Report on Two Debates:
Dr. Robert Morey vs. Shabir Ally &
Dr. Jamal Badawi vs. Dr. Robert Morey
On the website of the Research and Education Foundation
there appears a report on Dr. Morey’s debates with Dr. Badawi and with me,
Shabir Ally. What is reported there is factually incorrect. Here are
Since the author of the report is not named, I will refer
to him as “the REF reporter,” or just simply “the reporter” and to the
report as “the REF report.”
The REF report says that during my debate I unjustifiably
accused Dr. Morey of misusing the Encyclopedia. I had shown that since
that encyclopedia gives the opposite impression than what Dr. Morey claimed, Dr.
Morey so quoted it as to give the impression that the encyclopedia actually
supported his idea. Dr. Morey’s justifiable defense, according to the
REF report, is that whereas he was arguing for how the word Allah was used prior
to Islam, the encyclopedia spoke of how Allah is being used today.
However, even that defense is built on falsehood. The
encyclopedia actually speaks of how the name Allah was used before Islam, how it
is being used today within Islam, and how it is being used today outside of
Islam. As you can see from the actual quote below, the Encyclopedia
Britannica links Allah not to any moon-god but to the God of the Bible, called
El or Yahweh. This is what Britannica says:
"God"), the one and only God in the religion of Islam.
Etymologically, the name Allah is probably a contraction of the Arabic al_Ilah,
"the God." The name's origin can be traced back to the earliest
Semitic writings in which the word for god was Il or El, the latter being an
Old Testament synonym for Yahweh. Allah is the standard Arabic word for
"God" and is used by Arab Christians as well as by Muslims.
Hence Dr. Morey is doubly wrong. First, he
misused the encyclopedia. Second, when I pointed out his error he could
have done the honorable thing and admit his error. Instead, he invented
the lame defense that now is proven to be factually incorrect. First, he
misused the encyclopedia in writing his own book. Second, he misrepresented the
contents of the encyclopedia in his debate with me before a packed live
audience. Does he think that people will not check these things out?
It seems that the REF reporter did not check it out. If he had done
so, perhaps he might not have repeated Dr. Morey’s misleading defense.
As I pointed out in my debate with him, Dr. Morey was so
determined to prove that Allah was the name of the Moon-god which was worshiped
in Arabia before Islam that he went out of his way to misquote and misuse other
writings to prove his contention. When we check these writings however, we
find again and again that his approach is fraudulent. I do not need to
repeat the examples of such deception here since they are already described on
the video tape of that debate, and documented in my book Robert Morey’s
Moon-god Myth And Other Deceptive Attacks on Islam. In addition, we
have just seen a clear example here from the Encyclopedia Britannica.
The REF reporter said that Dr. Badawi and Shabir had
argued ad hominem, which means that instead of dealing with the ideas
academically we attacked the character of the man who presented the ideas.
Here the REF reporter echoes Dr. Morey himself, for he made the same claim
in his debate with me. He and the REF reporter say that even if Dr. Morey
is a liar his ideas may still be true.
As I have already pointed out, however, my approach has
never been to attack the character of my opponent. I have dealt with his
ideas in an academic fashion. I checked the sources of his information and
his sources reveal his ideas to be false. The act of checking his
references also revealed that he does not always make accurate quotations.
Some of the comparisons between what he quoted and what his sources
actually do say reveal discrepancies which throw doubt on his academic
integrity. If he handled his references in such a manner as to raise
questions of his honesty in dealing with the issue it is not for me to come up
with the answers to such questions. It is for him and for the REF reporter
to come up with answers. They have to show that the sources do actually
say what Dr. Morey quoted them to say. This they have not done.
To be fair, both the REF reporter and Dr. Morey himself
have tried to do just that, as discussed above. But, as I have just
finished demonstrating, even this plea is based on falsehood. They have
said that Dr. Morey was justified in the first place in what he used the
Encyclopedia Britannica to prove. They continued to say that my reference
to Britannica did not controvert Dr. Morey’s position since it shows
Britannica’s position on the use of the name Allah in a different epoch than
that for which Dr. Morey was arguing. As is obvious from the passage
quoted above, however, they need to try again.
It may prove helpful at this point if I further explain
what is an ad hominem fallacy and what is not. One commits the ad hominem
fallacy when one attacks the person instead of refuting his ideas. It is
not ad hominem if in addition to pointing out the errors in the ideas one also
shows how the person arrived at those incorrect ideas in the first place. If
this means exposing the deceptive tactics such as the use of misquotes, then
this reflects not on the expositor, but on the deceiver. It is also useful
and legitimate for a debater to show that whereas his opponent poses as a
scholar on a given subject, he has in fact proved inadequate or incompetent in
dealing with the subject; or, worse yet, that he has proved dishonest in dealing
with the subject. This of course does not prove that everything he says is
wrong, since even the devil speaks the truth sometimes. But it does
establish the need for caution before accepting everything he says -- hook line
It does not help their cause to accuse Dr. Badawi and I of
questioning his character without cause. A quick review of the videos will
show that we did not hurl accusations. We showed facts. The facts
raised questions. The questions are not raised because of what we did.
We just did the honest and straightforward thing of detailing the evidence
for the topic at hand. The questions are raised, however, because of what
Dr. Morey himself did. If he did not misuse the evidence in the first
place, no questions about his character would have been raised. Dr. Badawi
and I have debated with many missionaries and academics from here to England.
We do not go around accusing these individuals of dishonesty. Why is this point
raised in relation to Dr. Morey?
The REF report claims that Dr. Badawi and I made too much
of Dr. Morey’s quotation of a hadith. Actually, it would have been a
small matter if Dr. Morey had been quick to admit his mistake. As it is,
he resisted the point. This is what compounded the difficulty. Dr.
Morey wanted to prove that the prophet was described as being white. This
would be valid evidence against the groups that promote the idea that whiteness
is devilish. The point is not difficult to prove, and Muslims do not
dispute the authentic hadiths which bear the meaning that the prophet had white
complexion. However, Dr. Morey in trying to prove this did make a glaring
error in his reference to a certain hadith in Saheeh Bukhari. This error
he is not willing to take the credit for.
Since this an ongoing contention, let me set the record
straight. Whereas the hadith in Bukhari said that someone saw the
whiteness of the prophet’s thigh, Dr. Morey had written that the person saw
the whiteness of the prophet’s penis. During my debate with Dr. Morey I
pointed to this mistake as a further example of Dr. Morey’s inaccurate manner
of making quotations. Dr. Morey, however, resisted my correction. He
insisted that the hadith said exactly what he wrote. He even motioned to
one of his informers who sat in the audience, an Arabic-speaking Christian, who
promptly stood up and testified that he had “checked it this morning.”
Thus Dr. Morey established that both in the original Arabic and in the
English translation the text said what he quoted and not what I claimed. This
made it necessary for me to use the transparency projection system to show the
audience a page from the actual book and settle the issue. The page showed
that both in the original Arabic and in the English translation the text said
“thigh” and not “penis.”
As it turns out, however, Dr. Morey had been using an
earlier edition of the translation which due to a typographical error had the
word “thing” instead of “thigh” in the English translation. Not
knowing the Arabic, Dr. Morey did not detect the mistake, and used it as a basis
for further substituting the word “penis” for “thing." Thus in
his book The Islamic Invasion Dr. Morey wrote that Anas “saw the whiteness of
the penis of Allah’s Prophet” Of course, Dr. Morey is not to blame for the
misprint in the translation he was working with. However, it is clear that
he is substituted one word for another and still kept the quotations marks to
disguise the substitution. This or course is not right. Quotation
marks should only surround actual quoted words. Paraphrases should be
identified as one’s own words. Dr. Morey needs to clean up his act.
It also becomes clear from this that Dr. Morey needs to
rely on competent Islamic scholars to decipher the Arabic texts he is working
with when he writes about Islam. His Arabic-speaking informant in the audience
that day did not prove to be of much help. I wonder how he could claim
that he “checked it this morning.”
The REF reporter claims that even after Dr. Morey placed
his page on the overhead projector for everyone to see the word “thing” in
the text Dr. Badawi still maintained that it said “thigh.” The
reporter hides the fact that Dr. Badawi was referring to his own page which he
also showed on the overhead projector. Via this camouflage the REF
reporter deceives his readers into thinking that Dr. Badawi could not see that
the word was “thing” on Dr. Morey’s page. Such a shameless
misrepresentation of the facts is very unchristian.
I wonder who the REF reporter is. Is he really Dr.
Morey writing in the third person?
Did the REF reporter not see that on the page displayed by
Dr. Badawi the word was thigh in both Arabic and English? And if the REF
reporter does not know Arabic can he or she read English? Then why does he
continue to pretend that Dr. Morey was correct?
From what was reported, one gets the impression that Dr.
Badawi and I have been very interested in discussing the word “penis”
whereas innocent Dr. Morey repeatedly denied having such interest. Both Dr.
Morey and the reporter seems to have missed the point. We were not
interested in the word. We were interested in showing how Dr. Morey
misuses his sources. And this is not the only evidence of such a misuse.
In response to another such example which Dr. Badawi clarified, all Dr.
Morey could claim is that he was typing at two o’clock in the morning thus the
mistake is excusable. Such mistakes, however, are not of the topographical
nature that tiredness would account for. They are examples of inserting
emotive expressions into quoted material to bring out specific points. Since
the points could not be made from the text, Dr. Morey inserted the points in his
words. Is this how academics go about their business?
According to the REF reporter, some Muslims shouted death
threats and foul language in an attempt to interrupt Dr. Morey. How could
this be true? I know that this did not happen in my debate–I was there.
And I know that it did not happen in Dr. Badawi’s debate–I reviewed
the entire tape. Which debate is the REF reporter referring to? As
far as I can tell from the debates which are the subject of this essay, the
Muslims saw truth overcoming evil both times. Naturally, they shouted
“Allahu Akbar,” Allah is the greatest, in glorification of God for the
victory of truth over falsehood. This I recall had visibly shaken one of
the moderators during my debate. But he did not claim anything more than
the right for Christians to shout “Halleluyah” ( praise be to Yahweh) in
The REF reporter suggests that Dr. Morey is willing to
debate Muslims if only we could present a debater who would deal with the issues
academically. But who is he kidding? We did in fact refute Dr. Morey
academically, as I have continued to do even in this essay. On the other
hand, Dr. Morey failed to refute Islam academically. Instead, he resorted
to his own newly invented idea about the origin of the name Allah to sow doubt.
And that we had a good time of refuting academically, didn’t we? Is
Dr. Morey hesitating to debate now because he is waiting for an academic scholar
to represent Islam? Or is it that he hesitates to debate the already
available academic representatives? I respect the fact that he has learnt
from past experience to not rush into another debate. Islam stands
irrefutable. Allahu Akbar.