Resisting linguistic deference to Islam—and the costs of doing so

LL writes:

Notice how the press and other media are all falling into lockstep with the spelling “Quran.” (Can the addition of that stupid needless dhimmi apostrophe be far behind?) Bless you for sticking with the less alien variant, “Koran.”

LA replies:

I made that very point in May 2008. In a post about Robert Spencer’s call for U.S. authorities not to be excessively apologetic to Muslims about a G.I. in Iraq who had shot at a Koran, I wrote:

But it occurs to me, if Spencer doesn’t want Americans to express an inappropriate attitude of deference—let alone of submission—to Islam, why does he, in all his articles and books, spell Koran as “Qur’an”? Why not use the standard, familiar English spelling, “Koran”? What is gained for English-speaking readers by the use of the Arabic apostrophe or diacritical mark, which cannot be pronounced, and which conveys absolutely no information to readers unfamiliar with Arabic? And what is gained by using the exotic “Q” instead of the “K”?

Spelling Koran as “Qur’an” comes across at best as an affectation, at worst as a gesture of gratuitous deference to the religion that Spencer calls a mortal threat to our civilization.

In reply, Fjordman commented at VFR:

I see no reason to get worked up about it. What’s your beef with Spencer? Why the disproportionate amount of negative comments directed against him, when Jihad Watch does very important work?

Fjordman was exercised over this issue, and continued his criticisms of me on it, again singling out my criticisms of Spencer over the spelling of “Qur’an” two months later at Atlas Shrugs as a particularly objectionable thing that I had done, and adding that my criticisms of Spencer were “immoral.” While Fjordman also defended my work in some respects, his article about me at Atlas Shrugs was central to my official banishment from the Robert Spencer Pamela Geller Anti-Jihad Movement©.

Now compare my and Fjordman’s statements. I said that Spencer’s spelling of “Qur’an” was “at best as an affectation, at worst as a gesture of gratuitous deference.” Fjordman called me “immoral” for expressing this opinion. But somehow I am viewed as the person who goes around bashing other people’s reputations.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 08, 2010 06:10 PM | Send

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