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Surprise, Surprise: Robert Spencer of JihadWatch is Weaseling Out of Debate with Danios of LoonWatch

When I first read Robert Spencer’s book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) a couple years ago, I knew I could not just refute it but (proverbially speaking) blow it out of the water.  After I penned my first few articles against it, I also knew that Spencer could not issue any substantive reply.  Soon, I began to detect fear in Spencer’s eyes.  It is no wonder then that he has refused to debate me for so long.  I have documented Spencer’s evasion here.

Yet, Robert Spencer is also keenly aware of the fact that his refusal to debate the one site that is dedicated to refuting him–and was voted by his “target population” to be the number #1 non-Muslim blog with the number #1 writer–makes his fear obvious to the world.  When his fear of debating me was pointed out in a recent Twitter war, Spencer finally agreed to debate me.  (Of course, in true Spencer fashion, he accused us of “lying” when we said that he had been refusing to debate us for almost two years.)

Even so, I had predicted–as had many others–that Spencer would try to weasel his way out of the debate.  Lo and behold, this now seems to be the case.

Initially, Spencer sent me an email saying “[t]here needs to be a thesis…So propose one.”  I proposed the following thesis:  Islam is more violent than other religions, specifically Judaism and Christianity.  This is not only the central argument in Robert Spencer’s book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) but is also the title of another book of his: Religion of Peace?: Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn’t.

Yet, Spencer emailed me back and said:

Actually, I am not interested in debating about Judaism and Christianity. I am only interested in debating regarding Islam and Jihad.

Spencer, the title of your book is a comparison between Christianity and Islam.  So, are you saying that you can’t defend the central tenet and title of your book!?

He goes on:

Your tu quoque arguments are silly and have had abundant airing already. Propose another.

When you write a book titled “Religion of Peace?: Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn’t”, then to you that’s a valid comparison, but when someone refutes that comparison by pointing out how Christianity, by the very same standards you apply to Islam, couldn’t be considered a “religion of peace,” then you cry “tu quoque”!

If my arguments “are silly,” then why don’t you debate me on them and show me how silly they are?  Do you accept my counter-argument that “Judaism and Christianity are just as violent as Islam, if not more so”?  If yes, then please state it openly so that we can declare victory and move on; otherwise, if you disagree with it, then refute it in debate with me.

The entire premise of Spencer’s book, the one I have been refuting all along, is the thesis I have proposed.  It represents the fundamental difference of opinion I have with Robert Spencer and JihadWatch, so why should we debate something else?  Does Spencer think we should debate on just any topic?  Maybe we can debate the following thesis then: Arrested Development should never have been canceled because it is the single best comedy show ever.

I have never said or believed that the Islamic tradition does not have its violent aspects to it.  I have only argued that Islam is not alone in this and that the religious tradition of the dominant group (the Judeo-Christian tradition) is just as bad in this regard, if not worse.  That is my central argument, so why should we debate something else?

To be clear: I will only debate this thesis (Islam is more violent than other religions, specifically Judaism and Christianity) and no other, since (1) it is the central tenet of Robert Spencer’s book and (2) it represents the fundamental difference I have with him.  The fact that Robert Spencer cannot defend his central tenet (and the fundamental difference between us) indicates that he knows he doesn’t stand a chance in defending the thesis.  That’s why he must insist on “propos[ing] another.”

*  *  *  *  *

Additionally, there is an issue regarding “venue.”  He has suggested we debate on ABN SAT–a Christian channel.  Ludicrously, he calls them “neutral,” even though the channel airs a show (the one Spencer debated on) called Jihad Exposed, with the email address Yeah, real “neutral.”

I had earlier complained that Spencer tends to debate only on Christian or conservative channels, to which Spencer accused me of “lying.”  In any case, he asked that I propose another venue other than ABN and in the same email adamantly stated: “I will debate anywhere.”  OK, if that is the case, how about we debate on Salon?

Initially, Spencer responded (bold is mine):

I have no problem with Salon but I guess you mean a print debate, in that case.

I actually had meant Salon Radio, so it would be a recorded audio debate that they could reproduce on the Salon site.  In any case, I emailed somebody at Salon, only to later get this follow-up email from Spencer (bold is mine):

Also, Salon in print is not what I had in mind. If you have a radio show in mind, I wasnt aware that Salon had one, but in that case Salon is not a neutral forum with a neutral moderator.

ABN — they offer a completely neutral forum. Let’s do it there.

Initially, he will “debate anywhere” and he has “no problem with Salon,” only to follow-up with an email rejecting Salon as a venue.  And then he goes back to the same silly Christian channel as an option.

Whether or not Salon will agree to host the debate is still up in the air, but if they accept will Spencer stick by his word that he will “debate anywhere” and that he has “no problem with Salon”?  Spencer?

Danios was the Brass Crescent Award Honorary Mention for Best Writer in 2010 and the Brass Crescent Award Winner for Best Writer in 2011.  

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  • Pingback: Danios of LoonWatch Accepts Robert Spencer’s Choice of Venue and Moderator: Will Spencer Keep Chickening Out? | Spencer Watch()

  • Pingback: Danios vs Spencer: 18 months and Spencer still avoiding a debate | Islamophobia Today eNewspaper()

  • AMeanG

    @Sami Zaatari

    Ofc it’s N.e.u.t.R.a.l!

    You have to be in their shoes to see!

  • Black Infidel

    Ahmed, that’s an excellent idea!

  • zeeshan

    spencer is a lier and has no guts.
    and thanks Danios for standing for truth.

  • Sami Zaatari

    ABN is NOT a neutral website. Last year I was asked to appear on the show to discuss the motivations and reasoning behind terrorism, they told me it would be myself, and 2 other speakers (shoebat, and saleem, both who have been exposed as frauds). Yet right before the show I find out it’s actually three speakers against me, rather than the two! So I was up against three speakers who all agreed with each other, as well as the ‘moderator’, and all of this afforded me very very very little time. After this show I held a debate on their channel on the following month with Tony Costa on the topic of Jihad and violence, and guess what? That debate can no longer be found on their website, they’ve removed it!

    So whatever you do, do not debate on that channel, it is not neutral.

  • Syed

    Well! It was fun while it lasted. Its a sad waste of Horowitz’s loon$$s when his star debater has a vocabulary limited to Tu quoque and pluck pluck.

  • Ahmed

    We all need to hire an actor and send him the next time Spencer speaks publicly. When his speech ends

    Spencer: Any questions? … Yes, you, the guy in the white t-shirt…
    Actor in white t-shirt: Hi Robert
    Spencer (with his smile): Hello
    Actor stands up with a bundle of papers in his hands: This is Danios from LoonWatch, I’m here to debate…
    Spencer (walking off stage): Er, sorry … er, just remembered, have to take neighbour to hospital …

  • JT


    That’s true. But also people like Spencer love to just blurt out as many incorrect statements about Islam as possible, knowing full well that there is not enough time for their opponent to respond to all of them.

    Also, a written debate will be of a better quality because both sides get to research their arguments thoroughly and think about what they have to say.

    But I think an audio debate will be fine.

  • Géji

    > “How “Islam is more violent than other religions” doesn’t fit into the parameters of discussing “Islam and Jihad”?”

    Because basing the whole debate solely on “Islam and Jihad” will take away the chance for Danios to destroy ALIVE Spency’s original argument which is based that Islam is more “violent” than Christianity. He preposterously said “Religion of Peace?: Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn’t”. Thus, he has to prove ALIVE how on earth Christianity with the history we all know it has, ended up being the religion of “peace”.

  • Mrislamanswerback

    @ JT an audio debate is better. You get to hear the persons mannerism change as they lose confidence and lose debate points as they get refuted or frustrated. So they should do it in audio for sure. Then we can hear Spencer wobble. Print hides the emotions of the debaters as all they do is just provide their side of the argument. I want to hear or see a debate in person. GO DANIOS!!!

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