Robert Spencer is miffed. There has just been too much good press for those pesky Moozlims. Writers of late have pointed out that the mainstream Muslim community is at the forefront of combating terrorism and extremism; such as the Muslims who prevented the recent Yemen mail bomb plot or Muslims who have prevented numerous other cases of terrorism. If Spencer’s goal was to prevent terrorism, one would think these news stories are cause for celebration. But if the goal is to tar all of Islam in a fear-for-profit holy war racket, eh, not so much.
For Spencer, highlighting anything positive Muslims do in the fight against violent extremism just doesn’t jive with his lop-sided cherry-picked contextless narrative that Islam is the root cause of all evil. He says,
There is a counterproductive aspect to this kind of publicity for the Muslim community in America: that these stories would be considered newsworthy at all is due to their unusual, man-bites-dog aspect.
It bewilders those of us not indoctrinated with prejudiced anti-Muslim hostility to see how stories about ordinary Muslims thwarting terrorist attacks are “counter-productive.” These stories are positive reminders that our fight is against violent extremism, not the religion of Islam or all Muslims. But Spencer’s transparent goal is not to prevent terrorism as much as it is to profit by demonizing all of Islam and its adherents. He continues,
If the teachings of Islam and the sentiments of the Muslim community in the U.S. really were the way they are ordinarily represented by the mainstream media and assumed to be by the U.S. Government, then there ought to be a concerted, organized, ongoing effort among Muslims in the U.S. not only to foil jihad terror plots, but also to eradicate the Islamic teachings that inspire and encourage such plots.
Here Spencer fumes with conspiracy-mongering indignation as he decries how the mainstream media and the U.S. government fail to smear the entire religion of Islam and its 1.5 billion followers. Then he demands that Muslims “eradicate the Islamic teachings” that inspire terrorists while he ignores the mountains of empirical research which demonstrate that military occupations are the root cause of terrorism, not the religion of Islam, or that alienation
from the mainstream Muslim community leads to terrorism, not engagement with it. But he continues,
Also, these writers and others generally assume that the Muslims who foiled these jihad plots did so out of Islamic conviction, and that they therefore represent an alternative perspective on Islamic teaching, one that opposes and counters that of the jihadists. Unfortunately, that is not established.
This sentence explicates Spencerian Islamophobic doctrine: when a Muslim commits a criminal act, that is “true Islam,” but when a Muslim does a good deed, he is somehow acting against the teachings of Islam. Of course, this non-terrorist “alternative perspective on Islamic teaching,” which those of us in the real world call “mainstream Islam” is in fact well-established not only in countless scholarly books, organizations, and websites, but also by scientific polling of global Muslim attitudes. Unsurprisingly, Spencer has been unable to publish any of his Muslim-bashing conspiracy theories in a single academic peer-reviewed journal. No need for balance, scholarship, or polling; mere speculation and “truthiness” are good enough for Spencer.
Mr. Spencer, your stubborn self-serving denial of reality obscures our country’s ability to tell the good guys from the bad guys. As Jon Stewart recently said, “…the inability to distinguish terrorists from Muslims makes us less safe, not more.”
Mr. Spencer, you are making us less safe, not more.