Answering Missionaries

May 24, 2006

Addressing some of Tony Costa’s erroneous comments

Filed under: Anti-Islamic/Muslim Polemics,James White,Shabir Ally vs James White — answeringmissionaries @ 6:51 pm

Hello folks

James White on the Dividing line 9/05/06 gave a talk in which he gave his view of his debate with Shabir Ally. The Christian apologist Tony Costa – who has also debated Shabir Ally in the past – called in and offered some of his comments on the debate as well. I am concerned with a particular statement Costa made about Shabir Ally’s debate with the notorious Christian polemicist Robert Morey. Costa tried to give the impression as if Shabir Ally did poorly and refused to have further debates with Robert Morey. This is what Costa said:

    “I know that when Robert Morey was up here in Toronto he debated Shabir and that was the end of it I don’t think he wants to ever touch Robert Morey again with a pole”

I was quite shocked on hearing this comment. That is because this statement is entirely false. I recently saw this debate and so can say with confidence that Tony Costa is absolutely wrong.1

In fact, Shabir Ally had to literally beg Robert Morey numerous times to have another debate. It was Robert Morey who consistently refused to have another debate! The entire episode is recorded on tape; therefore you can get hold of the debate and see for yourself.

I think it is not too difficult to see why Morey refused Shabir Ally’s request for another debate. It would be no exaggeration to say that Shabir Ally literally wiped the floor clean with Morey’s face. Morey was literally humiliated in this debate, all of his shoddy arguments and misquotations were exposed and he really couldn’t offer any defences of his absurd “moon-god” polemic. Doubt what I’ve said? Then I challenge you to obtain the debate and see for yourself how badly Robert Morey was bashed up in this debate by a very polite, gentle, sharp and focused Shabir Ally.

Moreover, when James White asked Costa if he thought Shabir Ally would be willing to debate him in the future, Costa replied that Shabir Ally is likely not to debate James White if he (Shabir Ally) felt he did not do well. However, we now know that Shabir Ally and James White will be debating again, this time in Scotland, Glasgow. So, following Costa’s logic, I suppose this means that Shabir Ally feels he did quite well against James White.2 Moreover, since Shabir Ally has debated Tony Costa at least 4 times in the past, that would suggest, following Costa’s logic of course, that Shabir Ally felt he did very, very well indeed against Tony Costa!

Besides making factually erroneous and strange comments, Costa also went on to claim that Shabir Ally allegedly keeps repeating mistakes even when he has been corrected. In order to support this baseless ad hominem, Costa did raise one example. He argued that he had already pointed out that the early chapters of Acts show the disciples holding Jesus in a position higher than Shabir would accept. This therefore disqualifies Shabir from appealing to these passages. Therefore, Costa does not see why Shabir Ally would continue appealing to these passages to prove his point. However, Costa fails to understand that Shabir Ally uses the passage in a variety of sound ways:

First, he may use it to remind a Christian of things that are forgotten in Christianity but are found in the Bible.

Second, he may use it to show that at the time of the writing the belief in Jesus as The Almighty God was not yet formulated. The fact that at the time there was already a high Christology does not detract from this point.

Finally, it is not Shabir’s responsibility to believe in the text of the Bible. Hence, in citing one part to prove a point he does not automatically have to believe the rest as well. Shabir cites a wide variety of materials without believing in everything mentioned in the sources.

Having said this, Costa’s claim actually backfires upon his evangelical friends. For instance, Joseph Smith – whose revisionist assertions about the formation of the Quran have been refuted many, many times in both debates and detailed papers, is still to be found in Speakers Corner, Hyde Park – London, repeating the same old refuted claims over and over again like a tape-recorder, almost every Sunday, as if they were never addressed. Similarly, Costa’s friend Robert Morey, and other Christian polemicist friends in general, also keep repeating the “Moon god” lie even though it has been refuted numerous times.


1. You can obtain the debate from this site: Although the debate is not to be found in the list, you can e-mail Br. Khalid Jan and request the debate from him.

2. In fact, having heard the debate last night, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that Shabir Ally did fantastic in his debate against James White. My congratulations to Shabir Ally for doing another fine job.


1 Comment »

  1. I agree with the above article and, as a Muslim, I completely back up the claim that Shabir Ally would not for any reason be afraid of debating Robert Morey. The only thing that the writer omitted was the fact that Morey acted disgracefully during the debate, using rude language and behaviour. For example, I remember Morey alleging at some point that Shabir Ally has “penis-envy” or *something to this effect.” Then of course there was the time that Shabir Ally was speaking and Morey was simply `roaming’ the stage behind him and making dismissive gestures.

    If someone feels that these are unsubstantiated claims, then the challenge has already been put above– get the tape! Simply watch the tape and ask yourself objectively and impartially whether Morey gave Ally the respect that one speaker should accord to another. The answer will be no.

    In fact, to add even more force to what I’m saying, I invite any one who has been unable to get a hold of this debate tape to contact me at my e-mail address: Since I have a VHS copy of the debate myself, I would be happy to assist anyone who is looking for it. It will make it clear that Tony Costa’s assertion that Shabir Ally would not want to touch Robert Morey with a pole is either false, or it is true only because of Morey’s disgraceful misconduct and unacademic ethos.

    Comment by Abu Deedat — February 22, 2007 @ 10:52 pm | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: