“Peaceful Islam is a Trojan Horse”: My Encounter with Walid Shoebat

On Saturday I was invited, as an agnostic who has interviewed an American imam, to hear a lecture by Walid Shoebat, a former Muslim turned Christian. It was given at an evangelical church just a few miles from my college.

Yikes.

There were only about 50 people present, but I can’t recall (at least in person, and in California) ever coming across quite so paranoid a public presentation. Walid Shoebat talked about Muslims and Muslim Americans in the way that I imagine average Germans must have whispered under their breath to one another, in the 1930s, about Jews.

No, I’m not exaggerating.

In Shoebat’s world, Muslims, including Muslim Americans, are scary. And he offered up his fright of Islam in the context of biblical prophecy, making claims like the following:

  • It is America’s contemporary destiny to function as God’s instrument of war against nations allied with Satan.
  • Nationalism is God’s will; internationalism, the devil’s.
  • The antichrist will come, not out of Christian Europe, but out of Islam, and he will be a Muslim “worshiping the god of war” (that is, Allah).
  • Pergamos, an ancient city in what is now Turkey, is the “seat of Satan.” (Walid Shoebat derives this insight from Revelation 2:13, concluding that John the Revelator is talking about Islam in the last days, and where the devil will be born.)
  • John Wesley, says Shoebat, also thought that Islam would be the seat of the antichrist.
  • The harlot of Revelation 13 is the Catholic Church (something Martin Luther also thought), and the beast she will ride is Islam.
  • The god of Islam is not the same monotheistic god that Christians and Jews worship, but the ancient pagan goddess Artemis. Walid Shoebat says Artemis was associated with the crescent moon (what is now Islam’s symbol) and a meteorite (which Shoebat takes to be the black stone at Mecca).
  • Wherever Muslims immigrate to a Western nation, and present themselves as moderate or peaceful, they are engaging in deception. Here’s Shoebat: “Peaceful Islam is a Trojan Horse.” As for moderate American Muslims, Shoebat sets them in a double bind: if they’re moderate, they’re not really practicing their religion; if they get radicalized, they’re showing Islam’s true colors. Put differently, Shoebat embraces the same definition of Islam as, say, Osama bin Laden.
  • Barack Obama is not the antichrist (something apparently widely believed among evangelicals), but he is a Muslim (or Muslim sympathizer) who loves the call of prayer above all other sounds and promotes the Muslim practice of Zakat (almsgiving; one of the five pillars of Islam). Shoebat says you can see Obama support Zakat in a speech at YouTube. I’m guessing that Shoebat thinks Zakat is bad because it’s a form of socialism. Or perhaps he thinks the money really goes to terror cells in America, not the poor. Either way, I think Shoebat meant to imply that our president is a Muslim socialist who wants terror cells fully funded in the United States. Why else would Obama say anything nice about Zakat?

I wish I had brought a recorder. It was really quite the performance. And it was disorienting because he served up his out-group spiel against Muslims mixed with a folksy serving of Herderian patriotic demagoguery and pulpit humor.

But his jokes were mostly of the ugly sort. For example, see if you think this is funny: when, after the next terrorist incident in America, you direct your fire at random Muslim Americans that you might encounter on the street, don’t confuse them with Indian Sikhs:

Big turban, good; small turban, shoot.

Yes, Walid Shoebat said that.

And Shoebat has a real hard-on for gays (of the strictly metaphorical sort, of course). His talk was interspersed with asides to them, calling gays, more than once, “disgusting” and beyond his comprehension.

In the question and answer session after his talk, I couldn’t help but ask a question that I thought would be interesting to hear his response to:

Would you permit Muslim Americans their First Amendment right to build an Islamic center, on property owned by them, a few blocks down from Ground Zero?

His answer:

Over my dead body.

In other words, Walid Shoebat believes that Muslim Americans are collectively guilty for what happened on 9-11 and would try to prevent them from exercising their 1st Amendment right to peaceable assembly.

And with that I decided that I was done with Mr. Shoebat. Loving people practice their faith with love, hateful people with hate.

Blessed are the peacemakers.

—–

Update: Looking at YouTube, I’m surprised to discover that Mr. Shoebat has been invited onto “straight” news shows on CNN and is a regular on Fox (recently appearing, for example, on Hannity’s show). And he even has a Wikipedia bio page.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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16 Responses to “Peaceful Islam is a Trojan Horse”: My Encounter with Walid Shoebat

  1. I was going to ask if you’d checked YouTube for similar talks by him, after seeing your “I wish I had a tape recorder” comment. Not that I’m planning to watch right now.

  2. santitafarella says:

    Spritzo:

    After seeing Shoebat’s travelling carnival show, I just assumed that he was moving way beneath the broader cultural radar, talking to little churches across the country (like a Birchite speaker might have done in the 1960s). It was the extent that I found him to be on the cable networks that startled me. How does a person who thinks the Catholic Church is the Whore of Babylon and Islam is the beast in Revelation 13 (and the civilizational cradle nurturing the coming antichrist) get a serious hearing from large numbers of people in the 21st century?

    We live in strange, strange times.

    Umberto Eco once wrote that a characteristic of ur-fascism is the blending of hyper-nationalism with cult and occult obsession (which is what prophecy culture is). I feel I witnessed that kind of blending on Saturday.

    —Santi

  3. Well, you were invited to an “evangelical” church to hear a speech given by a guy who has a video of himself being interviewed by Pat Robertson on the 700 club at the top of his personal web page (http://www.shoebat.com/), and right next to that is an ad for his new tv series titled “End Times.”

    Peaceful Islam is still a Trojan horse, regardless of fools like Shoebat.

  4. concerned christian says:

    Santi,
    I would not comment on Shoebat’s religious arguments but since you mentioned your interview with the good Imam, I watched it in its entirety, and he lied quite a few times and you did not challenge him. One example was when he told you the story about Mohammad kindness towards his Jewish neighbor you did not ask him where this story came from, you did not ask him if he ever used it in a sermon, and you did not bring up the question about the 700 Jews in El Medina massacred following Mohammad’s command. Radical Muslims use the language divide to deceive the World, the Arabic version of Islam is quite scary, here’s an interview in Arabic with English subtitles watch it.

    • santitafarella says:

      Concerned,

      There are lots of things I didn’t get to with the imam. And I seem to have an open invitation with him. I could do another hour or so with him probably just about any time I want. He’s not a closed off person with me. And he set no time limit. The only reason we didn’t talk longer is the storage on the video camara filled.

      As for what I didn’t get in the first interview, I wanted to ask him about homosexuality and women in detail.

      As for the story, I had heard it elsewhere, and I know it’s not in the Quran, but I also think it’s important to hear what stories moderate Muslims latch onto to justify their moderateness. Just as liberal Christians latch onto liberal Bible stories (such as Jesus in John 8 saying “let those without sin cast the first stone”), so there are at least some liberal sayings and stories in the Islamic tradition that moderates and liberals can latch onto.

      Wouldn’t you agree?

      And one other thing: I know that Islam can be very violent and intolerant in Muslim majority countries, but the Muslims I know in the Los Angeles area are very kind and assimilated people. I just think it is possible, in a wealthier middle class world (as the United States is), for Muslims to get along in a multicultural way with others.

      I’m hopeful about the Muslim future whenever I talk with Muslim Americans. I think they’re the future of Islam globally.

      —Santi

      • concerned christian says:

        Santi,
        I agree that there are many good Muslims, but there are also some who will deceive you and tell you sweet lies. The encounter on Al Jazeera that I posted, is interesting because both speakers are Egyptians; the bearded man, Hani Al Sibai, has been granted temporary permission to live in the UK while officials consider his claim for asylum. This terrorist is abusing the western freedoms to promote the most vile and evil forms of Islam, while pretending to be moderate. The other Egyptian, Dr Sayyid Al-Qemany, is defending his secular point of view, and has been insulted repeatedly by Al Sibai. It is interesting that Al Sibai distanced himself from many of his opinions that he freely preach in Arabic, as you can read in this link.
        http://www.almaqreze.net/bayanat/artcl028.html
        The bottom line is that in dealing with a foreign culture it helps if you know its language to make sure that nothing is lost in translation.

    • santitafarella says:

      Concerned,

      That is an extraordinary exchange you posted between the two Egyptians. You have three people from the Islamic part of the world—one is a fanatic, one is an Enlightenment-influenced liberal, and the other is a moderate (the moderator).

      The fact that they are torn and having this conversation at all is a recognition of Islam’s bankruptcy as a civilizational model, and it’s struggle to work out some sort of coexistence with the modern world. The reactionary hates the liberal, but the liberal is pushing the conversation forward (bravely and boldly). Apparently, the liberal is not committing suicide talking the way he is; he has enough backing in his country that he can speak the way he does without anyone cutting off his mike (or his head).

      That, to me, is hopeful. The fundamentalist, of course, is vile. He’s a Hitler. But he’s also the broken wheel that squeaks loudest and he’s on the wrong side of history (and will not win, probably not even in the short term).

      The reason there are so many religious hysterics and reactionaries in Islamic civilization is because they are in a crisis of transition. It is moderate (even liberal) Islamic civilization being birthed, painfully, into the 21st century. Just because they are panicking, it doesn’t mean that we should be.

      The future of Egypt is not in the mosques of Cairo; it’s in the universities.

      —Santi

      • concerned christian says:

        That’s the point I try to make, it is important to differentiate between Muslims who are really trying to move Islam forward, Muslims who are fighting to bring back the dark ages of religious intolerance, apologetics who try to defend the indefensible like Islamic treatment of women and non-Muslims, and those who are always looking for their own selfish interests. I guess you can apply the same argument to any religion or social group, but the question of dealing with Islam is the most serious issue today because it became a question of the survival of our way of life, and sadly in some Muslim countries it became a matter of life or death for anyone who dare to challenge Islam, and that includes the good Dr, Al-Qemany, who has received more than one death threat.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sayyid_Al-Qemany

      • santitafarella says:

        Concerned,

        The Islamicists are practicing a form of fascism, I completely agree. It’s the 1930s, and it’s not obvious who will win and come to power. It’s hard in countries like Egypt, and very far from safe, to be a liberal in such ridiculous and irrational circumstances.

        Islamicism is one of TWO troubling issues in our time. No, the second one is not American fundamentalist Christianity (which is, apart from its drum beatings for war with Islam, pretty much nonviolent).

        The second great issue that could upend Enlightenment Jeffersonian democracy in the West (and European secular social democracy) is the nihilistic “mass management” plutocracy that has evolved over the past several decades (and the intellectuals who enable it). The banking crisis pulled back the curtain on the way the world works, and it wasn’t pretty.

        —Santi

  5. concerned christian says:

    There are always at least two sides for each story, here’s details about Mohammad’s dealings with the Jews, from Zionist’s point of view
    http://www.peacewithrealism.org/jihad/jihad06.htm
    But if you look for it on a liberal pro-Islamic website, PBS what else, you get this,
    http://www.pbs.org/muhammad/ma_jews.shtml
    Go figure !!!!

    • There really is no room for doubt concerning Muhammad’s attitude toward the Jews, and also his actions toward them, and the actions of his followers. To know all one needs to know on this subject, all one has to do is find one member of the Saudi Arabian Jewish community and ask them about this.

  6. Would communism be an example of: “nihilistic ‘mass management’ plutocracy”.

    If so is China a purveyor of a form of this as the old Soviet Union was?

  7. Mohammedism at base level is a heresy (error) and as such Islam is not a religion (scandal). One may see mohammedism as scandal and/or error. It is the second greatest scandal in the history of mankind if one isolates it from the first according to Christ’s words “Tonight you shall all be scandalized in me.” Such isolation can be seen then as a ‘daytime’ scandal because it has blossomed after Christ’s Resurrection. But it can also be seen as an extension of the error of the ‘filioque’, though it has never been Heaven’s intent for it to be so. This view then treats it as a failed reaction to error until recently when a proper interpretation of the Holy Koran has been rendered, allowing for Muhammed who died in Medina to be formally canonized as a Catholic Saint, as well as the safe reading and correct understanding of the Holy Koran to be assimilated by all. The two miracles which allow for St. Muhammed are : (1.) The Arabic word for God, Allah, is not used as such in the Holy Koran, specifically, “allah” as used in the Koran is the substitute for the devil. (2.) “Mohammed” as used in the Holy Koran is a substitute for Jesus Christ. The further repercussions can then easily be seen as the outgrowth of the mulishness of Ishmael.

  8. LanceThruster says:

    Shoebat spoke at our university years ago and even then was comparing the Palestinians to Nazis. When objections were voiced in the following days, most of the co-sponsoring groups pretended that they could disassociate themselves from such content.

  9. Pro-Bible says:

    Walid Shoebot makes many valid Biblical points with his inside view of Islam and what it means to the world. I think any evangelist should be scrutinized on their Biblical research and if their perspective is valid. For instance, Artemas and the crescent moon did not exist until the post-classical era. A better fitting cult, Serapis, which began in 3rd century Egypt, it’s symbol is the moon crescent and star. Another issue with Shoebot’s Artemis/Islam connection, he fails to provide evidence linking the black stone in Mecca to any ancient cult and blows past this in all of his talks. I do feel as a whole Shoebot’s Biblical based research is well thought out and provides some explanations for prohecy which many have not realized. His talks provide a perspective that is needed to awaken people from their trance, though it may not be 100% accurate in some of it’s history, it is definately relevant in its Biblical perspective. Who wants to willingly follow Satan?

  10. Toddapollos says:

    What many don’t understand, in regards to building a mosque, is that when one is built, it is not simply seen as a “church” or place of worship. Islam sees the building of mosques as planting of
    an embassy. It is seen as a sign of victory, like planting a flag on Iwo Jima. Unlike a church, it is against shariah to ever demolish a mosque. It is unthinkable, in Islam, to simply vacate a mosque, if, for example, paymnet on property could no longer be made. Shoebat understands this. Islam must be viewed as a form of government, which wishes to upend any existing rights or laws ( the Constitution) which contradict Shariah. While Christianity seeks to exist and spread its message within the form of government it finds itself, Islam seeks to replace that form of government as part of its creed. While Jesus would tell his follows to “Render to Caesar”, Mohammed would have his followers behead Caesar, and make Mohammed Ruler.

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