Thursday, July 25, 2013

Jesus and Mohammed

Pamela Geller notes an interesting example of media religious bias. There's a book out on Jesus, titled Zealot, which is receiving a lot of praise in the leftist media. The book seeks to debunk the traditional beliefs that Christians have held about Jesus' life, death and resurrection. The coverage has been so favorable that the book is at #2 on Amazon, but what a lot of the coverage has omitted to tell us is that the author is a radical Muslim whose book is short on facts and long on speculation.

But that's not the most egregious part. A little more than a year ago Robert Spencer, a scholar on Islam and the author of a dozen books on the subject, published Did Mohammed Exist? which met with either silence or vitriol from the liberal media.

Here's part of Geller's account:
Not so long ago, Robert Spencer, one of the world’s leading scholars on Islam, wrote an extraordinary book entitled “Did Muhammad Exist?” It was a brilliant, original and scholarly work investigating the legitimate questions surrounding the historical value of the early Islamic texts about Muhammad. Spencer pulled together information from ancient documents with linguistic and archaeological data in a remarkable re-evaluation of Islam’s origins.

Robert Spencer is a writer without peer and a nonpareil scholar, the author of 12 books on Islam, jihad and related topics, including two New York Times bestsellers. Yet “Did Muhammad Exist?” was ignored and dismissed by the intelligentsia, the media elite and subversive academia.

Juxtapose that to the recent adulation heaped upon the Islamic supremacist Reza Aslan for his new book. Aslan is an advisory board member of the National Iranian American Council, which has been recently exposed in court as a lobbying group for the Iranian regime. He has smeared and lied about Spencer and me on national television, and responded to Spencer’s reasoned rebuttals with homophobic abuse worthy of a seventh-grader: “I must tell you that I’m flattered but you’re really not my type. … If I send you a picture, will that satisfy your lust for a while?”

You should ask yourself, how did we get here? How can a reasonable, educated and pre-eminent scholar like Robert Spencer be relegated to the very fringe (if that) of the literary world, while jihadist operatives like the vicious Reza Aslan are carried on the shoulders of the media and intelligentsia like a football hero at the end of an impossibly fought game.

Who would have imagined that 12 years after 9/11 the media and academic elite would laud this pro-nuclear Khomeinist? He is funded by who knows who, and he employs vicious trolls who spend their days spreading libel and defamation about Spencer and other freedom fighters, much the way the wicked witch of the west used the flying monkeys – and they, too, are very well paid.

Remember also: Spencer’s book was accurately and forthrightly entitled, “Did Muhammad Exist?” It’s a legitimate question, even though on the BBC recently an interviewer tried to badger Spencer into admitting that there was something wrong, and offensive to Muslims, with even investigating this historical question. Reza Aslan, on the other hand, refers negatively to Jesus in his title as “Zealot.”

Clearly, Robert could have entitled his book “Pedophile,” because we know that Muhammad’s favorite wife was taken at the age of 6 and that their “marriage” was consummated when the Muslim prophet was 54 and she was 9. Spencer could also have called his book “Annihilator,” because we know that Muhammad slaughtered an entire Jewish tribe, the Banu Qurayza, by beheading. Surely Spencer exercised restraint in not entitling his book “Bloody Warmonger.” Any of these would have been the equivalent of Aslan’s title “Zealot.”

But although Spencer didn’t entitle his book any of those things, and “Did Muhammad Exist?” is a straightforward, dispassionate historical investigation, the media treated it as if it were the one that was designed solely to denigrate and disparage the founder of a religion. That is not true of Spencer’s book, but it is true of Aslan’s screed “Zealot.” Yet the media never comment on the derogatory title of Aslan’s book. It is just fine with the media to speak negatively about Jesus, deny his historicity, deny his importance, denigrate his teachings and more. But any true word that is spoken about Muhammad, whether it be about how he is depicted in Islamic texts or about the historical value of those texts, is viciously attacked.
Liberals, at least the secular variety, are hostile to religion, but they're quite fearful of Islam. They do not fear Christianity because Christians are, in the main, peaceful, forgiving, and tolerant, but they do fear Muslims because they're often just the opposite of these qualities. Thus, a book that derogates Christianity will be praised by secular liberals whether it has any scholarly merit or not, but a book that questions Islam will either be ignored, or the left will express their outrage in a ploy to ingratiate themselves with Muslims so that the more violent among them will leave them alone and even perhaps look favorably upon them.

It's pusillanimous, to be sure, but then we're talking about people who a couple of decades ago boasted of their willingness to die on behalf of the right to say offensive things about religion. That was until it turned out that there was a good chance that they may be called upon to do exactly that. When they realized in the early years of the 21st century that Muslims actually killed people who offended them the left quickly shut up about Islam and focused all of their "bold" and "intrepid" critiques on Christianity for which they knew there'd be no reprisals and no price to pay, only the adulation of their peers who would lavish admiration upon them for their great courage in embarrassing Christianity and making Christians look like simple-minded or deluded fools.

Their bravery is breathtaking.