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My friend John sends me this video link on what he thinks is the Muslim threat. And he’s not alone by any means.

Bob:  Let me know what you think of this!

***** {omitting John’s initials} *****

Here is the history they weren't teaching in school on Christians and Muslims

Why We Are Afraid,  A 1400 Year Secret,  by Dr Bill Warner


I responded with this:

John, this was very interesting. I'll get back to you on it. Briefly, though -- his portrayal of facts seemed about right to me. But his tone and attitude were distressing. I imagine that is what led him to be so selective in fact finding. An informed person can array a counterbalance of facts and come to different conclusions. More later, b

I reckon this obliges me to find the counterbalance of facts etc. But this is quite time-consuming, and, to tell the truth, my mind is comfortably already made up – but strictly on the basis of my own authorities. (I should note that John is a Fox-news buff and main fan of Forbes Magazine. He and I know well that we hold generally quite opposed political views. My sense is that he thinks Dr. Bill Warner’s presentation might actually begin to push my opinion in his direction, and that because of the extensive detailing of facts about the history of Islam. He knows I like to get into the details.)

Instead, however, of letting this issue drop because I don’t have any major doubt about my own sense that the current rage of Islamophobia is a close parallel to the rage of anti-Communism I grew up a part of (in the 50’s), I intend to look into the evidence of my authorities and of John’s down at least a single layer below the usual. This because of the very great world-political significance the issue now has.

(Months pass. Until January 2016)

After quite a bit of Googling about, I was unable to find anyone who directly takes on this particular Bill Warner attack on Islam. (You might want to call it his take on Islam or his presentation, that would be (maybe) more objective.) However, I did find a site called “Ask an Islamacist” that is run by a then PhD candidate, now successful, at Oxford in England. It’s quite academic and quite interesting — although many of its topics are too arcane for me. This young woman, apparently a Muslim herself, undertakes on the site to clarify misunderstandings and answer questions on seemingly any aspect of Islam one might be interested in. Here’s a link to her about page.

I posted a direct question about the Bill Warner video to her on her site (“Ask me anything!” she proclaims.) and she promised to get around to it. But first she had to finish her PhD. And then, hooray! she did get around to it. I found her response in early January of 2016 and like it, and I’m going to use it (on her site) to look again at Bill Warner in order to draw some conclusions for my friend John. We’ll see if he wants to respond to that and I’ll post it here if he likes. For now (January 2016) here is her take on Warner. It starts off with my question to her.

I have reread Jessica the Islamiscist’s analysis linked just above and compared it with Dr. Warner’s diatribe carefully for about fifteen minutes of his speech. (I give the entire speech from a Warner-admiring website on the next page – here.) In the right margin of that transcript I give my own thinking and also references to Jessica’s response. She is more generous that I, finally. Here is the conclusion to her commentary:

All told, sitting down and actually examining Dr. Warner’s writing in detail makes me [wonder] how much of his work really is intentionally misleading (which, to be honest, I’d always assumed it was), and how much it’s just that he’s really that uninformed about the subject.  The dating issues are really unforgivable, but the larger theory that Islam caused the fall of Rome and the Dark Ages strikes me as the kind of theories young scholars often come up with – in my experience, a lot of scholars, myself included, start out seeing big connections everywhere because we start out seeing religions, cultures, or societies as monolithic, and only start to see the complexities within them after a great deal of study.  That being said, Dr. Warner clearly is presenting himself as an expert – his website even offers (what it claims is) the world’s first self-study course on ‘Political Islam,’ in addition to his published works and international lectures.  There’s no way someone, somewhere, hasn’t pointed out to him, “um, but the Fall of Rome happened 150 years before Islam.  And maybe didn’t really happen at all.”

I suspect, actually, that this has happened repeatedly, and that’s why he repeats so often that there are no historians working on anything to do with Islamic history or the emergence of the Muslim Middle East.  As long as he’s claiming to work in a vacuum, it seems less sketchy that he has no source material or citations.

My own conclusion is clearly stated in this marginal comment at 10.54 in the transcript:

See in Jessica, Islam caused 500 battles. If this were not the obviously intelligent Dr. Warner speaking, I’d call it stupid beyond belief. However, since he clearly is not stupid, we must conclude he is deliberately deceptive. This is ugly, rabble-rousing hate speech. As Warner points out at the 2 minute mark, “Facts are secondary to feelings” when it comes to making a sale. See Jessica on the battles.

I also ask myself a question that points to a large and deeply significant problem for us in our US society and for the world as subject to our overwhelming power and the brutality with which we so often put it to use:

How can my friend John, who holds a PhD in Chemistry and has been a college administrator as well as chemistry professor, take this swaggering drivel seriously?

I don’t have an answer to my own question. I like John. He is a very good-hearted guy, and a friend. He is also a sincere Christian. He loves animals and nature. I think his instincts in sending me this speech to examine, supposing I might find it persuasive, are those of a very large part of the American public at this time. This may forebode tragedy for the entire world.

Timeline: March 2015.