I am a huge fan of Robert Spencer. One of the reasons I am such a huge fan is that Spencer deals in details and facts. I could not possibly begin to summarize all the information he presents about Islam and what is going on in the world with Islam these days. One of the best things about Spencer is that he gives information both from the scholarly point of view of Islamic jurisprudence and holy texts and from the current events point of view of what Muslims are right now taking these texts to mean and how they are acting on them.
This is a double-whammy, and to my mind it should render speechless all the "religion of peace" promoters. I ask my readers' indulgence, as I certainly intend no blasphemy, but it seems to me that the liberals' (and some "conservatives'") view of Islam is a sort of unholy, secular version of the Catholic view of the Blessed Sacrament: Even if all the visible accidents of Islam are violent, by faith the liberal believes in an underlying substance or essence that is peaceful.
Today Spencer takes on another of his fact-free critics, one Svend White, who says that Spencer is wrong, wrong, wrong about Islam but cannot descend to give any evidence for the assertion. So Spencer calls his bluff:
What I want to ask you is this: I have heard innumerable times that I offer 'selective surveys of facts.' Very well. Please supply what I’m leaving out. This is a serious request. Please supply, specifically, rulings by jurists from any of the recognized Sunni or Shi’ite madhahib, declaring that jihad is not to be waged against unbelievers in order to bring them under the authority of Sharia, but rather that non-Muslims and Muslims are to coexist peacefully as equals under the law on an indefinite basis, even when the law of the land is not Sharia. Please show evidence of any orthodox sect or school of jurisprudence that teaches this.
The answer Spencer gets from White is an exercise in pointless bloviation. One of my favorite lines is, "Islamic law is besides [sic] the point in a way, though. In my view, the flaws in your writings on Islam transcend simple factual points and speak to far more fundamental conceptual problems." Very convenient, that "transcending simple factual points" stuff. It means one doesn't have to answer Spencer in terms of, you know, facts. Or this:
There is a critical dearth of social scientific awareness in the writings I have seen by you, this manifesting itself most strikingly in an acute overemphasize of jurisprudence, as if Islamic civilization and Muslims were simply the sum of their laws.
Yes, well, we all know how very different Muslim practice is from Muslim jurisprudence. And frequent readers of Jihad Watch will no doubt have noticed the dearth of references to contemporary Islamic civilization and practice. It's just dusty law after dusty law, which no one ever reads or follows and which can therefore be safely ignored. Well, perhaps not. Spencer says it best:
The fact that is constantly ignored by the likes of White and CAIR is that Muslims around the world are acting upon those laws on a daily basis. Thus when they cry foul when I quote those laws, and say that I'm misrepresenting them, quoting out of context, etc., their protestations ring hollow.