Jihad Watch Director Robert Spencer rejects the notion that “Islam is a religion of peace,” and asserts that to confront terrorism people must understand that the terrorists’ ideology derives from Islamic “texts and teachings.”
“And it is not racism or bigotry or hatred to note that jihadis are using the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and hatred and supremacism,” Spencer explained during an interview on “The Alex Nitzberg Show.” “And it’s not indicting all Muslims. If Muslims are not doing that then great, more power to ‘em. But those who are we need to deal with realistically.”
While Spencer does not contend that all Muslims advocate terrorism, he asserts that Islamic doctrine itself calls for terrorism and that “Anybody who has read the Quran—and more importantly, anybody who’s read the Quran and understands and has also read how it is interpreted by mainstream Islamic authorities—nobody in that position could believe that Islam is a religion of peace.”
He explains that “…Islamic teaching in the Quran, in the traditions of Muhammad and in Islamic law, all mandate warfare against unbelievers and any informed Muslim who is honest will acknowledge that.”
However, Spencer notes that not every individual Islamic adherent is required by Islamic teaching to commit terrorist acts: “…you can perfectly well be a peaceful Muslim and be very devout and not be acting upon the jihad verses because jihad is a collective obligation on the Islamic community and if some people are discharging that obligation, then others don’t have to.”
In order to bolster America’s national security, Spencer says the nation needs to enact President Donald Trump’s immigration ban and increase its scope. He says America faces a binary option:
“…we either inconvenience some harmless people and bar them from coming in or we allow in some jihad terrorists who are going to kill Americans.”
He said the idea advocated by some that “…we’ll simply vet them more properly…” would be ineffective “…because of Islam’s doctrines of deception and because the Islamic State very carefully trains its people…” to deceive screeners.
Spencer’s biography at Regnery Publishing states that he “lives in a secure, undisclosed location.” He confirmed this information during the interview and said that he has “been threatened many times.”
“It’s unfortunately the case that pretty much anybody who has spoken out about these issues in a realistic manner and has dared to identify the motivating ideology behind jihad terrorism is threatened in this way,” he said.
Jihad Watch aggregates news stories related to Islam and terrorism, and Spencer provides commentary on many of these stories. When asked about his analysis of the media’s coverage of Islam and terrorism, he declared:
“Well it’s abysmal. Most of the time it’s frankly apologetic. The media seems to consider one of its responsibilities to be after every terror attack to make sure that people don’t think ill of Islam or Muslims and not to report on the attack accurately. They search for all sorts of alternative explanations for terror attacks and try to exonerate Islam from any responsibility for the crimes done in its name and in accord with its teachings. And so they are in other words actively engaging in misleading the American people and keeping them ignorant and complacent about a genuine threat. And so their role is positively counterproductive.”
When questioned about his experience in speaking on college campuses, Spencer, who has spoken at many universities, stated:
“Generally I assume that any college is going to be a hostile environment with a lot of self-righteous and very poorly informed students trying to shout me down, sometimes some physically menaced and sometimes I don’t get to speak at all…because of being shouted down. Sometimes they allow me to speak and then I’m subjected to a great deal of hostile questioning. I don’t mind hostile questioning at all and I’m always ready to go into the fray and to defend my position, but I think it’s just sort of indicative of how colleges today have become centers of leftist indoctrination and propaganda and are in no sense anywhere in the country with maybe a couple of exceptions here and there, but in no sense are they institutions of actual higher learning where people engage with and deal with alternative points of view.
The college students today are not taught to engage with points of view that are unpopular or unwelcome but rather to treat them with violence or to shout them down. And this is kind of institutionalized thuggery that reminds me of the early days of Nazi Germany when Brownshirts would go to college campuses and where there were anti-Nazi professors they would shout them down and brutalize them, and nowadays it’s the left doing the same thing. They’re reviving that same kind of fascism in the name of anti-fascism.”
During a presentation at the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s 2016 Restoration Weekend, Spencer recounted a story about an event at a college where he asked a student about her opinion of his work after she stated that her class had spoken about his books—and she responded by declaring, “Hate speech is not free speech.”
Questioned about the prevalence of this view among other collegians, Spencer explained that while this was his first encounter with that expression, it is an “increasingly common statement that I’ve heard many times since then.”
Spencer stated, “…there are many, many students today who think that there is some sort of objectively identifiable category called hate speech that does not have First Amendment protection and they don’t realize that their leftist worldview is just a leftist worldview and is not objective fact, and so they think that to object to it or to deviate from it is hate speech and ought to be shut down. This is the very definition of authoritarianism and tyranny and I fear for the future of the United States when these little thugs are full grown and are in charge of our institutions, unless there is some serious pushback, then they will certainly destroy what remains of free speech protection and impose some sort of authoritarian leftist regime that would criminalize any dissent from the leftist line. Clearly there are many, many college students who would love to do just that right now.”
You can listen to my entire interview with Robert Spencer on “The Alex Nitzberg Show”: