In Defense of Demonization: Frontpage’s lame defense of Robert Spencer

Robert Spencer

By now you probably have read all the details concerning the terrorist attack in Oslo, Norway. This attack has shined a spotlight on the demonization of Muslims at the hands of anti-Muslim bloggers we have profiled on this site. For example, the NY Times published a devastating expose of the shooter’s ideological ties to Robert Spencer. The evidence is so damning that Spencer is in a panicked state of damage control. So his friends at Frontpage Magazine have jumped to defend his Islamophobic enterprise, an apologia worthy of a detailed response from Loonwatch.

The article begins with some whining about how poor Spencer is the victim of the lamestream media:

No tragedy goes long without exploitation, and the atrocities in Norway are no exception to that rule.

Spencer spends his days exploiting bad news about Muslims, but when the news reflects poorly on him and he is criticized, it suddenly becomes exploitation?

Is silencing researchers who have put years of effort into exposing networks of radicals the right response to a terrorist attack? No reasonable person would think so. But that is exactly what media outlets like the New York Times and the Atlantic are trying to do.

Who is silencing Robert Spencer? Has his website been shut down? Is he prevented from publishing more books? Rest assured that Spencer’s first amendment rights are intact. The problem here is that Frontpage is cynically playing victim; they cannot distinguish between being fairly criticized and actually being denied rights.

Now let’s turn to the voluminous citations from Spencer found 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.

See, Spencer was only cited 64 times making the argument (unlike Blair and Rice) that terrorism is an essential aspect of mainstream Islam.

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?

Actually, it’s Fjordman quoting Spencer quoting the Quran (out of context) and explaining that good Muslims are terrorist killers. Why shouldn’t he defend Western civilization from Muslims?

The New York Times would have you believe that secondhand quotes like these from Spencer turned Breivik into a raging madman… The complete absence of quotes in which Robert Spencer calls for anyone to commit acts of terrorism reveals just how empty the media’s case against him is.

See, Spencer is just arguing that good Muslims are terrorists, that Islam is pure evil, and that Muslim immigration, aided by liberals, is destroying Western civilization. He supposedly never* actually calls for outright violence, but he has no problem with people who post violent comments on his website.

If we follow Spencer’s logic, it can be easy to conclude that violence is needed to stem the Hottentot Mongol tide of immigration. This argument ignores the fact that demonization leads to violence:

“When you push the demonization of populations, you often end up with violence,” said Heidi Beirich, research director for the Southern Poverty Law Center.

But the shooter didn’t kill Muslims, so Islamophobia cannot be involved, right?

And even this is irrelevant because Breivik did not carry out violence against Muslims… If Breivik was motivated by Islamophobia, then why did he not attempt to kill Muslims? Why did he not open fire inside a mosque?

This point is refuted by Alex Pareene at Salon:

Opposition to Islam was the killer’s stated motivation. He targeted other white Scandinavians because he considered them race traitors. He wrote all of this down, too, so we don’t even have to make guesses about it! He blamed liberals for enabling jihad by supporting “multiculturalism.”

Just because he didn’t directly attack Muslims does not mean Islamophobia had nothing to do with this attack. In fact, it had everything to do with the attack. But there is one last straw for Spencerites to grasp at:

Not only did Breivik not target Muslims, but he considered collaborating with Muslim terrorists… “An alliance with the Jihadists might prove beneficial to both parties,” Breivik wrote. “We both share one common goal.”

Interesting, Breivik and the Islamophobic ideology he shares with Spencer do indeed share one common goal with jihadists. They both want a homogenous society that doesn’t tolerate the Other. They both want to incite religious/nationalist war. They both want to increase Islamophobia; Spencer because it is his source of income, and jihadists because it is good recruiting propaganda. So, it is not a surprise to us that extremists share common goals but for vastly different reasons. We’ve known for some time that Muslim and anti-Muslim extremists reinforce one another.

In sum, Spencer and Frontpage want free reign to demonize Muslims and peddle baseless sharia conspiracy theories, but they cry foul when they get criticized in public. They suddenly demand the nuance that they have so far happily denied to Muslims as a whole.

*Admin Note: Spencer has subtly and overtly endorsed violence or a violent posture against Muslim citizens and their “liberal enablers” in the West. Just in January, in a piece titled “Digging Graves for the Next World War,” Roland Shirk a contributor at JW wrote,

The strings that knit together peaceful coexistence among communities are straining under the pressure of millions of resident aliens who should never have been admitted, who can only be tolerated when they are as sure as we that compared to us they are helpless. Islam is a religion of fear and force, and its adherents can only be at your feet or at your throat. We had better decide which posture we prefer. The time is short.

Those words are essentially the theme of Breivik’s manifesto, and Spencer approved it. This is on top of the knowledge that Spencer joined a Facebook group that sought as its objective a Reconquista of Anatolia, a holocaust of Turks and a forced conversion of any and all remaining Muslims. Spencer never denied joining the group, only claiming that he was the victim of a “trick.”

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