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.

Brass Crescent Awards: Send JihadWatch’s Robert Spencer a Message by Voting for Danios of LoonWatch

In the late 1980′s, Noam Chomsky co-authored a book entitled Manufacturing Consent.  In it, he spoke of how the mainstream media in the United States–in the form of print media, radio, and television–is carefully controlled propaganda for the ruling elite.  They have absolute control over what narratives are heard, and which ones are ignored.  In the words of Chomsky, they set the agenda “by selection of topics, by distribution of concerns, by emphasis and framing of issues, by filtering of information, by bounding of debate within certain limits. They determine, they select, they shape, they control, they restrict — in order to serve the interests of dominant, elite groups in the society.”  The most dissenters can do is send in a letter and hope that it is published.  In this model, the establishment has all the power.

Fortunately, this has begun to change due to the internet.  The blog has emerged as a powerful tool for dissenting voices.  Thanks to the internet, and blogging in particular, the monopoly on media has been broken.  People are no longer restricted to one source (the MSM), but instead can surf the net to choose alternate sources of information.  Ideas that are shunned in the MSM as Un-Serious can be discussed.  As for myself, I have weaned myself off of the MSM, getting my world news from blogs and alternate news sources: every day, I read the Salon blog, listen to Cenk Uygur on The Young Turks, and watch AlJazeera English on my smart phone.  And only then do I go to the MSM (even though I feel like throwing things at the television).

In the words of Glenn Greenwald, “the blogosphere is and will continue to be the venue for the most vibrant and important political writing.”  It is certainly my favorite means of communication.  Blogging is superior to writing books because the cost of buying a book may prevent a person from reading your ideas.  It is superior to writing in journals, which reach an even smaller readership than books.  It is superior to television because it permits in-depth discussion of a topic (thereby preventing what Noam Chomsky calls “concision”).  Most importantly, blogging is dynamic and two-way: the comments section makes blogging a group sport.  The best blogs are those that use the readership to change, update, and improve articles, which is what we do here at LoonWatch.

With regard to the Islamo-blogosphere, this is, quite understandably, in its infancy.  Sadly, however, the bigoted anti-Muslim blogosphere is way more advanced–maybe not in sophistication but certainly in influence.  They have successfully harnessed the new technology (the internet and blogs) to their benefit: although they too are not establishment, they have certainly influenced the establishment including the mainstream media.  Many of their bogus narratives have infiltrated the Republican party and Fox “News.”  Their influence has been felt even in the FBI and government.  In this aspect, what they have accomplished is enviable and, to a limited extent, something that we should emulate.

Meanwhile, the response to these right-wing Islamophobes has been lackluster.  The reason I joined LoonWatch was that it was the one site that was taking the fight to the Islamophobes.  I thought I could contribute something unique to LW: I began to write in-depth rebuttals of their main theological beliefs.  Islamophobia is an ideology, and has its own theology to it.  I decided to use the methodology of Dr. Norman Finkelstein: just as the framework of his book was a critique of Alan Dershowitz’s book, so too am I using Robert Spencer’s book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) as the general framework for my article series (which will eventually be published in book form).

As Alan Dershowitz is “Israel’s single most visible defender” so does Robert Spencer represent Islamophobia’s greatest proponent.  In the very important arena of the internet, Robert Spencer is the cyber kingpin of Islamophobia.

Here’s where I need your help.  I was recently nominated for “Best Writer” for The Eighth Annual Brass Crescent Awards.  In the still fledgling Islamo-blogosphere (you don’t have to be Muslim to be nominated), the Brass Crescent Awards are the highest award (only?) one can get.  Last year, Loonwatch came in first place in the category of Best non-Muslim blogger, I came in second place as best writer.  Let’s try for first place this year, eh?

To be honest, it usually leaves a bad taste in my mouth whenever people self-promote themselves.  This has been one of the benefits of writing anonymously that I have been able to avoid much of that.  But in this situation, I feel this is different since the intention is to send Robert Spencer a message: a very loud and clear message.

Only a week remains so please vote for me (Danios) by going to BrassCrescent.Org and scrolling down to Best Writer section where they stuck me with the ugly face of Geert Wilders:

Tell your friends, tell your neighbors, tell Randy Gonzales! But please make sure to vote only once as they do have some measures in place to counteract “ballot stuffing” (invalidating the votes of whoever is caught doing that).

Thank you for your support.  A blogger is nothing without his readership, and for all of your support, even through all the many mistakes I have made, I thank you.

-Danios of LoonWatch.

Omer Subhani: “Spencer debates fool; Avoids LW’s Danios like the plague”

Robert Spencer recently debated Moustafa Zayed, and from what I’ve heard, Zayed did not fare so well.  Zayed authored a book entitled The Lies About Muhammad: How You Were Deceived into Islamophobia, in which he attempted to refute Robert Spencer’s book The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion.

LoonWatch’s sister site SpencerWatch had publicized Zayed’s book when it first came out (seehere).  This was the first I had heard of Zayed or his book, so I immediately ordered it.  After reading just half of it, I’d made my judgment: the book sucked.  Here is what I wrote then in the comments section of SpencerWatch (just under a year ago from today):

Danios says:

August 29, 2010 at 7:32 pm

I have read about half the book [by Moustafa Zayed]. Sadly, it is very poorly written and the arguments are weak. Overall, the “refutation” was highly ineffective. In fact, I would go so far as to say the book is childish. It was painful to read, and was quite simply tiresome.

Waste of money in my humble opinion. Worse than that, the author’s failure to effectively refute Robert Spencer’s arguments will give the impression that Spencer’s arguments are strong. So in a way, this book does more harm than good. More likely, however, the book will simply be disregarded.

I was honestly skeptical of the book when I bought it, simply because I have seen so many “Muslim scholars” fail so miserably when debating Spencer. Even then, however, the author managed to surprise me by how poorly it was written.

This is not to say that Spencer’s book is well-written or convincing. I will eventually devastate the arguments in his book, just like I am doing now with The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades). The inability of “Muslim scholars” to write dispassionately and from a neutral analytical perspective hampers their effectiveness quite considerably…

No wonder then that Spencer chose to engage in debate with Zayed.  This follows Spencer’s modus operandi: engage in debate with those who are weak debaters, fastidiously avoid debating with those who are skilled debaters (and who have solid grasp of the subject matter), and then crow in victory over one’s supposedly undefeated record.

Robert Spencer has repeatedly chickened out of debating me, making excuse after excuse to get out of it, which prompted us to write an article entitled Internet Sociopath Robert Spencer Scared of Debate.  So when he saw Spencer crowing in victory over his recent debate with Zayed, Omer Subhani wrote the following post calling Spencer out:

Spencer debates fool; avoids LW’s Danios like the plague
Zayed, deceit, and body language – Jihad Watch

Why is Robert Spencer too cowardly to debate Danios of Loonwatch?

He will debate this fool, Zayed, but dodges Danios like the plague. I smell something. And it smells like chicken.

Danios has repeatedly told Spencer he would debate him, but Spencer just makes excuses. I think the bigot knows deep down he will be disposed of like the trash that he is.

Perhaps it is a bit too harsh to refer to Zayed as a “fool.” I’m sure he’s a lovely guy and I don’t want to insult him.  Having said that, I don’t think he’s adequately equipped to take on Spencer.  And in doing so, he is doing a disservice to those he is trying to defend.  Sheila Musaji at The American Muslimrecently published an excellent article, in which she notes that “useful idiots” (again, perhaps too harsh a term) lose in debate against the Islamophobes, only to give the illusion to the audience that the Islamophobes have a strong argument.  They are doing more harm than good.

In any case, so long as Spencer keeps making up excuses to avoid debating me, he will be quite the cowardly hypocrite, whining that so-and-so is too scared to debate him while at the same time fastidiously avoiding debating me.

Update I: On an unrelated note, check out page IV of The “Allah is the Moon-God” Nonsense Could be the Stupidest Anti-Muslim Conspiracy Theory Yet, which I just published.