Spencer comes out for ending all Muslim immigration from Muslim countries

For the last couple of years I have been calling on Robert Spencer and other leading Islam critics to go beyond hand-wringing about the Islamic menace and take a position on Muslim immigration that was rationally consistent with their view that Islam represents a mortal threat to our civilization. Such a position, I said in my article, “The Minimum,” meant, at a minimum, the end of further immigration of Muslims to the United States. In the interests of making things easier for the Islam critics, I later modified that minimal requirement to a drastic reduction of Muslim immigration. Spencer, as endlessly documented at this website, has consistently refused to take such a position. He has claimed to believe in Muslim immigration restriction, but that turned out to consist only of his idea of screening Muslim immigration applicants for jihadist sympathies, an approach that I said would not work. He has repeatedly alluded to the desirability of Muslim immigration restriction, but has never enunciated that position himself. He has stuck his toe in the water of Muslim immigration restriction but has refused to jump in. Now at long last he has jumped in. He writes today at Jihad Watch:

Officials should proclaim a moratorium on all visa applications from Muslim countries, since there is no reliable way for American authorities to distinguish jihadists and potential jihadists from peaceful Muslims. Because this is not a racial issue, these restrictions should not apply to Christians and other non-Muslim citizens of those countries. Those who claim that such a measure is “Islamophobic” should be prepared to provide a workable way for immigration officials to distinguish jihadists from peaceful Muslims, or, if they cannot do so, should not impede basic steps the U.S. should take to protect itself. And Muslims entering from anywhere—Britain, France—should be questioned as to their adherence to Sharia and Islamic supremacism. This is not because anyone will expect honest answers, but so that answers proven false by the applicant’s subsequent activity can become grounds for deportation.

Obviously, Spencer’s position is still seriously lacking in that he would allow Muslims to immigrate from non-Muslim countries, though he would have them questioned for jihadist beliefs in an attempt to separate the jihadists from the peaceful Muslims. But of course such questioning would no more avail in the case of Muslims coming from France or England than it would in the case of Muslims coming from Egypt or Jordan. Since Spencer has just admitted that screening will not work in the case of immigrants from Muslim countries, there is no basis for his reliance on screening when it comes to immigrants from non-Muslim countries.

Nevertheless, despite these remaining inconsistencies, Spencer has taken the major conceptual and policy step beyond the reigning liberal orthodoxy. Liberalism tells us that the greatest evil is to discriminate against an entire group, whether defined by nationality, race, or religion. Spencer now recognizes the principle that in the case of Islam, because of its unique and unchangeable doctrines that spell ruin to all non-Muslims, we have no choice but to discriminate against the entire religion. Western man understood this for a thousand years, and then, in the wake of the Enlightenment, strangely forgot it. Now, painfully and slowly, Western man is being forced against his own liberal beliefs to remember what he once knew.

Congratulations to Robert Spencer. At last America’s leading scholarly critic of Islam has gone beyond analyzing the threat and is also saying what we need to do to protect ourselves from it. It is to be hoped that in the light of Spencer’s statement, other prominent Islam critics will also address the immigration question.

We thus see the power of real freedom. A minority view, such as that Muslim immigration must be stopped, may be treated with contempt and closed out of respectable discourse. But if there is the freedom to advance that argument, and if it is the better argument, eventually it will be heard and will have an effect.

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Scott in Pennsylvania, who told me about the Spencer article, writes:

This is qualitatively different than his “questionnaire” method, which he was still defending only last week. I know because I posted a comment challenging his method. I didn’t get a response, but I’d like to think I had a tiny part in changing his mind. Here was my post last Saturday and notice that I also used the word “moratorium”:

Robert says: “The point of such screening, [i.e. of Islamic immigrants] by the way, would not be naively to accept the answers given as honest. It would be to make any activity that showed the answers not to be honest into grounds for deportation.”

The problem with that view, Robert, is that the “activity” that shows their previous answers to be false might be a terrorist attack that kills thousands of Americans.

Better to declare a moratorium on Islamic immigration, because even if jihadists and jihad sympathizers make up a small percentage of Islamic immigrants, we know that even small percentages can present an unacceptable risk.

Scott in PA

Jeff in England writes:

Yes, it’s a step forward . But (as you know too well) for Spencer the problem is only jihadists, not the fact that “peaceful Muslims” will change our culture and civilisation irrevocably.

So let’s say for Spencer’s sake a reliable lie detector test is given at the border and the so called jihadists are stopped there and then from coming in. Let’s say that is five percent of the adult Muslims trying to get in. That leaves huge amounts of Muslims which are ok to come in by Spencer’s standards. This will still change our culture irrevocably even if every single one of those Muslims is “peaceful.” And as we have seen, it is huge amounts of “peaceful” Muslim moderates who are causing problems, as the Rushdie and Cartoon Protest and Pope Benedict controversies show. Peaceful Muslims becoming very unpeaceful and intolerant.

So positive step as it might be, Spencer’s statement does not really deal with the core of the problem whatsoever. In other words, stopping the establishment of a huge Islamic presence into the West.

LA replies:

Read it again. You’re completely missing the point. He says the end of all Muslim immigration from Muslim countries.

Jeff replies:

Larry, you read it again. Spencer’s premise is that presently we can’t stop jihadists from coming in so we should for the moment stop all Muslim immigration. I then said that if a new sort of perfect lie detector makes it possible to identify and then stop all jihadists from coming in, Spencer’s logic would then dictate that he would revert to letting in Muslims (who would be the so called peaceful Muslims). Spencer doesn’t want all Muslims stopped from coming in long-term, only until the jihadists can be correctly separated. In other words Spencer would be happy for the majority of Muslims to keep on coming as they are peaceful and moderate.

Of course we now know from experience that those peaceful Muslims are not that peaceful. But even if they were, their religion and culture is bound to have a huge effect on our society and that is not good. This is the big mistake of Suspect thinking. I thought we agreed on that.

LA replies:

He says,

“Officials should proclaim a moratorium on all visa applications from Muslim countries, since there is no reliable way for American authorities to distinguish jihadists and potential jihadists from peaceful Muslims.”

You want him to take some metaphysical position that we will never in all of time and eternity let in Muslims. That is a ridiculous demand and he doesn’t have to do that. He has made the fundamental concession, which is that we have no way to distinguish between peaceful Muslims and jihadists.

Jeff replies:

Look, I’m glad he has made his recommendation but it doesn’t change the fact that he is not opposed to Muslim immigration in general, just Jihadism. Unless people understand that it is the presence of all Muslims (no matter how nice individually they are), not just so called extreme/radical Muslims which is the problem for the survival of the West, we are doomed to live an illusion.

For Godsakes Larry, I know we agree on this. Great that he has said what he has said but it doesn’t go far enough. Spencer and the other Suspects need to realise that all followers of Islam are a danger to the West. Otherwise when that perfect lie detector is invented they will happily let in most Muslims to the West.

LA replies:

You’re missing the point. I never demanded that he take such a position. I said that in the interests rational consistency with his Islamo-critical position, he had to support at least the end of Muslim immigration. He has now substantially come out for that position. He has met my minimal requirement. I have to acknowledge him for doing this. I never said that he must agree with me on all issues related to Islam, immigration, and culture. I said that he must stop grossly contradicting himself. He has now done that.

Also, implicit in the idea that we cannot practically distinguish between Muslim immigration applicants who are peaceful and those who are jihadist, is the concession that we cannot distinguish between any Muslims who are peaceful and those who are jihadists. And there is the further idea, which Spencer does not imply but which is hovering around the issue, that in any large Muslim population there will be a significant jihadist element. And therefore any large Muslim population is a problem.

Jeff replies:

Larry, I’m not talking about “your” demands of Spencer. Nor am I criticising you in any way. I’m simply stating how I see the situation. I don’t feel Spencer sees the situation correctly even with this proposal. He is happy for all peaceful Muslims to keep on coming once we can correctly identify the jihadists. I am not happy for any Muslims to come to the West at any time, even if we can separate the so called jihadists. Simple. End of story.

LA replies:

I think Jeff’s position is unreasonable. Spencer has just said that we have no way of correctly identifying the jihadists. So for all practical purposes Spencer’s position is identical to Jeff’s.

Jeff writes:

I don’t think we are really disagreeing here, its the Suspects who still don’t fully acknowledge that all Muslims in the West are the problem (even if they are nice as I always say).

Today I went to the area of Oxford called East Oxford. Lots and lots of Muslims out on the main shopping road. All seemed nice and polite. They are not hostile to me, they simply ignore me. Not a single one was speaking English it seemed. No women were obvious unless in the shadow of a man. Several (not all) of those women were wearing full burquas. One Muslim man shooed a perfectly sweet small dog away for no legitimate reason at all. His children gave chase to the dog calling it abusive names and the dog ran off somewhere hopefully to its owner. I was in a rush to get somewhere so I didn’t get involved as I usually would. This is the Britain that all the liberals and progressives fought for. What an irony.

And Spencer, the most famous Suspect, would gladly have them keep on coming as long as they are not jihadists. Charming.

LA replies:

Of course my immigration concerns go beyond the jihadist aspect of Islam and beyond even “peaceful” Islam if there were such a thing. I am against any further non-European immigration into the West, except perhaps for immediate family members of U.S. citizens, exceptional individuals, and that kind of thing. One doesn’t enjoy sounding that strict, but given the insane excess of non-European immigration in recent decades, very likely fatal to our very identity and unity as a society, we have no choice but to bring virtually all of it to a stop if we are to have any chance of cultural recovery. At the same time we have to focus an extraordinary amount of attention on jihadist Islam because as a threat it is in a class by itself. Unfortunately, that distracts attention from the larger problem of the de-Westernization of the West resulting from our non-discriminatory immigration policies as a whole.

Scott from PA writes:

I just hope he doesn’t backtrack. I wonder how long before he’s booted off the Corner or FP?

LA replies:

Unlike his previous statements on immigration, in which he played with the issue, this is a solid, unambiguous statement. I don’t see him backing off. This is a major step.

I don’t see him being booted off FP. If someone like me says it, it’s extreme, racist, etc. If someone like Spencer says it, it’s ok. That’s why it is so important that he has said it.

However, to qualify, we have to remember that Spencer himself is not entirely “respectable” in the conservative establishment. The dormitory crowd at National Review, to their disgrace, have closed him out of their publication; indeed they do not publish any of the Islam critics including Bat Ye’or, whom they published a few years ago then stopped. They regard Spencer’s statements about the doctrines and history of Islam as too extreme, or maybe as just too pithy and definitive for their tastes.

Anthony Damato writes:

Really amazing. I haven’t visited JW yet to read his rationale, but maybe it has something to do with the JFK plot and the widening investigation revealing a whole score of nice Moslem next door neighbor types. Now that he has seen the light on this obvious necessity, keeping THEM out, let’s hope he hammers the point relentlessly does not revise his statement.

Randall Parker writes:

On the battlefield for ideas we are winning.

M. Mason writes:

I want to commend Spencer for his belated but very welcome support on this issue of immigration restriction, which is plainly the only thing that can save us from the hydra-headed menace of Islam in the West. Let’s hope that he now proves to be as zealous for this new direction as he has been in warning the public about Islam in general through his website, books and lectures over the years.

Direct and pointed confrontation is often necessary to get the attention of some people before they finally capitulate to the truth that’s already staring them in the face. One cannot help but think that your determined and principled arguments along these lines have been instrumental in effecting this change in Spencer. But it would probably be naive at this point to expect him to thank you for it.

LA replies:

Thank you.

And I agree. It is only through principled confrontation that we can hope to weaken the ruling ideology of suicidal liberalism.

Conservative Swede writes:

Great news about Spencer! I felt it was coming, but I didn’t expect it so soon. The mental landscape has changed decisively in only the last three weeks.

1. Three weeks ago Sarkozy’s administration reported that they: i) have ruled out legalizing illegal aliens en masse, ii) will deport 25.000 illegal aliens this year, and iii) will pay immigrants to go back home. Yes, Sarkozy is very much an enigma, and his positions on other issues makes us legitimately question if he’s really on our side. But nevertheless, his position, policy and statements about immigration is hard cash, and therefore a merit that can never be taken away from him. And let us recognize that the most important aspect of these statements and policy is not what they do for France, but what they have done and will do for the whole West. Suddenly the idea of “bribing” Muslims to go back home (“bribing” as Derbyshire or anyone else who wants to distance themselves from the idea would call it), is not merely something written about at “obscure” sites such as VDare, now it’s official and effectuated policy of a completely “kosher” political administration. Deportation is now “kosher” too. The ice has been broken. Sarkozy did it. The mental landscape has changed, and from this there is no return.

2. The whole immigration bill affair, and what it has triggered. The conservative revolt against Bush and his bill. The rage of ordinary people. Laura Ingraham’s indignant telling-off of Bush. Ann Coulter taking a race-conscious position on immigration. FrontPage publishing it. Tom Tancredo suggesting a moratorium on all legal immigration in the televised GOP debate. And it was only McCain that talked positively about the bill in those debates. Most of them took a clear position against illegal immigration. Etc.

Newt Gingrich suggests that “the GOP’s only hope of holding on to the White House in 2008 is to nominate a candidate who runs against Bush, just as Nicolas Sarkozy won France’s presidency by making his own president, Jacques Chirac, his virtual opponent.” None of the GOP candidates went as far yet, even though Tom Tancredo is closest to it. Newt Gingrich, however, suggests that he’s the American Sarkozy. This will be interesting. Gingrich might not be in position to win, but if he formulates his campaign in this way, he’s already got an important job done, in further changing the mental landscape.

3. Finally Spencer himself. Three weeks ago, in the tumult created by Derbyshire, Spencer referred to the idea of preventing further Muslim immigration as “eminently sensible,” but adding “before it can even be discussed intelligently in the public sphere, there has to be a significant increase in public awareness about the jihad ideology and Islamic supremacism, and if anything, at this point we’re generally going in the opposite direction on that.” But saying so out loud undermines the whole strategy which it describes. Therefore, such a thing would only be said by someone mentally preparing himself for coming out of the closet (or by an idiot). With the change of the mental landscape in America the last two weeks, Spencer concluded that it was time to come out.

And I’m sure he will be greatly relived not to have you, Lawrence, nagging him anymore. So you definitely weigh in here. Still, of course, Hugh Fitzgerald made sure to distance himself from you. Nobody wants to be associated with you, even if they have the same position. But by following your blog, and seeing who you communicate with, and who comments, it’s clear to me that they all listen to you. And that you manage to annoy them in a constructive way. Nobody, who wants to remain fairly respectable, wants to be associated with you. That’s tough. But considering the fate met by Jesus and Socrates—two other major annoyers—you are still doing fine.

Finally I’d like to comment upon Jeff’s idea of the lie detector test. You are correct in your argument against Jeff and your defense of Spencer. But I’d just like to strengthen your argument. Imagine that there was such a lie detector test. Spencer wouldn’t buy it. As he wrote:

“Officials should proclaim a moratorium on all visa applications from Muslim countries, since there is no reliable way for American authorities to distinguish jihadists and potential jihadists from peaceful Muslims.”

The keyword here is “potential jihadists.” An imaginary lie detector test would only be able to sort out the current jihadists. The potential jihadists are those that go for a trip back to Pakistan, come home with a full beard, and then one day shave it off, and this is the last time they ever shave. No lie detector test could sort out potential jihadists, because any peaceful Muslim could turn into a jihadist. And Spencer knows this, better than most people.

But there are still problems with Spencer’s position, due to the fact that he wants to refrain from any “racism.” As here when he suggests that Norwegian Lutheran immigrant wife-beaters should be deported together with the Muslims that he wants to have deported for Sharia sanctioned wife-beating. This is a shallow sort of tap dancing—due to his adherence to liberalism—which of course doesn’t make sense at all. And his only argument is “I mean, who wants wife-beaters here, anyway?” It’s this kind of shallow liberal irresponsibility that allows for veritable witch-hunts by feminist commissars and the kind.

But it’s great that Spencer is a liberal, now that he has taken a clear stand against Muslim immigration. By being a liberal, he has a big audience.

LA replies:

As for Conservative Swede’s reference to Jesus, I will quote “Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream”:

The man said, “Get out of here,
I’ll tear you limb from limb.”
I said, “You know they refused Jesus, too.”
He said, “You’re not him.”

Joseph C. writes (June 10):

Have you looked outside today? When I heard this, I checked to see the formation of flying pigs that should have been gathering outside my window. Next thing you know, I’ll look in the mirror tomorrow morning and find out I’ve grown hair.

Thank goodness for miracles.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 09, 2007 02:59 PM | Send

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