Tag Archives: Southern Poverty Law Center

The truth about Robert Spencer

Rebuttals to false charges

The charge: Both the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League have labeled the group that Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller founded as an anti-Muslim hate group.

The facts: Robert Spencer is no more “anti-Muslim” than foes of the Nazis were “anti-German.” It has become common, because of the efforts of Islamic supremacist and Leftist groups, to equate resistance to jihad terror with “hate,” but there is no substance to this. Spencer’s work has been entirely dedicated to defending the freedom of speech and the principle of equality of rights for all people before the law.

The SPLC keeps tabs on neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups. And that is good. But the implication of their hate group label is that the group that Spencer and Geller founded, the American Freedom Defense Initiative, is another one of those, which is false. While the SPLC may have done good work in the 1960s against white racists, in recent years it has become a mere propaganda organ for the Left, tarring any group that dissents from its extreme political agenda as a “hate group.” Significantly, although it lists hundreds of groups as “hate groups,” it includes not a single  Islamic jihad group on this list. And its “hate group” designation against the Family Research Council led one of its followers to storm the FRC offices with a gun, determined to murder the chief of the FRC. This shows that these kinds of charges shouldn’t be thrown around frivolously, as tools to demonize and marginalize those whose politics the SPLC dislikes. But that is exactly what they do. Its hard-Left leanings are well known and well documented. This Weekly Standard article sums up much of what is wrong with the SPLC.

The ADL traffics in the same reckless defamation. They have libeled the preeminent lawyer and orthodox Jew David Yerushalmi as an “extremist,” an “anti-Muslim bigot” and a “white supremacist.” The ADL has even condemned Israel for fighting anti-Semitism. According to Charles Jacobs of Americans for Peace and Tolerance: “The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) – biggest Jewish ‘defense’ organization — admits in private that the biggest danger to Jews since WWII comes from Muslim Jew-hatred, but because it fears offending its liberal donors and being charged with ‘Islamophobia,’ the organization remains essentially silent on the issue. In a study of ADL press releases from 1995 to 2011– a good if not perfect indicator of ADL priorities – we found that only 3 percent of ADL’s press releases focus on Islamic extremism and Arab anti-Semitism.” (For the full study, see www.charlesjacobs.org.)

The ADL has defamed many people. The ADL was successfully sued for over $10 million for defaming a Colorado couple, whom they accused of bigotry. The judgment was confirmed by every court that reviewed it, and was ultimately paid by the ADL. This was the largest defamation judgment in the history of the State of Colorado — paid by the Anti-Defamation League.

The charge: Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller were both banned from Britain because of their founding of “anti-Muslim hate groups.”

The facts: The letter to Spencer from the UK Home Office said he was banned for saying: “[Islam] is a religion and is a belief system that mandates warfare against unbelievers for the purpose for establishing a societal model that is absolutely incompatible with Western society because media and general government unwillingness to face the sources of Islamic terrorism these things remain largely unknown.” This is a garbled version of what Spencer actually said, which is that Islam in its traditional formulations and core texts mandates warfare against and the subjugation of unbelievers. This is not actually a controversial point to anyone who has studied Islam. Imran Ahsan Khan Nyazee, Assistant Professor on the faculty of Shari’ah and Law of the International Islamic University in Islamabad, in his 1994 book The Methodology of Ijtihad quotes the twelfth century Maliki jurist Ibn Rushd: “Muslim jurists agreed that the purpose of fighting with the People of the Book…is one of two things: it is either their conversion to Islam or the payment of jizyah.” Nyazee concludes: “This leaves no doubt that the primary goal of the Muslim community, in the eyes of its jurists, is to spread the word of Allah through jihad, and the option of poll-tax [jizya] is to be exercised only after subjugation” of non-Muslims.

A Shafi’i manual of Islamic law endorsed by the most prestigious institution in Sunni Islam, Al-Azhar University in Cairo, says that the leader of the Muslims “makes war upon Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians…until they become Muslim or else pay the non-Muslim poll tax,” and cites Qur’an 9:29 in support of this idea: “Fight those who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day and who forbid not what Allah and His messenger have forbidden-who do not practice the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book-until they pay the poll tax out of hand and are humbled.” (‘Umdat al-Salik o9.8)

Also, the assumption that the British government is fair, consistent, and judicious in such judgments is false. Just days before Spencer and Geller were banned, the British government admitted Saudi Sheikh Mohammed al-Arefe. Al-Arefe 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. Allah said that if a man fights the infidels, the infidels will be unable to prepare to fight.”

That was acceptable in Britain. Spencer’s work, which has consistently been in defense of human rights, was not. He has never advocated for or condoned violence. Spencer and Geller are challenging this capricious decision and are confident they will prevail.

The charge: Robert Spencer inspired the Norwegian terrorist mass murder Anders Behring Breivik, who cited Spencer many times in his manifesto.

The facts: This charge is meant to imply that Spencer calls for violence and that Breivik heeded his call. This is absolutely false. In all his quotations of Spencer, Breivik never quotes him calling for or justifying violence – because he never does. In fact, Breivik even criticized him for not doing so, saying of Spencer, historian Bat Ye’or and other critics of jihad terror: “If these authors are to [sic] scared to propagate a conservative revolution and armed resistance then other authors will have to.” (Breivik, 2083: A European Declaration of Independence, p. 743) Breivik explains in his manifesto that he was “radicalized” by his experiences with Muslim immigrants in the early 1990s, before Spencer had published anything about Islam (See Breivik, p. 1348).

Breivik also hesitantly but unmistakably recommended making common cause with jihadists, which neither Spencer nor any other opponent of jihad would ever do: “An alliance with the Jihadists might prove beneficial to both parties but will simply be too dangerous (and might prove to be ideologically counter-productive). We both share one common goal.” (Breivik, p. 948). He even called for making common cause with Hamas in plotting jihad terror: “Approach a representative from a Jihadi Salafi group. Get in contact with a Jihadi strawman. Present your terms and have him forward them to his superiors….Present your offer. They are asked to provide a biological compound manufactured by Muslim scientists in the Middle East. Hamas and several Jihadi groups have labs and they have the potential to provide such substances. Their problem is finding suitable martyrs who can pass ‘screenings’ in Western Europe. This is where we come in. We will smuggle it in to the EU and distribute it at a target of our choosing. We must give them assurances that we are not to harm any Muslims etc.” (Breivik, p. 949)

Investigative journalist and author Daniel Greenfield explained:

Jeffrey Goldberg at the Atlantic goes so far as to call a prominent researcher into Islamic terrorism, Robert Spencer, a jihadist. The Washington Post admits that Spencer and other researchers are not responsible for the shootings, but sneers nonetheless. And the New York Times and a number of other outlets have picked and touted the “64 times” that Spencer was quoted in the shooter’s manifesto…

The “64 times” cited by the Times and its imitators reflects lazy research since the majority of those quotes actually come from a single document, where Spencer is quoted side by side with Tony Blair and Condoleezza Rice….

Many of the other Spencer quotes are actually secondhand from essays written by Fjordman that also incorporate selections of quotes on Islam and its historical background. Rather than Breivik quoting Spencer, he is actually quoting Fjordman who is quoting Spencer.

Quite often, Robert Spencer is quoted providing historical background on Islam and quotes from the Koran and the Hadith. So, it’s actually Fjordman quoting Spencer quoting the Koran. If the media insists that Fjordman is an extremist and Spencer is an extremist — then isn’t the Koran also extremist?

And if the Koran isn’t extremist, then how could quoting it be extremist?

The New York Times would have you believe that secondhand quotes like these from Spencer turned Breivik into a raging madman….

Breivik was driven by fantasies of seizing power, combined with steroid abuse and escapism. He used quotes from researchers into terrorism to pad out his schizophrenic worldview, combined with fantasies of multiple terrorist cells and an eventual rise to power.

This is not so different from lunatics who picked up a copy of “Catcher in the Rye” and then set off to kill a celebrity. A not uncommon event, for which J.D. Salinger bears no responsibility whatsoever.

The charge: Robert Spencer denies the Srebrenica genocide and justifies Serbian war crimes against Muslims.

The facts: This charge implies that Spencer approves of violence against innocent Muslims, which is absolutely false. It is based on two (out of over 40,000) articles published at Jihad Watch in 2005 and 2009 questioning whether the massacre of Muslim civilians in Srebrenica in 1995, which was unquestionably heinous, rises to the level of an attempt to exterminate an entire people. Neither was written by Spencer and neither approves of the killing of Muslims or anyone. In “Srebrenica as Genocide? The Krstić Decision and the Language of the Unspeakable,” published in the Yale Human Rights & Development Law Journal, Vol. VIII in 2005, Katherine G. Southwick writes:

In August 2001, a trial chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) handed down the tribunal’s first genocide conviction. In this landmark case, Prosecutor v. Radislav Krstić, the trial chamber determined that the 1995 Srebrenica massacres—in which Bosnian Serb forces executed 7,000-8,000 Bosnian Muslim men—constituted genocide. This Note acknowledges the need for a dramatic expression of moral outrage at the most terrible massacre in Europe since the Second World War. However, this Note also challenges the genocide finding. By excluding consideration of the perpetrators’ motives for killing the men, such as seeking to eliminate a military threat, the Krstić chamber’s method for finding specific intent to destroy the Bosnian Muslims, in whole or in part, was incomplete. The chamber also loosely construed other terms in the genocide definition, untenably broadening the meaning and application of the crime. The chamber’s interpretation of genocide in turn has problematic implications for the tribunal, enforcement of international humanitarian law, and historical accuracy. Thus highlighting instances where inquiry into motives may be relevant to genocide determinations, this Note ultimately argues for preserving distinctions between genocide and crimes against humanity, while simultaneously expanding the legal obligation to act to mass crimes that lack proof of genocidal intent

If Spencer is guilty of “genocide denial,” so also is the Yale Human Rights & Development Law Journal. In reality, neither are. The raising of legitimate questions does not constitute either the denial or the excusing of the evils that Serbian forces perpetrated at Srebrenica or anywhere else.

The charge: Robert Spencer blames all Muslims for the crimes of Islamic jihad terrorists who are condemned by the vast majority of peaceful Muslims.

The facts: This charge is never accompanied by any quote from Robert Spencer, because it has no basis in reality whatsoever. He has never blamed all Muslims for the crimes of jihad terrorists. He has called upon peaceful Muslims to acknowledge the fact that Islamic jihadists use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and supremacism, and to take action to mitigate the ability of these texts to incite violence. This call has not generally been heeded.

The charge: Spencer has argued that there is no distinction between American Muslims and radical, violent jihadists.

The facts: What Spencer actually said was that U.S. Muslim organizations have been slow to expel violent jihadists or report their activities, and so they move freely among peaceful Muslims. He was referring to the fact that there is no institutional distinction between Muslims who reject jihad terror and those who embrace, so jihadis move freely in Muslim circles among those who oppose them and claim to do so. In other words, there are no “Islamic supremacist” mosques and “moderate” mosques. There are just mosques, and there are both peaceful Muslims and jihadis in some of them. The Tsarnaev brothers, who bombed the Boston Marathon in April 2013, were members in good standing of the Islamic Society of Boston. The Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s most vocal Muslim organization, has counseled Muslims in the U.S. not to speak to the FBI.

The charge: Spencer and Pamela Geller sponsored ads that equated all Muslims with savages.

The facts: In reality, the ad said: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat jihad.” The savages to which the ad was referring, obviously, were those jihadis who have massacred innocent Israeli civilians such as the Fogel family and celebrated those massacres.

CAIR told that anti-Islamist activist presentation at high school will not ‘violate policies prohibiting disparagement of any religion

CAIR told that anti-Islamist activist presentation at high school will not 'violate policies prohibiting disparagement of any religion'

CAIR told that anti-Islamist activist presentation at high school will not ‘violate policies prohibiting disparagement of any religion’

Founded by Brigitte Gabriel, a Lebanese immigrant, ACT! for America describes itself as “a non-partisan, non-sectarian organization whose mission is to give Americans concerned about national security, terrorism, and the threat of radical Islam, a powerful, organized, informed and mobilized voice.”

Chapters of the group have claimed that school textbooks have been re-written to reflect an anti-American view and that Sharia law is being implemented in the courts.

Gabriel is scheduled to speak at Little Falls Community High School on July 29, 2013 in an event sponsored by the Central Minnesota Tea Party, a group that describes itself as “non-partisan independent thinkers working to restore our Republic. We are pro-family, pro-God, pro-American and pro-Constitution. One thing is certain. You won’t see a Tea Party member desecrating the American flag or engaging in hooliganism. Our core values are fiscal responsibility, limited federal government, personal responsibility, private property rights, free markets, and national sovereignty. We are opposed to the New World Order, social engineering in our schools, UN involvement in our government, and progressive, socialist, and entitlement legislation.”

According to the Minnesota chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN), the school district gave CAIR-MN a statement claiming that the Tea Party group has “signed off in writing” to a school district official that Gabriel’s appearance “will not violate policies prohibiting harassment or disparagement of any religion.”  CAIR-MN is asking for a clarification.

“Little Falls High School would not, and should not allow a racist or an anti-Semitic speaker to use its facilities. School and district officials should apply the same standard to an anti-Muslim speaker. While Ms. Gabriel has the right to express her views, her anti-Muslim hate should not be given a legitimizing platform such as a school facility,” CAIR said in a press release.   “We welcome the assurance that this extremist anti-Muslim speaker will adhere to district policies prohibiting harassment and religious disparagement, but we need to know what actions will be taken if the policies are violated,” said CAIR-MN Executive Director Lori Saroya.

In the fall of 2011, the Southern Poverty Law Center noted:

During a private legislative briefing in the basement of the Capitol, congressmen — many of them rising stars in the Tea Party movement where Gabriel has made many inroads — spoke freely about the danger supposedly posed by Muslims. “This jihadist, Islamist, terrorist ideology, it is more dangerous than the Nazi ideology,” Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) told about 250 ACT members who attended. “As evil as the Nazis were, they wanted to live.”

ACT defends itself against charges of broad-brush hatred of Muslims by claiming to promote the efforts of “reformist” Muslims such as Tawfik Hamid, an Egyptian author who opposes Islamic fundamentalism. In 2009, Hamid wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal calling on Islam to prove its peacefulness. The same year, in a column written for The Washington Examiner, Hamid was one of the first to spread the groundless fear of Shariah law. “Concessions to Islamic Shariah law can serve as a provocation to radical Islam, as it gives the radicals the impression that the West should bow to their Islamic laws.”

If that’s the work ACT endorses as proof of its moderate views, it seems hard to disagree with the conclusion of a March 2011 New York Times profile of Gabriel: “She presents a portrait of Islam so thoroughly bent on destruction and domination that it is unrecognizable to those who study or practice the religion.”

Saroya said CAIR-MN will monitor the event and will consider filing a federal complaint against the school district if the policies are violated.


Another pro-jihad free speech assault, another petition

Nathan Lean is the editor-in-chief of Aslan Media, an organization run by Reza Aslan, a board member of NIAC, a proven front group for the Islamic Republic of Iran. Lean is also an obsessive stalker who relentlessly scans the Internet for details about my resume and my wife and children, which he then enthusiastically publishes in hopes that I will be discredited, endangered, and intimidated into silence. Well, as far as intimidating me goes, it won’t work, and it will never work, but this creepy bottom feeder does keep me busy answering his libels in publications around the country.

The monomaniacal Lean has made it his business to try to get me canceled everywhere I’ve been invited to speak. The latest outlet for Lean’s obsession is the Napa Valley Register, as I am scheduled to speak on classical education (not Islam at all) at a conference sponsored by Napa’s Kolbe Academy in late July.

The stalker published this tissue of falsehood and distortions in the Register yesterday, “Kolbe should rescind invitation to contoversial [sic] speaker,” and today I followed up in the Register with the facts:

Kolbe Academy should be standing for free speechNathan Lean’s piece attacking me in the June 25 Napa Valley Register (“Kolbe should rescind invitation to controversial speaker”) is at least the fifth such op-ed Lean has written solely devoted to defaming me and spreading falsehoods about my record, activities and beliefs.

Lean, well aware of the many death threats I have received from Islamic jihadists, has published, on the Internet, information he believes to be about my location and my family with the clear intent of endangering me and my family and intimidating me into silence. The FBI is aware of these veiled threats from Mr. Lean.

The editors of the Register, of course, had no way of knowing that they were publishing the rantings of an obsessive and threatening stalker; however, now that he has spread his misinformation, I am grateful that they have given me the opportunity to set the record straight.

Lean claims that “civil rights organizations” have labeled me a “hate group leader.” In my own defense, I must also note that far from being an actual “hate group leader,” I have instructed the FBI, CIA, and U.S. military on Islam and jihad. It is noteworthy that he doesn’t name the “civil rights organization” in question — probably because he knows it would weaken his case.

The organization he is referring to is the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which has come under strong criticism in recent years for irresponsibly labeling as “hate groups” many organizations that simply disagree with its extreme political stances. It is also telling that the SPLC doesn’t classify any Islamic jihad groups as hate groups, despite their poisonous rhetoric calling for the mass murder of Americans.

Lean also claims that the Norway terrorist Anders Breivik cited my writings, without mentioning that Breivik cited many people, including Barack Obama, John F. Kennedy, and Thomas Jefferson.

Lean tries to mislead readers into thinking that Breivik was inspired to kill by my writings against jihad terror, but Breivik was not actually an opponent of jihad terror: he wrote about he wanted to aid Hamas and ally with jihad groups. Breivik also explained that his real inspiration for his violence was not us, but the Islamic jihad terror group al-Qaida, about which Nathan Lean has never written a critical word.

Nor does Lean mention that we are appealing the rejection of our trademark application for Stop Islamization of America. It is ironic that while large numbers of valiant secularist Turks and Egyptians are resisting the Islamization of their countries, that Lean would smear as bigoted an attempt to preserve American freedoms from subversion by provisions of Islamic law that even many Muslims reject as oppressive.

Lean criticizes my work exposing what he calls “the supposed threat of radical Muslims in the United States.” It is odd in the extreme that anyone would write about a “supposed threat” in the wake of the Boston Marathon jihad bombings, as well as the Fort Hood jihad massacre and the many foiled jihad plots around the nation in recent years.

It becomes more understandable when one notes that Lean is an employee of Aslan Media, an organization headed by Reza Aslan, a board member of what a federal court has determined to be a front group for the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Meanwhile, Lean claims that a board member of our organization once “recommended burning all mosques and sending Muslim immigrants ‘back to their countries,’” trying to give the impression that these are positions of our organization. They are not, and no board member has advocated such positions.

“Spencer has argued that there is no distinction between American Muslims and radical, violent jihadists”: This is sheer misrepresentation. What I actually said was that U.S. Muslim organizations have been slow to expel violent jihadists or report their activities. They move freely among peaceful Muslims.

The Tsarnaev brothers, who supposedly bombed the Boston Marathon finish line, were members in good standing of the Islamic Society of Boston. The Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s most vocal Muslim organization, has counseled Muslims in the U.S. not to speak to the FBI.

Lean claims that our ads “equated Muslims with savages.” In reality, the ad said, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat jihad.” The savages to which we were referring, obviously, were those jihadists who have massacred innocent Israeli civilians and celebrated those massacres.

Is Lean suggesting that all Muslims support those massacres? If so, it is he, not our ads or organization, who is presenting “violent acts of notorious terrorists like Osama bin Laden as normative of the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims.” In reality, we have never done such a thing.

Lean wants the Santa Rosa diocese to rescind my invitation to speak, saying it should “follow the actions of the Boston diocese, which rescinded Spencer’s invitation to speak at a men’s conference in Massachusetts in March.”

Actually, it was the diocese of Worcester, Mass., following a demand made by a local Muslim leader named Abdul Cader Asmal, a man who is a vocal and open supporter and friend of convicted al-Qaida terrorist Tarek Mehanna. This is the lead Nathan Lean wants the bishop of Santa Rosa to follow.

It is ironic that, throughout Lean’s vicious attack piece, he speaks repeatedly of “hate speech,” when it is he who is spreading hatred, falsehood and defamation in his weirdly personal ongoing obsession with my activities.

My work is dedicated to defending the equality of rights of all people before the law and, above all, the freedom of speech. I hope that Kolbe Academy and the diocese of Santa Rosa will not bow to the tactics of an enabler of jihad terror like Nathan Lean, and stand firm in defending that most fundamental of freedoms.

It’s actually the Roman Catholic bishop of Sacramento, not Santa Rosa, who has the veto power over this one. And the problem, as ever, is that authorities generally don’t want controversy, and so fascist foes of free speech like Lean know that if they kick up a controversy of any kind, they can get what they want: the demonization of opponents of jihad terror, so that jihad terror can proceed unimpeded. The only thing to do in the face of this is to make it clear that it will be just as controversial or more so to cancel and side with the jihad enablers as it would be to proceed. And so Jihad Watch reader Bernie, who kindly set up the petition asking the Bishop of Worcester, Massachusetts not to cave to pressure from Islamic supremacists to cancel my talk — which got over 3,000 signatures — has set up another, making an appeal to the Roman Catholic bishop of Sacramento, Jaime Soto:

We respectfully request that Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento allow Robert Spencer to speak at the Kolbe Academy conference. We ask that Bishop Soto recognize that Nathan Lean’s charges against Robert Spencer are false and defamatory, and/or motivated by personal animus and political differences. We are alarmed that Bishop Soto would consider in effect enabling and abetting the silencing of a voice that speaks up for justice, our freedoms and for the persecuted Christians in Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan, and elsewhere in the Muslim world. It would also be extremely odd for Bishop Soto to cancel Mr. Spencer’s talk on classical education because Lean objects to Spencer’s work resisting jihad terror, an entirely unrelated topic. Bishop Soto as a leader of the church should stand up against calumny and intimidation. Let Robert Spencer speak.

Please stand for the freedom of speech and the legitimacy of resistance to jihad terror, and sign it here.