I know is here:

    Dear Gabriele,
    I do not think Bush is hiden Muslim, though he may be one as he has Saudi friends and his policies are too pro Saudi. More viablle assumption thought that he is a Machiavellian, even more viable assumption that he is not cultural person.
    It is wrong that CIA lied to him, it looks like he and Dick forthed CIA to justify things for which they had week evidences.

    One of his biggest lies when Bush said that Islam is Religion of peace and he quoted Quran 5.32 as “Whoever kills a person it is as though he has killed all mankind. And whoever saves a life, it is as though he had saved all mankind.”

    This is a clear example of taking verse out of context, and clear misleading of public. Here how it looks in its context:

    5.32 (Yusuf Ali) On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person – unless it be for murder ***or for spreading mischief in the land ***- it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our apostles with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land.

    5.33 The punishment of those who wage war against God and His Apostle, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter;

    Now, everyone knows that fitnah is a mischeef and so those who spread fitnah can be killed. All Hindus , Buddhist and Atheists automaticaly qualify for 5.33 because they spread fitnah:-)

    Yes, Bush lied about Islam too and I agree that by teling his lies he has done a disservice to US.

    Islamophobicaly yours,

  17. It’s very easy to take short, isolated quotes of clipped statements devoid of context, string them together and present one’s own spin on things, neoneo, just as you’ve nicely demonstrated here.

    I find it quite amusing that you try to employ this tactic in your polemic, try to vilify Islam by showing how dishonest some Muslims can be (with anecdotal evidence at that!), while implying that non-Muslims like you are such honest and credible people, as if lying for non-Muslims is such an oh so difficult thing to do.

    Do please get a grip on reality.

  18. Neoneo, Judging from your pretentious claims of knowing the subject, I suspect you are not a Christian at all, but probably from a tribe who would like to see Muslims and Christians remain at war perpetually.

    If you had any basic knowledge about Islamic theology, you would know that lying in Islam is considered as one of the Major Sins because it is explicitly prohibited in the words of the Quran (22:30) and further emphasised in numerous highly authenticated exhortations of the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) where he said “always speak the truth and do not lie”(Bukhari and Muslim).

    As for your quotes form the text you provided above. It is clear that you are misrepresenting it in many ways. For a start, I am a Hanafi scholar and I can confirm that the book in question is not, as you claim, a Hanafi text. In addition, I am yet to check the text, but given the many dots in the passages you quoted, I am sure you are stitching together sentences out of context to misrepresent what is really being said. Perhaps the text is referring to the few exceptional situations in Islam where a person is allowed to lie, for example, a husband is allowed to complement his wife for her extraordinary beauty even though he may not consider it extraordinary but that does not deny the fact that lying remains a major sin in Islam.

    Finally, I think your feeble attempt to paint Muslims as having an attitude to truth and falsehood different from that of Christians is very revealing.

    In recent times it has become common knowledge that the Neocon ideology owes a lot to the teachings of Jewish theologian/philosopher Leo Strauss.

    I refer to what S. Drury (a leading Canadian academic) says in her book, “The Political Ideas of Leo Strauss”, that:

    “Strauss endorsed Machiavellian tactics in politics – not just lies and manipulation of public opinion, but every manner of unscrupulous conduct necessary to keep the masses in a state of heightened alert, afraid for their lives and their families, and therefore willing to sacrifice themselves for the nation. For Strauss as for Machiavelli, only the constant threat of a common enemy can save people from becoming soft, pampered, and depraved. And if no enemy can be found, one must be invented.”

    If there is a difference to be highlighted in attitudes to lying among religions it is not between Christians and Muslims. The attitude that stands apart is found in Judaism. For example deception in business and fraud. See Professor Israel Shahak’s book on Jewish History, Jewish Religion, chapter 5, which explains that “it is a grave sin to practice any kind of deception whatsoever against a Jew. Against a Gentile…indirect deception is allowed”. Also “fraud does not apply to Gentiles” (p.89). This text can seen at the google link below


    So Neoneo, I think it is time you and your “clever bunch” of bloggers take some time out to consider the new reality. People can now spot your deceptions from miles away. Take some good advice. “When in a hole don’t dig” !!

    Husain al-Qadi

  19. Dear neoneo

    uhmmm are you sure she was in Egypt and not in Ireland? In Ireland you can collect the funniest stories about street directions, as in Italy and Spain and, in my last experience, New York!! They were not Muslims…or maybe they were closet Muslims, who knows? Actually who knows whether the lady in Egypt may have met a closet Christian, or even a CIA operative.

    Well we know that the CIA is well used to lying…even to Bush and Blair about weapons of mass destruction.. oh my god! You see you are right, actually! Blair was a closet Catholic who appreciates the Quran, and Bush, according to your theory of lies may be Muslim!
    have a nice time


  20. Dear Devorgilla (41):
    If you are interested, there are far more authoritative sources of Islam that justify the pragmatic theory of truth and dishonesty, just as repudiation of oaths. For your reference, here are some citations from Quran and Suna:

    Bukhari:V7B67N427 “The Prophet said, ‘If I take an oath and later find something else better than that, then I do what is better and expiate my oath.'”, Qur’an 9:3 “Allah and His Messenger dissolve obligations.”, Qur’an 66:2 “Allah has already sanctioned for you the dissolution of your vows.”, Bukhari:V4B52N268 “Allah’s Apostle said, ‘War is deceit.'”, Ishaq:519 “Having got Muhammad’s permission, he said, ‘I must tell lies.’ The Apostle said, ‘Tell them.'”, Ishaq:323 “I am the best of plotters. I deceived them with My guile so that I delivered you from them.”, Ishaq:442 “By Muhammad’s order we beguiled them.”

    Dear Gabriele:
    I do not think you would like to claim that Islamic sources have no influence whatsoever on behavior of Muslims and that they are just the same as Europeans (who have different set of religious maxima) as so as telling the truth is concerned. Though, if you say that they are the say as *some* Europeans I would not disagree:

    The pragmatic attitude to truth “look at consequences of telling lies vs telling truth and say what is best” is central to Islam, but it is surfaced in Marxism -Leninism and it played important part in Fascist propaganda. One reason why I think that Communist and Fascists should feel some affinity with Islam ( and they do :-), starting from Mufti of Jerusalem during Hitler time and finishing by modern Left friends of Islam who do not wish to remeber experience of Iranian Left-Islamist alliance)

    To be fair pragmatic theory of truth was also central to philosophy of Machiavelli (Italian) and I bet Chanakya (Indian) used its too. But neither Machiavelli nor Chanakya were in sync with their respective religions so it did not sell well among scholars in Europe and ancient India, though they were influential in political world.

    Islam (as well as Communism and Fascism) have different stories,- those ideologies tend to dominate an ethos that hosts them by physically destroying or suppressing competitors. Their leaders that is the philosophers and the “prophet” in case of Islam tend to claim the supreme authority in relation to other ideologies, and tend to suppress and dominate all other believes. Therefore there is nothing that can counter pragmatic theory of truth in Islamic society.
    Gabrielle, are you aware of any sociological study that tackle the question of how often Muslims vs. others tell lies in their daily life? I think you could get an interesting and revealing statistics here 🙂 , To me it is obvious though, that most (not all!) Muslims are natural liars.

    I do not have statistics but I have some anecdotic evidence: My friend (a women) was in Egypt and while in the marked she asked for a direction to one place. A man told her direction, after going accordingly she asked another man, just to veiry. The other man pointed to the opposite direction. She asked “are you sure” and mentioned the previous advice and got a stunning reply: “That man did not know where the thing is, but he felt shame to tell to a woman that he does not know”
    Judge this for yourself, how easy it is to tell a lie for Muslim.

  21. Thanks for the reply, Gabriele, I’ll take that as a ‘no comment’ then.

    Neoneo (35) thanks for this excellent post which explains a lot. I had naively thought that all civilisations (not all ‘cultures’, but at least civilisations, with their literacy and need for accurate information and precise, clear, thinking) had alike valued the concept of the truth. I knew this wasn’t the case with Stalinism and Nazism, but then nobody would call these ‘civilisations’.

    For instance, Gandhi revived the ancient Hindu conception of ‘satyagraha’ or ‘the power of the truth’ in his struggle against the British. The idea that truth had some sort of transcendent power capable of tranforming human beings and the conditions of life on earth against evil, is shared by some Semitic and other Indo-european peoples; as far afield as Ireland in pre-Christian times, when the power of the truth to restore order and justice was repeatedly enforced in the ancient hero tales. E.g., the king as law maker happens to accidentally give a false judgement, and his palace immediately falls down and pestilence is on the land. Then the wise druid appears, and gives the correct, truthful judgement; and miraculously the palace springs back up again and the land is once more restored to health – just on the mere utterance of a few words of the truth.

    The power of the truth can heal and restore; but equally there is the opposite: the power of lies and dissimulation to sicken and destroy.

    What I have always wondered about is why Muslims seemed to doubt this? But now you’ve explained it to me: they do not value the speaking of the truth; for if they did they would not doubt the power of the truth that is contained in the Quran; not fearing any attack on it, knowing that the truth itself can never be destroyed. Only lies wither and die; the truth does not.

    That most remarkable rabbi of Galilee said that what we put into our mouths cannot defile us; but ‘what cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man’. (Matthew 15:11) Because those things that proceed from the mouth they ‘come forth from the heart; and they defile the man’. (Matthew 15:180.

  22. Dear devorgilla

    thanks for your comment.

    Unfortunately this is not a forum, but a moderated blog, and I trying to avoid, although interesting they might be, diatribes among the commentators. I am sure that there are many forums where this topic can be fully diatribized.

    In future I may decide to post on the subject and open it for discussion. I think that topic can be interesting.

    thank you for your kind understanding.

  23. I’m afraid I didn’t ask your opinion on dar al Harb and dar al Islam, Gabriele, I asked Abdulhaq. Thanks all the same.

    I’m still waiting for this gentleman’s reply: as to when this doctrine ceased to be relevant and what are the sources on its abrogation, if any.

    If AbdulHaq would care to reply I would be most interested to hear.


  24. Dear Dr Marranci

    I sent a polite comment urging you to answer some questions posed earlier in order to maintain your credibility. You have not allowed it to appear. It meets your criteria yet you have effectively censored it. Why is this?


    Jay Sendani

  25. Dear all,

    Although I thank all of you for your comments, and although I am a strenuous supporter of freedom of speech, I wish to remind you of these things:

    a) the rules concerning the moderation of comments, which you can find here

    b) the fact that personal polemics, not related to the actual discussion of the post, but to previous commentators should not be allowed.

    c) though I may decide to publish comments which show offensive language and lack of respect to me, I will not publish such kind of comments about others (this includes comments about Mr Spencer). For these kind of rants you can visit JihadWatch, which is unmoderated and leave your intelligent messages of love there.

    So, I thank you in advance for moderating yourself before posting your comment.

    Best wishes

  26. Dear Gabrielle,
    Sure I have had a look at list of your publications.
    In my experience of personal debates with friends (who are my political enemies  ) I find that many Muslims and Marxist like to overrate themselves or Marx or their colleagues. They would say “here is the book (e.g. Capital ) and all what we are discussing is answered there and there is a proof that you are not getting what I want to tell you.” Muslims would tell me that such and such author has amply demonstrated the validity of moderate Islam, they would be even so kind as to present me that book, but when I read it I can not find any argumentation which pass my scrutiny as I was led to believe it exist. If they present to me verbally they would too be ashamed of making strong statements that “it proves so and so” because it so obvious it does not. It is so easy to make a claim when the proof of the claim is at some ‘distance” from the claim. I afraid that same may happen if I read your papers. Secondly, if I read a long article and find a lot of points with which I disagree before I get to the answer to my question I will loose interest.
    But here you have chance to entice me /us to read your work and here how it could work for me. When I or someone else ask you a specific question and you have it answered in your archive it is far too simple to pull out an answer for you . you could cut it and paste from your archive or give a pointer like Title, page, line and summarize what point has been proven there and based on what facts and assumptions. If you can do that there is something to bite and I may even read your academic work (though as I said I more a layman in the field of Islam and my mind is not a mind of anthropologist (oops, I said something to which is related to another point). I am a physicist, I blog on Islam mostly when there is chance to debate. I do not blog on Ali Sinas or Spencer’s forums because there is no fun to discuss things with those who have same basic set of believes.
    Regarding Muslim mind:
    sure for me human mind is the same and when Ali Sina writes about Muslim mind or mind of Muhammed he uses the same concepts of clinical psychology which are applicable for the rest of us. We all tend to use the same sort of logic (they had some exposure to Aristotle) we are subject to the same sets of delusions. What Roger Bacon and Francis Bacon wrote about idles of the mind applies to us and to Muslims. This may not apply to societies which are more remote from us. I suspect that mind of some African tribes living in jungles may work completely in different way and be completely different, but it does not matter in this context.
    While talking about Muslim mind Ali Sina talk about set of cultural norms and believes that specific to those who profess to be Muslims. For example Christians were grown under pressure of the maxima that one has to speak truth. This is influenced by Gospel as we know it. Muslims have been influenced by another set of examples and their attitude to truth and falsehood is slightly different. Here is an illustration:
    “Speaking is a means to achieve objectives. If a praiseworthy aim is attainable through both telling the truth and lying, it is unlawful to accomplish it through lying because there is no need for it. When it is possible to achieve such an aim by lying but not by telling the truth, it is permissible to lie if attaining the goal is permissible…, and obligatory to lie if the goal is obligatory. …One should compare the bad consequences entailed by lying to those entailed by telling the truth, and if the consequences of telling the truth are more damaging, one is entitled to lie…” (Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, The Reliance of the Traveller, translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller, Amana publications, 1997, section r8.2, page 745.)
    In case you have not come across Reliance of The Trawler, it is a classical codex of Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence adherents of which include larger fraction of Pakistanis. As you see from the quote, the Islamic scholar suggest entirely different approach to telling truth, more like one given by Lenin based on maxima that goal justifies the means.
    The cultural cliché pertained to fundamental philosophical categories such as truth, justice, honor etc are so fundamental that one can freely talk about Muslim mind as opposite to Western mind. This does not imply that mind works differently, it suggest that fundamental patterns of acting and reasoning may be different.
    Similarly we can talk about Italian mind, English mind, Russian mind. Is not that true that *most* Italians are slightly manipulative? When you write your articles you more attempt to manipulate readers opinion rather than present the truth and you could easily sacrifice truth when it is necessary to build your case. You remind me a lot one Italian friend of mine  Or is that the case that I have too much prejudice about Italians?  If I do, it is not a prejudice, it is result of my experience of dealing with Italian males. One close friend of my, Italian women said me one interesting thing: If you are a male, you better never argue with Italian (males), their moto is “I am right even if I am wrong.” (I do not know if she was right or wrong, you should know this for yourself.) Or have not your wrote somewhere (if I remember) “most Florentines are sarcastic, I too am a Florentine…”
    If you reason in this line there should be no problem in singling out a set of cultural patterns common to Muslims that evolved under influence of their believes , primerly Suna and Quran. I do not think that I should attack you for making a judgment about mind of all Florentines, so I would not attack Ali Sina for making a picture of Islamic mind. As I read it, “Islamic Mind” is an abstraction as an “Italian mind” or a “mind of an Anthropologist” and we use those abstractions all the time.

    With best wishes,
    Islamophobicaly yours,

  27. Dear NeoNeo,

    thank you for your wise suggestions. I will keep them in mind for the future. :-p

    I think that you can find answers to many of your questions about my research and point of view in my books and articles.

    I have written a book on the conception of jihad among ordinary Muslims, ‘Jihad beyond Islam’, and I think that if you want to know more about my positions you need to read it.

    As far as my views on the anthropological study of Islam is concerned, I have just published (it should be available soon) a book entitled ‘The Anthropology of Islam’. There, you will find my position about this field and interdisciplinary research.

    I can see that you think, together with the two commentators you have mentioned, that a ‘Muslim mind’ exists. I think that this is an interesting point indeed.

    I thought that there can exist only one mind: a human mind, but probably this is too simple for many to believe.
    So, which kind of mind do you possess?

    Best wishes

  28. Dear Gabriele,
    Perhaps you are right, my conception of an anthropology is different from yours.

    Here in US we believe in interdisciplinary studies and try to integrate sciences which can be integrated. I see in our university there are huge incentives for integrating e.g. ecology and economics or another example sociology and ecology. People talk about building bridges between disciplines and NSF has a number of articulated interdisciplinary rfps.

    I had a preconception (OK, here it was where I had a prejudice 🙂 ) that anthropology is an interdisciplinary by its nature and that anthropologist of e.g. Islam has to know well at least

    1. History of Islam
    2. Islamic doctrines like Quran and Suna
    3. Modern sociology
    4. Modern philosophy and history of philosophy

    The last I believe is necessary so that you can look at the world from different perspectives and have some background tools necessary e.g. to talk about basic concept you use to build your argumentation. Now I afraid that you will be surprised to know that the concept of rationality has been widely discussed by neopositivists and economists. (I would gladly supply you with references if need be) And I feel disappointed that discussion of this concept does not entice you, even though the concept has particular application to definition of islamophobia as irrational fear of Islam which you use in your scholarly publications.

    You use “islamophobia” often but it disappoints me that you cannot mount any defense of common charge in islamophobia of scholars like Spencer or laymen like myself with conceptual apparatus of modern philosophy, sociology or economics in your hands.

    Now, imagine if you can actually clearly define rationality in a way acceptable to philosophers and sociologists and then demonstrate that the fears of Islam hunting people like myself are indeed irrational according to very definition of rationality. That would be a scholarly work.

    The same with the term “extremists.” Anyone can slander or smear anyone by any name. Would not it be more scholarly if you have not only called me an extremist but actually demonstrated what precisely makes me an extremist? Why I am an extremist and you are not, is not this an interesting academic question? Is not debating such question with the use of tools of logic and philosophy constitutes a rational academic dialog, is it? And if we can’t present justification of our accusations e.g. in extremism, what would make us different from uneducated cowboys who have a drunked quarrel in a bar?

    The life itself is not divided into disciplines and the view of a narrow specialist may have hardly any relevance to politics. Spencer and Ali Sina command no less than two subjects. Spencer is good at history of Islam and second Islamic doctrine, besides he is good at history of Western civilization. Ali Sina has ground in Islamic doctrine (Quran and Suna) and as his “second languages” he cared to learn basics of psychology, just to apply it to understanding Muslim mind. He also has exposure to basics of logic and when he argues he does it as a professional philosopher. That is why these people have millions of visitors on their sites and more than few dozens of commenters on their blogs (There is no possibility to moderate comments in such situation, I hope latest spamming of you blog by some of us gave you feel of what it takes to do moderation. So you can’t really blame Spencer for all the comments)

    If you voluntary put yourself in a cave and limit your expertise to #3 you have no chance to get any understanding of the real nature of Islam and all what you will have is 3 people discussing with you your things. If all what you do just interview and study how people perceive the things and artificially exclude study of their philosophy and schools of thoughts you are missing chance to see and explain many correlations. Then when you do journalism here on your blog you do it with bare hand because it is hard to drag much of ammunition form a narrow discipline which has relevance to real life. So to make something interesting you have to make up things which do not exist and never existed, like cult of “spenserdanism” or fascists talking about Liberty as their goal.

    I believe you could do much more than that if you brush your conceptual apparatus and be more careful when you make any statements that may (or have to) carry impact on others. Because when you construct them in a loose manner there will be no impact, it will backfire and only hart you.

    At the moment as I see it (unless you plaqn some comeback) your are just as harmless and toothless debater as those moderate muslims who try to defend their moderate belives against fundamentalist Muslims. I hope they and you can become better than that in your respective feilds of discourse.

    I wish you all the best in your professional development,

    Islamophobically and extremistically yours,

  29. Dear Ms Devorgilla (beautiful name in Gaelic : Dearbhfhorghaill) and all the others kind readers.

    I really do not understand why Dar al Islam and Dar al Harb matter at all. Do you think that suicide killers study these things? Do you even think that extremists are discussing about this stuff before planning to bomb me, you and Abdulhaq in the tube? Do you think that Muslims (ordinary and extraordinary) spend time in these sophisticated Middle Age diatribes? Have you spent time with some (extra)-ordinary ‘fanatic’ for whom killing you, me or Abdulhaq on a bus will end the Palestinian land occupation or ‘destroy the Satan’?

    Well, it could be fun to discuss about this stuff among us. It could even be stimulating, and I could learn a lot from Abdulhaq’s theological knowledge.

    But look, this is not the reason for which people today are dying in wars, or in criminal attacks on civilians (they are not terrorists because they don’t terrorise me at all, and I hope they will never succeed in terrorising anybody), or racist islamophobic attacks (and yes we have some cases here in the UK) or in shoot-to-kill Brazilians.

    To believe that it is the theological division created by political needs of certain Caliphs to wage wars, the reason for which we are suffering this chaos, is no different from believing that Bush and company have decided to start wars just because they read in a book about Urban II’s call to crusade in 1906.

    The solution, I may suggest, is to leave all of this wasteful time consuming anachronistic theologish stuff and try to understand why some people who feel to be Muslim because of jihad, while, for instance, they cannot tell me how many times jihad is mentioned in the Qur’an.

    Best wishes

  30. Hello. Could Abdulhaq explain to me about Dar al Islam and Dar al Harb being rejected by classical Islam or any other strand of Islam, contemporary or traditional. Thanks.

    Specifically, when did this discourse/doctrine first evolve, and when and by whom has it since been rejected?

    Cheers, and Happy New Year to you all

  31. Dear neoneo, the extremist

    thank you for your many many messages, and I hope that I have published all.
    As far as my Blog’s new-found fame is concerned, there are only three people leaving comments, yet there are lots of comments, but they are all by the same people. So, if to be famous means to attract the attention of three people, well, I really am 🙂

    I have an impression that you have not understood what an anthropologist is and does. If you want an Islamic scholar, there are many over there that can answer about the past and theological diatribes that, professionally, are not in my field of studies.

    I am an academic, rather than a popular author, journalist or political activist, such as the many people you have mentioned. This blog is for sharing ideas (and not making money – Notice the lack of a paypal donate button), research and comments; it is not my main activity. If you want some of the answers from an anthropological perspective, I invite you to read my published work.

    But do not expect that I will speak of Islamic theology, polemic, or dead scholars of the past.

    Best wishes

  32. Dr. Marranci:

    Perhaps now, after the numerous comments on your last two posts, you see why most Muslims don’t bother with non-Muslims like these.

    If it had been Our will, We should have elevated him with Our signs; but he inclined to the earth, and followed his own vain desires. His similitude is that of a dog: if you attack him, he lolls out his tongue, or if you leave him alone, he (still) lolls out his tongue. That is the similitude of those who reject Our signs; So relate the story; perchance they may reflect. (7:176)

    The Qur’an points out several times that it’s best for Muslims to ignore the ignorant:

    And when they hear vain talk, they turn away therefrom and say: “To us our deeds, and to you yours; peace be to you: we seek not the ignorant.” (28:55)

  33. Gabriele wrote: There is no way to know which interpretation of the Qur’an or a specific hadith is the correct one, other than becoming a mullah yourself, or picking up one that, nine times out of ten, tells the person what he or she wants to hear.

    There is no “one correct interpretation of Quran” and Spencer knows it and everyone who read his site knows it too. Even if you become a mullah there is no warranty that someone will not pronounce takfir on you. However, there are traditions and there are scholars who wrote tafsirs. One the most popular tafsir is written by Ibn Kathir. There are Hadits which provide context for Quranic verses.

    You can not know if interpretation is correct, but you can alwase see statistics and see how many followers aproximatly each interpretation (school of islamic jurispundence has). You can alwase see how many adherents one or another “extremist” has.

    Gabrielle wrote: This is exactly my criticism of Spencer. He sometimes ends up being the mullah, since he interprets the Muslim scriptures, often selecting the most extremist kind of Wahabbi interpretations and then claiming that this is the ‘correct’ Islam.

    Gabriele, This is what made Spencer offended. Why do you need to make an idiot out of someone who is not. Spencer does not claim that this or another version is correct Islam , all what he claim that such Islam has its roots and has its followers. Please feel free to bring Spencer quotes that prove me wrong.

    what is most important point which Spencer underscores:

    One can defend Jihadists interpretation with Quaran and Suna at hands. But no one has ever seen any moderate Muslim capable to justify “moderate Islam” with Quran and Suna.

    Spener is not the only one who makes this point. Ayan Hirsi Ali pointed to it too. I debated with many Muslims to elicit from them some arguments in defence of “moderate Islam.” They have no arguments , besides lame ones.

    And who, besides Muslims cares about correct Islam at all? “Correct Islam” sounds as “correct delusion” for a sane person. The matter for us is how many adherents one or another delusion has. Say, if you look at latest reports from Pakistan, you see that 48% of Pakistanis support Bin Laden. If you look at their history you see that they have been controlled by mad clerics (one of which once issued a rapewa that it is halal to rape Ahmadi women). You will see that they have various sort of blasphemy laws:

    295-B Defiling, etc, of copy of Holy Quran. Whoever will fully defiles, damages or desecrates a copy of the Holy Quran or of an extract therefrom or uses it in any derogatory manner or for any unlawful purpose shall be punishable for imprisonment for life.
    295-C Use of derogatory remarks, etc; in respect of the Holy Prophet. Whoever by words, either spoken or written or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.
    298-A Use of derogatory remarks, etc…, in respect of holy personages. Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo or insinuation, directly or indirectly defiles a sacred name of any wife (Ummul Mumineen), or members of the family (Ahle-bait), of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), or any of the righteous caliphs (Khulafa-e-Rashideen) or companions (Sahaaba) of the Holy Prophet description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

    read it at: http://www.rationalistinternational.net/Shaikh/blasphemy_laws_in_pakistan.htm

    Once Musharraf wanted to repell those laws, but Pakistani Parliament did not support him. So what should a sane person think about Pakistan? No doubt they have plenty of ‘moderate Muslims,” but those do not rule the day.

    I am still looking forward to your responce to OliverPCamford´s questions, since you promised to answer those. I can only hope that you will answer mine.

    Have fun,
    The Extremist 🙂

  34. ‘Dear Mr Z

    thank you very much for your post.
    I surely will reply to the questions,’ ~ Marranci

    I would be very interested to see your response to Z’s questions. Will you be posting it here in comments, or will you be making it a seperate article?

  35. I don’t know but that we can’t talk about the “cult” of Academicism as well, in which tenured and officially approved “masters” of questionable disciplines preach to impressionable and partly formed minds and take advantage of a respect not available to amateurs which their wisdom may not merit.

    As a priest of that cult, I would hope you would be more understanding of Mr. Spencer’s position. When one is attempting to persuade and one persuades, well then, one has to deal with the persuaded. Some of those will be intelligent and indpendent thinkers, others will be camp followers.

    Since you proposed a debate, why not stick to the debate rather than switching the topic to an ersatz brand of psychologizing?

    I’ve know Bob for years and far from being humorless, he is one of the most hilarious people I have ever met and as quick to laugh at good jokes as he is to make them. He’s quite good at self-deprecating humor too.

    I think if you’ll stop treating him like a Pygmy from the Congo Basin and just have an open minded chat, you’ll find he’s clubbable and intelligent and one of the best people in the world to talk to.

  36. Dear Jay Sendani,

    do you call these serious and respectful questions? I am sorry but really these questions do not seem to look for an answer.

    “Do you use this kind of insipid mockery to stimulate discussion in your classes, I wonder?

    What reception does a student get if they dare to use a quotation from one of Spencer’s New York Times Bestsellers, or from Bostom, Pipes, Sultan or Manji in class? Is the pimply freshman laughed out of the room, taunted by the professor as a acolyte of the new personality cult? Or is the actual content of the quotation addressed rationally?”

    I have to say that teaching in the UK, these authors aren’t widely discussed among students. Of course, I use authors such as Manji to show different ideas and positions about Muslim identity. Yet, students don’t use them as examples of academic work.

    In any case you will agree that the only people who can really answer the question are my students. So you are very welcome to come to one of my lectures or become one of my students.

    So, what about your preferred style of teaching? Any suggestions for my future courses? Could you provide me with a bibliography that you think my students should read. This would be very much appreciated.

    Best wishes

  37. Dear Dr Marranci

    May I urge you to reply in detail to post number 18? I notice you have replied to many other posts and frequently very quickly but there seems to be no reply to this one. As it seems to embody several valid criticisms of you, surely you will wish to respond.

    I also notice you still have made no substantive reply to post number 5. When and where will your replies to this appear?



  38. Dear Gabriele,

    You still haven’t answered my question. I suppose that it must be the anthropologist in you, unwilling to bias this particular study of “living people” -who may or may not be Spencer “worshippers”- by revealing what YOU, yes YOU actually believe in terms of revealed truth. You’d rather remain above the fray, even as you stir things up to watch the ensuing fight, like a mischievous boy who pokes a wasp’s nest. Would that make you a “sower of discord” like Mahomet. (see http://salibiyyah.blogspot.com/2007/09/divine-comedy-inferno-xxviii-13-42.html)

    I’m not at all familiar with 7th century Arabic, but I believe that the English translation of the Qu’ran that was given to me by a local Imam captures the essence of Mohammad’s screed. Throw in the “divinely inspired” Islamic rule of abrogation to reconcile the Qur’an’s many irreconcilable passages, and I remain persuaded that the Qur’an is the most cunning work of theological darkness that hell has ever conspired to foist upon man. Why do I level such a charge? Because unlike any other religion on earth, Islam is by definition anti-christ, denying both the Father and the Son, as John wrote, some 6 centuries before Mohammad’s birth:

    I John 2:20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. 21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the Liar [ho pseustes] but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the Antichrist [ho antichristos], the one who denies the Father and the Son. (NASU)

    Mohammad’s Allah has no partners, and definitely no Son to call Allah Father. Nor could any such Son die for the sins of another, much less the entire world! Without a death there could be no resurrection as proof that the vicarious atonement had been accepted, and John the Baptist must have eaten a bad batch of locusts on the day when he declared of Jesus, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) Nope, Mohammad/Allah would have none of this eye witness testimony, except what served to exalt his own utterly self-serving teaching, particularly when it came to building a harem and splitting the booty “fairly,” c/o Allah the Wise.

  39. Dear OliverPCamford

    Thank you for your comment and observation. Well, you are right about anthropologists and humour 🙂 To study about human beings and how they express their humanity (in all good and bad aspects) force us to relax by trying humour!

    Yet I have to admit that I take very seriously what Robert Spencer has promised : to send the T-shirt, better if autographed.

    Happy 2008


  40. Look, you guys, Marranci has a rather heavy continental European style of humour. The whole ‘cult’ thing is joke – a heavy European joke and an anthroplogist’s attempt at humour! Anthropologists don’t do humour very well but they like to think that they do – sort of like computer geeks!

    Grief, two countries separated by a common language, as someone once said. This is heavy going!

  41. Dear Buford the Infidel

    Unfortunately I am not a Church Historian, so I cannot tell you more about the heretical movements which started to deny that Jesus was killed on the cross, but rather a substitute. It surely is a fascinating topic of study. I will look and see if I can provide some references in the near future that may clarify their way of thinking and their theology.

    As far as the statement, ‘I expect that Muslims followed Mohammad’s lead’ is concerned, after ten years of studying Muslims as an anthropologist, I can tell you that it is not so simple. Of course, each Muslim will say so, as each Christian will claim to follow the teachings of Jesus, and Jews of the Talmud and so on. Yet, I supposed that you, as a committed Catholic, may not see the Jehovah’s Witnesses as following the teachings and the real path of Jesus.

    In the case of Muslims, since there is no Church, no Pope, no authority other than one person’s own conciousness and perhaps trust in a favourite scholar (who they can change at will), the reality becomes extremely complicated, even in simple matters such as how to pray or recite the shorter verses of the Qur’an.

    Yet, despite their differences (at least within the Sunni family) they will call themselves Muslim and recognise one Islam. But this is a matter of faith rather than practice and reality.

    There is no way to know which interpretation of the Qur’an or a specific hadith is the correct one, other than becoming a mullah yourself, or picking up one that, nine times out of ten, tells the person what he or she wants to hear.

    This is exactly my criticism of Spencer. He sometimes ends up being the mullah, since he interprets the Muslim scriptures, often selecting the most extremist kind of Wahabbi interpretations and then claiming that this is the ‘correct’ Islam.

    Take the example of jihad. Spencer is convinced that the real meaning of jihad is a holy war for killing the infidel. Of course it is, for Spencer and other people who interpret the scriptures as he does. But, this is not the case for others, since there is no single unitary doctrine among Muslims.

    I hope that this may help

  42. Dear marranci,

    Thanks for the remarks, but you didn’t answer my question.

    I expect that Muslims followed Mohammad’s lead, no? As for those self-identified Christians who denied the crucifiction, on what grounds would they even claim to be Christian, seeing as how belief in the vicarious atonement -the death and resurrection of Jesus- is the very heart of Christian confession, its shahada, if you will?

    Deicide? I didn’t think it possible to kill God, unless God so chose/chooses to die by human agency. Do you know something that I don’t about this theoretical possibility? As a Christian, I believe that the Word of God incarnate could indeed die in his humanity, as he said he would, unless, of course, the NT authors were liars and/or dupes.

    Regarding the link, re: the Catholic Mass in Latin, I read nothing that even hinted at deicide, but rather something along the lines of what Paul, that Pharisee among Pharisees, most assuredly prayed for, namely, the conversion of Jews to Christianity. “To the Jew first, and also to the Greek,” he wrote. (Romans 1:16) Perhaps you recall the furor over the canonization of Edith Stein, a Jewish convert become Catholic nun, and Auschwitz victim who offered her life for the sake of the conversion of her kinsfolk? Tell me, should she have refrained out of some sense of collective guilt over the misdeeds of others who called themselves Christian, like the Crusaders?

  43. Gabe:

    Your comments about Spencer thus far do not touch on any substance found in his writings; you make claims to have read his books, but all I can glean from your several posts on the topic is that you have read a few of his titles and drawn your own conclusions from them.

    Since you wear your academic credentials on your sleeve and repeatedly trumpet what an accomplished sociologist you are, I would expect a bit more rigour.

    You make pretensions of soaring above the rhetorical fray with such high-sounding phrases as, on your “About Me” page:

    “I dislike vulgarity and idiotic language”

    Yet, like a taunting schoolyard bully cherishing a favourite insult, you toss out demeaning and defamatory invective, pitching Spencer as an inflated ego with an ambition to lead a personality cult, and those who admire his work as “worshipers”.

    Do you use this kind of insipid mockery to stimulate discussion in your classes, I wonder?

    What reception does the a student get if they dare to use a quotation from one of Spencer’s New York Times Bestsellers, or from Bostom, Pipes, Sultan or Manji in class? Is the pimply freshman laughed out of the room, taunted by the professor as a acolyte of the new personality cult? Or is the actual content of the quotation addressed rationally?

    You consider yourself to have “challenged Spencer to a debate” by leaving a short note in the comments at FrontPageMag.com, and then crow about him being afraid to come forward to defend his views.

    In fact, it is not you but Spencer who has thrown down the gauntlet, publicly and repeatedly; he keeps an open door for all willing to engage in reasoned debate concerning his work. All that would have been necessary is a reasonably civil response to his challenge through the “contact us” link provided on his site.

    He has debated numerous Islamists, polemicists, luminaries, and their western apologists in many public forums, on TV, radio and in written exchanges. Spencer is not shy of debate with the famous or the fatuous.

    But as you acknowledge (with a sneer) in your own posts, he is a very busy man. You apparently think yourself so significant that he would be pouring through the comment pages at FrontPageMag looking for personal validation, find your challenge and be bowled over, instantly recognizing it as an important missive from a renowned academic, that suddenly demands all his time and energy.

    Spencer repeatedly reminds readers that he does not have time to read, let alone reply to, most comments to his articles, and pleads for his correspondents to be patient. That is on his own blog site, JihadWatch — to say nothing of other sites that carry his articles!

    Exactly how important do you think you are?

    For a crude assessment of exactly how busy he is, whip over to the site-ranking engine at Alexis.com, where you’ll find that Spencer’s blog is currently ranked (3 month average) at 59,911.

    As I’m sure you know, for a blog this is an EXTREMELY HIGH ranking. Further, over the past three months it has improved by over 10,000 positions.

    The SiteMeter counter at JihadWatch shows over 14 Million recent visitors. THAT IS A LOT OF PEOPLE for him to interact with, Gabe.

    In comparison, your blog comes in ranked at number 4,126,693. In terms of importance on the web, you are barely a blip on a blip on the radar screen. You’re right up there with millions of tweens talking about their teddy bear collections and favourite rock stars.

    Exactly what makes you think that Spencer’s slowness of response means that he’s cowering in the back room hoping you go away? Exactly what makes you think he’s likely to even notice your presence?

    Judging from the tone of your comments you are really not interested in debate — what I see looks like plain and simple grandstanding.

    Have you yet challenged the Pope, or George Bush, to a debate? Why stop at Spencer when there are even bigger fish in the sea? I bet they haven’t answered yet either. Maybe by now you’ve got half the world cowering in fear of your awesome debating skills…

    Well, your little challenge has finally come to Spencer’s attention and he has answered, however briefly. If you’re really interested in debate you’re going to have to do better than ask for definitions of rubbery sociological concepts.

    Give us a break; don’t start with a long list of 20 irrelevant about sociological semantics or your stock schoolyard taunts.

    Who cares what your (or his) definition of a “civilization” is? What exactly is the point of asking about this? This is a lovely sort of question in which every answer is “wrong” — some “expert” can pooh-pooh any answer at all. You of all people should know there are as many definitions of the word as there are sociologists. Get off your silly semantic bandwagon and deal with some real issues!

    Who cares what some jerk out of the millions of visitors to his site once wrote? Spencer is, as you claim to be, an advocate of freedom of speech, and often declares that he rarely censors comments, believing that the antidote to bad speech is more, and better, speech.

    You should know better, Gabe, than to pretend a man is responsible for anyone’s speech but his own. Spencer is a prolific writer; if you want to criticize that writing, you’d better demonstrate that you know what it contains!

    If Spencer is a racist, Muslim hater, etc as you appear to think, then forget about scattergun questions and red herrings. If Spencer is wrong, then he’s wrong about SOMETHING. It shouldn’t be hard to give a specific quotation of some egregious statement from his own writings and follow with a precise criticism of his statements, supported by whatever documentation you believe establishes your case.

    I believe you have finally gotten his attention. Please don’t blow your chance and waste everyone’s time, as you have done so far.

  44. Dear Buford the Infidel,

    thanks for your comments. Being an anthropologist, and working with living people, I normally do not take too much care, other than if they are discussed among my respondents, of theological diatribes. Indeed, as scholars, we have different fields.

    Yet, I can suggest that the Muslims were surely not the first to question the crucifixion of Jesus, but some heretical (according to Rome at the time) Christians, who were, together with the Jews (accused officially until Vatican the II of being guilty of ‘Deicide’ and recently re-accused of that by the reintroduction of the Catholic Mass in Latin ) killed during the first Crusade. I am sure that a historian can tell you more.

    Best wishes

  45. Excuse me, Mr. Haq, I’m only legally blind, being 400+ in both eyes, but corrected to 20/20. However, you would probably consider me to be a member of a cult, the Roman Catholic cult, that is, which is to say that I’m hardly a “Spencerdanian,” to take a Marranciesque liberty, at least not a first order sort.

    In case you are wondering, what has astonished me most of all in reading the ravings of Islam’s esteemed “prophet” -who today would no doubt be found criminally insane- is his denial of the crucifiction of Jesus. It was mere “conjecture,” Mohammad declared some 6 CENTURIES after the fact, supposedly on the word of “Gabriel,” or so I’ve read:

    [Surat al-Nisa (Women) 4:157-158

    And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah Jesus son of Mary, Allah’s messenger–They slew him not nor crucified, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain. But Allah took him up unto Himself. Allah was ever Mighty, Wise.]

    You see, sir, it bothers me greatly that to serve his own “divinely ordained” purposes, Mohammad/Allah made liars of the authors of the New Testament, and secondarily, that you believe him over them. Now, why would you believe him over them? As far as I can tell, it is for no other reason than that Mohammad, who would never ever tell a lie unless it advanced his cause, said so -and you would know better than I how often he engaged in duplicity for Allah’s sake- but does it make any sense? Why would Christians invent the story that Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead, as opposed to being spirited away to Paradise, to return at the end and destroy all opposition to Mohammad’s scheme of things, as “Gabriel” supposedly revealed?

    I have my suspicions as to why Mohammad couldn’t stomach the idea that salvation could come through a Jew, and more than a Jew, according to the “Gabriel” whose words are recorded in Luke’s Gospel, Ch. 5, verses 1-56, and whose testimony flatly contradicts Mohammad’s “Gabriel,” but what do you believe? And what about you, Dr. Marranci?

  46. Hi Dr Marranci,

    If you have received death-threats then you should publish the names of the culprits and publicly shame them. I’m certain that both Robert Spencer and the majority of his readers would both apologise for and denounce any such threats sent to you.

    I don’t feel you should dismiss Robert Spencer’s readers as cultists without a clear indicative argument to backup your viewpoint, of which I see nothing above. For example, I am a British Christian whom is dating, and in fact love dearly, a Malaysian Muslim. I have read several of Robert Spencer’s books and posts over many years and both understand and agree with his logic in analysing historic Islamic texts and his assertion of their appropriation by extremist Islamist elements. I also understand and respect outside of that the moderate beliefs of my partner and her spiritual interpretation of Islam. The said moderate and personal beliefs Robert Spencer recognises, and wishes to advance as an alternative to traditional Islam as an empowerment to its adherents and a benefit to the rest of humankind. Sadly however, she like many other Muslims have little either scripturally or doctrinally to support their viewpoint and that is the crux of this matter. Whilst both extremists and supremacists use Islamic texts to further their agenda, those caught in its wake are brushed aside, whilst acknowledgement of these issues are labelled Islamaphobia avoiding the need to deal with or act on any criticism. She is left powerless whilst those who would most be expected to defend her reinforce the dogma against her as if it is the true victim. This is very much my belief and I hardly think this is the viewpoint of a cultist. Frankly I’d appreciate you explaining how exactly I and the majority of commenters here today fit into that category.

    It Islam is the perfect faith it pertains to be then it should both meet and welcome criticism on an equal basis.

    I’ve been reading your book with interest (via the link provided), sadly random pages are missing “Pages X-X are not part of this book preview.” making it difficult to make any real judgements on. Do you have any source for the published chapter that is complete?

    I look forward to your response to some of the questions posed in return to you via your comments section.



  47. Dear Sheik yer’mami,

    I have checked the list of the Arab names below, and I am afraid that I didn’t find mine – but there are some that may sound like yours.

    Humorously yours, as ever,


  48. Pack it in, Marranci!

    Your response is Intellectually bankrupt, shows not a trace of humor and projection is not what makes “open and civilised” debate. There is nothing cultish about Spencer. Islam is a cult that seeks to indoctrinate, ‘brainwash’ and manipulate its followers, and all you come up with is cheap smears and ad hominem attacks on Spencer because he points a finger at it.

    All this too bleeding obvious to even bother, good bye!

    Btw: what is your Arab name, Marranci?

  49. One of the more commonly quoted definitions of ‘cult’ was articulated at an AFF/UCLA Conference on Cults in 1985: “Cult (totalist type): A group or movement exhibiting a great or excessive devotion or dedication to some person, idea or thing and employing unethically manipulative techniques of persuasion and control.”
    [L.J. West and M.D. Langone, ‘Cultism – A Conference for Scholars and Policy-Makers’ in Cultic Studies Journal, Vol.3, pp.117-134]

    They further stated about cults that:
    “They use special methods to heighten suggestibility and subservience, powerful group pressures, information management, suspension of individuality or critical judgement, promotion of total dependency on the group and fear of leaving it, etc. all designed to advance the goals of the group’s leaders, to the actual, or possible, detriment of members, their families and the community.”

  50. Well done Dr Gabriele for posing intelligent questions which seem to have stirred the blind followers of Spencer to grace your blog.
    Spencer’s contention that “jihadists have a plan for global domination” is incorrect. This is one of the most simplistic hypotheses ever to be forwarded, nevertheless what should one expect from an individual who claims that Islam only views the world as being Dar ul-Islam or Dar ul-Harb?

    It seems as if the intellectually bankrupt Spencer fraternity are out in full force on this one Dr Gabriele. The fact remains that Spencer, who has not studied classical Islam, rose to fame after 9/11 and his works are characterised by poor referencing, context-dropping, shoddy field work and a whole host of other flaws which render such work as unreliable. The book, The Myth of Islamic Tolerance: How Islam Treats Non-Muslims (New York: Prometheus Books, 2005) is a case in point. Despite its impressive size, it is devoid of any serious source referencing and citations and such descrepancies are not adequate when researching detailed and intricate issues such as ‘how Islam treats non-Muslims’. Furthermore, to publish a book on how ‘Islam treats non-Muslims’ and then proceed to quote little or nothing from Muslim scholars and their main works within this field is deceptive to say the least. One of the other glaring errors that Spencer has committed within his writing on Islam (and is likewise committed by Patrick Sookhdeo, Craiig Winn, Bat Ye’or, Trifkovic, Nina Shea and others) is that they claim that Islam only views the world as being “Dar ul-Islam and Dar ul-Harb (the abode of Islam and the abode of warfare)”, thus implying that Islam views the rest of the world which is non-Muslims as being “an abode of war”. This is one of the more blatant errors that these guys fall into, as it is well known within classical Islam that Muslim scholars view the abodes as being of Islam or of disbelief (’kufr’) and these abodes of disbelief are further broken down into: Dar ul-’Ahd (abodes of agreement), Dar ul-Aman (abodes of safety and security) and Dar ul-Harb – and not just Dar ul-harb only.

    Moreover, Spencer is one of the most evasive polemicists on the earth today, especially when it comes to debating those who have some qualification in the field of Islam. Recently, Spencer more or less chickened out of a well-organised and planned debate with the Muslim author Jalal Abualrub in America. The debate was to be organised at a location of Spencer choosing, with a moderator according to Spencer’s choosing, at a venue chosen by Spencer, video-taped and recorded for distribution: http://www.islamlife.com/news.php?readmore=187

    In any case, on youtube there are two very good refutations of Spencer’s ideas and writings namely here: http://ru.youtube.com/watch?v=na7ofI4MoLA and by a theology student here:

    Until the likes of Spencer, Sookhdeo, Winn, Trifkovic, Shea et al. are prepared to accept criticisms and challenges to their questionable work they will never be taken seriously by those in the academic community who study Islam and by Muslim scholars.


  51. I once suggested BA Theology degrees ought be taught at seminaries with degree status awarded externally, and Universities should teach Christian Studies instead. This followed a story in the news confirming my own experience as T&RS undergrad, where I witnessed lecturer bias openly espoused in breach the University’s secular constitution. The only person who got a first in my year was one of the trainee priests! This was construed as a Muslim attack on Christianity, rather a defence of secular Higher Education, and so the virtriol and bile poured into the comments section. Only a mass deletion of comments quelled this unexpected hurricane of hatred. Hell hath no fury like the fanatic scorns reason.

  52. Yet this post is not about Spencer’s answers, which in any case you can read and draw your own conclusions about. It is not about his lack of humour, and his self-centric business related, attitude. It is more about the kind of people who seem to orbit around him.

    So thats it? You challenge him with specific questions that you expected he would not answer clearly or succinctly. But then he does just that, and instead of aknowledging that he has reponded to your challenge succincly and intelligently, you just move on and spout out smears about readers of his website?


  53. LOL! Marranci is sooooooo jealous!

    Marranci wishes someone would make a t-shirt “loving” him! (Alas – will never happen).

    BTW, the above t-shirt on amazon has NOTHING whatsoever to do with RS of Jihad Watch. Nothing.

    You imbecile.

  54. Dear Mr. Marranci,
    I hope you enjoy this wave of new visitors to your blog who followed the links from jihadwatch.org 🙂 It is a big blog and moderating comments is not that easy for R. Spencer as in your case.

    Well, I warned you about the mismatch between your style and style of R. Spencer. I afraid that you two may not get to the matters which are substantial according to both of you. In any case, good luck for your dialog with R. Spencer, I will be reading what comes out of it.

    I have been trying to understand what do you call “slandering comments” about your own personality. At different clicks my browser brings me to different posts and I do not see where slandering is. One posts asserts that your are a Muslim. I think one can make such assumption reading your description of yourself. Is that what you find slandering?

    For the sake of newcommers from JW site, would you please clarify this question and state it clearly if you have really had pronounced shahada? Do your consider Muhammad to be a final prophet of God?

    I too am looking forward for your answers to the questions of OliverPCamford. I would like to add some from my end:

    7. what is the position of al murthadin according to shariya laws

    8. what do you think about *the origin* of blasphemy laws in Islamic countries such as Pakistan. Why such relatively “democratic” nation as Pakistan has blasphemy laws?

    9. what do you think about *the origin* of hudood laws of Pakistan. Why they were in place in Pakistan ?

    10. (I already asked this) Should personal political goals influence work of an anthropologist?

    Have fun,

    NeoZionist NeoNeoCon 🙂

  55. Dear Mr Z

    thank you very much for your post.
    I surely will reply to the questions, though by seeing some of the comments written by Mr OliverPCamford about me, I think that he, as some others from JihadWatch, is not very interested in my opinion at all. He has his own firm beliefs which, I suppose, cannot be challenged by any answer.

    By the way, may I suggest that you at least read a chapter of mine
    maybe you may find something of interest.
    Best wishes

  56. So Marrancy, you shift the topic away from what it originally was, Islam, to a topic about commenters on JihadWatch.
    And then scorn Spencer for not commenting on your newly invented topic.

    Get back to the topic Marrancy, the topic was Islam. The answers to your questions were available already before you asked them back in September. Spencer has, as he says “…written seven books, hundreds of articles, and about 19,000 blog posts…”
    It´s not like he(Spencer) has withheld his views, his reasoning, his sources in the matter.

    I´m more inclined to think it´s you who owe some answers. OliverPCamford in this other thread had some questions for you(comment #6), you could start with them… https://marranci.wordpress.com/2007/12/29/when-mr-spencer-is-too-busy/
    OliverPCamford´s questions;
    “…Come now, answer the substantive questions:

    1) What, exactly, is the position of Islam with respect to the the Infidel (as Islam sees us)?

    2) What, exactly, is the position of women in a Sharia Law dominated society?

    3) What, exactly, is the position of gay people in a Sharia Law dominated society?

    4) What, exactly, is the meaning of Western, pluralistic democracy as interpreted by Sharia Law?

    When answering these questions please feel free to quote from the Koran and the Hadith and, more, to quote authoritative Islamic scholars from any era.

    But, and more than anything else, please answer this:

    5) Why do all so-called Islamic terrorist groups quote various verses from the Koran as justification for their actions?

    and then tell me, all of us,

    6) Are they wrong to do so?”


  57. “Spencerdanism?” Only if his name were Specerdan, but then, you’re an anthropologist, not a grammarian. On the other hand, Shakespeare was also fond of taking liberties with the English language, inventing words as he saw fit, so in that vein, allow me to refer to your coinage of the word, “Spencerdanism,” as an original (if not inaugural) Marrancism.

    Now, where can I order a “Spencerdanism: A New Cult?” T-shirt?

  58. First, you say you want to debate Robert Spencer. You ask him questions.

    When he answers, all you have to say is that the commenters on Jihadwatch are bad.

    Your arguments must be very weak then.

  59. Dear Robert (If I may)

    thank you very much for your comment and also for the space you have devoted to me on your website.

    I am very happy that you have a sense of humour, because I was becoming concerned that you take yourself too seriously.

    Of course, you have not taken enough time to read my post, since I indeed said that it was a joke, and correctly I expected that you would say that you “did not design the T-shirt, [and] only mentioned it”, as indeed you did.

    Yet I notice, with regret, that your only comment is on the T-Shirt joke, and not on your supporters’ comments about me, other academics and also Muslims in general (not jihadists, as you used to call them)

    By the way, I now eagerly await to receive the promised T-shirt, you can send it to my university address. 🙂

    have a nice and happy new year


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