Widgets Magazine


An ‘expert’ without expertise

On Nov. 14, Robert Spencer will speak at Stanford.

He believes Islam is “the only religion in the world that has a developed doctrine, theology and legal system that mandates violence against unbelievers and mandates that Muslims must wage war in order to establish the hegemony of the Islamic social order all over the world,” as he stated in an interview on C-SPAN in 2006.

Funny; I don’t recall Malala Yousafzai advocating for violence and world domination. Must have missed that headline.

Spencer is a blogger, author and director of the website Jihad Watch. He travels the country offering his “expertise” on Islam and jihad to universities, news channels and politicians. Except he is not an expert. He does not hold a Ph.D., master’s or bachelor’s degree in Islamic studies. He has not published any peer-reviewed academic papers, the most basic criterion to be a serious academic scholar. His opinion has been cited by numerous news outlets, but most of his work appears on his blog. That’s right: His blog. It’s true he has been featured on The New York Times bestseller list, but so has Snooki from MTV’s Jersey Shore. Popularity does not in itself make credibility.

Spencer is largely “self-taught” on the Qu’ran and Islamic history. He majored in religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with his master’s thesis on Catholic history.

He attributes “a great deal” of what he knows to his mentor, Paul Weyrich, who advocated for the resurrection of the House Un-American Activities Committee, claimed gays and feminists were sinners and believed “not everyone should vote.”

He has written 17 books that contain such gems as accusing President Obama of “doing the bidding of Islamic overlords” and the Muslim Brotherhood of having “a plan to … conquer the United States” and establish a global caliphate. Conspiracy theorist? I don’t know her.

Spencer cofounded Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) and the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), both of which have been designated as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League. Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), a national watch group challenging media bias, ranked Spencer America’s second leading Islamophobe (second only to his boss David Horowitz).

Anders Behring Breivik, the Oslo terrorist who killed 77 people in 2011, cited Spencer’s work 64 times in his political manifesto.

Spencer has been banned from the United Kingdom. Yes, that’s right, this man has been banned from an entire country; that’s a little bit impressive, in a twisted kind of way. According to the U.K. Home Secretary’s office, Spencer “is not conducive to the public good.” Keith Vaz, chairman of the British Home Affairs Select Committee, says of Spencer, “the U.K. should never become a stage for inflammatory speakers who promote hate.”

And yet, oddly enough his book has been used as training material for the FBI. He has “led seminars” for the United States Central Command, the U.S. Army’s Asymmetric Warfare Group, the Joint Terrorism Task Force and other various intelligence agencies. This is not a reflection of Spencer’s credibility or scholarship but of the U.S. agencies’ lack thereof. In 2011, the FBI apologized “for its offensive training materials,” and Joe Lieberman, former chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, called Spencer’s work “inappropriate” and “inaccurate.”

It’s curious, then, that Spencer is coming to Stanford. It’s curious that the students of a university that values scholarship and academic accuracy would invite someone devoid of both.


Contact Siena Fay at sienafay ‘at’ stanford.edu.

  • Logic dictates that God is not alllah and allah is not GOD
    It is most likely that allah is actually Satan.

  • sandydogsmith


  • I share your conclusion & wish, but I ain’t optimistic. I fear it is too late for those students.

    Hope for the future probably resides in Hillsdale College’s charter school program.

    Elementary and secondary education should include chess and formal logic training. The works of Bastiat, Lock, Montesqieu & Friedman should be studied.

  • Nessie

    I think bits of exposure to the true nature of Islam and of the enemies of Israel (one and the same, though the latter fall under an even larger umbrella) help in increments. Hopefully kids who’ve had Beinin as a professor who mosey to Canary Mission to realize they’ve been duped into actually being soldiers of his agenda instead of critical scholars – well, word might get around and maybe students will demand more transparency regarding all their professors.

    Canary Mission does have a section of “ex-canaries.” So, change can happen, but not if the good guys with intelligence and integrity give up.

    I’m not super optimistic, but not super pessimistic either. Disgusted – yes but also a tad hopeful. Confession – I’m not familiar with the figures you mention at the end. Sadly, secondary education whitewashes Islam barely mentioning violent conquest. Clarion Project is a good resource to see what is going on in schools.

    Kids’ passions are often a product of their education – when toxicity is slipped in masked as something else – we need to inform the kids of the toxin they were forced to consume – sadly, especially in elite universities.

  • Nessie

    I just looked at Clarion Project and didn’t easily see the article about Children in Islamic schools being taught to hate Western values and people. You can find it by googling, ” American Muslim Children Taught to Hate,” by Meira Svirsky.

  • 10th grade geography was taught by a Col. who defected from The Check. Army The text was “Western Civilization”. Battles, conquest, expansion… I recall no mention of the tenets of Islam.

    Freshman WC, Venerable Finnish Dr. fluent in 17 languages, heavy accent, same text, same results.

    Developing Nations, Syrian Grad. Ass. hung over on Mondays and talked about sex, gaming & boozing habits of Saudi Royalty.

    Search for the Foundation For Economic Education, may be abbreviated FEE. Also in the bibliography of books by Mark Levin.

    Modern students have an advantage we never dreamed of: archive.org/ !!! I was 20 years outta the U before I got a computer and web acces.

  • UncleVladdi

    Like the bit where one guy murdered his own brother for not “reverting!”?


  • UncleVladdi

    Yep! Confessions screamed loudly at their accusers and victims.

  • KSA produces the text books used in Islamic schools in most of Arabia, England & Europe. I do not know about lthe books used here but I presume they, too come from KSA.

    There was a solemn promise to fix those Arabic texts by removing the inculcation of hate & incitement of violence. That vow was not kept. I am sure no such fix will happen.

  • Not what I had in mind, but it’ll do. If foggy memory serves, that story is from Ishaq.

  • To the Republican Club: Please pass a microphone to questioners or have Mr. Spencer repeat the questions so that we can hear both sides of the Q&A session in the video.

  • Please open the second volume of Hedaya to page 154 and read through pg. 157. Those pages discuss letters of protection granted by Muslims. Only the object of fear can grant a valid protection. Thus every Muslim capable of Jihad must be an object of fear to the infidel because he is liable to attack. .

    Islam, without Believers, would be harmless, just a shelf filled with musty books.

  • The majority of them aren’t jihadists for the same reason most Christians don’t give their possessions away to the poor: just not that committed. It’s the sincere ones who are dangerous.

  • UncleVladdi

    They said: “Wow – what a wonderful religion, to make brother murder brother! I’m joining up right now!” etc!

  • sandydogsmith

    Fully concur. Too many times, audio quality of vids has been a real problem.

  • sandydogsmith

    Those whom so many label “extremists”.

  • sandydogsmith

    Thus the moniker “Big Al”.

  • Jesus spoke of Christians being cold or lukewarm, spitting them out. Muhammad spoke of Muslims being hypocrites or believers.

    A hypocrite can get Iman and become a believer at any time, without warning.

  • The label is false and misleading. Those are Believers, as defined in 8:1-5, 9:111 & 49:15. As Erdogon says, there is only IslaM, no moderate or extreme Islam.

  • sandydogsmith

    Absolutely correct.

  • Pedro Rabaçal

    A staunch hypocrite will never listen to your advice in your last phrase.

  • Nessie

    . . .

    You probably saw my post that mentioned Canary Mission – but check out that website and see the Stanford professors and student organizations. Very revealing.

  • Nessie

    He also said, “If Europe continues this way, no European in any part of the world can walk safely on the streets.”

  • PaulyG

    Not necessarily. Again, passing an admissions test is not indicative of intelligence.

  • Tests differ. GRE tends to be tough.

  • sandydogsmith

    Will do, thank you.

  • sandydogsmith

    I check her twitter now and then. Respect her as it pertains to Islam–but some of her political positions put me off. Still worth reading when she’s addressing Islam.

  • Nessie

    I was exclusively suggesting she be invited to speak about for her views and ideas to repair the world from Islam. In that, she is very intellectually honest – even with her take on the Islam reform movement which she admittedly can’t buy into but thinks it shouldn’t be shut down (for now).

    Islam is really illustrated by the “Emperor Has No Clothes” – which I recently googled to see was a story inspired by Sufism. I doubt that is a coincidence. The different branches of Islam help Muslims to reconcile the good people they are/want to be with the dysfunctional or horrid instructions in texts. That enlightened individuals fear stigmatizing an ideology that calls for supremacy over all people, has demonstrated its determination to do so through large swaths of Asia and Africa and beyond, that counters nature – is still unbelievably maddening. It helps no one. Sarah is quite frank about all that.

  • sandydogsmith

    I know you were, and I do respect her as her presentations and tweets related to Islam. Just wish she’d stick to that.

  • Bishadi

    the torah, bible and quran all have nasty stuff in each, heck the shariah foundations are found in torah that are known as the mitzvah. read them for yourself, even stoning people an burning them to death are in there and no one needs to mention the inquisitions and witch burning
    But to deamonize islame, is about exactly what happened in ww2 with jews.
    It’s just wrong to blanket the whole for the stupidity of a few.

  • Bishadi

    Anyone trying to impose a caliphate state here with US would have to be as stupid as trying to take the guns or making everyone gay

  • Bishadi

    Nessie, the very reason circumcision is of torah, is the men returned from the military campaigns with disease from the spoils of war.

  • Bishadi

    By reading the comments below, exhibited a lack of educated parties reading this page

  • BrooklynNow

    Nope. They originate from Islamic jurisprudence.

    New Testament certainly contains no laws of any kind as early Christians did not have legal power to enforce any at the time its various books were written (c. AD 50- c. AD 120), not being in charge of the government.

  • BrooklynNow

    No it is not “wonderful”–9:29 says that Muslims may fight Christians and Jews to the death until they pay a tax to Muslims and show that they are “humble” compared to Muslims. This is a despicable idea to believe in post 1945.

    Of course you would not you think the US was “wonderful” if its leaders told Muslims living here, that they must pay a special tax to show that you are “lesser” than non-Muslims living here, otherwise they would be subject to death.

    It’s called extortion and it’s an ugly way to run a society; its implementation in the past and CONTINUED IDEALIZATION by the morally bankrupt like you is one big reason why dar al-Islam is still such a cesspool of human rights abuses to this very day.

  • Michaela Dransfield

    “The fundamental error is that Judeo-Christian history—which is violent—is being conflated with Islamic theology—which commands violence.”
    Ibrahim, R. 2009 Are Judaism and Christianity as Violent as Islam?
    Middle East Quarterly, Summer, pp. 3-12. [Online]

  • Bishadi

    in the last 100 yrs, zionism is only second to ww2 Germany

  • BrooklynNow

    You mean the ‘tolerant’ Saudi Arabia that won’t allow any public display of the non-Muslim religion, and engages in systematic discrimination against non-Muslims and women of all religions, and even non-native Muslim male workers?