Robert Spencer: Political Islam is now in Southern Mexico and Latin America

Robert Spencer: Political Islam is now in Southern Mexico and Latin America

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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]

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He has also co-founded Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) 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, [8] while he denies this and says he focuses his criticism on radical Islam and its violence.[4] 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”,[9] a decision which drew criticism.

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]

In an interview with The Washington Post he was “… asked if he was being deliberately combative and provocative, Spencer chuckled. “Why not?” he asked. “It’s fun.””[23]

The Council on American-Islamic Relations has also condemned Robert Spencer on various occasions.[24]

Former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto accused Spencer of “falsely constructing a divide between Islam and West”. She said he was using the Internet to spread hatred of Islam by presenting a “skewed, one-sided, and inflammatory story that only helps to sow the seed of civilizational conflict”.[25] Spencer stated that the passage Bhutto cited was written by Ibn Warraq.[26]

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Karen Armstrong has criticized Spencer’s work as showing “entrenched hostility” towards Islam, and contends that his citations of Islamic scripture are cherry-picked,[27] stating among other examples that “Spencer never cites the Koran’s condemnation of all warfare as an ‘awesome evil’, its prohibition of aggression or its insistence that only self-defence justifies armed conflict…” She concludes that “His book is a gift to extremists who can use it to ‘prove’ … that the west is incurably hostile to their faith.” Spencer responds: “Yet the verse she quotes (2:217) actually says only that warfare during the ‘sacred month’ is an ‘awesome evil’, and adds: ‘Persecution is worse than killing.’” Spencer accuses Armstrong of context-dropping by omitting the fact that this was a defense for Muhammad’s war in response to his persecution.[28]

Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called Spencer and Geller American anti-Muslim writers because their writings “promote a conspiratorial anti-Muslim agenda under the pretext of fighting radical Islam. This belief system parallels the creation of an ideological — and far more deadly — form of anti-Semitism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.” He continued, “we must always be wary of those whose love for the Jewish people is born out of hatred of Muslims or Arabs.”[29][30] The Institute on Religion and Democracy said about him: “Spencer’s comprehensive understanding of his Christian faith and Islam along with lucidly insightful writing give the lie to his international notoriety as a bigoted ‘Islamophobe.’”[31]

Dinesh D’Souza, of the Hoover Institution, wrote that Spencer downplays the passages of the Quran that urge peace and goodwill to reach one-sided opinions. He contends that Spencer applies a moral standard to Muslim empires that could not have been met by any European empire.[32]

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) listed Spencer as a “Smearcaster” in an article in 2008, stating that “by selectively ignoring inconvenient Islamic texts and commentaries, Spencer concludes that Islam is innately extremist and violent”.[33]

During a chapter of ACT! for America in Mission Vejo in 2015, Spencer said that: “When we see the Islamic State (ISIS), we see not only that they embody Islam as I have explained here in this, that’s all in the Quran what they do, but also that they embody what may be, the foremost evil force that the world has ever seen.”[34]

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Stephen Bannon praised him: “He’s… one of the top two or three experts in the world on this great war we are fighting against fundamental Islam.”[35]

Reverend C. John McCloskey praised him: “Robert Spencer, perhaps the foremost Catholic expert on Islam in our country”.[36]

Author Peter D. Hannaford praised his book Did Muhammad Exist?: “He has engaged in concerted detective work of a scholarly nature. His book is no polemic. It is a serious quest for facts. The ones wrapped up in the Muslim canon are, alas, elusive … This book is well-written and moves right along despite considerable detail.”[37]

Wolf Bachner from the website Inquisitr defended him in the introduction for an interview: “Spencer uses the authentic teachings of the Qur’an and the Hadith, decades of Islamic Jurisprudence and the actual words of living Islamic clerics and leaders to illustrate the undying hostility expressed towards the non-Muslim world by centuries of Islamic doctrine.”[38]

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