The problem with Jihad Watch

(cross-post from Harry’s Place)

Guest Post, August 17th 2011, 10:40 am

This is a guest post the centrist (Lucy Lips’ boyfriend)

For someone who spends the majority of his time blogging, Robert Spencer is remarkably thin skinned. Ever since One Law for All published its report about how the far-Right has hijacked the anti-Islamist debate, Spencer has been howling with his characteristic sense of righteous indignation and victimhood. Dissent and disagreement is not allowed in Spencer’s world. Detractors are immediately branded ‘Marxists’, ‘anti-Semities’, ‘Dhimmis’, ‘stooges’ or practitioners of Spencer’s favourite slur ‘Taqiyyah’.

Spencer might claim not to hate all Muslims, but his work belies that vacuous claim. Jihad Watch essentalises Muslims on a daily basis, as if they were a monolithic whole acting in unison for the pursuit of an unspoken grand agenda. Every action performed by a Muslim, no matter what their actual motivation, is immediately ascribed to Islam. It is as if no Muslim ever acts without reference to their Islamic identity.

Consider this wild theory posted on Spencer’s website. An article posted by ‘The Anti-Jihadist’ claims that allegations of rape made against Dominique Strauss-Kahn are actually part of a ‘stealth jihad’. What matters, long before any real facts have been established in that case, is that Strauss-Kahn’s accuser is a Guinean Muslim immigrant.

It also so happens that Mr. Strauss-Kahn is Jewish. Coincidence?…Why would a Muslim, and a ‘pious, devout’ one at that, be so adept and experienced at lying? Surely Islam has nothing to do with this woman’s pathological lying, and nothing to do with her criminal attempts to extort money from a powerful, rich Jew. Of course.

Perhaps Strauss-Kahn’s accuser was trying to extort a rich and powerful man. The facts are far from settled. But if she were, why is Spencer not content to think of her as simply a crook? Rather, what is singled out and stressed is that she is Muslim. Indeed, the article is quite explicit in arguing that Muslims are inspired to become ‘pathological liars’ by Islam.

That is the modus operandi of Jihad Watch. Elsewhere on his site, Spencer posts a picture of an unknown Muslim woman wearing a headscarf while working for the TSA (Transportation Security Administration). After offering an insincere caveat, “I am sure the TSA employee pictured here is as loyal and patriotic as the day is long”, Spencer gets to the nub of the matter. He objects to seeing a Muslim TSA worker because:

we are forced tacitly to acknowledge either that that belief-system [Islam] had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks — even though the attackers themselves invoked it and only it as their motivation — and that therefore we must do nothing to oppose its spread in the West, or that even if that belief-system did motivate the 9/11 jihad attacks, it is continuing to advance in the West and we can do nothing about it.

The two goals may coalesce: in other words, Islamic jihadists who wished to infiltrate the TSA may decide that a hijabbed TSA worker would be preferable to one in secular dress, as a gesture of Islamic supremacist assertiveness as well as the placement of an agent who could weaken security at the right moment.

So any Muslim woman wearing the hijab is making ‘a gesture of Islamic supremacist assertiveness’? Remember that Spencer claims not to hate all Muslims or be immediately suspicious of them, yet he ascribes such conspiratorial motives to women who simply cover their hair.

Back to Spencer’s bizarre logic:

A hijabbed TSA worker is the personification of a dare: Islamic supremacists are daring the TSA to question her about her belief-system, thereby acknowledging that that belief-system has something to do with terror and violence.

Again, the hijab is linked to a ‘supremacist’ plot, this time as part of an ‘Islamist dare’. Spencer’s claims not to hold all Muslims in disdain and under suspicion is palpably false as demonstrated by articles like that, and literally hundreds of others on his website.

Spencer and supporters of his essentialist view automatically ascribe the beliefs of Islamist political parties, terrorist organisations, and the most regressive, literalist interpretations of Islam to all Muslims. Suspicion and distrust naturally follow, creating the climate in which the delusions that consumed Anders Breivik are formed.

Spencer has howled wildly that Breivik has nothing to do with him. Yet, it is not that simple. Spencer may not advocate actual violence but that is his only difference with Breivik – one of style rather than substance. They share a general diagnosis of ‘the problem’: the supposed ‘colonisation’ of Western societies by Muslims and the hysterical claim that there will be a ‘Muslim takeover’.

This is no different to groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and Hizb ut Tahrir which condemned 9/11 and 7/7. They might oppose those attacks, but do so over issues of style only. They share al-Qaeda’s overall diagnosis and worldview: that Islam is under attack by a belligerent West and that the only solution is the revival of puritanical Islamic societies.

In any event, Spencer’s claims about being opposed to violence require serious examination. When the Egyptian revolution began one might have expected Spencer to support a group of people fighting for their freedom. Instead, an article on Jihad Watch by ‘Roland Shirk’ could only imagine the worst.

What Muslims want, around the world, is to impose political Islam…For us to be prattling on about the virtues of self-government in this context is suicidal, like Russian aristocrats hosting Bolsheviks in their salons.

So much for all the pieties about not hating Muslims and always suspecting the worst about them. Shirk then offered a very unique solution to avoid the ‘suicidal’ situation he saw arising in Egypt, arguing:

If I could have Mubarak’s ear, I would whisper just two words of wisdom: Tiananmen Square.

That sentence was later removed, presumably after its inexpediency was realised, but you can see a screenshot of the original below.

This is a very serious charge which Spencer must answer. Yes, the offending line has been removed but who uploaded the original article – Spencer or someone else? If not Spencer, then who? And, perhaps most damning of all, why has Roland Shirk continued to post articles on Jihad Watch since calling for the massacre of countless Egyptians as they demonstrated against one of the Middle East’s most brutal regimes?

Rather than descending into wild name calling, it would be good for Spencer to engage with the issues at hand if he is sincere.

*  *  *  *  *

The problem with Jihad Watch: Addendum

Edmund Standing, August 17th 2011, 12:51 pm

The Centrist writes:

Spencer has howled wildly that Breivik has nothing to do with him. Yet, it is not that simple. Spencer may not advocate actual violence but that is his only difference with Breivik – one of style rather than substance. They share a general diagnosis of ‘the problem’: the supposed ‘colonisation’ of Western societies by Muslims and the hysterical claim that there will be a ‘Muslim takeover’.

This is indeed the case. Here’s Spencer, speaking in 2007:

There will be civil war in Europe. The European citizenry, for the most part, are not ready to accept Islamic law and there will be armed conflicts.

Here’s Dennis Prager, a man praised on Jihad Watch:

It is difficult to imagine any other future scenario for Western Europe than its becoming Islamicised or having a civil war.

Fjordman, a Norwegian writer whose work has been featured on Jihad Watch (see, for example, here, here, and here) claims, in an article recommended by Spencer:

The West is becoming so overwhelmed by immigration that this may trigger civil wars in several Western nations in the near future.

In another article, Fjordman writes:

If the Leftists and the Globalists have their way then our civilization will die, plain and simple. That’s why this ongoing struggle is likely to get ugly, because no compromise is possible. Since similar ideological struggles are taking place throughout the Western world, this situation could trigger a pan-Western Civil War.

The Fjordman quote above is taken from a ‘Brussels Journal’ article. Spencer is a supporter of the Brussels Journal (see approving quotes here and here, for example), despite it featuring articles such as this one, which speaks of ‘the sustained persecution that BNP members are subject to in the archPod state of ex-Great ex-Britain’, and goes on to advocate racial separatism:

Integration is not possible except by hoisting the white flag, as white Body Snatchers do. But separation ought to be possible, and is likely to occur in the future.

[…]

Saving Western Civilization must entail as well separation from Muslims and from Third World Latinos, which these groups already practice toward whites. How to separate without cruel and unjust policies is an issue beyond the scope of this discussion, as it requires a fully-informed consideration of the specific circumstances in each Western country separately.

What is clear is that the fault for the disaster of bringing to the West tens of millions of unassimilable Muslims, tens of millions of subliterate Mestizo laborers, millions of chaos-generating Africans, lies not with such Muslims, Mestizos and Africans but with the crazed Body Snatcher elite that has brought them – by naïve intention and by purposeful inattention, both. The separation therefore, cannot be guided by animus toward such immigrants, who have done what comes naturally, but toward those who have brought them to the West.

In a 2010 article published by Jihad Watch, Fjordman writes:

Wherever possible, non-Muslims should seek to physically separate themselves from Muslims.

Spencer, both via his own writings and the writings of others that he promotes on Jihad Watch, clearly supports a paranoid worldview in which it is only a matter of time before Europe is torn apart by wars brought about by its Muslim minority. He is happy to promote authors and journals that advocate various forms of confessional and even ethnic separatism.

The Centrist argues:

Spencer might claim not to hate all Muslims, but his work belies that vacuous claim. Jihad Watch essentalises Muslims on a daily basis, as if they were a monolithic whole acting in unison for the pursuit of an unspoken grand agenda. Every action performed by a Muslim, no matter what their actual motivation, is immediately ascribed to Islam. It is as if no Muslim ever acts without reference to their Islamic identity.

Again, this is indeed the case, and another good example of this is found in Spencer’s claims about various car accidents being part of a low-level jihadist plot.

As I noted in a post in April this year, Spencer has collected stories of Muslims involved in hit-and-run incidents and built a bizarre narrative around them.

He suggests that a man who had drunk six cans of Budweisser before crashing into six people during a police chase may have drunk the beer ‘to steel himself’ before committing a supposed act of ‘jihad’.

In another case, this time involving a man who reportedly is ‘mentally ill, suffers from depression and hasn’t being taking his medication’, Spencer nonetheless concludes that on the basis of the man’s name – Ismail Yassin Mohamed – the case may ‘possibly’ be an example of ‘Sudden Jihad Syndrome’.

Spencer can launch foaming-at-the-mouth attacks as much as he likes, but the fact of the matter is that he long ago crossed the line that separates legitimate criticism of Islam and opposition to Islamism from anti-Muslim bigotry and fearmongering.

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