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Attacking "Obsession" By: Robert Spencer
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, October 10, 2008

Khaleel Mohammed, a professor at San Diego State University and a popular “moderate Muslim,” burnished his credentials as a “moderate” by appearing in the film Obsession, the famous exposé of Islamic jihad activity. For several years now since the film originally appeared he seemed perfectly happy to have done so. Even when it was shown on Fox News, as far as I can tell Khaleel Mohammed uttered not a word of demurral or protest. But now that 28 million copies of the film have been distributed all over the country and it has a higher profile than ever before, Khaleel Mohammed has discovered that it is a “vile piece of propaganda,” and has apologized for appearing in it. The apology appears on the “Obsession with Hate” website.


His statement is audaciously deceitful. He says, “I explained the meaning of Jihad, and its misuse by extremists,” when he must know, if he knows anything about Islamic theology, that all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence agree that jihad mainly means warfare (by various means, violent and nonviolent) against unbelievers in order to subjugate them under the rule of Islamic law. And when he says that the film demonizes the entire Muslim community, he is ignoring large sections of the beginning and end of the film, where the film plainly states that most Muslims have nothing to do with the jihadist program, and other elements within it -- including Khaled Abu Toameh’s assertion that his religion has been “hijacked,” which is presented without contradiction.


Khaleel Mohammed’s deceptions go deeper than just this apology. He goes around the country reassuring Jewish audiences by telling them that in the Qur’an Allah gives the land of Israel to the Jews. And it does say that. One key verse is 5:21, which promises Israel to the Jews conditionally: “O my people! Enter the holy land which Allah hath assigned unto you, and turn not back ignominiously, for then will ye be overthrown, to your own ruin.”


This sounds great, of course: it suggests that Muslims who fight against Israel are ignoring their own holy book, and that once this verse and others like it are pointed out to them, they will accept the existence of Israel. And it also suggests that the vast majority of Muslims, because of this verse, have no problem with Israel at all.


Unfortunately, the Qur’an also says that the Jews, through their disobedience to Allah, have earned Allah’s curse (2:89, 9:30). Those who are accursed forfeit whatever Allah has given them. Meanwhile, the true followers of Moses’s genuine, uncorrupted teachings are the Muslims, and so they are the ones who inherit the promises about Israel.


But that part of the Qur’anic message doesn’t make it into Khaleel Mohammed’s presentations.


Also, a few years ago Khaleel Mohammed said this about me: “He misquotes verses of the Qur’an, takes things out of context, and shamelessly lies.” Since I do not misquote verses of the Qur’an, take things out of context, or shamelessly lie, I contacted him and asked for either documentation of his charges or a retraction. (I also responded to his false charges here.) He refused to retract, even though he did not (and could not) produce even one example of my misquoting verses of the Qur’an, taking things out of context, or shamelessly lying. And he compounded matters by responding: “As for shameless lies, I stand by my assertion, especially after received material in which you claim Muhammad married his daughter in law etc.”


In reality, I did not fabricate this “claim,” and I am sure that Khaleel Mohammed is well aware of this. The notorious incident of Muhammad’s marriage to his former daughter-in-law Zaynab, far from being a “shameless lie,” is a well-known and much-discussed element of Islamic tradition. You can read about it in this section of my Jihad Watch Blogging the Qur’an series. But after I noted this at my website Jihad Watch, Khaleel Mohammed responded venomously at The American Muslim -- a reliably truth-free publication – in a piece about “Spencer and his satanic cabal.” In it, he says:


This time around he raises the red-herring and disproven nonsense about Muhammad marrying his daughter-in-law--and here, either Spencer is a bigger ignoramus than I think, or he has once again resorted to prevarication. It is difficult to figure out where he is coming from. The issue of whether or not an adopted son like Zaid is technically Muhammad’s son could be answered by any first week student of Islamic law. Perhaps Spencer should go reattend Professor Carl Ernst’s classes and get some deprogramming from a bona-fide expert on Islam.


I never had the pleasure of being a student of the estimable Carl Ernst, so Khaleel Mohammed’s “reattend” is inaccurate.


But more importantly, in this Khaleel Mohammed suggests that Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, did not actually marry his daughter-in-law, because his adopted son Zayd was not to be considered his son at all -- and that I am either unaware of all this or lying about it. It is “difficult” for Khaleel Mohammed to know where I am “coming from” because he apparently has not read, or does not want his readers to know about, my discussions of this incident, in which I deal with the material he claims I ignore. See, for example, this section of my Blogging the Qur’an series, in which I wrote this:


Allah here emphasizes that an adopted son cannot be a true son, and so by extension Zaynab was never really Muhammad’s daughter-in-law at all, and there is no cause for scandal.


If Khaleel Mohammed had cared to spend even a moment on research before slinging his accusations, he might have discovered that I also discuss the issue of adoption and its relationship to the Zaynab incident on page 67 of my 2006 book The Truth About Muhammad. But he prefers to pretend that I ignore all this, out of either stupidity or bigotry, in order to portray Muhammad in the worst possible light.


Yet it is I whose scholarship is poor and who issue “poison-pen” tirades.


The bulk of Khaleel Mohammed’s piece in The American Muslim consists of the usual series of insults to my integrity and scholarship, accompanied by the usual failure to provide any actual evidence of my alleged egregious errors. He even asks his readers to take his word that what he is saying is true:


Spencer seeks to hoodwink his readers by talking of Jihad being war...and that idea, rather obviously, is not accepted by scholars of Islam (Muslim and non-Muslim). I am not even going to get into detailing that I do not deny that there are some Muslims who attempt to warp the meaning into that...but throughout Islamic history, there have always been scholars who have harkened [sic] to the true meaning.


What is that true meaning? Which scholars? What establishes that the Muslims who believe that jihad includes warfare are “warping” its meaning? Khaleel Mohammed offers no answers -- we just have to take it all on faith.


And then, displaying again the audacity of his dishonesty, he accuses me of being the one who doesn’t work from evidence:


I guess it irks you that your “scholarship” is not accepted among people of conscience and discernment. Perhaps, instead of knowledge, you rely on faith to argue against Islam and anyone who is a Muslim. Since you are such an upstanding crusader, I wonder: what would Jesus do in this situation?


What would Jesus do, Dr. Mohammed? For one thing, he would tell the truth. But that is a concept with which you are quite obviously unacquainted. In his apology for Obsession comes Khaleel Mohammed’s most audacious deception of all: “And I expect now that those who support the film will make me their target. But again: I am no diplomat, and I love a good fight. I am obsessed with the truth. Let’s get it on.” Obsessed with truth? This is a man who misrepresents the Qur’an to Jewish audiences; who has smeared me and my work with false charges that he refuses to retract; and who is either unacquainted with or deliberately deceptive about one of the most famous incidents in Muhammad’s career. Obsessed with truth? Obsessed with obscuring it, maybe. Obsessed with destroying it, fine. But obsessed with presenting it? Not Khaleel Mohammed.


I have already told Khaleel Mohammed that I accepted the challenge he issued to those who support the film. I am ready to debate him about Obsession, the meaning of jihad, the Jews in the Qur’an, and the life of Muhammad and his marriage to his former daughter-in-law. However, at The American Muslim, he contemptuously refused: “You claim to want to debate, and hope that perhaps in entertaining you, I will somehow give credence to your nonsense.” One would think, of course, that if I really were the “satanic ignoramus” he calls me in that piece, that he would accept my invitation to debate, mop the floor with me, and thereby end my baneful influence forever. But instead, he hides behind a barrage of insults, and refuses my challenge.


“Satanic.” “Ignoramus.” “Bigotry.” “Crusader.” Khaleel Mohammed’s frenzied name-calling only highlights his intellectual bankruptcy, his contempt for truthful and honest dealing -- and his increasing desperation at being exposed as the poseur he is.

Robert Spencer is a scholar of Islamic history, theology, and law and the director of Jihad Watch. He is the author of eight books, eleven monographs, and hundreds of articles about jihad and Islamic terrorism, including the New York Times Bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book, Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam is Subverting America without Guns or Bombs, is available now from Regnery Publishing.

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