Nearly two years ago the Jihadist lobby in the United States made a concerted affort to have my book The Sword of the Prophet banned from National Review Online. Jihadi activists gathered around CAIR claimed the book defamed Islam and its “prophet.” When it did not get immediate satisfaction from National Review, CAIR instructed its partisans to pressure the Boeing Corporation to withdraw its advertisements from the magazine. Faced with the loss of revenue National Review briefly took down The Sword, but then quickly reposted it, under pressure from mainly conservative quarters.
It is now, perhaps inevitably, the turn of a phony conservative to join CAIR’s ranks. In his latest book, The Enemy At Home, Dinesh D’Souza writes that,
In order to build alliances with traditional Muslims, the right must take three critical steps. First, stop attacking Islam. Conservatives have to cease blaming Islam for the behavior of the radical Muslims. Recently the right has produced a spate of Islamophobic tracts with titles like Islam Unveiled, Sword of the Prophet, and The Myth of Islamic Tolerance. There is probably no better way to repel traditional Muslims, and push them into the radical camp, than to attack their religion and their prophet.
Two of the titles D’Souza finds so offensive that condemning them tops his list of “critical steps” are by my friend Robert Spencer, and “The Sword” is mine. D’Souza wants us, and presumably other similarly minded authors (Bat Ye’or, Ibn Warraq, Andrew Bostom, Walid Shoebat, et al.), to shut up.
As my fellow offender Spencer has noted, D’Souza assumes that peaceful Muslims will have a greater sense of solidarity with jihadists than with non-Muslims, which is indeed the case, but it makes hash of his entire thesis—that social conservatives should ally themselves with these “traditional” Muslims:
For if these peaceful Muslims really abhor jihadism, they should have no reason to object to critical presentations of the elements of Islam that foster jihadism. But if such presentations will just drive them into the arms of the jihadists, then how committed could they really have been to peace and moderation in the first place? If they think ‘Islamophobic tracts’ . . . are more threatening to their religion than acts of terrorism done in the name of Islam, how ‘traditional’ and moderate could they possibly be?
It is noteworthy that D’Souza is condemning our writings as “Islamophobic” without further elaboration. Like the term “Islamophobia” itself—a classic product of the Hate Crime Industry—his technique is characteristic of the totalitarian Left. I remember reading, as a teenager in Tito’s Yugoslavia, similarly worded condemnations of dissident writers and their “tracts” in the communist-controlled press. Once they were defined as “anti-socialist,” “reactionary,” or “nationalist,” no further elaboration was needed and no debate allowed.
Furthermore, D’Souza uses “Islamophobia” with the implicit assumption that the term’s meaning is well familiar to his readers. For the uninitiated it is nevertheless necessary to spell out its formal, legally tested definition, however. It is provided by the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), a lavishly-funded organ of the European Union. Based in Vienna, this body diligently tracks the instances of “Islamophobia” all over the Old Continent and summarizes them in its reports. The Monitoring Center’s definition of Islamophobia includes eight salient features:
This definition is obviously intended to preclude any possibility of meaningful discussion of Islam. The implication that Islamophobia thus defined demands legal sanction is a regular feature of the Race Relations Industry output. It also routinely refers to “institutional Islamophobia” as an inherent social and cultural sickness of most Western societies that needs to be rooted out by education, re-education, and legislation. In reality, of course, all eight proscribed statements are to some extent true. As I have argued in these pages and elsewhere,
It is entirely possible that Dinesh D’Souza subscribes to some other definition of “Islamophobia” than the one provided above. If he does, he should spell it out so that those he singles out for criticism can defend themselves. Until and unless he does so, we’ll have to agree with a recent commentator who concludes that D’Souza wants me and others “to lie about Islam, like himself, or to be silent”:
Now think how amazing this is. Has it ever happened in this country—I’m not talking about some totalitarian country but America—has it ever happened that a prominent “intellectual” called on leading writers on a subject of major importance to stop writing what they’re writing, because it would “offend” someone? No, this has never happened before. It has never happened before, because it’s only in response to Mohammedanism that Westerners adopt the posture of pre-emptive surrender, which Bat Ye’or calls mental dhimmitude. Of all the social, ethnic, religious, political movements in the world, only Islam has the ability to evoke this eagerly cringing attitude, only Islam has this faculty of inducing people to surrender psychologically to it even before it has any actual power over them.
Dixit. A man is defined, to some extent, by his enemies. Counting D’Souza and his ilk among mine casts an eminently pleasing glow on this drab January morning.
Srdja Trifkovic is the foreign-affairs editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture and director of The Rockford Institute's Center for International Affairs.
Read the entire article on the Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture website (new window will open). Reprinted with permission of the author.