Along with David Horowitz, Pamela Geller (who comments here), David Yerushalmi, Brigitte Gabriel, John Jay, and others, I've been named to "The Anti-Muslim Inner Circle" by the Leftist pro-hate and anti-freedom group Southern Poverty Law Center, whose officials make a tidy living running interference for Islamic supremacists.
ORGANIZATION Runs the Jihad Watch website, a project of the David Horowitz Freedom Center. Co-founder with Pamela Geller (see above) of Stop Islamization of America and the American Freedom Defense Initiative.
CREDENTIALS Spencer has a master's degree in religious studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Co-produced with Geller the film "The Ground Zero Mosque: Second Wave of the 9/11 Attacks" (2011). Author of numerous books including The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World's Most Intolerant Religion (2007) and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) (2005).
SUMMARY Spencer is entirely self-taught in the study of modern Islam and the Koran.
It doesn't much matter, since "self-taught" does not equal "wrong," however much the SPLC and Islamic supremacists who make the same claim wish that it did. Still, this is an entirely false claim. I began studying Islam while in college, and took courses on it. In graduate school I studied with Gordon Newby, author of The Making of the Last Prophet and A Concise Encyclopedia of Islam -- which is not to say that he and I saw eye-to-eye on much of anything. While in grad school I wrote an extensive study of how the Qur'an's teaching on the crucifixion of Jesus Christ (see sura 4:157) was influenced by Gnostic Christian traditions. Certainly the bulk of my study of Islam I did after graduate school, but it is false to say I am "entirely self-taught."
Critics have accused him of doggedly taking the Koran literally — Spencer considers it innately extremist and violent — while ignoring its nonviolent passages and the vast interpretive tradition that has modified Koranic teachings over the centuries.
That's nonsense. Anyone can see an extensive discussion of the Qur'an's nonviolent passages, and of Islamic interpretative traditions regarding it, in my books Onward Muslim Soldiers and The Complete Infidel's Guide to the Koran. But also, that "vast interpretive tradition that has modified Koranic teachings over the centuries" seems to have eluded not only my grasp, but that of Islamic jihadists around the world -- and yet they, as we have seen again and again, pride themselves on their Islamic rigor and authenticity.
Spencer believes that moderate Muslims exist, but to prove it, they'd have to fully denounce the portions of the Koran he finds objectionable.
How terrible, to ask people to renounce faith-based violence (Qur'an 2:191; 4:89; 9:5, 9:29; 47:4; etc.), the oppression of women (Qur'an 2:282; 4:3; 4:34, etc.), sanctified plunder (Qur'an 8:1; 8:41), and all the rest of it.
Spencer has been known to fraternize with European racists and neo-fascists, though he says such contacts were merely incidental.
Not just incidental, but non-existent. I've never had anything to do with any racists or neo-fascists, and never would -- but this just shows how the Big Lie works: this false claim has been circulating for years, demonstrating yet again that if you repeat something often enough, then people will start believing it.
Benazir Bhutto, the late prime minister of Pakistan, accused Spencer of "falsely constructing a divide between Islam and West" in her 2008 book, Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West. Spencer, she wrote, presented a "skewed, one-sided, and inflammatory story that only helps to sow the seed of civilizational conflict."
Yes, there is no divide between Islam and the West. Pakistan's close alliance with the United States and heartfelt cooperation in getting bin Laden shows that. And remember that Benazir herself was so interested in heading off civilizational conflict that she funded and armed the Taliban in Afghanistan.
IN HIS OWN WORDS "Osama [bin Laden]'s use of these and other [Koranic] passages in his messages is consistent … with traditional understanding of the Quran. When modern-day Jews and Christians read their Bibles, they simply don't interpret the passages cited as exhorting them to violent actions against unbelievers. This is due to the influence of centuries of interpretative traditions that have moved them away from literalism regarding these passages. But in Islam, there is no comparable interpretative tradition."
— From The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), 2005
"Where is moderate Islam? How can moderate Muslims refute the radical exegesis of the Qur'an and Sunnah? If an exposition of moderate Islam does not address or answer radical exegeses, is it really of any value to quash Islamic extremism? If the answer lies in a simple rejection of Qur'anic literalism, how can non-literalists make that rejection stick, and keep their children from being recruited by jihadists by means of literalism? Of course, as I have pointed out many times, traditional Islam itself is not moderate or peaceful. It is the only major world religion with a developed doctrine and tradition of warfare against unbelievers."
— Jihad Watch, Jan. 14, 2006