Andrew Bostom and Robert Spencer
Andrew Bostom (well over due for a LoonWatch piece), a close friend of Robert Spencer’s, and another self-proclaimed “Islamic scholar” is lauded on JihadWatch as having “taken on and crushed” Mchael Kruse, the St.Petersburg Times reporter who has been covering the Fathima Rifqa Bary case.
It’s a popular tactic amongst Islamophobes, especially Robert Spencer to try and twist what is clearly a negative outcome for themselves into a self-declared victory with a peppering of congratulatory self-adulation. This was the case with Spencer in his confrontation with Professor M. Cherif Bassiouni, when his alter-ego Hugh Fitzgerald proclaimed “victory” for Spencer and “defeat” for Bassiouni.
The truth is Spencer and company are ever more becoming isolated on the fringes of an increasingly radicalized segment of the Right-Wing, the company he keeps consists of neo-fascists, birthers, conspiracy theorists, Glenn Beck types, etc.
In this recent episode Bostom says that Kruse was wrong for stating that Spencer believes that “Muslims are in America to take over,” which from the body of Spencer’s work and the company he keeps is more than likely an accurate presumption, in context it is also the impression that he was trying to give at the press conference outside the courtroom of the Fathima Rifqa Bary case.
A case which is proving to be very embarrassing for Spencer, as evidence after evidence keeps coming out that the charges made by bloggers such as him and Pamela Geller that Rifqa’s life was/had to be in danger and that she was abused by her parents turn out to be bogus. Spencer’s reputation has taken a big hit and he is doing everything in his power to try to salvage some face.
Let’s look at an interesting part of the exchange between Bostom and Kruse:
Kruse to Bostom:
It’s my job to listen to everybody. It’s not my job to assign everybody equal credibility. When it comes to Robert Spencer scholars of Islamic studies outright dismiss him and his body of work. They call him an unreliable ideologue at best and a divisive bigot at worst. I can’t do that, though, can’t just ignore him like that, because he, and Pam Geller, too, are so much a part of this story, and certainly reasons it’s turned into what it’s turned into. Judging from his e-mails and how he talks in person, Rob strikes me as a pretty smart guy, but he’s a pretty smart guy with a very specific worldview. Everything he writes or says gets filtered through that static narrowness. Here is a relatively new dynamic: The other day in Orlando, Rob and Pam were speakers at a news conference, advocates for one “side” of this whole thing, and THEN they covered it as members of the press. They’re covering a story they’ve helped create, or at the very least stoke. The front row of the courtroom was for media, and there was the AP, some newspaper reporters, some TV reporters, some radio reporters, and there was Pam, a woman who last fall wrote a story on her blog saying Barack Obama was the illegitimate son of Malcom X. All of it is an interesting piece of the sprawling Rifqa Bary story, worth watching and considering now, and during the next story like it, and the next one after that.
Here Kruse devastates Bostom and Spencer by pretty much objectively telling it like it is, or as Dave Chapelle used to say Keepin’ it real. This is incomprehensible to polemicists and subjective ideologues such as Bostom and Spencer. It is incontrovertibly true that Spencer (and Bostom for that matter) is completely and thoroughly rejected by academics, we have noted that before here.
Yet, Kruse makes the point that he as a reporter cannot reject Spencer and Pamela Geller out of hand because THEY ARE PART OF THIS STORY. In fact, he points out they have in many ways CREATED this story or at the very least stoked it.
That is absolutely true, ever since the story broke Spencer and Pam have been on a crusade, whipping up their supporters in the blog world to “save Fathima Bary” from a sure “honor killing.” They knew nothing about the family or the context, they cared nothing for this little girl or her future, but eager to make Muslims and Islam look barbarous they attempted to castigate this family in front of the public thereby destroying any chance in those early days of reconciliation.
When fact after fact came out confirming the family’s story, supported by the Ohio police and Children Services, Pamela Geller resorted to making accusations which she claimed she heard from “anonymous sources” that Rifqa Bary was abused throughout her whole life, and that she was even sexually abused by her uncle.
Spencer applauded her in all this, extolling that the mainstream media was ignoring this “mountain of evidence” secured by Pamela Geller that showed that Rifqa Bary’s family was fundamentalist crazy and had abused her. For some reason the police were unable to unearth any evidence of these libelous accusations? Probably because they are made up whole-cloth.
Kruse, highlights how incongruous it is for a woman such as Pamela Geller, who claims Obama is a Mooslim, anti-Semite, Socialist son of Malcolm X to be in the press area covering a story that she is actively creating. Bostom responds with more polemic,
Bostom to Kruse:
I deal with your non-sequiturs about Robert and Pamela, below. But first, you deliberately and grossly misrepresented what Robert said and the very specific context in which he made his statement–despite standing right next to him, as one can see in the videotape. That reflects very poorly on your own credibility and your ability to judge anyone else’s for that matter.
Do you not see that? Do you not see your own transparent–certainly to me– “static narrowness?”
As for scholarship, who are you to judge? What do you know about Islamic doctrine and history??
I asked you to contact Ibn Warraq via e-mail–He says he never heard from you, and judging from your responses to my repeated questioning you never obtained his definitive scholarly assessment of apostasy, “Leaving Islam”–so clearly real scholarship on the subject matter at hand—apostasy from Islam–does not even appeal to you.
Have you attempted to contact another high profile apostate from Islam, Nonie Darwish, who recently published “Cruel and Usual Punishment,” and wrote about a high profile apostasy case ongoing NOW in her native Egypt, in early August??
I have compiled, edited, and introduced two critically acclaimed scholarly compendia–one on the jihad, the other on Islamic Antisemitism. I have also read and on several occasions reviewed Robert’s books, and they easily exceed most of what passes for “scholarship” on Islam in today’s academy–despite targeting, deliberately, the larger lay audience. Regardless, they are solid works in their own right that are meticulously documented. Have you read them and found identifiable flaws in any of them??
As for Pamela, excuse me, but from my where I sit, she is doing the basic shoe leather investigative reporting those like yourself have thus far refused to do.
How many of Rifqa’s friends have you interviewed, starting for example with the now publicly identified Jamal Jivangee? What sort of of financial investigation of Mr. and Mrs. Bary’s businesses have you conducted??
I think you are being very disingenuous, and your pretense of “objectivity” is simply ludicrous.
As we mentioned Kruse did not misrepresent Spencer, Spencer just spoke very badly and it is not a stretch for Kruse to say that Spencer believes “Muslims are in America to take over” because that is exactly what he was insinuating at that right-wing blogger “press conference.” Then Bostom attempts to accuse Kruse of being ill-informed and not knowing anything about Islam (ironic) and then lists himself (in a bit of shameless self-promotion) and another Islamophobic writer, Ibn Warraq as “experts” that Kruse should have contacted.
This is a highly rich and whiny statement at the same time, what part of discredited do Bostom and Spencer not get? People don’t choose you guys as experts in the field of Islam because you are a pair of polemicists with deep hatred for Islam and Muslims. You can’t blame people for not considering you suitable candidates. He also trots out Nonie Darwish who believes there is no such thing as a moderate Muslim, she dumps all Muslims in the radical camp, she also compares Islam to Nazism amongst other interesting Islamophobic anecdotes.
By this time Kruse is almost done, knowing by now where Andrew Bostom comes from, i.e. the far right lunatic camp and says,
Kruse to Bostom:
I should stop, I know this, but I just have to ask: We’ve talked on the phone, we’ve e-mailed, and you seem like an intelligent person, so how can you possibly take Pam Geller seriously?
Bostom to Kruse:
Excuse me, but just as you have calumniated Spencer–with a live video record to debunk you and prove your deliberate misrepresentation—you’ve now done the same with Geller.
“The ‘Atlas says that Barack Obama is Malcolm X’s love child’ charge has gone viral among leftards and lizards. The only problem with it is that it is false. I am not the author of this post, and I posted it because the writer did a spectacular job documenting Obama’s many connections with the Far Left. The Malcolm X claim is one minor part of this story, and was of interest to me principally as part of the writer’s documentation that Stanley Ann Dunham could not have been where the Obama camp says she was at various times. I do not believe that Barack Obama is Malcolm X’s love child, and never did — but there remain many, many unanswered questions about his early life and upbringing.”
As a scrupulously honest, painstakingly objective journalist you must know that Pamela has written “I do not believe that Barack Obama is Malcolm X’s love child, and never did”? Would you even care if you did know?
We know the answer to that, as your calumny against Spencer makes plain.
As we demonstrated Kruse didn’t calumny against Spencer or Geller but Bostom does by trying to defend Pamela. Pamela is thoroughly discredited for more then her posting of the Malcolm-X-is-the-father-of-Barack-Obama-conspiracy, which she attempts to half-heartedly disavow now, but also for her other conspiracies that Barack Obama is a Muslim, that he was indoctrinated into Jihad in Pakistan, that he hates Jews and is an anti-Semite, that he is not an American citizen and was not born in America; all that doesn’t even touch a bit of what she says about Palestinians, Arabs, and real Muslims.
On her post about Barack Obama being the illegitimate son of Malcolm X, which she now claims she doesn’t support, there are some troubling questions that it seems Bostom doesn’t want to raise or answer. Like the obvious as day and night, why did she post that crazy article in the first place? Is that any way to prove that there was “no way that Obama’s mother could have been in America when Obama was born?” The fact is that Pam posted the piece with out any qualifiers, she posted it in her name without attributing it to anyone else. That brings her story of never having supported it into high doubt, the attempt to cover it up now and sweep it under the rug is not going to work especially when her track record has been loonier than the loons.