The great Robert Spencer took time out from his incredibly busy life to talk to me via email about his new book Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam is Subverting America without Guns or Bombs
Is Islam itself the problem?
Obviously “the problem” is rooted within Islamic texts and teachings that mandate warfare against and the subjugation of unbelievers. Ibn Warraq’s observation that there are moderate Muslims, but no moderate Islam is absolutely true in light of the fact that there is no orthodox sect of Islam and no school of Islamic jurisprudence that does not teach the necessity to work toward the political dominance of Islamic law and the subjugation of unbelievers under that law. People have a great deal of trouble acknowledging this due to the fact that there are obviously many Muslims who are not working toward this goal in any way, and because American Muslim advocacy groups have so successfully tarred as “bigotry” any honest discussion of the contents of Islamic doctrine regarding unbelievers. But these unpleasant facts will not go away simply because they are unpleasant.
Is “moderate” Islam even possible?
Anything is possible. But “moderate” Islam as an Islamic theological and legal construct does not now exist, and would need to be invented. Can it be done? The record of history shows that it is never wise to say that something could never happen. But as it would involve the overturning or wholesale reevaluation of the fonts of Islamic authority that have existed since virtually the beginning of Islam, it is extremely unlikely.
What about genuinely concerned, patriotic and devout Muslims? Are they confused? Will they one day have to choose between religion and country?
They aren’t necessarily confused. They may have grown up and learned their Islam in areas of the world — Central Asia, Eastern Europe, West Africa — where the Islam that has evolved historically simply did not emphasize jihad warfare (hot war or otherwise). Generations of Muslims in those areas and others grew up being quite sincere, devout, knowledgeable and observant without having any notion that they had any imperative to subjugate infidels — and as the faith was presented to them and lived out around them, they didn’t. Unfortunately, the Salafist movements are challenging precisely the people who grew up in such cultures, and challenging them by claiming to be the representatives of Islamic authenticity.
Will American Muslims one day have to choose? Not at all. Those who want Sharia in the United States have no problem professing love for their country. It is their love for America that makes them want to bring what they consider to be the law of God here. If the Muslim Brotherhood and its allied groups get their way, Muslims who accept and respect American Constitutional law and the non-establishment of religion may have to choose between religion and Constitution, but not between religion and country.
Is it too late to do what needs to be done? If so, why? Who is responsible for this malaise? Politicians or average citizens themselves or who exactly?
No, as long as America is not a Sharia state, and as long as we still have the freedom of speech and can speak openly about this threat, it is not too late. But the situation is very grave — far graver than most people realize.
Of all your recommendations at the end of the book, probably the most controversial is the call to end Muslim immigration. Do you sense any support for such a drastic measure in either the legislatures or among the general public?
None whatsoever. But this is because neither the legislatures nor the general public realize why it would be necessary. Without understanding the expansionist and totalitarian nature of political Islam, and without understanding how it threatens the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience, the equality of rights of all people before the law, and so much more that makes Western civilization good and valuable, such a call appears simply “racist” — although Islamic jihad is not a race.
Which of your recommendations to you think are MOST likely to gain traction as policy?
The ones put forward by Representative Myrick of NC.