Open letter to Steyn
With all due respect, Mark Steyn, I did not accuse you of making up a quote. You clearly accepted someone else’s word for it. But that’s not good journalism. Few journalists I know would take Oriana Fallaci’s word about Islam at face value the way you did, for reasons I will explain.
You uncritically accepted her reference to the “Blue Book,” and went on to have fun with the notion of Mohammed Atta interfering with the livestock instead of suicide bombing. But there is no Blue Book, it’s The Little Green Book. And it wasn’t written by the Ayatollah at all, as you say, but by a source who was apparently at least three times, and three languages, removed.Moreover, it’s a collection of quotes purportedly from him, but without any documentation, as someone who posted on your blog (Sept. 22, 2006) pointed out to you.
So which Blue Book is it you are offering to mail to me? Which verified quote does it contain?I’m not going to engage in any scatological references to your credibility seeping away, as you did about me. I’m just saying that no one has verified that the Ayatollah ever said: “A man who has had sexual relations with an animal, such as a sheep, may not eat its meat. He would commit sin.” First let’s deal with Fallaci. When the New York Times wrote her obituary on Sept. 15, 2006, the headline called her a “writer-provocateur.” Sound familiar? Remind us of anyone we know?
The obit said this: “In three books beginning with “The Rage and the Pride” (Rizzoli: 2002) and many interviews (after 9-11), she attacked not only Islamic extremists but Islam itself, as well as a West that she said had become too complaisant and tolerant to realistically understand the threat.“Saying that the “sons of Allah breed like rats,” she strongly condemned the growing immigration of Muslims in Europe, including her native
Hmmm. This is definitely starting to ring bells, isn’t it?Fallaci, unlike you, was charged in
So discount Oriana Fallaci as an unimpeachable source.Journalists usually try to deal with primary sources (Writer-provocateurs seldom do). However, one of your blog puppets, who claims to have once been a journalist, says she has found what you couldn’t.
Deborah Gayapong (http://deborahgyapong.blogspot.com/) writes:
“Well, I decided to get on Google myself. And guess what, I found an English translation of the whole bleepin' book. Within five minutes I found this: “The meat of horses, mules, or donkeys is not recommended. It is strictly forbidden if the animal was sodomized while alive by a man. In that case, the animal must be taken outside the city and sold.”
She also quotes: “If one commits an act of sodomy with a cow, a ewe, or a camel, their urine and their excrements become impure, and even their milk may no longer be consumed. The animal must then be killed as quickly as possible and burned, and the price of it paid to its owner by him who sodomized it.”Hmmm. Not exactly what the Steyn-Fallaci quote from the Blue or Green Book says, but perhaps close enough in the right-wing blogosphere. Clearly, something is lost in translation here, and any skeptical journalist would give these variations of an undocumented quote the skip. The helpful Deborah refers us to a site called Prophet of Doom, which, if anyone is interested, is at http://prophetofdoom.net/. There’s this description of the author of the book Mr. Steyn appears to be referring to: “This version of The Little Green Book is a translation done by Harold Salemson, whose source was a French translation of the Ayatollah’s fatawah compiled by a Persian named Jean-Marie Xaviere.”
If you want to hang your hat on that as a reliable source, go right ahead but you’re travelling alone, Mr. Steyn.
Oh yes, and what does the Prophet of Doom website say about Islam? “Islam is a caustic blend of regurgitated paganism and twisted Bible stories. Muhammad, its lone prophet, conceived his religion solely to satiate his lust for power, sex, and money. He was a terrorist.”Not a reactionary, right-wing blog? I rest my case.