Last week's column contained excerpts from my interview with Robert Spencer, author of "Onward Muslim Soldiers: How Jihad Still Threatens America and the West." He makes the case that violent Islam stems from a straight reading of Islamic religious texts, and that moderate Muslims need to face up to and repudiate this so that true reform can take place.
This is Part II of the interview:
Larry Elder: You cite Koran passages that state Jews, Christians and nonbelievers have three choices: conversion, second-class citizenship or death. When people say these kinds of things are "taken out of context," you say this simply isn't true?
Robert Spencer: Yes. They're dealing from a broad tradition within Islam that mandates violence against nonbelievers. It's an unpleasant fact . . . but . . . I give abundant testimony from Islamic sources to this effect, and it's no use denying it.
Elder: Is there any religion where passages of its fundamental source, like the Bible, have been "repudiated"?
Spencer: Well, not so much repudiated as such, but look at the Old Testament, for example, and you have in Exodus, Chapter 21, directions on what to do if you want to sell your daughter into slavery. Yet Judaism and Christianity both reject slavery today. . . . If you were to confront . . . a believing Jew or Christian with that passage and say, "Why aren't you buying and selling slaves?" they would say, "Well, that had its time and place, but we've developed beyond that." . . . I would like to see the same kind of thing happen within Islam.
Elder: These madrasas where they are teaching the Koran, teaching hatred of Jews, Christianity and the West -- your argument is that they are not corrupting Islamic text, they are teaching actual text.
Spencer: They're working from very clear Islamic text. Radical Muslims around the world call Jews "monkeys" and "pigs." This comes from several very clear passages in the Koran that say Jews and Christians are under the curse of Allah, because of their disobedience and refusal to accept that Muhammad is a prophet . . . God turned them into monkeys and pigs. The fact that this kind of hatred is so deeply rooted in core Islamic text makes it all the more difficult to eradicate.