The National Council of Canadian Muslims, formerly known as the Council on American-Islamic Relations Canada, mounted a campaign featuring the usual defamation and lies to get me (and Pamela Geller, who will be along next week) barred from Canada. They failed. Canada evidently is more realistic and courageous than Britain, and not ready to bar someone who has never done anything but call for the freedom of speech and equality of rights for all on the basis of libelous charges from terror-linked groups and hard Leftists. I am in Canada now, and giving three talks tomorrow in Grande Prairie, Alberta. If you’re in the neighborhood, drop by. “Expert on Islam to speak in GP,” by Elizabeth McSheffrey for the Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune, September 11:
New York Times bestselling author Robert Spencer will visit Grande Prairie this week, for a public education talk on religious history.
On Friday, the controversial expert on Islam will zero in on the ups and downs of Shariah law in Canada and discuss the accuracy of modern interpretation of the Crusades.
“I”m happy to have been invited and looking forward to the event,” says Spencer. “I like being in Canada”¦ I”m very happy always to have discussions and debates.”
Spencer is an American blogger, director of the Jihad Watch program and co-founder of the Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA) organization.
He is best known for his research on Islamic terrorism, which has drawn both praise and criticism from around the world.
The author has been invited by the Grande Prairie Christian Men’s Luncheon Group, which wishes to facilitate an open discussion on unfamiliar religious ideas.
“I guess when you”re confronting an ideology that no one knows about, I think what you have to present is the truth,” says organizer Michael Carriere, “and I think that’s what Mr. Spencer brings to the table.”
Spencer’s views on Islam have been widely-recognized as “inflammatory,” and prompted several accusations of propagating “hate speech.”
Earlier this year, he and a SIOA colleague were banned from the United Kingdom, as their presence was reportedly “not conducive to the public good.”
Still, Spencer is internationally-credited as a thorough researcher who cites certified sources to produce critical analysis.
“Truth is controversial today because of widespread efforts to obscure it,” he explains. “The truth may be unpopular, it may be difficult, but it’s still nonetheless the truth.”
Spencer has published 12 books and presented before bodies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the United States Central Command and the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
He refutes the notion that his views are based on a personal agenda, or anything other than scholarly examination.
“I don’t make a personal interpretation,” he says. “In my work I essentially just quote from the Qu”ran [sic], quote from the Muslim sources and try to inform people about what’s in them.
“I would challenge anyone to come up with anything I”ve said that is hateful.”
Still, Spencer’s visit has stirred mixed feelings from the leader of the Grande Prairie and District Islamic Association, who is concerned the author may not be completely objective.
Local imam Issa Mohamud says Spencer, as a non-Muslim, may face challenges interpreting the Qu”ran.
“You could understand one statement differently than I do, depending on cultural background or personal interest,” he explains.
“It’s isn’t enough, being a religious expert — anyone who reads so many books can say, “˜I”m a religious expert.–
Mohamud encourages anyone and everyone to look critically at Islam, provided it is in a fair and unbiased way.
To learn about Shariah law and other topics however, he recommends residents to take a more personalized approach.
“It is everybody”s responsibility,” he says. “If you want to know about Islam, go and search yourself “¦ take from the right sources.”
The men’s group however, is convinced Spencer is the right man for the information session, which will include a question and answer period for the public.
Everyone is invited and participants are encouraged to bring their own Qu”rans [sic].
“You can’t really shoot the messenger, but that’s what happens to Mr. Spencer,” says Carriere.
“When it comes to the facts, he presents them and you decide what to do with it.”
For those concerned about the accuracy of his views, Spencer extends a personal invitation to the presentation on Friday.
The blogger is always open to discussion and debate and has frequently engaged in both with prominent religious spokespeople.
“I think that they should come out and listen to what I have to say,” he says. “If they find anything inaccurate then certainly we can set up a debate at a later time.”
The presentations, “Crusade — Fact or Fiction?” and “Shariah Law — is it positive for Canada?” will take place at 7 p.m. at the Pomeroy Hotel and Conference Centre (11633-100 St.).
There is no cost for admission, but donations will be accepted at the door.