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Laurie Goodstein and the New York Times: Weighed, and found wanting
by Hugh Fitzgerald
Laurie Goodstein, who reports for The New York Times on Islam in America without, apparently, ever thinking she has a responsibility to study the texts and tenets of Islam, and to learn about, and be keenly aware of, the arts of Taqiyya and Tu-Quoque in which Muslim spokesmen are so well-versed so that she, too, may not be fooled, has done it again: given evidence of her journalistic malpractice.
For example, on November 23, 2009, round about Thanksgiving (a non-Muslim holiday and thus one Muslims are instructed not to observe), Laurie Goodstein published a piece entitled “Three Clergyman, Three Faiths, One Friendship.” The title alone promises naive nonsense. The loaded phrase of “three faiths” – seemingly so neutral, so innocent — must cause your heart to sink, as it caused mine. You steel yourself, don’t you, perhaps taking a walk around the kitchen, before actually plunging into the promised idiocy. And you think of Laurie Goodstein writing this stuff, and her editors vetting this stuff, and the readers, the unwary and ill-prepared readers, that is, being subject to this deeply sinister stuff.
And here is Laurie Goodstein in “Three Clergymen, Three Faiths, One Friendship” article:
What distinguishes the “amigos,” who live in Seattle but make presentations around the country, is a unique approach to what they call “the spirituality of interfaith relations.” At the church in Nashville, the three clergymen, dressed in dark blazers, stood up one by one and declared what they most valued as the core teachings of their tradition The minister said “unconditional love.” The sheik said “compassion.” And the rabbi said “oneness.”
The room then grew quiet as each stood and recited what he regarded as the “untruths” in his own faith. The minister said that one “untruth” for him was that “Christianity is the only way to God.” The rabbi said for him it was the notion of Jews as “the chosen people.” And the sheik said for him it was the “sword verses” in the Koran, like “kill the unbeliever.”
“It is a verse taken out of context,” Sheik Rahman said, pointing out that the previous verse says that God has no love for aggressors. “But we have to acknowledge that ‘kill the unbelievers’ is an awkward verse,’ ” the sheik said as the crowd laughed. “Some verses are literal, some are metaphorical, but the Koran doesn’t say which is which.”….
As the crowd laughed.
And a good time was had by all. And Laurie Goodstein has refrained from informing us as to whether that “awkward verse” is in fact ever taken as metaphorical by Muslims, or whether they receive it — Reader Response is not just for MLA papers anymore — as literal. And surely that is important. Why didn’t she? Some try, as Sheik Rahman did, to confuse unwary Infidels, in this case not by hiding the verse, but by deliberately quoting it, and in so doing, making his audience think that of course it cannot possibly mean what it appears to mean, for if it did, he — Sheik Rahman — would certainly not quote it, would he? In this case, and in so many others, the audience apparently has failed to understand the most obvious trick in the book. When you know that sooner or later, one way or another, your audience is going to find out about something despite your best efforts to prevent that, you might as well give it to them yourself, and at the same time provide such a mountebank’s accompanying patter-and-chatter that the “reception” of that new information will be molded by Groupthink, as it was in this case: “As the crowd laughed.”
And that is how, in this telling case, Rahman, the Muslim amigo, handled, or rather manipulated, his Christian amigo, and his Jewish amigo, and all his mainly potential amigos laughing away in the audience.
Rahman is a Sufi, and from Bangladesh, the son of a Bangladeshi diplomat. For all I know he may well be one of the Muslim handful of “nonviolent extremists” – that is, at the very far, and completely unrepresentative end of the spectrum. But being a Sufi means nothing as far as peace and tolerance and so on go; it describes a manner of worship, and not the contents of belief. Many Sufis have engaged in violent Jihad over the past 1350 years, and some of the most dangerous Muslim groups, such as the Deobandis, are Sufis.
But whatever Imam Rahman really is, or whatever his own position, he clearly misstates and misrepresents what is in the Qur’an and what 99% of Muslims take to be the meaning of that phrase, and of another hundred Jihad phrases, in the Qur’an. In other words, whether or not he himself would engage or even approve of Jihad through qital (conventional warfare) or terrorism (which Muslims regard not as we do, but as a justified means to “even out” the playing-fields of war since Infidels now enjoy military superiority), Rahman is conducting Jihad of the “pen, tongue.”
In early August of this year, Laurie Goodstein wrote another article about Muslims in America. This was as heartwarming as the “three amigos” one: it was all about nine Muslims in America who had taken it upon themselves to make a video as part of what Goodstein credulously reported, without a syllable expressed of possible doubt, as an effort to appeal to fellow American Muslims to abjure “extremism.” Unfortunately Laurie Goodstein apparently did not look into a single one of the nine. She did not do even the kind of research any of us could and would do were we covering such a story, which is simply to look into the nine Muslims who claimed to be working against “extremism” and doing their bit. Shouldn’t it be the duty of a reporter to find out what the views of these people, their previous works and days, insofar as the information is relevant to their having a hand in a video that counsels against “extremism” — what kind of “extremism”? “Extremism” by whom, against whom? None of this matters to Laurie Goodstein. One wonders just how taxing her job must be, when she only has to write a story or two a week, and can’t be bothered, apparently, even to do the most elementary checking, to see if there is anything that might illuminate further the story for her readers.
And what about her layers upon layers of editors, at that famously self-celebratory “newspaper of record” (whatever that phrase means or could mean nowadays), that is, The New York Times, those editors who presumably read and re-read, meticulously, Goodstein’s story about the nine American Muslims who made the video?
Why did they not find out what Robert Spencer discovered quite quickly and posted urbi et orbi? That was the question I posted in discussing what Spencer had so quickly discovered, what Goodstein had apparently never discovered, and what The New York Times, I felt, now had a journalistic duty to supply to its readers.
Here is what I wrote more than a month ago, on August 2, 2010. Neither The New York Times, nor Laurie Goodstein, has seen fit to correct the record about these nine men:
If only those who write for The New York Times, such as Laurie Goodstein, could understand that they have a responsibility not to credulously accept such efforts as this transparent propaganda video at face-value, but to find out about the Muslims who actually appear on it, as is done here. Read what The New York Times reported about this video, under the title “Muslims Make Video to Rebut Militants.” That title parrots exactly the Muslim line that this is a heartfelt attempt to “rebut militants” rather than what it in truth is, a video in the main directed not at Muslims but at non-Muslims. It is an effort to show non-Muslims that “we, the Muslims in America, are doing the right thing, taking the right stand, and you’d better take note of this and not question the efficacy or the omissions in our video, you’d better be more than satisfied, and stop suspecting us, or else.”
If you read Laurie Goodstein’s article, you would remain entirely in the dark about those who took part in it. And since you would not have been informed about the religiously-sanctioned doctrines of Taqiyya and Kitman, and you might not be as suspicious as anyone who has either studied Islam and the (mis)representation of Islam or lived as a non-Muslim citizen of a Muslim-ruled country, you might not question that report.
But now that Robert Spencer has set out here, for easy reference, some of the unsavory connections and self-damning remarks, and examples of blatant lying about the contents of the Qur’an, and what Islam inculcates. He has set out, even so a reporter for The New York Times can understand, what the Taqiyya Nine — Suhaib Webb, and Maher Hathout, and Ihsan Bagby, and Mohamad Magid, and Zaid Shakir, and Jamal Badawi, and Hamza Yusuf (who is shown in a photograph, with three prayer rugs, one already turned Mecca-wards, and a bookshelf full of row upon grim row of Islamic books) and Yasir Qadhi — are truly all about.
Now The New York Times has a choice.
It can do a follow-up story, in which the reporter takes the information about these nine people, listed one by one above, with information about them, and quotations by them, and that reporter then investigates, studies the evidence that such remarks were made, that such connections can be made.
And then that reporter should report both what is given by Robert in the article above, and what those nine figures say to him when asked to explain those remarks.
Otherwise The New York Times will be guilty of having participated in a transparent fraud, in what for those who are knowledgeable appears unambiguously to be a fraudulent and, for the wellbeing of this country, and its citizens, a dangerous effort.
I do not know, and I hate to think, of how the New York Times covered the propagandists for Fascists and Nazis in the 1920s and 1930s. Why, no sooner had Mussolini made his March on Rome, and the Ventennio just started, than a certain Count Constantini was telling the society ladies of Boston about how wonderful that splendid fellow and his wonderful Blackshirts were: “Tells Mussolini’s aims and progress; Count Constantini Speaks at the Chilton Club Italy’s leader Has Won Whole Nation’s Confidence, He Says.” (Boston Daily Globe. Jan 16, 1923, p. 13)
And of course the Germans could count on such people as Ernst “Putzi” Hanfstaengl, Harvard Class of 1909, and a member of the Hasty Pudding Club (both biographical details are important, and would come in handy for Hanfstaengl, and for Hitler, later on), and others, so well connected to America’s ruling circles at that time. Why, so many were classmates. They arrived on these shores to spread misinformation about Herr Hitler and his National Socialist program. And within this country, Fritz Kuhn’s Bund was also doing yeoman’s service as it stood up for Hitler and wailed about the injustices done to Germany which he, Herr Hitler, had protested. And wasn’t it right and proper that the “Sudeteners” (never “the Sudeten Germans”) should be given “self-determination” (the Wilsonian phrase that nowadays has been distorted and misapplied to the case of the local Arabs, the shock troops of the Jihad against Israel, who for obvious propaganda purposes — when such propaganda became necessary after the Arab defeat in the Six-Day War — were carefully renamed as “the Palestinian people”)?
Now The New York Times has reported, without a scintilla of skepticism, about this effort to “refute” the “militants.” And not a syllable of Goodstein’s sober prose is devoted to actually reporting on any of the views expressed elsewhere by these nine people who made this video elsewhere – views about America, about the political and legal institutions of the Infidel nation-state of America, about Jews and the “myth” of the Holocaust, or about what they see as the right role, and right goals, for Muslims now living in this country. There is nothing about the company they keep, or about their very own heartfelt expressions, made mostly to fellow Muslims, and mostly earlier, before they realized that they had to go into full taqiyya-and-kitman mode.
Will the New York Times publish a follow-up account, based on the information even cats and dogs can now acquire, if they only have a computer, and a little time?
Many Muslims, and their unthinking supporters, believe that they can intimidate well-prepared critics of Islam, or of mosques being built hither and yon, by shrill cries about “freedom of religion” when Islam is, in the main, quite unlike any other religion. It is a Total Belief-System that in large part makes political and geopolitical claims, the claims of Allah to the whole world, that is, the claim or insistence that Islam must everywhere dominate, and Muslims rule, everywhere.
And if “freedom of religion” is a red herring, so is this absurd cry about “racism” that is flung about, as if Islam, an ideology, can be compared to a “race,” and Muslims forever be entitled to hide behind that cry of “racism” even where it so obviously does not apply. There is a “racism,” however, that does apply – and that is the “racist” sense of superiority exhibited by Muslim Arabs against non-Muslim Arabs. For Islam, despite its universalist claims, is and has been a vehicle for Arab supremacism, in the ways I have many times discussed here.
No one should be embarrassed, much less apologetic, for daring to consider the evidence of his senses – that is, the Jihad news that mounts and mounts, from all over the world, and especially that which demonstrates the cruel treatment of non-Muslims by Muslims wherever Muslims rule, save in a handful of cases where special circumstances have allowed for a taming or constraining – possibly temporary – of Islam, as in Kazakhstan or Kemalist Turkey. Nor should we be apologetic about becoming aware of the evidence provided in books, rather than newspaper dispatches, by the historians of Islamic conquest: that is, the 1350-year history of the conquest of non-Muslim lands, and the subsequent subjugation of the autochthonous non-Muslims. And we should be unapologetic about reading the scholars of Islam, such as C. Snouck Hurgronje, Joseph Schacht, Arthur Jeffery, and dozens of others, who wrote before Arab money and influence and other factors aided the Muslim takeover of many academic departments in the West having to do with Islam and related studies. And finally, we can read Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Wafa Sultan, Ibn Warraq, Magdi Allam, Nonie Darwish, and a growing list of other Defectors from the Army of Islam, whose articulate works, whose morally and intellectually advanced temoignages, can be compared with the deceit practiced by those listed as participating in the Feelgood video that is given such credulous treatment by the New York Times reporter, and by those who vetted, but did not change, the story about the “Muslim video.”
The West is now imperiled in a way unique in its history, mostly from an ideological pressure brought from within, and not by military pressure from without. Not everyone thinks we should simply throw up our hands and wail “but what can we do?” and “there’s nothing to be done.” There are those who are not, sometimes out of a mere want of imagination and intellect, able to figure out the many things that they could legitimately and rationally do to preserve (and perhaps even extend) the civilisational legacy they inherited. But there are also those who wish to protect it from its present-day most dangerous enemies, those who have not lost their senses, those who refuse to make burnt offerings of themselves or their children on the Altars of the Idols of the Age, Tolerance and Diversity – a limitless and unintelligent and even suicidal “Tolerance,” a diseased conception of “Diversity.” The latter group must regard with alarm and disgust the irresponsibility of The New York Times.
The irresponsibility of a great part of the media is beginning to alarm, beginning to disgust. Nine years after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and several decades after the slow but steady growth, seemingly unstoppable, of the Muslim presence in the historic heart of the West, the countries of western Europe, and after these great and costly and squandering military-cum-reconstruction efforts first in Iraq and now in Afghanistan, how much do we in the United States need to rely on The New York Times. Does anybody, anymore, still “rely” on the New York Times after the display of its non-coverage of Islam? How often, in the New York Times, have you seen any intelligent discussion or explanation of what the word “Sunnah” means? Have you had any inkling of what the Hadith are, or what the different collections of Hadith are, or how individual Hadith have been ranked as to presumed “authenticity,” or even how the different muhaddithin are regarded, and why Bukhari and Muslim stand above all the rest? Have you been informed properly by The New York Times as to what is in the Qur’an concerning Unbelievers? Have you seen, in the pages of The New York Times, even a single mention of the murders of Abu Afak and of Asma bint Marwan, or about what happened at the Khaybar Oasis and why, or about what Muhammad did when the 600-900 members of the Banu Qurayza, taken prisoner and bound, were decapitated? Have you ever, even once, in the pages of The New York Times, read anything about little Aisha, and why virtually the first act of that learned theologian, the Ayatollah Khomeini, when he came to power, was to reduce the marriageable age of girls to nine years?
Oh, I could fill up the page and printer, and so could you, with what The New York Times has, in nearly a decade, chosen not to tell its readers, willfully refused to enlighten them about — that is, the ideology and the practice of Islam. And this is curious, because the best way to convince the public to support what the New York Times supports – a pullout from Iraq and Afghanistan – is to make them more aware of what Islam inculcates, what Islam contains, what Islam means.
It is wrong, it is unjust, it is cruel to its readers, it is dangerous, it is a dereliction of journalistic duty, for those reporters and editors on the New York Times, to sanction this deception by their inattention, their nonchalance amounting to criminal negligence, their unwillingness to dig just a little bit on such things as the real views behind the for-the-camera smiles and wiles of those Nine Supernumeraries of Islam who took part in this video charade, this tableau-vivant of taqiyya-suffused viciousness. Those reporters and editors are doing what The New York Times, in its embarrassing history, did in the past to aid and abet propagandists for totalitarian ideologies – including one of its most famous reporters, Walter Duranty, who won a Pulitzer for his efforts at hiding the reality of the famine-ravaged Ukraine.
This time it is not Walter Duranty, doing his best for Joseph Stalin. Nor is it some suave mustachioed well-tailored Count Constantini talking to untouchable Brahmin wives at the Chilton Club on Beacon Street. And this time it isn’t Ernst Hanfstaengl telling his old classmates from the Harvard Class of ’09 – perhaps even some fellow members of the Hasty Pudding Club, with whom good old Putzi may have high-kicked-it in drag for one of those Hasty Pudding Theatricals — about how Hitler was merely a useful tool of Krupp and Thyssen, a tool to beat back the Bolsheviks, and in America they had nothing to worry about, for the National Socialists just wanted to get Germany back on its feet, to give it its self-respect. No, this time it is another Total Belief-System, with many similarities to the totalitarian ideologies of the previous unappetizing centuries, and another set of adherents to an ideology that flatly contradicts, in letter and spirit, the American Constitution and everything else that makes America America. Adherents who want to make sure we do not find out much about the ideology of Islam, or about those who work to undermine the legal and political institutions of this country.
Let’s all wait right here — at this very website, Jihad Watch — and see if The New York Times will indeed, under the circumstances, feel it has an obligation to run another story, a follow-up, where the information presented above about the nine participants in this video – most of them well-versed in the arts of taqiyya and kitman – is no longer omitted, but becomes the very subject of the story.
Perhaps you’d like to make a wager on what The New York Times will do.
So go ahead. Faites vos jeux, mesdames et messieurs. And do it fast, because any moment now the croupier at this website is going to announce that “les jeux sont faits.”
And les jeux sont faits, for many Americans, in another sense. Yes, for many of us, when it comes to trying to get people to meet their responsibilities and report adequately on the contents of Qur’an, Hadith, Sira, and to analyze truthfully the content of Muslim propaganda and campaigns of Da’wa, for us les jeux sont faits, which in English means — the chips are down.
And when those chips are really down in every sense, who will be there to defend the political and legal institutions of this country, its social understandings, its art and science and literature, its political freedoms, and the conditions that make those manmade laws, those political institutions, that art, that science, that literature, those individual freedoms, possible? Those conditions could not possibly exist for one minute under Islam. Who will defend these things, if not those who, even if in some cases hesitatingly, begrudgingly, not really wanting to find out what they suspect they will find out, finally decide to learn about the texts, tenets, attitudes, atmospherics of Islam? And then, too, they must learn also about all the ways that Muslim propagandists in the West attempt to keep non-Muslims unaware and thus unwary, confused and thus unable to see things clearly.
Okay, New York Times. You have one last chance. You didn’t do right when it came to Walter Duranty and the misreporting on the Soviet Union. Your coverage of the Nazi persecution of the Jews, throughout not only the 1930s, but right through the war, was laughable, and cruel, and had consequences. It resulted in many deaths, for there must have been many readers of The New York Times who, unaware of what was really going on, did not do enough either to save their own relatives, or to raise holy hell, wherever and whenever they could, because they relied on The New York Times, and the Sulzberger family was not about to let its paper be tarred as “too Jewish.” In other words, that family cared more about itself, and its own position, then it did about reporting the truth. And right now, I suspect, those who run The New York Times have no desire to let themselves be open to charges of “racism” or “Islamophobia” or some other such obvious nonsense. Apparently they lack the wit, they lack the imagination, they lack the knowledge, to be able to respond appropriately to such charges.
Well, I’ve had my fill of analyzing or psychoanalyzing those who report for, those who are columnists for, those who edit for, those who run, those who own, The New York Times.
I repeat, one last time, the question I asked more than once above: having published that story about this Muslim propaganda-vehicle video as a splendid attempt to “rebut militants,” will The Times now publish a follow-up article, one that gives full weight to the information supplied by Robert Spencer in his article above, about the nine Muslims who appear in that video, or will it not?
Now Laurie Goodstein has done it yet again. She’s not an idiot. She has an attractive demeanor, an intelligent mien. She seems, when she appears on the Colbert Report, even winning. But when it comes to Islam, she retreats into a world quite familiar to all of us: the world of those who cannot or do not wish to do the work necessary to grasp the Total Belief-System of Islam, and who would rather continue to soothe herself, say, with the anecdotal evidence that this or that charming, friendly, altogether misleading Muslim colleague or friend – one who perhaps doesn’t take Islam to heart, but cannot reveal that that is the reason that the laurie-goodsteins of this world can, and precisely to the degree of their inattention or laxity about Islam, find them inoffensive, whereas if they took Islam to heart, it would be a different matter.
But here is what she wrote about Islam most recently, in a piece that was as saccharine as it was misleading: “American Muslims Ask: Will We Ever Belong?” And in order that you not think I am being unfair to Laurie Goodstein, to her tone and her way of phrasing things, I will present phrases from the article.
It begins thus:
For nine years after the attacks of Sept. 11, many American Muslims made concerted efforts to build relationships with non-Muslims, to make it clear they abhor terrorism, to educate people about Islam and to participate in interfaith service projects. They took satisfaction in the observations by many scholars that Muslims in America were more successful and assimilated than Muslims in Europe.
Now, many of those same Muslims say that all of those years of work are being rapidly undone by the fierce opposition to a Muslim cultural center near ground zero that has unleashed a torrent of anti-Muslim sentiments and a spate of vandalism. The knifing of a Muslim cab driver in New York City has also alarmed many American Muslims.
“We worry: Will we ever be really completely accepted in American society?” said Dr. Ferhan Asghar, an orthopedic spine surgeon in Cincinnati and the father of two young girls. “In no other country could we have such freedoms — that’s why so many Muslims choose to make this country their own. But we do wonder whether it will get to the point where people don’t want Muslims here anymore.”
Eboo Patel, a founder and director of Interfaith Youth Core, a Chicago-based community service program that tries to reduce religious conflict, said, “I am more scared than I’ve ever been — more scared than I was after Sept. 11.”
That was a refrain — a phony refrain, since there is not the slightest reason for Mr. Eboo Patel, who routinely appears on NPR, to be “scared” of anything other than that Americans might actually find out too much about what is in the texts, and too much about the tenets, and the attitudes, and the atmospherics, of Islam. But Patel’s baseless complaint was echoed by many American Muslims in interviews last week. They said they were scared not as much for their safety as to learn that the suspicion, ignorance and even hatred of Muslims is so widespread. “This is not the trajectory toward integration and acceptance that Muslims thought they were on.”
This is reported, with a straight face. But what is the duty of Laurie Goodstein, the reporter? Is it to accept these tales of self-pity and baseless victimization? Does Laurie Goodstein know how many attacks there have been on Muslims since 2001, in the United States, or in any Western country? Does she know how many attacks, by Muslims, on Jews especially but also on other non-Muslims, have taken place not in Muslim-dominated lands, but in the advanced countries of the West, since 2001? Does she know that no Muslims have been killed, but Jews have been killed, by Muslims, in the United States, in Canada, in France, in Belgium? Does she know, by the way, the record for Muslim integration in the hyperbolically tolerant countries of Western Europe? Does she have any idea at all what has happened in those two countries that have elevated Tolerance to the level of a state religion – that is, the Netherlands and Denmark? Does she think that Americans are forever going to ignore what has been happening with Muslims – alone among all the many immigrant groups? What has been happening with them is that more non-Muslims are becoming familiar with the texts and tenets of the Qur’an, Hadith, and Sira, and observing the unceasing demands for changes in our own legal and political institutions, and the aggression, even violence, of Muslim mobs on the streets of Paris and London, of Milan and Madrid. Does she think this does not have an effect, or that it should not have an effect, on non-Muslims everywhere?
Does Laurie Goodstein not know what has been happening to Christians in Indonesia and Pakistan and Iraq and Egypt, at the hands of Muslims who, in Muslim-ruled states, can get away with whatever they want? Does she know what has happened to Hindus in Pakistan, too, or to both Hindus and Buddhists (in the Chittagong Hills) in Bangladesh? What does she, Laurie Goodstein, know about the killings by Muslims of Buddhists in southern Thailand? Does she think that this kind of thing is irrelevant to the judgments we make here in the United States as to the nature of Islam?
What does Laurie Goodstein make of what happened since 2001 in London? In Madrid? In Amsterdam? In Beslan? What does she think of the effect on Americans of Muslims killing 450 Yazidis in northern Iraq, or murdering and driving out of Iraq Christians (Assyrians and Chaldeans)? What does she think of the repeated reports of attacks – kidnappings, forced conversions, rapes, killings, of Copts by Muslims in Egypt?
Well, there are many things happening here in the flood-tide of Muslim propaganda, in which Laurie Goodstein is so tendentious a reporter as to be, practically, a participant in that propaganda effort.
And Laurie Goodstein is hardly alone.
On NPR, for example, the other day, we were treated to an enthusiastic report about two bright young Muslims, speaking the American demotic, who traveled this great land of to seek out mosques everywhere. And why was that? Oh, for several reasons. One was to give non-Muslims a strong impression of the “rich diversity” in those mosques. But that “rich diversity” turns out to be a matter of outward and visible things (some mosques have Pakistani Shi’a, others Arab Sunnis, others Somalis who are not made welcome either by Arabs or Pakistanis), and funding (we are carefully told that “Muslim doctors and engineers” are paying for these mosques, though we all know that tens of billions in Saudi and other Gulf Arab money is being used around the world to buy land, and build mosques, and pay for their upkeep). In other words, we are to avoid grasping the ideological unity, or oneness, of those who base their lives, to take as their guide in everything, Qur’an and Sunnah. We are supposed to be impressed by trivial outward differences in ethnic background, dress, food.
And another part of this NPR report – one that I mention here because it was instinct with the themes that Laurie Goodstein likes to offer – was the transparent attempt to backdate the Muslim presence here. Oh, NPR didn’t go as far as those Muslims, such as “Professor” Al-Hibri (of the University of Richmond Law School), who insists that Muslims were here with, or even before, Columbus. Nor did it go as far as those Muslims who tell us, and expect us to believe, that because there is a single record of a single slave (Job Ben Solomon) who spent two years in Maryland, and during that period apparently would prostrate-pray in the woods, this must have meant that he attended a mosque. Perhaps a little more about Job Ben Solomon should be given, just to clear things up once and for all.
The story about Job Ben Solomon (Ayuba Suleiman Diallo), even if we were to accept it at face value from the single source in which it occurs — Thomas Bluett’s History (and for all I know the whole story may have been made up, for there is no other confirming source), does not, as Edward Curtis IV in a recent Washington Post story seem to think, offer any proof of the existence of a mosque. No mosque is mentioned, or even hinted at. How then can Curtis adduce as evidence of a mosque a single passage, in a single book, when no mosque is mentioned? This is absurd.
The entire story is this: Job Ben Solomon lived in Maryland for only two years, and during that time he supposedly retired to the woods to pray. End of story. It may be true, it may be false. But whether false or true, it has nothing to do with the existence of a “mosque.” The first mosque in this country for which there is the slightest evidence dates from the 20th century, and until recent decades, save for the Black Muslims who, under the Honorable Elijah Mohammed, were never regarded as real Muslims by real Muslims, and even today have certain practices and attitudes that are far from Muslim orthodoxy, there were not more than a half-dozen mosques in all of America, and those half-dozen quite small.
The mosque building that has taken place frenetically over the past few decades is everywhere the result of Saudi (and to a much lesser extent, other Arab) money, which has been spent at a rate, all over the Western world, ten times greater than the Soviet Union spent to spread propaganda on behalf of Soviet Communism.
The attempt at nunc-pro-tunc backdating of Islam in America goes on all the time among Muslims and their apologists. Remember when Muslims claimed that they had been on Columbus’ crew, when there was not the slightest proof, though five Jews were in fact on Columbus’ first trip to the New World, including the Torres brothers, and the trip itself was financed by Luis Santangel, a Spaniard of Jewish descent. Then this preposterous claim (Columbus was happy to claim the New World for Christendom) was echoed by some State Department wretch who then, when called on it, never uttered a word about it again.
Yes, here in America for two years, Job Ben Solomon attended an entirely imaginary One-Man Mosque. But in Muslim retelling that open-air prostration becomes a “mosque” that “proves” that Muslims were here, and thriving, and striving, centuries ago. This is, bien entendu, a fabulous fabrication.
No, these two young Muslims sweetly reporting their trip-to-mosques-around-America for NPR did not do this kind of thing. They date the first mosque from 1921, from a little town — pop. 48 — in North Dakota. But there is no mosque there. There is the story, the dim memory, of a possible mosque, because a handful of families came from Lebanon, so they said, and some have believed a mosque was once there. Since the Lebanese immigrants — who never called themselves Arabs, but always Lebanese (and their cards of identity would sometimes identify them as “Turks” or “Syrians” because they came from the Ottoman Empire) — were almost without exception Christians. But let’s accept, in any case, that a mosque for five or six or ten people was built in North Dakota in the 1920s. What does this prove? Does it prove, as Barack Obama would have it, that Muslims have always “been a part” of American history? Or does it, rather, prove the opposite: that until the last few decades there has been no Muslim presence, and certainly no Muslim influence on or participation in American history? And now, with 1% of the population being Muslim, can one say that there has been any positive participation in American life, in the furthering of American liberty, or American art, or American science, or American anything, beyond a handful of people who, precisely because they ignore many of the strictures of Islam, can contribute in a way that would not have been possible, for one minute, in a society where Islam dominated?
Oh, and along with the attempt to find examples of the venerable and richly-diverse mosques all over America (how many of those mosques — excluding the Nation of Islam variant — have been built in just the last decade, and with Saudi money playing a major role? 80%? 90%?), there is still another theme which you can now hear being presented, and pressed, especially by the non-Muslim Defenders of the Faith, who are not so much enamored of Islam, one suspects, as they are full of distaste for the other views of some of those who are skeptical of the wonderfulness of Islam. The theme of these Defenders is this: Muslims are “just the latest” in a long series of victims of bigotry and intolerance. So Catholics suffered, or Quakers, or Jews, or homegrown Mormons, or others, and now, you see, it’s “the turn of the Muslims.” How very comforting for all of us to be encouraged to believe that just like those Catholics, those Quakers, those Jews, those homegrown Mormons, Muslims too will – once the bigots and the haters are stilled – fit right in.
But is this true? Is it true that Muslims just “fit right in” even in the most tolerant countries, the very countries that have elevated Tolerance and Diversity to State Religions, as in the Netherlands and Denmark? Is it true that Muslims are “just like” all the other groups, and there is nothing about their Total Belief-System that might, upon study and reflection, give one pause? Is it true that all over the world, Muslims Play Well With Others? Or are there grounds for thinking that Islam is itself a faith concocted out of pre-Islamic pagan Arab lore and bits and pieces – mostly stories, and famous personages, distorted beyond – well, beyond the belief of those who understood them in their original setting and frame, in Judaism and Christianity?
I think Laurie Goodstein has a duty to start learning about the subject she claims to be reporting on: that is, on Islam. And she should not look only at Muslims in this country, listening to their factitious tales of woe and their feelings, as they are so quick to tell her, that they have been “made to feel” unwelcome. Made to feel? Made to feel? After every conceivable chance over the past nine years to explain themselves, not slyly, not in the context of those chicken-and-oily-pita-and-baklava Mosque Outreach Sessions that never, ever, discuss what is in the Qur’an, the Hadith, the Sira, and in which such words as “Jizyah” and “dhimmi” are never uttered – it is they who claim that they are “made to feel” unwelcome, when we can see, all over the world, Muslim mistreatment, including murders, mass murders, of non-Muslims, of Copts in Egypt, of black Africans in the southern Sudan, in central Nigeria, in Pakistan and Bangladesh, in southern Thailand. And those who in the countries of Western Europe speak out are either killed, as were Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh, or live in conditions of permanent physical insecurity, as is the case with Geert Wilders and Ayaan Hirsi Ali in the Netherlands (and everywhere), and Robert Redeker, the brave lycee teacher, and Magdi Allam (the apostate who converted to Christianity, and who is now a Eurodeputy from Italy), and many dozens of others. “Made to feel unwelcome” when practically the entire country, beginning with NPR and The New York Times, has been falling all over itself depoting feelgood stories to Muslims (especially around Ramadan and Iftar dinners), and the Interfaith Healing Racket continues apace (three amigos, four amigos, n-amigos). And because of the political parti-pris and maladroitness of many of those who have taken it upon themselves not to accept the victimization narrative and to tell some home truths about Islam, and the deliberate downplaying of those who are the most valuable witnesses to what Islam is all about – Wafa Sultan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ibn Warraq, and others – we understand that it is, and will always be, difficult to make those who, in the media, presume to instruct us, and those who, in political life, presume to protect us, to begin to assume their responsibility to study both Islam and the history of Islamic conquest, in order to better judge the meaning, and the potential menace, of Islam and of those who take Islam most to heart.
Laurie Goodstein seems to think she can continue to report on the claimed woes of Muslims in this country without giving any attention to how Muslims behave toward non-Muslims in those countries where Muslims dominate, and without giving any attention, either, to the fact that Muslim immigrants are the only group, in the tolerant and generous countries of Western Europe, who appear to have problems, permanent problems, in integrating, and in accepting the legal and political institutions, and social arrangements, of those countries where they have been allowed to settle, by the millions, behind what Muslims themselves are taught to regard as enemy lines, the lines of Dar al-Harb. Why is it that Chinese, Hindus, Vietnamese Buddhists, Andean Indians, and sub-Sarahan but non-Muslim black Africans, all more or less seem able to fit in, to adjust, after a period, but that Muslims, wherever they come from, including those who come to Great Britain knowing English, or those who come to France knowing French, simply present problems that do not diminish with time, but actually increase, as the first generation, having to work for a living (while later generations have mastered the art of soaking the Infidel welfare-state of every conceivable benefit, and then some) gives way to even more implacable, hostile, and dangerous Muslims determined not to fit in, but to work, in ways little and big, to ensure that the Infidels among whom they settle do not acquire either the knowledge of Islam, or the will to act on that knowledge? For such knowledge, once acquired, acted upon by those who do not share in the general anomie, would – Muslims understand – be a threat to their own relentless work in pushing, pushing, pushing, to undermine Infidel morale, and to convince us that we should here and there and everywhere remove whatever obstacles to the spread, and dominance, of Islam may remain.
Jihad, the struggle to work to remove all such obstacles to that spread and to that dominance of Islam, is furthered by a combination of instruments. Terrorism and the threat of terrorism – seen by Muslims as a subset of qitaal, or combat — may receive the most attention, but that attention often gets in the way of recognizing all the other, widespread, and more effective ways to conquer not through outright military means, but through means that were unavailable to Muhammad in the way that they are to Muslims today. These include deployment of the Money Weapon – supplied above all by the Saudis, but also by Emirates, by Kuwaitis, by the Islamic Republic of Iran, and by the inimitable Colonel Qaddafy — which is used to fund mosques and madrasas and propaganda all over the world. There are also campaigns of Da’wa, targeted first toward the socio-economically marginal (such as black prisoners), and to the psychically marginal (including the Spiritual Searchers who wander like Leibnizian monads through the universe, until they latch on to Islam, that faith which Supplies All The Answers). Finally, and most important, there is demographic conquest, sheer and ever-increasing numbers, both through immigration as yet largely unchecked, and through breeding at a rate that is three or four times that of the indigenous non-Muslims, a breeding moreover – in Western Europe – subsidized by the generous policies of the state.
None of this ever swims into Laurie Goodstein’s conventional ken, the one from which all disturbing possibilities are routinely blocked. Her tale is one of completely inexplicable animus toward wonderful Muslims, who do nothing wrong, who think nothing wrong, who have nothing in common with those Muslims who for some unaccountable reason maim and murder non-Muslims in Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand, Sudan, Nigeria, and a dozen other places, or who plot, and sometimes manage to carry out, not ten, but rather tens of thousands, of terrorist acts or would-be terrorist acts, foiled only by the vast and expensive and ever-increasing security edifice that has had to be erected since September 11, 2001.
I wonder how long Laurie Goodstein can keep this up. Forever? Or is she going to begin to conclude that perhaps some of those alarmed by Islam might actually have a point. Then she may stop relying on the personal charm of Muslims she has met, and their mastery of the arts of taqiyya and tu quoque. And of course they deploy the furrowed brow, and liquid eyes, bespeaking a woundedness, an anguish, a pain that we are all supposed to take at face value. What’s more we are supposed to regard as baseless and cruel the idea that these “wounded Muslims” are now “unsure of their position in American society.” They’re not unsure; they know exactly what they want. They want to never have to discuss, never have to explain, much less apologize for, what hundreds of millions of Muslims read everyday in the Qur’an, the Hadith, the Sira, and what has fashioned their attitudes, their worldview.
Perhaps she’ll change. I don’t know if she could be another Lincoln if she only had a brain. But she’s not a target made up out of whole cloth. She’s not a straw man presented only to knock down. She really exists. She really appears in The New York Times, inflicting all kinds of unchallenged nonsense on us, about Islam and about put-upon – as she presents it – Muslims.
She has yet to discuss, in a single article, any of what is actually in the texts of Islam. She has yet to discuss such words as “Jizyah,” “dhimmi,” “taqiyya,” or to discuss Muhammad as the Perfect Man, al-insan al-kamil, and some of the piquant details of that Perfect Man’s life.
Laurie Goodstein substitutes feelgood sympathy, rather than attempting to explain truly the growing hostility toward Islam, and those who take Islam to heart as their Guide to Everything, in the United States. She is unable, among so many other things, to accept the responsibility, as a journalist covering such matters, to set herself to studying Islam, or seeing about the slow development, against the magical irrealism that Western governments and the media have tried so determinedly to impose, in Western Europe of anti-Muslim attitudes based not on bias, but by those no longer willing to deny the growing evidence of their own senses. And among those senses is included the sight with which we are able to take in the written word, the works of scholars of Islam such as Snouck Hurgropnje, Schacht, Jeffery, and others, as well as the written work of the apostates — witnesses who were born into, and raised up within, a world suffused with Islam, and only in the mental freedom of the West began to see things differently.
No, Laurie Goodstein is not up to the task.
But then, The New York Times itself is not up to the task.
Both reporter and paper have been weighed. I did it myself, in this piece, and a half-dozen others at this site that you might look over at your leisure.
Yes, they have been weighed, and found wanting.
This article was first published at Jihad Watch on September 24, 2010. In light of Laurie Goodstein’s recent attack on Mike Pompeo and John Bolton, it merits revisiting.