When Mr Spencer is too busy

As you may remember, I wrote, during the ‘Islamo-Fascism’ week campaign, to the organisers and supporters of this event questioning their a-historical use of Fascism (something that they never experienced neither directly nor indirectly) but of which they seem to be great experts in every sense.

Today, I found, by chance, that the lack of an answer to my rather old post, was not, as I assumed, a clear evidence of ‘menefreghismo’ of fascist memory, or a clear dismissal of an academic discussion on the issue, but actually a matter of time. Indeed, today we can read Spencer replying to one of his worshipers,

Sheik:

Thanks. I hadn’t seen that first one before. It is patronizing, but I may answer his questions if time permits at some point. One glaring problem is that he ignores my many statements about how many, if not most, Muslims have no interest in waging jihad, and pretends that I think most or all do. […]’

Of course, I hope that Mr Spencer can find the time to debate, correctly and academically, the topic with me and also clarify why I am ‘patronizing’ only for, as I have done with Dr MacEoin, daring to ask questions. Continue reading

A lesson to learn

As some of you may have noticed, I usually do not comment immediately upon events and news. There are two main reasons for this, firstly I am very slow in updating my blog, secondly I believe that to have a detached view and analysis of what is going on, you need to have some time for reflection. This is even truer when you, yourself, have been involved in the story.

As you can read in some of my previous posts, I was one of the first academics to question and criticise the formerly media-acclaimed Policy Exchange’s report on extremist literature in British mosques and Islamic institutes authored by Dr MacEoin. This led to a couple of exchanges with the main researcher and author of the report, who often had a certain goliardic attitude towards legitimate methodological questions. Finally, what was at first an academic analysis and criticism of a flawed methodology, a dodgy research ethic, and a sensationalist (politically driven) report, ended in being shamed by the same mass media which used to praise it. Continue reading

Open letter to Dr Denis MacEoin

Dear Denis,

First of all, thank you very much for taking the time to read my post and for your comment as well as for summarising your Islamicist and Arabist credentials which, of course, I never challenged or questioned. For the benefit of the readers, I will recopy below your comment to my post :

Gabriele,
Before I bother to read your full comment, let me put you right. If you had actually taken the trouble to read my details on the report, you’d have seen that I have an MA in Persian, Arabic and Islamic Studies from Edinburgh, a PhD in Persian Studies (focussing on Shi’ite Islam) from Cambridge, have written several books and a great many articles on Islamic subjects, contributed to The Encyclopedia of Islam, the Encyclopedia Iranica, the Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam in the Modern World, and many other reference books. taught Islamic civilization and Arabic-English translation at the University of Fez, taught Arabic and Islamic Studies at Newcastle University, and some Persian at Durham. The fact that I’m also a novelist doesn’t figure in this at all. It’s totally irrelevant, but because you seem determined to attack the messenger instead of the message, you focus on the wrong thing. I’ll read your remarks in more detail later. But I already see denial writ large on what is there. Read the texts, then add to the 100 mosques we visited the estimated 1600 mosques in this country, and you may accept that we have a problem. And that the Muslims we worked with agreed it was a problem for them too.

As you can see, I faithfully reported your expertise in classic Islamic studies in my post. I thought also that it was relevant to highlight that at the present your main interest, as you have mentioned on your own webpage, is not researching and teaching sociological aspects of Islam.

Continue reading