The backlash continues

The backlash continues July 26, 2005

The saga continues, alas.

Apparently, total agreement with (or silence concerning) Muqtedar Khan’s inconsistent politics is now
part of the Shahadah, and some people appear committed to browbeating me into recanting my heresy (last posting: "The Last Word on Muqtedar Khan and PMU").

Someone who signed on at July 26, 2005 12:13 AM as
MMamdani wrote a nasty comment (read it in its entirety here) that,
as eager as I am to move on, requires a response :

Akram, you now officially qualify as a stalker, a cheap, in ethical and devious, small minded individual, determined to malign one of the most important American Muslims voices in this country, and also one of the rising stars on the Islamic intellectual horizon.

I am a "stalker" now, for writing about a prominent (and very outspoken) media personality’s politics in my own blog.   

Like many bloggers, I believe in something called free speech and holding
public figures accountable for their actions that affect the public.  If that seems like reprehensible
bid’a to some, that’s simply not my problem.

This is the third or fourth time you have attacked Dr. Muqtedar Khan, and what is more indicative of your cheap character, you repeatedly delete all the responses that your readers make. Do you do this to all your posts or you have just deleted the defense of Dr. Khan by Muslims, some of whom were known scholars in the discipline of Islamic studies.

I deleted those postings because I decided that some of my language was
overly harsh (hardly a rare occurrence on the Internet, as one hurriedly types
message on the fly) and I needed to partly reword it to be more fair.  Typepad
(the blogging service I use) doesn’t allow you to delete a message without
deleting its comments, so they are gone, as well..

In the spirit of open debate, though, I will see if I can’t repost all the

If you had left them they would have belied your false claims.

I didn’t find them particularly convincing as a rebuttal to my points, but you’re entitled to your opinion.  Several were were non-sequiteurs ("He’s a great scholar of fiqh–How dare you criticize his politics??"), ad hominem attacks on me (I’m a "nobody’, a "hack", a "nurse" second-guessing a great surgeon, …),  or vague appeals to emotion. 

You constantly accuse him of blamign it all on isam and Muslims, well you are wrong and a liar!

Actually, I accuse him of inconsistency, of periodically writing things which make it easy for others to blame Islam and Muslims.  He  doesn’t do it himself (though his "Memo to American Muslims" came pretty close).  So I accuse him of reinforcing many of the pernicious myths and doublestandards that permeate mainstream media coverage of Islam and Muslims.  There’s a big

Here are some examples which ptove you entirely wrong, and yes they are not academic writings, they are op-eds written at the height of 9/11 fever in prominent media:

See for yourself [Akram will soon delete this posting to, the shameless hack!].

Fear of attack on Muslim civil Rights — fist by any Muslims as early as sept 17, 2001 in Detroint Free Press and Baltimore Sun:

Attack on Bush again in Sept. 2001:

Explaining the root causes of Muslim anger again in early 9/11 days, completely contrary to your claim that he blames it all on Muslims. I read this in and have been a fan of his courage since then:

I could go on and on: But these few examples should be sufficient.

Well, we obviously disagree. 

I think his analysis tends to basicly serve established interests and crowd out sharper, more independent analysis.  Imagine the good that would be done if the New York Times ran  SoundVision’s Abdul Malik Mujahid’s painstakingly researched and eye-opening commentary on post-9/11 Muslim civil rights instead of Khan’s eloquent but ultimately toothless discussion in "putting the American in ‘American Muslim’".    

[In a way, that NYT piece encapsulates this whole debate, as it is not without its insights and eloquence.  It is the lack of additional perspectives in the mainstream media that makes it problematic.  If it appeared in a media context where more critical voices like Mujahid’s were heard with some regularity, I wouldn’t have a problem with it.  I wouldn’t feel like an opportunity had been lost for real dialogue, real debate about our problems.  ]

First of all, there is the "Good Cop/Bad Cop"
routine I mentioned before, which if one accepts as a premise would explain much
of this.  Second, I think a closer reading of his writings reveals their
dissent to be very safe and carefully limited in scope vis-a-vis the Beltway
consensus.  This is actually rather tame stuff when you consider the gravity of the problems, misconceptions and doublestandards that are at work.   

Unless someone wants to commission me to write an in-depth study, that’ll
have to suffice.  I have other things to do with my time than parse these
essays line-by-line to satisfy critics.

Readers who wish to understood the extent of Akram’s perfidy and meanness can read Dr. Khan’s columns at and

"Perfidy"!  I think you’re getting a little carried away.  Questioning MK’s politics is treasonous??

I also know that he regularly speaks at the annual conventiosn all the main American Muslim organizations, CAIR, MPAC, ISNA and works with them. It is indicative of the acceptance of his ideas by the community.
People Like Svend are nursing personal grudges,

Well, politics makes for strange bedfellows sometimes. 

No, this isn’t personal.  I find him quite likable and believe his
intentions to be good, but that doesn’t change how problematic some of his
politics are or how they need to be openly debated. 

Also, if I was simply out to get him, I wouldn’t be writing this in my blog,
which is read by a handful of people.  I’d be writing a systematic expose
for a publication (a la the Z Magazine piece). 

perhaps they even maintain sectarian hatred since Akram is an Ahmadi Muslim and Khan a Sunni Muslim.

Aha, the plot thickens!  Yeah, that’s a big problem.  Something needs to be done about all these
Ahmadis running around persecuting Sunnis. 

But, seriously, it’s interesting to see how the sectarian club is being
broken out here, even though this question has no bearing whatsoever on what I’ve written
about Khan, or the views and causes I’ve advocated elsewhere.

Talk about a cheap, ad hominem attack.  I guess you can be a
liberal reformer and still play the same old takfir game.

Perhaps it’s a compliment.  Resorting to this kind of below-the-belt
punch is generally a sign of being unable to respond to your
opponent’s arguments.

I’m not going to dignify this by getting into personal beliefs about secondary matters that are
open to interpretation and which are nobody’s business but my own,
but I will note for the record that I no Qadiani. 

In fact, I am no less a Sunni
Muslim than Khan or anybody else is, as I believe in the Sunni Aqeedah,
including the Khatm an-Nabiyin (the Finality of Prophethood). And I accept Hazrat Abu Bakr as-Saddiq (ra),
Hazrat Umar Farooq (ra), Hazrat Uthman Ghani (ra), and Hazrat Ali ibn Abu Talib (ra). 

Ergo, I am a Sunni Muslim.

Let us see if he deltes this post and writes another last word on Khan.

You’ll notice that I haven’t at any point chosen to disable comments–which
can easily be done in Typepad merely by clicking a checkbox–even though I expected
to receive abusive responses.  Unlike some people, I believe in and am
comfortable with public debate.

I suggest that we just agree to disagree.  I’m sure we both have better things to do.

P.S.  I have not yet succeeded in finding a copy of the previous comments, as they were deleted along with my postings.  I checked Google for a cached version and also tried, but to no avail. 

Here’s my recollection of some of the most salient comments that were lost:

  • "This Svend guy is an idiot who’s jealous of Muqtedar and just trying to promote himself."
  • "Diana Eck of the Pluralism Project gave a talk at my school.  She was asked what she thought of Muqtedar and she called him a ‘national treasure’."
  • "Svend, I have read and enjoyed your blog up to now, but your nasty comments on Muqtedar have just ruined it for me."
  • "Normally, I don’t comment on such things but this link was forwarded to me by a student.  I am appalled by your atttacks on an up and coming scholar.  I have reviewed a chapter by him on Imam Shafi’ for an upcoming work and I must say that I think it was b brilliant.  You are like a nurse questioning the work of a successful surgeon who has performed many successful surgeries." [Pastes in his long cv.]
  • "This guy is a nobody who’s trying to make a name for himself by attacking one of our scholars."

This is the best I can do.  The point is that a number of readers vehemently protested my comments.

BTW, if anyone can think of another place online where I could find a cached copy of those pages, please let me know and I’ll repost them.

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