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.”