Friday, March 27, 2009

Robert Spencer On Stealth Jihad


First of all, I would like to extend a warm welcome to anybody who has found me through Jihad Watch--Robert Spencer was kind enough to provide a link to this very blog, and I am very honoured.

As many of my readers probably know, I had the honour and pleasure of attending a speech given by Mr. Spencer at my university the night of Tuesday, March 24 (which also happened to be the tenth anniversary of the NATO bombing of Serbia, which I hope to post about tomorrow). Mr. Spencer's speech was absolutely amazing--he is as witty and amusing as he is knowledgeable about Islam and jihad. He is also an exceptionally warm and kind person, as I quickly was able to see during my dinner with him.I got there rather early, around 6:00. I took some photos--the photo below is of the building in which Mr. Spencer spoke. It had just finished pouring down rain and was just lightly drizzling for a bit.

I went inside to sit down around 6:15. I sat with a couple friends, as well as a few other people I did not know. Talking to them, I saw that they were in agreement with Mr. Spencer's views. Some more people came in and sat further back (I sat in the second row). I had been hoping for a much bigger turnout, but unfortunately that did not happen. I did see the editor of our student paper, who I think disagreed with Mr. Spencer's views, and a group of three girls, one of which I know is a Muslim. This group of three ended up walking out partway through the speech.

Once, while I was waiting for the speech to start, a door opened and I saw Mr. Spencer standing there waiting. I waved to him and much to my happiness, he waved back to me.

We got started about fifteen minutes late. My friend Caleb introduced Mr. Spencer, then the much-awaited speech began.

Mr. Spencer began his speech by saying that despite the ideological differences we may have with people, we do have a shared interest in defending rights. But of course, how to define these rights, and how to define justice, is a point of conflict in itself. We may have an idea of what rights are, but this is by no means universally shared. In fact, there are people who say that justice is the denial of rights to certain people, namely women and those who do not share religious beliefs that are deemed proper.

There exists a choice to the Western world: our version of justice versus theirs. Simple as this may seem, it is actually misunderstood because no one seems to agree what the conflict that is currently going on is all about. We had the term "war on terror" during the Bush presidency. Now, Obama has deemed it necessary to call it something totally different. No matter what name we have given to this conflict so far, we have ultimately been misleading in what we've called it.

Oddly enough, our enemy is very specific about what they fight for and why, and more people ought to pay attention to what they say.
After all, the least we can do is listen to them, given the fact that the have the honesty or forthrightness, or whatever one will call it, to be so open in their goals. Our enemy fights by their own words, whether people admit it or not.

Our ideals are worth defending, especially that one which we Americans hold so dear: freedom of speech. Freedom of speech was created by the founding fathers to protect against tyranny, so that people have the right to offend others without fear of being silenced. We need the freedom to dissent and not be a tyranny. Unfortunately, there are those who try to silence people that they do not like. Hate speech laws are often used for this: the powerful use them to silence those whom they believe should not be allowed to speak.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) is a group of fifty-seven Muslim governments that constitutes the largest voting bloc in the United Nations. They have begun to combat what they deem insulting to Islam. Some things are just inherently insulting to Islam and Muslims, according to them, and should therefore not be allowed to be said. Never mind the fact that these things may be true, and Muslims are free to not be insulted. The OIC condemns anti-terror efforts, and according to them, just stating what they are doing is insulting to Islam.

It is vital that we formulate a proper response to this threat. It's not just going to go away. Mr. Spencer said that "a misdiagnosis can be fatal." We must defend our freedoms and our rights.

The Muslim Brotherhood was founded with the explicit goal of reviving political Islam. Islam has always had its political elements, but these were on the wane for many years. In 1924, Ataturk abolished the caliphate, which was seen as a big mistake, even though the caliph had largely been a figurehead. In 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood was founded by Hassan al-Banna. The Muslim Brotherhood says it represents "true" Islam, and seeks, among other things, the implementation of sharia law. The Muslim Brotherhood is present worldwide today, under a variety of names, including the Muslim Students Association.

It is part of the responsibility of Muslims to wage war against non-Muslims.
This is not some falsity made up by Mr. Spencer--it is present in Muslim texts. One need only read the Qur'an or Reliance of the Traveller. All the violence in Islam is readily seen.

Mr. Spencer then presented some quotes from prominent Muslims. The Muslim Students Association at a university hosted a speaker who said that someday there would be a Muslim in the White House dictating the laws of sharia.

There then followed two examples of stealth jihad. The first I have deemed the "Jell-O incident." In a public school in Chicago, they were serving Jell-O at lunch. Muslims complained because it's made from pigs' hooves. Instead of just not eating the Jell-O, they put up a huge fuss and as a result, Jell-O is no longer served at that school, despite the fact that there are non-Muslim students with a desire to eat the Jell-O. The second example is the cabdriver incident. Muslim cabdrivers at the airport in Minneapolis were refusing to drive passengers who had alcohol. People were getting ready to cave in on this too, but Americans protested.

Mr. Spencer concluded by saying that one of the greatest achievements of our country's foundation was the non-establishment of a state religion, being that not everyone is the same religion. Religious freedom is a precious thing. Recent incidents have shown that when Islamic law and American law conflict, it's always American law that must give way. This is not right at all, and we need to defend our freedoms.

There followed a short question and answer period. Then, it was over and time for the dinner.

At first, I tried to approach Mr. Spencer after the speech, but the security guards would not let me. He then saw me and asked if I were Natalie. I was surprised he knew my name, and I soon found out that he knew me from this very blog. He has read my very own blog before! I was thrilled. Dinner was a great success. There were just six of us: Mr. Spencer, three members of our student group that brought him here, Mr. Spencer's bodyguard, and myself. We had a lively discussion at dinner, ranging from different topics such as Islam, Serbia, and religion, to name but a few.

All in all, the event was a success, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am very proud that I can finally say now that I have met the illustrious Robert Spencer.

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