August 7, 2013
By Robert Spencer
Here is a particularly egregious manifestation of how “journalists” attempt to manipulate events and frame the general public’s understanding of the news. In a certain sense it is a shame that this article is about me, and I am the one responding to it, since that only obscures the core issues of media bias here: please try to keep in mind that this is not something that happens to me only, but to anyone and everyone who dares to challenge the politically correct establishment, the Leftist ideology that we all must accept on pain of charges of “bigotry,” “racism,” and “hate.” Leftist “journalists” such as Patricia Montemurri have just about succeeded in fooling Americans into thinking that there is something
wrong with defending their home and country against a radically intolerant and repressive ideology — this article is just one small example of how it has been done.
It starts with the headline: “anti-Islam.” Not “pro-freedom.” Not even “anti-Sharia.” The implication is that my work is about “hate,” as Patricia Montemurri’s talking points from the editor-in-chief of Reza Aslan’s Aslan Media told her — not about defending the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience, and the equality of rights of all people before the law. Not about defending women and non-Muslims and gays from Sharia-inspired oppression and intimidation. Not about championing Constitutional freedoms. Just about irrationally hating an entire Great World Religion, for some unaccountable reason.
“Catholic radio station invites anti-Islam blogger to speak at EMU,” by Patricia Montemurri for the Detroit Free Press
, August 7:
An Ann Arbor-based Catholic radio station has invited anti-Islam blogger and author Robert Spencer to speak at a symposium at Eastern Michigan University on Saturday.
Note again the subtle manipulation of the reader. Patricia Montemurri had 1,000 things she could have called me; she chose “anti-Islam blogger and author.” Not, say, “former FBI and JTTF trainer.”
Not “human rights activist.” Not “pro-freedom activist.” You get the idea.
Spencer, who blogs at www.jihadwatch.org, is scheduled to speak at “Is Islam a Religion of Peace?” sponsored by Ave Maria Radio.
The symposium, which will be held in the student union, will feature pro-Muslim speakers, too. But Spencer’s appearance is controversial. The New York Times reported that Spencer’s comments were cited 64 times by the Norwegian white supremacist who killed 76 people in Norway in 2011. Spencer was banned from the United Kingdom in June for what the British government said was his association with hate groups.
In writing this, Montemurri implies that “the Norwegian white supremacist” was inspired to white supremacism and murder by me. In reality, Anders Behring Breivik’s “manifesto” cites not just me, but many, many people, including Barack Obama, John F. Kennedy, and Thomas Jefferson — who are just three of the many who are never blamed for his murders. Montemurri also doesn’t mention, and probably doesn’t know, since the editor-in-chief of Reza Aslan’s Aslan Media didn’t tell her, that Breivik’s manifesto actually reflects an ideology quite different from mine: so far was he from being a doctrinaire counter-jihadist that he wanted to aid Hamas and ally with jihad groups
. Nor does she mention (or know, probably) that Breivik criticized me in his insane “manifesto” for not advocating violence. I am no more responsible for Breivik than the Beatles are for Charles Manson.
And as for the British ban, the fact that Montemurri even mentions it shows how these smears retailed by the editor-in-chief of Reza Aslan’s Aslan Media are self-reinforcing. As a result of smears and defamation from Aslan’s counterparts in Britain, my colleague Pamela Geller and I were banned from entering that country. The Home Office’s letter banning me from entering the country said I was being banned for saying that Islam has a doctrine mandating warfare against unbelievers, which it manifestly and demonstrably does indeed have. A preacher of that doctrine, the Saudi Sheikh Mohammed al-Arifi, was recently admitted into the UK. He has said: “Devotion to Jihad for the sake of Allah, and the desire to shed blood, to smash skulls and to sever limbs for the sake of Allah and in defense of His religion, is, undoubtedly, an honor for the believer.” Yet I who advocate no violence or hatred of any kind am not allowed in. This is hardly a blot on my record; it is a blot on Britain’s.
“He represents true bigotry,” said Shadid Lewis, former president of a Hampton, Va., mosque and a Muslim Debate Initiative member who is scheduled to debate Spencer at the Saturday symposium. “It’s a pretty big thing to be banned from a country.”
Shadid Lewis is set to debate me Saturday. It should be interesting. He will find that however much it may impress Patricia Montemurri, name-calling and ad hominem attacks won’t go as far in debate against actual facts.
Ave Maria radio station host Al Kresta, who will moderate the debate, isn’t shying away from controversy.
“If having a debate like this is considered incendiary, than that’s evidence that we need debates like this,” Kresta said Tuesday. “People think you can only live together peacefully if you agree on everything, and that’s not true.”
“When this conference is over, Christians and Muslims won’t be holding hands and singing Kumbayah,” Kresta said earlier in a news release. “Everyone who participates in this frank, no-holds-barred discussion, however, will be thankful for free speech and a civil society which permits people with irreconcilable differences to understand if not agree with one another.”
Spencer, who identifies himself as a Catholic on his blog, could not be reached for comment.
Actually Montemurri was given a phone number that is no longer in use, and — as is typical of today’s lazy and ideologically blinkered Leftist “journalists,” made no further attempt. My email address is publicly available on this site, but she didn’t email me until I emailed her this morning to take issue with her saying I couldn’t be reached for comment when she hardly tried. I offered to answer her questions via email at that point. She did not deign to respond. So much for “journalism” in America today. Note that she implies skepticism about my Catholicism, saying only that I identify myself as a Catholic but not going so far as to say that I actually am one, while manifesting no such skepticism toward the defamation that the others she quotes in the article direct toward me. Instead of only noting various bishops who have canceled me, she could have also noted that I was recently called “perhaps the foremost Catholic expert on Islam in our country” in the National Catholic Register
. But that wouldn’t have accorded with her agenda.
Lansing Catholic bishop Earl Boyea is scheduled to lead a mass at the end of the symposium. Boyea’s scheduled appearance is raising concern among Muslim leaders, too.
Boyea “neither endorses nor condemns any of the featured presenters,” the bishop’s office said Tuesday in a statement. “Bishop Boyea hopes that the symposium, and dialog like it, can spur what Pope Francis last week called “mutual respect through education” between Christianity and Islam.”
There is nothing “disrespectful” about telling the truth.
In January, a Catholic diocese in Massachusetts withdrew an invitation to Spencer to speak at a Catholic men’s conference in Worcester, responding to concerns voiced by Muslims in the area. Last month the Diocese of Sacramento canceled an appearance by Spencer in a Catholic church.
Montemurri doesn’t mention, because the editor-in-chief of Reza Aslan’s Aslan Media didn’t tell her, that the Worcester bishop canceled me at the behest of Abdul Cader Asmal, an open supporter of convicted al-Qaeda jihad terrorist Tarek Mehanna. She doesn’t mention, yet again because she almost certainly wasn’t told, that while the Sacramento bishop caved to smears from (yes) the editor-in-chief of Reza Aslan’s Aslan Media, the diocese of Sacramento had a booth at the conference, which went on as planned with me speaking: obviously they didn’t think it was so terrible that I was there that they couldn’t have a presence at all. Montemurri displays no curiosity whatsoever as to how and why these cancellations happened.
Victor Begg, senior adviser to the Michigan Muslim Community Council, questioned Tuesday why Catholic Bishop Boyea would appear at such an event, “knowing these people have an Islamophobia, bigoted agenda.”
“I think it’s sad to see that this group would try to stage this kind of confrontational encounter, when Catholic and Muslim leaders are engaged in an ongoing, cordial dialogue,” said Dawood Zwink, executive director of the Michigan Muslim Community Council. “I don’t know why these organizers would choose as a headliner someone who just this summer was barred (from the United Kingdom) because his presentations are so incendiary. It’s not in keeping with American values of civil dialogue.”
I was not banned from Britain because my “presentations” were “incendiary.” I was banned from Britain for saying that Islam had a doctrine of violence against unbelievers. Muslims who believe in that doctrine are persecuting Christians with increasing ferocity in Nigeria, Egypt, Syria, Pakistan, Indonesia, and elsewhere today. If “ongoing, cordial dialogue” can’t acknowledge and discuss that and work toward ways to stop it, it is worthless.
Richard Thompson, the former Oakland County prosecutor who founded the Thomas More Law Center, also will speak at the Ave Maria symposium and defended Spencer.
“He’s a well-known author and spokesperson regarding Islam,” Thompson said. “We still live in a society that enshrines the constitutional right to free speech and we should exercise that right regardless of whether some people may be upset or offended.
Eastern Michigan University released a statement saying “the event is not sponsored, financially supported, or being promoted by” the university.
“Our facility is being rented as it is throughout the year by many organizations with no affiliation to the university,” the statement read. “As a public institution, and under the freedom of speech protections provided by the First Amendment, we do not and can not make determinations about access to our facilities based on the viewpoints being presented.”
Fair enough. It would be nice for someone to have the courage to say that there is nothing wrong with resisting jihad violence and Islamic supremacism, but that may be too much to hope for in today’s politically correct age.
Final observation: why didn’t the Detroit Free Press’s in-house pro-jihad terror stooge, Niraj Warikoo, write this hit piece? Was he tired of my calling him out on his endless cheerleading for jihad terror and Islamic supremacism?