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Andrew Bostom Takes on Michael Kruse–Loses

Andrew Bostom and Robert Spencer

Andrew Bostom and Robert Spencer

Andrew Bostom (well over due for a LoonWatch piece), a close friend of Robert Spencer’s, and another self-proclaimed “Islamic scholar” is lauded on JihadWatch as having “taken on and crushed” Mchael Kruse, the St.Petersburg Times reporter who has been covering the Fathima Rifqa Bary case.

It’s a popular tactic amongst Islamophobes, especially Robert Spencer to try and twist what is clearly a negative outcome for themselves into a self-declared victory with a peppering of congratulatory self-adulation. This was the case with Spencer in his confrontation with Professor M. Cherif Bassiouni, when his alter-ego Hugh Fitzgerald proclaimed “victory” for Spencer and “defeat” for Bassiouni.

The truth is Spencer and company are ever more becoming isolated on the fringes of an increasingly radicalized segment of the Right-Wing, the company he keeps consists of neo-fascists, birthers, conspiracy theorists, Glenn Beck types, etc.


Michael Kruse

In this recent episode Bostom says that Kruse was wrong for stating that Spencer believes that “Muslims are in America to take over,” which from the body of Spencer’s work and the company he keeps is more than likely an accurate presumption, in context it is also the impression that he was trying to give at the press conference outside the courtroom of the Fathima Rifqa Bary case.

A case which is proving to be very embarrassing for Spencer, as evidence after evidence keeps coming out that the charges made by bloggers such as him and Pamela Geller that Rifqa’s life was/had to be in danger and that she was abused by her parents turn out to be bogus. Spencer’s reputation has taken a big hit and he is doing everything in his power to try to salvage some face.

Let’s look at an interesting part of the exchange between Bostom and Kruse:

Kruse to Bostom:

It’s my job to listen to everybody. It’s not my job to assign everybody equal credibility. When it comes to Robert Spencer scholars of Islamic studies outright dismiss him and his body of work. They call him an unreliable ideologue at best and a divisive bigot at worst. I can’t do that, though, can’t just ignore him like that, because he, and Pam Geller, too, are so much a part of this story, and certainly reasons it’s turned into what it’s turned into. Judging from his e-mails and how he talks in person, Rob strikes me as a pretty smart guy, but he’s a pretty smart guy with a very specific worldview. Everything he writes or says gets filtered through that static narrowness. Here is a relatively new dynamic: The other day in Orlando, Rob and Pam were speakers at a news conference, advocates for one “side” of this whole thing, and THEN they covered it as members of the press. They’re covering a story they’ve helped create, or at the very least stoke. The front row of the courtroom was for media, and there was the AP, some newspaper reporters, some TV reporters, some radio reporters, and there was Pam, a woman who last fall wrote a story on her blog saying Barack Obama was the illegitimate son of Malcom X. All of it is an interesting piece of the sprawling Rifqa Bary story, worth watching and considering now, and during the next story like it, and the next one after that.

Here Kruse devastates Bostom and Spencer by pretty much objectively telling it like it is, or as Dave Chapelle used to say Keepin’ it real. This is incomprehensible to polemicists and subjective ideologues such as Bostom and Spencer. It is incontrovertibly true that Spencer (and Bostom for that matter) is completely and thoroughly rejected by academics, we have noted that before here.

Yet, Kruse makes the point that he as a reporter cannot reject Spencer and Pamela Geller out of hand because THEY ARE PART OF THIS STORY. In fact, he points out they have in many ways CREATED this story or at the very least stoked it.

That is absolutely true, ever since the story broke Spencer and Pam have been on a crusade, whipping up their supporters in the blog world to “save Fathima Bary” from a sure “honor killing.” They knew nothing about the family or the context, they cared nothing for this little girl or her future, but eager to make Muslims and Islam look barbarous they attempted to castigate this family in front of the public thereby destroying any chance in those early days of reconciliation.

When fact after fact came out confirming the family’s story, supported by the Ohio police and Children Services, Pamela Geller resorted to making accusations which she claimed she heard from “anonymous sources” that Rifqa Bary was abused throughout her whole life, and that she was even sexually abused by her uncle.

Spencer applauded her in all this, extolling that the mainstream media was ignoring this “mountain of evidence” secured by Pamela Geller that showed that Rifqa Bary’s family was fundamentalist crazy and had abused her. For some reason the police were unable to unearth any evidence of these libelous accusations? Probably because they are made up whole-cloth.

Kruse, highlights how incongruous it is for a woman such as Pamela Geller,  who claims Obama is a Mooslim, anti-Semite, Socialist son of Malcolm X to be in the press area covering a story that she is actively creating. Bostom responds with more polemic,

Bostom to Kruse:

I deal with your non-sequiturs about Robert and Pamela, below. But first, you deliberately and grossly misrepresented what Robert said and the very specific context in which he made his statement–despite standing right next to him, as one can see in the videotape. That reflects very poorly on your own credibility and your ability to judge anyone else’s for that matter.

Do you not see that? Do you not see your own transparent–certainly to me– “static narrowness?”

As for scholarship, who are you to judge? What do you know about Islamic doctrine and history??

I asked you to contact Ibn Warraq via e-mail–He says he never heard from you, and judging from your responses to my repeated questioning you never obtained his definitive scholarly assessment of apostasy, “Leaving Islam”–so clearly real scholarship on the subject matter at hand—apostasy from Islam–does not even appeal to you.

Have you attempted to contact another high profile apostate from Islam, Nonie Darwish, who recently published “Cruel and Usual Punishment,” and wrote about a high profile apostasy case ongoing NOW in her native Egypt, in early August??

I have compiled, edited, and introduced two critically acclaimed scholarly compendia–one on the jihad, the other on Islamic Antisemitism. I have also read and on several occasions reviewed Robert’s books, and they easily exceed most of what passes for “scholarship” on Islam in today’s academy–despite targeting, deliberately, the larger lay audience. Regardless, they are solid works in their own right that are meticulously documented. Have you read them and found identifiable flaws in any of them??

As for Pamela, excuse me, but from my where I sit, she is doing the basic shoe leather investigative reporting those like yourself have thus far refused to do.

How many of Rifqa’s friends have you interviewed, starting for example with the now publicly identified Jamal Jivangee? What sort of of financial investigation of Mr. and Mrs. Bary’s businesses have you conducted??

I think you are being very disingenuous, and your pretense of “objectivity” is simply ludicrous.

As we mentioned Kruse did not misrepresent Spencer, Spencer just spoke very badly and it is not a stretch for Kruse to say that Spencer believes “Muslims are in America to take over” because that is exactly what he was insinuating at that right-wing blogger “press conference.” Then Bostom attempts to accuse Kruse of being ill-informed and not knowing anything about Islam (ironic) and then lists himself (in a bit of shameless self-promotion) and another Islamophobic writer, Ibn Warraq as “experts” that Kruse should have contacted.

This is a highly rich and whiny statement at the same time, what part of discredited do Bostom and Spencer not get? People don’t choose you guys as experts in the field of Islam because you are a pair of polemicists with deep hatred for Islam and Muslims. You can’t blame people for not considering you suitable candidates. He also trots out Nonie Darwish who believes there is no such thing as a moderate Muslim, she dumps all Muslims in the radical camp, she also compares Islam to Nazism amongst other interesting Islamophobic anecdotes.

By this time Kruse is almost done, knowing by now where Andrew Bostom comes from, i.e. the far right lunatic camp and says,

Kruse to Bostom:

I should stop, I know this, but I just have to ask: We’ve talked on the phone, we’ve e-mailed, and you seem like an intelligent person, so how can you possibly take Pam Geller seriously?

Bostom to Kruse:

Excuse me, but just as you have calumniated Spencer–with a live video record to debunk you and prove your deliberate misrepresentation—you’ve now done the same with Geller.

From here:

“The ‘Atlas says that Barack Obama is Malcolm X’s love child’ charge has gone viral among leftards and lizards. The only problem with it is that it is false. I am not the author of this post, and I posted it because the writer did a spectacular job documenting Obama’s many connections with the Far Left. The Malcolm X claim is one minor part of this story, and was of interest to me principally as part of the writer’s documentation that Stanley Ann Dunham could not have been where the Obama camp says she was at various times. I do not believe that Barack Obama is Malcolm X’s love child, and never did — but there remain many, many unanswered questions about his early life and upbringing.”

As a scrupulously honest, painstakingly objective journalist you must know that Pamela has written “I do not believe that Barack Obama is Malcolm X’s love child, and never did”? Would you even care if you did know?

We know the answer to that, as your calumny against Spencer makes plain.

As we demonstrated Kruse didn’t calumny against Spencer or Geller but Bostom does by trying to defend Pamela. Pamela is thoroughly discredited for more then her posting of the Malcolm-X-is-the-father-of-Barack-Obama-conspiracy, which she attempts to half-heartedly disavow now, but also for her other conspiracies that Barack Obama is a Muslim, that he was indoctrinated into Jihad in Pakistan, that he hates Jews and is an anti-Semite, that he is not an American citizen and was not born in America; all that doesn’t even touch a bit of what she says about Palestinians, Arabs, and real Muslims.

On her post about Barack Obama being the illegitimate son of Malcolm X, which she now claims she doesn’t support, there are some troubling questions that it seems Bostom doesn’t want to raise or answer. Like the obvious as day and night, why did she post that crazy article in the first place? Is that any way to prove that there was “no way that Obama’s mother could have been in America when Obama was born?” The fact is that Pam posted the piece with out any qualifiers, she posted it in her name without attributing it to anyone else. That brings her story of never having supported it into high doubt, the attempt to cover it up now and sweep it under the rug is not going to work especially when her track record has been loonier than the loons.

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  • I was reading the newspaper yesterday in the physician’s lounge at Rhode Island Hospital, where Dr. Bostom works, and notice him quietly walk over and switch the TV station from Oprah, who had a panel discussion basically decrying the demonization of Muslims, to Fox News, and then walk out of the lounge. Apparently, he didn’t want us to get the wrong way of thinking about Muslims.

  • David Cole Rosenberg

    Bostom was given a platform on “All Things Considered” today,
    arguing (incorrectly) that the Koran teaches violence more so
    than does the Bible. I was pleased to find the link to LoonWatch
    on the first page of my Google search of his name.

    Dear LoonWatchers: I tip my hat to you – you are doing God’s work! 😉

  • Anonymous

    I’m curious, though, why Michael Kruse has not read Ibn Warraq’s literature? Kruse has claimed that “it’s [his] job to listen to everybody,” so wouldn’t it serve to strengthen his argument against Dr. Bostom et al if he were to address the claims made in such writing? It seems hypocritical to claim that “it’s [his] job to listen to everybody…not [his] job to assign everybody equal credibility,” yet he fails to review the actual claims and documentation he is trying to debunk.

  • Samar

    I have posted above 3 links that rebut this lie, 2 are well known Jewish websites, has prominent Jewish Rabbi’s contributors, and Eretz Yisroel is an Israeli site. Wikipedia too.

  • Samar

    To Loonwatch moderators,

    Please expand upon this, and rebut Andrew Bostoms lies. I am giving you material below to use.

    Here is a rebuttal to a big lie that Andrew bostom propogates.

    Maimonides and the �Meshugga� Prophet

    December 26th, 2007 by Andrew Bostom |

    In this fabrication of Bostom’s, he says that Maimonades called Prophet Mohammed a Meshuga. (madman) But Maimonides didn’t direct that comment at Mohammed the Prophet. He directed it at a Jewish apostate who had converted to Islam, and was now calling himself the Messiah. He wanted the Jews to convert to Islam and accept him as the Messiah.

    Maimonades directed that “meshuga” comment at that false Jewish Messiah claimant in Yemen, that lived during that era of history. A jewish convert to Islam, started calling himself the Messiah and telling Jews to convert to Islam. Rabbi Jacob al-Fayumi asked Maimonides for advice on how to deal with this apostate, and Maimonides wrote back telling them to keep their Jewish faith and not listen to the “Meshuga” messiah. Maimonides, wrote an epistle in which he described the Jewish apostate Messiah as a “meshuga” and that the Muslims didn’t believe what he claimed they did and that Jews should be faithful to their own religion.

    Andrew Bostom distorts this, and pretends that Maimonides directed the comment at Mohammed the prophet.

    He does this to discredit the known fact that Maimonides was pro-Islam.

    Anyway, maybe Loonwatch moderators can research this more and post a rebuttal to Bostom and see what he says. Maybe you can get him to correct, or retract or write to sites that use his nonsense as a source.

    The Rambam

    The Epistle Concerning Yemen

    Rabbi Jacob al-Fayumi during a period of violent persecution and religious
    intolerance in his country. About the year 1168, the Jews of Yemen were
    confronted with a three-pronged agonizing problem. A fanatical Moslem cleric became the ruler of this distant, primitive South Arabian land and decreed that his Jewish subjects convert to Islam under the threat of harsh punishment and suffering.

    Their agony was compounded by a Jewish apostate who embraced Mohammedanism. To demonstrate his zeal for his newly adopted
    faith, he began preaching to the Jewish communities that Mohammed was a
    divinely sent prophet alluded to in the Bible and that Islam was a new,
    divinely revealed religion superseding Judaism. Hence, the apostate argued, the Jews should yield to the ruler’s demand and embrace Mohammedanism.

    Furthermore, at just about this time, an impostor appeared proclaiming
    himself to be the Messiah, adding to the confusion of the poor wretched
    masses. Rabbi Jacob al-Fayumi turned to Rambam for advice and counsel.

    Rambam advised that the self-proclaimed Messiah is nothing but an impostor
    and no doubt a madman. He urged them to remain firm in the belief that G-d
    will send the true Moshiach to redeem the Jewish people from suffering in
    exile at the proper time.

    The epistle accomplished its purpose – the Yemenite Jews remained faithful
    to their religion in the face of their bitter suffering. Rabbi Moshe ben
    Maimon used his influence at the court of Saladin in Egypt to intervene in
    their behalf, and the persecution came to an end.

    The Jewish community of Yemen gratefully appreciated both the spiritual advice as well as the actual help of Rambam in the hour of their distress and honored him by including his name in the Kaddish prayer, saying: “May He establish His kingship… in your lifetime and in the lifetime of the entire House of Israel and in the lifetime of our teacher Moshe ben Maimon,” an honor heretofore reserved for the Resh Galutah (Jewish Exilarch) in Babylonia.



    When Saladin became sultan in the last quarter of the twelfth century and
    the Shiite Muslims revolted against him, the trials of the Yemenite Jews
    began. There were few scholars among them at that time, and a putative
    prophet arose; he preached a syncretic religion that combined Judaism and
    Islam, and claimed that the Bible foretold his coming.

    Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (Rambam)

    One of Yemen’s most respected Jewish scholars, Jacob ben Nathanael
    al-Fayyumi, wrote for counsel to Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, better known as
    Maimonides. Maimonides replied in an epistle entitled Iggeret Teman (The
    Yemen Epistle). This letter made a tremendous impression on Yemenite Jewry.

    It also served as a source of strength, consolation and support for the
    faith in the continuing persecution. Maimonides himself interceded with
    Saladin in Egypt, and shortly thereafter the persecution came to an end.


    Down to the 19th cent. Yemenite Jewry experienced a number of messianic
    movements, the best-known of which occurred in the late 12th cent., when a false prophet proclaimed the amalgamation of Judaism and Mohammedanism; to counter him, Maimonides wrote his Epistle to Yemen (1172) in which he
    exhorted the Jews to abide by the faith of their fathers despite compulsion and persecutions.

  • WDSF

    What is really sad is that Bostom is employed as an academic in the Brown School of Medicine. I wonder how he treats his patients… do his patients know of his racist views?

  • Ustadh

    Meglomania seems to be a disease that effects the anti-Muslim/Islam bloggers particularly hard, and so they cannot see things as they are in reality. They have visions of grandeur and as one person wrote they think of themselves as the vanguards of Western Civilization, but if it was up to them we’d be doomed.

    Andrew Bostom, Spencer, Pipes, Ye’or are all the same peas in the pod; haters, polemicists trying to make money while having an axe to grind. I like how Kruse played it cool and from a detached point of view explained to Bostom that Spencer and Geller have created this story and are a part of it, not neutral reporters covering a story. Kudos to Kruse.

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