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Robert Spencer (author)

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Robert Spencer
Robert Spencer.jpg
Born (1962-02-27) February 27, 1962 (age 56)
Residence United States
Nationality American
Alma mater University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, (M.A. 1986, Religious Studies)
Occupation Author, blogger
Years active 2002–present
Known for Criticism of Islam,
books and websites about
Jihad and Islamic terrorism
Notable work The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World's Most Intolerant Religion, (2006)
The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (And the Crusades), (2005)
Style Advocacy journalism
Website jihadwatch.org

Robert Bruce Spencer (born February 27, 1962) is an American author and blogger and a key figure of the "counter-jihad" movement in the United States.[1] He appears frequently on Fox News[2] and has given seminars to various law enforcement units in the United States.[3]

Spencer, a self-proclaimed expert on radical Islam,[4] has published a number of books on the subject including two New York Times bestsellers.[5] In 2003 he founded and has since directed Jihad Watch, a blog which he describes as containing "news of the international jihad, [and] commentary"[6] which is dedicated to "bringing public attention to the role that jihad theology and ideology plays in the modern world, and to correcting popular misconceptions about the role of jihad and religion in modern-day conflicts".[7]

He has also co-founded the anti-Muslim group Stop Islamization of America (SIOA)[8] and the Freedom Defense Initiative with blogger Pamela Geller, with whom he also co-authored a book, The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration's War on America.

His viewpoints have been described as anti-Islamic or Islamophobic,[9] Spencer describes himself as "the “good” kind of Islamophobe."[10] In 2013 the UK Home Office has barred Spencer and Geller from travel to the UK for 3 to 5 years for "making statements that may foster hatred that might lead to inter-community violence".

Background

Spencer is a member of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, the Eastern Catholic Antiochian Greek Catholic counterpart of the ancient Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch.[11][12] In a 2006 interview, Spencer stated that his grandparents were forced to emigrate from an area that is now part of Turkey because they were Christians.[6] According to a 2010 interview in New York magazine, Spencer's father worked for the Voice of America during the Cold War, and in his younger days, Spencer himself worked at Revolution Books, a Maoist bookstore in New York City founded by Robert Avakian.[13]

Spencer received an M.A. in 1986 in religious studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His masters thesis was on Catholic history.[14] He has said he has been studying Islamic theology, law, and history since 1980.[6][15] He worked in think tanks for more than 20 years,[13] and in 2002–2003 was an adjunct fellow with the Free Congress Foundation.[16] Spencer named Paul Weyrich, also a Melkite Catholic, as a mentor of his writings on Islam. Spencer writes, "Paul Weyrich taught me a great deal, by word and by example – about how to deal both personally and professionally with the slanders and smears that are a daily aspect of this work."[16]

Views on Islam

Spencer does not believe that traditional Islam is "inherently terroristic" but says he can prove that "traditional Islam contains violent and supremacist elements", and that "its various schools unanimously teach warfare against and the subjugation of unbelievers".[17] However, he rejects the notion that all Muslims are necessarily violent people.[17] He has said that among moderate Muslims, "there are some who are genuinely trying to frame a theory and practice of Islam that will allow for peaceful coexistence with unbelievers as equals."[18]

Spencer co-founded Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) and the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) with Pamela Geller in 2010. Both organizations are designated as hate groups by the Anti-Defamation League[19] and the Southern Poverty Law Center.[20][21][22]

Controversies

On December 20, 2006, the government of Pakistan announced a ban on Spencer's book, The Truth About Muhammad, citing "objectionable material" as the cause.[23]

Onward Muslim Soldiers was banned in Malaysia on July 12, 2007.[24]

In 2009, Spencer was asked to participate in an information session about Islam and Muslims designed for ethnic and multicultural librarians entitled "Perspectives on Islam: Beyond the Stereotyping", at the 2009 annual meeting of the American Library Association, which was sponsored by the ALA's Ethnic & Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT). After objections were raised by ALA members and the general public, the three other panelists withdrew in protest and the session was ultimately canceled.[25]

During Operation Protective Edge, Spencer was accused of spreading an anti-Palestinian misinformation video, originally published by Pamela Geller, by inaccurately claiming a video of an Egyptian die-in protest from Egyptian newspaper El Badil was a video of Hamas faking the number of casualties killed by Israel. Robert Spencer wrote “as Muhammad said, ‘War is deceit.’ And so here is more ‘Palestinian’ victimhood propaganda unmasked. Not that the international media and the world ‘human rights community’ will take any notice. Video thanks to Pamela Geller.” After El Badil had the video removed from Geller's YouTube account due to copyright infringement, El Badil wrote that Spencer and Geller's inability to distinguish a die-in protest from an Islamic funeral either makes them "incompetent to speak on Islam or they are professional liars."[26][27]

In an October 2010 news article, an investigative report by The Tennessean described Spencer as one of several individuals who "... cash in on spreading hate and fear about Islam." Tennessean investigation concluded "IRS filings from 2008 show that Robert Spencer earned $132,537 from the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and Horowitz pocketed over $400,000 for himself in just one year".[28][29]

Spencer was first invited to be a speaker at the Catholic Men’s Conference of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester on March 16, 2013.[30] The Bishop Robert Joseph McManus then decided to rescind the invitation.[31]

University appearances

On April 13, 2017, Spencer spoke at the Truman State University despite protests and a petition against him. He was invited by the Young America's Foundation.[32]

On May 1, 2017, Spencer was scheduled to speak at the University of Buffalo. There he was shouted down and heckled.[33]

On May 3, 2017, Spencer spoke at Gettysburg College. 375 alumni urged the college president Janet Morgan Riggs to cancel the speech, but the event went on as planned.[34] Spencer said, "There is one kind of diversity that is not valued generally in an academic setting and that is intellectual diversity."[35]

On November 14, 2017, Spencer spoke at Stanford University. Many students walked out during the event.[36]

Ban from entering the UK

On June 26, 2013, Spencer and Pamela Geller were banned from entering the UK.[37] They were due to speak at an English Defence League march in Woolwich, south London, where Drummer Lee Rigby was killed. Home Secretary Theresa May informed Spencer and Geller that their presence in the UK would "not be conducive to the public good".[38]

A letter from the UK Home Office stated that this decision is based on Spencer's statement that:

"It [Islam] is a religion or a belief system that mandates warfare against unbelievers for the purpose of establishing a societal model that is absolutely incompatible with Western society ... because of media and general government unwillingness to face the sources of Islamic terrorism these things remain largely unknown."[39]

The decision will stand for between three and five years. The ban followed a concerted campaign by the UK anti-extremism and civil rights organization Hope not Hate,[40] which said it had collected 26,000 signatures for a petition to the Home Secretary.[41] Spencer and Geller contested the ban, but in 2015 the British Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal, arguing that "this was a public order case where the police had advised that significant public disorder and serious violence might ensue from the proposed visit."[42][43]

The ban was criticised by Douglas Murray. He noted that Islamist hate preachers are still allowed to enter the UK.[44]

Bibliography

Best sellers

Other books

Pamphlets

See also

References

  1. ^ Lee, Benjamin (4 September 2015). "A Day in the "Swamp": Understanding Discourse in the Online Counter-Jihad Nebula". Democracy and Security. 11 (3): 248–274. doi:10.1080/17419166.2015.1067612. 
  2. ^ "Meet The Extremists Who Lead Fox's Conversation About Islam". Media Matters. January 13, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Anti-Muslim speakers still popular in law enforcement training". The Washington Post. March 12, 2014. 
  4. ^ Deland, Mats (2014). In the Tracks of Breivik: Far Right Networks in Northern and Eastern Europe. Berlin Wien: Lit Verlag. p. 162. ISBN 3-643-90542-4. 
  5. ^ Simon & Schuster: "Robert Spencer" retrieved December 25, 2015
  6. ^ a b c "Robert Spencer Jihad Watch, Director Q & A with Brian Lamb". CSpan. August 20, 2006. Retrieved November 30, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Why Jihad Watch?". Jihad Watch. Retrieved June 17, 2011. 
  8. ^ Jeffrey Kaplan; Heléne Lööw; Leena Malkki (2017). Lone Wolf and Autonomous Cell Terrorism. Taylor & Francis. p. 214. ISBN 978-1-317-53042-8. 
  9. ^ "EDL Anti-Muslim Speakers Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer Banned from Britain by Theresa May". Ibtimes. 26 June 2013. Retrieved May 4, 2015. 
  10. ^ "The Case for Islamophobia". Frontpage Mag. 2017-12-06. Retrieved 2018-05-23. 
  11. ^ "About Robert Spencer". Jihad Watch. Archived from the original on December 29, 2010. Retrieved October 29, 2010. 
  12. ^ Spencer, Robert (October 26, 2010). "Pope must condemn demonizing of Israel". Spero News. 
  13. ^ a b Mark Jacobson (August 22, 2010). "Muhammad Comes to Manhattan". New York. Retrieved November 1, 2010. 
  14. ^ "The monophysite in the mirror, by Robert Bruce Spencer". Davis Library Thesis, Religion, 1986. UNC-CH Libraries. 
  15. ^ "Marines gather to honor, celebrate". Trib.com. 2005-10-26. Retrieved 2010-11-01. 
  16. ^ a b Robert Spencer (December 19, 2008). "A Tribute: Paul Weyrich Has Died". Catholic Online. Archived from the original on March 9, 2009. Retrieved December 16, 2010. 
  17. ^ a b "The Last Patriot: Worse than Spencer's books!". Jihad Watch. July 7, 2008. 
  18. ^ Robert Spencer (January 14, 2006). "What is a moderate Muslim?". Jihad Watch. 
  19. ^ "Backgrounder: Stop Islamization of America (SIOA)" Archived 2012-05-02 at the Wayback Machine.. Extremism. Anti-Defamation League. March 25, 2011 [August 26, 2010]. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
  20. ^ Lach, Eric (March 1, 2011). "Pam Geller On 'Hate Group' Label: 'A Badge of Honor'". Talking Points Memo. 
  21. ^ "Pamela Geller & Stop Islamization of America". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 27 June 2011. 
  22. ^ Steinback, Robert (Summer 2011). "Jihad Against Islam". Intelligence Report, Issue #142. Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved June 27, 2011. 
  23. ^ "Pakistan: Book Closed on Muhammad". 
  24. ^ "Ministry Bans 14 Books". BERNAMA. 12 July 2007. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. 
  25. ^ Raya Kuzyk; Norman Oder (July 11, 2009). "ALA Conference 2009: Panelists Quit Session Featuring 'Islam Basher'". Library Journal. Retrieved June 11, 2011. 
  26. ^ Pamela Geller is transmitting hate against Palestinians by spreading misinformation, El Badil, (2014). Elbadil.com
  27. ^ Conservative Post, Gaza ‘Corpses’ Caught Moving When They Forget Cameras Are On Them, August 19, 2014 Conservativepost.com
  28. ^ "Anti-Muslim crusaders make millions spreading fear". October 24, 2010. Retrieved November 4, 2010. 
  29. ^ "David Horowitz Freedom Center's IRS Form 990" (PDF). June 3, 2009. Retrieved April 24, 2011. 
  30. ^ "Catholic speakers". 
  31. ^ "Catholic Men's Conference opens ticket sales". The Catholic Free Press. 8 February 2013. 
  32. ^ "Truman State grapples with controversial anti-Muslim speaker". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 
  33. ^ "No violence, but UB speaker greeted with tension, heckling". The Buffalo News. 
  34. ^ "Open letter from 375 alums urges President Riggs to cancel Robert Spencer's speech". The Gettysburgian. May 1, 2017. 
  35. ^ Pontz, Benjamin (May 3, 2017). "Robert Spencer's speech at Gettysburg College engages students in civil discourse". The Gettysburgian. 
  36. ^ "Stanford Students Walk Out, Protest During Robert Spencer Speaking Event". NBC Bay Area. 
  37. ^ "US bloggers banned from entering UK". BBC. June 26, 2013. Retrieved June 27, 2013. 
  38. ^ Rawlinson, Kevin (June 26, 2013). "Anti-Ground Zero Mosque campaigners Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer barred from entering Britain to speak at an EDL rally". The Independent. London. Retrieved June 27, 2013. 
  39. ^ The Speech that Got Robert Spencer Banned From the UK. YouTube. June 27, 2013. 
  40. ^ "Anti-Muslim pair banned from UK". Daily Express. UK. June 26, 2013. Retrieved June 27, 2013. 
  41. ^ Lowles, Nick. "Geller and Spencer Banned". Hope not Hate. Retrieved June 27, 2013. 
  42. ^ "Geller & Anor, R (on the application of) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department [2015] EWCA Civ 45 (05 February 2015)". British and Irish Legal Information Institute. Retrieved October 31, 2017. 
  43. ^ English, Rosalind (February 15, 2015). "Critics of Islam prevented from entering UK to attend Lee Rigby rally". UK Human Rights Blog. 1 Crown Office Row. Retrieved October 31, 2017. 
  44. ^ "A gross double standard over hate speech". The Spectator. UK. June 27, 2013. Retrieved February 8, 2017. 
  45. ^ Best Sellers – Hardcover NonfictionNYT
  46. ^ Paperback NonfictionNYT

External links