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Defender of the wrong faith
The Telegraph correspondent Damian Thompson (editor-in-chief of the Catholic Herald and once described by the Anglican Church Times as a "blood-crazed ferret".) writes here (in his blog Holy Smoke) about the barking mad Karen Armstrong’s review of Robert Spencer, and Robert Spencer’s response.
Karen Armstrong is a comically conceited feminist ex-nun who has assumed the duty of defending Islam from its critics. Yesterday’s Financial Times carried her review of an unflattering biography of Mohammed by the American Catholic scholar Robert Spencer.
She accused Spencer of “writing in hatred” and said he “deliberately manipulates the evidence”. By the end of the day, Spencer had hit back online. Very hard. We have the beginnings of a mighty feud here, and I know whose side I am on.
Writing on his website Jihadwatch yesterday, Spencer challenged his readers to find the relevant verse. Someone did. It’s 2:217, and it refers specifically to warfare in the “sacred month”, and then only to say that the prohibition can be set aside. So who is manipulating evidence here?
Armstrong reckons that descriptions of Islam that focus on its warlike origins are like “a description of Christianity based on the bellicose Book of Revelation that failed to mention the Sermon on the Mount.”
That is an unbelievably fatuous and sloppy analogy. The violence of Revelation springs from the imagination: it’s a literary apocalypse. It doesn’t describe any real events. Mohammed was a general whose army beheaded its captives: that’s a fact. The Muslim scriptures urge warfare against unbelievers and apostates; the Christian scriptures preach non-violence.
I really think it’s time someone challenged Karen Armstrong’s credentials as an expert on Islam. How good is her classical Arabic, I wonder? If I was a Muslim, I’d be sick to death of this preachy autodidact constantly representing Islam as a touchy-feely encounter group.
But perhaps the Muslims like her. In which case, please persuade her to convert to Islam, as “a gift to the Christian people”. It would be good to see Karen back in the veil – only, this time, one that covers her mouth.
I like ferrets, engaging intelligent little creatures so long as one doesn’t find them stuffed down ones trousers. The comments so far (8 at time of writing) are also excellent.