A closed mind is a terrible thing to waste

A closed mind is a terrible thing to waste

by Sheila Musaji

Robert Spencer posted an article on Jihad Watch entitled Tariq Ramadan manages simultaneously to deny and affirm that he’s a stealth jihadist.  The key point of the article is stated in the title.

How does Spencer make this point?

Spencer correctly quotes a Q&A in an interview with Tariq Ramadan by Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah in the Chicago Tribune

Q: You’ve been criticized for double-speak, saying one thing to Muslim audiences and another to Western, non-Muslim audiences. Right-wing blogger Robert Spencer has called you a “stealth jihadist.” Are you a stealth jihadist?

A: No. They all know that. These are people who have a problem with the Muslim presence. They are scared our presence in the West is going to change Western policies to something which is more open, for example, toward Palestinian rights, more critical toward the unilateral support of the States toward Israel.

Then after a paragraph objecting to being called a “right-wing blogger” (which he says is a term “which is simultaneously intended to impugn and diminish”),  he says:

“And note also that the question that Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah asks is monumentally silly. If Tariq Ramadan really is a stealth jihadist, does Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah really expect him to say, “Why, yes, of course I’m a stealth jihadist”? The question itself is a setup for Ramadan to shoot down the idea, but he still manages to keep the waters muddy instead of clarifying anything, by saying that people like me oppose him because he is anti-Israel. So in other words, he is not a stealth jihadist, he just supports the jihad against Israel—which he, an informed and intelligent Muslim, surely knows is indeed a jihad, and not simply a political conflict over land.  So in denying he is a stealth jihadist, Ramadan essentially affirms that he is a stealth jihadist.”

Wait - where does Tariq Ramadan say he is anti-Israel?  Does “more critical toward the unilateral support of the States toward Israel” mean anti-Israel?  If so, then there are a lot of Jewish Israelis that are also anti-Israel.  Does anyone who disapproves of Israeli policies, or of U.S. policies towards Israel therefore approve of “the jihad against Israel” and become by implication a “stealth jihadist”?  Even if Ramadan believed that the Palestine-Israel conflict was a conflict over land (which he does not say anywhere in the interview) would that be proof of being a stealth jihadist?  This is a conflict over land.

Bottom line, is that absolutely no evidence is actually given for this spurious charge against Tariq Ramadan.  Unless, of course, Spencer would have us believe that simply being a practicing Muslim makes one a “stealth jihadist”, and of course, no one could be that dense or bigoted, could they? 

Spencer has previously written

I have written on numerous occasions that there is no distinction in the American Muslim community between peaceful Muslims and jihadists. While Americans prefer to imagine that the vast majority of American Muslims are civic-minded patriots who accept wholeheartedly the parameters of American pluralism, this proposition has actually never been proven.”

Spencer also wrote

“Islam is a totalitarian ideology that aims to control the religious, social and political life of mankind in all its aspects; the life of its followers without qualification; and the life of those who follow the so-called tolerated religions to a degree that prevents their activities from getting in the way of Islam in any way. And I mean Islam, I do not accept some spurious distinction between Islam and ‘Islamic fundamentalism’ or ‘Islamic terrorism’.”

This is puzzling as Spencer has claimed that “Islam is not a monolith, and never have I said or written anything that characterizes all Muslims as terrorist or given to violence.” 

If he sees no distinction between peaceful Muslims and jihadists, then perhaps this explains his inability to see Muslims as individual human beings, and casts doubt on his claim that he is not casting aspersions on all Muslims.

Tariq Ramadan has spoken and written about such charges made against him numerous times over the years.  For example, in the article Good Muslim, Bad Muslim, Ramadan says:

Closer analysis of the political positions of the literalists, traditionalists, rationalists, reformists and mystics further complicates the task of understanding. I believe the question of political moderation is often a subjective one. Af­ghanistan provides a rather obvious example: the same people who, two decades ago, were hailed as “freedom fighters” against Soviet invaders are today described as “terrorists” when they resist the Anglo-American occupation of their land. And everyone can agree to condemn terrorist acts against civilians in New York, Rabat, Bali, Amman, Madrid and London, but how are we to describe the resistance movements in Iraq, Afghanistan or Palestine, fighting against foreign occupations that they consider illegal and illegitimate? Are Muslim members of the resistance to be deemed “extremists”, while “moderates” become those who accept the occupying presence of American and British forces? Who decides, and based on what criteria?

I have had personal experience of these shifting definitions. The Washington Post once described me as the “Muslim Martin Luther”, only for the Sun to then tar me as an “Islamic militant”. In 2003, I was received at the US state department as an “open” and “moderate” Muslim. Less than a year later, under the same Bush administration, my criticism of American policy in Iraq and Palestine (where I recognise the legitimacy of the resistance without in any way condoning attacks against civilians and non-combatants) had transformed me into a potential “supporter of terrorism” and “extremist”. I was forbidden entry into the United States. Then, six years later, the terrorism- and extremism-related accusations were dropped by the US authorities. The Obama administration has decided that my opinions are not dangerous and that I may be useful to the critical debate around Islam: I am now allowed to travel to the United States.

But the attacks on me continue. Being the grandson of Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood - the world’s oldest and largest Islamic political group - I am dangerous by definition and I must not be listened to. Islam, my critics claim, allows dissimulation (taqiy­yah) and so I am accused of practising it in the extreme: all that sounds so fine to western audiences is in fact nothing but the presentable side of a far more obscure hidden agenda - it is claimed that I want to Islamise modernity, Europe and the Europeans, the whole west. So how can I be a “moderate”, they ask?

However, for those like Spencer who have closed their minds, it remains easier, rather than discussing what evidence they are putting forward for the claim that Ramadan is a “stealth jihadist” to resort instead to simple name calling with absolutely nothing to back it up.

A Chicago Tribune article by Manya Brachear quotes Robert Spencer “Spencer contends that the scholar has the same goals as Osama bin Laden—to impose Shariah law in the West. While Ramadan paints himself as a moderate intellectual, Spencer said, he is actually a “stealth jihadist.”

This seems to show that Spencer has made up his mind about this “stealth jihadist” claim, and that means that no evidence is required for his claims.  This is not the first time that he has taken a position which blames Muslims or Islam, no matter the circumstances.  In one previous instance

In an article about an Arab Israeli Knesset member who had sold secrets to Hisballah,  Robert Spencer commented that:  “I have maintained from the beginning of this site and before that that 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. And the cluelessness and multiculturalism of Western officialdom, which make officials shy away from even asking pointed questions, only compound this problem.”

Then when the news came out that the Knesset member involved was Christian and not Muslim, a “correction” was posted:  “I have been reminded that Bishara is a Christian, which makes him instead of a false moderate, an example of what Hugh calls an “islamochristian,” or a dhimmi Christian who has imbibed the values of his Muslim overlords. I apologize for the error.”

Amazing logic here.  If a Muslim did it, he’s guilty.  And, even those Muslims who are not guilty right now are just temporarily not acting on their negative impulses.  If a Christian did it, he was corrupted by the Muslims.

In another instance, Spencer promoted the fraudulent Iranian yellow badge story, and the next day issued a disclaimer

“Untrue, or too hot for public consumption at this time? That remains to be seen. While Nazi analogies dominate analyses of this, as I pointed out yesterday it is actually a revival of traditional elements of Islamic law for dhimmis. That makes it entirely reasonable that an aggressive Islamic state like Iran would reinstitute such laws; but now that international attention has focused upon them for contemplating doing so, it is likely not that they will abandon the project, but simply implement it when the world media has turned to other matters.”

It seems clear that neither Tariq Ramadan, or any other Muslim stands a chance with this sort of tortured logic.

Thankfully for Spencer, his audience is not an academic one, as just a few of the comments his readers have contributed regarding his article on Tariq Ramadan show:

Forget that ‘stealth’. We all know what he is. We also know what Noreen S. Ahmed-Ulla is. And the Chicago Tribune is aiding and abetting the jihad against America for offering them a soapbox.

Funny how proponents of a seventh century beduin-raider morality consider themselves progressive. Stone Age culture had more freedom than Saudi Arabia.

The enlightened progressives from the media do it all the time.  The Marxist Muslim POTUS is hardly ever called out, even on FOX.  We all know what he is, a red ratbag, a product of ACORN, a ‘community organizer’, a Socialist scumbag who trashes the constitution with the help of commie infil-traitors.  And yet, the Geraldo’s, the O’Reilly’s, the Greta’s and the rest of them can hardly get themselves to call him a Socialist.  Revolting!

Lol right wing loggers. These Islamic snakes just love to categorize and pigeon hole all those who oppose Islam as right wing who are all closet KKKer’s, Nazis, white supremacists, and other weirdoes. They know that the lib minded media loves this and will happily listen to everything these Islamic snakes will say.  I like using the description of these Muslims as Islamic snakes. Why do we have to denigrate the pigs, monkeys, rats, and other mammal by calling them Muslims? There is good in all these creatures. Snakes on the other hand are cold blooded, unthinking, reptillian killers. Just like some Muslims.

These are not people who are attempting to understand a complicated subject, they are people who have closed their minds, and that is a terrible waste.


A Chip Off the Old Block: Why the Fearmongers Want to Keep Tariq Ramadan Out, Asma Afsaruddin http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/a_chip_off_the_old_block_why_the_fearmongers_want_to_keep_tariq_ramadan_out/
A Closed Mind Is A Terrible Thing to Haste, Jonathan Laurence http://www.forward.com/main/article.php?ref=laurence200409011005 
A Muslim Scholar’s Exclusion http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chi-0408310093aug31,1,5639355.story
A Phantom Authority: Before the Trap Springs Shut on the Palestinian People, Resign, Tariq Ramadan http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/a_phantom_authority_before_the_trap_springs_shut_on_the_palestinian_people_/ 
ACLU Statement - State Department Ends Unconstitutional Exclusion Of Blacklisted Scholars From U.S.  http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2010/01/20-2
ALARMING STATEMENTS (TAM article collection) with many quotes from Robert Spencer http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/alarming_statements_-_consolidated/
An Interview With Tariq Ramadan, Ahmed Nassef http://www.muslimwakeup.com/mainarchive/001070.php
An Open Letter to my Detractors in The Netherlands, Tariq Ramadan http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/an_open_letter_to_my_detractors_in_the_netherlands/
At the crossroad of Islam, the West, Tariq Ramadan   http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/at_the_crossroad_of_islam_the_west/ 
Banned in America, John Tirman http://www.alternet.org/rights/19741/
Bush Administration Should Welcome Muslim Scholar http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/journalgazette/news/editorial/9594507.htm
Changing the present and dreaming the future, Tariq Ramadan http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/changing_the_present_and_dreaming_the_future/ 
Court Reverses Decision to Bar Swiss Muslim Scholar http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/17/court-reverses-decision-to-bar-swiss-muslim-scholar/
The Dogmatic Mind, Tariq Ramadan http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/the_dogmatic_mind/
Dutch university fires Islamic scholar Ramadan http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hGyD-Y_fXLt4qUxUrgKylIbbcReAD9A5GVLO0
Federal Appeals Court Rules In Favor Of U.S. Organizations That Challenged Exclusion Of Prominent Muslim Scholar http://www.aclu.com/safefree/exclusion/40359prs20090717.html
Fouad Ajami Blasts Tariq Ramadan but Secretly Admires Hezbollah http://www.muslimwakeup.com/archives/001098.php
Free Speech and Civic Responsibility, Tariq Ramadan http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/free_speech_and_civic_responsibility/ 
The Global Ideology of Fear or the Globalization of the Israel Syndrome, Tariq Ramadan http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/the_global_ideology_of_fear_or_the_globalization_of_the_israel_syndrome/ 
Here We Go Again: A Response to Yet Another Polemic Against Tariq Ramadan, Sophia Rose Shafi http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/here_we_go_again_a_response_to_yet_another_polemic_against_tariq_ramadan/
How Not to Fight Muslim Anti-Semitism: The Revocation of Tariq Ramadan’s Visa Fuels Bigotry,  Svend White http://www.muslimwakeup.com/mainarchive/001067.php
The language of the “guts” and racism, Tariq Ramadan http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/the_language_of_the_guts_and_racism/
Moratorium on Death Penalty, Tariq Ramadan http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/moratorium_on_death_penalty/
Muslims and Anti-Semitism, Tariq Ramadan http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/muslims_and_anti_semitism/
No Visas for Voices Critical of the U.S., Tariq Ramadan http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/no_visas_for_voices_critical_of_the_us/ 
Pakistan : The Meaning of a Moratorium, Tariq Ramadan http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/pakistan_the_meaning_of_a_moratorium/
Palestine - An Appeal For a Non-Violent Global Resistance Movement, Tariq Ramadan http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/palestine_an_appeal_for_a_non_violent_global_resistance_movement/ 
The Palestinians, Europe and what everyone knows, Tariq Ramadan http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/the_palestinians_europe_and_what_everyone_knows/ 
President Barack Obama to the Muslims. Just a speech?, Tariq Ramadan http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/president_barack_obama_to_the_muslims_just_a_speech/
Radical Reform : Ethics and Liberation Two Excerpts from Tariq Ramadan’s Forthcoming Book, Tariq Ramadan http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/radical_reform_ethics_and_liberation_two_excerpts_from_tariq_ramadans_forth/
Ramadan, Tariq - Interview: Terror Is a Fact, Not an Ideology, Benoit Audin http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/interview_with_tariq_ramadan_terror_is_a_fact_not_an_ideology/
Ramadan’s Vital Work http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/comment/0,10551,1294497,00.html
Reinventing Islam in Europe: a profile of Tariq Ramadan, Rosemary Bechler http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/reinventing_islam_in_europe_a_profile_of_tariq_ramadan/
The Revocation of Tariq Ramadan’s Visa Fuels Bigotry, Svend White http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/the_revocation_of_tariq_ramadans_visa_fuels_bigotry/
Scholar Under Siege Defends His Record http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/oped/chi-0408310097aug31,1,224130.story
Tariq Ramadan replies to his accusers http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/article947401.ece
Tariq Ramadan Weighs His Options http://www.altmuslim.com/perm.php?id=1286_0_26_0
Too Scary For the Classroom?, Tariq Ramadan http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/01/opinion/01ramadan.html
U.S. Government Lifts Ban on Tariq Ramadan Entering U.S., Tariq Ramadan http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/u.s._government_lifts_ban_on_tariq_ramadan_entering_u.s/
The way toward Radical Reform, Tariq Ramadan http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/the_way_toward_radical_reform/ 
Why I’m Banned in the USA, Tariq Ramadan   http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/why_im_banned_in_the_usa/ 
Geert Wilders Anti-Qur’an Film:  Silence will be the best response, Tariq Ramadan http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/geer_wilders_anti_quran_film_silence_will_be_the_best_response/