Stop Islamization vs One Law for All and Harry’s Place

One Law for All has published a report by Adam Barnett and Maryam Namazie, entitled Enemies Not Allies: The Far-Right, which looks at the BNP, the EDL, and the “Stop Islamization” franchises. According to the executive summary:

Whilst it is crucial to combat Islamism and Sharia law and defend citizenship and universal rights and secularism, it is equally vital to oppose the far-Right. Islamism and the Far-Right are two sides of the same coin using similar methods, ideologies and tactics in order to promote their bleak and inhuman worldview.

I looked at One Law for All’s approach to the subject of sharia back in 2009.

The report has been promoted by Harry’s Place (here and here), and three of the individuals it discusses in the “Stop Islamization” section – Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, and Stephen Gash – have issued responses. Namazie, who chairs One Law for All, is described by Spencer as “a Marxist antisemite”, while Harry’s Place is “a Leftist dhimmi blog… which dabbles dilettanishly in counter-jihad poses while seldom missing an opportunity to denigrate and defame genuine counter-jihadists”. That’s a bit too subtle for Geller, who simply calls Harry’s Place an “Islamic apologist blog”.

Wading through the invective, four substantive objections can be identified: that Spencer is accused of demonizing all Muslims; that Stop Islamization of America’s links with Joseph John Jay have again been raised; that Pamela Geller is accused of supporting Serbian war criminals; and that Stop Islamisation of Europe is accused of links with the European far-right.

The report quotes Spencer as saying that “there is no distinction in the American Muslim community between peaceful Muslims and jihadists.” Spencer responds:

See, to take one of many examples, here, where I say, in connection with mosques getting extra police protection, “This is a nation of laws, not vigilantes, and the principle of innocent until proven guilty still holds and must hold.” And here, where I said that “everyone is innocent until proven guilty” and “many Muslims are not on board with this supremacist program.” 

What I am saying in the quote is that the “extremists” are not one sect and the “moderates” another, such that they go to different mosques and have no truck with one another. In fact, they are all mixed up together, as numerous jihad plots in the US show — the jihadist turns out to have attended a local mosque, which quickly disavows him. 

It’s true that Spencer has occasionally referred to “Muslims of conscience”, but this is a very minor note in his overall rhetoric. Why does Spencer constantly make sarcastic reference to “misunderstanders of Islam” whenever an act of Jihadist brutality is reported? It’s clear from his and Geller’s writings that any moderate Muslims either don’t know their religion or are involved in deceit.

As for Joseph John Jay, he came to wider attention last year when some sanguinary quotes came to light (One Law for All cites one of my blog entries on the subject). However, according to Spencer:

John Jay does not actually have any role in or position with SIOA, but be that as it may, the report is lying about him. In reality, he has written, in his inimitable fashion, “i do not advocate carte blanche killing one’s liberal relative, nor all muslims. to assert differently is a lie.”

The brevity of Spencer’s response here is telling. Jay’s rhetoric was obviously violent, whatever he may have claimed since, and this is why Spencer doesn’t even attempt to discuss it directly. Further, Jay’s signature appears on the articles of agreement of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, which runs SIOA, and he’s a member of SIOA’s board. Perhaps he doesn’t play any active role in the organisation, but why is such a person there at all?

Geller’s views on Serbia are also dealt with unconvincingly:

Geller has never defended Milosevic at all; she has only expressed skepticism about some of the claims made about Serbian concentration camps – a skepticism that many journalists and historians share. 

…Geller is not saying that Bosnian Muslims committed suicide in order to manipulate media coverage, but killed their own in order to create the illusion of Serb attacks on civilians and thereby manipulate media coverage. The Palestinians do that, so why wouldn’t jihadists in the Balkans? But of course, Namazie retails that Palestinian propaganda, so it is not surprising that her colleague would be a stooge for the jihad in the Balkans as well.

Spencer also provides a link to one of Geller’s interminable blog posts, in which she describes the trial of Radovan Karadži? as “a sharia court”.

Stephen Gash, meanwhile, has a response on the SIOE website to claims that SIOE has links with the far-right in Europe:

Moderate Muslims are the real enemies, in SIOE’s opinion, because they are the ones permittting and often encouraging the so-called radicals’ takeover. They are the smokescreen for Islamisation. Why else are so-called radicals gaining power in Muslim countries?

…One Law for All uses the usual communist tactic of guilt by association, using long past associations, if they even existed, to cast doubt on what SIOE and SIOA are about.

Stephen Gash has been on demonstrations alongside, not with, Maryam Namazie, but this does not make him a communist, nor does it make her sensible and rational like Anders and Stephen. It does not even make her and Stephen associates…

Enemies Not Allies is named after a seminar of the same name that took place in January. Spencer noted it at the time, complaining of

 a recent conference hosted by the communist antisemite Maryam Namazie and devoted to attempting to smear many anti-jihad forces, including the English Defense League and our own Stop Islamization of America, as neofascists…

However, among those present was Douglas Murray, who, according to Spencer, offered a

ringing defense (of me also, for which I am grateful) and denunciation of the Left’s guilt-by-association tactics.

This from a man who regards Rick Perry as the “stealth jihad candidate” for President. It’s Spencer’s usual response when an awkward association is raised – he’s accused me of the same thing (supposedly in cahoots with Charles Johnson). Of course, I’m not in favour of “guilt-by-association tactics” either – although it’s a vice that can be found across the political spectrum. However, when a socio-political organisation or movement seeks to influence public discourse in a particular way, it is reasonable to seek understanding by taking note of how the various players interact, associate, and influence one another. A moral judgement of “guilt” or “innocence” is not the issue.

Last month, Namazie’s co-author Adam Barnett made a late appearance as the named organiser of a protest by the “Anti-Extremism Alliance” against an Hizb ut-Tahrir conference in London. Barnett’s name replaced that of the original organiser (one of two ex-EDL members who were due to speak to the Quilliam Foundation a couple of weeks later) when the event started getting press attention.