Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American Islamic Relations, an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas funding case, was on Paula Zahn’s CNN show tonight with Dennis Prager and Christopher Hitchens.
Prager and Hitchens shredded Hooper, and it is all worth seeing, but Hooper went out of his way to defame me about 4:30 into this segment, and so I felt it incumbent upon me to answer. He quoted a genocidal comment that was made on this website yesterday, and made it appear as if I had written it. (Prager would have none of it, and spoke highly of Jihad Watch, for which I thank him, although at the end of the segment, when Hooper attributed something else to me that I have never said, Prager disavowed it and responded, “I will” to Hooper’s “Then tell Mr. Spencer that.” In fact, I do not hold and have never stated anything of what Hooper attributes to me on this show.) In reality, someone kindly alerted me to the existence of the comment shortly after it was posted, and I removed it and banned the poster. The comment itself seemed to me and to others who posted on the same thread to have been written by a provocateur — someone who wanted to discredit Jihad Watch and me by planting a comment here. Such people come through here fairly often. And now, after Hooper’s use of this comment despite its being deleted, I suspect even more strongly that it was written by a provocateur.
I allow comments here because I believe in free speech and free inquiry. But in reality, I don’t endorse any of them. Some I agree with, some I don’t, some are brilliant, some are not, some apologize for jihad and defend jihadists, and some are extremely angry with jihadists — but no one can legitimately assume that I endorse any of them unless I say so. And certainly if I remove a comment, it is a clear message. Every comments field bears this heading: “Note: Comments on articles are unmoderated, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Jihad Watch or Robert Spencer. Comments that are off-topic, offensive, slanderous, or otherwise annoying may be summarily deleted. However, the fact that particular comments remain on the site IN NO WAY constitutes an endorsement by Robert Spencer of the views expressed therein.”
Were Hooper interested in honest dealing, he would have noted that, as well as the fact that the comment he quoted was deleted, and not attributed it to me. Had he actually done his homework, he might have noted the many times I have stated here that genocidal comments are not welcome — and they certainly don’t reflect my views, or he could have quoted something I actually said.
Four or five years ago I called Hooper, ready with questions. He is, after all, a media spokesman, and I was ready, even eager, to give him a chance to clear up all the questions and suspicions people quite rightly have about CAIR. He called me “Islamophobic” and hung up on me. I saw what he was then, and I see it even more clearly tonight. I think you will be able to see it too.
Charles at LGF has both parts of this long segment with Hitchens, Hooper, and Prager.
UPDATE: Audrey Hudson has kindly sent in this transcript:
ZAHN: I want to bring Christopher Hitchens and Ibrahim Hooper back into the discussion.
Mr. Hooper, let me put up one more line from Dennis’ column today where, he writes: “The term Islamophobia has one purpose, to suppress any criticism, legitimate or not, of Islam.”
Do you buy that?
Mr. Prager sets up a fall premise and then tries to defend it, first of all, that the use of the term is an attempt to suppress criticism. No one is saying you can’t criticize any faith, discuss things openly, be critical of certain beliefs. But what we’re talking about is hatred of Islam and Muslims. And we don’t — again, the second part of his false premise is that we call it racist.
Islam is an ideology. It’s not a race. You can be a bigot. Maybe we should discuss whether Mr. Prager believes in anti-Muslim bigotry. But we have get on a daily basis things like, kill Mecca Monkeys, Islamo-Nazi rag heads. A message on a Web site supporting Mr. Prager’s column said, Muslims are al Qaeda and al Qaeda are Muslim. Let’s be done with it and kill them all.
Is he now ready to repudiate Robert Spencer and Jihad Watch, one of his top supporters?
ZAHN: Dennis Prager, a quick answer to that. Then I got to get Christopher into this conversation.
PRAGER: Jihad Watch is one of most honorable Web sites that I know of monitoring jihad in the world today.
HOOPER: Kill all Muslims?
PRAGER: Nobody says kill all Muslims.
ZAHN: Do you defend that kind of language, Dennis?
PRAGER: Who says kill all Muslims?
Oh, what you to think? It is despicable. Of course not.
ZAHN: All right.
PRAGER: It is absurd.
ZAHN: Christopher, fear isn’t exactly the same thing as hate.
ZAHN: Christopher, isn’t it possible to fear Islam or some aspects of it and be free of hate and not be a bigot?
HITCHENS: Well, phobia means — phobia, I think as well as meaning fear, does imply dislike. And I dislike Islam, as I dislike all religion.
I’m just astounded by the turn the discussion has taken.
HOOPER: Equal opportunity hater.
HITCHENS: Every day, all the time, all the time, we have to hear propaganda pumped out of radio stations across the Muslim world telling children to kill Jews, telling children to kill Hindus, telling children to kill Christians, telling them that their sisters and mothers and aunts are inferior, telling them that homosexuals should be stoned.
We have to read and claim not to be offended about the stoning of 10 people in the Islamic Republic of Iran in the last week alone for crimes that they did not commit. They would not be crimes except under the mad religious laws that Islam proposes.
Mr. Hooper has to get used to this idea. Some of us find that offensive, too. But we don’t demand that he be shut down or be prosecuted. We put up with his self-pity. We put up with his rantings and his distortions, because we believe in the First Amendment.
HOOPER: The rantings that led to the Muslim…
HITCHENS: All we ask — all we ask in return — all we ask in return is that he upholds…
ZAHN: Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait.
HITCHENS: All we demand in return is he — all we demand in return…
ZAHN: Let’s let Mr. Hitchens finish his thought.
HITCHENS: All we demand in return is he upholds the First Amendment, too. He has to uphold the First Amendment as well.
HOOPER: We love the First Amendment. We uphold it every day.
HOOPER: And the First Amendment also protects free expression of religion. And when you engage in acts of intimidation against a religious group, that goes against the First Amendment.
ZAHN: Dennis Prager, you get the last word tonight.
HITCHENS: You haven’t read — you have neither read nor understood the First Amendment, sir.
PRAGER: Mr. Hooper said that he welcomes criticism of Islam. Can one say that women, as a rule, are treated better in the Western world than the Islamic world? One who says that, is that person an Islamophobe?
PRAGER: Yes or no?
HOOPER: We discuss that issue every day.
PRAGER: So, one can say that — so, one can say that, and not be accused?
HOOPER: Again, you set up a false premise. We discuss that kind of issue all the time.
PRAGER: It’s not a false premise. I ask that — oh, well, really?
HOOPER: And by the way, the Web site that Mr. Prager is defending…
PRAGER: I asked that question in a “Los Angeles Time” article.
HOOPER: The Web site that Mr. Prager is defending says that we should make the life of Muslims in the West so difficult, they will leave.
ZAHN: Gentlemen, I have got leave it there.
PRAGER: That, I don’t agree with. I do not agree with that sentiment, for the record.
HOOPER: Well, then tell Mr. Spencer that.
PRAGER: I will.
ZAHN: I wish we had more time to continue this, but we don’t.
Christopher Hitchens, Ibrahim Hooper, Dennis Prager, thank you, all.
PRAGER: Thank you.
ZAHN: Still ahead tonight: What kind of world is it when $3.5 million is a disappointment?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEX VOGEL, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You can’t make it to the White House when you’re only raising $3 million a month, when you’re up against Giuliani and Romney on your own side and obviously Hillary and Obama on the other side.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Can Fred Thompson’s not quite a campaign yet make it in spite of disappointing fund-raising numbers? The truth is in those numbers. We will share them with you a little bit later on. And why didn’t anyone rush to help a mother and son while they were attacked in their home by 10 people for three hours?
And the liberals under the bed. New children’s books designed to scare your kids into hating the political opposition, republicans and Democrats are writing them. See what they’re all about when we come back.