Robert Spencer Runs Away from Debating Danios – Again – in ABN Getaway Car

Robert Spencer has complained for several years that “Muslims and Leftists” refuse to debate him on his ideas.  He issued an open challenge to debate.  I accepted this challenge and agreed to a radio debate over a year and a half ago, yet Spencer has been running away from me ever since.  To see the chronology behind Spencer’s debate-dodging with me, check out Sheila Musaji’s article Danios vs Spencer: 18 months and Spencer still avoiding a debate.

Initially, Spencer had used my anonymity as an excuse to get out of debating me.  After over a year and a half, he seemed to finally put this condition aside and agreed to debate me.  I offered Salon Radio as a possible choice for venue and moderator, to which Spencer initially agreed.  Shortly thereafter, however, Spencer chickened out of this, claiming that Salon Radio was not a neutral venue.  He then insisted upon ABN Sat, a loony right-wing Christian channel with anti-Muslim shows on it like Jihad Exposed.

Remember: Spencer rejected Salon Radio because it was not neutral enough, but meanwhile he has debated Muslims on ABN, which is the last thing on earth that could be called “neutral”.  Anyone see the double standard?

I agreed to ABN, just to get the debate moving along.  After this, Spencer emailed ABN saying: “It will be interesting in any case to see his face on camera.”  When did I ever agree to that?  Remember: I’ve always said that I am willing to engage in a radio (audio) debate with Spencer, so why the insistence that I do video?  After prolonged negotiations (designed to waste my time?), ABN finally refused to host the debate if I would be “audio-only” (as was my condition from the very beginning).

ABN claimed that it was against their policy to have one of the debaters be “audio-only” and that each debater must be on Skype (with video).  This seems to be nothing but a boldfaced lie made by ABN, since here is a debate they hosted just within this last year in which one of the debaters used Skype (video) and the other used the phone (audio only).  It seems that Spencer and ABN are colluding with each other in order to find an excuse to get out of the debate, because Spencer knows that he cannot defend his ideas.

So, the reality is that nothing has changed, and Spencer continues to use my anonymity to dodge the debate with me.

*  *  *  *  *

Moment of truth time for Robert Spencer: instead of wasting everyone’s time negotiating over venue and moderator (all of which seems to be designed to dodge the debate), I challenge you, Robert Spencer of JihadWatch, to a head-to-head debate using a format similar to bloggingheads.tv (no moderator needed) and audio only (like this debate or the one Spencer just did with “Spengler”–readers will note Spencer’s own words there: “Yes, it’s a video, but it’s audio only”).

We can make this debate happen right away.  Nothing fancy is required, no gimmicks, no third party needs to be negotiated with.  All we need is a recorded telephone conversation between you (Spencer) and I (Danios).  Then, we can put the recording of the debate on our respective websites (on LoonWatch and if Spencer wants, on JihadWatch).

As for the topic, we can debate the contents of Spencer’s book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades).  I argue that this book is completely misleading, whereas Spencer argues that nobody has been able to refute the substance of it but just smear him instead.  We’ll go through the book chapter by chapter and see where the truth lies.  Spencer, if you can’t defend the contents of your book, what are you but a fraud?

A generous time limit can be set for the debate so that we can have a real substantive discussion.  I say we stick with what we both found reasonable initially: three hours.

Spencer, I’m trying to make this debate actually happen, whereas you keep trying to find ways out of it.  The ball is in your court now.

This is the moment of truth to see if Spencer wants to debate or just wants to flee from me.  I think the question most of us have is: what excuse will Robert Spencer come up with next to chicken out of the debate?  Is Spencer too scared to pick up a phone and debate with me?  I think so.

Update I:

Robert Spencer just went on a tweet splurge, attempting to do damage control in order to hide the fact that he is dodging the debate with me.  He argues: “Every debate [on ABN] has same format.”  This is clearly a lie that both ABN and Spencer are sticking to, despite the fact that we have clear evidence to the contrary: as I already pointed out above (a point Spencer ignored), here is an ABN debate in which one of the two debaters was “audio only”, just as I requested.  Their insistence that all debaters must appear on video is something new that they invented for me, just as a way to give Spencer an out.

Like I said, there’s nothing new here: Spencer has chickened out of the debate with me as usual, using my anonymity as a cheap excuse.  He has rejected my new debate offer above, saying about me: “He wants uneven playing field.”  How would that be an “uneven playing field” to have no moderator and just go head-to-head?  Here Spencer is guilty of projection: he is the one who insisted on ABN, a loony anti-Muslim Christian channel, that would be completely in his favor.  Meanwhile, I accepted this “uneven playing field”–to Spencer’s advantage!  This is yet another case of Spencer putting reality on its head.

Lastly, Spencer gets out of my new debate offer by arguing that he will only accept it if I accept a “university invitation.”  He knows that I won’t accept because it would require compromising my anonymity, something I am unwilling to do at this point in time.  Therefore, we’re once again back where we were, with Robert Spencer dodging me in debate, using my anonymity as his ultimate fall back excuse and cop-out.  Why, Spencer, did you waste all of our time by making us think a few days ago that you were ready to stop running?  Please don’t keep wasting everybody’s time.

Danios was the Brass Crescent Award Honorary Mention for Best Writer in 2010 and the Brass Crescent Award Winner for Best Writer in 2011.

Danios of LoonWatch Accepts Robert Spencer’s Choice of Venue and Moderator: Will Spencer Keep Chickening Out?

A few days ago, it looked like Robert Spencer of JihadWatch had stopped running away from me and finally agreed to debate me.

But then (surprise, surprise), Spencer tried weaseling out of the debate.

One of Spencer’s sticking points was the issue of venue and moderator.  I had recommended Salon Radio, whereas he suggested ABN Sat (a loony anti-Muslim Christian channel with shows like Jihad Exposed).  In our email exchanges, Spencer kept insisting that ABN is “neutral” (ha!).

The funny thing is that in my initial email to Spencer I pointed out that he always tends to only debate on Christian or conservative channels.  This observation angered Spencer to no end, who insisted that he would “debate anywhere.”  He even seemed to accept Salon as the venue for the debate.

Spencer then had an about-face, rejecting Salon, and once again bringing up ABN, reinforcing what I said earlier: Spencer’s M.O. has been to debate Muslim floozies on Christian or conservative channels, only to then thump his chest when he wins.  The fact that I suggested Salon (a respectable and award-winning site) and Spencer kept insisting on ABN Sat (a loony anti-Muslim Christian channel) speaks volumes about what company we prefer: I like the legendary Glenn Greenwald, whereas he likes loony Christian bigots.

The choice of ABN was designed to stack the cards in his favor.  That’s fine.  I am so utterly confident in the searing truth of my argument–and the absolute falsity of his–that I accept ABN as the venue and moderator of the debate.  

[Naturally, I would insist that they give me equal time to speak, reproduce the debate in its full, unedited form, and give our website (and any other website) the right to reproduce our own recording of the debate.  (Spencer has already agreed to a 2-3 hour long debate; if this is too long for ABN to air on their show, they can do what the Daily Show does by airing the first part of the debate and then putting the rest of it online.)]

Readers should understand this decision of mine (i.e. accepting such a hostile venue and moderator) as a reflection of my low regard for Robert Spencer’s arguments and views.  This is especially bold of me, considering the fact that he has engaged in numerous debates whereas I am a novice in this field: I prefer written medium.  Even so, I have absolutely no doubt that I will trounce him in debate.

Now that I have accepted Robert Spencer’s own choice of venue and moderator–one that is heavily slanted in his favor–what excuse will Spencer come up with to avoid debating me?

*  *  *  *  *

I must, however, insist on the following thesis:

Islam is more violent than other religions, specifically Judaism and Christianity.

As I stated before, this is not just the main theme in his book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), but it is even the title of one of his books: Religion of Peace?: Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn’t.  More than this, it reflects the fundamental difference between he and I: whereas I accept the violent and intolerant aspect inherent in all religious traditions, Spencer specifically targets Islam.

Under this thesis, I will individually debate the following sub-points:

1. The Islamic prophet was more violent and warlike than the Judeo-Christian prophets.  This is the main argument in chapter 1 of Spencer’s book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), entitled “Muhammad: Prophet of War”. On p.4, Spencer compares Muhammad to Jesus and to all other prophets in order “to emphasize the fallacy of those who claim that Islam and Christianity–and all other religious traditions, for that matter–are basically equal in their ability to inspire good or evil…[T]hrough the words of Muhammad and Jesus, we can draw a distinction between the core principles that guide the faithful Muslim and Christian.”  In fact, throughout his book Spencer has sidebars that compare Muhammad to Jesus.  (Yet, somehow when you refute this, it’s a “tu quoque fallacy!”)

2. The Quran is more violent and warlike than the Bible.  This is the focus of chapter 2, which he entitles “The Qur’an: Book of War”.  On the very first page of this chapter (p.19), Spencer states unequivocally: “There is nothing in the Bible that rivals the Qur’an’s exhortations to violence.”  (When I want to refute this claim, then “tu quoque, tu quoque!”)  He says on the same page: “The Qu’ran is unique among the sacred writings of the world in counseling its adherents to make war against unbelievers.”  On pp.26-31, Spencer explains why the Quran is far more violent and warlike than the Bible.  (But refute this claim and you are guilty of committing a “tu quoque fallacy.”)

3. The Islamic religious tradition was more violent and warlike than the Jewish and Christian traditions.  This is what chapter 3 of his book is about, entitled “Islam: Religion of War”.  This argument is also spread throughout his book and blog.  For example, on p.31, Spencer argues that in Judaism and Christianity there have been “centuries of interpretive traditions” that have moved away from violent and warlike understandings, whereas “[i]n Islam, there is no comparable interpretative tradition.” Chapter 14 of his book is entitled “Islam and Christianity: Equivalent Traditions?”  (But if you question this point by showing that yes indeed the two traditions are at least equally violent, then get ready to be accused of committing “tu quoque!”)

4. Contemporary Muslims interpret their religion in a much more violent and warlike way than Jews and Christians. Again, this claim is found throughout his book and blog; on p.31, for example, he argues that, unlike Muslims, “modern-day Jews and Christians…simply don’t interpret [their scripture] as exhorting them to violent actions against unbelievers.”

5. Jews had it much better in Christian Europe than the Muslim world. This is addressed in chapter 4 of Spencer’s book, in which he talks about “dhimmitude.”  On the very first page of this chapter, he states: “The idea that Jews fared better in Islamic lands than in Christian Europe is false.”  (OK, so are you ready to defend this statement of yours, Spencer?  Or do you cry “tu quoque, tu quoque” when asked to do so?)  Spencer quotes “[h]istorian Paul Johnson” (a conservative Christian ideologue–surprise, surprise) who says: “the Jewish dhimmi under Moslem rule was worse than under the Christians,” and Spencer himself says that “the Muslim laws were much harsher for Jews than those of Christendom.”  (But ask Spencer to defend that statement and see how it’s automatically a “tu quoque fallacy” to do so.)

6. Islamic law, unlike Judaism and Christianity, permits lying and deception against unbelievers. This is the import of chapter 6 of Spencer’s book, entitled ”Islamic Law: Lie, Steal, and Kill”.  On the very first page of this chapter, Spencer argues that “Islam doesn’t have a moral code analogous to the [Judeo-Christian] Ten Commandments” and that “the idea that Islam shares the general moral outlook of Judaism and Christianity is another PC myth.”  On p.84, he writes that Islam is alone among religions and civilizations in that it fails to espouse “[u]niversal moral values.” On the very next page, Spencer bellows: “This is what sets Islam sharply apart from other religious traditions.”  (Try to disagree and suddenly you will hear chants of “tu quoque, tu quoque!”)

7. Islamic history was more violent and warlike than Jewish and Christian history. This argument is found in chapter 9 of Spencer’s book, entitled “Islam–Spread by the Sword? You Bet”.  On the first page of this chapter, Spencer writes: “The early spread of Islam and that of Christianity sharply contrast in that Islam spread by force and Christianity didn’t.”  On p.116, Spencer rejects the “myth” that “Christianity and Islam spread in pretty much the same way.”  (Reject that claim–and yep, you got it: “tu quoque, tu quoque!”)

8. In the modern day (twentieth and twenty-first century), Muslims are more violent and warlike than Jews and Christians.  This is of course the general theme found not only throughout Spencer’s book but also on his blog.  This is the ultimate fall-back argument of Islamophobes, who routinely ask: “why are there no Jewish or Christian suicide bombers?”

Spencer claims these are “tu quoque fallacies” (his favorite phrase), but in fact he himself is the one making these comparisons.  He makes such comparisons, and then shields himself from all counter-attack by invoking “tu quoque, tu quoque!”  How very convenient.

There is a very important reason that Robert Spencer refuses to debate me on this topic and thesis–he knows that he doesn’t have a leg to stand on.  Even when I let him choose the venue and moderator (one that slants the debate in his favor), he still cannot–at all costs–debate me on the central theme of his book and ideology.  That’s why Spencer is not a real scholar: he has never been forced to defend his thesis, nor had his work peer-reviewed, challenged, and intellectually critiqued.  I’m merely asking Spencer to defend the substance of his book.  This refusal in and of itself is a very powerful reminder of how his ideology is fraudulent, how he himself is nothing more than a hateful ideologue and huckster, and how he is so scared that I will expose him.

The fact that I want to debate him–and that he wants to run away from me–is now self-evident: I have removed any possible barrier by agreeing to his venue and moderator.  So, what excuse will Robert Spencer come up with now to chicken out of this debate?  Will he continue to run away from me on the one hand and on the other hand continue to lament why no liberal or Muslim will debate him?

Don’t hold your breath for a debate: Spencer can’t debate me.  It would be the end of him.  So, he will continue to run.

Danios was the Brass Crescent Award Honorary Mention for Best Writer in 2010 and the Brass Crescent Award Winner for Best Writer in 2011.

Surprise, Surprise: Robert Spencer of JihadWatch is Weaseling Out of Debate with Danios of LoonWatch

When I first read Robert Spencer’s book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) a couple years ago, I knew I could not just refute it but (proverbially speaking) blow it out of the water.  After I penned my first few articles against it, I also knew that Spencer could not issue any substantive reply.  Soon, I began to detect fear in Spencer’s eyes.  It is no wonder then that he has refused to debate me for so long.  I have documented Spencer’s evasion here.

Yet, Robert Spencer is also keenly aware of the fact that his refusal to debate the one site that is dedicated to refuting him–and was voted by his “target population” to be the number #1 non-Muslim blog with the number #1 writer–makes his fear obvious to the world.  When his fear of debating me was pointed out in a recent Twitter war, Spencer finally agreed to debate me.  (Of course, in true Spencer fashion, he accused us of “lying” when we said that he had been refusing to debate us for almost two years.)

Even so, I had predicted–as had many others–that Spencer would try to weasel his way out of the debate.  Lo and behold, this now seems to be the case.

Initially, Spencer sent me an email saying “[t]here needs to be a thesis…So propose one.”  I proposed the following thesis:  Islam is more violent than other religions, specifically Judaism and Christianity.  This is not only the central argument in Robert Spencer’s book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) but is also the title of another book of his: Religion of Peace?: Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn’t.

Yet, Spencer emailed me back and said:

Actually, I am not interested in debating about Judaism and Christianity. I am only interested in debating regarding Islam and Jihad.

Spencer, the title of your book is a comparison between Christianity and Islam.  So, are you saying that you can’t defend the central tenet and title of your book!?

He goes on:

Your tu quoque arguments are silly and have had abundant airing already. Propose another.

When you write a book titled “Religion of Peace?: Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn’t”, then to you that’s a valid comparison, but when someone refutes that comparison by pointing out how Christianity, by the very same standards you apply to Islam, couldn’t be considered a “religion of peace,” then you cry “tu quoque”!

If my arguments “are silly,” then why don’t you debate me on them and show me how silly they are?  Do you accept my counter-argument that “Judaism and Christianity are just as violent as Islam, if not more so”?  If yes, then please state it openly so that we can declare victory and move on; otherwise, if you disagree with it, then refute it in debate with me.

The entire premise of Spencer’s book, the one I have been refuting all along, is the thesis I have proposed.  It represents the fundamental difference of opinion I have with Robert Spencer and JihadWatch, so why should we debate something else?  Does Spencer think we should debate on just any topic?  Maybe we can debate the following thesis then: Arrested Development should never have been canceled because it is the single best comedy show ever.

I have never said or believed that the Islamic tradition does not have its violent aspects to it.  I have only argued that Islam is not alone in this and that the religious tradition of the dominant group (the Judeo-Christian tradition) is just as bad in this regard, if not worse.  That is my central argument, so why should we debate something else?

To be clear: I will only debate this thesis (Islam is more violent than other religions, specifically Judaism and Christianity) and no other, since (1) it is the central tenet of Robert Spencer’s book and (2) it represents the fundamental difference I have with him.  The fact that Robert Spencer cannot defend his central tenet (and the fundamental difference between us) indicates that he knows he doesn’t stand a chance in defending the thesis.  That’s why he must insist on “propos[ing] another.”

*  *  *  *  *

Additionally, there is an issue regarding “venue.”  He has suggested we debate on ABN SAT–a Christian channel.  Ludicrously, he calls them “neutral,” even though the channel airs a show (the one Spencer debated on) called Jihad Exposed, with the email address jihadexposed@abnsat.com. Yeah, real “neutral.”

I had earlier complained that Spencer tends to debate only on Christian or conservative channels, to which Spencer accused me of “lying.”  In any case, he asked that I propose another venue other than ABN and in the same email adamantly stated: “I will debate anywhere.”  OK, if that is the case, how about we debate on Salon?

Initially, Spencer responded (bold is mine):

I have no problem with Salon but I guess you mean a print debate, in that case.

I actually had meant Salon Radio, so it would be a recorded audio debate that they could reproduce on the Salon site.  In any case, I emailed somebody at Salon, only to later get this follow-up email from Spencer (bold is mine):

Also, Salon in print is not what I had in mind. If you have a radio show in mind, I wasnt aware that Salon had one, but in that case Salon is not a neutral forum with a neutral moderator.

ABN — they offer a completely neutral forum. Let’s do it there.

Initially, he will “debate anywhere” and he has “no problem with Salon,” only to follow-up with an email rejecting Salon as a venue.  And then he goes back to the same silly Christian channel as an option.

Whether or not Salon will agree to host the debate is still up in the air, but if they accept will Spencer stick by his word that he will “debate anywhere” and that he has “no problem with Salon”?  Spencer?

Danios was the Brass Crescent Award Honorary Mention for Best Writer in 2010 and the Brass Crescent Award Winner for Best Writer in 2011.

Why Can’t Robert Spencer Debate Danios of LoonWatch (Again)?

For several years, pseudo-scholar Robert Spencer of JihadWatch has claimed that he would be willing to debate any “Leftist or Muslim” to defend his arguments.  For example, on the 13th of June 2010, Spencer bellowed:

The list of the Leftist and Muslim academics and apologists who have refused my challenge to debate is very long; they know they can’t refute what I say on the basis of evidence, so they resort to broad-based smears and personal attacks — and haughty refusals to debate.

Just a few days later on June 17th, I responded by accepting Spencer’s debate challenge:

Danios of LoonWatch Accepts Robert Spencer’s Challenge to a Debate

I accept your challenge, Spencer. I agree to a radio debate with you on the topic of jihad and “dhimmitude”, namely chapters 1-4 of your book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades). It will then be seen if you can defend your own writing, which I argue is a load of sensationalist crock.

Will you accept my challenge to debate or cower in fear? My guess is that you “know [you] can’t refute what I say” and will “resort to…haughty refusals to debate.”

I predict that the JW minions will give excuses to explain away why their master Robert Spencer will refuse to debate me, instead of urging him to enter into a debate as they always do with other people who challenge his ideas. They already know that Spencer does not stand a chance in a debate with me, which is why they will continue to generate excuses to exonerate him from his intellectual cowardice. This is because deep down inside they know–as does everyone else who has followed his and my writings–what the outcome would be.

Spencer backing down from a debate with me would be curious, considering that he has already conceded that my writings are “rare occasions when the opposition does offer a substantive response.” Spencer, are you saying that you can debate with people so long as they don’t give you a substantive response, in which case you flee?

As most readers are aware, LoonWatch has become the most popular anti-Islamophobia website, giving birth to a sister site called SpencerWatch.  In fact, LoonWatch won the Brass Crescent Award in 2010 and I (Danios) won the Brass Crescent Award for Best Writer in 2011.  The people have spoken, and they clearly want to see a debate between Spencer and I.

To this effect, Ahmed Rehab, Executive Director of CAIR-Chicago, asked Robert Spencer in October of 2010 why he was dodging the debate with me.  A few days later, Spencer issued a furious response, in which he said:

Debating such a compromised and dishonest individual would be a waste of time

I responded to this saying:

Isn’t that the exact same reasoning that Rehab gave for refusing to debate you, Spencer? The same reasoning you were so opposed to and called cowardice?

Spencer needs another excuse to weasel out of a debate with me. What will it be? Aha! It will be my anonymity! As many of you know, I write anonymously under a pseudonym. Spencer and his fellow fans desperately want to know who I am. Some of them are convinced I am XYZ, and others that I am ABCD. Some have even engaged in textual analysis, trying extremely hard to find out who this cursed Danios is. My question is: who cares? Deal with my arguments, not who I am. Spencer says:

…Since Rehab invokes [Danios] and others have referred to his site [LoonWatch] recently, I am willing: if “Danios of Loonwatch” reveals his real name…

Spencer places this condition on me, knowing full well that I will refuse to reveal my name, since he knows that I like writing anonymously.

On November 1st, 2010, I posted another response:

JihadWatch, a vitriolic hate site run by pretend scholar Robert Spencer, has propelled itself to the forefront of the Islamophobic movement in the United States.  The fear-mongering Spencer has used his hate site to demonize Islam and Muslims.  To bolster his credibility, Robert Spencer had long ago issued an open challenge to “Muslims and leftists” to debate his ideas.

I accepted Spencer’s challenge to a debate on June 17th, 2010.  Since then, several influential Muslim-American spokesmen have expressed their interest in such a debate between Spencer and I.  This includesAhmed Rehab (Executive Director of CAIR-Chicago), who issued a scathing statement against Spencer.  However, it has now been over 135 days since I accepted Robert Spencer’s challenge.  JihadWatch has generated excuse after excuse as to why this radio debate cannot take place.

The latest set of excuses was that I must reveal who I am before a debate can take place.  Spencer issued this pre-condition knowing full well that I value my anonymity too much to do that.  He naturally thought that this was a creative way to get out of a debate with me while at the same time saving face.  Said Spencer:

Sorry, I don’t debate fictional characters or pseudonyms. “Danios of Loonwatch” can go debate Scot Harvath or Harold Robbins.

This is of course strange since Hugh Fitzgerald, the Vice President of JihadWatch since 2004, himself operates under an anonymous pseudonym.  Fitzgerald is a co-administrator of the site, alongside Spencer.  Is Fitzgerald then a “fictional character” who is only worthy of debate with Scot Harvath or Harold Robbins?

If that is the case, I challenge Hugh Fitzgerald–co-administer and Vice President of JihadWatch–to a radio debate.  The topic will be Jihad, “Dhimmitude”, and Taqiyya (Stealth Jihad), namely chapters 1-4 of Robert Spencer’s book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades).

Hugh Fitzgerald of JihadWatch uses a pseudonym like myself, and he remains completely anonymous like myself.  Surely two “fictional characters” are worthy of debating each other, right?

Now what excuse will be generated by JihadWatch to avoid this debate with LoonWatch?  I can just see Robert Spencer’s brain churning in order to generate a reason to get out of this one.  The truth is that JihadWatch is a bully, and as soon as someone steps up to a bully and delivers a solid punch to the mouth, the bully backs down like the coward he is.

That was where we last left off, with Robert Spencer coming up with the excuse of my anonymity to dodge a radio debate with me.  In other words, it has been 572 days since I issued my radio debate challenge–and Spencer has never manned up.

Until now?

Just yesterday, Robert Spencer posted an article with the title of “Why can’t Muslims debate? (Again)”, saying:

For example, an Islamic supremacist hate site that defames me and lies about what I say regularly charged that I was refusing to debate them:

I responded by repeating yet again something I had reiterated several times in the preceding weeks, when other Muslims had thrown up this site to me:

No response to that at all.

A simple Google search will reveal how this is a great big lie.  Spencer has adamantly refused to engage in a radio debate with LoonWatch and me in particular, using my anonymity as a face-saving excuse.

Do his recent tweets reflect a change in attitude or is he still cowering in fear of me?  Spencer, are you willing to back your words with action and “debate [me] anytime”?  I will debate the accuracy of your book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), with regard to the topics of jihad, “dhimmitude”, and taqiyya.  Are you ready to defend your arguments or not?

I think most of us anticipate “no response to that at all.”

Danios was the Brass Crescent Award Honorary Mention for Best Writer in 2010 and the Brass Crescent Award Winner for Best Writer in 2011.

Internet Sociopath Robert Spencer Scared of Debate

Robert Spencer, the notorious anti-Muslim hate blogger, issued an open challenge to a debate:

The list of the Leftist and Muslim academics and apologists who have refused my challenge to debate is very long; they know they can’t refute what I say on the basis of evidence, so they resort to broad-based smears and personal attacks — and haughty refusals to debate.

He has issued similar challenges on numerous occasions, steadfastly claiming that he would be willing to defend his ideas in debate.  I had accepted Spencer’s challenge to a debate, saying:

I accept your challenge, Spencer.  I agree to a radio debate with you on the topic of jihad and “dhimmitude”, namely chapters 1-4 of your book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades).  It will then be seen if you can defend your own writing, which I argue is a load of sensationalist crock.

Will you accept my challenge to debate or cower in fear?  My guess is that you “know [you] can’t refute what I say” and will “resort to…haughty refusals to debate.”

It’s been 129 days since I accepted Spencer’s challenge, yet he continues to dodge taking me on.  That’s no surprise to most of our readers, since I have written several articles refuting his book and ideas, which he has failed to respond to.  It is well-known that my articles have stopped Spencer in his tracks, and finally he has been effectively silenced on those issues.  For the first time ever, someone managed to spend the time necessary to respond in a thorough fashion.  That’s why Spencer is avoiding a debate with me at all costs, even if it means going back on his open challenge to “leftists and Muslims.”

Even so, this doesn’t stop Spencer from claiming that other leftist or Muslim spokesmen are scared of debating him and can’t refute him.  Spencer claimed that Muslim-American spokesman Ahmed Rehab “ran from debate with me [Spencer].”  Rehab responded, saying:

Spencer, I never agreed to debate you in the first place, and it is highly unlikely that I ever will.

Rehab then mentions Spencer’s hypocrisy, pointing out that Spencer has been dodging yours truly (Danios of LoonWatch) for quite some time:

And now for some irony. Spencer, you are claiming you are ready to debate anyone but that alas no one wants to debate you because no one can. But, is this actually true? Does the name Danios of Loonwatchring a bell Spencer? You may be burying your head in the sand hoping no one will notice, but a simple Google search on “Robert Spencer debate” reveals your hypocrisy. How come you are ignoring an invitation from another blogger who has challenged you numerous times and whose articles shredding your arguments to pieces are all over the web without a peep of a rebuttal from you? Are you conceding defeat? Are you “running away?”

Of course, this got Robert Spencer worked up in quite the tizzy, and he blogged a furious response.  In it, the sociopath Robert Spencer starts ranting about the Soviet Union and Stalin, something all delusional right-wing nut jobs are prone to do some time or the other.

The irony of Spencer’s response cannot be understated.  His post is entitled “CAIR’s Ahmed Rehab and the use of ridicule,” and he complains of how Rehab supposedly resorts to “adolescent ridicule and abuse rather than substance.”  It is truly special that Spencer can say this with a straight face while at the same time lampooning the very same opponent by posting a photograph of Ahmed Rehab with a caption accusing him of wearing lipstick and eye shadow.  His sociopath readers take great delight in this picture, gleefully snickering at this “adolescent ridicule and abuse.”  The photograph is likely photoshopped, but even if it is not, what relevance does it have to do with the debate at hand?  Here, Spencer has lowered himself to the lowest possible schoolyard tactic: accuse your opponent of being gay.  To an extremist Catholic apologist like Robert Spencer being called “gay” is a very bad insult.  Of course, to a proud “leftist” progressive like myself, I don’t find it a slur to be labeled “homosexual”, which is clearly what Spencer is hinting at.  Even if Ahmed Rehab really did wear make up like gay popstar Adam Lambert, so what?  What’s your point?  Other than expose your underlying homophobia?

Let me be clear though: we here at LoonWatch don’t mind adolescent ridicule.  To wit: Robert Spencer is a fat slob.  His belly is so protuberant that that he can’t see his feet.

Have you noticed how Spencer has a thing against what he calls “meterosexual guys” like Ahmed Rehab and Reza Aslan?  Do I sense jealousy?  Both Rehab and Aslan are fairly good-looking guys.  In fact, Rehab was involved with the current Miss USA and Aslan with Jessica Jackley.  Maybe Spencer’s antipathy towards these chic Muslim spokesmen is that they are too damn good-looking.  Compare Spencer’s frumpy body with Rehab’s toned body.  That could also explain Spencer’s burning hatred of Dr. Tariq Ramadan, as one user on his site complains about “his handsome lying face.”  I wouldn’t be surprised if Spencer’s burning hatred is a reflection of his own inferiority complex…He certainly wouldn’t be the first loser to embrace a hate-filled ideology to boost his own inner lack of self-worth.

The issue is not Spencer’s “use of ridicule”, but his hypocrisy: he cries that leftist and Muslim spokesmen–Ahmed Rehab specifically here–resort to “adolescent ridicule and abuse”, which is what Spencer himself engages in on his hate site, against Rehab no less!  He cries about “adolescent ridicule” and in the same post say that Rehab and Aslan “richly deserve lampooning.”  So you can’t use adolescent ridicule, but lampooning is OK.  Does pointing out how fat and ugly Spencer is fall into the former or the latter?

Anyways, back to the point: I had long ago accepted Robert Spencer’s open challenge, agreeing to a radio debate.  So why does Spencer dodge me?

Spencer needs to generate excuses and a way out from debating me.  His first attempt was to minimize my importance, which somehow does not fall under “haughty refusal to debate.”  He can no longer rely on this excuse, since Ahmed Rehab himself, the Executive Director of CAIR-Chicago, messaged me: “You are amongst the top writers on this topic, far more effective and relevant than 99% of the countless Muslim writers out there.”  That’s high praise from the man whom Spencer considers an adequate spokesman for Muslims.  Will Spencer refuse to debate someone considered in the top 1%?  I suspect so.  Spencer says of me:

Debating such a compromised and dishonest individual would be a waste of time

Isn’t that the exact same reasoning that Rehab gave for refusing to debate you, Spencer?  The same reasoning you were so opposed to and called cowardice?

Spencer needs another excuse to weasel out of a debate with me.  What will it be?  Aha!  It will be my anonymity!  As many of you know, I write anonymously under a pseudonym.  Spencer and his fellow fans desperately want to know who I am.  Some of them are convinced I am XYZ, and others that I am ABCD.  Some have even engaged in textual analysis, trying extremely hard to find out who this cursed Danios is.  My question is: who cares?  Deal with my arguments, not who I am. Spencer says:

…Since Rehab invokes [Danios] and others have referred to his site [LoonWatch] recently, I am willing: if “Danios of Loonwatch” reveals his real name…

Spencer places this condition on me, knowing full well that I will refuse to reveal my name, since he knows that I like writing anonymously.  Spencer asks:

What is “Danios of Loonwatch” afraid of?

Do I have to be “afraid” of something?  I enjoy writing anonymously.  Having said that, I do plan on eventually “coming out of the closet” (will Spencer now accuse me of being gay too [although for the record I am not]?), but not just yet…When the time is right and of my own choosing. And when I do come out, I am sure that Spencer will attack my “meterosexual looks”.  Ah, why o why was I cursed with such handsome looks?

More importantly, I am currently a post-doctoral fellow at an Ivy League university and instructor at a state university.  Coming out of the closet at the present time would pose some logistical problems for me, which is why I have chosen to do it at a later date.  Does this answer your question, Spencer?

Then Spencer places his second condition:

I am willing: if “Danios of Loonwatch” reveals his real name, finds a university willing to host the debate and contracts an impartial moderator, I’m ready when he is.

So (1) I have to reveal my real name, and (2) the debate can only be at a university.  The second condition is odd, considering that it is Spencer who has no affiliation to any university.  In fact, Spencer failed to respond to this point by Rehab:

Spencer claims to be a scholar of Islam, Islamic Law, and Theology but holds no degrees in any of those subjects and has never even published a single peer-reviewed paper.

Why, in your epic rant, did you not respond to this argument against you?  How is it, my portly friend, that you consider yourself a “scholar of Islam”–which your site so claims–when you do not even have a single degree in any subject of Islam, let along a single peer-reviewed paper?  Exactly what type of scholar are you, then?

Anyways, Spencer’s second condition is tied to the first: a university debate can only be arranged if I reveal my true identity and university affiliation, which he knows that I am not willing to do just yet.  Spencer concludes:

But I won’t be holding my breath.

I’m sure Spencer was actually holding his breath, for fear that I might accept his two pre-conditions, and then how to avoid the challenge!?

Of course, Spencer’s two conditions–both of which involve revealing my identity–are completely bogus.  I have offered to debate Spencer on the radio.  Does Spencer not do radio interviews?  In fact, Spencer has appeared on the radio countless times, doing interviews for Jawa radio, Spirit Catholic Radio, Western World Radio, etc. To completely negate Spencer’s generated excuse, here we have Spencer himself saying how he engaged in a radio debate with a CAIR spokesman:

In April 2007, I participated in a heated hour-long radio debate with CAIR’s Hussam Ayloush…

So why does Spencer agree to a radio debate with Hussam Ayloush but now he doesn’t agree to the same with yours truly?  What’s that sound?  Oh, it’s the sound of a chicken.

Robert Spencer Dodges Debate with LoonWatch

One artist's depiction of Robert Spencer

One artist's depiction of Robert Spencer

LoonWatch.com, recently published a devastating rebuttal of chapter four of Robert Spencer’s book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam and the Crusades.

The article no doubt knocked Spencer flat on his backside.  In one swift move, LoonWatch completely neutralized one of his main lines of argumentation against Islam and Muslims–his pet issue of “dhimmitude” which he recurrently brings up to fear monger.  One cannot underestimate the importance he gives to this issue–after all, he registered DhimmiWatch[dot]com!  It is arguably his favorite topic.

Spencer issued a half-hearted (non)reply to the rebuttal.  LW immediately counter-replied, completely pummeling Spencer.

And now…silence.  Spencer, who has no real job other than this, has suddenly become as quiet as a mouse.  What happened, Spencer?  Cat got your tongue?  Where did all the bravado go?

It’s not like Spencer is averse to going twelve rounds in debate…In fact, he had a debate with Omer Subhani on this very issue, and Spencer churned out not one but three (!) articles rebutting Subhani.  (See here, here, and here.)  Notice the blustering confidence Spencer exudes in those articles.  Unfortunately, Subhani was by his own admission very busy during the time that he wrote his rebuttal (he’s a law student) and therefore was unable to do the in-depth research that we did.

Notice how detailed Spencer’s replies to Subhani are (complete with photographs that Spencer took of his own personal library and rotund self). It is clear that Spencer’s multiple replies took a lot of effort and time (he doesn’t have a real job like Omer Subhani does).  So how come LoonWatch doesn’t get just one article rebutting our article on the same exact topic that Spencer was earlier willing to write three rebuttals of?  Well, we all know the answer to that: Spencer has been defeated in debate, is boxed in, and has no possible way to respond to the points raised.  And so the once ferocious Muslim eating tiger has turned into a cowardly chicken.

Omer Subhani recently blogged about my rebuttal and Spencer’s non-response:

…An entire chapter of Spencer’s book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), was refuted and his response was monumentally weak and disingenuous…

Spencer is always whining about debating these issues. Now someone has come up and punched him in the nose. Will he respond, or will he avoid the conversation, thus proving the falsity of his claims that Islam treated Jews worse than Christianity? I ain’t holding my breath.

Mr. Subhani, we aren’t holding our breath either.

Further reading:

The Church’s Doctrine of “Perpetual Servitude” was Worse than “Dhimmitude”

Robert Spencer is on the Ropes; Spencer’s Bumbling Reply to LoonWatch

Update:

Robert Spencer argues in his book that the Jews historically fared (much) better in Christian Europe than they did in the Islamic world.  It was this claim which I thoroughly debunked.  After I published my article, two of our readers (hat tip: Reza and Nabeela) pointed out that even Daniel Pipes–an Islamophobe and one of Spencer’s own buddies–said in an interview:

Rachael Kohn: As an historian, you would know that Jews had comparatively better time under Muslim rule than they did under Christian rule. When did it change so radically?

Daniel Pipes: It was very radical and quick. The Jewish experience from the origins of Islam in the 7th century, until rather specifically in 1945, was better under Muslim rule than under Christian rule. And since 1945, it’s been better under Christian rule than Muslim rule. One can see it for example by exchange of populations. Jews fled the Christian countries for the Muslim countries, until 1945.

As late as the 1930s, when Jews fled Germany to go to Turkey. Since then, it’s been the reverse. I think this points to the fact that things change. You know, what looked like it was a permanent thing, the fact that Jews were better off in Muslim countries, just changed on a dime, in a moment, just changed. It also points to the fact that the Muslim world is going through a very difficult stage now, and it’s presumably a temporary one. It’s comparable again to Germany in the middle of the last century. It was a horrible, horrible period, did a lot of damage to Germany and to the outside world, but the Germans came out of it. And so the key now is to figure out how the Muslim world can come out of this particularly difficult time that it’s in.

Daniel Pipes even refers to Professor Mark R. Cohen’s book Under Crescent and Cross as an “excellent study.”  (It is this book which I used as a template, and which convincingly outlines why life for Jews was so much more tolerable in the Islamic East as compared to the Christian West.)

Pipes noted (as did I in my rebuttal) that although dhimmis were second-class citizens, at least they were citizens–unlike the Christian world where they were excluded from society altogether; says Pipes:

…Non-Muslims were allowed to live under Muslim rule with the legal status of dhimmis (protected persons). They paid higher taxes and enjoyed fewer privileges, in return for which they had the right to practice their own religions. Such sanctioned toleration has no Christian counterpart; under Islam, Jews were second-class citizens but they were part of the legal landscape, not the problematic anomaly they presented the Christian world.

And he concludes:

In pre-modern times, they lived markedly better under Islam than under Christianity.

(Notice the words “markedly better.”)

To be clear, I don’t consider Daniel Pipes to be a reliable source, simply because he is a biased Islamophobe.  But the point here is that Spencer considers Pipes to be a reliable scholar.  Furthermore, it illustrates how even a staunchly anti-Islam ideologue such as Pipes (and Spencer’s comrade-in-arms) is forced to admit what Spencer in his unbelievable revisionism cannot: Jews fared better in the Islamic world than the Christian one.  In other words, Pipes could not keep a straight face and argue Spencer’s point. This indicates the depths of Spencer’s lack of scholarship and sophistication.