The Politically Incorrect Guide to Robert Spencer - updated

Sheila Musaji

Posted Jun 16, 2011      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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The Politically Incorrect Guide to Robert Spencer

by Sheila Musaji

Robert Spencer describes himself as an impartial scholar of Islam, and maintains that he is not an Islamophobe, and that in fact the term Islamophobia is either irrelevant or an attempt to silence critics.  He is only one of a number of individuals whose statements about Muslims and Islam can only be called alarming.  Although, he is not alone, he is perhaps the most prolific Islamophobe.  He runs the Jihad Watch site.  Jihad Watch is a program of the David Horowitz Freedom Center.  Spencer, along with his partner, Pamela Geller also run AFDI/SIOA/SION, organizations designated as hate groups.  See “There is a reason” below for detailed information.

Laura Rozen in a Politico article The Park51 money trail notes some interesting financial connections “Though it was not listed on the public tax reports filed by Horowitz’s Freedom Center, POLITICO has confirmed that the lion’s share of the $920,000 it provided over the past three years to Jihad Watch came from Chernick, whose husband, Aubrey Chernick, has a net worth of $750 million, as a result of his 2004 sale to IBM of a software company he created, and a security consulting firm he now owns.  ...  The David Horowitz Freedom Center had a budget of $4.5 million last year, according to its tax filings, of which $290,000 came from the conservative Bradley Foundation, which also gave $75,000 to the Center for Security Policy last year. Horowitz has received an average of $461,000 a year in salary and benefits over the past three years, while Spencer has pulled in an average of $140,000, according to the center’s IRS filings.”

Clearly we have free speech in the U.S., and free speech must be defended.  The line between hate speech and free speech is difficult to draw, but I believe that we need to at least attempt to recognize when speech crosses that line as important, and to respond to that speech appropriately.  My hope as an American Muslim is that we are able to learn to have respectful speech that does not close off the possibility of dialogue and alienate the very Muslims who could act as a bridge between cultures.

The vilification of Muslims, Arabs, and Islam has become relentless.  Individuals like Robert Spencer who are paid to engage in this vilification continually work towards making Islam and Muslims the “other”.  Repeating the same things over and over again has been shown to create credibility. False logic seems plausible, and even outright lies repeated often enough begin to sound like the truth.  Sadly, these stereotypes have replaced knowledge with ignorance and misperception, and ignorance fuels hatred of what we don’t know much about.  Muslims are consistently portrayed as “the other”, not part of us, and impossible to understand, and so not worthy of tolerance.  Just the mention of Islam creates a feeling of fear on the part of many non-Muslims because of what they have heard so often and causes them to believe that this fear is reasonable. 

“The leap from deviant Muslims perpetrating atrocities to a religion being impugned for the sins of its supposed adherents is breath-taking in its audacity. This distinction has become critical ever since the ‘’showdown with Saddam” transmuted into the ‘’war on terror.” With the daily mind-numbing imagery of maniacal Muslim ‘’insurgents” savaging troops and civilians alike, a transformation rapidly took place: The problem was just not Muslim terrorists but an ‘’evil” Islam itself. This is a theme broadcast with malevolent glee by talk shows on a daily basis thereby intensifying suspicion, fear, contempt, and hatred of Islam. Demonizing Islam makes it the enemy in the ‘’war on terror.” ... Ironically, it is us Muslims who have the greatest vested interest in eradicating terrorism. We need to do this to salvage our religion and our self-respect. As long as we are marginalized by the West and taunted by the extremists, we are made to feel as if we were part of the problem rather than of the solution, and our commitment becomes ambivalent. If the so-called war on terrorism has any chance of being won, there needs to be an immediate redefinition of the enemy.” Foe isn’t Islam, it’s Binladenism, Abdul Cader Asmal

Robert Spencer’s views on Islam are a part of an Islamophobia industry, and lead to seeing Muslims as suspect and Islam as the source of every negative action.  If Muslims are so different from other human beings that there can never be any motive for any action they undertake other than Islam (no Muslim criminals, no political, economic, social, or cultural motives for actions), if you can’t tell a moderate from an extremist, and even the moderates are dangerous, then that really does seem to limit the options to either criminalizing Islam, or carrying out a “final solution” against the Muslims.  This is the only direction that Robert Spencer’s arguments lead.

The Runnymede Trust in Britain identified eight components that define Islamophobia:

1) Islam is seen as a monolithic bloc, static and unresponsive to change.
2) Islam is seen as separate and ‘other’. It does not have values in common with other cultures, is not affected by them and does not influence them.
3) Islam is seen as inferior to the West. It is seen as barbaric, irrational, primitive and sexist.
4) Islam is seen as violent, aggressive, threatening, supportive of terrorism and engaged in a ‘clash of civilisations’.
5) Islam is seen as a political ideology and is used for political or military advantage.
6) Criticisms made of the West by Islam are rejected out of hand.
7) Hostility towards Islam is used to justify discriminatory practices towards Muslims and exclusion of Muslims from mainstream society.
8) Anti-Muslim hostility is seen as natural or normal.

I personally believe that Robert Spencer is an Islamophobe, and that all of these eight components of Islamophobia are prevalent in his writings.  Consider his own statements and make up your own mind.

IN HIS OWN WORDS:

Robert Spencer said that Islam itself is an incomplete, misleading, and often downright false revelation which, in many ways, directly contradicts what God has revealed through the prophets of the Old Testament and through his Son Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh… For several reasons… Islam constitutes a threat to the world at large.  

Spencer regarding Keith Ellison taking an oath on the Qur’an “I hope there will be some who have the courage to point out that no American official should be taking an oath on the Qur’an, since—as we have been pointing out here for over three years now—there are so many elements of traditional and mainstream Islam that are at variance with our system of government, our Constitution, and our entire way of life. But since that is blandly denied and unexamined by the mainstream media and government officials, it is much more likely that Qur’anic oath-taking will be allowed without any discussion at all.”   

Spencer said: When Shi’ite Muslims were persecuted by Sunnis, they developed the doctrine of taqiyya, or concealment: They could lie about what they believed, denying aspects of their faith that were offensive to Sunnis…Closely related to this is the doctrine of kitman, or mental reservation, which is telling the truth, but not the whole truth, with an intention to mislead…Remember that the next time you see a Muslim spokesman on television professing his friendship with non-Muslim Americans and his loyalty to the United States. Of course, he may be telling the truth–but he may not be telling the whole truth or he may be just lying.

He wrote regarding the Arab Israeli Knesset member who had sold secrets to Hisballah that “I have maintained from the beginning of this site and before that that there is no reliable way to distinguish a “moderate” Muslim who rejects the jihad ideology and Islamic supremacism from a “radical” Muslim who holds such ideas, even if he isn’t acting upon them at the moment. And the cluelessness and multiculturalism of Western officialdom, which make officials shy away from even asking pointed questions, only compound this problem.”  Then when the news came out that the Knesset member involved was Christian and not Muslim, a “correction” was posted:  “I have been reminded that Bishara is a Christian, which makes him instead of a false moderate, an example of what Hugh calls an “islamochristian,” or a dhimmi Christian who has imbibed the values of his Muslim overlords. I apologize for the error.”  Amazing logic here.  If a Muslim did it, he’s guilty.  And, even those Muslims who are not guilty right now are just temporarily not acting on their negative impulses.  If a Christian did it, he was corrupted by the Muslims.

He said regarding the Hutaree militia arrests “For years now we have heard, in the indelible formulation of Rosie O’Donnell, that “radical Christianity is just as dangerous as radical Islam,” and yet proponents of this exercise in wishful thinking and ignorance have had precious little evidence to adduce in support of it. But now it is certain that for years to come this Hutaree group will be thrown in the face of anyone who takes note of jihad activity in the United States and around the world, as if this group in itself balances and equals the innumerable Islamic groups that are waging armed jihad all around the world today.  ...  The Islamic jihad is global, well-financed (courtesy our friend and ally Saudi Arabia) and relentless. One self-proclaimed Christian group should not divert us from the ongoing need to defend ourselves against that jihad. But for many, it will.”  This refusal to acknowledge the reality that terrorism, extremism, and violence are a problem that is not confined to Muslims.  In fact, the majority of such acts are carried out by non-Muslims.

He said at CPAC “It’s absurd” to think that “Islam is a religion of peace that’s been hijacked by ... extremists” 

Spencer said “The misbegotten term “Islamo-fascism” is wholly redundant: Islam itself is a kind of fascism that achieves its full and proper form only when it assumes the powers of the state.” 

Spencer said “The term “Islamo-Fascists” no more blames the religion of Islam than the term “Italian Fascism” blames Italy for fascism. It merely refers to those Muslims—who obviously really exist—who invoke Islam to justify violence and supremacism, whether they are invoking Islamic doctrines correctly or not.”

Spencer said about Muslim population in Europe “And those who are talking about it are smeared and vilified as racists and bigots. When a nuclear-powered Islamic Republic of France threatens the U.S., however, some Americans may come to regret the ease with which they swallowed and even propagated defamation and lies about anti-jihad European politicians such as Geert Wilders.”

He totally missed the point of the unconstitutionality of Franklin Graham speaking at the Pentagon and called the decision to exclude Graham “the Army’s dhimmitude”

He wrote “Ever since I began doing this work publicly my point has been simple and consistent: that the jihad terrorists are working from mainstream traditions and numerous Qur’anic exhortations, and that by means of these traditions and teachings they are able to gain recruits among Muslims worldwide, and hold the sympathy of others whom they do not recruit. This explains why there has been no widespread, sustained, or sincere Muslim outcry against the jihad terrorist enterprise in general. The mainstream media, both liberal and conservative, does not want to face these facts.”  His scholarship somehow doesn’t include the fatwas, statements by Muslim organizations, statements by Muslim individuals - or these quotes that clearly denounce extremism and terrorism.  He also clearly has never heard about the Muslim voices promoting Islamic non-violent solutions to political and social problems.

Spencer promoted the fraudulent Iranian yellow badge story and even after it was proven untrue, he couldn’t bring himself to issue an unqualified disclaimer“Untrue, or too hot for public consumption at this time? That remains to be seen. While Nazi analogies dominate analyses of this, as I pointed out yesterday it is actually a revival of traditional elements of Islamic law for dhimmis. That makes it entirely reasonable that an aggressive Islamic state like Iran would reinstitute such laws; but now that international attention has focused upon them for contemplating doing so, it is likely not that they will abandon the project, but simply implement it when the world media has turned to other matters.”  He has a particularly hostile view of all things Iranian, as he also promoted the fraudulent August 22, 2006 “Doomsday” story. 

Spencer wrote “I have written on numerous occasions that there is no distinction in the American Muslim community between peaceful Muslims and jihadists. While Americans prefer to imagine that the vast majority of American Muslims are civic-minded patriots who accept wholeheartedly the parameters of American pluralism, this proposition has actually never been proven.”, and as Islamophobia Watch has pointed out, this is the same man who has said “Islam is not a monolith, and never have I said or written anything that characterizes all Muslims as terrorist or given to violence.”  There seems to be a disconnect in his logic. 

During the incident with Debbie Almontaser and the Khalil Gibran Academy in NYC, he posted an article from the NY Post with his own heading reading “Does an Islamic supremacist have a right to head a New York City public school”  This description does not appear in the referenced article, so it can only be assumed that this is his take on the question. 

When Muslim Charities and individuals responded to the Haiti earthquake with humanitarian relief, Spencer posted an article with the title “Jihad groups set up camp in Haiti”, and another article saying that Muslim aid was conspicuous by its absence

Spencer called for “all free people” to support the English Defense League (EDL), saying The EDL deserves the support of all free people.

Colm O’Broin has collected 10 statements by Robert Spencer, and 10 statements by Julius Streicher, the Nazi propagandist, which highlight the disturbing similarities between Islamophobic and Antisemitic messages Islamophobia and Antisemitism: Same message, different minority


WHY DOES ANYONE STILL LISTEN TO ROBERT SPENCER?

It is difficult to understand how this man can be called on by the FBI and other government agencies to explain Islam to law enforcement officers, or how they could recommend his hateful books.

Robert Spencer and his partner Pamela Geller have been caught in the act of making up or distorting numerous claims and telling outright lies, and when this becomes impossible to deny,  they engage in devious methods to attempt to conceal the evidence.  primarily by simply attempting to “disappear” articles.


THERE IS A REASON ROBERT SPENCER CAN’T BE TRUSTED

The claim that the Islamophobes are “truth-tellers” and “defenders of freedom” who actually “love Muslims” and Permalink