Friday, February 25, 2011

Loonwatch vs. Translating Jihad - Part Two

In defending himself against critics, the Apostle Paul regretted in 2 Corinthians chapters eleven and twelve that his enemies forced him to adopt the same methods they used to attack him. "Since you are boasting about how much you have accomplished and how great you are," he said in essence, "Let me do the same thing."

Similarly in defense against a critic who points out a mistake, one is at times obliged to note that the critic makes the same type of mistake. Loonwatch recently went to great lengths to "expose" an innocent grammatical mistake committed by Arabic translator Al Mutarjim, but the writing of Loonwatch itself leaves much to be desired. At one point Loonwatch wrote:

Just imagine if a Chinese immigrant applied to be a fifth grade English teacher in Texas and if he stated that “I was official translated at other school I work for.” Immediately the employer would know that this applicant has very poor English and would not be appropriate for the position of English teacher.

I find it curious that a writer who just spent pages and pages criticizing an American who mistakenly chose an Arabic passive participle instead of the active participle for his screen name has no understanding of the use of the subjunctive case in English grammar. The subjunctive is used in "contrary to fact" sentences, or "what if" sentences. As soon as the writer began with "Just imagine if a Chinese immigrant applied...." he put his sentence into the "what if" category. The English rule of maintaining case is to continue using that case as long as the writer continues in the "what if" scenario. English uses past tense verbs in the subjunctive tense so that instead of  "has very poor English", as Loonwatch wrote, it should be "had very poor English".

Loonwatch is also unaware of the difference between direct and indirect discourse. The same paragraph read, "....and if he stated that "I was official...." Loonwatch had the choice of either using indirect discourse with the word "that", or direct discourse with quotation marks in the first person, but he couldn't do both. In other words, the sentence could correctly read ..and if he stated that he was (indirect discourse). It could also read...and if he stated, "I was..." (direct discourse) But you can't have both.

While we're at it, Loonwatch does not even know how to use the simple English article. He can either write "for the position of an English teacher" or "for the position of the English teacher", but he can't just leave it out.

A correct (although still not very-well written) paragraph would have read:

Just imagine if a Chinese immigrant applied to be a fifth grade English teacher in Texas and if he stated, “I was official translated at other school I work for.” Immediately the employer would know that this applicant had very poor English and would not be appropriate for the position of the English teacher.

So a writer who does not understand the use of the subjunctive case, has no awareness of the difference between direct and indirect discourse, and cannot even correctly use a simple English article criticizes an Arabic translator who mispronounced a single vowel in his screen name. Brilliant!

I am sure that Loonwatch would assure us that he understood English grammar perfectly well, but was just writing bil-ajalah (hastily). Haram alaykum Loonwatch! Have you no shame?

Loonwatch also states that students of Arabic learn the difference between Al Murtajim and Al Murtajam in Arabic 101, and proves this by showing a vocabulary list containing the word Al Murtajim "the translator". Loonwatch is being deceptive and misleading. The student might learn that particular vocabulary item in the first semester, but will not be taught the intricacy of the difference between an active and a passive participle in the derived verb measures until much later. Ayb alaykum Loonwatch! Shame on you!

American students, on the other hand, do learn how to use the definite and indefinite article in English in first grade, and the difference in direct and indirect discourse as well as the correct use of the subjunctive tense not much later. I wonder where Loonwatch was during those classes? Maybe his mind was wandering and he was thinking about his Hot Mama. Perhaps a friend just told him he looked like his mother, and he remembered his Prophet had stated a child would resemble the parent who first achieved orgasm in intercourse!

Hopefully Loonwatch is more proficient with Arabic grammar than he is with English. If so, I look forward to his grammatical explanation of the mistakes in ayah 56 of surat Al A'raf. Why is the ta in rahmat an open ta and not a ta marbutah as it should be? Why does qarib have tanween in the nominative case, rather than the accusative case as it should with an open ta? And if rahmat is being used as an adjective in the feminine gender, why is qarib masculine?

Loonwatch could scurry to find online sources that provide an explanation, but I can assure him none of them will be satisfactory. As is always the case, Muslims will do anything to avoid the issue. Rather than honestly answer my question, Loonwatch will probably pour over my blog to find something to attack me. After all, that's what he did with Al Mutarjim.


Cyril Lucar said...

Two thoughts:

1) Spank!

2) We're not worthy...

Anonymous said...

I've never heard of loonwatch, so went and had a look to see what it's about.  Rather wish I hadn't.  These days it's hard to have an opinion without being accused of being a racist, a nazi, or a (blank)aphobic.  It's the verbal equivalent of picking a fight with somebody who turns out to a little tougher or better armed than you supposed, then curling up into a ball and screaming for assistance from well-meaning but uninformed bystanders, appealing to their sense of humanity, taking advantage of their desire to do the right thing and come to the aid of an apparent victim.  It's the same defense used by the Palestinians who throw rocks at armed soldiers, get shot, then appeal to human rights groups for sympathy and assistance.

Looking through the comments, it's clear that the general readership of loonwatch are not open to civilized, rational discussion.  Since they feel they are so victimized in the West, what with the lack of Shariah law and all, perhaps they should consider relocating to a predominantly Muslim country that's a little more hospitable toward their ideology and beliefs.  I hear Libya is accepting applicants - 

Anonymous said...


I tried to post here yesterday, and it appeared my post was published. However, I checked later and it had disappeared.

Anonymous said...

p.s., Loonwatch has produced two more articles about this. In one, they claim that Al Mutarjim deliberately mistranslated the word nikah in a fatwa, and that he hid the fatwa writer's true opinion on marriage to prepubescent girls. In the other article, Loonwatch tries to present Al Mutarjim as a nut, and they respond to Staring at the View's defense.

I'm not impressed with their attack on Al Mutarjim. They seem to be making much ado about a judgment call in translation.

Quotable Quotes: said...

Thanks for your comment. I never delete comments, so don't know why yours disappeared. My conclusion about Loonwatch is that they, as with all Muslims, must defend Muhammad at all cost. No ruse is too deceptive, no trick too dirty, no lie too great, when it comes to defending their Prophet (who is apparently unable to defend himself).

Anonymous said...



I think there was some technical quirk with Google Blogger...I had the same thing happen on another Blogger site a while back.

Anyways, as for Loonwatch, Danios and Dawood, in their attacks against Al Mutarjim, made the deceptive claim that nikah should have been translated as "marriage" and not as "sexual intercourse." Even if the word marriage might have been more appropriate in context, nikah still implies a union intended for sexual intercourse. (This is also implied by verse 65:4, which was cited by the fatwa-writer).

Quotable Quotes: said...

One problem is that Arabic words are often imprecise and can not be tied down to a single meaning. The 'aqd al-nikah is the marriage contract, leading to the conclusion that nikah means marriage. On the other hand, nikah can be used as the f-word. So when Mutarjim says nikah means sex and Loonwatch says it means marriage, they are both right!

Anonymous said...


Indeed. I don't know Arabic myself, but a bit of searching "nikah" through Google Books confirmed for me what you just said. I also checked a few dictionary and encyclopedia sources, and they confirm both meanings.

Loonwatch seems to be hoping that readers will simply side with them and accept their translation of nikah, along with their claim that Al Mutarjid was wrong. Many readers at Loonwatch probably don't know Arabic, and thus would have no basis for judging between Loonwatch's translation and Al Mutarjid's--except by doing a bit of checking on their own, as I did.

Anonymous said...

--excuse the typo-- Al Mutarjim

Anonymous said...


Loonwatch tries to make a big deal out of the fact that Al Mutarjim is a Christian. From this, they try to portray him as a "nut." Now, I'm not religious myself, but it doesn't seem to me that 80 or 85% of the American public are "nuts" simply because they profess Christian beliefs.

Anyways, Loonwatch, particularly Dawood and Danios, show astounding hypocrisy in this regard. In one of their fraudulent articles about Translating Jihad, they write [my emphasis]:

"In essence then, the fact that Islam does not specify a specific age for marriage is a blessing and part of the leeway given to the people by the Merciful God."

Dawood and Danios are not only professing their belief in Allah, but they have clearly gone nuts in trying to spin Islam's lack of a minimum age limit for marriage as a positive thing, "a blessing"! Their minds have, apparently, been warped under the weight of having to defend Islam and never being able to criticize it.

Anonymous said...

Savour the irony: "pour over my blog"
should of course use "pore". It is
said that "even Homer nods".