A Project of the Council on American-Islamic Relations


Jihad Watch

Robert Spencer operates the blog “Jihad Watch,” which is notorious for its depiction of Islam as an inherently violent faith. Like FrontPage Magazine, Jihad Watch is funded by the David Horowitz Freedom Center, which lists Spencer as an employee. Spencer is also a key part of the American Freedom Defense Initiative and Stop Islamization of America, both of which are viewed as anti-Muslim groups.

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

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

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 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.”

Former Jihad Watch Board Vice-President and current contributor Hugh Fitzgerald shares Spencer’s view that Islam is inherently violent and bent on conquest and deploys the “lazy immigrant” stereotype. On September 24, 2017, he writes, “The tens of millions of Muslims who have been allowed to settle in Europe, behind what their own faith teaches them to regard as enemy lines, are not there for some kind of cultural exchange but, rather, to take what they can get, in welfare benefits and through crime, from the Unbelievers, and through inexorable demographic conquest, by degrees to subjugate the Unbelievers, until Islam everywhere dominates, and Muslims rule, everywhere.” Spencer has defended Mr. Fitzgerald’s prejudiced writing in the past saying: “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.”

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.

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.

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.

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