Thursday, February 17, 2011

Robert Spencer Frustrates Muslim Brotherhood Apologist on Hannity

Walter Hudson

Robert Spencer Frustrates Muslim Brotherhood Apologist on Hannity

by Walter Hudson
Posted on February 16 2011 12:32 pm
Walter Hudson is a political commentator and co-founder of Minnesota's North Star Tea Party Patriots, a statewide educational organization. He runs a blog entitled Fightin Words. He also contributes to True North, a hub of Minnesotan conservative commentary. Follow his work via Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

It’s one thing to suspect that someone may be lying. It’s another thing to know they are, to behold as they emphatically proclaim as true something they plainly know to be false.

Such was the case Monday night on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program. Hannity hosted Jihad Watch director Robert Spencer and America Together Foundation’s Michael Ghouse in a debate over whether the new Egyptian government to emerge in the wake of Hosni Mubarak’s departure will be predominately secular or become an Islamic state.

Ghouse was given the first word and stated his belief that a secular government will emerge in Egypt. Ghouse supplied no evidence to support this belief. The closest he came to an argument was the absurd implication that the role of social media in organizing protests somehow imputed secular intent. Ghouse minimized the role of the Muslim Brotherhood in the opposition movement, again citing no evidence for his claim.

Spencer then took the floor with facts. Ghouse was quickly backed into a corner and lashed out with flimsy attacks upon Spencer’s character, along with several bold-faced lies.

Robert Spencer: The idea that the [Muslim] Brotherhood does not enjoy popular support is completely belayed by the fact that, in the first place, the Brotherhood is the largest opposition group in Egypt. There is no large, organized, secular, democratic opposition. 95% of Egyptians…, according to a Pew Research Center poll conducted in the spring of 2010, thought that it was a good idea that Islam should play a large role in politics. Obviously, that’s an open door for the Brotherhood to step in, and to make Egypt into an Islamic state.

Sean Hannity: And a significant percentage, 85%, also according to polls, believe that Sharia [Law] should govern Egypt. So… Michael, we’re just looking at the numbers here, and the numbers show where the Egyptian [people's] mindset is. So why do you have this optimism when you have no foundation for it except [your feelings]…

Michael Ghouse: Well, Sean, first of all… [the statistics Spencer cited] may be true, and that was the case a few years back. But this revolution is not done by [the] Brotherhood. [The Brotherhood] is not significant, and the common people are going to take over the government because they’re a major force –

Hannity: You don’t know that. You’re speculating. The people in Egypt, as we’re pointing out in these polls, feel very differently.

Ghouse: How old are the polls, Sean? That is the question.

Hannity: Late 2009 –

Ghouse: How reliable are polls?

Hannity: — the Pew poll was 2010.

Ghouse first tries to dismiss the Pew poll from 2010 by misrepresenting it as from “a few years back.” While the word few could mean as little as three, by no stretch of semantics can it mean less than one.

Setting that obvious misrepresentation aside, consider the implication of Ghouse’s comment. Let’s say the Pew poll was three to five years old. On what basis might we suppose that the Egyptian people have changed their minds regarding Islam’s role in their government in such a short amount of time? Ghouse acts as though we should take for granted that the entire Egyptian culture has fundamentally shifted.

Ridiculous as that implication is, the Pew poll is not from “a few years back.” It’s from last year, and there is no evidence to suggest a massive shift in Egyptian opinion since then. So Ghouse hedges his bet by questioning the reliability of polls in general.

Surely, polling data isn’t gospel. But it’s certainly more credible than Michael Ghouse’s wet finger aloft in the breeze.

Suddenly panicked, as though he didn’t anticipate having to craft an actual argument, Ghouse turns to the only rhetorical weapon he has left – personal attacks.

Ghouse: I would rely on the Pew poll. But anything Spencer spits out is nothing. There is not truth in what Spencer says.

Hannity: — Spencer’s quoting a poll that exists.

Ghouse: He sells hatred. That’s how he makes his living. That information is unreliable.

What a sloppy mess. After calling into question the reliability of polls, Ghouse concedes that Pew is reliable, but implies this particular poll is wrong because Spencer is the one citing it.

Spencer: Okay, so, sure. Attack me because you can’t refute the Pew poll. And so you just try to shoot the messenger. This is a very common thing that the Islamic supremacists do to try to deceive Americans. They just lie. I understand you have a responsibility to lie to Americans. It’s part of your religion. If you think Islam is under threat, then according to the Koran you have to deceive the unbelievers. So I understand what you’re doing. But don’t expect anybody to buy it. The Pew Research Center poll from spring 2010 is public information. I’m not fabricating it. It’s readily available to anybody that wants to look at it. And to try to turn the attack on me just shows the desperate lack of evidence to support your position…

Ghouse: Robert, you are using desperate measures, telling [people] the Koran tells people to lie. That is a total fabrication

Spencer: — that’s chapter 3, verse 28 –

Ghouse: That is a blatant lie, Robert. No holy book tells anybody to lie –

Spencer: Look it up… It says do not take unbelievers as your friends and protectors in preference to believers unless you’re doing it to guard yourselves against them. In other words, according to Ibn Kathir, a very noted Muslim commentator on the Koran, let you guard yourself from unbelievers by pretending to take them as your friends. And [Kathir] says, “We smile in the faces of some people, but behind their backs we curse them.” That’s an Islamic interpretation of that passage, not something I made up. And Michael Ghouse can’t deny it unless, of course, he’s going to be lying to us again.

Oh, Ghouse, how oft you lie? Let us count the ways. The Egyptian people are predominately secular. 2010 was at least three years ago. The Egyptians have totally changed their minds since then. Polls are nonsense anyway. Polls are okay, but not when read by Robert Spencer. And the Koran cannot be understood either through plain reading or relying upon noted Islamic commentators. That’s a whole lot of B.S. to cram into six minutes of film.

Ghouse was taken to the proverbial woodshed. While the Koran may compel its adherents to lie to the infidels, it apparently doesn’t qualify the command by insisting it be done well.

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