RUBIN: What are the main reasons you think it is so hard for Western policymakers, journalists, and academics to understand and deal accurately with Islam and political Islamic movements?
SPENCER: I think the main reason is that Islam is a religion. If it were a secular political ideology, many non-Muslims who support it now would have no problem opposing its authoritarian and supremacist aspects, its denial of the freedom of speech and freedom of conscience, its oppression of women and non-Muslims, and more. But Islamic advocacy groups in the U.S. have been canny in obscuring Islam’s political aspects, and in portraying efforts to resist political and supremacist Islam as infringements upon Muslims’ religious freedom. They have also deftly appropriated the language of the civil rights movement and portrayed Muslims as victims, despite the ever-mounting number of jihad attacks and plots — and victim language always causes the American Left to swoon and fall at one’s feet.