Confronting the Huffington Post


Harris Zafar_ Confronting Pamela Geller (Updated With Response)_1342466363329

Earlier today I urged Atlas readers to contact and/or tweet at The Huffington Post for their refusal to run my article rebutting another hit piece on me. Huge thanks to Atlas activists who got on their tweetdecks.

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@neilkatz Did AOL spend 315 million on a smear machine or a news org?Why won’t @HuffingtonPost run my rebuttal to another false attack? ‪#rt

@raushenbush@neilkatz Why won’t @huffingtonpost run my rebuttal to”Confronting Pamela Geller”?HP’s repeated smears&attacks on me-try ethics

Exposed, the Huffington Post caved, albeit in their typical underhanded way. They published my response as an update to the hit piece. The original hit piece was written by an Ahmadi — yes, the same sect that is being slaughtered by Muslims in Muslim countries — Harris Zafar, an Ahmadi spokesman who has been itching to “debate” me in defense of Islam. And why does Zafar want to debate me? I am not killing his people. I am not urging that his people be killed. Why doesn’t he debate Ahmed Rehab or some other Islamic supremacist? He is all puffed up with me, bloviating away, why doesn’t he tell it to the Taliban? I am fighting for his right to live — what is he fighting with me for?

The Huffington Post received a response to Harris Zafar from Pamela Geller, which was published below in full on July 16, 2012.

Confronting Harris Zafar

By Pamela Geller

Typical of the dishonesty and disingenuousness of Harris Zafar’s attack piece on me in the Huffington Post is his opening claim that “Geller takes exception with Islam’s acceptance of the prophethood of Abraham, Moses and Jesus Christ.” He complains that “paradoxically, her ignorance has no problem granting Christians the right to invoke Moses and Abraham without delegitimizing Judaism.” He does not mention that while Christianity acknowledges the Jewishness of Moses, Abraham, and the other Jewish prophets, Islam denies it: “No; Abraham in truth was not a Jew, neither a Christian; but he was a Muslim and one pure of faith; certainly he was never of the idolaters.” (Quran 3:67).

Zafar never explains that Islam doesn’t just “accept the prophethood of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus Christ,” but completely recasts them as Muslim prophets who decisively rejected the basic tenets of Judaism and Christianity: the Quran even depicts Jesus rejecting the core Christian belief of the divinity of Christ (5:116). Islam thereby completely delegitimizes Judaism and Christianity and presents itself as the true religion of the Biblical prophets — but instead of admitting this, Harris Zafar blames me for noting it.

And in the rest of his piece, he doesn’t get any more honest. While affecting a posture of wounded sanctimony, he levies vicious attacks against my work (“mostly outrageous and irrational”) and claims to know my motives: “Geller searched for reasons to loathe the Islamic faith.” He is no more objective regarding others he identifies as my influences, particularly the world-renowned historian Bat Ye’or, whom he characterizes as “a Jewish-Egyptian French writer who imputes Christian and Jewish suffering to the theological beliefs of Islam,” without mentioning that the Muslims who cause Christian and Jewish suffering invoked the theological beliefs of Islam to explain and justify their actions.

  • Zafar then offers a list of what he calls my “outlandish statements,” which he makes outlandish by misrepresenting, distorting, and outright lying about.
  • “She has falsely claimed that President Obama is a Muslim with the aim of fostering America’s submission to Islam”: actually, I have never claimed Obama was a Muslim, and just recently published an article in which I pointed out that “the reason why people think Obama is a Muslim is because of how he acts” — in other words, because of his policies, which have been consistently pro-Islam, not because of his personal faith.
  • Zafar says I claimed that “Arabic is not a language but ‘the spearhead of an ideological project that is deeply opposed to the United States.'” In reality, I have never said that “Arabic is not a language”; Zafar has to resort to outright lies to make his case that my work is “outrageous and irrational.” Here is the actual quote: “Arabic is not just another language like French or Italian, it is the spearhead of an ideological project that is deeply opposed to the United States.” And who said it? Not I, but Mark Steyn. That’s right: so desperate is Zafar to smear me that he is attributing statements by other people to me.
  • Zafar claims that I say that “Hitler and Nazism were inspired by Islam (therefore ‘devout Muslims should be prohibited from military service’).” In reality, that quote comes from an article I wrote that touched on the Fort Hood jihad murderer and the devout Muslim faith of jihadists worldwide. Never do I say that devout Muslims should be excluded from the military because of Hitler, but because so many devout Muslims commit violent attacks against infidels without any warning.
  • And were Hitler and the Nazis inspired by Islam? Don’t believe me, believe Eichmann’s assistant, Dieter Wisliczeny, who testified at Nuremberg that the Mufti of Jerusalem was a central figure in the planning of the genocide of the Jews: “The Grand Mufti has repeatedly suggested to the Nazi authorities — including Hitler, von Ribbentrop and Himmler — the extermination of European Jewry. … The Mufti was one of the initiators of the systematic extermination of European Jewry and had been a collaborator and adviser of Eichmann and Himmler in the execution of this plan.”
  • Zafar says that I say that “Islam is the most anti-Semitic, genocidal ideology in the world.” Maybe Zafar can name another ideology whose founder, leader and guide said something as anti-Semitic and genocidal as this, but I can’t top this from Muhammad, Zafar’s beloved prophet: “The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him.” (Sahih Muslim 6985).
  • Zafar says I “called for the removal of the Dome of the Rock from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem,” and I stand by that. But once again he doesn’t give you all the information: I never said it should be removed by violence, and I said this in response to repeated jihadi attacks on Muslims at the Temple Mount. Zafar never bothers to condemn those attacks or even mention them.
  • Zafar says I “bought bus ads offering Muslims an opportunity to leave Islam.” In reality, my bus ads offered help to ex-Muslims threatened with death for leaving Islam — help Zafar’s group has never offered, despite his claim to reject Islam’s death penalty for apostasy.
  • Zafar says I “called for boycotts of both Campbell’s soup and Butterball turkeys for offering a certified halaal food line.” In reality, I called for the Campbell’s boycott not because of that halal line as such but because Campbell’s was using a Hamas-linked Muslim Brotherhood group, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) to certify its halal line. Regarding Butterball, my complaint was that all its turkeys are halal, but aren’t labelled as such, so consumers can’t make informed choices.

After all those distortions, fabrications, and lies about my writings and activities, it’s no wonder that Zafar says that my “claims are so bizarre that one struggles to understand whether they are worthy of a response.” But only by dishonesty can Zafar get there.

Zafar then goes on to claim that “one common allegation the two [Robert Spencer and I] have advanced together is that Islam prescribes a death penalty for apostasy” — as if we made this up. Then he claims that “there is nothing contained within the Holy Quran — the highest authoritative source in Islam — that sanctions any punishment for apostasy,” and that “the Quran contains at least 10 verses about those who leave Islam, none of which sanction death in response.” He never mentions that all the schools of Islamic law mandate death for apostasy, and that many Muslims base this on Quran 4:89, which tells Muslims to kill those who “emigrate in the way of God” — that is, become Muslim and move to a Muslim land — “if they turn their backs,” i.e., leave Islam.

Then Zafar claims that “Muhammad never ordered any person to be killed for apostasy,” but ignores that Muhammad said “Whoever changes his Islamic religion, then kill him” (Bukhari 9.84.57). Nor does Zafar mention that in one tradition, a Muslim leader, Muadh Jabal, refused to sit down until an apostate brought before him had been killed “in accordance with the decision of Allah and of His Apostle.” He doesn’t mention the Tafsir al-Qurtubi, a classic and thoroughly mainstream exegesis of the Quran, which says:

Scholars disagree about whether or not apostates are asked to repent. One group say that they are asked to repent and, if they do not, they are killed. Some say they are given an hour and others a month. Others say that they are asked to repent three times, and that is the view of Malik. Al-Hasan said they are asked a hundred times. It is also said that they are killed without being asked to repent.

Zafar claims that “no punishment exists for apostasy” — in other words, he thinks that all the schools of Islamic law and all the sects of Islam other than Zafar’s own Ahmadi sect, which is violently persecuted as heretical by Muslims in Pakistan and Indonesia, got Islamic teaching on apostasy wrong, and only his group has gotten it right. He claims that the death penalty for apostasy is an example of “radical interpretations of Islam” and implies it originated with the twentieth century Islamic leader Maududi — but he must know about these traditions of Muhammad and understandings of the Quran, even if he rejects them. Thus this is more evidence of his dishonesty.

By now it is clear that Zafar’s words on taqiyya, Islamic religious deception, can’t be trusted any more than the rest of what he claims. He again acts as if I have originated the idea that it is “the practice of lying to non-Muslims in order to advance the cause of Islam” and claims that “no verse from the Quran is provided” in my writings or Spencer’s “as a clear instruction for this practice.” In reality, Spencer has written this:

Qur’an 3:28 warns believers not to take unbelievers as “friends or helpers” (َأَوْلِيَا — a word that means more than casual friendship, but something like alliance), “unless (it be) that ye but guard yourselves against them.” This is a foundation of the idea that believers may legitimately deceive unbelievers when under pressure. The word used for “guard” in the Arabic is tuqātan (تُقَاةً), the verbal noun from taqiyyatan — hence the familiar term taqiyya.

The renowned Qur’an commentator Ibn Kathir says that the phrase “unless (it be) that ye but guard yourselves against them” means that “believers who in some areas or times fear for their safety from the disbelievers” may “show friendship to the disbelievers outwardly, but never inwardly. For instance, Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Ad-Darda’ said, ‘We smile in the face of some people although our hearts curse them.’ Al-Bukhari said that Al-Hasan said, ‘The Tuqyah [taqiyya] is allowed until the Day of Resurrection.” While many Muslim spokesmen today maintain that taqiyya is solely a Shi’ite doctrine, shunned by Sunnis, the great Islamic scholar Ignaz Goldziher points out that while it was formulated by Shi’ites, “it is accepted as legitimate by other Muslims as well, on the authority of Quran 3:28.” The Sunnis of Al-Qaeda practice it today.

After that, Zafar’s hit piece gets really bizarre: he likens Robert Spencer and me to Abu Lahab and his wife, early foes of Muhammad “driven by their fiery hatred of Islam and its Prophet.” Zafar says that “fittingly, Chapter 111 of the Quran (entitled al-Lahab) predicts that the plotting of such nefarious enemies of Islam would appear but ultimately fail miserably, and their wealth will not avail them.” Once again, he whitewashes Islam: Zafar doesn’t mention that that chapter says that Abu Lahab and his wife are burning in hellfire.

Zafar ends his crudely deceptive and dishonest screed by claiming that I am “practicing deception” and saying he wants to debate me. The worst part about his piece is that Zafar’s Ahmadi brethren are being viciously persecuted by Muslims who deem them heretics. I have spoken out in their defense, and instead of thanking me, Zafar sides with his persecutors. He should be debating the mainstream Muslims whom he claims have misunderstood Islam, not me. But clearly he is suffering from a bad case of Stockholm Syndrome.

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