Spencer, Robert 1962–
Spencer, Robert 1962–
PERSONAL: Born 1962. Education: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, M.A.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Regnery Publishing, One Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20001.
CAREER: Director of Jihad Watch; adjunct fellow, Free Congress Foundation.
Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions about the World's Fastest-Growing Faith, foreword by David Pryce-Jones, Encounter Books (San Francisco, CA), 2002.
(With Daniel Ali) Inside Islam: A Guide for Catholics, Ascension Press (West Chester, PA), 2003.
Onward Muslim Soldiers: How Jihad Still Threatens America and the West, Regnery Publishing (Washington, DC), 2003.
(Editor) The Myth of Islamic Tolerance: How Islamic Law Treats Non-Muslims, Prometheus Books (Amherst, NY), 2005.
The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam and the Crusades, Regnery Publishing (Washington, DC), 2005.
Contributor to periodicals, including New York Post, Washington Times, Dallas Morning News, National Post, Insight on the News, Human Events, National Review Online, and WorldNet Daily online.
SIDELIGHTS: Robert Spencer is the author of a number of books about Islam and its followers, the first of which is Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions about the World's Fastest-Growing Faith. Here he writes that Islam is not the religion of peace, a phrase position often repeated by adherents. He contends that Muslims, whether of liberal or fundamentalist persuasion, have changed little over the centuries, unlike Christians and Jews. Spencer is also the coauthor of Inside Islam: A Guide for Catholics, with Daniel Ali, a former Muslim who converted to Catholicism. The book sets forth Muslim doctrine and discusses such topics as Islamic belief in one God, the five pillars of the faith, interpretation of the Qur'an, the majority Sunnis and minority Shi'ites, the Muslim concept of heaven, and the role and place of women.
As'ad AbuKhalil reviewed Spencer's Onward Muslim Soldiers: How Jihad Still Threatens America and the West in Middle East Journal, noting that the author "does not have any background in Middle East or Islamic studies, and … is active in right-wing Christian causes…. Spencer is very good at finding quotations from the Qur'an or from obscure Muslim clerics to 'prove' the danger of Islam." Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch, and on that organization's Web site his profile states that "he has discussed jihad, Islam, and terrorism on CNN, Fox-News, MSNBC, PBS, and C-Span, as well as on numerous radio programs." The programs listed are primarily hosted by conservatives, including Michael Savage, Alan Colmes, G. Gordon Liddy, Neal Boortz, and Michael Medved. On JihadWatch.org, Spencer comments that he is "trying to point out the depth and extent of the hatred that is directed against the United States, because I believe that the efforts to downplay its depth and extent leave us less equipped to defend ourselves…. Jihad ideology is a threat to the peace and human rights of non-Muslims as well as Muslims worldwide. If it is not confronted and resisted, it will prevail."
Spencer is editor of The Myth of Islamic Tolerance: How Islamic Law Treats Non-Muslims, described as "a powerful, hard-hitting probe" by a Library Bookwatch reviewer. The volume is a collection of articles and other documents addressing subjects such as human rights. A Publishers Weekly reviewer felt that some of the essays generalize, fail to define intolerant Islamic principles, lack citations and sources, and "quote the Qur'an out of context." The reviewer felt that if half of the essays had been excluded, The Myth of Islamic Tolerance "would have been more persuasive and less alarmist."
In an interview for America's Intelligence Wire, Jane Skinner asked Spencer about the threat from the terrorist group Al Qaeda and the need for better intelligence. Spencer replied that "we certainly need better intelligence, but we also need more honesty. We need to realize that there are elements of Islam that are giving rise to this problem and to call upon any people of good will, Muslim and non-Muslim, to deal with that accordingly and to come up with positive solutions…. We've been hearing excuses since 9/11 and before that, for that matter, that this is just a tiny minority of extremists. Well, why do they keep coming up? How do they get recruits? Why does this keep happening? We need to ask these questions and get honest and forthright answers."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
America's Intelligence Wire, July, 2005, Jane Skinner, "Interview with Jihad Watch Director Robert Spencer."
Booklist, September 1, 2002, Ray Olson, review of Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions about the World's Fastest-Growing Faith, p. 25.
Catholic Insight, December, 2004, review of Inside Islam: A Guide for Catholics, p. 48.
International Wire, September 25, 2003, John Gibson, interview with Spencer.
Library Bookwatch, April, 2005, review of The Myth of Islamic Tolerance: How Islamic Law Treats Non-Muslims.
Middle East Journal, winter, 2004, As'ad AbuKhalil, review of Onward Muslim Soldiers: How Jihad Still Threatens America and the West, p. 130.
Publishers Weekly, November 8, 2004, review of The Myth of Islamic Tolerance, p. 53.
JihadWatch.org, http://www.jihadwatch.org/ (November 19, 2005), profile of Spencer.