Spencer Ally, John Guandolo’s anti-Muslim “terrorism” presentation Canceled

Guandolo-training

Virginia Police Academy Nixes ‘Advanced Counterterrorism Training’ Taught By Anti-Muslim Activist

After persistent community pressure the Virginia Police Academy dropped Islamophobe John Guandolo, an affiliate of ACT! For America, from conducting his so-called ‘Advanced Counterterrorism Training.’

Virginia Police Academy Nixes ‘Advanced Counterterrorism Training’ Taught By Anti-Muslim Activist

BY IAN MILLHISER

The Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy announced on Monday that it would no longer sponsor a course for law enforcement officers which was ostensibly focused on counterterrorism, but which would have been taught by an anti-Muslim activist with a history of spreading conspiracy theories. A brief press release from the academy announces that “[a]fter careful consideration and consultation with other law enforcement agencies and academies, having firsthand knowledge of this training, the Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy will no longer be offering Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services in-service training credit for the upcoming seminar ‘Understanding and Investigating Jihadi Networks in America.’”

The training was to be hosted by the Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office. Late last week, Sheriff Scott Jenkins said that he does not plan to cancel the training session, despite outcry from civil rights groups that the event features an anti-Islamic speaker. According to a letter from 15 civil rights organizations and religious interest groups, John Guandolo, a former FBI agent and the featured speaker at the training event, “is closely affiliated with ACT! for America, a known anti-Muslim hate group, and he makes baseless, irresponsible and dangerous statements revealing his animus about the American Muslim community” — including claiming that “American Muslims ‘do not have a First Amendment right to do anything.‘”

Though the training may still go on without accreditation, Ibrahim Hooper with the Council on American-Islamic Relations told ThinkProgress that he is satisfied that it will not be attended now that the academy has pulled its sponsorship, adding that law enforcement officers attend these kinds of seminars because they require continuing education credits — but they will no longer receive those credits following the academy’s decision. In Hooper’s words, “why would people show up for three days if they don’t get credit?”

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Guandolo accused Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan of bringing “known Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood leaders into the government and into advisory positions,” and claimed that Brennan did so because he “converted to Islam when he served in an official capacity” in Saudi Arabia. Weeks later, Guandolo expanded this conspiracy to include President Obama, claiming that the president has “made a significant effort to protect known members of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood inside this government.”

In 2009, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that Guandolo resigned from the FBI in 2008 before the bureau’s Office of Professional Responsibility could question him regarding allegations that he had “an intimate relationship with a confidential source.” According to a court filing by the federal government, a “cooperating witness” in the investigation against former Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) told FBI agents that “she had sexual relations with now-former FBI agent John Guandolo during the time that Mr. Guandolo served in an undercover capacity as her driver during the pro-active phase of this investigation.”

On Saturday, the Roanoke Times reported that Sheriff Jenkins plans to move forward with the training regardless of concerns over Guandolo. As of this writing, the Culpeper County Sheriff’s office has not responded to an inquiry from ThinkProgress asking if they have changed their mind.

Robert Spencer Defends Neo-Nazi, Will He Issue an Apology?

Is this the back of some neo-nazi's truck, or the cover of Robert Spencer's next book?

Is this the back of some neo-Nazi's truck, or the cover of Robert Spencer's next book?

Everyone please welcome Rousseau, the newest addition to LoonWatch.  He will be a powerful addition to our already stellar team.  This is his first piece…

Robert Spencer, arguably the lead loon of the loon universe, has been caught defending a neo-Nazi. The whole ruckus started when the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) complained to the Virginia Department of Transportation about the license plate of Douglas Story. Story had a mural made on his truck of the World Trade Centers burning after the 9-11 attack, with the words “Everything I ever needed to know about Islam I learned on 9/11.”

CAIR picked up on this loony truck driver’s mural and then apparently noticed his license plate number, which read “14CV88.” Ibrahim Hooper, communications director of CAIR, argued that this number was code for neo-Nazi white supremacist ideas; Hooper explained: “…Among neo-Nazis, 88 refers to ‘Heil Hitler,’ because H is the eighth letter of the alphabet. White supremacists sometimes use the number 14 as shorthand for the 14-word motto, ‘We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.’”

But Story shot back and claimed that the numbers were in honor of his favorite NASCAR drivers: Tony Stewart (who drives car No. 14) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (who drives car No. 88).

Story’s story wasn’t finished there. He went on to say that: “There is absolutely no way I’d have anything to do with Hitler or Nazis.” Story even argued that it would be outright crazy to call him a white supremacist or neo-Nazi, invoking the old “I-can’t-be-racist-because-I-have-a-Jewish/black/Muslim-friend” routine, saying: “My sister-in-law and my niece are Jewish. I went to my niece’s bar mitzvah when she turned 13 three years ago. Does that sound like something an anti-Semite would do?”

Robert Spencer demanded Ibrahim Hooper to issue an apology, saying:

Hamas-linked CAIR smears anti-jihad Virginia driver as Neo-Nazi

…CAIR’s whole story was false in the first place: the driver in question, Douglas Story, is not a neo-Nazi at all, but a racing fan. The alleged code numbers for neo-Nazi slogans were actually favorite race car drivers’ numbers.

Will Honest Ibe Hooper apologize to Douglas Story? Come on, Ibe! It would be the decent thing to do!

Spencer also argued the entire episode was a ploy by CAIR to link “anti-jihadists” like Spencer to neo-Nazi white supremacists:

The implication of the story, of course, was that anti-jihadists are neo-Nazis — which, despite the febrile fantasies of libelblogger Charles Johnson and his cohort, CAIR’s amiable stomach-stapled beekeeper Honest Ibe Hooper, flies in the face of the facts…

Facts?  Here are the facts, sir.  It looks like CAIR got the story right after all.  The Washington Post’s Brigid Schulte reported just a couple of days later that Douglas Story’s Facebook page was replete with white supremacist associations:

Arguing that his license plate was purely about NASCAR and had nothing to do with race, Story told me that he had a Jewish sister-in-law and had attended his niece’s bat mitzvah. He denied being anti-Semitic.

But here’s how he describes himself on Facebook:

“100% WHITE MAN, 100% ARYAN, 100% PRO-LIFE (Children are innocent), 100% PRO DEATH PENALTY (Criminal Scum aren’t innocent).
Over the past 28 years; I, like David Duke, have had an Awakening.”

Note to self: In these days of social media, Twitter and personal oversharing on the web, always check Facebook…

When I called Story to ask about the Facebook page, he continued to maintain that his license plate message had nothing to with racism. He stuck by his NASCAR story. “Southern white men. Southern white sport. What else needs to be said?” he said.

Story acknowledged that he thinks of himself as 100 percent Aryan. “Aryan is a Sanskrit word that means noble,” he said, “no matter what spin the liberal media tries to put on it as being a racist, hate word.”

He said he is an admirer of David Duke, who, he said was “reamed by the media because of his Klan affiliations.” “I am a white nationalist,” Story said. “I am in favor of the whites having their own homeland.” When I asked him where that homeland would be, he said he didn’t know. “The Pacific Northwest maybe. Alaska. Denmark. Greenland. Iceland.”

I asked if he really thought that the Holocaust was a hoax. “I don’t know what to think,” he said.

Well, well, Mr. Spencer. It seems you bit off more than you could chew by coming to the aid of this neo-Nazi white supremacist.  The facts seem to lend support to CAIR’s “febrile fantasies” that there is a relationship between so-called “anti-jihadists” and the neo-Nazi crowd.  (Did the Confederate flag painted on Story’s back window not alert Robert Spencer!?)

This is not the first time that Facebook has exposed Robert Spencer.  Remember when Spencer was caught joining a genocidal Facebook group?  And how many times will we catch Robert Spencer et al. associating with neo-Nazis and fascists!?  The connection is certainly there.  While we’re not equating the “anti-jihadists” and neo-Nazis, we are saying that they hang out in the same circles, something altogether unsurprising considering that both groups are fueled by bigotry and hatred towards “the other.”  Is it not interesting that “anti-jihadists” and neo-Nazis can agree on so much?  Certainly, the rhetoric of the “anti-jihadists” mirrors that of neo-Nazis and fascists.

In any case, will Robert Spencer eat his own words now?  The ferocious Spencer bellowed:

Will Honest Ibe Hooper apologize to Douglas Story? Come on, Ibe! It would be the decent thing to do!

Will Spencer have the decency to apologize to Ibrahim Hooper of CAIR? Will he post a correction to his anti-Islam hate blog about these developments to this story? Will Spencer do anything meaningful and respectful at all? Ever?

I, for one, am not holding my breath.

Robert Spencer: Self-declared Scholar v. Real Scholar on the Fatimah Rifqa Bary Case

Andrew Bostom and "Islamic Scholar" Robert Spencer

Andrew Bostom and "Islamic Scholar" Robert Spencer

The Right-Wing anti-Muslim loonocracy and its minions in the blogosphere have secured a new cause to rally around, ironically enough it once again involves a Muslim minor, and in this regard, the anti-Muslim blogosphere really doesn’t have a good track record.  As recent history has proved, the last time the anti-Muslim blogosphere got this riled up about Muslim minors they turned up with egg on their faces.

After viewing a picture online of a wedding in Gaza, with grooms holding the hands of their young female cousins and nieces, the Islamophobia hit epic proportions with accusations of pedophilia being flung about wily-nily without nary a fact check. Tim Marshall, who reported on the wedding wrote about the Islamophobic response to the wedding,

Our report on this put it into context saying that it took place just a mile from the Israeli border and was a message from Hamas about its strength confidence and future fighters. Oh and that the brides were elsewhere. Pretty straightforward.

It never struck me for a moment that the little girls might later be described in the bloggersphere as the brides! How naive I am.

Dozens, and I mean dozens, of websites took the video of the event and wrote lurid stories about Hamas mass paedophilia with headlines about ‘450 child brides’, and endless copy about how disgusting this was, how it showed how depraved Islam is, et al, ad infinitum. Site after site jumped on the story, linking from one totally wrong load of rubbish to the next.

Robert Spencer was amongst the bloggers that falsely reported the incident as an instance of pedophilia.

The Fatimah Rifqa Bary Case

This time the case involves 17 year old Fatimah Rifqa Bary the daughter of Sri Lankan immigrants who came to America in 2000 seeking treatment for her vision problems. And before you could say “expediency,” the typical hordes of vultures started cycling, not so much out of interest for the girl’s welfare or the facts of the story, but as what they saw as a golden opportunity to reaffirm their caricature of Islam and Muslims as a dangerous cancer lurking within an otherwise good and pure Western civilization.

Fatimah, a cheerleader at New Albany High School ran away from her Columbus, Ohio home and ended up at the home of a pastor in Florida named Blake Lorenz. The details on how she ended up in Florida are still murky but what is clear is that she is leveling some very serious allegations against her family, including that she will be killed if she is returned to Ohio. The Columbus Dispatch reports in a story titled Girl Brainwashed, Parents say:

With Lorenz holding his arm tightly around her, Rifqa told WFTV-TV in Florida on Monday that she would be killed if she came home.

“They love God more than me; they have to do this,” she said. “I’m fighting for my life. You guys don’t understand.”

The family disputes these allegations and believes their daughter has been brainwashed. They state quite categorically that she is free to practice whatever faith she wants,

“We love her, we want her back, she is free to practice her religion, whatever she believes in, that’s OK,” her father, Mohamed Bary, said yesterday.

“What these people are trying to do is not right — I don’t think any religion will teach to separate the kids from their parents,” he said.

The family is not the only ones questioning the young girls allegations, Sgt. Jerry Cupp, the Chief of the Columbus Police Missing-Persons Bureau has said that Mohamed Bary (the father) “comes across to me as a loving, caring, worried father about the whereabouts and the health of his daughter.”

Robert Spencer, however, without knowing anything about the family — or the complete facts of the case — believes there is a slow motion honor killing in the making.  Starting from the pre-set conclusion that he derives from his personal study of Islam, he states that Islam requires the death penalty for apostates, and that it is a dead letter only “if no one cares or is able to enforce it in a particular case.” He writes this in response to Muslim scholar M. Cherif Bassiouni, a distinguished Law professor at DePaul University and President of the International Human Rights Law Institute, who wrote in 2006 that “a Muslim’s conversion to Christianity is not a crime punishable by death under Islamic law.”

Professor Bassiouni wrote this in 2006 when a man in Afghanistan was under the penalty of death for converting to Christianity. He wrote it as part of a document that was submitted to the court in Kabul. It has also been professor Bassiouni’s opinion as early as 1983. Professor Bassiouni responded to Spencer stating,

My position on apostasy has been expressed as early as 1983, namely that at the time of the Prophet it was not considered as only changing one’s mind but that it was the equivalent of joining the enemy and thus constituting high treason. In fact, at one time the Prophet had an agreement with the people in Makkah to return to Makkah all those who came from there, who wished to return after they had converted to Islam. I and a number of other distinguished Muslim scholars have long criticized the views of the four traditional Sunni schools…It is amazing to me how apparently little good faith and intellectual honesty you are displaying in your attack upon Islam and Muslims.

Professor Bassiouni’s position is pretty straight forward, he disagrees with those Muslims and non-Muslims who believe Islam legislates death for apostates and that his and many other distinguished Muslim scholars’ opinion is that it doesn’t. This is not so hard to grasp as LoonWatch contributor Barbel notes directly addressing Spencer,

In an obvious attempt to categorically associate this situation with all Muslims you wrote:

If she is sent back to her family, she could be killed, in accord with the death penalty that is prescribed by all Muslim sects and schools for those who leave Islam.

Surely, as a “scholar” you must be aware of this verse from the Muslim holy book, the Quran:

Those who believe, then reject Faith, then believe (again) and (again) reject Faith, and go on increasing in Unbelief,- God will not forgive them nor guide them on the Way.

How would it be possible to reject faith twice or go on increasing in unbelief if one was suppose to have been killed after the first rejection?  Furthermore, what purpose would withholding guidance have if the person had a death sentence anyway?

Robert, regardless of what you might want us to believe, Islamic scholars are NOT in consensus nor have they ever been in consensus over the apostasy issue.  Historically, the sentence of death was only applied to people who converted from the religion AND committed espionage. Consider what the 10th century scholar Shams al-Din al-Sarakhsi had to say:

The prescribed penalties are generally not suspended because of repentance, especially when they are reported and become known to the head of state.  The punishment of highway robbery, for instance, is not suspended because of repentance; it is suspended only by the return of property to the owner prior to arrest. … Renunciation of the faith and conversion to disbelief is admittedly the greatest of offenses, yet it is a matter between man and his Creator, and its punishment is postponed to the day of judgment. Punishments that are enforced in this life are those which protect the people’s interests, such as just retaliation, which is designed to protect life.

More recently, the contemporary Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan (a man you have repeatedly tried to defame) had this to say:

I have been criticized about this in many countries.  My view is the same as that of Sufyan Al-Thawri, an 8th-century scholar of Islam, who argued that the Koran does not prescribe death for someone because he or she is changing religion. Neither did the Prophet himself ever perform such an act. Many around the Prophet changed religions. But he never did anything against them.  There was an early Muslim, Ubaydallah ibn Jahsh, who went with the first emigrants from Mecca to Abyssinia.  He converted to Christianity and stayed, but remained close to Muslims.  He divorced his wife, but he was not killed.

I know this is probably still not enough for you, so here are over a hundred more Islamic scholars who are against the death penalty for apostasy.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that this girl (or many others who are in similar situations) isn’t at serious risk.  She very may well be.  All it means is that the straw man version of Islam that you have created only serves to ignite more hatred and promote your own personal ideological agenda.

This highlights the absurdity that is Robert Spencer, an absurdity that projects an ominous pre-set conclusion on any heated situation that arises dealing with Muslims and castigates “all Islam” in the process without acknowledging the polyvalent interpretations that exist or the context.

Robert Spencer’s Hypocrisy on Religious Freedom

What further makes the Fatimah Rifqah Bary case one which exposes Spencer and his cronies is the hypocrisy of it all. This is being painted as a freedom of religion case, specifically the freedom to change one’s religion, but it seems in this department Spencer sounds like the pot calling the kettle black since he supports those who would restrict the freedom of religion of Muslims.

As we have written on extensively before, one of the close comrades of Spencer is neo-fascist European politician Geert Wilders. Spencer is on the record stating his admiration for Wilders who he sees as the only European politician standing up for Western Civilization.

"Under his wing": Geert Wilders & Robert Spencer

"Under his wing": Geert Wilders & Robert Spencer

Wilders is by all accounts an odious individual who calls for the out right denial of religious freedom to Muslims. He has called for the banning of the Quran which he compares to Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, he has also stated that, “Freedom of Religion should not apply to Islam.” He is also working to end Muslim immigration and strip Muslims in Dutch society of their citizenship.

This is Spencers friend. Spencer has also participated in forums with Wilders, conferences, writes articles about him, has interviewed him and cites him often. In one article Spencer wrote in response to CAIR’s Ibrahim Hooper he says,

I didn’t actually have anything to do with that conference in Florida, but Hoop could just say straight out that I support Wilders. And so should anyone who holds dear the Western values that are threatened by Islamic supremacists.

So is the Fatimah Rifqah Bary case another instance of Robert Spencer jumping the gun or is her life legitimately under threat? The courts will resolve that question, but Spencer has shot his credibility in this department with a track record of obfuscation, innuendo and misrepresentation and is wholly unreliable.

Will Spencer also back track on his position that “all Muslim sects and schools of thought” legislates the death penalty for apostates and concede that there is a valid counter opinion such as the one articulated by Professor Bassiouni? Finally, will Spencer quit the charade that he is a democrat that cares for Freedom of Religion when in fact his position is to support those who would deny religious freedom?

It seems that per his practice, Spencer seized on this case to further his well-oiled agenda that Islam is evil and Muslims are backward. As the story of Fatimah Rifqah Bary plays out we will see more clearly that the anti-Muslims are not motivated by her welfare but rather to confirm their warped hatred of Islam and Muslims.