On the March 1, 2016 Bible Answer Man broadcast, Hank Hanegraaff interviewed Robert Spencer director of Jihad Watch and author of The Politically Incorrect Gide to Islam (And the Crusades) as well as The Complete Infidels Guide to the Koran. The following are some highlights from their discussion.
Hank Hanegraaff: It’s great to once again have this opportunity to speak to the nation, indeed to people from around the world about a crucial subject. We are in the midst of a clash of civilizations and someone who knows about this subject as anyone on the planet has joined me. His name is Robert Spencer. He’s the director of Jihad Watch, it is program the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is also the author of fourteen books, catch it, fourteen books on Islam and jihad. He’s led seminars on Islam and Jihad for the FBI and many other very significant groups. Robert Spencer is a man who is willing to stand for truth no matter what the cost. That’s precisely what you have been doing. You’re standing for truth no matter the cost. If you at what happened historically, you know better than just about anybody Robert, what has in history, you can go back to the seventh-century poetess who Muhammad himself murdered for a poetic slight, all the way to what happened with Theo van Gough the Dutch filmmaker murdered by Mohammed Bouyeri for artistically objecting to the subjugation of women. This is not child’s play.
Robert Spencer: No, it’s not. I know what’s at stake, but the thing is that—you know the signers of the Declaration of Independence, they said at the end of the document that to the great cause that they were delineating in the document, they were pledging their lives, fortunes, and their sacred honor, and I think that if we do not have people now who are willing to defend the freedoms that we enjoy in Judeo-Christian Western Civilization, and that are derived ultimately from Judaism and Christianity, from the Old Testament and the New Testament, that if we are not. If we don’t have people willing to defend with their lives those things, then we will certainly lose them. So, it’s imperative to take a stand. It’s not as if any of us have immortality anyway, I am willing to dedicate my life to this because it has to be done, and needs to be done, and I’m in a position to do it, so that’s really there’s to it.
Hank: You should be admired for what you’re doing. You know I mentioned at the open, Robert, the common refrain that’s reverberated throughout the West—Islam is not our enemy—those were precise words spoken by Hillary Clinton right after the Paris terrorist attacks. What do you make of those words?
Robert: Well, it depends on what one means by it. I mean she’s probably conflating Islam and Muslims as most people do, when actually there needs to be a distinction drawn between the two. Certainly Muslims believe in Islam, but how much any particular person of any religions believes in the religion in a real sense, or lives out the teachings of the religion? That varies widely and of course we know that there are many Christians who bear the name of Christian, would say they are Christians, but they don’t live in any Christian manner. There are many Christians who don’t even know what it would be to be living in a Christian manner because they don’t study the Scriptures. They’re not aware of the teachings of Jesus Christ, and yet they would still call themselves Christians. Then, of course, there are Christians who are very observant and devout, and knowledgeable. It’s a spectrum. It’s the same thing in Islam. So, Hillary Clinton is probably concerned that we say that all Muslims are not our enemy and that’s obviously true. All Muslims are not our enemy.
But is Islam our enemy? Well, Islam teaches, the Qur’an teaches that it is the responsibility of a leader to wage war against and subjugate unbelievers under the rule of Islamic law, and deny them basic rights as part of that subjugation. So, is Islam the enemy of all non-Muslims? Well, the Qur’an would say yes. The Qur’an says Muhammad is the apostle of Allah and those who follow him are merciful to one another but ruthless to the unbeliever. That’s sounds to me as if Islam is at war with the unbelievers. When the Qur’an says to fight against even the people of the Book, which is the Qur’an’s designation primarily for Jews and Christians, and says they must fight against the people of the Book until the people of the Book pay the jizya, which is a special tax, with willing submission and feel themselves subdued, they’re saying that Muslims have to fight against Jews and Christians until they conquer them, and make them submit to Islamic hegemony, which would indicate here again that Islam is at war with non-Muslims. That doesn’t mean every Muslim is pursuing the war but we would be naïve and would be rejecting simple reality, if we would pretend that these teachings are not in the Qur’an and that Muslims are not taking them seriously. Unfortunately, many Muslims are.
Hank: That is, I think, a very charitable collegial answer. But, I want to ask you about Barack Obama, who said that “throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality.” Now, he says that and he prefaces his remarks by saying that he’s “a student of history,” he says I know this.
Robert: It’s just not historically true. It’s become a very common historical myth., as a matter of fact. I cannot understand why Obama would repeat it. There’s just no basis for it. Most of the time, people who say that Islam has created societies that were beacons of tolerance and pluralism, they point to al-Andalus, Muslim Spain in the Middle Ages, and they say that Jews and Christians lived in Muslim Spain in peace and were able to practice their religion and they interacted frequently with the Muslims, and it was a wonderful proto-multiculturalist paradise. Now, unfortunately, anybody who looks into the reality of Muslim Spain, looks at contemporary documents—I’ve discussed this in another book that I wrote years ago called Onward Muslim Soldiers, and there’s a new book about it called The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise—the fact is that the Jews and Christians lived a very precarious existence in Muslim Spain. They were tolerated to be sure but only in so far as they accepted and observed the restrictions, humiliating and discriminatory regulations, that mandated their second class status. In so far as they obeyed and abided by those restrictions then they were able to live in peace, but if they were to actually ask for equal rights, or to say that they ought to have equal rights, then that was out the window. So the idea that Islam has ever been tolerant in a real sense of non-Muslims is historically false. There actually is no Islamic society today, there’s no majority Muslim country today, and there has never been in history any majority Muslim country that ever granted full equal rights to Jews, Christians or other non-Muslims. That’s never been so in history that Jews Christians or other non-Muslims have ever enjoyed full equality of rights with Muslims in an Islamic society. It’s never happened and it’s not happening now.
Hank: We’ll be taking a few calls during the broadcast. In fact, we’ll go right to Christy in Saint Louis, Missouri. You’re on with Robert Spencer. Hi, Christy!
Christy: Hi, Hank. I feel like my question was somewhat answered just now. I work with several people who claim, you know, to be practicing Islam but they’re peaceful—peaceful Islam. You know, my question: Is that even considered true Islam? Wouldn’t that be the equivalent to a Christian saying, “I’m not concerned with winning souls, but I’m a Christian,” you know? So, I mean, peaceful Islam is there really even such a thing, or is that’s just something that, you know, they say?
Robert: Christy, the thing is this: The Qur’an and all the sects of Islam, and the example of Muhammad, they’re all unanimous. There is no form of Islam other than arguably the Ahmadiyyas, who are about 1.8% of Muslims worldwide and are persecuted as heretics in Pakistan because they are peaceful. There’s no other sect or school of Islamic law that doesn’t teach that Muslims must wage war against unbelievers. It’s a universal teaching. It’s not like some tiny minority of extremists that devised this twisted version of Islam and all the rest of it is peaceful. That’s a media myth. It’s not the case. Now, that being said, what are your co-workers all about? Well, there’s no telling really. They could really believe that Islam is peaceful and that they should be peaceful people as Muslims, because they might not know, or they could be deceiving you and others because the Qur’an allows for deception of unbelievers, if one considers oneself to be under pressure. So, there’s really no way to tell. They could know better and be lying because that’s allowed, or they could simply not know better and think that this is really the real thing.
Complicating this is the fact that if you’re Muslim you have to pray in Arabic. You have read the Qur’an in Arabic. Most Muslims today are not native Arabic speakers. The largest Islamic country is Indonesia. That’s not an Arab country. The second largest Muslim population in the world is India, not an Arab country. The fact is that when Muslims today are not Arabs, they still have to pray in Arabic, so they are just most of the time reciting syllables that they do not understand the meaning of when they are praying and reading the Qur’an. So, it’s entirely possible that your co-workers don’t even know the teachings of Islam and still consider themselves to be devout and observant because they pray their prayers five times a day without necessarily knowing what they mean. It sounds absurd, but it’s a fact. I was speaking with a Pakistani Muslim a few years ago, and he says to me in all seriousness—when I tell the story people think it’s a joke—but he was quite serious, he said I’m very proud of my religion, and I’ve memorized almost all the Qur’an, and one day I’m going to get one of those translations and find out what it means.
To request your copies of Robert Spencer’s The Politically Incorrect Gide to Islam (And the Crusades) and The Complete Infidels Guide to the Koran, click here.
(Interview taken from the March 1, 2016 Bible Answer Man broadcast.)