In PJ Media this morning I recap the story of how the Roman Catholic bishop of Worcester, Massachusetts, Robert McManus, barred me from speaking after getting pressure from the media and Islamic supremacists. This story has free speech implications far beyond this particular case. More here.
Here is the petition that is circulating asking Bishop McManus to allow me to speak after all.
While Christians face escalating persecution from Muslims in Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia and elsewhere, the Catholic Church temporizes, ignores the victims, and plays at “dialogue” with Islamic supremacist groups whose announced intent is to “build bridges” with non-Muslims. Such bridges are really just proselytizing mechanisms to convert them to Islam, not an attempt to engage in genuine dialogue — as the Muslim Brotherhood theorist Sayyid Qutb explained:
“The chasm between Islam and Jahiliyyah [the society of unbelievers] is great, and a bridge is not to be built across it so that the people on the two sides may mix with each other, but only so that the people of Jahiliyyah may come over to Islam.”
And so it was that I was scheduled to appear at a Catholic Men’s Conference in Worcester, Massachusetts on March 16, until the Roman Catholic Bishop of Worcester, Robert McManus, directed that my appearance be canceled. McManus was under pressure from Islamic supremacist groups who were calling and emailing the diocese demanding that he cancel my appearance. I”ve been informed from sources close to the events that they were asked to call the diocese and demand the cancellation by a Boston Globe reporter named Lisa J. Wangsness, who appears to have instigated the entire controversy, although she and her editor deny this.
Abdul Cader Asmal, co-chairman of communications for the Islamic Council of New England, wrote a libelous and hysterical screed to the diocese of Worcester, labeling me a “hatemonger” and demanding that they cancel my appearance at the conference coming up this March 16. I posted it in full here.
The response was immediate. I was given no chance to respond to this tissue of libel. The diocese never contacted me. The rapidity and one-sidedness of the diocese’s reaction was inexcusable “” I was tried, convicted and executed without evidence, without investigation, and without a moment’s thought.
Instead of contacting me or researching what I actually say, Raymond Delisle, Spokesman for the Diocese of Worcester, promptly gave this statement to the Globe:
“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.”
Charles Jacobs, president of Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT), an organization that does research on Islamic supremacists and what they describe as “false moderates,” informed me that Abdul Cader Asmal is a self-proclaimed friend and supporter of a convicted jihad terrorist, Tarek Mehanna, who is currently serving 17Â½ years in federal prison for aiding Al Qaeda.
Meanwhile, Bishop Robert McManus of Worcester has not even had the courtesy to respond to my requests for a meeting. Nor has any diocesan official. Must not offend the friends of jihad terrorists.
After my appearance was canceled, Amjad Bahnassi, a spokesman for the Islamic Society of Greater Worcester, was conciliatory: “I doubt there was any foul play or bad intentions by the Diocese. We have great relations between the two faiths.”
“No hard feelings”? No “foul play or bad intentions”? Yes, we assassinated this man’s character, smeared and defamed him, and succeeded in strong-arming Bishop McManus into canceling his appearance. And hey, Bishop, we don’t hold a grudge!
This isn’t about me. Robert Spencer will eventually go away, whatever happens. Do Bishop Robert McManus and the Roman Catholic Church (as well as the mainstream media), think that when I go away, their troubles will be over?
Apparently so. Msgr. Thomas Sullivan, lead organizer of the conference, explained:
“I was not looking for a problem. The bishop felt that by disinviting him we would be avoiding a problem in casting a bad light on Christian-Islamic relations. Why risk that?”
Why indeed? But 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.