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Update: Robert Spencer Whines and Whimpers After Being Exposed

Robert Spencer: Exposed

Robert Spencer: Exposed

We recently wrote about the bruhaha that occurred when it was revealed that anti-Muslim polemicist Robert Spencer was invited by the ALA (American Library Association) to participate on a panel discussing the topic, Perspectives on Islam: Beyond The Stereotypes.

To summarize, close to the date of the event one of the panelists, Dr. Marcia Hermansen, discovered that Spencer would be on the panel. She informed the other panelists, one of the panelists decided to drop out in protest while Hermansen and the other panelist decided to stay on.

In the meantime various scholars, ALA member librarians, concerned citizens contacted the ALA to lodge their protest and demand to know why a notorious Islam hater was on a panel meant to dispel stereotypes about Islam, as did groups like CAIR-Chicago and CIOGC later on. The ALA lagged in their response and the remaining two panelists decided to drop out which lead the ALA to cancel the event.

It turns out the ALA did not know a thing or two about Spencer when he was curiously lobbied for by Ellen Zyroff, the co-chair of ALA’s EMIERT’s Jewish Information Committee and a leader at the San Diego chapter of the Zionist Organization of America, and were caught like a deer in headlights when it later became apparent to them that they had invited a discredited hatemonger. They are not entirely innocent however, how they let Zyroff decide who gets to be on a panel about Islam as opposed to someone on the Islamic Information Committee (if one even exists) is an untold story in and of itself.

In response to the cancellation and unanimous rejection to his participation Spencer started to cry “bloody censorship.” He accused CAIR of orchestrating a campaign to silence him and attack free speech when in reality all of the panelists had decided to drop out independently of CAIR contacting the ALA. By their own admission, they cited the ALA’s “failure to address their concerns” as well as the ALA actively misrepresenting the event to them.

As a result of most self-respecting people not wanting to associate with his rabidly anti-Muslim discourse, the apocalyptic Spencer and his shock troops began to cry that our whole Western Civilization was now under threat.  Closer to the truth seems to be that increasing incidents, such as these involving Spencer, reinforce his marginalization and highlight who he is: a bitter, bigoted Islamophobe with an ego the size of Alaska.

Unable to let the incident go with one 2300 worded diatribe, he penned another (shorter) assault in which he turned his venom from his former ally Charles Johnson onto CAIR-Chicago Director, Ahmed Rehab, in what seems to be an outrageous display of juvenility and senility that further exposes his lack of serious academic prowess or professional standards. In it, he claims that Ahmed Rehab “strong armed” the ALA into canceling the event, and that it is all part of his campaign “against free speech” and the so-called “truth of Islamic Jihad.” In reality, Ahmed Rehab had performed his organization’s stated mission of fighting bigotry by simply exposing the facts about Robert Spencer’s discredited methodology that would earn him an F in the academic world.

Ahmed Rehab, in his own article on the Huffington Post, articulately laid out the facts and even pre-empted this obvious line of attack from Spencer by stating that,

In fact, CAIR-Chicago’s call on the ALA to rescind Spencer’s invitation was not about Spencer but about the ALA, specifically: a) questioning why a respectable organization like the ALA would secretly invite an Islam-basher for an event designed to dispel stereotypes about Islam, and b) demanding that the ALA take responsibility for its misrepresentation of the panel event to the other panelists involved and to the public, and to provide an appropriate remedy for their error.

In Spencer’s self-inflated grandiose world he is unable to see that what concerned the diverse coalition of Americans that rejected him had nothing to do with him, or censoring him, but everything to do with the ALA and what it stands for, as well as the obvious incongruity in providing a platform to someone who makes a living from perpetuating stereotypes to speak on dispelling stereotypes.

Is that really so hard to understand?

Spencer further claimed that the participants knew about the event a month in advance, but he seems to be caught in a contradiction. On July 6, a few days from the event, Dr. Marcia Hermansen discovered that Spencer would be on the panel,

From: Marcia Hermansen
Date: July 6, 2009 8:07:26 AM CDT
To: xxxx@LISTS.xxxx.EDU
Subject: Marcia Hermansen and Robert Spencer
Reply-To: Marcia Hermansen

Thanks–I didn’t know about this–I thought I was on an informational panel for librarians–I guess this turns up the heat!

“xxxx” [xxxx@xxxx.xxxx] 07/06/09 3:06 AM >>>
Dear Colleagues,

I just found out on from the MELA list that Marcia Hermansen and Robert Spencer will be on an invited panel at the Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) panel at the American Librarians Association annual meeting on July 12.

What Spencer may not want to admit is that this episode was never about censoring free speech which, when one considers Spencer’s explicit endorsement and support for Geert Wilders who is on the record stating that the “Qur’an should be banned” and that “freedom of religion should not apply to Islam”, seems just a tad bit hypocritical and disingenuous.

It was about principles of consistency, of not giving a platform to Islamophobes just as we don’t give platforms to racists and holocaust deniers. In that vein it seems the overwhelming majority of people agree and as one librarian expressing her own and her colleagues’ sentiments wrote:

Being a librarian I did my own homework. I verify my sources. I can tell that Ahmed Rehab did an excellent job in laying out the facts. Just check the facts again. Call the panelists and ALA organizers. Do your own investigation. The format of this panel was totally UNETHICAL. The main reason was to sneak Robert Spencer and impose a “fait accompli” to other panelists. The whole thing was flawed.

So, let Spencer claim that the world is out to get him and there is a nefarious plot to subvert his free expression of speech. It is his right, under — you guessed it — freedom of speech, but he shouldn’t be such a sore loser when others exercise their free speech and call him out for using his free speech to push lies and support for hatred and bigotry. He can always take solace in that while the sane world rejects him, he will always have his troop of “Crazy McCain ladies” cooing over his innuendo at his David Horowitz-funded extremist blog, “Jihadwatch.”

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  • Naseer Ahmed

    The Westerner’s concept of Freedom of Speech is funny. You may not criticize another person or his mother/father but you can criticize his religion or Jesus Christ!
    A Muslim will stoically put up with an insult but will take offence if his parents are insulted and will react very strongly if you insult Islam or its Prophet. That is because his religion and the Prophet are dearer to him than his own life or his parents. Is that so difficult to understand and accept?
    I guess it is for a Westerner who has only ridicule for his own religion for reasons which are not far to seek. Western civilization went through a reform period or a renaissance and at the height of the revolution, the popular sentiment is embodied by the statement widely attributed to Jean Meslier: “I would like — and this would be the last and most ardent of my wishes — I would like the last of the kings to be strangled by the guts of the last priest”.
    The popular sentiment can be easily understood, when we consider the horrors that the common people had to bear during the dark ages, when the State and the Church, combined to unleash a rule of terror when torture, emasculations, inquisitions and burning at the stake was common for imaginary crimes.
    The Reform lead to a separation of the Church and the State. The respect for the Church and the religion was irretrievably lost as a result of the excesses of the Church, its defense of blind beliefs, and the persecution of individuals for holding rational beliefs.

    For a variety of reasons, we find today only Muslims who are deeply attached to their religion while others have drifted away. We also find non-Muslims accepting Islam in large numbers. The extreme right wing of every other faith cannot countenance this and is therefore engaged in maligning Islam using language that is profane. We therefore have a strange case of a Westerner’s inability to understand the Muslim viewpoint or rather a refusal to do so. If someone hates his own mother and calls her a bitch does that give him a right to abuse the mother of another?

    Freedom of speech cannot therefore be interpreted as a Right to Offend Islam and Muslims should fight against such a definition of the meaning of freedom of speech.

  • Anonomous

    @ Danah

    Like he says that one womans testimony is half when the orthodox views is that it only refers to informal loans and its due to context but other verses do not say that a woman’s testimony is half. Its on Loonwatch somewhere

  • Anonomous

    I was scared by the Truth about Muhammad book but if you want an actual bio get Martin Ling’s one has it is reliable

  • Danah

    i saw the “The Truth About Islam” documentary and as a Muslim i am offended! The whole thing was extremely biased, and Mr Spencer was so sly with his answers, using certain words instead of others to make us all look bad. He was exhaggerating and just plain hysteric.
    I expect much more from a liar/maniac like him.

  • Pingback: Rabbis Arrested: What if They Were Imams? | Islamophobia Today Magazine()

  • Mr M

    It is bad for your health to even visit the site as I experienced myself.

  • Ryan

    i have seen plenty on amazon who sadly swallow his line. maybe we should troll the site and make those crybabies piss their pants

  • Garibaldi

    Tara Lannen-Stanton,

    Thank you for stopping by and leaving your comment. I am sorry you were the subject of such negativity, but that seems to be the modus operandi of Spencer and what I termed in this article, his “shock troops.” We have had experience with this as well, whenever he is challenged publicly and called out on his anti-Muslim bigotry he goes into a fit and makes all sorts of crazy claims about “censorship.”

    I really applaud you for standing up and voicing your concerns publically. Please know that you have a lot of support especially here at LW! Stop by anytime.

    –Garibaldi

  • Thanks for your coverage of this, I just ran across it. As the librarian who initially registered concerns publically, I was pleased to find some support of my views after so much negativity directed towards me by so many librarians and supporters of Spencer.

  • TS

    LOL! This reminds me of the time an online magazine lampooned the loony Obama birth certificate conspiracies and Robert Spencer showed up in the article’s comment section to point out that, instead of some other loon, his good friend and fellow loon (or is that bat-shit insane moron?), Pamela Geller, of “Atlas Shrugs”, was the first person to “break the news” about Obama’s birth certificate.

    Of course, now that the whole world is laughing at these morons who claim that Obama is a Kenyan citizen, they’re quick to shut up about it. It’s more important that they don’t admit their mistakes. I mean, an African American with a Muslim sounding name, how were you supposed to know he could in fact be American, right Robert? Better yet, he’s the President of the United States!

    It’s truly sad that these people hate Muslims on such a level that they’re blind to their own hatred. Sadly, you’re a nobody in this world, Robert. Get it through your thick, bigoted head.

  • That is pretty interesting Imran. As Spencer proclaims that he will debate any Muslim any time. Did he give a reason why he refused to debate one of your members?

  • It seems to me that Spencer cannot accept the fact that his bigotry towards Muslims and Islam should be challenged.

    Mr. Spencer claims no one ever challenged him, yet, one of our members made a formal request to debate this hate-monger, but to our dismay, Spencer himself refused the debate.

  • sk8er_2U

    If he’s going to cry “bloody censorship” anyhow, they really should have just kicked him off the panel to be begin with.

  • mallorcaman

    Robert Spencer cannot be taken seriously, no one takes him seriously, unless they are of the same narrow agenda.

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