Thus far the conservative writer Dinesh D'Souza, who claims that American liberals provoked the 9/11 attacks by exporting decadent American pop culture into the Islamic world, has cited only one authority of Islam to buttress his peculiar and fact-free claims about the nature and magnitude of Islamic jihadism and Islamic supremacism: Bernard Lewis.
But now at last D'Souza is no longer an homo unius libri! In "What Muslims Really Think," he has found another authority who tells him what he wants to hear: the Saudi-funded dhimmi academic John Esposito, whom D'Souza says is "one of the most respected American authorities on Islam."
Does he know that his new hero Esposito has called his old hero, Lewis, "one of the Darth Vaders of the world"? Probably not.
Does he know that Esposito has spoken at a Council on American-Islamic Relations fundraiser in order to "show solidarity not only with the Holy Land Fund [that is, the Holy Land Foundation], but also with CAIR"? Does he know that the Holy Land Foundation is accused of funneling money to the jihad terror group Hamas, and that CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in the case? Unlikely.
Does D'Souza know that Esposito has said of a man who is in prison for aiding the jihad terror group Palestinian Islamic Jihad that "Sami Al-Arian's a very good friend of mine"? I doubt it.
Does D'Souza know that Esposito has co-edited a book with Azzam Tamimi? Palestinian political scientist Muhammad Muslih calls Tamimi "a Hamas member." Tamimi has said: "I admire the Taliban; they are courageous." About 9/11, he has said: "In the Arab and Muslim countries, everyone jumped for joy." He has said: "I support Hamas." I would be surprised if D'Souza knew any of this.
To be sure, Dinesh says he hasn't gotten too far into Esposito's book -- and before he does, he might be well advised to study this evisceration of it by Martin Kramer:
Professor John L. Esposito runs a slick operation at Georgetown with $20 million of funding from Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. The shared agenda of these two is to make us all feel guilty for having wondered, after 9/11, about Saudis, Muslims, and the contemporary teaching of Islam. Esposito now has a new book (with co-author Dalia Mogahed, who runs something called the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies), bearing the pretentious title Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think. It's based on gleanings from the Gallup World Poll.
The core argument of the book is that only 7% of Muslims are "politically radicalized," and that "about 9 in 10 Muslims are moderate." On what does this factoid rest? The authors explain (pp. 69-70):According to the Gallup Poll, 7% of respondents think that the 9/11 attacks were "completely" justified and view the United States unfavorably.... the 7%, whom we'll call "the politically radicalized" because of their radical political orientation... are a potential source for recruitment or support for terrorist groups.
So an essential precondition for being "politically radicalized" is to believe that 9/11 was "completely" justified. The pool of support is only 7%. Don't you feel relieved?
Yet a year and a half ago, Esposito and Mogahed used a different definition of "radical," in interpreting respondents' answers to Gallup's 9/11 question. In November 2006, they gave this definition:Respondents who said 9/11 was unjustified (1 or 2 on a 5-point scale, where 1 is totally unjustified and 5 is completely justified) are classified as moderates. Respondents who said 9/11 was justified (4 or 5 on the same scale) are classified as radicals.
Wait a minute.... In 2006, then, these same authors defined "radicals" not only as Muslims who thought 9/11 was "completely justified" (5 on their scale), but those who thought it was largely justified (4 on their scale).
So for their new book, they've drastically narrowed their own definition of "radical," to get to that 7% figure. And they've also spread the impression in the media that the other 93% are "moderates." In 2006, their "moderates" included only Muslims who thought 9/11 was "totally" or largely unjustified (who answered 1 or 2 on a 5-point scale, where 1 is "totally unjustified"). But what about Muslims who answered with 3 or 4? Well, they weren't "moderates" by 2006 standards. The 3's were neither "moderates" nor "radicals," and the 4's were "radicals." But this year, they've all been upgraded to "moderate" class, because they didn't "completely justify" 9/11. Whether they largely justified it, or half-justified it, they're all "moderates" now.
I feel better already! Read it all.