Somebody – nobody knows who – said: all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. Wrong. Good men can “start a dialogue” with wicked men or join the “debate”. Wicked men have cottoned onto this dialogue and debate business, and are using it to their own advantage – and that of the Ummah..
Tim Winter, Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad to the Ummah, likes debate – it buys time for Islam to spread. Thus, when Ayaan Hirsi Ali fights to stop Sharia, which cuts up and kills women, he writes that she needs to get with the debating programme. From Clive James’s blistering response:
At a time when British police have truly distinguished themselves by at last asking potential victims of honour crimes to report death threats, we have a piquant state of affairs in which Tim Winter, a lecturer in Islamic studies at Cambridge, thinks that the first thing we have to understand is the “twentieth-century Muslim debate on Islamic law and modernity”. But surely, while we wait for the results of that debate to come in, the first thing to understand is that the men of the Islamic minorities in the democratic countries should be prevailed upon to honour the law of the land before they concern themselves with the supposed honour of their families. They simply must be induced, if not by persuasion then by punishment, to stop cutting up and killing their women. Otherwise there will be little hope for Islam within democratic borders.
Dialogue is another stalling tactic, to allow Islam to regroup and Muslims to carry on stoning. Tariq Ramadan is a great one for dialogue. Here he is in the London Evening Standard, sticking to his well-known blustering tactic on the matter of stoning:
We meet in the Grand Champagne Bar at St Pancras station, sipping tea among bankers who are necking glasses of fizz while waiting for an evening Eurostar.
Ramadan, an observant Muslim who says he prays five times a day, has found an hour before boarding a train for an evening lecture at Cambridge. The night before he had performed at an Intelligence Squared debate in London.
Seven years ago, he was challenged on French television by Nicolas Sarkozy to condemn the stoning of women adulterers under a section of the Islamic penal code, but declined to do so.
I had no better luck in the champagne bar when he said rather than condemn, he would prefer to open a dialogue with Muslim scholars about the validity of stoning.
"Why can't you just unequivocally condemn something that is self-evidently barbaric?" I asked.
He replied: "Because I can say that for me it is not implementable. The difference between you and me is that you only think with your mind. From an Islamic viewpoint, these are rules that you find in the texts.
"So I can please you by saying, I want this to stop. But to condemn this is not going to change anything. It means for you to take two minutes to get intellectual empathy, you come in my shoes, I am talking to Muslims now. The point is not to condemn but to change things."
I sensed in his refusal to budge, and in his resort to the peculiar word "implementable", a desire not to give a Westerner - me, or, for that matter, Sarkozy - some sort of assumed satisfaction in hearing a Muslim question Islamic teaching. I asked him if he believed the Koran could not be wrong on any count.
"What is in the Koran cannot be wrong for Muslims, for this is the very word of God. What is wrong is the way the Muslims are reading it the problem is the reader, not the text."
Even people on the Left who are sympathetic to Ramadan's world view express exasperation at his ultra-nuanced positions. It is not hard to see why he has been accused of camouflaging his Islamist agenda under the niqab of ambivalent doublespeak.
The camel in the room – the elephant got bored – is that there is nothing to debate. Stoning is just wrong, from the non-Muslim point of view but just right from the Muslim. What’s the point of a dialogue when there’s nothing to talk about? Is Ramadan, is Winter, suggesting that some kind of compromise could be reached – very small pebbles, perhaps, so the victim ends up half-dead?
As I note in my post here, Winter’s weaselling powers are on the wane. Ramadan, unfortunately, has more mileage.