“Robert Spencer returns to GP to speak on Islamic State,” by Kevin Hampson, Daily Herald-Tribune, April 25, 2016:
When Michael Carriere first heard Robert Spencer discussing Islam on the radio several years ago, he reacted with disbelief.
“I basically thought he was nuts,” the Grande Prairie resident said.
Spencer often appears as a talking head on television – he’s been on Fox News, CNN, the BBC and PBS, among other networks – and has written two New York Times best-selling books on Islam. His website, Jihad Watch, is “dedicated to bringing public attention to the role that jihad theology and ideology play in the modern world,” according to the site.
Speaking on CTV News last month about a massacre carried out in Ivory Coast by al-Qaeda, Spencer said: “The Qur’an tells them ‘Strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of Allah,’ and this kind of behaviour is designed exactly to do that.”
Carriere found such assertions hard to stomach, but when he did his own research, he says he found out that Spencer was simply presenting facts.
“The further I dug into it the more I realized we were ill-informed about Islam.”
To help change that, Carriere and other Grande Prairie residents have invited Spencer to Grande Prairie. He’ll be speaking Friday, April 29, on the rise of Islamic State and the rise of anti-Semitism. Carriere and the others who have invited Spencer call themselves “Concerned Canadians for Canadian Values.” The purpose of the talk is to present people with information and get them to think, he said.
He believes that a lot of people are increasingly concerned about the Islamic terror attacks happening in the West and around the world.
“You have to ask the question, what’s the ideology?” he said. “Is there a common thread within the ideology that can make a Muslim become radicalized and want to hurt people?” The terror threat struck home for Carriere last summer when a man in Fort St. John, B.C., was arrested after propagandizing for Islamic State online. Charges against Othman Ayed Hamdan, 33 at the time, included counselling to commit murder for the benefit of a terrorist group.
Carriere said the media, along with many citizens, are often afraid to ask questions about Islam because of political correctness.
“As soon as you say something you’re either labelled a racist, or Islamophobic or a bigot.”
However, as Carriere points out, Canada’s most outspoken critics of Islamism – such as Raheel Raza, founder of Muslims for Tomorrow – are themselves Muslim.
“There’s Muslims across Canada that have been standing up to the supremacist ideology within Islam, but the majority of Canadians are not standing with them and these Muslims have death threats against them.”
Spencer will be speaking at the Stonebridge Hotel April 29. Doors open at 5 p.m. Admission is free.