Robert Spencer’s “Scholarly” Credentials

Robert Spencer’s 15 minutes of fame is centered around the grand deception that he is a world-renowned “Islamic scholar and expert.” But Robert Spencer’s biography and educational background quickly reveal that he is nothing close. Here’s a quick fact check (for a full synopsis read, Is Robert Spencer a Scholar? On Spencer’s Credentials):

How many Ph.D’s does Robert Spencer hold on the subject of Islam, Muslims, Islamic history, or Islamic Studies?


How many Master Degrees does Robert Spencer hold on the subject of Islam, Muslims, Islamic history, or Islamic Studies?


How many diplomas in Quranic studies, Hadith, Fiqh, or Shariah does Robert Spencer have from Western universities or reputable Islamic houses of learning such as Al Azhar or Qom?


How many peer-reviewed academic papers has Robert Spencer published?


How many “Real” scholars of Islam – people who actually hold themselves to scientific standards and objectivity in scholarship – agree with Robert Spencer?


Robert Spencer is in fact an anti-Muslim polemicist and advocate. He cloaks himself in the presentation of a “scholar” in order to sell his otherwise laughable “scholarship” to the clueless and the gullible.

Going to a fake scholar like him (rather than to a credible scholar of merit) for information on Islam or Muslims is akin to going to a Witch Doctor (rather than to an actual physician) for healing. In other words, Robert Spencer is offering you the intellectual equivalent of frog-eyeball and goat-testicle potion? You call that science, and we have a “Brooklyn Bridge” we would love to sell you.

For a full synopsis of Robert Spencer’s lack of scholarly credentials please read, Is Robert Spencer a Scholar? On Spencer’s Credentials and Methodology.

38 thoughts on “Robert Spencer’s “Scholarly” Credentials

  1. A great response for rational, well-meaning people, but I think much of Spencer’s audience has already rejected inconvenient obstacles like facts or peerreviewed scholarship. Hopefully this site wiill protect those on the fence from being indoctrinated with Islamophobia.

    • Do you need to know whether Aristotle was well peereviewed or had any diploma to take his argument for serious? Does any diploma prevent falsehood or error?

  2. you know if Muslims quit killing people and condeming free speech and referring to all non-muslims as infidels and marching through the streets screaming about how they are going to destroy western civilization – well then, people like Spencer probably would not have an audience. The problem for muslims is that with the internet it is easy to find the multitude of hate crimes and terrorist acts they have committed and to see the evidence of their insanity on news programs from almost every civilized country in the world.

    • “you know if Muslims quit killing people and condeming free speech and referring to all non-muslims as infidels and marching through the streets screaming about how they are going to destroy western civilization”

      Many people started hating us even before a minority of us decided to do the things that you have mentioned. And people like Spencer continue to hate us despite the fact that the majority of Muslims have condemned terrorism using the Quran and Hadith. If you spend even a few minutes browsing the comments section on any JihadWatch post, you will find that many people hate us regardless of what we do, with many of them advocating the use of Nuclear weapons against all Muslims.

      Many other ethnic groups have faced discrimination even though they were guilty of nothing. For example, the Jews and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Hate is hate. Many of Spencer’s ramblings give a reason for that hate and many do not.

      But I agree with you, that if the small minority of Muslim extremists that give Islam a bad name was to stop doing what they did, then certainly a few Islamophobes will quiet down. But it would be nice if Muslims didn’t have to argue with Islamophobic extremists like Spencer who are against all Muslims and so they could focus on eliminating the extremists within their own faith. If Spencer really cared about stopping Islamic terrorism, then he would work with Muslims not against them.

      • The thing is that combating islam is akin to combating communism. You cannot be content with the suppression of gulag camps. The system itself that permitted the gulag to be set must be eliminated. The idea that gave birth to the system must be denounced and proven falsehood.
        Eliminating terrorists within islam is not only impossible, it is not sufficient.

        • Someone posting here is confused. Communism was never eliminated, China has the most population of any country in the world, currently over 1,347,350,000 citizens. It is a communist country.

    • i grew up as a muslim, and though i currently am not, I know first hand that my family doesn’t condemn freedom, they don’t bash western civilization, and i don’t think i’ve ever heard my dad use the word infidel, its a pretty bold to assume you know more about my muslim family than I do, and by the way, everyday I have religious talks with my father that go beyond islam, He teaches me to learn from all religions, to read the Bible, the Sutras, science books, etc.

      • Who’s talking about your family or particular individuals? Cannot you make the difference between an idea and people who possess the idea, between the sin and the sinner? You need to read even more, then.

  3. Just as a side note: “…and referring to all non-muslims as infidels…”

    It amazes me the number of non-Muslims who actually refer to themselves as “infidels”. I have yet to personally meet a Muslim who calls non-Muslims “infidels”. I find more and more non-Muslims are calling themselves this – midway through a conversation they will call themselves this. Why? This was a term first used by Christians : “The term infidel was used by Christians to describe non-Christians or those perceived as the enemies of Christianity.”

  4. Does anyone know exactly which think tanks Mr Spencer spent 20 years in before Jihad Watch? I cannot seem to find the names of these institutions….

    • I come to these discussions with very little background. I have listened to Robert Spencer discussing the question of whether Muhammad existed with David Wood. It was an interesting debate and conducted in a civilised manner. Spencer is intelligent and articulate and I am not put off taking him seriously by the fact that he does not have academic qualifications. His arguments are what count. The facts he advanced were capable of being checked with reference to reliable academic authorities so what was interesting about his contribution was the way he put the facts together to support his argument, something that can be judged without reference to his CV.

      I am in no position to defend him against charges of being a hatemonger. I have heard only the one discussion which certainly contained no suggestion of any hatred towards anyone. There may of course be examples of bigotry and prejudice elsewhere in his output. I don’t know. I do feel however that he deserves credit for conducting discussions like the one I heard. He clearly knows what reason and politeness are and even if he is motivated by hatred in other areas of his work it clearly is possible to engage in civilised debate with him on certain questions. Wouldn’t it be better to try approaching him on these with a view to advancing understanding together rather than throwing abuse at him?

  5. So you have your little Spencer hatefest here, how wunderbar.
    And you complain about Spencer being a hate monger? That wouldn’t be the pot calling the kettle black, would it?

    In case you have a minute to spare between peddling polemic and vilification, would you care to point out where exactly Spencer is wrong in his books, talks and articles? Not wrong in the sense that you or some islamist dislikes what he says, but wrong as to verifiable sources and facts.

        • James: That IS the answer to the question. This site contains numerous articles on Spencer’s pseudo-scholarship and ridiculous positions.

          What are you asking? That they are be cut and pasted here in the comment section of this page?

          • @Ronald – If you read the quran you will find that Spencer is right. He refers to the muslim book and the hate it preaches. Why hasn’t he gone after the hindus or budhists? Why just muslims and islam? The answer is clear that muslims are constantly shoving their religion down everyones throats and expecting everyone to accept it and someone does not then he is an islamophobe or a hate monger. Spencer is doing his job to enlighten the west with the agenda that muslims have.

  6. His lies are pointed out every single day. The fact that you pretend not to know that, even while being on this site, shows you have no desire to know. And how exactly is this a hatefest in stating the blatant fact that Spencer has zero credentials for being a self-proclaimed scholar? Does that count for ANYTHING in your mind? The fact that you refuse to see that Spencer peddles in nothing but hate-mongering, bigoted filth that serves no purpose except to demonize and incite means you’re so far gone and have little interest in objectivity. It’s not islamists who denounce him, it’s pretty much everyone outside his little circle-jerk fest, including christians and jews who have respectable positions and credentials. Check the ‘What they say’ section. Why do you think that is? And how can you support someone that proclaims Obama is probably a closet Muslim? Unless you believe it too, and then everything makes sense.

  7. This website is no better than Jihad watch because it (also) only presents one side of the argument. If the moderators really want to gain credibility they would impartially analyze ALL aspects of Islam instead of (doing the same as Spencer) using inductive reasoning (preaching to the choir) in an attempt to prove ALL aspects of your opponents arguments as false. Acknowledging that SOME aspects of your opponents arguments are indeed credible is a powerful tool in persuading critical thinkers to carefully consider your own rationality.

    • That’s not true. The makers of this website have many times accepted that there is a problem regarding terrorism, extremism and human rights in the Muslim World today but disagree with Robert Spencer in how he specifically targets Islam and encourages hatred towards peaceful Muslims.

      Here is a good example:

      Loonwatch acknowledges that some Muslim extremists out there want to see apostasy punished by death, but this article argues against it using Islamic sources and proves that many modern Muslims do not accept this law.

  8. One more about the catholic spencer:

    Apart from being a disgrace to any community, Spencer hides the fact
    that Catholics killed human beings more than any other religion in history – starting from the crusades and ever after.

  9. Well! So much has been spoken about Islam and I wonder by now most of the Muslims might have left Islam.
    From my reading of Hadith, Quran, I understand that Al-Qaeda, Taliban and other armed Islamic jihadis are Good Muslims because they are religious first of all, they know Quran, hadith, Sunna and other Islamic literature and they offer five times namaz as well. they are following exactly what is written in the Quran so, if you fight till you die, you are blessed with virgins (hooris) and wine in heaven.
    To the contrary, the other Muslims those who are not fighting and those who do not offer five times of namaz are bad Muslims according to Quran. Paradise is only guaranteed to those who, who have fought and died for the cause of Allah.
    Now, you people decide what is good and what is bad?

    • Nice try, but no. The terrorists like to think that they’re good Muslims but they’re not. You, as an anti-Muslim hate-filled bigot, want them to be good Muslims but they’re not.

      They’re bad Muslims, and have violated numerous important concepts found in both the Qur’an and Hadith. For example, it is abundantly clear to anyone that both texts forbid the killing of non-civilians but Al-Qaeda still do it. They are going against Islam.

      Why do you think the major Islamic scholars of the world reject them? Osama and Zawahiri liked to think they were Qur’anic scholars too but they’re not. One was a businessman and the other is a surgeon, none of them are qualified enough to make the fatwas they have given.

    • You are 100% correct. I know many ex-Muslims and they verify what you say is true. A saying is “a good Muslim is a bad Muslim and a bad Muslim is a good Muslim. We all know what that means

  10. Al Queda. Are they good muslims. Read Michael Sheur’s book “Imperial Hubris”. Osama and Al Queda are fighting a defensive jihad. They claim that the Western crusader nations have attacked Muslim nations and therefore, it is the duty of all muslims to fight back this aggression. Koran teaches us NOT to be aggressors but it doesn’t teach us the proverbial Christian ‘showing of the other cheek’ when attacked. The question is NOT whether Islam is peaceful. It is whether America is a War mongering, imperialistic country.

  11. So no one is allowed to comment on Islam unless he has a Ph.D? Don’t be ridiculous. You’re just jealous that Spencer is getting all the attention and you’re not.

    • He’s allowed to comment on Islam. However, when he says “I am a scholar on Islam”, he is lying and being dishonest. You don’t need a PhD, but you need to have studied what you claim to be an expert on at some depth at an institution.

      And no one is jealous of the attention Spencer is getting these days. Anders Breivik cited Robert Spencer in his manifesto numerous times and adored him so much that he believed he was worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize. Now the mainstream media has recognised that Spencer is a fraud.

      Why should anyone be jealous of Robert Spencer getting attention from a mass murdering terrorist?

    • It’s the same extremists, you fool.

      And yes, they have absolutely misinterpreted Islam. Looking at a list and saying it’s because of Islam doesn’t make any sense. What about the even bigger list of killings by non-Muslims? Does that mean there’s a link between killing and being a non-Muslim?

      Only with your logic.

  12. The only thing you need to know that there is something fundamental wrong with a religion that justifies, sharia, jihad, jizyah, hudna, taqiyya, Dar al-Harb, ‘stoning the devil’, walking around a ‘black stone’, shouting ‘Allah Akbar before killing dozens, believing an unjust and pervert to be a ‘prophet’ etc. is common sense. I fear that because of politic correctness, you will never be able to receive any form of degree for becoming aware of the ugly truth concerning Islam.

    • Obviously you have no idea what Islam is other than what you are told by fake scholars like Robert Spencer. None of what you have mentioned is at all a daily part of a Muslim’s life so why would you judge the religion of 1.5 billion people based on things that you don’t know about.

      Oh and please read this:

      Turns out we were right, there’s no such thing as taqiyya as you understand it in Islam. Robert Spencer says that only Judaism and Christianity preach honesty and Islam calls for lying, but actually the opposite is true.

      Muslims aren’t a threat to you and want to live in peace, side-by-side as they have been in the UK and USA for over a hundred years.

  13. Christianity and Islam differ tremendously especially when it comes to the life and death of Jesus Christ and His Second Coming. Also, the manifestations of God are
    disputed between the two faiths. With such fundamental differences, it is hard to acknowledge any compatibility between the two faiths.

  14. may Allah reward you for this site. Someone needs to calmly address all the lies being told. I say to those who come here trying to support Spencer: why are you against the founders of America? It is clear historical fact that Jefferson hated modern trinitarian Christianity. Jefferson owned and studied a Quran and most of all, he explicitly (that means he made point blank unambiguous statements [if you like spencer, the big words may get by you] Jefferson explicitly said the Constitution protects Muslims and this was known fact at it’s ratification. The bottom line is Robert Spencer does not believe in the Constitution, or better yet, his salary depend on his fighting to make sure some Americans are not protected by the Constitution. How some people can engage in 1950s racism and hate and try to cloak it as super patriotism shows how the internet has actually made a whole lot of people dumber.

  15. There are many in various settings who pass themselves off as scholars. Then there are the gullible who accept these same people who claim to be scholars as such. It is especially true in two courts. Religion and politics.

    Those who possess glib speech are the most convincing, and no one is exempt from falling victim to them. That is why everyone needs to pay attention to asking questions about motivation for the speakers agenda. How do they know? where did they obtain their special knowledge? and be sure to have them translate in front of several people who are known to be able to read and write in a language that is applicable to the subject matter. This needs to be done before they are accepted as scholars or people of great special knowledge.

    However there is in the case of Spencer another way also but it comes at a price of time and effort in the study of history. The recalling of events either lived or studied by the hearers of glib speech.

    It is either that or fall prey to mind control.

    There is one way in the case between Islam’s history and the history of Judaism to compare the two’s rendition of their ancestry. Both claim to have originated from Abraham.

    Islam claims to have been given the birth rite from Abraham’s first born Ishmael. While Judaism claim comes from Isaac the son of Sara, also sired historically by Abraham.

    From both claims we get two stories. Both would seem on first glance to have merit, and from the reason of becoming numbered as great as the number of the sands of the seas both have proven to be great in numbers. Islam however has exceeded Israel in this respect. But Israel has been disadvantaged in losing huge numbers by several world powers. But then to spring back to huge numbers following the loss of numbers.

    Islam has never lost such devastating numbers. It is true though that Islam has been besieged by forces that were able to cause them to retreat to safer ground at times.

    However when we look at the Quranic claim the Ishmael and his mother were sent into the desert by Abraham to either die or survive. Abraham did not subject Isaac and his mother to the same curse. The reason is simple when one begins to reason on the two claims.

    Ishmael was born to a slave woman, Isaac was born to a free woman. Sara was Abraham’s legal wife. Ishmael’s mother was a slave. The two women were not equals in status. Therefore Isaac was the rightful heir to the birth rite of the first born making the Islamic claim in error.

    Then there is the genealogical train to consider. The Messiah’s parentage and right of recognition of his position, compared to Muhammad’s claim.

    Several things come to mind: first the way Christianity came into existence and the way Islam came into existence, and who these founders were.

    Christianity came about through peaceful growth. Islam came about through wars. Next Christianity teaches care and concern for others and supporting others in need, regardless of beliefs. Islam does teach it is OK to lie to others who are not Muslim, many times referred to as Infidels, and far too many times Islamics do just that, where as Christians do not. (That is true Christians do not lie to others).

    Muhammad wrote many times it is proper to kill infidels as they are doomed to hell anyway. Where Christians and Jews teach allowing God to wreck vengeance as He is the judge as to who is saved or not. It is not up to me or you or Islamics to judge God’s creation. Who is worthy and who is not is God’s job description. No one else’s. Islam usurps that position. I have even witnessed from the sidelines how Islam is the usurper.

    So, which is the peaceful religion after all? You decide. Who has the right to the Holy Land? You decide. And while your at it when did Islam really come into existence? With Abraham or Muhammad? This is a very important question.

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