I’ll be in Worcester, Massachusetts on March 16, at an exhibitor’s table or outside if that is denied. People can see and hear for themselves if what I say is hateful or if it is just true.
Here, meanwhile is the petition that is circulating asking Bishop Robert McManus of Worcester to allow me to speak after all.
“Speaker disinvited by Worcester Diocese says he”ll have his say anyway,” by Bob Kievra for the Telegram & Gazette, February 1 (thanks to all who sent this in):
WORCESTER “” An author and blogger disinvited by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester to a Catholic men’s conference in March says he will still come to the city and try to talk to attendees.
Robert Spencer, who said he was invited last June by the planning committee of the Catholic Men’s Conference, urged readers of his blog Thursday to contact church officials and express their disapproval with Wednesday”s decision by the Diocese of Worcester to cancel his presentation.
I didn’t just “say” I was invited last June. I was invited last June. It’s a minor point, but I would have provided documentation of the fact if asked.
Mr. Spencer blogs and has written books that some consider anti-Muslim.
Notice that the setup here is exactly the same as in the outrageously biased and one-sided Boston Globe article: Islamic supremacists (including one who publicly proclaims himself a “friend and supporter” of convicted jihad terrorist Tarek Mehanna) hurl charges, I am allowed some space to respond, and that’s that. No one who supports me, no one who knows that my work is accurate, is ever quoted.
He said in an email Thursday afternoon that he intends to be at the March 16 conference at the DCU Center.
“I have inquired about buying an exhibitor table but have not received a response. If this is denied, I will set up outside and give the talk the Diocese of Worcester feared attendees would hear,” he said in an email.
So far no response on the exhibitor’s table (or from the bishop or any of his spokesmen). The lack of basic courtesy here does surprise me.
Mr. Spencer, a Catholic and director of the blog Jihad Watch, posted Thursday that people should contact the Diocese of Worcester “and let them know, politely and courteously, that you disapprove of their capitulation to Islamic supremacists and refusal to give me an opportunity to answer their charges or get a fair hearing.”
Monsignor Thomas Sullivan, the organizer of the conference, said he did not believe Mr. Spencer is against the Muslim religion, but said Bishop Robert J. McManus pulled the invitation to avoid a controversy.
Yes, avoiding controversy is the stuff of which the saints and martyrs were made.
Msgr. Sullivan, the diocesan chancellor, said he has never spoken to Mr. Spencer and that another committee member asked him to be a conference presenter.
“This particular speaker was perceived by some Islamic groups as being anti-Islamic which was not our perception,” Msgr. Sullivan said. “Someone contacted the Archdiocese of Boston and expressed their concern,” he said. “I think he’s a good Catholic.”
The concern was relayed to local Roman Catholic leaders, Msgr. Sullivan said. He said Bishop McManus opted to withdraw the invitation “rather than undergo a media outcry.”
Well, he’s got one.
“The bishop is the bishop and he made the decision,” Msgr. Sullivan said.
“I was not looking for a problem,” he said. “The bishop felt that by disinviting him we would be avoiding a problem in casting a bad light on Christian-Islamic relations,” Msgr. Sullivan said. “Why risk that?”
What about the Muslims who cast a bad light on Christian-Islamic relations by persecuting Christians in Egypt, Nigeria, Iraq, Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia and elsewhere? Is anyone allowed to speak up for those Christians and explore the ideological root causes of why they’re being persecuted, or would that upset the shallow and insincere friendships you have with Muslims stateside? Any genuine dialogue, and any healthy relationship, proceeds on the basis of honesty. Pretending that Islamic texts do not say what they say about Christians, and that Muslims do not act upon those texts to persecute Christians, will do nothing to help those Christians who are under threat. Only by confronting honestly the source of the problem can we ever hope to solve it.
Dr. Amjad Bahnassi, a member of and spokesman for the Islamic Society of Greater Worcester, said Mr. Spencer’s views are “well-known” and “hateful and offensive.”
“He has made it very clear he hates Islam,” Dr. Bahnassi said. “This is a person who is biased in his views.”
Mr. Spencer said the criticism of his remarks “is a common, frequently used tactic to divert attention from the grim reality of how jihadists use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and supremacism.”
“There is no hate in my work except what I report from those jihadists,” he said in an email. “My work is in defense of the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience, and the equality of rights of all people before the law.”
A spokesman for the Diocese of Worcester said organizers had intended Mr. Spencer to offer attendees a presentation on Islam.
“Although the intention of the conference organizers was to have a presenter on Islam from a Catholic’s perspective, we are asking Robert Spencer to not come to the Worcester Catholic Men’s Conference given that his presence is being seen as harmful to Catholic–Islamic relations both locally and nationally,” Diocesan spokesman Raymond Delisle said in a statement.
Mr. Spencer said no one at the diocese has contacted him about his request for a meeting.
Dr. Bahnassi said there are no hard feelings over the incident.
“I doubt there was any foul play or bad intentions by the Diocese,” he said. “We have great relations between the two faiths.”
“No hard feelings”? “No hard feelings”? No “foul play or bad intentions”? Yes, we assassinated this man’s character, smeared and defamed him, and succeeded in strongarming Bishop McManus into canceling his appearance. And hey, Bishop, we don’t hold a grudge!