December 20, 2007
A few weeks ago, I wrote,
The “dialogue” [Tariq] Ramadan forever alludes to, somewhat vaguely, is by implication a dialogue on strictly Islamic terms – which is to say, on terms that are censorious, often circular and profoundly unrealistic. In this, Ramadan is far from alone. I’ve lost count of how many people seem to imagine that it’s somehow possible to challenge jihadist ideology and related horrors without mentioning Muhammad’s rather central role in the origination, sanctioning and perpetuation of those horrors, and without offending an apparently endless menu of other ‘sensitivities’.
Robert Spencer - he of superhuman patience – also wonders why a debate in good faith is so hard to find.
It remains true that Islamic spokesmen, while denigrating and dismissing my work, have never actually refuted it… And this is a much larger issue than simply who will or will not debate me, because it highlights the fact that peaceful Muslims have never formulated an Islamic response to the jihadists’ claim to represent pure and true Islam - and as long as they do not and apparently cannot do so, the jihadists will continue to hold the intellectual initiative within Islamic communities worldwide. “Moderate” Muslim spokesmen such as those above have not just not answered me; they’ve done nothing to seize that intellectual initiative and blunt the force of jihadist recruitment among Muslims.