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Jihad Watch Calls Muslims for Liberty Liars

Jihad Watch Calls Muslims for Liberty Liars

By Davi Barker
September 4, 2011, originally published on SF Muslim Examiner

Good old Bob. Always makes me smile. It seems Robert Spencer has taken umbrage with some things I said in my recent article “Tea Party Muslims shatter all preconceptions.”

His first objection is my opening line. I wrote:

Muslims are terrorists that hate America’s freedom… right? And the Tea Party are right-wing Christian extremists that hate Muslims… right?

Spencer responds:

Straw man, of course. I have never said such a thing.

As if anything anyone ever writes anywhere is about Robert Spencer. Any rational observer could easily identify my opening line as a hook. It is appropriate precisely because the preconceptions are inaccurate, as the title suggests. But don’t let that stand in the way of Spencer taking personal offense.

His primary objection was Will Coley’s claim that most of the so-called Sharia experts that he’d invited to debate rejected his invitation. Spencer apparently hadn’t received an invitation. So, being the only person in the universe, he accused Coley of lying. Well… let’s go to the transcript. What Coley said was:

I challenged Bridgett Gabriel to a public debate, to show me where it says what she claims. You know what happened? I was told she doesn’t debate. But I’ve seen her debate. The truth is she doesn’t debate anyone with credentials.

Hmm… no lies about Robert Spencer there. Then Coley said:

I shut down Bill Warner. His argument hinges on this idea that there are two separate Qurans… So I asked him, which scholar’s theory of abrogation does he follow? And he gave me a deer in the headlights look… He had no idea what I was talking about. He’s claiming to be an expert on this information and he can’t tell me where it came from? That tells you he’s just making it up.

Nothing about Robert Spencer there. Then Coley said:

I invited Allen West and Adam Hasner to face me on Political Roundtable. It’s a huge show carried on 77 networks across Florida, but they refused.

What did Coley say about Robert Spencer?

There’s this cottage industry of people like Pam Geller and Zuhdi Jasser peddling fear and hatred across America. Robert Spencer came to Tennessee and charged people $20 to hear him tell people to hate and fear their neighbors in a church.

That’s small potatoes really if you consider the 2010 Politico report which found that Jihad Watch had received nearly $1 million over three years from the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and that Spencer has pulled an average annual salary of $140,000, according to IRS filings.

What I said in the summary of the interview was:

Muslims for Liberty is currently focused on confronting the most vociferous anti Muslim voices in America, like Pam Geller, Zuhdi Jasser, Robert Spencer and others

I can understand why that would cause confusion. If only Spencer had read the transcript… that was linked on his page. I guess I can’t realistically expect him to, you know, verify things before he says them.

Spencer’s feelings must have been hurt that he wasn’t the first one to get an invitation. Especially since a recent Islamophobia report from the Center for American Progress identifies him as one of the leading “misinformed experts” on Islam. Spencer was cited 162 times in the manifesto of Norway terrorist Anders Breivik who confessed to killing 76 people, mostly children. And Spencer has his masters in religious studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where Carl W. Ernst, professor of religious studies and director of the Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations says that Spencer, “has no academic training in Islamic studies whatsoever.” Those are some pretty serious credentials.

Not to worry. I’ve been assured that the invitation was sent to Spencer immediately upon publishing his tantrum. Will Coley and Robert Spencer were both invited to settle their dispute on Liberty Underground Radio on the 1787 Radio Network which airs Fridays from 9am to 11am on Tan Talk 1340AM and 1350AM in Tampa Bay Florida and KLRG 880AM in Little Rock Arkansas. The show’s host, Alexander Snitker offered to moderate the debate. You can find them on facebook, or get the show feed.

Coley has already accepted the invitation. Spencer… is thinking it over… maybe… or not.

Personally I’d like to ask Spencer about some of the comments on his article.

Jaladhi writes:

Anything connected with Muslims and islam is always a lie and a sham and this group is no exception. Never ever trust any Muslim regardless of what he claims to be and that applies to all Muslims. Knowing thy enemy is a must and not racist or bigoted.

But best of all Emilie Green writes:

Muslims can never be trusted and never be considered loyal Americans, British, French, Italian, Australian, and so forth. They represent an enemy living among us… There is no such concept as a Muslim American. At best and at most they can only be described as “Muslims who live in America.” I spit upon those foolish souls

I guess my question for Bob is, were these the kind of people you hoped you’d be surrounded with when you first enrolled in religious studies?

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