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Reza Aslan Serves Robert Spencer Overdose of Truth

Christiane Amanpour had an interesting show called “Holy War: Should Americans Fear Islam?” on her program This Week. The panelists were quite diverse, there was Azar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran, Donna Marsh O’Connor of September 11th Families for a Peaceful Tomorrow, and Daisy Khan. Opposing the mosque and supporting the idea that America should fear Islam was anti-Muslim bigot Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch, Peter Gadiel of 9/11 Families for a Secure America and Rev. Franklin Graham. Other special guests included: Reza Aslan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Gary Bauer, Brad Garret, Anjem Choudary and Imam Ossama Bahloul.

There seemed to be too many people on the show and not enough time, but at the end of the day the result was a positive one: Robert Spencer got roasted for being the anti-Muslim bigot that we have always known him to be. Reza Aslan took him to task for promoting nonsense about Islam and Muslims and then trying to evade responsibility for his rhetoric on his fanatical followers. Spencer’s organization, Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA) was also called out by Aslan as a bigoted anti-Islamic organization imported from Europe.

REZA ASLAN, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, DAILY BEAST: Robert Spencer is quite famous for spewing nonsense, and this is – this is more nonsense that every single -media matters– every single non-partisan media organization has said, quite clearly, every word that came out of Robert Spencer’s mouth – the reason that he’s the only one who said this is that he’s the only one who actually has this information.


SPENCER: It’s easy to attack me personally — its harder to deal with the facts.

AMANPOUR: Reza, what did he say that was inaccurate?

ASLAN: I’m going to go ahead and trust the FBI instead of Robert Spencer when it comes to the rise in Muslim hate crimes. But that’s not even the issue here. If you go around saying that 80 percent of mosques are preaching hatred and violence, then why are you surprised that people would actually respond with fear and with violence against Muslims?

SPENCER: Well, actually, I didn’t say that.

ASLAN: And if you’re spreading this kind of ideology, don’t pretend that you don’t have a role in the consequences of the things that you say.

SPENCER: — when in reality, these were three separate, independent studies that came to this figure of 80 percent. They all say that in 1998

ASLAN: Those studies have already been bunked by everybody.


ASLAN: No one is taking you seriously.

SPENCER: I didn’t invent this. Yes, you act like I invented Osama bin Laden.

AMANPOUR: Mr. Spencer, you have led quite a lot of the protests behind the Islamic center that Daisy and her husband is trying to -build

SPENCER: Yes. Quite so.

AMANPOUR: You have a blog called Jihad Watch and you’re part of an organization called Stop the Islamization of America.

SPENCER: Quite right.

AMANPOUR: I want to go to Reza Aslan, because you were in Europe, lecturing on this topic of islamophobia– Where does the Stop Islamization Movement come from?

ASLAN: Well, it comes from the – an organization, a neo – not – what the E.U. refers to as the neo-Nazi organization called Stop Islamization of Europe. And that kind of institutionalized Islamophobia is precisely what your organization, Stop Islamization of America, is importing into the United States. And honestly, you’re on the wrong side of history. And very soon, in a couple of decades, you will be sweeped and your ideas will be sweeped into the garbage bin of history, along with the anti-Semites of the 20th century and the anti-Catholics of the 19th century.


SPENCER: Here again, Reza Aslan is displacing responsibility and trying to act as if this is something that I am doing that is illegitimate, or something that I have created. When actually, you look at the writings of 20th century — muslim brotherhood theorists like and people like Madudi in Pakistan, the founder of Jamaat-e-Islami — he says, “Non Muslims have absolutely no right to wield the reins of power in any part of God’s earth. And, if they do, it is the believer’s responsibility to dislodge them from that power by any means possible.”

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  • muhammad ‘abd-al haqq

    @DrM “I have no desire to be a “moderate Muslim” by the West’s bogus standards, ever.”


    Allahu A’lam

  • @DrM

    I’m always a little suspicious of the RAND slur, because it’s sadly over-used to tar any liberal-ish Muslim as “the enemy”. Sure, in the UK, we have Neocon choir boys like Ed Husain and Taj Hargey, but you can’t compare Ed’s government-funded Quillaim with Taj’s British Muslims for Secular Democracy – the latter has an assortment of voices who would consider being associated with RAND, Fox or Ex-Islamist Ed an affront. Put simply, the argument used is, “if you sound anything like ’em, you’re playing their tune”, but reform movements in Islam long predate RAND, and at the end of the day, the minute you focus on bashing people instead of their views, genuine debate goes out the window and all you have left is cheap identity politics. Time to move on from that intellectual slum…

  • Jack Cope

    Yearp, pretty much jihad bobs dad, free lunch for him since he doesn’t have a job these days… I heard a number of times where even the BBC chose him over a more sensible candidate!

  • jihad bobs dad

    What on earth was Anjum choudry doing there? He is one big joke, the stereotypical jihadist, why is he rolled out time after time as some kind of spokesman of Muslims in the UK.?

  • DrM


    Ho hum. Conspiracy theories? I think its rather sad how ignorant, and naive jokers like you are, completely unconnected to reality that governments lie and conduct psyops. Just last we had the FBI harassing antiwar activists by raiding their homes for simply protesting. Andy isn’t an irhabi(terrorist) as you insist, but he is no different then the “Revolution Muslim” rabble rousers trying to scare non-Muslims. If these guys were the real deal, they would be behind bars, not on shows presented as legitimate spokespersons for Islam.
    Pro-regressive Muslims(secular Arabs and desis with no interest in Islam pre-911) had their heyday on the RAND bandwagon in the early 2000s, trying to make a fast buck, discredit genuine Muslim organizations and secularize Islamic spirituality. These same called pro-regressive “Muslims” today babbling neocon rubbish on FOX. Raheel raza, Tarek Fatah, Asra Nomani, Ahmed Nassef, Mona Eltahaway are a few who come to mind.
    Get back to me when you’ve done your homework.

  • @Biz

    Some one who believes Muslims with a population of less then 0.05% can some how over throw the other 99.5% of Americans… NUTTER

  • Biz

    @ Halal Pork
    Let me break it down for you.
    Some one who burns crosses and hates blacks… Racist
    Some one who hates Jews… Anti-Semitic
    Some one who burns books because it disagrees with their thought process… fascist.
    Some one who believes Muslims with a population of less then 0.05% can some how over throw the other 99.5% of Americans… Islamophobes.
    Some one who drinks Robert Spencer’s Kool-Aid… Ignorant to the facts.

    You Halal Pork are all of these things.

  • Awesome

    @ Cynic,

    I thought he meant “interbreeding” as in mixing.

  • DrM

    Don’t worry about Kosher Porky, he’s just upset the US welfare check is late this month, building illegal “settlements” costs money you know.


    In order for the British government to carry on its wars in the Islamic world, for which the demonization of Muslims, local and international is a necessity. Along comes Andy Chowderhead who is an Islamophobes dream come true. Andy has less then 50 followers yet is portrayed as a big shot in the Muslim community, he’s never been arrested, or charged by the authorities. I’ve known about this rabble rouser since the 90s, and have yet to meet a British Muslim with anything positive to say about him.
    Many believe he’s controlled opposition. I share that position because if he was the genuine article he would have been thrown in prison a long time ago,
    A British version of the “Revolution Muslim” crackpots if you will.

  • Jack

    Halal pork: “Islamophia is a cheap form of defence adopted by Muslims.(…) Because of their underdevloped brains with continous interbreeding,they can never think straight and learn.Aslan is like a little intellectual puppy.He is no match for Spencer.It is time the Muslims would grow up for a change.They sound pathetic to say the least and lack any intellect.”

    ‘Islamophia’; ‘interbreeding’; ‘underdevloped’; ‘continous’; cropped interpunction… and then saying Muslims lack intellect. So funny.

  • Some Islamophobes are so interbred, their chromosomes have become homophones.

  • Cynic

    @ Awesome,

    I know, it’s just the term that bacon-brain used. “Continuous interbreeding” as he put it, lmfao.

  • Justin


    That link about Anjem is really good. “Rent-a-jihadi” sounds right.

  • Awesome

    No, in this case I meant inbreeding, as it actually does result in stupidity.

  • Cynic

    Don’t you mean interbreeding? ;P

  • Awesome

    Halal Pork believes that “anti-semitism” is a cheap form of defense adopted by Jews against anyone who dares to speak the truth about Israel, and believes that they don’t want the true face of Israel to be exposed for what it is.

    He also believes that Christians have underdeveloped brains, due to inbreeding, and feels that they need to grow up. He believes Christians sound pathetic and lack intellect, and due to an inferiority complex, project themselves onto others.

  • Justin

    I’m sick of hearing ignorant crap about Jihad, Islamists, Sharia, Taqiyya, and all the other crap used to dehumanize Muslims. It’s absolutely insane. Stupid insane. There is no point in arguing with these Islamophobes because they are completely close-minded. No amount of evidence will shake them. We can only hope to convince people on the fence not to blindly hate us.

  • Justin

    How come we have to debunk the same canards over and over and over AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN?!?!?

    JihadBob and HalalPork come here all the time with the same ignorant crap, and they just want to argue. We debunk their nonsense, then they move on to more nonsense, but you will NEVER see them acknowledge that Muslims just might not be 100% evil incarnate. They won’t give Muslims a single inch. They’re delusional, blinded by hatred or fear. Seriously.

  • Charlie Brooker described Anjem Choudray as a “minor rent-a-jihadi-gob media figure.” Here’s Brooker on the media hysteria surrounding what was probably, at least to date, Choudray’s most provocative publicity stunt:

  • Syed

    typing with his hooves, maybe he can’t oink his thoughts on paper … 🙂

  • HGG

    FiveFeetofFury is one of the worst blogs I’ve ever read. It’s written by someone who thinks she is Canada’s Ann Coutler, but she fails even at being controversial.

    I saw the This Week show. I honestly found all of the panelists either self-serving, disingenuous or plain bigots, from both sides, with the exception of the mother of a 9/11 victim, which was the only one I found myself respecting. But I guess the fact that both people here and in JihadWatch found it one-sided means it was relatively even handed.

  • Brother

    The comment section in this really good MuslimMatters article has been hijacked by certified loons ever since it was posted on the extreme right-wing blog FiveFeetofFury:

  • zzazzeefrazzee

    Spencer’s diatribe about Aslan on his site is rather laughable. First off, he states that NIAC is “widely believed” to be a front for the Iranian government. His source? Why, and article that he wrote for Front Page. “Widely believed”? It’s more like “I believe”.

    Next he attacks Aslan for citing Media Matters, as a “hard left” website. As if Spencer isn’t above quoting right-wing websites that proclaim to be “non-partisan”?

    He then attacks Aslan for his daring to declare that the SIOE organization has far-right, neo-nazi ties. Well, the association of the SIOE with the English Defence League and the like, condemned by British PM David Cameron.

    Next, Spencer attacks Aslan for declaring his claim that “80% of mosques” preach hatred of non-Muslims. Spencer’s rebuttal cites precisely three “studies” that Aslan is correctly critical of:

    1) “Sheikh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani’s in 1998”.
    Of course, Kabbani made no such study. he merely said something off of the top of his head. As an aside, it’s pretty funny for Spencer to cite Kabbani, a Naqshibandi Shaykh, while simultaneously disparaging Imam Feisal as an “Islamist”. One wonders by what criteria he thinks one to be a more reliable source?

    2) “The Center for Religious Freedom’s in 2005”. Oh, don’t you mean the right-wing “Hudson Institute” Robert? Of course, here again, he doesn’t refer to an actual survey of mosques. He’s referring to a report prepared that year by Nina Shea entitled “SAUDI PUBLICATIONS ON
    HATE IDEOLOGY INVADE AMERICAN MOSQUES”. Shea admits “…we did not attempt a general survey of American mosques. In order to document Saudi influence, the material for this report was gathered from a selection of more than a dozen mosques and Islamic centers in American cities, including Los Angeles, Oakland, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Washington, and New York.”(2) The report also continues to say that “Several hate-filled publications in this study were also gathered from the Institute of Islamic and Arabic Sciences in Fairfax, Virginia.”(3) It is not clear if this is included in their previous dozen or not. A failure to precisely name only one mosque is a severe weakness in this study.

    In any case, this is clearly not a “study” of American mosques in the usual sense, but a study of literature given to a dozen specific locations, by Saudi Wahhabi religious endowments.

    3) Finally, Spencer mentions the “Mapping Sharia Project in 2008”. Well, we know who that is a project of the lobby group Center for Society of Americans for National Existence or “SANE”, in other words David Yerushalmi. The report claims to have surveyed just 100 mosques, out of over 1200 (Atlas Shrugs later reports the figure at 200), but even so, the report has all but disappeared from their website, so a scrutiny of their methodology for their rating system is impossible. Even so, Spencer seems to think think that they used a convenient figure of 80%, but they actually give the figure “3 out of 4”, in other words 75%. Of course, we have no way to verify that info. If anyone else here has a copy of the “Mapping Shari’a in America Project 2008 report”, I’d love to see it.

    As an aside, I am curious to learn how SANE rated the Manhattan Sufi mosque Masjid al-Farah where Imam Rauf led prayers for nearly 3 decades. Perhaps that is why they’ve removed the report from public scrutiny?

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