In which my praise of Dearborn Muslims is condemned as Islamophobic

Here’s a response to my post where I praised Dearborn Muslims for their reaction to the Terry Jones kerfluffle.  Blogger “Shams” associates my post with “birtherism,” “racism,” “homophobia,” the Iraq war, the Afghanistan war, the price of gasoline, American middle eastern policy, and the economy generally.  Shams also accuses me of being “islamophobic” for having offered the observation that “there does seem to be a general sense of avoidance of these questions [concerning what Sharia is and how moderate Muslims feel about efforts to implement portions of it in the U.S.] by the moderate Muslim community.” 

Although my original post immediately goes on explain why “there might be a good reason for this,” and although I indicated this important context had been omitted from Shams’s condemnation, Shams refused to acknowledge or update his post, instead offering a profane epithet.  Like my first comment to Shams’s post—which took several days to air because Shams “moderates” his comments (certainly not to filter profanity or incivility!)—my most recent response is still awaiting moderation. 

I realize this is only anecdotal evidence of my general observations about the breakdown in our discourse over Muslim issues, but still…

Tim Kowal

Tim Kowal is a husband, father, and attorney in Orange County, California, Vice President of the Orange County Federalist Society, commissioner on the OC Human Relations Commission, and Treasurer of Huntington Beach Tomorrow. The views expressed on this blog are his own. You can follow this blog via RSS, Facebook, or Twitter. Email is welcome at timkowal at


  1. [here’s the comment i posted on shams’s site as well, it’s still awaiting moderation]

    I speak as a Muslim, and I come very strongly to Tim’s defense.

    Just because I don’t agree with everything he says (in fact I challenge him to see that Muslims ARE doing a lot more than he thinks they are), I don’t think it is fair to blast him with the ISLAMOPHOBE label when he is clearly making an effort to understand the plight of Muslims. He is criticizing us out of concern for us, that we should do more and he’d like to see us do more. He has made this clear as his intent. Now, there’s nothing wrong with us harshly disagreeing or even being upset at this argument of his: we can say “thanks but no thanks Tim, we are doing enough and doing just fine.” That would be a reasonable response.

    But instead, what do we do? Blast him with the “I” word (Islamophobe) the same way that SOME Jews tend to blast everyone for being anti-SEMITE every time we question Israel in even the slightest. Why are we becoming the same thing we criticize?

    Instead, let’s see this for what it truly is and be a little more pragmatic about it. Tim is a conservative, and he is shaking things up amongst the conservatives to get them to question the things they see and hear and consider that Muslims and Islam may not be what they are presented to be. In the process, he says Muslims should also be doing their part more. What’s wrong with that? In customer service we learn that the customer is always right, and if the customer is unhappy or has a bad perspective on the product or service, it is always the job of the company to do more and do better, always strive to improve the image and presentation.

  2. In the process, he says Muslims should also be doing their part more. What’s wrong with that? In customer service we learn that the customer is always right, and if the customer is unhappy or has a bad perspective on the product or service, it is always the job of the company to do more and do better, always strive to improve the image and presentation.

    you are a maftoon. it is not for muslims to have to explain/market their religion in a country that has freedom of speech and FREEDOM OF RELIGION encoded as law.
    Go bitch at the jews. Israel doesn’t have freedom of religion either, israeli jewesses are forbidden to outmarry by law.

      • Hassan is a maftoon. That means “charmed” by western culture in arabic.
        What should I call him?
        A gunga?

        I should not have to do this, and it makes me angry. You are no different than the random facebook bigots in my link.

      • and you are mainstreaming islamophobia. You insist you have a legitimate RIGHT to “question” muslims about their religion. You do not. You “questioning” muslims is no different than birthers “questioning” Obamas birthplace.
        Educate your bigself. Read something instead of contributing to the shariah freakout.

        • I’ve not “insisted” anything.

          What should I read? I’m open to suggestions. I read Said’s Orientalism at Hassan’s encouragement. Or was Said just a “maftoon,” too?

          • You insist that it is “reasonable” and “understandable” to blame moderate muslims for not explaining themselves better.
            It is not. It is not your right to blame or scold or demand explanation. America has freedom of religion, muslims can practice their faith and believe what they like.

            Educate yourself.
            Read the Quran. Read the sapentia poetica of the Sufi Saints.
            Read John Maynard-Smith on Evolution and the Theory of Games. Read Scott Atran on the evolution of religion. Read Ghazali and Ibn Arabi on Time and Cosmology.

            lawl. Said does Said argue for the imposition of missionary democracy in MENA like Hassan? Then he would be a maftoon also. It seems to me that Said is arguing against trying to impose western culture on majority muslim states.

  3. Let me explain why shariah can never become law IN AMERICA. You are a lawyer, right Kowal?
    In America freedom of speech and freedom of religion are encoded as law.
    In islamic countries, the only form of law is shariah, islamic jurisprudence, because there is no separation of church and state..
    And shariah forbids proselytization of the poor and ignorant. Because that is EXPLOITATION of human conditions. It is in the Generous Quran, and in the hadith and sunnah.
    Freedom of speech legalizes proselytization. Therefore freedom of speech is INCOMPATIBLE with shariah law, and thus with al-Islam.
    Shariah also forbids muslimahs to outmarry. So does Israeli law forbid jewesses to outmarry. Neither shariah law or israeli law can ever become law IN AMERICA.
    Do. you. understand. that?

    • That’s an interesting point. Two quick reactions. First, the concern about sharia isn’t assuaged by the observation that some of the tenets might not ever be enshrined when there are still many that might be. My understanding is that the prohibitions on interest are now observed in some jurisdictions, for example. Second, never say never when it comes to how our constitution might be interpreted in the future. To the chagrin of many of us, the “living constitution” theory is alive and well.

      • “when there are still many that might be”

        name one.

        and why are you not worried about the jews imposing talmudic law?
        its the same thing.

      • is constitutional law your field of expertise?
        because i doubt very much that there will ever be enough demographic muslims to alter the constitution.
        This is more birtherist crap–you just want to be SURE.
        “the prohibitions on interest”
        lool. the anti-usury laws were designed to prevent the fisting the invisible hand of the “freed” market just gave american families. they are REGULATORY laws that are the same in intent as shariah law on interest…COMMON to both legal systems.
        I thought you meant things SPECIFIC to shariah, like blasphemy and apostasy laws, and anti-proselytization law. Shariah also outlaws murder. Does that mean we already have shariah?

      • here is something to read. The Islamic declaration of human rights.

        the post-revolutionary Iranian representative to the United Nations Said Rajaie-Khorassani articulated the position of his country regarding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, by saying that the UDHR was “a secular understanding of the Judeo-Christian tradition”, which could not be implemented by Muslims without trespassing the Islamic law.


        Article 10 of the Declaration states: “Islam is the religion of unspoiled nature. It is prohibited to exercise any form of compulsion on man or to exploit his poverty or ignorance in order to convert him to another religion or to atheism.”

        Shariah forbids proselytization. Freedom of speech legalizes proselytization. In majority muslim nations proselytization is illegal through the consent of the governed.
        But how could those tenents of shariah ever be implemented in the US? Muslims that live here have consented to governed by American law.

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