Spencer: Only Muslims can solve our Islam problem

Last year Robert Spencer posted a brief—and so far unrepeated—statement at his website calling for the end of Muslim immigration from Muslim countries. It resulted in my happily designating him as no longer one of the “Usual Suspects,” i.e., writers who constantly warn that Islam is a mortal threat to our society, but who never say that immigration is the way Islam got into our society and never call for a reduction or cessation of Muslim immigration. Unfortunately, not only has Spencer never repeated the statement, either at his website or in any of the mainstream conservative publications where he writes, meaning that his new position has not been noticed and has had zero impact on the debate, but he has reverted to his usual evasive, quintessentially liberal way of talking about the Islam problem. In an article at Human Events, Spencer discusses the Muslim double honor killing that took place in Irving, Texas, at the beginning of the year, and concludes on this note:

The killings of Amina and Sarah Said raises uncomfortable questions for the Islamic community in the United States, questions about the culture and mindset that people like Yaser Said bring to this country. [LA comments: It doesn’t raise uncomfortable questions for us, like, what the hell are we doing letting Muslims into our country? No, it raises uncomfortable questions for the Muslims. This is like saying that if zookeepers, believing that lions are cute and cuddly, unleashed their lions from their cages and the lions proceeded to kill people, that raises uncomfortable questions for the lions.] Now that honor killing has come to Texas, Muslim spokesmen in the U.S. have an all the more urgent responsibility to end their denial and confront these cultural attitudes. If they don’t, and instead continue to glibly insist that religion has nothing to do with what happened to these poor girls, the murders of the Said sisters will only be the beginning of a new American phenomenon.

Notice how Spencer puts the entire burden for the resolution of this problem on the Muslims. If the Muslims face the truth about the Muslim custom of honor killings and do something about it, then that will solve it. But if they don’t, well, we just have to accept the existence of Muslim honor killings in our country. The logic is identical to that of Bernard Lewis, who said last year in a talk at the American Enterprise Institute that if Muslims don’t adopt democracy, we are doomed. According to Lewis, our survival depends solely on what our enemies do, not on what we do. Liberals like Lewis and Spencer preclude from the outset even the possibility that we have the right, the duty, and the ability to protect ourselves.

If Spencer were serious about ending Muslim immigration, then at the end of such an article, instead of giving his conservative readers the helpless feeling that there is nothing we can do about honor killings in America except to hope that Muslims abandon their millennia old customs, he would have said, “Honor killings show that Islam is incompatible with our society. This supports my belief that we must end Muslim immigration from Muslim countries.” But instead of saying that, he returns to the usual liberal attitude of helplessness. Getting Robert Spencer to be serious about ending Muslim immigration is like getting Republican presidential candidates to be serious about opposing amnesty. When put under unceasing pressure on the issue, they will say that they’re against amnesty, but they don’t really mean it, and they don’t follow through.

- end of initial entry -

Terry Morris writes:

As good as Robert Spencer is at identifying the root of aggressive Muslim anti-social behavior as emanating from Islam, it is disappointing that he will not take the logical position that the religion of Islam is not compatible with the West, and therefore that it must be removed from the West where it cannot hurt us.

When CAIR touts itself as the largest Muslim advocacy group in America and says that its aim is to empower Muslims in the United States, Spencer must know that it seeks to continue the influx of Muslim immigrants to the U.S., as well as, in the process, to disempower non-Muslim Americans. After all, given the nature of Islam, how can CAIR empower Muslims other than by disempowering non-Muslims? Furthermore, how can CAIR empower Muslims if it disempower Muslims, which is what would happen if it advocated a truly peaceful Islam which is not Islam at all?

I agree with Spencer that we cannot change the attitudes of Muslims, that only Muslims can do this. That’s all the more indication that these people do not belong here. When Spencer says that we can’t do anything about them or their customs on our soil, Mr. Spencer and I part ways.

LA replies:

As surprising as this will sound, the clear-eyed Robert Spencer turns out to be as naive as the very naive Dennis Prager. Prager was outraged in 2006 when the newly elected Muslim congressman, Keith Ellison, announced that he intended to take his oath of office on the Koran. Now why would a Muslim congressman not want to take his oath on the Koran, unless he had given up Islam? But of course Prager did not call for Keith Ellison to give up Islam. He called on Ellison to respect American culture and ways, i.e., he called on Ellison (an American-born convert to Islam) to assimilate himself into America. Thus Prager wants Muslims to assimilate into America (e.g., he wants them not to want to take their oath of office on the Koran), but he doesn’t acknowledge that such assimilation means that Muslims must give up Islam. He is outraged at them for being Muslims. He is not outraged at himself for supporting the mass immigration of unassimilable Muslims into the United States. (And without such immigration swelling the Muslim population and influence, it is unlikely that Ellison could have been elected to Congress.)

In the same way, Spencer calls on Muslims to take a good hard look at themselves and give up their negative beliefs and customs, like honor killings. But for them to give up their customs and beliefs would mean giving up their identity and being as Muslims. Why should they do that? Thus Spencer, like Prager, bases the survival of America as a non-Islamized country on a merely passive hope for the impossible, namely that Muslims will voluntarily give up Islam. All of Spencer’s knowledge and steady truthfulness about the deadly nature of Islam ultimately come to naught, because his deep-seated liberal attitude which he has expressed so often, that “all human beings are equal in dignity” (which further implies that we must not say anyone is really different from us, we must not discriminate against or exclude anyone) cancels out and renders impotent his non-liberal knowledge of the mortal danger posed by Islam.

And if it’s not liberalism that makes him unwilling to take a tough practical stand consistent with his tough analysis, then it’s some other factor equally as debilitating.

In any case, it now appears that when Spencer called last year for the end of Muslim immigration from Muslim countries, he was saying something that went against his grain. It was not a position he was prepared to stand by and argue for, over and over again, which is the only way that public opinion can be shifted from the current open borders orthodoxy.

Terry Morris writes:

What you’ve articulated with respect to people like Mr. Spencer is perhaps that we need another sub-category, and this is what I came up with: “Liberal-centric theories of Islamic Reconstructionism,” or something to that effect.

Spencer’s position is not properly a “non-Islam theory of Islamic extremism” since he doesn’t engage himself in this kind of nonsense. But he takes a similar Western-centric approach to fixing the problems with Islam, counting Muslims, I guess, as as equally capable of thinking in western terms as any Westerner.

I’m sure you know of several others who approach this problem in the same way that Mr. Spencer does.

LA replies:

True, it is not a NITOIE.

Terry Morris writes:

By the way, when you say the following:

“But for them to give up their customs and beliefs would mean giving up their identity and being as Muslims. Why should they do that?”

Isn’t that something like asking “why should murderers stop committing murders?” “Why should thieves stop being thieves?”

Shouldn’t your italicized remark be something more like “why would they do that?” or, “why would we expect them to do that?” They should give up their honor killings and waging perpetual war on the infidels and so forth because they are human beings made in the image and likeness of God and God commands “Thou shalt not commit murder,” and “thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind and strenth, and thy neighbor as thyself.” They will not do this because they cannot accept the authority of the holy scriptures, including the New Testament and Christ’s deity. But they should. So why should they? Because it is right, it is human.

LA replies:

Maybe, “Why would they so that?” would be better. But I still think it’s correct to ask, from their point of view as Muslims, why should they do it? I’m taking their Muslim-hood as my starting point. Muslims believe that Islam is good and true. They love their religion. That’s not a relativistic statement, it’s just a fact.

Jeff in England writes:

Spot on. Spencer should get over any personal antagonism to you and start listening to the sense you are making about the Muslim issue. As the West’s leading analyst of Islam and Muslims, his unwillingness and/or inability to put forth immigration restriction as an antidote to the Muslim invasion only serves to encourage that invasion.

Carol Iannone writes:

I ask myself why do such as Lewis give Muslims the upper hand by saying that our survival depends on their turning wholeheartedly to democracy. Or why do some, such as Spencer, make it the responsibility of Muslims to examine their customs rather than that of Americans to tell Muslims that their customs indicate that they do not belong here. I come up with two things:

One, through recent years, largely thanks to mass immigration, America has been redefined as “diverse.” This dictates that our very meaning arises from having all groups here and showing somehow that they all fit in, even if it means a compromise with ourselves to make this happen. This is possible because:

Two, American values are universal. This is almost a religious precept for many. This means that Muslims and every other cultural or ethnic or racial or religious grouping MUST find themselves in compatibility with America. If one group is allowed off the hook, it would destroy for these true believers the whole idea that we are the last word in human history. That in turn would involve some effort to reclaim the specific values and mores and traditions of American culture which underlay our universal ideals and which would have to be asserted and explained and conveyed to newcomers in no uncertain terms. Also, habits and customs and mindsets not in keeping with our values would have to be roundly repudiated. How much easier to be able to silence all debate and all concern by easy recourse to the idea that we stand for universal ideals that are shared by all humanity and are the truth of history. In that case we need not worry about a few aberrations here and there. The abberations are not really Islam anyway, which is a religion of peace and totally compatible with democratic values, which are universal. The longing for freedom in every human breast will eventually win out. Thus we stand around waiting for Muslims to realize this and act accordingly.

Katya writes from Europe:

Although you criticise Robert Spencer for failing to repeat his call for an end to Muslim immigration from Muslim countries which he first stated on June 9, 2007, I believe his comment on this item at Jihad Watch of 22 January, 2008 represents an enlargement of his viewpoint.

It reports on the remarks of the Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister on the extremism in British mosques who says: “What I saw … would not be allowed in Iraq—it would be illegal,” whereupon Robert Spencer interjects his own comment:

“And it shouldn’t be legal in Britain. The idea of rampant immigration, combined with zero accountability for Muslim communities, all in the name of multiculturalism, is simply national suicide.”

Just as Mr Spencer chose to use an article about Lebanon’s view of visas to make his point on June 2, 2007 about immigration, so I believe his use of the worsening British situation is intended for consideration of America’s internal Islamic threat. “Events, dear boy, events” as Harold Macmillan was fond of saying. And, sometimes when choosing a target, one has to aim off for wind. After all, at the end of that same article, Spencer does say: “The question is not one of ‘incidents.’ It is of Islamic supremacist and jihadist sympathies.”

On the issue of overall strategy, I think Spencer has been quite wise. Had he originally taken an approach of openly criticising Muslim immigration, without first providing the evidence of Islam’s inherently intolerant, violent, seditious ideology as proof of why Islam and its adherents are unacceptable in the West, then his site and his work would have been labeled “hate-filled” and possibly steps taken to have closed it down and curtailed his work. As it stands, his sites, Jihad Watch and Dhimmi Watch are marvelously useful for solid knowledge of Islam in all its historical and present-day manifestations with some quite excellent readers’ comments providing additional information and sources.

Spencer’s approach seems to be to present people with the facts and then let them reach their own conclusions. That is an on-going aspect of his work as more people become aware of the disparity between the “religion of peace” mantra and the reality and seek the answers outside of blinkered and silent msm. Possibly more recent developments, such as that concerning Muslim influence at the Pentagon (which also appeared at JW) has motivated Spencer to make the comment in today’s JW article. Our job, as beneficiaries of Spencer’s wide-ranging knowledge, should be to impart that same information to our elected representatives, vote out the ones taking financial inducements from the “other side” and take steps to hoist up the drawbridge. Leave Robert Spencer to provide the meat to help feed our resolve to preserve our country.

LA replies:

As the author of The Path to National Suicide: An Essay on Immigration and Multiculturalism (available online in html and pdf form) I am very pleased to see Robert Spencer recognize that open immigration indeed means national suicide.

Katya makes some good points, but here’s my disagreement with her. She has no problem with rampant contradiction. I do. I have catalogued in the past how Spencer would occasionally make some critical comment about Muslim immigration, as though just on the verge of calling for restrictions, and then say nothing about it. I have noted how he would complain, “Why has no one called for a restriction of Muslim immigration”?, even as he himself had never called for a restriction of Muslim immigration. I have pointed out the demoralizing and paralyzing effect it has on people when they are constantly told of a hellish problem that is going to ruin their society, and simultaneously told that there is nothing that they can do about it.

Also, based on Katya’s own reasoning, hasn’t Spencer, by saying something now about immigration, undermined his entire strategy of which she approves? Won’t he, by Katya’s lights, be accused of “hate” and have his site shut down? It seems to me that Katya wants it both ways. She wants to approve of Spencer for not saying anything about immigration, even as she wants to approve of Spencer for saying something about immigration.

Let us also please remember that Spencer is a writer. He is not a politician. A writer is supposed to speak the truth as he sees it. Yet Katya treats Spencer as though he were running for office and must never speak what he really believes.

My point is that serious people, especially people in positions of intellectual leadership, don’t dance around an issue. They take a stand, and they keep with it. For Spencer to write last June at Jihad Watch that all Muslim immigration from Muslim countries should be stopped, and then for him to write on January 8 at Human Events that there’s nothing to do about Muslim honor killings in America but HOPE that Muslims take care of the problem, and then for him to write at Jihad Watch on January 22 that rampant immigration is “national suicide,” without saying what we should do about that rampant immigration,—indeed, without mentioning his previous position that immigration from Muslim countries should be completely stopped!—amounts to playing with the immigration issue.

I don’t like it, I don’t feel it’s intellectually responsible, and Katya’s defense of it remind me of how the Bush supporters would keep justifying every liberal thing Bush ever did as actually part of some conservative grand design.

LA continues:

As I read over my reply to Katya before posting it, it occurred to me that some people would think that I’m bullying her, that I am, in Ian Jobling’s words, engaged in “shameless distortions” of her position and “furious browbeating” of her that “makes debate impossible.” Then I thought I should soften it, and looked for ways to do that. But there was no way to do it without losing the whole thrust and logic of what I’m saying.

I’m not attacking Katya. I’m making an argument and explaining my position as clearly as I can.

From: Jeff in England

What’s going on with you? Your criticisms of both Spencer himself and Katya were spot on. They will benefit from those criticisms (the criticisms of their positions) if they don’t take them “personally.”

Your last comments in particular come across almost as if you are apologising for your views. Tone is half the game.

I know a lot of people have attacked you recently but being hesitant and apologetic sounding in your writing is a big turn off. Reminds me of Richard Pryor, my fave comedian, after he stopped using the term “nigger.” He became a lot less funny.

Let Auster be Auster.

Richard O. replies to Jeff:

A valid point. One shouldn’t be wishy washy, it’s true, but Katya’s comment was polite and it seemed appropriate for LA to be aware of the need to be civil at the same time that he criticized her ideas. I don’t think his effort to do so detracted from the force of his arguments. A more aggressive tone would be called for were it someone unlike Katya.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 21, 2008 11:09 AM | Send

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