Robert Spencer Just Can’t Handle the Truth

“Pre-eminent scholar” Robert Spencer is just like Tom Cruise in the movie “A Few Good Men.” He simply just “can’t handle the truth!”

In a recent post, Spencer attempts to debunk a Washington Post article about common myths about mosques in America written by Edward E. Curtis IV. It is an excellent piece, but apparently that was too much for Spencer, and he inserts a whole host of mistruths to counter the realities of the WaPo article.

For instance, in his response to the Myth #1: “Mosques are not new to this country,” Spencer writes:

See, folks? Curtis is here semaphoring that Muslims are a victim class, that they always have been, and that opposition to them is racially-based. As for Job Ben Solomon, I suspect that Curtis’s source here is a Muslim one, designed to reinforce a sense that Muslims are victims rather than tell actual history.

Robert Spencer just “can’t handle the truth.” Islam and Muslims have been present in the New World before our great Republic was a gleam in the Founders’ eyes, and Spencer, it seems, just can’t fathom this. So, he claims that the story about Job Ben Solomon was from a “Muslim source.” Umm…sorry, Robert, he was an actual, real person:

African Muslim slave. Ayuba Suleiman Diallo (later known to Europeans as Job Ben Solomon) was born to a powerful family of Muslim clerics of the Fulbe tribe in the northern region of present-day Senegal. While he was in Africa, Job received formal educational training in both secular and religious fields. He assisted his father in trade and became quite wealthy by the age of twenty-nine, owning three houses, a plantation with eighteen servants, and more than seventy head of cattle. In February 1730, however, Job’s father sent him on a slave-trading mission that would ironically lead to his own capture and enslavement in North America.

My source? The Oxford African American Studies Center. Not satisfied? Here is another source: Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture. Still not enough? Here is yet another source: The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. All non-Muslim sources. Or, are they all conspiring in a Leftist “dhimmi” conspiracy? Oh…wait…I remember: they are all secret Muslim sources practicing “taqiyya.”

In response to Myth #2: “Mosques try to spread sharia law in the United States,” Spencer penned this:

Anyway, what do mosques in America teach? As long ago as January 1999, the Naqshbandi Sufi leader Sheikh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani declared in a State Department Open Forum that Islamic supremacists controlled most mosques in America: “The most dangerous thing that is going on now in these mosques,” he said, “that has been sent upon these mosques around the United States – like churches they were established by different organizations and that is ok – but the problem with our communities is the extremist ideology. Because they are very active they took over the mosques; and we can say that they took over more than 80% of the mosques that have been established in the US. And there are more than 3000 mosques in the US. So it means that the methodology or ideology of extremism has been spread to 80% of the Muslim population, but not all of them agree with it.”

When I read that, my bull**** detector went full-tilt. I have seen and heard this “fact” be trumpeted around, that “80% of the mosques are Saudi funded,” without any actual hard evidence…except the word of a few “experts” and and some random Sufi Sheikh.

Later on, he states again that “it is estimated that as many as 80% of mosques in America are Saudi funded.” Estimated by who? And are you sure this is exactly 80%? No, because in the article Spencer says: “as many as…” So, it could be 10%, or 76%, or 3%. And to back up this 80% figure, he quotes a 700 Club article that repeats this same “fact.” And we know how much the 700 Club loves Islam!

This claim that 80% of American mosques are Saudi funded is a lie, plain and simple. Spencer has done this before, claiming that “as many as 75 percent of the imprisoned women in Pakistan are, in fact, behind bars for the crime of being a victim of rape.” Again, no evidence whatsoever to back up such an outrageous claim.

Hardly a scholarly study, but, hey, this is Robert Spencer we are talking about: if one Muslim somewhere does or says something that backs up his fantastical claims, he posits this is “definitive proof,” claiming that everyone else is lying to you.

In response to Myth #5: “Mosques lead to homegrown terrorism,” Spencer writes this:

All right, so some mosques promote “radical extremism,” and some don’t, and since some don’t, mosques should not be “feared as incubators of terrorist indoctrination,” despite the fact that “alienated young Muslims” might “turn away from the peaceful path advocated by their elders in America’s mosques” in their rage over “Islamophobia.”

Funny how no amount of rage would ever lead me to blow myself up in a crowded restaurant. But that’s just me.

You know what, Mr. Spencer, the vast majority of Muslims would never blow themselves up in a crowded restaurant either, no matter how much rage they may have as well. Of course, he will never say that. Yet, lest we forget, Robert Spencer did promote a genocidal video on his website, produced by a group responsible for ethnic violence against Muslims. He has also supported the call for the annihilation of Pakistan. And he also called for a new Crusade.

Yet, let us show Mr. Spencer what real scholarship looks like.  A study was conduced Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University and the University of North Carolina, supported by a grant from the Department of Justice, that found:

Contrary to Spencer’s contention, there has been increased Anti-Muslim Bias. Since 9/11, relatively low numbers of American Muslims have been radicalized, and that it is a limited, though serious, problem. Various practices of Muslim-American communities actually prevent radicalization, such as:

  • Public and private denunciations of terrorism and violence
  • Self-policing
  • Community building
  • Political engagement
  • Identity politics

In fact, the study suggested that mosques were a deterrent against, not promoter of, radicalization among American Muslims.

So, as is clear, when presented with facts that dispute his anti-Islamic fantasies, Robert Spencer resorts to obfuscation. Like I said, he just “can’t handle the truth.”

22 thoughts on “Robert Spencer Just Can’t Handle the Truth

  1. For further detail on this type of issue, I recommend looking online at the various presentations and articles of Scott Atran. He has done an incredible amount of quantitative and qualitative research and analysis of suicide-terrorism since 9/11 (including personally interviewing Hamas and JI recruits, their families and so on). He shows that attending mosques is actually a negative indicator of propensity to commit terrorist acts. That in actual fact, it is when a peer-group leaves the mosque and Muslim community environment, and self-radicalises away from religious leaders, elders, and in many cases even other family members, that things become problematic. This is especially true due to the use of the Internet as a major tool in such situations.

    I recommend checking out his presentation from 2007 at the Beyond Belief 2.0 conference, which has corresponding slides (from the presentation) here. It is a fascinating presentation and does indeed give a “reality check” as he mentions right at the start.

  2. Just a heads up that I commented with some links, so it might have been caught in the filter – definitely well worth checking them out on this issue.

  3. I’ve been to many mosques in the US, at least a dozen. I’ve even taken “Sunday school” classes in some of them. None of them told me to wage war on the West. The claims Islamophobes make are totally BS.

  4. Who should I trust? A reputable news organization who takes responsibility for fact-checking their information? Or Spencer who runs from any activity involving peer-reviewed scholarship?
    Hmmm…

  5. The poor schmuck has always been morally and intellectually bankrupt, but I suppose he needs to be someone’s slave in order to earn those high income $$$ in the Islamophobia industry.

  6. Christopher Hitchens sums it best:

    “Reactions from even “moderate” Muslims to criticism are not uniformly reassuring. “Some of what people are saying in this mosque controversy is very similar to what German media was saying about Jews in the 1920s and 1930s,” Imam Abdullah Antepli, Muslim chaplain at Duke University, told the New York Times. Yes, we all recall the Jewish suicide bombers of that period, as we recall the Jewish yells for holy war, the Jewish demands for the veiling of women and the stoning of homosexuals, and the Jewish burning of newspapers that published cartoons they did not like. What is needed from the supporters of this very confident faith is more self-criticism and less self-pity and self-righteousness.”

    • Except the Jews in Germany weren’t accused and persecuted as being “suicide bombers”, “misogynists”, etc. , but as something else that’s detrimental to society. It is very much comparable, as is the singling out of any other kind of minority in order to place a collective blame for something on them. Hitchens just completely misses that concept (or didn’t bother to address it) and instead just focuses on the irrelevant details of the comparison.

      There is no collective blame on all Muslims (or any other ethnic/religious group of people for that matter) for anything. Not 9/11, not the wars, and not what goes on in predominantly Muslim countries. Collective blame either exists for everyone or it exists for no one.

  7. Meanwhile, here in Australia, another misrepresentation I suppose form today’s news:

    “HARDLINE international students have wrested control of a major NSW mosque, ousting the local cleric amid accusations the group is rapidly converting followers to extremist Islam.

    Up to 150 university students from Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Egypt who follow the fundamentalist Wahabbism ideology were central to the overthrow at the weekend of the executive board of the Newcastle Muslim Association.

    Deposed association president Yunus Kara yesterday accused the students of pushing for new leadership of the port city’s mosque in order to advance their own extremist agenda and continue “brainwashing” local Muslims…”

    • The fact that extremist Muslims ousted a moderate cleric proves that there is a distinction between violent jihadis and peaceful Muslims.

      This is contrary to Islamophobic claims that Moderate Islam does not exist. It does. And it’s the real Islam.

    • Anyone who has experienced Muslims in Australia – especially Sydney and Newcastle – know that the issue is ultimately more “ethnic” than anything else. Many of the mosques in Sydney, and also Newcastle were established by the fledgling Turkish community in Australia. Even today, in many cases the Imams and administration are either imported directly from Turkey or from the Turkish-Australian community. The Friday sermons etc. are usually given in Turkish and if lucky, have a quick English summary.

      If the Muslim population in Newcastle is diverse enough that this is no longer acceptable or beneficial, then it would make sense to try to change the structure of the Mosque Association to reflect the diversity of its congregation. Looking at the website, it appears that this diversity is already being reflected in its mosque appeal and other activities.

      Until there’s clarification on exactly what happened, I think such a sensationalist article does little to clarify an issue which is of very localised significance, in actual fact. There are plenty of mosques and prayer-areas in suburbs with heavy concentrations of Muslims. Usually the split is along ethnic lines, although this is changing. And in most cases, there would be no conflict – another mosque or prayer area would simply be established and those who wanted that approach would congregate there, leaving the others alone.

    • Yes, it looks like it is an ethnic problem (ie Middle Eastern) after all after today’s article in NSW paper:

      “THE police officer shot in the head during a drug raid last night has lost his fight for life.

      William Crews, 26, a constable attached to the Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad, died in hospital earlier this morning, it has been confirmed…

      Constable Crews was taking part in a search warrant relating to the sale of prohibited drugs when a number of shots were fired from an apartment block in Cairds Ave, Bankstown, just after 9pm.”

      • It’s amazing how you make the huge leap in your logic, Marty, let’s get real!

        You go from discussing a Newcastle mosque which has been mostly ethnically Turkish since inception (if you actually knew anything about the Muslim community in NSW you would know this), which is now needing to adapt to have better representation from the wider Newcastle Muslim community of varied backgrounds, to criminals disrespecting the law and resisting arrest with near-fatal consequences.

        Am I missing the connection? What would drug dealers and criminals in Bankstown have to do with a mosque in Newcastle over 160km away? Or just because someone is born into a faith means that their religion can be tarnished even if they don’t practice or know the slightest thing about it? (Since when is criminal activity condoned in any religion?)

        Incidentally, none of the Middle Eastern communities (by which you mean Arabs) mentioned in the article are known for their criminal activities – especially around Bankstown which is overwhelmingly Lebanese-Australian; I don’t think I’ve ever heard a Saudi, Egyptian or Algerian accent there.

        Why even bring the shooting issue up in the first place? There are also police officers of many ethnic backgrounds in the “Middle East Organised Crime Squad”, including, funnily enough, Arab and Muslim Australians. Would you have even made an issue if it was a police officer of Muslim background who was shot by the criminals resisting arrest?

      • Just as a follow up to this for those international readers who don’t know the events unfolding in Australia:

        The forensic investigation by police has shown that it was a fellow police officer who fired the fatal shot – not the non-Middle-Eastern criminal (with the very Arab-sounding last name Nguyen) who was engaging in crossfire with the police who raided his property on a drugs bust.

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