Debate on Islam with Supna Zaidi
My joint appearance and debate with Supna Zaidi of Daniel Pipe’s Islamist Watch before an ACT for America group this afternoon, in which we each gave our own talk, then had a direct exchange with each other, went very well. The audience of about 25, gathered in a small, glass-enclosed Upper East Side apartment with spectacular views (someone joked that all the conservative Jews in New York were in that apartment), was surprisingly pro my position. I find this very promising. I see the opening for bringing my immigration restrictionist, separationist view of the Islam problem into mainstream conservative venues and making it a recognized part of the conservative mix.
Supna Zaidi is an intelligent, reasonable, engaging young woman who has an impressively well thought-out intellectual framework for her position. But her position still comes down, over and over, to wishful thinking. She keeps admitting that the jihadist Muslims are in charge, but thinks that it doesn’t have to be that way. She admits that there are no moderate mosques. but thinks it doesn’t have to be that way. She mentioned how her noted late father, Tashbih Sayyed, a secular Muslim (or ex-Muslim, I’m not sure which), found the passage in the Koran that says, “There is no compulsion in religion,” and decided that he would make that his view of Islam; meaning that he was ignoring the fact that the passage was abrogated by the Medinan suras, which call for endless war against, killing of, and terminal scalding and flaying in hell for those who reject Islam. You get the picture. For Sayyed and for his daughter, for the moderates and reformers, it’s all about what they personally believe Islam should be, not about what Islam is.
ACT for America, and particularly Madeline Brooks, who organized and moderated the event, deserve credit for allowing my non-mainstream views to be heard. I will probably have more to say about it later and will also post my speech. The main part of the event was videotaped, so I imagine it will end up on YouTube.