Kookie Pastor Pat Robertson Babbles About ‘Demonic Islam’

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Poor Pastor Pat, everywhere he goes he sees devils and evil. (h/t: JD, KP)

Pat Robertson Claims Islam Is ‘Demonic’ And ‘Not A Religion’ But An Economic System (VIDEO)

(Huffington Post)

Controversial conservative Christian Pat Robertson doubled down Tuesday on claims that Islam is not a religion.

According to Right Wing Watch, Robertson, an elder statesman of the evangelical movement, made the inflammatory claim during an episode of his TV program, “The 700 Club.”

“Every time you look up — these are angry people, it’s almost like it’s demonic that is driving them to kill and to maim and to destroy and to blow themselves up,” Robertson said of Islam. “It’s a religion of chaos.”

He went on to say, “I hardly think to call it a religion, it’s more of — well, it’s an economic and political system with a religious veneer.”

Right-wing runs with “John Brennan-is-a-Muslim” theory

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Islamophobes run with the theory that John Brennan is unfit-for-duty because he’s a “secret Muslim.” The real reason Brennan is unfit for duty is because of his track record in support of torture and drone warfare.

Right-wing runs with “John Brennan-is-a-Muslim” theory

by Jillian Rayfield (Salon.com)

A disgraced former FBI agent and anti-Islam activist claims that John Brennan, President Obama’s pick to head the CIA, is “unfit for duty” because he just might be a secret Muslim.

As Salon reported, John Guandolo claimed last weekend that “Brennan did convert to Islam when he served in an official capacity on behalf of the United States when he served in Saudi Arabia” and it “was the culmination of a counterintelligence operation against him to recruit him” by foreign operatives.

The theory, which was picked up by conspiracy-theorist central World Net Daily, has an eager audience on the right. Here’s a rundown:

Glenn Beck: ”I don’t know if this is true or not, I will tell you that there is so much in John Brennan background that should be questioned, that this is plausible. He added: ”If somebody makes a charge like that, shouldn’t we at least explore it?” Watch:

Former Rep. Fred Grandy, R-Iowa, also of Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy: “The influence of Islam as a religion among top intelligence authorities in this country is not limited to John Brennan. Whether or not that influenced his political determinations probably has more to do not so much with Islam but to what degree has been co-opted by Saudi authorities.”

Sandy Rios of the American Family Association: “Well I think the proof is in the pudding. When he redefines jihad to mean something that it doesn’t mean, to water it down; when he rewrites the training manuals for our law enforcement, for those that would protect the United States; it’s all very, very frightening and suspicious to me.”

Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association: “[Obama] wants a guy to be the director of the CIA who may be a Muslim covert. There’s a highly-placed source, I can’t verify this because it’s only come from one source but John Brennan who President Obama wants to be his CIA director, there’s a well-placed source that says everybody understands in the intelligence community that he converted to Islam when he was on an overseas assignment. He’s allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to infiltrate his administration.”

Guandolo left the FBI after the corruption case for former Louisiana Rep. William Jefferson, amid revelations that Guandolo had sexual relationships with agents and a government informant on the case. He has since been traveling the anti-Islam speech-making circuit, occasionally arguing that Muslims “do not have a First Amendment right to do anything.”

 

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at jrayfield@salon.com.

Pamela Geller’s False Claim that Muslims Curse Christians and Jews in Their Daily Prayers

Pamela Geller’s False Claim that Muslims Curse Christians and Jews in Their Daily Prayers

by Sheila Musaji
Pamela Geller said Now I also believe that a true translation, an accurate translation of the Koran, is really not available in English, according to many of the Islamic scholars that I’ve spoken to.  That’s deeply troubling.  And I don’t think that many westernized Muslims know when they pray five times a day that they’re cursing Christians and Jews five times a day.  I don’t think they know that. in a 10/8/2010 article in the New York Times.

Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic wondered about the accuracy of this statement and did a little research:

I sent some of Geller’s quotes to my friend Reuel Gerecht, a genuine expert on Islam, to see what he thought of them. Reuel, as many of you know, is no apologist for radical Islamism; quite the opposite. He believes we are at war with a dangerous ideology. But he also has respect for Islam, and a great deal of knowledge of it. Here is what he says about Geller’s assertions:

I have to plead an embarrassing ignorance about Pamela Geller.  I was well aware of the Internet-driven opposition to Feisal Abd ar-Rauf’s Ground Zero/Park 51 mosque, but had not entered her name into my memory.  I don’t read blogs much—except Goldblog and those that publish me—and I was more than a little taken back when Jeffrey sent me a note containing comments by Ms. Geller about English translations of the Qur’an.  The intersection of politics, public policy, and scholarship isn’t always pretty, and we are most often fortunate that scholars don’t write our domestic and foreign policies.   However, there is a certain deference that activists must give to scholars when they tread on what is clearly academic terrain.  A good cause—and Ms. Geller’s general concern about the harm that violent Islamic militants can do is an estimable fight—is no excuse for agitprop and what amounts to a slur against some of the greatest scholars of the twentieth century.  According to the New York Times, Ms. Geller has stated:

Now I also believe that a true translation, an accurate translation of the Koran, is really not available in English, according to many of the Islamic scholars that I’ve spoken to.  That’s deeply troubling.  And I don’t think that many westernized Muslims know when they pray five times a day that they’re cursing Christians and Jews five times a day.  I don’t think they know that.

Let’s take the Qur’an first, Muslim prayers second.  Concerning the translation of the Muslim Holy Book, who might these Islamic scholars be?  Since Ms. Geller is without Arabic, it’s impossible for her to compare the original to a translation.  She must depend upon others, who, if I follow Ms. Geller, are involved in a conspiracy to hide the ugly truth about Islam.  If the translations were more “accurate,” we would all see what’s apparent to Ms. Geller, who ascertained the truth despite the blinding scholarly conspiracy.  One has to ask whether Ms. Geller has perused the translation masterpiece by Cambridge’s late great A.J. Arberry or my personal favorite, the awesomely erudite, more literal translation and commentary by Edinburgh’s late great Richard Bell?  Both gentlemen are flag-waving members of Edward Said’s most detested species—Orientalists.  Now if you look at these translations—especially if you look at Bell’s, which is blessed with exhaustive notes in a somewhat complicated formatting—even the uninitiated can get an idea that Muhammad had trouble with Christians and especially Jews during his life.  If you look at the Qur’anic commentary by Edinburgh’s late great William Montgomery Watt (another Orientalist), who was always attentive to Muslim sensibilities in his writings, you can also find in clear English Muhammad’s unpleasant ruminations about Christians and Jews.

Now what all of this means to contemporary Islamic militancy is a very long discussion, for which I suspect that Ms. Geller doesn’t have abundant patience.  Islam has been having awful problems absorbing modernity; its travails so far—let us underscore—have been less bloody than what we witnessed as Christianity modernized.  Any non-Muslim certainly has the right to study, question, and criticize the Islamic faith, as Muslims have the (well-exercised) right to let loose against what they see as the imperfections of Christianity, Judaism, and humanist secularism (the West’s dominant faith).   As Iran’s robust, astonishing intellectual wars over the last twenty years have shown, it’s good for Muslims and non-Muslims not to pull their punches.  Muslims should never be treated as children, which is a debilitating disposition found widely now on the American Left.  (President Obama has not helped.)   But the great Islamic scholars of the past did not lie.  There is no conspiracy.  We are blessed with illuminating English translations of the Muslim Holy Book.  Ms. Geller might consider blogging less, and reading more.

And about Muslim prayer:  I certainly have no perfect way of knowing what Muslims think when they pray, but I really do think they know what they’re doing.  If westernized Muslims are facing the Almighty, they know what’s in their hearts.  Devout Muslims need not hate Jews and Christians to worship the Creator.  Christians have slaughtered Jews through the centuries.  But it would be theologically atrocious to believe that the Christian message requires Jewish blood. (Christians’ killing Jews so often did provoke some Christians to question the foundation of their faith—a theologically estimable exercise.)  The Prophet Muhammad is certainly a different kind of historical figure than Jesus, but it should not be startling to discover that Muslims through the centuries have not seen the prophet’s slaughter of the Jewish Banu Qurayza tribe in Medina as a mainstay of their creed.  In my experience—and I’m intuiting here—most Muslims do not think about Jews and Christians at all when they pray.  Suffering, in all its merciless variety, takes center stage, I suspect.   When I’ve watched Muslim pilgrims come to Sunni and Shiite tombs and sacred sites in Egypt,  Turkey, and Iraq, I’ve not seen a conquering people.  I’ve usually just seen misery and the human hope that good fortune will come with a better heart.   I’ve seen fraternity among a men who live in lands where fraternal behavior is rare.  Ms. Geller would do well to travel more.   It’s a very good and essential cause to fight jihadism, but such a struggle should not incline us to maul Islamic history or to treat Muslims as if they were merely a walking version of this surah or that legal treatise.   Christians and Jews and atheists are much more than the sum of their parts.   So, too, are Muslims.

After this exchange, Geller’s partner, Robert Spencer published a defense of Geller’s statement in which he brings in “translations” like the Hilali-Khan, commentaries and interpretations as if they represent what most Muslims (or particularly American Muslims, or “westernized Muslims” as Geller calls them) understand about the meaning of Surah Fatiha.  The Hilali-Khan translation is an extremist interpretation of the Qur’an produced in Saudi Arabia and given out free.  I wrote about the Hilali-Khan translation at length here.  Here are a few passages from that article:

The number of comments in parenthesis in this particular translation is more than excessive, and instead of clarifying the text or explaining a word or phrase that cannot be easily translated into English, these comments make the text very difficult to follow and often distort rather than amplify the meaning.

The appendices contain discussions of Christian versus Muslim beliefs that read more like a polemical debate and really do not belong as part of a translation.

I will give just a few examples of the difficulties with this translation.  Sadly, I could give many more examples, but these should sufice to show the extremist character of this translation.

Beginning immediately with Surah Fatiha 1:1 (the opening chapter of the Qur’an) we find a translation not to be found anywhere else:

“Guide us to the Straight Way.  The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who have earned Your Anger (such as the Jews), nor of those who went astray (such as the Christians).” (HK translation 1:1-7)

This can only give the impression to any non-Muslim or Muslim who either does not have fluency in Arabic or access to individuals with competency in Classical Qur’anic Arabic that the Qur’an denounces all Jews and Christians.  This is a great untruth.

This unique translation is then followed by an extremely long footnote which justifies this hateful translation based on traditions from texts that go back to the Middle Ages (Ibn Kathir, Qurtubi, Tabari) as if these are the only interpretations, and without any discussion of the history of these commentaries and the hadiths on which they are based.

…  In the interests of preserving the purity of the Qur’an as much as possible for non-Arabic speakers and also as a means to combat the tirades of professional Islam bashers and Muslim haters, I would strongly recommend that every copy of the Hilali-Khan translation be removed from every mosque in the U.S.  …  This current crisis (and many others), I believe is a direct result of such translations as the Hilali-Khan which have been responsible for influencing some Muslims with extremist interpretations (and also providing them “justification” for criminal actions), and for providing Islamophobes with “proof” of the supposed “savagery” of Islam.  Basically, this translation (and others like it) are propaganda coming out of Saudi Arabia which attempts to spread their particular supremacist, divisive, bigoted, and very dangerous interpretation of Islam.

There are only two groups who equate jihad and terrorism – the terrorists and the Islamophobes.

Across the world, even in countries where Muslims and their non-Muslim neighbors have lived together for centuries in peace, we are seeing violence against churches and against minorities, and seeing violent non-Islamic responses to the provocations of Islamophobes.  Why?

I believe that propaganda such as the Hilali-Khan translation and other materials coming primarily out of Saudi Arabia are one of the root causes.

We need a counter-narrative, not only to the Islamophobes, but to the Muslim extremists, and our scholars and community leaders need to help get the message of traditional Islam out to the masses.

I believe that it is time for ordinary Muslims to go into their local mosque or Islamic bookstore and see if this translation is there, and if it is to ask the Imam or mosque leadership to remove it immediately and dispose of it in the appropriate Islamic manner.  And, it is time for the leadership of national organizations to speak out loudly and clearly condemning such translations and materials.  The Saudi’s may provide “free” copies of this translation, but there is a cost, and we are all paying it.

Here is a transliteration and translation of Sura Fatiha by Shakh Kabir Helminski of the Threshold Society:

Bismillaah ar-Rahman ar-Raheem
Al hamdu lillaahi rabbil ‘alameen
Ar-Rahman ar-Raheem Maaliki yaumid Deen
Iyyaaka na’abudu wa iyyaaka nasta’een
Ihdinas siraatal mustaqeem
Siraatal ladheena an ‘amta’ alaihim
Ghairil maghduubi’ alaihim waladaaleen
Aameen

In the name of God, the infinitely Compassionate and Merciful.
Praise be to God, Lord of all the worlds.
The Compassionate, the Merciful. Ruler on the Day of Reckoning.
You alone do we worship, and You alone do we ask for help.
Guide us on the straight path,
the path of those who have received your grace;
not the path of those who have brought down wrath, nor of those who wander astray.
Amen.

Here is the introduction to this verse from the translation by Muhammad Asad

THIS SURAH is also called Fatihat al-Kitab (“The Opening of the Divine Writ”), Umm al-Kitab (“The Essence of the Divine Writ”), Surat al-Hamd (“The Surah of Praise”), Asas al-Qur’an (“The Foundation of the Qur’an”), and is known by several other names as well. It ismentioned elsewhere in the Qur’an as As-Sab’ al-Mathani (“The Seven Oft-Repeated[Verses]”) because it is repeated several times in the course of each of the five daily prayers.According to Bukhari, the designation Umm al-Kitab was given to it by the Prophet himself,and this in view of the fact that it contains, in a condensed form, all the fundamental principleslaid down in the Qur’an: the principle of God’s oneness and uniqueness, of His being theoriginator and fosterer of the universe, the fount of all life-giving grace, the One to whom manis ultimately responsible, the only power that can really guide and help; the call to righteousaction in the life of this world (“guide us the straight way”); the principle of life after deathand of the organic consequences of man’s actions and behaviour (expressed in the term “Dayof Judgment”); the principle of guidance through God’s message-bearers (evident in thereference to “those upon whom God has bestowed His blessings”) and, flowing from it, the principle of the continuity of all true religions (implied in the allusion to people who havelived – and erred – in the past); and, finally, the need for voluntary self-surrender to the will of the Supreme Being and, thus, for worshipping Him alone. It is for this reason that this surahhas been formulated as a prayer, to be constantly repeated and reflected upon by the believer.“The Opening” was one of the earliest revelations bestowed upon the Prophet. Someauthorities (for instance, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib) were even of the opinion that it was the very firstrevelation; but this view is contradicted by authentic Traditions quoted by both Bukhari andMuslim, which unmistakably show that the first five verses of surah 96 (“The Germ-Cell”)constituted the beginning of revelation. It is probable, however, that whereas the earlier revelations consisted of only a few verses each, “The Opening” was the first surah revealed tothe Prophet in its entirety at one time: and this would explain the view held by ‘Ali.

Here is Asad’s translation and commentary

In the name of God, The Most Gracious, The Dispenser of Grace:
ALL PRAISE is due to God alone, the Sustainer of all the worlds,
the Most Gracious,the Dispenser of Grace,
Lord of the Day of Judgment!
Thee alone do we worship; and unto Thee alone do we turn for aid.
Guide us the straight way, the way of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed Thy blessings,
not of those who have been condemned [by Thee], nor of those who go astray!

According to most of the authorities, this invocation (which occurs at the beginning of everysurah with the exception of surah 9) constitutes an integral part of “The Opening” and is,therefore, numbered as verse 1. In all other instances, the invocation “in the name of God” precedes the surah as such, and is not counted among its verses. – Both the divine epithets rahman and rahim are derived from the noun rahmah, which signifies “mercy”, “compassion”,“loving tenderness” and, more comprehensively, “grace”. From the very earliest times, Islamic scholars have endeavoured to define the exact shades of meaning which differentiate the two terms. The best and simplest of these explanations is undoubtedly the one advanced by Ibnal-Qayyim (as quoted in Manar I,48): the term rahman circumscribes the quality of abounding grace inherent in, and inseparable from, the concept of God’s Being, whereas rahim expresses the manifestation of that grace in, and its effect upon, His creation – in other words, an aspect of His activity.

In this instance, the term “worlds” denotes all categories of existence both in the physicaland the spiritual sense. The Arabic expression rabb – rendered by me as “Sustainer” -embraces a wide complex of meanings not easily expressed by a single term in another language.It comprises the ideas of having a just claim to the possession of anything and, consequently,authority over it, as well as of rearing, sustaining and fostering anything from its inceptionto its final completion. Thus, the head of a family is called rabb ad-dar (“master of the house”) because he has authority over it and is responsible for its maintenance; similarly, his wifeis called rabbat ad-dar (“mistress of the house”). Preceded by the definite article al, the designation rabb is applied, in the Qur’an, exclusively to God as the sole fosterer andsustainer of all creation – objective as well as conceptual – and therefore the ultimatesource of all authority.

According to almost all the commentators, God’s “condemnation” (ghadab, lit., “wrath”) is synonymous with the evil consequences which man brings upon himself by wilfully rejecting God’s guidance and acting contrary to His injunctions. Some commentators (e.g., Zamakhshari)interpret this passage as follows: “… the way of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed Thy blessings – those who have not been condemned [by Thee], and who do not go astray”: inother words, they regard the last two expressions as defining “those upon whom Thou hast bestowed Thy blessings”. Other commentators (e.g., Baghawi and Ibn Kathir) do not subscribeto this interpretation – which would imply the use of negative definitions – and understand the last verse of the surah in the manner rendered by me above. As regards the two categoriesof people following a wrong course, some of the greatest Islamic thinkers (e.g., Al-Ghazali or, in recent times, Muhammad ‘Abduh) held the view that the people described as having incurred “God’s condemnation” – that is, having deprived themselves of His grace – are thosewho have become fully cognizant of God’s message and, having understood it, have rejected it; while by “those who go astray” are meant people whom the truth has either not reached at all,or to whom it has come in so garbled and corrupted a form as to make it difficult for them.

And, before Pamela Geller gets too attached to her specious claims, she should consider that the Blessing/Benediction recited each morning by Orthodox Jews is the following“Blessed are you O God, King of the Universe, Who has not made me . . . ” and conclude, respectively, “a goy [Gentile],” “a slave,” and “a woman.”
UPDATE 6/1/2011

Another Islamophobe, Andrew Bostom has jumped on this bandwagon of insisting that the Hilali-Khan translation/commentary reflects the meaning of Surah Fatiha.

UPDATE 1/29/2012

Geller again raises this spurious issue saying: “The Muslims refer to Christians in their daily prayers as “those who are led astray” (Muslims curse Christians and Jews multiple times in daily prayers). This madness validates their contempt and supremacism.”
UPDATE 2/11/2013

Geller is nothing if not consistent.  Today she published Hamas-CAIR leads Arizona State Senate in anti-Jewish, Anti-Christian Prayer raising this same debunked issue yet again. She says:  “How many people actually know that every time Muslims get down on their knees, posteriors in the air, they are cursing Christian and Jews? Obama says, “respect it!”

All of this fury on the part of Geller (and her partner in hate Robert Spencer) was because an Arizona Imam, Anas Hlayhel, who is also the Chairman of the Arizona Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations CAIR-AZ led the Arizona State Senate’s prayer invocation with a reading of Surah al-Fatiha.

Geller & Spencer promote Muslim “collective guilt” over a FB post

Geller & Spencer promote Muslim “collective guilt” over a FB post

by Sheila Musaji
Pamela Geller posted an article Dearborn Muslim calls for killing anti-Islam protesters and her partner in the AFDI hate group posted an article with the same title.

They reprinted an article by David Wood which included a screen grab of this FaceBook post:

This is a hateful message.  The individual responsible should be ashamed.  If there are any FaceBook regulations that he has violated, he should lose his ability to post.  However, this single hateful message was all that it took for Geller & Spencer to not only post articles including the “Muslim” description, but also to tweet on the #MyJihad hashtag


Spencer asked “Will Dearborn authorities investigate Aboudi Berro? Don’t hold your breath.”  Geller said: “Islam in America. Respect it.”

So, according to them, this tweet by one individual jerk somehow is representative of “Islam in America” and this should be investigated by local law enforcement.

I wonder why their concern is always so selective, and only focuses on Muslims who behave badly.

Here are a just a few tweets from Islamophobic spammers on the #MyJihad site:









Would Geller and Spencer agree that all of these are hateful?  If so, why do such statements not concern them?  Would a headline like “Christian calls for killing Muslims” serve any purpose.  Are all Christians or all Jews somehow responsible for the bigotry of some?  Should all of these individuals also be investigated?  If they are not investigated is that “proof” of some Christian conspiracy to impose their will on non-Christians.

I doubt that they would be concerned, as some of their own AFDI/SIOA/SION leadership have previously suggested genocide, wiping out Muslim “bacteria” and “destroying Islam”.

This is pure hatred.

Pamela Geller advocates banning Islam, demolishing mosques, deporting and killing Muslims

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Pamela Geller has renewed her calls for banning Islam, demolishing and killing Muslims. (h/t: J. Singh)

Pamela Geller advocates banning Islam, demolishing mosques, deporting and killing Muslims

Over at Atlas Shrugs, Pamela Geller has posted a response to the latest “Muslim patrol” video to appear on YouTube. “For years now,” Geller pontificates, “Leftists and assorted ‘anti-racists’ have been denying the existence of these Sharia patrols….” It is of course true that we deny their existence, but that is for the simple reason that they don’t really exist.

You’ll see that the new video contains no actual patrolling at all. In contrast to the two previous videos the two-man, self-appointed “Muslim patrol” doesn’t even approach anyone on the street, still less harass them. The video just features a lot of loud-mouthed ranting to camera, with a middle section showing an apparently drunken man nodding off on a bench, accompanied by a disapproving commentary.

As existential threats to western civilisation go, you’d have to say this one isn’t particularly scary.

More significant, however, is that Geller crossposts, with evident approval, an article from another Islamophobic blog called The Muslim Issue commenting on the video. It reads in part:

If a government wants to learn how to manage growing Islamic problems, take some advice from Ottoman army officer Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Atatürk abolished Islam by putting a complete ban on Islamic materials, demolishing mosques, and removing any traces of Islam in his country to get rid of the evil. Those who tried to revolt were put in their place, or basically killed….

It is time for the UK to stop wasting their military abroad, but bring them to patrol their own streets and begin to remove Muslims. And it is vital time to plan and arrange deportation programs – and even arrange new deportation programs for practicing Muslims born in England to be deported to their parent’s country of origin.

This goes way beyond anything that even the English Defence League or the British National Party would officially support. They are the sort of policies advocated by the most extreme neo-Nazi elements of the far right in the UK. Are US Republican Party organisations and mainstream media outlets going to continue providing a platform for a woman who posts material like this on her blog?

Petition: Remove Hate Group Leader Robert Spencer as Catholic Deacon

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Loonwatchers please sign and spread this petition to remove hate group leader Robert Spencer as Catholic deacon to your friends and email lists.:

Remove Hate Group Leader Robert Spencer as Catholic Deacon

Target: Most Reverend Bishop Nicholas J. Samra and Eparchy of Newton
Sponsored by: Jenny Sessoms
Robert Bruce Spencer, an ordained Catholic deacon at Our Lady of the Cedars Catholic Church in Manchester, New Hampshire is classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center and other civil rights organiations as a “hate group leader.”

His writing, which targets Muslims and the religion of Islam, was cited extensively by the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik, who digested Spencer’s views on Islam and slaughtered 77 people, mostly youth.

Robert Spencer is one of the individuals behind the inflammatory anti-Muslim metro and bus ads in New York, California, and Washington.

His organization, Stop the Islamization of America, was refused a trademark by the Federal Government because the group engaged in what the government deemed “hate speech.”

As Catholics and people of all faiths, we believe that our religious traditions deserves better. We believe that Mr. Spencer’s constant provocations and inflammatory comments about Muslims and their religious beliefs, as well as his associations with radical nationalist groups such as the English Defence League, cast a negative and unncessarily poor light on Our Lady of the Cedars church, the Melkite Catholic tradition, and the religion of Catholicism.

We also believe that Deacons and clergy should represent the loving spirit of God and that they have a responsibility to build bridges with people of other faiths, not burn them. We recognize that while we may have faith differences with our brothers and sisters in other traditions, those differences must be respected.

Clergy must not engage publically in confrontational battles, ideological or political, and prejudice has no place in our tradition.

We call of the Most Reverend Bishop Nicholas J. Samra and the Eparchy of Newton to carefully examine the biography of Robert Bruce Spencer, his remarks about Muslims, his blog Jihad Watch, his associations with such groups and individuals as the English Defence League and Pamela Geller, his status as a “hate group leader” and his connections to the mass murderer Anders Breivik.

We call on the Eparchy to remember that Catholics were once subjected to religious prejudice and discrimination and thus they (and especially not their clergy) should be know of its harmful effects, and the pain caused by those who fearmonger and stereotype.

We call on the Eparchy and Bishop Samra to remove Robert Bruce Spencer as a Deacon of the Our Lady of the Cedars Melkite Catholic Church in Manchester, New Hampshire. We pray that the Church will hold firm its moral obligation to be a beacon of hope and light, not division and mistrust.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

Robert Spencer and the Melkite Greek Catholic Church

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Robert Spencer and the Melkite Greek Catholic Church

by Richard Bartholomew (barthsnotes.com)

News that Robert Spencer has been dis-invited from speaking at a Roman Catholic Men’s Conference in the US Diocese of Worcester has prompted renewed interest in Spencer’s own Catholicism; a comment posted to a short account of the cancellation derived from a Boston Globe article includes the following:

Posted by: Archpriest – Jan. 31, 2013 10:36 PM ET USA
Appalling! Robert Spencer is a Catholic deacon in good standing with [a] Melkite Diocese… To call Father Deacon Robert a “hate-monger” is unjust and adds further injury to the situation of Eastern Catholics – daily persecuted and even martyred in the Middle East. I am a retired military chaplain. Deacon Robert has addressed military staff symposia. Is the Diocese of Worcester so politically-correct that it would ignore the suffering of fellow Christians in the lands of Christ’s birth?

Spencer’s identification as a Melkite Greek Catholic is well-known, but the detail that he is a deacon is new, and can be confirmed via reference to other sites noted by Loonwatch. Spencer here follows the example of the late Paul Weyrich, whom he regarded as a mentor-figure, although Spencer’s Melkite affiliation also reflects his personal circumstances: he is of Greek Orthodox heritage (family displaced from Turkey) and married to a Catholic, and so a form of Catholicism that follows an Orthodox style has obvious attractions.

Some of Spencer’s books include the name of the priest of his church among the acknowledgements, although the church itself does not appear to promote the kind of anti-Islam polemicising for which Spencer is notorious. In 2006 Spencer promoted a report about a speech given by then-US Melkite leader Archbishop Cyril Salim Bustros, in which Bustros made criticisms of Islam; however, Bustros did not resort to the kind of rabble-rousing rhetoric and sloppiness that are Spencer’s hallmarks.

Spencer was less pleased with Bustros in 2010, when it was reported that Bustros had opined at a Vatican Synod that

We want to say that the promise of God in the Old Testament, relating to the ‘promised land’ … as Christians, we’re saying that this promise was essentially nullified [in French, “abolished”] by the presence of Jesus Christ, who then brought about the Kingdom of God. As Christians, we cannot talk about a ‘promised land’ for the Jews. We talk about a ‘promised land’ which is the Kingdom of God… Sacred scripture should not be used to justify the occupation of Palestinian land on the part of the Israelis.

The ADL described this as “the worst kind of anti-Judaism, bordering on anti-Semitism”, and argued that ”Archbishop Bustros contradicts decades of official Vatican and papal teachings which affirm God’s ongoing Covenant with the Jewish people at Sinai, and calls on Christians to appreciate the Jewish people’s religious self-understanding, including its spiritual attachment to the land of Israel.”

Spencer, while declining to disclose that Bustros was his clerical superior, explained that 

…he is strongly in the running to become the next Archbishop of Beirut, and could be trying to reassure Muslim leaders in Lebanon that his stint in the United States has not tainted him with Zionism, and he is still as anti-Israel as he was as Archbishop of Baalbek, before he came to America. It is a pity that a Christian leader would have to behave this way, and I am not saying he is not doing it out of conviction also, but in any case it is a reflection of the situation on the ground in Islamic countries: Christians who don’t echo the Islamic political line face hard going…

Accordingly, we cannot judge… Archbishop Cyril harshly.

Those anti-Israel comments formed the basis of a follow-up guest post by David Littman; Bustros had spoken to the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Rabat in 2002, and his words had been ugly and crude:

…Today, the Jews allege that Al-Quds belongs to them only. They have made it the capital of their Zionist state, arguing that it is the land of their ancestors since Ibrahim. If only they followed the example of this ancestor, who accepted to sacrifice his own son for the love of God. Instead, they have no qualms about killing the children of the others for the sake of their racist ambitions. John the Baptist, the great prophet who prepared for the advent of Jesus and called people to repent their sins to God, told the Jews: “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance, and think not to say within yourselves. We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham”[Matthew 3: 7-8]…

Littman, like Spencer, puts this down to the “dhimmitude mindset”, but the reference to “Al-Quds” for Jerusalem notwithstanding, in both 2002 and 2010 the Bustros appears to be drawing on long-standing independent Christian traditions of anti-Judaism.

However, Spencer then posted the following:

I owe the Melkite Archbishop Cyril Salim Bustros an apology: when I wrote about his remarks at the recent Vatican Synod, I was relying on incomplete and inaccurate press reports, and did not fully understand his position. Now, in a Jihad Watch exclusive, Archbishop Cyril clarifies his remarks and explains his position.

Spencer does not explain how the press reports were “inaccurate”, although the statement that follows his introduction takes a more moderate line and calls for a two-state solution (this is also – surprisingly – Spencer’s own position). One wonders why the Archbishop thought it would be sensible to put things right through a exclusive statement to an opportunistic anti-Islam blog, rather than to issue a statement through more reputable channels; perhaps Spencer’s position as a “deacon in good standing” is the reason.

According to the Boston Globe, Spencer had been due to speak at the Men’s Conference in Worcester on the subject of Islam, and the paper quotes the Diocese on why the invitation was recinded:

…”Although the intention of the conference organizers was to have a presenter on Islam from a Catholic’s perspective, we are asking Robert Spencer to not come to the Worcester Catholic Men’s Conference, given that his presence is being seen as harmful to Catholic–Islamic relations both locally and nationally,” Raymond ­Delisle, a spokesman for the ­diocese, said in a statement ­issued to the Globe.

The report adds that the Islamic Council of New England had urged the Diocese to cancel “after the Globe sought comment on his scheduled appearance from the diocese and from Muslim organizations”; Spencer now alleges, citing “sources”, that the article’s author, Lisa Wangsness, had asked Islamic groups to contact the Diocese (she denies it).

Of course, the problem with Spencer goes beyond “Catholic–Islamic relations”; the man is not a sensible speaker for any organisation that wants to be taken seriously. His blog frequently carries inaccurate and inflammatory items; sometimes, he quietly deletes material without making corrections if he knows that he can’t defend a claim (see here and here), but he also sometimes lashes out, accusing those who challenge an inaccuracy of supporting Islamic extremism. Spencer also identifies completely with the lurid claims and activism of the birther Pamela Geller. In 2009, Spencer cried “libel” when it was suggested he may have met leaders of the English Defence League; yet now, following Geller, he is an enthusiast for the organisation, appearing alongside Stephen Lennon (“Tommy Robinson”) and Kevin Carroll and opining that Lennon’s current imprisonment for passport fraud means that he is a “political prisoner”.

Exclusive: Reverend Deacon Robert Spencer of Our Lady of the Cedars Church

robert_spencer_exposed (1)

by Garibaldi

For quite some time it has been known that Robert Spencer, according to his own testimony, is a Catholic of the Maronite Melkite tradition. However what has not been discussed has been the extent of his involvement with the Church. Spencer attempts to portray himself as a “freedom fighter” (nothing could be further from the truth), fighting “Islamization” and the “savage” Muslims. Presenting himself as an “objective” scholar (though he has no qualifications when it comes to Islam) and a blogger while downplaying his other prominent roles in life.

In light of the recent and welcomed news that the Catholic Diocese of Worcester uninvited Spencer from a speaking engagement at an upcoming Men’s Conference, it is clearer why he was invited in the first place: he is an active Catholic deacon.

In a 2002 article by Shawne K. Wickham, a certain Robert Spenser (his name is spelled wrongly) is cited as studying to become a Melkite deacon. Spen(s)er discusses the idea of “bringing heaven to earth,”

Robert Spenser, who is studying to be a Melkite deacon, recalls an old story of the emissaries who were sent out into the world by the Slavic king to investigate various religions, and happened upon a Byzantine church service in Constantinople. “We didn’t know if we were on heaven or on earth,” they would report back.

“I think the idea of bringing heaven to earth, and having a taste of heaven on earth is one of the reasons people come here,” Spenser said.

In 2002 Spencer (this time with his name spelled properly) is listed as “Associate director of Educational Services” at Our Lady of the Cedars Church:

Associate to the Director of Educational Services – Robert Spencer of Manchester, NH.
Robert Spencer is in the Diaconal Formation Program and has been active in the home-school movement.

A 2006 discussion thread titled “Deacon Robert Spencer on C-Span tonight” on the Byzantine Forum leaves no doubt that Deacon Robert Spencer and JihadWatch Robert Spencer are one and the same.

A 2011 official Melkite Greek Church directory lists Spencer as “Rev. Deacon Robert Spencer”

Spencer, Deacon Robert
Our Lady of the Cedars
E-mail :
robtspencer@myfairpoint.net

In 2011, Spencer also wrote an article for Crisis Magazine, a Catholic publication on his Church titled “We are Non-Roman Catholics.

A 2012 PDF document from Our Lady of the Cedars lists Spencer’s ordination at the top of the masthead.

This information also provides further insight into the reasoning behind Spencer’s anti-Muslim/Islam hate activism. What has been known for quite some time through Robert Spencer’s own statements and declarations (such as his 2003 interview with the Washington Times and his “debate” with his former college Professor Peter Kreeft) is that his Crusade against Islam and Muslims is colored by an extremist Christian supremacist theology that views Islam and Muslims as the ultimate existential threats to “Christendom.”

Additionally, and this is perhaps the real question, it speaks volumes about the Our Lady of the Cedars Church. Why would they have someone ordained who is designated as a hate group leader? Why would they have someone in their ordained clergy who makes a living telling people that Muslims are violent criminals bent on destroying the West?

Is this what the Catholic church is all about? I happen to believe it is not, especially considering that surveys of Catholic Americans show that the majority have positive views of Islam and Muslims. The fact that Spencer is out of step with mainstream Catholicism is also underscored by the fact that the National Catholic Reporter applauded the cancellation of his speech by the Worcester diocese.

If anyone should understand what it feels like to be discriminated against based on religion, it is Catholics. They have faced a history of prejudice in the United States, thus it is odd that such a hostile, and at the least, very controversial figure would assume a leadership role in their church.

And presumably, a portion of his income from his anti-Muslim rants goes to the church. There is one link that shows him as a “platinum” donator to a church function, and another one where he gives a “generous” gift to have a Pantocrator icon installed in the church.

Lastly, we must call out Deacon Spencer’s hypocrisy: In the Melkite tradition, women are not allowed to enter the Holy Place, where the altar stands, and girls are not allowed as altar servers. But of course Spencer rails about discrimination against women in Islam yet he doesn’t notice such blatant discrimination happening in his own tradition. A case no doubt of,

Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:5)

Update: Robert Spencer kneeling before the altar, decked out in full green regalia?

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