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Oren Dorell

Oren Dorell

Oren Dorell, a reporter with USA Today wrote an article recently on so called “Honor killings,” of which there have been six in the past two years. Unfortunately, his article was rendered inaccurate and ineffectual because of a severe lapse of judgment on his and USA Today’s part in citing Robert Spencer as an authority on Islam and Radical Muslims.

The portion that we are speaking about goes,

“There is broad support and acceptance of this idea in Islam, and we’re going to see it more and more in the United States,” says Robert Spencer, who has trained FBI and military authorities on Islam and founded Jihad Watch, which monitors radical Islam.

Of course, Robert Spencer, per his modus operandi is again lying. There is neither broad support or acceptance of honor killings as an idea in Islam. Two points which Spencer will be hard pressed to prove, especially since Islam expressly condemns the pre-Islamic tribal practice. Spencer also attempts to play prophet here, a role that he has failed at over and over.

This is an especially egregious report in light of the events that played out in the Fathima Rifqa Bary case, a case which Michael Kruse, a reporter for the St.Petersburg Times noted was in part “created” by Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller. Throughout the case, without any of the facts present Spencer was claiming that Rifqa would be killed in an honor killing and that her parents were extremists, he still believes this today regardless of the fact that the authorities investigated the matter and repudiated Spencer and his far right cronies when they sent Rifqa back to Ohio and found the charges against the family to be baseless.

We urge our readers to contact Oren Dorell and USA Today to rectify this epic failure in citing Spencer as an authority on Islam or radical Islam.

Contact Brent Jones, for corrections and clarifications:

Contact Oren Dorell:

Remember to be polite and topical.

The fact is Spencer is not taken seriously by academia especially in the field of Islam: He has been repudiated over and over. Take a glance at our archives:

Academics and members of the American Library Association condemn Spencer and his work: Robert Spencer Rejected by Academics, still Supports Geert Wilders

DePaul Law Professor M. Cherif Bassiouni condemns Spencer

His former friend and ally Charles Johnson has also condemned Robert Spencer as an “Anti-Islamic Bigot:”

Robert Spencer goes postal on Charles Johnson

Spencer’s association and fervent support for anti-Muslim European neo-Fascists and supremacists also disqualifies him from being mentioned as a true neutral observer and commenter on Islam or radical Islam:

Robert Spencer Teams up with Euro-Supremacists Again

Spencer has also joined a genocidal Facebook group which called for the extermination of Turks:

Robert Spencer: Wanna be Conquistador

Robert Spencer’s arguments have been shown to be filled with errors and excessive prejudice:

The Church’s Doctrine of Perpetual Servitude worse than Dhimmitude

Robert Spencer Misrepresents Facts — Again

Robert Spencer Worried about ticking ‘Muslim Demographic Time Bomb’

There is more information exposing the bigotry and anti-Muslim motive that mars the work of Robert Spencer in our archives, if USA Today truly cares about what they print and the information they wish to present to readers then they should take a serious look at who they choose to quote as experts.

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  • Zakster


    Here’s what I wrote…

    “Dear Mr. Dorell,

    I am writing a book about the facts, history and reason for Holocaust… I am using in depth, well researched and highly objective analysis of the incidence from the vast and well studied knowledge of Jews from the most respected subject matter expert available to me: David Duke…

    You see, when you bring in such highly knowledgable, objective and renowned scholars of Islam such as Robert Spencer, I can’t help but be inspired to seek such awe-inspiring sources of knowledge for my subject matter as well, vis s vis seeking David Duke’s personal and objective knowledge regarding Jews and the Holocaust…

    Thanks for being so objective…


    A history writer…”

  • Nabeela


    Yes, that url is redirected to Pamela Geller’s, Atlas Shrugs website. She has a section in which she hypocritically pretends a concern for honour killing victims. Yet try posting links to victims other than Muslims and she will delete them. She selectively cherry picks crimes that are comitted by Muslims who are perhaps secular or who don’t even know that it’s unIslamic, and ignores all others.

    Geller doesn’t care for honour killings , she merely digs up dirt on Muslims and uses that to say “see i told you Islam was wicked” The same things go on in Israel, and amongst Jews but she doesn’t mention that. Try posting links that don’t promote Islamophobia to her bigoted rants at her website and she will delete them.

    Geller never tells you about the sexual slavery prevalent in Israel, or the Jewish or Christian honor killings, or the Christian and Jewish clitorectomies. Only the Muslim ones, and then pretend that it’s Islamic.

    Here is Charles Johnson from LGF, even he sees through her using Rifq Barry to further her own agenda.
    Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller’s Rally: ‘Islam Is of the Devil’
    Weird | Thu, Dec 3, 2009 at 8:21:15 pm PST

  • Dale

    To the person above who referenced the site. I noticed in the list of honor killings they included Dua Khalil, who as we know was not even Muslim, but was Yazidi, and was killed by her Yazidi brethern for being seen with a Muslim. Don’t these people check any of the background on their “stories”. Well, obviously it fits in with how they think, “oh, they are from Iraq, and was killed?” “Must be a Islamically inspired honor killing”.

  • nat

    @ Pagan – there have been several lengthy discussions in the Islamosphere about the lie of ‘Judeo Christian Civilization’. I’m not sure if Loonwatch have covered it in depth – but you might want to google it at TalkIslam to get some good leads. I know Razib The Atheist (of gene expression) has a lengthy article about the topic on his site.

  • Absolutely not Pagan, you are entitled to your beliefs and we respect your right to disagree with us. We only ban racist or offensive language and those who come here as proxies for Robert Spencer’s propaganda. We have caught a few in the past, and we are happy to boot them right back to JihadWatch where they can bask in their hate and ignorance there without check or complaint from their grand guru.

  • pagan

    Hello Moderators. I want to ask some things, but did not know where to, so am writing here. I came upon your site that exposes fundamentalists like Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller (I consider her to be either a Messianic Jew or fundamentalist Christian, but not a Jew) and it was simply refreshing. I often wondered how I was the only one who could see through their lies about the so-called “Judeo Christian Civilization”.

    While I agree with you on lots of things, I may not agree with you on islam. I would like to hang around, and occasionally I may post about the threat that it is to us along with fundamentalist Christianity. Here’s my question – will you guys ban me for saying this ?

  • Danios

    I shot them an email just now. I was less than cordial however. I read the article and it was purposefully written to be misleading. Here is what I wrote to them:

    To whom it may concern:

    I am writing to you with regard to an article which was recently published by USA Today, by the title of “‘Honor killings’ in USA raise concerns.” In it, there were certain grave errors.

    The second paragraph of your article reads:

    “There is broad support and acceptance of this idea in Islam, and we’re going to see it more and more in the United States,” says Robert Spencer, who has trained FBI and military authorities on Islam and founded Jihad Watch, which monitors radical Islam.

    Robert Spencer is incorrect. Rather, it is the opposite: there is broad opposition and rejection of honor killing in Islam. Spencer is an anti-Muslim bigot, who was cited by FAIR as being one of the “dirty dozen” most Islamophobic personalities. As such, it is not appropriate for a mainstream media outlet to use him as a source for knowledge of Islamic jurisprudence. It would be like using David Duke as a source on Jewish law (Halacha).

    The truth is that there has been consistent rejection of honor killings since the very beginning of Islam up until this day.

    You later said in your article:

    Some clerics and even lawmakers in these countries have said families have the right to commit honor killings as a way of maintaining values, according to an analysis by Yotam Feldner in the journal Middle East Quarterly.

    The Middle East Quarterly is not a reliable source to know about Islam, as it is founded by Daniel Pipes, who is also a part of the “dirty dozen” leading Islamophobes according to FAIR.

    It seems as if your newspaper went out of its way to learn about Islam through Islamophobes, with curiously the only two sources saying the above coming from the “dirty dozen.” Did you guys download the Islamophobe list from FAIR and then contact them for info? Perhaps newspaper writers ought to attend KKK meetings to seek out experts on Judaism for their articles.

    You also quoted Phyllis Chesler. I don’t know who she is, but I went to her site today, and she also writes for the Middle East Quarterly, which as we have discussed, is run by the Islamophobe Daniel Pipes. In her articles on honor killings, Chesler cites Daniel Pipes. So that is a great job your newspaper has done in verifying statements! You first quote Person A and then you verify the information by quoting Person B, who bases her writing on Person A. How circular.

    Lastly, your article is outright deceptive. You said:

    Many Muslim leaders in the USA say that Islam does not promote honor killings and that the practice stems from sexism and tribal behavior that predates the religion.

    “You’re always going to get problems with chauvinism and suppressing vulnerable populations and gender discrimination,” says Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

    Not all agree. Zuhdi Jasser says some Muslim communities have failed to spell out how Islam deals with issues that can lead to violence.

    “How should young adult women be treated who want to assimilate more than their parents want them to assimilate?” asks Jasser, founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, which advocates a separation of mosque and state. “How does an imam treat a woman who comes in and says she wants a divorce … or how to deal with your daughter that got pregnant, and she’s in high school?”

    So the Muslim leaders said that Islam itself does not promote honor killings. Then you say “not all agree,” and you cite Zuhdi Jasser. Where exactly does Jasser disagree with the idea that Islam forbids honor killings? In fact, all he says is that the Muslim communities ought to stress the Islamic way to deal with such issues, which clearly indicates that he thinks Islam itself forbids it. Yet, your statement “not all agree” seems to indicate that not all Muslim leaders agree that Islam forbids honor killings. Truly deceptive on your part.

    Here is a Gallup poll which shows that the levels of support for honor killings amongst Muslims is very, very, very low:

    So much for “broad support.” But it seems your newspaper doesn’t care about facts, but just wishes to promote bias and misinformation.


  • George Carty

    Why is the term “honour killings” used primarily only to refer to murders with a sexual connection (and usually of women)?

    What about murders of gang members by members of rival gangs? (Gangsters have an “honour” culture among themselves, because they cannot use the law to settle internal disputes.)

    Or in an earlier time, deaths in duels?

  • Emperor

    Danios and everyone else who provided links, thank you very much. Did you guys get any response after you contacted USA Today or Oren Dorell?

  • Danios

    Nat, you are exactly right. It’s called colonial feminism.

  • nat

    These people don’t care about honour killings or women. They care about having a big stick to whack Muslims over the head with. Cheap and shameful.

  • Danios

    Robert Spencer said:

    “There is broad support and acceptance of this idea in Islam.”

    Of course, every single strand of Islam–from the most conservative to the most liberal–views honor killings as completely forbidden (haram). As Spencer likes to always say to add an air of authority: “All four schools of Islamic jurisprudence view it as forbidden (haram).”

    As for Muslims themselves, Gallup Poll did a survey of Muslims, which showed very, very low levels of support for honor killings:

    Emperor, perhaps we ought to add this link to the article itself?


  • There are Fatwa’s against honour killings, not all Muslims practice Islam, they follow their own culture of where they live, and borrow a bit from Islam and lot from their culture. Honour Killings are centuries older than even before Islam was born.

    When you tell a truth to Spencer, he says it is Taqiya, but even Taqiya is not what he claims it is. Taqiya is dissumulation, and only the Shia practice it. But he says Muslims use Taqiya to justify his lies.

    Many reputable Islamic scholars and clerics have spoken out against the practice of ‘honour killings.’

    As Katherine Zoepf reported in the New York Times, (September 23, 2007):

    “Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, the top Shiite cleric and spiritual leader of Hezbollah, issued a fatwa banning honour killing and describing it as “a repulsive act, condemned and prohibited by religion.”

  • Nabeela

    What a distortion, and spiteful libel against Muslim, by Robert Spencer. I am going to post examples Christian, Jewish and Druze honour crimes.

    Before I do that, I want to mention something that may be a news tip for Loon Watch Editors, did you know that the url redirects to Pamela Geller’s Atlas Shrugs? She pretends a concerns for womens’ welfare as a cover for her bigoty against Islam. She doesn’t mention anything of the non Muslim honour killings. At her webiste i posted links to non Muslim honour killings and she deleted them.

    Shows how much she cares, Geller is a two faced lying old hag with a “leathery face” (as a MSM news story described her face…LOL) I don’t blame her husband for leaving her, who’d want to live with such a poisonous ugly old bitter, piece of trash.

    Honor killings are more common among poor rural Muslim communities than
    urban ones. Arab Christians living within parts of the Near East, such as
    sections of Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority, sometimes carry out the crime as well

    Palestinian Christian Honor Killing

    Murdered in name of family honour
    But the next weekend, as Faten watched a Boy Scouts parade from the balcony of her Ramallah home, the 22-year-old Christian Palestinian was dragged into the living room and bludgeoned to death with an iron bar. Her father was arrested for the murder. Faten Habash’s murder was unusual because she came from the Christian minority in the Palestinian territories. Her desire to marry a young Muslim, Samer Hamis, so infuriated her family that the couple decided to elope to Jordan.

    Women’s rights group: Arab ‘honor’ killings claim 9 victims in 2005
    By Itim
    Shfaram’s Samar Hasan, 23, was allegedly murdered by her father and uncles, who are Christian, because she was living with a Muslim man.


    Shfaram official probed for ‘honor killing’ comment
    Apr. 26, 2006 0:51
    On October 22, a Druse woman was killed by three of her relatives for
    supposedly conducting an affair with a Muslim man.

    Miss Israel finalist quits after family’s honour killing plot
    the first Druze to compete in the pageant — was threatened with death,
    allegedly by two uncles and other men from her village who accused her of
    disgracing the family name with promiscuous behaviour.


    Play on ‘wife murder’ amongst Israeli Ethiopians
    Wife murder, unknown among the Beta Israel in Ethiopia, has become a problem of crisis proportions in the migr Ethiopian community in Israel. While Ethiopians make up just one percent of the population, 25% of women murdered by their husbands or intimate partners over the past decade were Ethiopian. Of the last 18 women killed, seven were Ethiopian – an even higher percentage.

    Jerusalem Post ^ | May 8, 2005 | Yaakov Katz and Mati Wagner
    Police said Sunday they had collected sufficient evidence to press charges against Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar’s wife, daughter and son in connection with the alleged kidnapping and beating of a 17-year-old haredi youth romantically involved with Amar’s 18-year-old daughter.

  • Read this

    Hey Loonwatch, in the time of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH the people would bury their young daughters alive because it was considered DISHONORABLE, keyword: “honor”, to have a daughter. When the Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him heard of this, he immediately stopped this atrocious act and taught them the value of life and how this transgresses the boundaries of Islamic teachings.

  • Rosetta Amato

    USA Today should read the Bible Lev 21.9, so should Rob Spencer.

    The Bible: Lev 21:9 And the daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father: she shall be burnt with fire.

    Honour killing also happens in Christian communities in the Mediterranean and other regions. Honour killing was only abolished as a specific category in Italy in 1981, and murders in the name of honour still occur in the country. In 2006, Bruna Morito was shot six times in the face by her brother for bearing a child outside marriage.

    In Brazil, men could be acquitted for murdering their wives up until 1991 – until then wife killings were considered to be noncriminal ‘honor killings’. In just one year, nearly eight hundred husbands killed their wives. Even in 1991, a lower court ignored the ruling of the Supreme Court and acquitted Joao Lopes for the double homicide of his wife and her lover.

    Similarly, in Colombia, until 1980, a husband legally could kill his wife for committing adultery.

    Even within the Middle East, honour killing is not restricted to Muslims. In Yemen, a Jewish father killed his daughter after a rebuke from the rabbi for her extra-marital pregnancy, and in Palestine, in 2005, Faten Habash was beaten to death with an iron bar, wielded by her Christian father because she wanted to marry her Muslim boyfriend.

    Cruelty and censure of unmarried mothers in the Industrial schools and Magdalen Laundries in Ireland even into the 1960s.

  • “Muzammil, thanks for that comment. Great info, did he respond to your post?”

    No, and I was eventually banned for posting too much truth.

  • Indian Sikh and Hindu honor killings/crimes

    Father jailed over attempted honour killing of daughter
    An Indian father was jailed for 14 years yesterday for hiring a hitman to carry out the honour killing of his daughter and her Jewish boyfriend.
    Kalvinder Dosanjh wanted the boyfriend’s father shot to lure the couple out of hiding for the funeral, then for them to be murdered too. But the hitman turned out to be an undercover policeman and Dosanjh and his accomplice were arrested before anyone was hurt.

    Victims of ‘honour killings’ recall horror
    NEW DELHI, JAN. 12. On November 25 last year, 22-year-old Jasbeer — the only earning member of his family — was brutally murdered after his hands were chopped off and legs cut with swords and other sharp-edged weapons by a group of four angry Rajputs in broad daylight in a local market of Hoshiarpur district of Punjab. His fault — hailing from the Jat community, Jasbeer had dared to marry his neighbour Geeta, a Rajput girl, some two months ago

    Hindu and Sikh Honor Killings

    Hindu Honor Killings

    In October of 2003, a Sikh girl from Vancouver, B.C. was killed on the orders of her mother and uncle because she had run away to marry a man of her own choice. In August of 2006 a young Sikh couple were both killed for eloping.

    Sikh Honor Killing

  • Muzammil, thanks for that comment. Great info, did he respond to your post?

  • Garibaldi


    The email is in the text. But here are the two emails:

    Oren Dorell:

  • I wrote in response to Robert Spencer when he posted this on his website:


    “Muslim immigrant men have been accused of six “honor killings” in the United States in the past two years, prompting concerns that the Muslim community and police need to do more to stop such crimes”

    Robert, if you read this, I would like to ask: as you like to tie Muslim “honour killings” directly to Islamic law by recalling that the principle of qisas retaliation is not valid in the case of murdering a son/daughter, how do you explain murdering wives, and members from the other family (e.g. in the example here, the mother of the boyfriend too). Please enlighten us as to how Islamic law can provide an explanation for these.

    On another note, have you heard of American fathers that are not Muslims murdering their wives and children? Six honour killings in two years is probably only slightly higher than the general population. Just this year, an over possessive father, James Harrison, murdered his 7 year old son and his four daughters in Washington State –

    In Los Angeles earlier this year another man suffering from depression (why is widespread chronic depression not thought to be a “result of Judeo-Christian Western civilisation”?) murdered his wife, himself and five young children –

    “Fathers who kill their children” are common in the West. In fact in Britain about half of the children under 16 killed each year (about a hundred) are killed by their parents. Mental illness, depression, despondency etc. are normally the explanations, but should not the “Western community and police do more to stop these crimes?”


    It is obvious Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller exploit the few incidents that do occur in the Muslim community, probably only slightly higher than the general population, to help their propaganda campaign against Muslims and Islam. These are issues that we all have to deal with, whether in a religious or secular context, and no one group has a monopoly over this kind of violence.

    Also, on another note, perhaps some of you have seen Spencer’s post on JW of a recent video in which a Muslim woman attempts to stab an officer at a checkpoints. Spencer should take note of this recent video, uploaded yesterday, in which an Israeli settler runs over a Palestinian resident over and over again while IDF soldiers are looking on:

    Finally, as friendly advice, I think loonwatch should popularise such stories which don’t get media attention as this recent one showing Muslim solidarity with the wider British community, as an antidote to jihadwatch fabrications: (a mosque in Cockermouth, Cumbria in Britain raised money for the victims of the flood)

  • Stefan Klein

    and they even mention that he founded Jihad Watch. wow

  • Ryan

    send me the guys email, and i will send it.

  • Helena

    Look beyond religion to find some reasons why honour killings go on

    That Islamic orthodoxy has been unanimous in its condemnation of this
    behaviour for more than a millennium is either forgotten or ignored. So,
    too, the fact that honour crimes occur only within small pockets of these
    countries. The result is a crude diagnosis defined by the kind of
    caricatures that lie at the heart of such literature as Norma Khouri’s now
    infamous Forbidden Love.

    It is present among Christian families
    in the Middle East.

    In the subcontinent, similar crimes occur among some Sikh and Hindu
    communities, particularly surrounding inter-caste relationships. Crown
    prosecutors in Britain say cases also come from Eastern European, Greek and
    Italian communities.

    Honour crime is a phenomenon that crosses national and religious borders. Nor are Western societies immune. Last month, a British court jailed a Sikh man for 14 years for a plot to kill his daughter and her Jewish boyfriend. It has become such a problem that the British police recently set up a specialist research unit, and have re-opened 122 cases. The Swedish Government’s interest in honour crime was sparked by the Stockholm murder of a Swedish Kurd in 2002.

    The Stockholm conference concluded that honour killings are rooted not in religion, but in feudal social structures and violently patriarchal, tribal culture. This may be true even of those crimes committed in Western countries because they tend to occur among diverse but poor, ghettoised, migrant communities.

  • James

    Thank you. This is like asking David Irving his feelings about Judaism and the Holocaust. I will be writing an email. Hopefully they issue a retraction, but don’t hold your breath.

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