The Debate We’re Not Having

The David Horowitz Freedom Center held its annual spring conference this past weekend.  I was there to speak on cultural matters and will post or link to the video when I can (it’s supposed to go up on the center’s website at some point).

Is Freedom Toast?

One of the highlights of the weekend for me was a spirited, sometimes even fierce, debate between two great American patriots moderated by a third.  The question on the table was:  “Can Islam Be Reformed?”  On one side, was Robert Spencer, the Freedom Center’s courageous scholar of the international jihad against humanity and civilization.  On the other side was the equally courageous American Muslim reformer Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, who runs the American Islamic Forum for Democracy dedicated to reforming Islam from within.  Moderating was the terrific Andy McCarthy, the former US Attorney who successfully prosecuted the Blind Sheik for the first World Trade Center bombing and who now writes brilliantly on the subject of jihad at NRO and elsewhere.

Dr. Jasser, a devout Muslim, is working to build new Islamic institutions that will counter those of the Sharia Imperialists currently creating a nightmare of violence and oppression in so much of the world.  He’s optimistic about bringing reformation to Islam but knows it’s a long, hard road.  Spencer believes much of the ugliness emanating from Islam is inherent in the Koran and other sacred writings.  While he says he’s in favor of reform, he clearly believes the prospects for it are very dim indeed.

The moment in the debate that captured the dilemma all people of good will face was when Andy asked the debaters for solutions to the problem of international jihad.  Dr. Jasser pushed his reform agenda and rightly pointed out that other solutions – the conversion of one quarter of the world, for instance – were completely unrealistic.  Robert lucidly detailed the depth of the problem and pointed to the move toward more oppression and sharia coming out of the current turmoil in the middle east – but proposed no alternative plan.

My own opinion – still a work in progress – is that, yes, Dr. Jasser is right, reform can and must happen but that it won’t happen without a muscular reassertion of western values specifically from America…  which itself won’t happen as long as Jeremiah Wright’s spiritual pupil remains in office. 

But more important than what I think – than what anyone thinks – is that the debate itself is hardly being held at all on a national level.  In the mainstream media we get nothing but condemnation of ordinary Americans for their “Islamophobia” whenever they raise the issue.  At the government level, we get approval for lowlifes and Sharia Imperialists like CAIR and the Cordoba Mosque crowd, who are paraded dishonestly as “moderates.”  Indeed when representative Peter King held hearings on the issue (at which Dr. Jasser testified) he was demonized and mocked.  From most of our popular artistic community – movie makers, novelists, comedians and so on – we get silence or, worse, self-righteous preening.  Our political and cultural leaders seem to think we can wish the problem away.

Islamism is the danger of the age.  Islamists are the enemy all free people face.  Sharia is the vulture waiting to consume constitutional liberty if we let it grow too weak to fight back.  Honest debate by good people and true is the only way to find solutions.  Where is it?

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  • Essem

    I guess this IS the debate we’re not having. 6.30 PM Pacific time and no one has commented yet…

  • David Blalock

    …”Can Islam be Reformed”… The answer is simple. No.

    No mater how you reshape evil, you still have evil. The Heart of a Muslim that repents of the evil of Islam, who forsakes it and turns to Jesus is purged of evil. He is a new creature and free from the chains of the devil.

    Islam can not be reformed, but the Gospel can make free those that are enslave by it. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, can bring an end to the conflicts in the middle east, by removing hatred and malice from their hearts.

  • Alex

    Sorry Andrew but I lost respect for David Horowitz, when he called Ron Paul “a vicious anti-semite”

  • Bea M. Garcia

    Christianity was reformed when the Bible was allowed once again to take the place of prominence.

    When the WORD is first, we live the way the Lord calls those who love Him to live. (“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. John 14:15)

    Muslims are also returning to their (sick, evil, written by the devil himself) book so reform is impossible.

    The debate we are NOT having is why are we so weak to share he Gospel with our Muslims neighbors?

    Only Issa (Jesus) can set these poor souls free.

    Whilst Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser is indeed a kind & decent man, he still needs Jesus (as we all do.)

    My prayer is that the fat, lazy, & greatly misinformed western church would rise up, return to the Bible.

    We must obey the great KING JESUS who commands us to make disciples of ALL nations. To expose the works of darkness & set the captives free.

  • EriK

    You’re probably all over the internet so you may already have seen this, Mr. Klavan, but this (very long and in-depth) article goes deep into the theological foundations of Islam to determine whether or not the “official” beliefs (the author calls it True Islam) is violent or peaceful, and employs various authoritative Hadith scholars , Qur’an commentators and biographers of Mohammed to reach the conclusion.

    This is the link:

    And here’s an excerpt:
    “For ourselves, and our future, we need to answer the following three questions:

    1) What are the teachings of real Islam found in the Quran, Hadith, and Sira with respect to the use of violence, call it jihad if you like, to aggressively spread it’s power over non-Muslims, and are these teachings valid and applicable today?

    2) Is real Islam behind and does it condone the murder of 3000 Americans and the destruction of the WTC, or are these Muslim terrorists doing something well outside Muhammad’s religion?

    3) What does the future hold for Islam and America, Britain, China, and so on?

    I define “real” Islam as the Islam Muhammad practiced and taught. Real Islam is based upon Muhammad’s final teachings and deeds. These final teachings are recorded in the Quran, Hadith (Hadith are the traditions and sayings of Muhammad), and Sira (sira is biographical material).”

    Do enjoy, if you take the time. :)

  • EriK

    Just want to point out that “Isa,” all spelling renderings aside, is not the “Jesus” of the Gospels. It’s not more authentic to refer to God or Jesus as “Allah” or “Isa” in order to ‘culturally connect’ with Arab-speakers. Allah and Isa are in fact faaaaaaaaar from anything like God the Father and God the Son depicted in the Bible.

    So be careful not to muddy the waters. There is a difference, and it can be dangerous or unhelpful, at least, to not specify the difference.

    Cheers :)