Motives are one thing, facts are another

This FAIR thing is really terrible. Look at the ‘Dirty Dozen’ for instance. They’re an obnoxious crew, most of them, but FAIR just gives a quote from each without saying what is wrong with it, and it is simply not always self-evident that anything is wrong with it. (The motives of the people saying it may be deeply suspect, but that doesn’t mean that what they say is false, and I don’t think it always is false. It’s not clear what FAIR thinks.) For example David Horowitz (whom I do not admire at all, and who I think often argues unfairly to say the least) says there are 150 Muslim students’ associations which are arms of the Muslim Brotherhood. And…? Does FAIR know that that’s not true? I think at least some Muslim students’ associations in the US do have connections to the MB. Anyway if FAIR does know that it’s not true, it should say so – it shouldn’t just assume that it’s self-evidently not true. Why would it be?

And what Robert Spencer says is not self-evidently false either. Islam is a universalizing religion, it does hold that sharia should be universal, and it does at the very least disapprove of non-believers. The first sentence of the Daniel Pipes quotation has a whiff (or more) of racism, though in context it may be distanced (and I suspect that it is). But the second sentence, unfortunately, is at least arguably true.

FAIR seems to take it as simply axiomatic that Islam is 1) entirely benign and 2) off-limits to criticism, and thus to take it as also axiomatic that anyone who disagrees with 1 or 2 or both is acting from racist motives and also factually wrong. But it is entirely possible – in fact, easy – to think Islam is not entirely benign without having any racist motives at all, and thus to think that Islam is in urgent need of criticism, still without any racist motives. Racists and reactionaries and missionary Christians do confuse the issue, of course, but FAIR ought to be able to make the necessary distinctions.

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