In reaction to the release of a new Pew Research poll on attitudes of the American Muslim Community (see a somewhat-frightening in-depth analysis here), Toronto’s own “Muslim Refusenik” Irshad Manji appeared on Fox News tonight with former U.S. Congressman John Kasich (filling in for O’Reilly) to discuss, among other findings, the fact that 25% of young Muslim males believe suicide bombing is justified in certain circumstances. Click here to view in external Flash viewer (sorry, haven’t figured out to get this on YouTube yet…)
This clip is well worth a watch, for Kasich’s no-nonsense direct approach, Younis’ exposure as a prevaricating apologist, and Manji’s willingness to expose her religion to the harsh light of day.
Manji starts out on a disappointing note, though, criticizing Fox for not publicizing the so-called “good news” in a survey that , among other frightening numbers, shows that 22% of all American Muslims refuse to condemn suicide bombing under any circumstances. But she hits her stride when she forcefully condemns the Muslim community’s leadership, and equally forcefully accepts that Islamic theology is the main impetus behind home-grown Muslim terrorists (she doesn’t let her fellow panelist, so-called “moderate” Ahmed Younis, get away with blaming it on disaffection and racism).
When cornered, Younis pulled out the old Timothy McVeigh card – the specious old “there’s extremists in every religion” canard that assumes both that McVeigh acted in the name of Christianity (he did not – he was hostile to it) and that like Islamists, he represents an extremist movement (he was part of no movement, and no one has done anything similar in 12 years since OK City).
Manji mixes in nicely her Toronto residency, and last summer’s cracked Toronto terror plot. She is a powerful presence and feeds great red meat to conservatives regarding, as the title of her book says, “The Trouble With Islam”, but as the story of that book’s title goes (she added the word “Today” on to the end of it after the initial Random House Canada hardcover release created controversy), she’s hedged her bets one too many times to be considered a true Muslim community leader.
It’s time for Manji – openly lesbian and openly hostile to Islam as it has been practiced for 1,400 years – to cut her ties with the religion. Then, and only then, will her criticism ring true with the people that matter most – thoughtful young Muslims. Perhaps she believes that she can have the most impact from within – but as far as I can tell, no one on the inside is listening. In fact, the vitriol towards her from Islam of all kinds is consistently intense.
I, however, am listening, as are hundreds of thousands of engaged and open-minded non-Muslims from around the world. If her target market is secular Western-world conservatives, she’s hitting the nail on the head (liberals either fall in love with a fantasy version of her as a respected Islamic community leader, or hate her for failing to accept the multiculturalist orthodoxy). But if, as she claims, her target is the Islamic youth of today, she needs to pull back and be more like her friend and colleague, apostate Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
In any case, this is why I love Fox News – real debate, real balance, and hosts that hold their guests to account.