This is one reason I think the Times article is very odd and in fact unfair.

There is no Muslim outrage about this book yet, but the fear of it is palpable enough for the Sunday Times to write an article about it. And if that outrage does indeed materialize, this will be yet another case, as here and here and here, of Muslims becoming outraged over accurate representations of Islamic texts and teachings.

Yes, it will, but on the other hand, in this case as well as the Jewel of Medina/Denise Spellberg case, it will also be a case of ‘Muslims’ (which is to say, some Muslims) being nudged into becoming outraged. I’m really not sure it’s fair to start with nudging people into being outraged and then rebuking them for their hypothetical future state of being outraged. How about waiting until someone actually does get outraged before rebuking anyone for getting outraged? That would be an idea, don’t you think?

Robert Spencer did say there is no Muslim outrage yet, which was alert and fair of him. One could be forgiven for getting the impression from the Times article that there was some such outrage, or at least rumours of outrage. That’s the problem. Spencer had no way of knowing and no reason to think that Toomey was in fact reporting on her own ‘concerns’ and ‘suggestions’ and no one else’s, and that’s why such an article is so dubious. It gives an impression that is just plain false. The idea that ‘the fear of [“Muslim outrage”] is palpable enough for the Sunday Times to write an article about it’ is simply wrong. It’s not a matter of palpable fear that the Sunday Times picked up on, it’s a matter of Toomey predicting something and then reporting on her prediction as if it were reality.

Of course, it’s true that people can always refuse to get outraged even if people try to nudge them into it; and they ought to; but all the same, if people do try to nudge them into it…that’s a kind of entrapment. I thought that when Spellberg did it, and I think it about this.

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