Ergun Caner in The Master's Pulpit - Spring 2003 (apparently April 2, 2003)
All times approximate:
(0:15) "Many of the misconceptions that we have, who are foreigners, about America, is we thought all of America was going to be like California. I will explain a little more as we go. My full name is Ergun Michael Mehmet Giovanni Caner. "Canner" is an Americanization of Caner. I was born in Stockholm, Sweden. I am Turkish, obviously. You can tell by looking at me, I'm not Swedish. I am fully Turkish. Twenty-one generations of Muslims in my family. My father is Acar Mehmet Caner. I only tell you that because in my culture, that is how you introduce yourself. My father was a muezzin in the mosque, that is the one who does the call to prayer - the one who is an ulema, and teaches as well."
a) It would be interesting to see Dr. Caner's birth certificate with such a name on it. The only official documents we've seen have "Ergun Michael Caner," but perhaps there is some more official record out there.
b) It's hard to see how Caner, with a Swedish mother, could be "fully Turkish."
c) Ulema is plural - it means "scholars." You can't be "a scholars."
d) In what culture do you introduce yourself by providing your full name and that of your father?
(1:10) "Everything, I'd ever thought about your country and your culture, I thought I understood, solely through television. Everything that we understood about your culture, we understood through television, and of course that led to misconceptions. I'm sure you have misconceptions about my people. Some of them are true, some of them are simply caricatures. Some of them are true. My first job was in fact, in a convenience store, which - alright. I am Apu."
a) He was apparently 2 or 3 years old when he came to America. How much conception, much less misconception, could he have had?
b) Recall that in a previous clip, Caner said: "My first job was not a convenience store."
(1:45) "But everything I knew about your country, I learned through television. So the first thing I watched - they would translate it into our language, into Turkish or into Arabic - and we would watch it, and this is how we saw America. The first thing we saw, we got ubiquitously, was Andy Griffith. Andy of Mayberry. So, I thought all of America was like Mayberry. I came to America through Brooklyn, NY. Yeah, you can see this."
a) Notice how Caner makes it sound like he speaks Turkish and/or Arabic.
b) And again, how much does a toddler really grasp from Andy Griffith?
(3:10) "The third thing is a bit of an embarrassing admission, especially for one who is supposed to be a professor and I've been now a professor for going on five years. But we used to addictively watch American professional wrestling, and nobody told me it was fake. You understand, so I would watch - I thought Americans were the toughest people on the planet. Because you'd get hit in the head with shoes and chairs and such and then you'd get back up - you know - and talk about meeting you at the Omni - you know, and things of this nature. So, I was addicted to this."
I wouldn't doubt he was addicted to wrestling TV, but presumably this developed some time after his toddler years.
(3:40) "I come to America, and I see all these misconceptions are gone. One of the things my father said -- I am the oldest of three sons, and we came here when we were entering - I was already in high school, but my brothers were entering into high school...
As mentioned above, from what we can tell, it seems Caner actually came as a toddler, not a teenager.
(5:05) "I knew nothing about America - I learned English very very very rudimentarily, and so I had to become an American, and I became an American citizen...
I guess this may be technically true, if he was a toddler. But considering his "Turkish" and "Arabic" claims earlier, what kind of impression does it convey?
(7:15) "You can obviously tell that my wife does not call me Ergun Michael Mehmet Giovanni Caner - she calls me 'Butch.'"
As did a lot of people, apparently, before 9/11.
(8:20) "Inevitably, we run into Muslims who will debate us. They will even come to our churches. The have rushed stages in Sacramento at Arcade Baptist Church. They have, in Springdale, Arkansas, come forward at the invitation to argue. In Atlanta, Georgia, they have protested us."
It would be great if any of these supposed events could be corroborated. If you witnessed any of these things, please let me know.
(32:40) "I came to this country to be a missionary of Islam to you."
Hard to see how to justify that kind of claim, if he came here as a toddler.
(32:50) "My father was an architect, and so we built mosques. And he worked on the mosque in Brooklyn, and then he worked on the Mosque in Columbus, Ohio, and then Toledo, Ohio. He did this his entire life."
The web of different stories regarding the Toledo mosque is particularly complex. (see this previous entry, for example)
(33:00) "We were so devout - we were there - I was the equivalent of a P.K. so to speak. I was in the mosque, every time the doors opened - every time. We read the Koran, kissed it, placed it to our foreheads, put it on the highest shelf. We read the Hadith, Al-Bukhari's hadith on the laws and jurisprudence of Allah.
(33:40) "Surah 4:101 Know that the infidels are open enemies unto you - that's you - Surah 5:32 Take no friends from among the Jews or the Christians. Surah 9:29 Sieze them and slay them, where you will find them. So, I came to this country, to try to get you. We lived and died by the five pillars of Islam: Abinadab, Salat, Zakat, Swan, Haj."
a) Caner does surely make it sounds like he came to America to kill Christians. But he was two or so when he came, and there is no evidence that his father was a radical Islamist.
b) The first pillar is Shahada, not Abinadab - Abinadab is not even the name of one of the pillars. It's frankly a little bit of a mystery why Caner uses that term for it.
(35:40) "It was through one high school who wouldn't shut up. One high school kid - One kid who wouldn't leave me alone. I dressed differently. I spoke differently. I ate differently. I lived by halal and haram. I wore my keffiyah - my robes. I had nothing to do with him, he had nothing to do with me, why wouldn't he leave me alone?"
Note the repeated claim to dress differently. Also, this bit about speaking differently - why? He grew up in Ohio. Why would he have an accent?
(36:50) "I walked into the Stelzer Road Missionary Baptist Church in Columbus, Ohio in full garb with my Koran."
More of the dressing differently claim.
(38:50) "Pastor Clarence had his eyes closed and he was preaching. And he opened his eyes and there stands this boy in front of him, 17 years old, in full gear."
Yet again - more of dressing differently. Also, this age does not fit his November 4, 1982, alleged conversion date.
(40:05) "In the years that followed, both my brothers got saved."
I hope that they were saved, and I should note that in some cases the story is "the following year," as opposed to "years that followed," but I suppose that is of little significance.