As I said last night, it’s thin gruel, but here is the Leftist dhimmi pseudo-journalist’s hit piece on my FrontPage interview regarding Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin: “Anthony Weiner-converted-to-Islam meme spreads,” by Justin Elliott at Salon, June 21:
This interview with Robert Spencer, the go-to Islam expert for the right wing, offers a taste of the worldview of the Shariah fear-mongering set…
The “go-to Islam expert for the right wing”! I like that, although I don’t see what is or ought to be particularly “right wing” about acting in defense of the freedom of speech and equality of rights for all people. On the other hand, the left wing has always been inclined toward totalitarianism and elitism, so perhaps Elliott considers defending freedom and legal equality to be “right wing” indeed.
In any case, in this he is signaling to his hapless Leftist readers at Salon that I am evil and not to be trusted. After all, I engage in “Shariah fear-mongering.” Of course. What’s to be concerned about regarding a law that approves of female genital mutilation; the restriction of non-Muslim religious practice; the devaluing of a non-Muslim’s life as compared to that of a Muslim; the brutalizing of women; the forbidding of music; and, of course, jihad and Islamic supremacism?
The important point here is that Spencer is no fringe figure; he’s at the very center of the anti-Muslim movement in the United States. His bio describes the impressive access he has to both mainstream and right-leaning media sources:
His articles on Islam and other topics have appeared in the New York Post, the Washington Times, the Dallas Morning News, the UK’s Guardian, Canada’s National Post, Middle East Quarterly, WorldNet Daily, First Things, Insight in the News, National Review Online, and many other journals.
Spencer has discussed jihad, Islam, and terrorism at a workshop sponsored by the U.S. State Department and the German Foreign Ministry. He has also appeared on the BBC, ABC News, CNN, FoxNews’s O’Reilly Factor, the Sean Hannity Show, the Glenn Beck Show, Fox and Friends, and many other Fox programs, PBS, MSNBC, CNBC, C-Span, France24 and Croatia National Televison (HTV), as well as on numerous radio programs including Bill O’Reilly’s Radio Factor, The Laura Ingraham Show, Bill Bennett’s Morning in America, Michael Savage’s Savage Nation, The Sean Hannity Show, The Alan Colmes Show, The G. Gordon Liddy Show, The Neal Boortz Show, The Michael Medved Show, The Michael Reagan Show, The Rusty Humphries Show, The Larry Elder Show, The Barbara Simpson Show, Vatican Radio, and many others. He has been a featured speaker at Dartmouth College, Stanford University, New York University, Brown University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Virginia, the College of William and Mary, Washington University of St. Louis, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, and many other colleges and universities.
Can you picture Elliott’s static and impotent rage as he read all that? After all, the Left is pro-censorship and favors the silencing of dissenters rather than free and open discussion. Clearly the fact that I’ve appeared in all these places and more nettles him. But unfortunately for him, the truth is getting out in more places and among ever more people all the time.
I asked Spencer about his claim, and he emailed: “If [Weiner] converted, it was almost certainly for convenience, not out of conviction.” Spencer also amended his statement that Weiner “most likely” converted to “most immediately obvious”:
“‘Most likely’ is a bit overstated. That is the most immediately obvious scenario, given Abedin’s background and self-identification as a Muslim. It is, as is obvious from the rest of what I said, not the only possible scenario,” he wrote.
That’s all there is. I warned you it was thin gruel. Anyway, apparently to speculate as to whether Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin complied with the letter of Islamic law when they got married is deeply offensive and evidence of some kind of bigotry, even though Abedin identifies herself as a Muslim and thus it wouldn’t have been unreasonable at all, or unusual for such situations, if he had asked Weiner to make a pro-forma conversion to Islam for the sake of the marriage. They’re both likely to be post-modern secularists anyway, so would it really have mattered all that much to him, or necessarily interfered with his cultural Judaism? Elliott’s link above to the “very Jewish” Weiner actually goes to a piece that says that Weiner “doesn’t belong to a synagogue or consider himself close to a single rabbi,” and that as a child “we weren’t a very religious household, but we had a very strong sense of our Judaism.” It also details his pro-Israel voting record. Would all this be jeopardized by a formalistic conversion to a religion about which Weiner almost certainly knows next to nothing, and which presents itself to prospective converts as tolerant and ecumenical? Not necessarily.
What’s more, Weiner fasts during Ramadan and has given up alcohol, and Arab News describes his wife as a “pious” Muslim — i.e., one who probably knows of and respects the Islamic law forbidding a Muslim woman from marrying a non-Muslim man. But speculate that Weiner has converted to Islam? You must be some kind of conspiracy theorist or greasy Islamophobe, or both!
In any case, in light of all this, the possibility that Weiner might have converted to Islam is anything but “baseless,” although we may never know for sure one way or the other. What is demonstrably baseless right now is Justin Elliott’s claim to journalistic fairness and integrity.