Robert Spencer and me

Since Robert Spencer has recently drawn attention to a discussion we had last April which started when I replied to a post about female circumcision on his Dhimmi Watch sub-blog, I thought I’d do the same. The reader is invited to notice a few things about the conduct of the debate:

* What on earth does female circumcision have to do with dhimmitude anyway? * The tract the mosque published was not (necessarily) a statement of policy by the mosque itself, but a text written by a (controversial) classical imam. Neither Spencer, nor the Dutch “Expatica” source he cites, makes this distinction. No evidence is presented that the mosque is encouraging or facilitating female circumcision among its congregation. * Ibn Taymiyya is said by “Arabism scholar Hans Jansen” as an “influential ideologue for militant Islamists”. But the issue at hand is female circumcision, and the rulings cited are not unique to Ibn Taymiyya. * Spencer ignores my point that the controversy surrounding female circumcision in some places (Egypt and elsewhere in Africa) where it is done to excess, involving considerably more than the Sunnah. In places where the Sunnah is all that’s done, on the basis of news coverage which is always concerned with Africa, it’s not a big deal. * He brings the irrelevance of equal employment opportunity into the matter when, in fact, the Shari’ah says little about whether a man or a woman, or a Muslim or a non-Muslim, should be hired for most jobs. It’s a matter for the secular authorities and the employer concerned. He also quotes two scholars, including the well-known “Salafi” Salih al-Sadlaan, as authority for his assertion that Islam forbids giving non-Muslims authority over Muslims. My interpretation of both quotes is that they are about state authority, not managerial authority in a company. You might read them and judge for yourself, insha Allah. * Note also the side-swipe at Muslims’ marital relations: “Since Sharia stipulates that women can’t even go out of the house without permission, I leave the fair-minded to judge their employment potential accordingly”. The fact that Muslim women work right across the world does not figure for him. Most women are not confined to their houses in the Muslim world and never have been. * I was really quite amazed at his stupidity in suggesting that we “should reform bits of should reform bits of [our] religion to bring it in line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”, something which is not suggested of any other religion on earth! * Spencer seems to have a preoccupation with the idea of his own becoming a dhimmi, or non-Muslim subject of a Muslim state with all that entails. I remarked that many non-Muslims chose to become dhimmis rather than move to the nearest Christian country, as is well-known. “Ridiculous. Bring your proofs, if you be truthful,” he snaps back. The fact that there are still huge populations of Christians in Egypt and the Syria/Palestine area - isn’t that evidence that their preferred to stay than to go? * When I recommended Mas’ud Khan’s site as a source of evidences for why the Wahhabis are in error, he “counters” it by mentioning the passages in the Reliance of the Traveller concerning jihad. Never mind the fact that the conversation so far had not been about jihad at all; the occasion for recommending him a source of refutations of the Wahhabis was his quotations about non-Muslims having authority over Muslims. So it’s a non-sequitur; I’ve not read in the Reliance anything which says that a Muslim cannot appoint a non-Muslim as a manager over Muslim employees.

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