The Muslim comedian and the Islamophobe: A funny thing happened on the way to the interview
by Sheila Musaji, The American Muslim
Robert Spencer and his fellow Islamophobes are fond of asking Muslims impossible questions, demanding that Muslims “admit” to something or another, and developing tests for Muslims to “prove” that they are “one of us”. Daniel Pipes had a test, David Horowitz had a petition he wanted Muslims to sign, Former Muslims United had a pledge against punishment for apostasy (created two years after an actual Muslim statement on this topic was issued) , the list goes on and on. None of these are serious attempts at understanding anything. They simply demand simple answers to complicated questions, or include some bigoted assumption within the question that no Muslim would agree with and demand a yes or no answer.
This is the infamous legal tactic exemplified by the question “Have you stopped beating your wife? Answer yes or no!”
The most recent prove to me you’re not a radical Muslim test came out of a simple reqest for an interview with Robert Spencer by the Muslim comedian Dean Obeidallah. Loonwatch lays out the background of this incident very well
Dean Obeidallah is working on an Islamophobia documentary and asked Robert Spencer if he could interview him. A simple request one would think? Spencer of course is chicken (as we have shown before), he doesn’t want to be exposed for the buffoon he is, and so he responded to Obeidallah with an inquisition-like (pun intended), 1,000+ worded questionnaire.
Isn’t this extremely odd? Spencer attempted to pass off his fear of this interview by claiming that Obeidallah was “running” from his questions. When Obeidallah called him out on not presenting the truth, Spencer begrudgingly published Obeidallah’s response:
Robert – I dont have the time to answer all ur questions in the midst of editing a film and all the other projects Im working on – in fact I didnt even finish reading all of them.
You dont know me but Im a rather direct person so so let me make this easy: If you are interested in being interviewed for our film, I can assure you that we will not quote u out of context or play any games with you- we will ask u straightforward questions – most of which Im sure u have been asked before.
If ur interested then lets please lock in a date when u will be in NYC and conduct the interview. If you’re not interested then lets not waste any more of each other’s time-I know we are both busy people.
That’s pretty direct in my opinion. What is Spencer so scared of? Isn’t he the “champion of freedom,” defending the West against the Muslim hordes?
Here is an opportunity Spencer for you to put your cape on and be the champion of the “counter-Jihad” world!
Here is the 1,000 word plus questionnaire required by Spencer in order to consider being interviewed by Obeidallah, and I have taken the liberty of responding to the questions myself.
1. True or false: No comedy show, no matter how clever or winning, is going to eradicate the suspicion that many Americans have of Muslims. This is because Americans are concerned about Islam not because of the work of greasy Islamophobes, but because of Naser Abdo, the would-be second Fort Hood jihad mass murderer; and Khalid Aldawsari, the would-be jihad mass murderer in Lubbock, Texas; and Muhammad Hussain, the would-be jihad bomber in Baltimore; and Mohamed Mohamud, the would-be jihad bomber in Portland; and Faisal Shahzad, the would-be Times Square jihad mass-murderer; and Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, the Arkansas military recruiting station jihad murderer; and Naveed Haq, the jihad mass murderer at the Jewish Community Center in Seattle; and Mohammed Reza Taheri-Azar, the would-be jihad mass murderer in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Ahmed Ferhani and Mohamed Mamdouh, who hatched a jihad plot to blow up a Manhattan synagogue; and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the would-be Christmas airplane jihad bomber; and many others like them who have plotted and/or committed mass murder in the name of Islam and motivated by its texts and teachings — all in the U.S. in the last couple of years
The only Americans who are concerned only about Muslims who have carried out or plotted terrorist actions are those who have fallen for Robert Spencer and other “greasy Islamophobe’s” big lie about the actual terrorism threat coming primarily from Muslims. All of us need to be concerned about all such actions, including those by non-Muslims such as — Ray H. Adams, Jim Adkisson, Alabama Free Militia, Chad Altman, Animal Liberation Front, Army of God, Samuel Arrington, Jonathan Avery, Sergio Baca, Daniel Barefoot, Philip Bay, John Patrick Bedell, Kody Brittingham, Seung-Hui Cho, Demetrius Van Crocker, Daniel Cowart, Samuel J. Crump, James Cummings, Matthew Derosia, Jeremy Donahoe, John Earl, Earth Liberation Front, Paul Ross Evans, David Anthony Fuselier, Matt Hale, Jeffrey Harbin, Kevin William Hardham, Lucas John Helder, Patricia Hughes, David Hull, Hutaree Christian militia, Idaho Mountain Boys Militia, Vadim Ignatov, Bruce Ivins, JDL, Jerry and Joe Kane, KKK, Joseph Konopka, William Krar, John F. Lechner, James Lee, Ryan Daniel Lewis, Thomas Hayward Lewis, Jared Lee Loughner, Davvie Love, Keith Luke, Dennies & Daniel Mahon, Alberto Martinez, David McMenemy, Jonathan Maynard, Justin Carl Moose, Donny Eugene Mower, Patriot Movement, Robert Pickett, Richard Andrew Poplawski, Project 7, Charles Carl Roberts, Daniel & Timothy Robinson, Dan Roberts, Scott Roeder, Daniel James Schertz, Paul Schlesselman, Kyle Shaw, Joseph Stack, Rossie L. Strickland, Roger Stockham, Texas Militia, Frederick Thomas, Bruce & Joshua Turnidge, omar Falu Vives, James von Brunn, Lonnie Vernon, Clayton Waagner, Jeffrey Weise, Byron Williams, Alexander Robert Youshock..
2. True or false: The fact that there are other Muslims not fighting jihad is just great, but it doesn’t mean that the jihad isn’t happening. This comedy show simply doesn’t address the problem of jihad terrorism and Islamic supremacism.
This is not a true or false question. The question contains more than one element, and requires a more complex answer than is possible with a simple true or false.
3. What do you make of the fact that Islamic supremacists from the Muslim Brotherhood invented the term “Islamophobia” in order to deflect attention away from jihad violence and Islamic supremacism, and intimidate opponents thereof?
Spencer believes that he knows who coined the term “Islamophobia”. There are certainly a number of different theories about when the term was first used. It really doesn’t matter who used the term first. The term itself has come to be used to describe a particular form of bigotry against Muslims and Islam, just as anti-Semitism has come to be used to describe a particular form of bigotry against Jews and Judaism. It’s primary use is to direct attention towards outright bigotry.
4. What do you have to say about the fact that FBI statistics show that there is no “Islamophobia”?
Actually, FBI statistics do not show that there is no “Islamophobia”. What the most recent “hate crime statistics” do show is that there have been fewer hate crimes committed against Muslims in the U.S. than there were against Jews. Whether this might also reflect a reticence to report such crimes on the part of members of some refugee communities particularly has been discussed. And, the same report documents the fact that the actual hate crimes against Muslims, while still lower than those against Jews, have increased by 50% over the last year. Hate crimes statistics are only one of many possible indicators of prejudice and bigotry.
Other possible indicators of Islamophobia including EEOC complaints about work related discrimination, and a trend towards an increase of anti-Muslim, anti-Islam rhetoric from public figures, Christian andJewish clergy, and even elected representatives would appear to show that this is a word describing a real phenomenon.
5. What do you have to say about the fact that many “anti-Muslim hate crimes” have been faked by Muslims, and that Jews are eight times more likely than Muslims to be the victims of hate attacks.
For every category of hate crime there have been people who have taken advantage of an opportunity to further their own agenda and claim a hate crime where none existed.
There are hundreds of such cases. Here are just a few:
— In Florida LB Williams, a 50-year-old black man, his wife of nearly seven years Donna Williams, who is white, and their bi-racial daughter found a cross burning in their driveway. This was reported and investigated as a hate crime, but it turned out that Mr. Williams faked the whole thing in an attempt to stave off a divorce.
— In Anderson, California, a black high school student staged a fake hate crime because she was angry with her father for not picking her up on time.
— A Jewish student at George Washington University faked an anti-Semitic hate crime
The issue is not that there are some despicable individuals who will lie about hate crimes, but that there are far too many legitimate hate crimes against minorities.
6. True or false? Since the Muslim Brotherhood is dedicated in its own words to “eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within,” one easy way to do that would be to guilt-trip non-Muslims into being ashamed of resisting jihad activity and Islamic supremacism, for fear of being accused of “Islamophobia.”
Another impossible true or false question. To think that every American Muslim is somehow privy to internal Muslim Brotherhood plots, or has ever even met a member of the Muslim Brotherhood for that matter is nonsense. The Muslim Brotherhood document that Spencer refers to has had a lot of questions raised about its authenticity.
7. True or false: Negin Farsad, with her “eye-catching mini dresses,” etc., has more to worry about from observant Muslims than she does from “Islamophobes.”
Negin Farsad is a competent Muslim woman who can speak for herself. Ask her the question. My guess (as a Muslim woman myself) would be that she would say that Muslim women have as much to worry about from Muslims holding extremist interpretations of Islam, as from Islamophobes. Being an extremist and being observant are not the same thing.
8. What do you think of this: When you call Geller (and by implication, me) a “Muslim hater,” I believe that you are ascribing people’s legitimate concerns about jihad and Islamic supremacism to “hate,” and that the only effect of this will be to make people who have those legitimate concerns to be even more suspicious of Muslims, which will only lead to more of what you call “Islamophobia.”
Geller is called a “Muslim hater” because of the hateful things she herself is documented as saying. — ”Devout Muslims should be prohibited from military service. Would Patton have recruited Nazis into his army?” — I would like to feel all warm and fuzzy and embrace the moderate Muslim/ meme but they show no evidence of their existence – not in any real number anyway. The only voices of reason in the Muslim world are lapsed Muslims or apostates. — We can pretend or we can strategize on how to defeat our mortal enemy. — Muslims have no right to invoke Moses and Abraham. — Muslims have no right to invoke Moses and Abraham. — There are no moderates. There are no extremists. Only Muslims. — Islam is not a race. This is an ideology. This is an extreme ideology, the most radical and extreme ideology on the face of the earth.
And, here are a few of your own quotes, Mr. Spencer — Islam itself is an incomplete, misleading, and often downright false revelation which, in many ways, directly contradicts what God has revealed through the prophets of the Old Testament and through his Son Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh… For several reasons… Islam constitutes a threat to the world at large. — no American official should be taking an oath on the Qur’an, since—as we have been pointing out here for over three years now—there are so many elements of traditional and mainstream Islam that are at variance with our system of government, our Constitution, and our entire way of life. — there is no reliable way to distinguish a “moderate” Muslim who rejects the jihad ideology and Islamic supremacism from a “radical” Muslim who holds such ideas, even if he isn’t acting upon them at the moment. — The misbegotten term “Islamo-fascism” is wholly redundant: Islam itself is a kind of fascism that achieves its full and proper form only when it assumes the powers of the state. — there has been no widespread, sustained, or sincere Muslim outcry against the jihad terrorist enterprise in general. — there is no distinction in the American Muslim community between peaceful Muslims and jihadists.
Geller and Spencer’s hateful rhetoric could fill a book. Refusing to acknowledge this sort of speech as hatred will only make Muslims not only suspicious of those who engaged in such speech, but proves to us that Islamophobia really does exist.
9. Is there a plan behind your demonizing and smearing of all anti-jihadists? Do you want to create “Islamophobia” in order to claim privileged victim status for Muslims and exempt them from reasonable law enforcement scrutiny?
Actually, no we would like to shine a bright spotlight on Islamophobia and it’s purveyors so that decent people can see it for what it is and reject it as bigotry pure and simple, so that we can stop wasting time responding to bigotry against all Muslims and use that time to work together to fight against actual Muslim and non-Muslim extremists.
10. What kind of work have you done to raise awareness about the escalating persecution of non-Muslim minorities in Muslim societies, which is far worse in Egypt, Pakistan and elsewhere than Muslims have it here? Why not?
Dean Obeidallah is an American Muslim comedian. He is not responsible for solving all of the problems of the world, even those directly involving Muslims anymore than every Christian is responsible for solving all of the problems of the world directly involving Christians. Spencer, you are Catholic, what have you done to raise awareness about the pedophilia crisis in the Catholic Church, or about the genocide of Muslims by Christians in Bosnia, or about brutality and slaughter by the Christian Lord’s Resistance Army in Africa, or about numerous other crimes involving Christians? It’s ludicrous to believe that every individual member of any religious group is personally responsible for every injustice committed anywhere in the world by anyone who shares the same religion.
11. On what basis do you imply that those who are defending freedom against jihad are “exhibiting behavior which is less than consistent with the values of this nation”? What have you done to resist the Muslim Brotherhood’s stated agenda of “sabotaging” this nation “from within”?
You are not defending freedom against jihad, you are consistently demonizing Muslims. And, it is not only Muslims who are openly stating that this is bigotry. There is a reason that the ADL (A Jewish anti-defamation group) has said that Pamela Geller & Robert Spencer’s Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA) is a “group that promote an extreme anti-Muslim agenda”. There is a reason that The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated SIOA as a hate group, and that they are featured in the SPLC reports Jihad Against Islam and The Anti-Muslim Inner Circle. There is a reason that Geller and Spencer are featured prominently in the Center for American Progress “Fear Inc.” report on the Islamophobia network in America. There is a reason that Geller is featured in the People for the American Way Right Wing Playbook on Anti-Muslim Extremism. There is a reason that Geller is featured in the NYCLU report Religious Freedom Under Attack: The Rise of Anti-Mosque Activities in New York State. There is a reason that Geller is featured in the Political Research Associates reportManufacturing the Muslim menace: Private firms, public servants, and the threat to rights and security. There is a reason that the SIOA’s trademark patent was denied by the U.S. government due to its anti-Muslim nature. There is a reason that they are featured in our TAM Who’s Who of the Anti-Muslim/Anti-Arab/Islamophobia Industry. There is a reason that Gellerand Spencer are featured in just about every legitimate report on Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred.
12. Aside from the murder of a Sikh by an idiot shortly after 9/11, what evidence do you have of any backlash against Muslims to which you refer so off-handedly in the WaPo? Where are Muslims suffering violence, discrimination, harassment of any kind? Even you expected far worse than you got when you went to the South — and the level of harassment you did get was no worse than what I get in my email every day. So why the overblown claims about it?
You need to do a little research yourself, and might start with the following collections of resources:
- ALARMING STATEMENTS Note, previously divided by year and now consolidated into one collection
- Alarming statements by elected officials and political organizations
- Answers to Peter King’s Claims About the American Muslim Community
- Claim That All Terrorists are Muslims Ignores History (sections on Christian extremism and terrorismand Jewish extremism and terrorism were divided 4/08)
- Existing reports and studies on radicalization and the American Muslim Community
- INCIDENTS OF ISLAMOPHOBIA - Prejudice, Racist, or Violent Incidents at MOSQUES - Incidents, hate crimes - Tariq Ramadan incident – and Khalil Gibran Academy incident and Obsession film incident- Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week incident
- Islamo-Fascism?: Deceptive Labels & Propaganda are Counterproductive
- Islamophobia: Real or imagined
- MEDIA, Propaganda & Perception
- Polls, statistics, and surveys relating to Islam and Muslims
- A Long History of Injustice Ignored
- A Who’s Who of the Anti-Muslim/Anti-Arab/Islamophobia Industry
- What everyone “knows” about Islam and Muslims
13. And yes, what do you think about these recommendations?
Do Negin Farsad and Dean Obeidallah really want to eradicate “Islamophobia”? As long as Islamic jihad and supremacism continue, a comedy tour will never do the trick. But here is an easy way. They can call on Muslims in the U.S. to do these things:
1. Focus their indignation on Muslims committing violent acts in the name of Islam, not on non-Muslims reporting on those acts.
2. Renounce definitively, sincerely, honestly, and in deeds, not just in comforting words, not just “terrorism,” but any intention to replace the U.S. Constitution (or the constitutions of any non-Muslim state) with Sharia even by peaceful means. In line with this, clarify what is meant by their condemnations of the killing of innocent people by stating unequivocally that American and Israeli civilians are innocent people, teaching accordingly in mosques and Islamic schools, and behaving in accord with these new teachings.
3. Teach, again sincerely and honestly, in transparent and verifiable ways in mosques and Islamic schools, the imperative of Muslims coexisting peacefully as equals with non-Muslims on an indefinite basis, and act accordingly.
4. Begin comprehensive international programs in mosques all over the world to teach sincerely against the ideas of violent jihad and Islamic supremacism.
5. Actively and honestly work with Western law enforcement officials to identify and apprehend jihadists within Western Muslim communities
1 and 2. Please see the thousands of fatwas, statements, articles, etc. by Muslims denouncing extremists committing violent acts in the name of Islam in our TAM collection Muslim Voices Against Extremism and Terrorism. Type “lunatic fringe” into the search engine of TAM for numerous articles denouncing particular extremists and extremist groups. See my article American Muslims must defend the Constitution of the United States in which I said America is a secular and democratic nation with a clearly marked wall between church and state (thank God!). One of the reasons America has been a beacon to the world is the freedom that all Americans have to practice any (or no) religion. As an American Muslim I don’t believe that America can be defined as anything but a secular democracy (secular meaning neutral towards religion, not devoid of religion or hostile to religion) in which all religions are free to worship. I don’t want to see Shariah, or Biblical law, or any other religious law replace the Constitution, and I don’t want to see any kind of a theocracy in place based on any religion. I agree with Rabbi Arthur Waskow that “When those who claim their path alone bespeaks God’s Will control the State to enforce their will as God’s, it is God Who suffers.” All civilians are innocent including Americans, Israelis, Pakistanis, Iraqis, Palestinians, Iranians, etc.
3. There are numerous existing studies, polls, and statements about radicalization in the Muslim community and how the community is working to counter attempts by extremists to radicalize individuals here. The efforts within the Muslim community are numerous. MPAC alone has many ongoing efforts including the NATIONAL GRASSROOTS CAMPAIGN TO FIGHT TERRORISM and BUILDING BRIDGES TO STRENGTHEN AMERICA: BUILDING AN EFFECTIVE COUNTERTERRORISM ENTERPRISE BETWEEN MUSLIM AMERICANS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT. Also type “radicalization” into the TAM search engine for numerous articles, etc.
4. Why would American Muslims be responsible for building comprehensive programs in other countries. We are Americans.
5. Muslims have already done this. And, in fact, many of the actual arrests made of individuals plotting some terrorist act were made because of tips from American Muslims.
To sum up, yes you are an Islamophobe. The fact that you and your partner Pamela Geller have shown time and time again that you have a tenuous grasp of the concept of “truth telling”, and haveattempted to conceal evidence when you’ve been caught in lies and distortions is shameful. The fact that you have also shown time and time again that you have no qualms about exploiting a tragedy to further your own agenda is shameful. The Belgian shooting tragedy, and the Hollywood shooting tragedy are just two of the most recent examples.
The fact that you are a middle aged man whose primary means of earning a living comes from being paid to churn out anti-Muslim propoganda is shameful.
A little comedy, preferably satirical about Islamophobes and their tactics wouldn’t be a bad thing.
Update Robert Spencer and David Horowitz jointly published another version of these 5 questions on Front Page Magazine.