Another case of Spenceritis: “Cleric’s view represents all of Islam”
Muhammad Al-Arifi is an Islamic cleric. He has devoted his life to studying the Qur’an and Islam. And somehow he has gotten the crazy idea that the Qur’an says that Muslims should fight against unbelievers, subjugate them, and make them pay the jizya. Now, whenever non-Muslims point this out, they’re called bigoted, hateful, and ignorant of Islam. So is Muhammad Al-Arifi a self-hating Muslim who Misunderstands Islam and just narrowly avoided flunking out of his seminary? Or could it be that the “bigotry,” “hate” and “ignorance” charges are just smokescreens designed to bamboozle the unwary into not realizing that the truth is being told?
The Set Up: Spencer and his associates scour the web for the most sensational and extreme expressions within the Muslim world. They may be related to a certain extremist interpretation of Islam, or may not even have anything to do with Islam altogether, but that won’t matter, so long as the perpetrator is a Muslim, it will do.
The Performance: Spencer then supplants his own commentary on the story which he meticulously crafts with the ultimate goal of convincing his readers that the bizarre incident in question is representative of the faith of Islam and Muslims at large. This subtle leap of faith that he hopes no one notices is the key to his magic act.
The Prestige: He can then rightly claim, with the innocence of a schoolboy, that he does not make up the material he produces, that he is merely quoting things as is, hoping no one notices that he uses the aberrant to define the normative.
So, just because this one cleric believes that Muslims should “fight the unbelievers,” that is the truth, and all the evidence in Islam to the contrary is just a “smokescreen.”
By this logic, then Christianity believes the victim of rape should apologize. How do I know? Because this happened in a Christian church:
After being raped and impregnated by a fellow churchgoer more than twice her age, a 15-year-old Concord girl was forced by Trinity Baptist Church leaders to stand before the congregation to apologize before they helped whisk her out of state, according to the police.
Or, Christianity believes women should “submit to their husbands and be silent.” How do I know? A Christian pastor said so:
Church of England reverend Angus MacLeay issued a leaflet to churchgoers saying that women should not speak if questions could be answered by their husbands. The leaflet, entitled The Role of Women in the Local Church, adds that wives should “submit to their husbands in everything.” It continues, “Wives are to submit to their husbands in everything in recognition of the fact that husbands are head of the family as Christ is head of the church.
Or, Judaism believes that women should not be allowed to vote. How do I know? A Rabbi said so:
The chief rabbi of a West Bank settlement has prohibited women from standing in a local community election. Rabbi Elyakim Levanon of the Elon Moreh settlement, near Nablus, said women lacked the authority to stand for the post of local secretary. He wrote in a community newspaper that women must only be heard through their husbands.
I could go on, and on, and on. The views of a particular person in a particular community of faith does not necessarily represent the views of the entire faith, especially if that view is a radical interpretation of that faith. Anyone with an inkling of scholarly knowledge knows this fact…except, it seems, our “acclaimed scholar” Robert Spencer.