August 11, 2013
Eastern Michigan University played host Saturday to a controversial debate over whether Islam is a religion of peace that featured an author whose anti-Islam writings have attracted the attention of the Southern Poverty Law Center and other civil rights groups, the Detroit Free Press reported Sunday.
Robert Spencer, director of the blog Jihad Watch, appeared at the daylong conference that drew more than 500 people. He debated Shadid Lewis, regional director of the Muslim Debate Initiative, who said he agreed to participate out of a need to respond to Spencer and other critics of Islam.
Himself a Roman Catholic, Spencer is the author of 12 books — including two New York Times bestsellers — and has led seminars on Islam and jihad for the FBI, the Joint Terrorism Task Force and the United States Central Command, among other governmental organizations.
His work has drawn criticism as being Islamaphobic, and the Southern Poverty Law Center has named him to its “Anti-Muslim Inner Circle.”
The event was sponsored by Ann Arbor-based Catholic station Ave Maria Radio.
Read the Freep story here.