Mike Renzulli: Nice to meet you as well. I will respond to your comments in kind and as appropriate for the purposes of my initial column.
DB: I've never met Terry Lee Loewen and I've never been to the Wichita International Airport. You're quote from him is just that, a quote from him, not from me.
MR: My whole point of quoting Loewen was to demonstrate that he correctly states that a Muslim who embraces jihad is following the true tenets of their faith. Christians and Jews also killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of people in the name of their religion only to have both Abrahamic sects defanged by the Enlightenment or Aristotelian logic. Islam went through a similar although very brief phase only to reject it. The reason why is that reason and human progress are antithetical to Islam. Scientific knowledge, for example, that can prove and explain the existence of the natural world is considered blasphemous since natural laws limit Allah's freedom to act as he wishes if not disprove the existence of the deity.
DB: I'm not sure what a secular faith is, but as you and Ayn Rand point out, facts are facts independent of what you wish, and the fact is that I, as well as other members of Muslims4Liberty.org see a confluence of values between Islam and libertarianism, and have made advocating those values our mission...
MR: A secular faith is one that embraces the idea of a higher power or supernatural purpose but is not in the context of conservative Christian religions like the Southern Baptist and other evangelical or conservative/fundamentalist denominations. Essentially, secular religionists are believers who do not take their religion seriously. I belonged to one, the Episcopal Church, for over thirty years.
DB: It has never been my claim that there is no compulsion in so-called Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia. Those countries have States, and States, secular, Islamic, Communist, Capitalist or otherwise, are by definition monopolies on compulsion. It has been my claim that there should be no compulsion on those countries, or this one, or any others, and so my first book Voluntary Islam, is largely devoted to articulating why such a State is not fit to exist, as well as Islamic theology, law, and history to adequately defend that position.
MR: You may state that there is no compulsion to join Islam in countries like Saudi Arabia but you avoid the central point or question as to wether you believe that people should be forced to join Islam as outlined in the Quran. As I am sure you are aware Islam is the religion that Allah revealed to Muhammed who authored Allah's dictated will word-for-word as revealed in the Quran via the angel Gabriel. Since the Quran is the word of Allah it cannot be questioned, reformed, or changed. There is no secularism in Islam since the mosque and state are one and anything otherwise is considered a sin. Your anarchism is a dodge since you clearly understand that there is no church or mosque-state separation in Islam. Therefore, as per your logic, any anarchism in Islamic societies was already governed by a religious authority. However, it was not in the context of governments such as those in the US or other countries like Europe or Japan. In short, your anarchism (so-called) prefers an Islamic authority rather than a secular one.
The issue of compulsion (like many other aspects of Islam) is not open for debate. Islam views itself as the final religion that is to have supremacy over and replace all faiths and govern every aspect of life. There is no place for secularism in the lands of Islam or among Muslims. Any attempt to change or alter the Quran is considered an attempt to change a perfect copy of a perfect book dictated by a perfect deity written by a perfect man that Muslims are encouraged to emulate. Satanic verses included. Changing the Quran (which is essentially what you are stating you are doing) is tantamount to apostasy in which the penalty for such a sin is death. Islamic law (Sharia) explains all matters in detail so a Muslim's obedience to it in addition to the Quran as well as following the example of Allah's prophet (Muhammad) is obedience to Allah.
DB: Regardless of what you and Robert Spenser imagine Islam to be, I do not recognize that Islam, and your article is about me personally by name. I do recognize and support freedom of worship, conscience, speech, homosexuality, heresy and nail polish. I have never denied or downplayed such incidents of cruelty in Muslim majority countries. I condemn them in the strongest terms. However, I do not take personal responsibility for them.
MR: I do not imagine Islam to anything other than what it is as revealed in its theology, texts, doctrines or even history. You may not recognize Islam in the context of what it is now, but when you become a Muslim you essentially subscribe to the religion in its totality. Like I said earlier and in an Islamic context, unless abrogated by sections of the book the Quran is the word of Allah and it cannot be changed, questioned, or altered in any manner. Since Allah is perfect, his word as revealed in the Quran is perfect in which his prophet Muhammad is perfect since he is second only to Allah in importance in Islam. Any attempts at changing it in whole or in part puts one outside the sphere of orthodox Islamic jurisprudence that has existed since the religion was founded. Consequently, this makes a person who rejects Allah's commands as revealed in the Quran and his or her refusal to follow the example of Muhammad an apostate which is a moral crime punishable by death. To reject any part of the Quran or hadiths (i.e. chapters) of the Sunnah, leave Islam outright for another religion or non-belief (i.e. atheism) is a sin against Allah himself.
DB: As for Pamela Geller, she and I have a history that predates the article you've linked to. She publicly accused me personally of conspiracy to murder a 17 year old girl in Ohio that I never met. She has never recanted this accusation, or removed the article where she makes it, so forgive me if she and I do not have a relationship of cordial treatment, and I don't devote much RAM to her criticisms. I've written dozens of articles on the subject, and devoted numerous essays in my book to it. Just not the one particular article you've linked to, which was about billboards.
MR: Actually I did some looking into this myself and your story does not corroborate with the facts. I saw Ms. Geller's initial post on your comments regarding Rifqa Bary (who decided to convert to Christianity from Islam) in which you clearly did make a threat against Rifqa Bary's life until you were taken to task. When the story of Rifqa Bary broke you stated:
Therefore Ohio is not safe. Carry out that [argument] all 10,000 Muslims at the Noor Islamic Center Community are terrorists by association. Let's just take away all their kids and give them to good evangelical families? I'll tell you one thing reader... if she's not safe in Ohio, she's not safe in Florida. All it took was a little creative Googling and I was able to determine the likely address where she's staying... But I digress.
It was at that point when Pamela Geller pointed out your death threat that you attempted damage control. Upon Ms. Geller making light of your statement you followed up by saying:
To be clear I did not seek out this address. I will not share it, and I don't believe she is in any real danger. I discovered it accidentally during my normal investigative process. My point was to demonstrate that the debate over her safety in Ohio or Florida is a red herring. I personally feel the motivation in fighting to keep the case in Florida, and not Ohio where the alleged crime, all the witnesses, and all the evidence is, is because the child protection laws are more in their favor in Florida. If a person is genuinely concerned for Rifqa’s safety, as I am, her safety in Florida no different than her safety in Ohio.
DB: I cannot personally address the debate between Will Coley and Robert Spenser because I was not involved, and therefor take no personal responsibility, but what you have said is that the debate was canceled. Will Coley says Robert Spenser canceled, and Robert Spenser says Will Coley canceled. Both are merely claims made by the participants. Why then do you regard one as evidence and the other as falsehood? Do you have some other corroborating evidence you're not sharing? Because I do. I was waiting live to listen to that debate, chatting with Will on facebook just moments before, when the host told Will that Robert had canceled. But again, that's just a claim. Maybe you have something else.
MR: I exchanged emails with Robert about this incident and he told me he did not back out. Robert has never backed out of an opportunity to debate.
DB: For the record, I am not friends with Adam Kokesh. I've never met the man. I find his antics entertaining, but his judgement lacking. As far as I know Will is not personal friends with Adam either, but then you're not writing about Will are you. I'm fairly certain that I've heard Adam say that he's atheist, but then I couldn't testify to it. But you keep barking up that tree. It will be good entertainment when Adam runs for president in 2016.
MR: Will Coley boasted about his friendship with Adam Kokesh in a Facebook chatroom he and I were in a little over a year ago. He also disclosed to me Kokesh is a Muslim too. In addition to Coley's brag, my evidence on Kokesh's membership with the Religion of Peace (yeah, right) can be found here.
DB: I am not a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, nor a member of ANSWER. Forgive me if this sounds tongue-in-cheek, but I am not, and have never been a member of the Communist Party. I am not a member of Muslim American Society, or the Muslim Brotherhood. I have never met Mustafaa Carroll, or Omar Ahmad. So how you can claim that something is obvious about me based on these groups and quotes from these individuals is just confusing to me.
MR: I didn't say you were a member of said groups nor knew people like Mustafaa Carroll or Omar Ahmad. I pointed out that Carroll was invited to a Texas LP function as a featured speaker and is a supporter of Hamas. Adam Kokesh has associations with the Muslim Brotherhood via his activism with Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) which is a project of International ANSWER. ANSWER has conducted activities with Islamist groups such as the Muslim American Society who has strong ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Consequently and based on the available evidence, I concluded that you and your group had links to them since Will Coley told me he was friends with Kokesh and some recent endorsements you made. For example, you did side with CAIR in their campaign to urge Muslims not to cooperate with police in their investigations to stop terrorists. You also talked up the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) which has been revealed to be promoting Islamic jihadism. This being the case, the above mentioned ties I established you and your group has, what am I supposed to think? You give unqualified endorsement to groups like CAIR and ICNA but disclaim any responsibility for their actions?
DB: You assume that I am unchecked, as if somehow this is the first hit piece that's ever been written about me. Or that I assume no one will ever question my claims. I've written extensively about all these things, in public, in view of as many critics as the Internet has to offer. I am not engaged in stealth jihad.
MR: I do not assume you are unchecked, I have concluded you are. You may have written about subjects of interest but your actions speak louder than your words. Your unqualified endorsement of groups like CAIR and ICNA are an example of this.
DB: I have never claimed that it is racist to criticize a religion. I'm not Arab. And only 17% of Muslims are Arab. I'm right on board with you that bringing race into it is a red herring. But it can be bigoted. It's not always bigoted, but it certainly can be. For example, why "especially" Islam. I can certainly understand "including" Islam. Islam should receive equal treatment and scrutiny as other worldviews, and I should receive equal treatment and scrutiny as other humans. But why say "especially?" Why say "great suspicion if not outright contempt." Is there something special about Islam and Muslims that makes us categorically different from other humans? Some reason adherents of this faith should be given special treatment? That is where it begins to sound like bigotry to me.
MR: It is not bigotry to single out a specific religion or faith in the context of not only criticizing it but also bringing to light what it is all about. It is only Islam that has well developed doctrines, theology, history and scriptures that not only reveal and reinforce commands directly from Allah for Muslims to not only kill non-Muslims but also conquer Muslim minority countries and implement Sharia law. It is also only Islam that not only does not sanction friendships with people outside their tribe but completely rejects any semblance of modernity much less peaceful coexistence and freedom.
You claim to be a Muslim dedicated to liberty but promote groups dedicated to promoting Islamic jihadism and also seek to hinder police investigations of potential terrorists in the Muslim community. If you truly sought to reform Islam from within or promote a more secular version, you would join or promote the efforts of people like Doctors Zudhi Jasser and Tawfik Hamid. Both of these gentlemen embrace and advocate a Westernized version of Islam yet not one word from you supporting their efforts. We cannot deal with Islam as a version that people wish it to be but the way it truly is: a totalitarian ideology with a spiritual element and a philosophy incompatible with a free society.
The precept of the Koran is perpetual war against all who deny that Mahomet is the prophet of God. The vanquished may purchase their lives, by the payment of tribute; the victorious may be appeased by a false and delusive promise of peace; and the faithful follower of the prophet, may submit to the imperious necessities of defeat: but the command to propagate the Moslem creed by the sword is always obligatory, when it can be made effective. [Mohamet] declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind…. Between [Christianity and Islam], thus contrasted in their characters, a war of twelve hundred years has already raged. The war is yet flagrant…. - John Quincy Adams, 1830
The ambassador answered us that [the right to extort money] was founded on the Laws of the Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have answered their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every [Muslim] who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise. - Thomas Jefferson, 1786