Friday, February 05, 2016

Who's watching the Jihad Watchers...?

By the "who" in my title I don't of course mean Leftists like those at Loonwatch who couldn't watch their children in a burning house to save them.  I mean it, as I have always meant it -- even during my days writing Jihad Watch Watch -- in terms of analytical quality control in a spirit of constructive criticism.

Anywho, one example (out of thousands one could adduce over the years) of Jihad Watchers half-asleep at the switch occurred a little over a year ago, when a longtime veteran to Jihad Watch comments, one "Mirren", had a brief spasm of rational conscience by noticing that their great Poobah Robert Spencer may have lapsed in his Counter-Jihad street cred.  It occurred in the comments thread attached to an article Spencer had posted in which he is calling attention to, and ostensibly poking fun at, MSNBC when they intoned to their audience that "We have to respect Islam."

Notice how a Jihad Watch regular "Sherri" hastened anxiously to assure, without a shred of evidence, that Spencer didn't say what he in fact said.  Then we see how the Energizer Bunny of the Counter-Jihad, "Angemon", swooped in to assure Mirren that everything is all right -- and notice how readily she was mollified by his half-assed assurance wrapped up in a red herring or two:

Mirren10 says [quoting Spencer's own words]:

”Kohlmann is correct when he says that Islam should be accorded the same respect that is accorded to Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, etc., ”????
Mr Spencer, am I misreading this ? Are you actually saying islam should be respected like Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism ? Why ?
I have a great respect for you, and your books, and Jihad Watch has taught me a tremendous amount, but I totally disagree. It is akin to saying ”Satanism should be accorded the same respect that is accorded to Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism etc”.
There is *nothing* in islam that is worthy of respect.

Sherri says:

Mr. Spencer is not demanding respect for Islam, he only posted the video from MSMBC.

Angemon says:

Mr Spencer, am I misreading this ? Are you actually saying islam should be respected like Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism ? Why ?
I think Mr. Spencer’s point is that islam should be considered on par with other religions (as I said before, I don’t consider islam as a religion but that’s how it’s officially classified, so I’ll grudgingly address it as such) as opposed to the higher status it’s been given. Its tenets should be up to scrutiny and that any discussion of anything islamic related shouldn’t be hindered by political correctness, cries of “racism” or “islamophobia”, or death threats.
When was the last time you saw a WH spokesperson saying the US should do more to explain the true tenets of Buddhism, Christianity or Hinduism?

Mirren says:

Of course, you’re right, Angemon.
Now I feel like a twit !
Apologies to Mr Spencer !


Now, at this point, I (Hesperado) happened to be loitering around there and, under my nickname at the time "voegelinian", I intervened to set the record straight.  Regrettably, I hadn't realized at the time that my links were no longer viable, given that apparently Jihad Watch archives had been cached by Google.  I also was sloppy in not noting how I was documenting a conversation between Spencer and his Jihad Watch readers that spanned more than one comments thread on different articles in the same time period (2006).  None of these mistakes I made, of course, is relevant to the point I was making and the evidence I was trying to adduce -- which now, with some time and labor, I can properly reconstruct.  I began well, at any rate:

voegelinian says:

Not so fast.

Kohlmann is correct when he says that Islam should be accorded the same respect that is accorded to Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, etc., but why is respect required at all?

There’s no evidence in that context that the two instances of the word “respect” in this quoted sentence should be accorded distinct senses which save the first instance, as Angemon is attempting to argue.

A more informative (though less comforting) answer to Mirren’s question would cite, for example, such Spencer quotes as the following...


I now list those Robert Spencer quotes, with workable links this time -- including a couple of Jihad Watch readers of yore (more robust & rational than they are now in our latter days, it seems) who took issue with Spencer's oddly stubborn refusal to condemn Islam & Muslims -- that show that Spencer indeed has some 'splainin' to do, which as far as I know, he's never done to date (which might shed light on why he makes such preposterous statements as that pseudo-reformer Zuhdi Jasser is a "good guy" whose "heart is in the right place").

We start off with a quote as comically stentorian as Bill Clinton's finger-wagging "I did not have sex with that woman!" or Richard Nixon's jowl-wagging "I am not a crook!" 

I am not “anti-Islam”.



I am not “anti-Muslim,” as I have stated many times. It is not “anti-Muslim” to stand for human rights for all people, including Muslims…



“Islam is more multifaceted than Nazism, and involves many beliefs, some good, some bad.”

[And, adding (in response to someone who dared to unfavorably compare Islam with Nazism) that:]

“You are comparing a huge 1400-year-old tradition over many nations with 12 years of Germany. If you met a Nazi in 1938, you would know what he thinks. But the fact is that when you meet a Muslim today you can have no certainty about what he thinks or knows.

[In this same thread, a Jihad Watch regular replied, with excruciatingly apt common sense:]

...the depth of its [Islam’s] history, in contrast with Nazism, doesn’t justify the halo around it: ask the millions of Copts, Maronites, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists et al persecuted by them whether they agree...

[Though that same commenter immediately demonstrated an unfortunate asymptotic spasm:]

To condemn it [Islam] outright as such would also be too easily misunderstood in many ways. It would drive away people who would otherwise be our allies — and I am not in the business of doing that. In this fight we need all the help we can get. It would also be seen as genocidal, and would thus be counterproductive to the anti-jihad effort.

...Like Mishka pointed out above, there may indeed be Muslims who have no idea of what their religion entails. 


[More from Spencer:]

My books are not “anti-Islam”; nor have I ever said flatly that “Islam is a dangerous, violent religion.” That would be simplistic and in many ways misleading.
“To say that Islam is a dangerous, violent religion is simplistic and misleading because Islam is many things.”



Many more quotations of egregious softness from Spencer, along with critiques of this softness from Jihad Watchers of yore (circa 2006-2008), I collected into a few essays on my aforementioned now retired companion blog, Jihad Watch Watch -- such as Transcripts Part 2: Jihad Watch readers politely yet firmly take Robert Spencer to task; and Robert Spencer's Two Hats: Keep Your Day Job.

As far as I know, in the years after approximately 2008, Spencer stopped making such egregiously soft statements; but also as far as I know, he never disavowed them, and other subtle, telltale indications suggest that a nougaty underbelly guides his overall view of the problem (see, for example, these essays of mine).

As for the article I noted up top, needless to say, the reader will see, if he follows the first link to the Mirren comment and scrolls down, that Mirren never responded to my post responding to hers; and only Angemon zoomed in to take potshots at me.  And, as sure as night follows day, none of the other stalwart members of the Jihad Watch Peanut Gallery -- gravenimage, Jay Boo, mortimer, quotha raven, Wellington, dumbledoresarmy, et al. -- saw fit to weigh in either to assist me, or to present a reasoned argument showing why my data & interpretation are incorrect.  Which is but one out of a thousand similar instances that make me glad I no longer even feel tempted to plunge into Jihad Watch comments anymore, as I used to do for years.  As I noted not too long ago in a few essays (beginning with Something snapped yesterday, whereby the Paris attack marked a radical change in my Counter-Jihad thoughts, feelings and behavior), the real wonder is why I stuck around to participate in that half-assed community as long as I did.


Anonymous said...



Robert Spencer has a major site on Islam. He writes in many major publications. He also is frequent guest on TV.

As such he has enormous influence among the audience. Now suppose he came right out and said that there was little or no saving graces in Islam. The result would be that he would be disinvited from many forums, including TV. He would then lose the opportunity to rebut Islamic Taqiyya merchants using his considerable knowledge of Islam. Islamic Tasqiyya merchants would then have free run in the media.

At present, and as long as the Western political establishment continues to appease Islam, it is best for Robert Spencer to continue as he does now. His approach is correct for the moment.

Hesperado said...

I've already addressed that objection numerous times over the years. The upshot is that Spencer is already vilified as though he were anti-Islam and anti-Muslim, even though he has insisted he's not (indeed, those quotes I supplied come from articles where Spencer is noting how certain mainstream journalists complain that Spencer is anti-Islam and anti-Muslim). So, if he's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't, he may as well do -- since that's the truth, anyway.

And that's only one problem with the objection. I have others; but not the time to explain them, now.

Anonymous said...



He is damned either way as you say, as Muslims and their allies regard any negative comment on Islam and Muslims as hostile, and not permissible.

My point is not for Muslims and their allies, but for undecideds watching MSM TV. As far as the viewer is concerned, all he knows is that Spencer by his own words, is not an "anti-Islam bigot"**.

** though from a impartial POV, being anti-Islamic is not bigotry, but a commonsense and rational conclusion.

30donkeys said...

Spencer believes (or likes to say) that “Human nature is everywhere the same.” The more prudent assumption is that peoples from different gene pools, subject to centuries of different conditioning, may differ so deeply from one another that they can never be got to feel and think in the same ways about things that deeply matter. However they acquired their natures, whatever is attributable to nurture, they now have them, along with the profound conviction that certain expectations imposed by other peoples go against those natures. Why ought they to do the violence to themselves of doing what is against their natures in order to satisfy some foreign people’s idea of what constitutes human nature? From a position of relative weakness, however, they might encourage the enemy to believe what it likes about universal human nature, while guarding close their own decidedly different and fatally incompatible nature.

Hesperado said...

1. Spencer is already ostracized from the mainstream; there's no indication that if he were to avow that he is anti-Islam this would get worse than it already is.

2. It is apparently assumed that there is only one way to avow that one is anti-Islam -- to stand on the rooftop with a bullhorn screaming "I HATE ALL MUSLIMS!!!" In fact, there are many subtle, sophisticated ways to articulate an anti-Islam stance without beating the audience over the head with it. Spencer is very intelligent and articulate; I'm sure he could find a way.

3. One doesn't have to insist one is NOT anti-Islam, for crying out loud.

4. Islam is evil, pernicious, dangerous, and is KILLING US FOR FUCK SAKE. It is deeply offensive to all the victims of Islam for anyone who claims to be standing up for the truth to insist that they are "not anti-Islam". Shame on Spencer.

Egghead said...

Yes, Hesp, there is that 'pesky' concept of TRUTH that needs to be spread - instead of false equivalency of human ideas and actions.

Anonymous said...

Hesperado wrote 4. Islam is evil, pernicious, dangerous, and is KILLING US FOR FUCK SAKE. It is deeply offensive to all the victims of Islam for anyone who claims to be standing up for the truth to insist that they are "not anti-Islam". Shame on Spencer.

I agree totally with you, except about Spencer. I think he is doing a good job. He is where he is because he has not alienated the MSM by taking an unambiguous position.

In times such as these, speaking the complete truth can be harmful to our cause. It is the MSM, particularly the BBC, the most pernicious pro-Islam propaganda machine in the world. The fact that Spencer is not welcome on the BBC or Britain, does show that he hurts the BBC.

But heck. We are in agreement who the enemy is.

For atleast 30 years I have been telling anyone willing to listen, that allowing Muslims to settle in the West, is the most stupid and downright dangerous policy in the history of the West. Now it seems some, like the Finnish minister, is beginning to see. Maybe its too late already for Finland and Scandinavia.

Like Aragon lets not lose hope, even when all seems lost.

Thanks Hesperado for a really challenging and educational site.

Anonymous said...


Interesting. Lets see if Merkel and Obama leap to the defence of poor refugees.

Anonymous said...


Another from Jihad Watch

Note that Spencer simply brings out all the despicable happenings in the Islamic world. Anyone who says that it "has nothing to do with Islam", he very effectively demolishes using quotes from the canon of Islam.

Then he allows the commentators to have their say on how evil Islam is, with hardly any restriction.

The result is that he has shown how evil Islam is, while truthfully denying that he has literally said so. Political deniability is necessary at this moment unfortunately.

Hesperado said...

"I agree totally with you, except about Spencer. I think he is doing a good job. He is where he is because he has not alienated the MSM by taking an unambiguous position."

This isn't factoring in my argument.