Islamophobia Monitor

Spencer has referred to Islam's Prophet Muhammad as a "con man. Someone who is knowing [sic] that what he is saying is false, but is fooling his followers."Spencer’s reputation for bias often precedes him. In June 2013, Great Britain’s Home Office banned Spencer from entering the country where he had planned to speak at a rally planned by the anti-Muslim English Defense League, a group known for violent street demonstrations. Also that month, the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento requested that the Kolbe Academy, a Catholic home school, rescind a speaking invitation they offered to Spencer. The Diocese prohibited Spencer from speaking on any property it owned, forcing Kolbe Academy to move its event.

In March of 2013, the organizers of the Catholic Men's Conference in Worcester, Massachusetts rescinded a similar invitation for Spencer after his promotion of hatred and discrimination was brought to their attention.

After similar concerns were raised in 2012, a prominent New York law firm canceled an event featuring Spencer. The event would have promoted Spencer's claim that Islam's Prophet Muhammad may never have existed.

The Boston Globe has described Spencer as a man who “depicts Islam as an inherently violent religion.”

Spencer has referred to Islam's Prophet Muhammad as a "con man. Someone who is knowing [sic] that what he is saying is false, but is fooling his followers." In the same video he asserts, “From a historical stand point, it is not even clear that Muhammad existed.”

In a special report, the independent national media watch group Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), identified Spencer as one of the “Dirty Dozen: America’s Leading Islamophobes” who systematically “spread fear, bigotry, and misinformation.”

In that report, FAIR notes, “By selectively ignoring inconvenient Islamic texts and commentaries, Spencer concludes that Islam is innately extremist and violent, and quotes Spencer as saying, ‘Unfortunately, however, jihad as warfare against non-believers in order to institute ‘Sharia’ worldwide is not propaganda or ignorance, or a heretical doctrine held by a tiny minority of extremists. Instead, it is a constant element of mainstream Islamic theology.’”

In the past, Spencer listed his participation in the 2006 Pim Fortuyn Memorial Conference among his “Notable Speaking Engagements.”Fortuyn’s anti-Muslim views and concurrent backlash against Muslims living in the Netherlands are noted in the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Reports for 2002 and 2005.


The original version of this article erroneously attributed a quote to the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento. The quote was from a CAIR letter to the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento.


CAIR letter to the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento regarding Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch

(Note: The below letter was sent to in June 2013.)

We are writing in regards to the upcoming appearance of Jihad Watch’s Robert Spencer at the Northern California Catholic Family Home School Conference in Sacramento, California in July. Mr. Spencer is a key leader in the anti-Islam hate movement in the United States. Given the facts outlined below, we respectfully request that his invitation be rescinded.

Spencer operates the blog “Jihad Watch,” which is notorious for its inaccurate depiction of Islam as an inherently violent faith.  He is also a ‘global leader” of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI). Both groups are consistently listed among the key anti-Islam hate groups in the nation.

In March of this year, the organizers of the Catholic Men's Conference in Worcester, Massachusetts rescinded a similar invitation for Spencer after his promotion of bias was brought to the organizer’s attention.

While we fully support Spencer’s right to present his views, we believe that hate speech should be relegated to the fringes of society, not offered a legitimizing platform such as the Northern California Catholic Family Home School Conference.

Spencer on Islam

In Smearcasting, the group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting noted, “By selectively ignoring inconvenient Islamic texts and commentaries, Spencer concludes that Islam is innately extremist and violent.” Smearcasting quotes Spencer as saying, “Unfortunately, however, jihad as warfare against non-believers in order to institute ‘Sharia’ worldwide is not propaganda or ignorance, or a heretical doctrine held by a tiny minority of extremists. Instead, it is a constant element of mainstream Islamic theology.”

Spencer has been named part of the Top 10 “Anti-Islam inner circle” by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The SPLC has listed Spencer’s blog Jihad Watch and his organization “Stop the Islamization of America” as hate groups.

Spencer has referred to Islam's Prophet Muhammad as a "con man. Someone who is knowing [sic] that what he is saying is false, but is fooling his followers." In the same video he asserts, “From a historical stand point, it is not even clear that Muhammad existed.”

Spencer believes that, “traditional Islam is not moderate or peaceful” and "that the Qur’an doesn’t teach violence any more than the ‘Bible or Torah’ is flatly false.”

Spencer also attempts to assert that the violent extremists interpretation of the Quran is mainstream, “Of course, the devil can quote scripture for his own purpose, but [Osama bin Laden’s] use of these and other passages in his messages is consistent (as we shall see) with traditional understanding of the Quran…”

Academics formally trained in Islamic studies, such as Dr. Carl Kenan and Dr. William Kenan at UNC-Chapel Hill, have flatly stated that Spencer’s views have “no basis in scholarship.”

In 2006, Spencer participated in a conference honoring anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn, who sought to legalize government discrimination in the Netherlands. Fortuyn’s anti-Muslim views and the resulting backlash against Muslims living in the Netherlands are noted in the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Reports for 2002 and 2005. Spencer proudly highlights his participation in this conference among his “Notable Speaking Engagements.”

Spencer, the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) and Stop the Islamization of America (SION)

According to its biography “The Freedom Defense Initiative is a new organization launched by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer.” The organization “acts against the treason being committed by national, state, and local government officials, the mainstream media, and others in their capitulation to the global jihad and Islamic supremacism, the ever-encroaching and unconstitutional power of the federal government, and the rapidly moving attempts to impose socialism and Marxism upon the American people.”

In a widely denounced campaign, AFDI created a series of what the group initially dubbed “pro-Israel” ads. The original ad read, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man.” Then in larger text it reads, “Support Israel” and “Defeat Jihad.”

Federal Judge Rosemary Collyer, who ruled that the ads could be placed in DC-area metro stations, called the advertisement "hate speech." That label has followed the ads wherever they appear.

Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA) is an AFDI project. The United States Patent and Trademark Office refused to grant SIOA a trademark because: "The applied-for mark refers to Muslims in a disparaging manner because by definition it implies that conversion or conformity to Islam is something that needs to be stopped or caused to cease."

In December 2012, an Alaska ethics panel recommended that Karen Sawyer, former chief of staff to state Rep. Gatto, be fired after it found “she used state resources to help an anti-Islamic group.” That anti-Islamic group was Stop the Islamization of America.

SIOA has come to prominence through shrill opposition to the building of American mosques, anti-Islam bus and taxi advertising campaigns, support for European far-right groups and Islamophobes such as the English Defence League and Geert Wilders, and bigoted anti-Islam statements by its co-leader, Pamela Geller.

Geller has claimed that "Hitler and the Nazis were inspired by Islam"  Geller has posted images on her blog that include a fake photograph of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan in a Nazi uniform, another fake image of President Obama urinating on an American flag and drawings purporting to depict Islam's Prophet Muhammad as a pig. In another blog entry, Geller posted a video claiming that Muslims engage in bestiality.

SIOA is an outgrowth of a similar group in Europe that seeks to block the construction of mosques. That group, Stop the Islamization of Europe, "considers Islamophobia to be the height of common sense."

Spencer and Jihad Watch

Spencer operates the “Jihad Watch” Internet hate site, which is notorious for its depiction of Islam as an inherently violent faith that is a threat to world peace.  The site is well-known for its bone-chilling comments.

On November 5, 2005, then Jihad Watch Board Vice-President Hugh Fitzgerald wrote:

“To be sure, plenty of Believers in exotic creeds alien or new to the West have managed to fit in perfectly well, and be friendly neighbors and loyal citizens, even if they came from Vietnam or India or China. Only one group, only one belief-system, distinguishes itself by appearing incapable of fitting in. And that is Muslims, and Islam.”

In his article “Islam for the Perplexed,” Fitzgerald supported U.S. government and private persecution of Muslims:

“The second important goal is to stop all Muslim migration to Muslim lands, to the U.S., to Canada, to Western Europe. For obvious reasons, Muslims do not migrate to Eastern Europe and Russia. If possible, not only should migration be stopped, but life can be made more difficult, if not by the government, then by private individuals, so that Muslims will be discouraged from remaining.”

On October 5, 2005 Fitzgerald supported mass expulsion of Muslims from Europe:

"Europe already needs to reverse the folly of the mass Muslim migration that has helped make life so unpleasant, expensive and physically insecure for Infidels everywhere in Europe, and will continue to do so unless Muslim migration is halted, and these countries made, not Muslim-friendly, but Muslim-hostile, so that demographic conquest can end and inroads be reversed. It may come to something like the Benes Decree in Czechoslovakia.

“Surely whatever threat the tolerant Benes-Masaryk government sensed from the Sudeten Germans in 1946, which prompted their large-scale expulsion, was as nothing compared to the threat that a large Muslim population would pose to non-Muslims.”

Astoundingly, Spencer defended Mr. Fitzgerald, writing:

“If Hugh had written about Jews what he wrote about Muslims, he would not only be a bigot; he would be a liar. But the fact that what can be truthfully said about one group cannot be truthfully said about another does not make it untrue, or bigoted.”

We believe that upon review of the above facts, you will determine that Mr. Spencer is an inappropriate speaker and rescind his invitation. We look forward to hearing your response to our concerns.

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