Robert Spencer accused the Council on American Islamic Relations of manufacturing hate crimes because “they want and need hate crimes against Muslims, because they can use them for political points and as weapons to intimidate people into remaining silent about the jihad threat.”
One can say that Spencer and his JihadWatch blog want and need Islamist terror attacks and attempts like those of Faisal Shahzad last May, or else there’s no “jihad threat” they can use to sell books, fill auditoriums and otherwise push right-wing agendas onto an un-suspecting public. And Spencer is probably still pissed about CAIR’s success at getting him ousted from the ALA panel.
Then again, I’ve personally seen Daniel Pipes speak at Wayne State University and University of Michigan, Nick Griffin of the British National Party at Michigan State University, Walid Shoebat at Rackham auditorium in Ann Arbor and at Kalamazoo College and Spencer’s boss David Horowitz at U-M as well, not to mention repeated appearances by all of them on Fox news.
No intimidation against these so-called “anti-Jihad” activists. So much for CAIR’s power to silence critics.
As part of his vendetta (oops, I mean his fight for freedom) Spencer accused CAIR of something they didn’t do; it revolves around The Islamic Center of Marietta, Masjid Al-Hedaya in Marietta, Georgia was the site of an attempted firebombing on July 5.
Spencer wrote that “CAIR’s Honest Ibe Hooper suggested it was caused by ‘anti-Muslim bigotry.'” He based his post on a press release dated July 6, the day after the attempt:
“Given the recent wave of incidents targeting American mosques, a possible bias motive for this apparent arson attack must be considered,” Hooper said.
““You never know these things going in. You have to use the information you have at the time. We want to see justice done no matter who committed the crime,’” Hooper said.
As if that distortion wasn’t bad enough, Spencer actually goes further and extrapolates on it by claiming that, contrary to CAIR’s claims, “the rate of such crimes has actually dropped.”
His proof? A previous post by Spencer in which he cites a report by … the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee! To be fair, he did mention the obvious – that not all Arabs are Muslims and vice versa. But not only did he still use the ADC to dismiss claims of rising anti-Muslim hate crimes, he distrusted the same ADC:
“‘One Arab American man in Alabama was shot by a customer who had been yelling racial slurs at a Middle Eastern restaurant in 2006, the group said….’
And so did the Birmingham News, which reported the incident as well.
There are other examples of anti-Muslim hate crimes that fly in the face of Spencer’s it’s-all-in-their-heads-and-part-of-a-Muslim-conspiracy-to-intimidate, such as the attempted firebombing of a mosque in Jacksonville, Florida. Or an attack on a Muslim staffer at an Islamic information booth on July 4. Or a man who threatened a Muslim woman and her child with a knife. Or a man attacked in California after being asked if he was Muslim. Or a white supremacist that burned down a mosque in Tennessee after it was sprayed with the words, “White Power.” Or the near attack on two Egyptian Christian men who were attending a rally organized by Spencer – ally Pamela Geller after being mistaken for being Muslims.
I can go on and on.
Then there’s the rhetoric. A Brooklyn man opposed to the building of a mosque in Sheapshead Bay threatened to bomb it if it was built. This echoed the rhetoric of a Texas radio host, who – referring to the mosque proposed to be built at ground zero – that “I hope the mosque isn’t built, and if it is, I hope it’s blown up, and I mean that.” (He later claimed he didn’t mean it.)
CAIR and the ICNA are aware of these incidents, and it may be why they assumed there was a hate crime motive behind the attempted firebombing. But CAIR head Ibrahim Hooper – whom Spencer sarcastically called “honest Ib” – did actually confirm the firebombing was the work of a Muslim. It was in the article cited in JihadWatch; it was instead to be found here.
“‘You never know these things going in. You have to use the information you have at the time. We want to see justice done no matter who committed the crime,’ Hooper said.”
It should also be remembered that Georgia has a history of elected officials with anti-Muslim attitudes. Former Rep. Saxby Chambliss had a novel solution to Islamist terror; he’s now a Senator. Rep. Paul Broun endorsed a book by David Gaubatz, as well as inviting Society of Americans for National Existence founder David Yerushalmi. Yerushalmi once wrote on SANE’s site, that “”There is a reason why the founding fathers denied blacks the right to vote.” Broun’s anti-Muslim outlook is motivated in part by a fundamentalist Christian worldview. Yerushalmi is also a lawyer and represented Spencer in a recent lawsuit.
Spencer also characterized CAIR as “Hamas-linked” and the ICNA as “Muslim Brotherhood-linked.” This is probably true; but by those standards, Spencer is tied to neofascist groups in Europe. Since white supremacy has a much better chance of taking hold in white-majority countries in Europe and North America than Shari’a law, Spencer’s crusade for freedom is suspicious. Spencer’s group, Stop Islamization Of America is a branch of the Stop Islamization Of Europe, which is in turn linked with the English Defense League, an anti-Muslim group with ties to the British National Party (read: NAZIS!).
As this case demonstrates, anti-Muslim racism involves an inversion of reality. In order to sell the “jihad threat” to the masses, Spencer has to pretend to his audience (and to himself) that not only are Muslims have an Islamic supremacist agenda aimed at subverting Western civilization and replacing it with an Islamic Republic, but that they’re capable of pulling it off.
Likewise, he has to simultaneously convince people that there is no anti-Muslim bigotry to begin with, and that groups like CAIR use hate crimes and racism to hide their real supremacist agenda.
This is projection in the Freudian sense of the term; Spencer is doing the same thing to CAIR and ICNA that he accuses them of doing – distorting hate crimes to disguise his Western supremacist agenda.
Update: Aug. 30, 2010
“FBI: Hate crimes against Muslims rare
This is why they have to fabricate them. Remember: the thuggish Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has actually trumpeted fake anti-Muslim hate crimes in the past, in order to use them to score political points.”
He backs this up with an article from the Sacramento Bee that states that “the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes leaped to a record 481 in 2001, apparently prompted by the terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center. It hasn’t been nearly that high since. ”
Spencer uses this piece to argue that hate crimes against Muslims are rare, and that “CAIR knows well that victimhood is big business: insofar as they can claim protected victim status for Muslims in the U.S., they can deflect unwanted scrutiny and any critical examination of how jihadists use Islamic texts and teachings to justify violence and supremacism.”
There’s one problem – those stats aren’t from this year; they’re from 2008! Anti-Muslim hate crimes may have been small in 2008, as people were fed up with Bush and the Republicans in general and voted Barack Obama in office. The birther conspiracies, secret Muslim idenity and alleged socialist politics began then and carried over for the next two years into the full blown Fox News-sponsored insanity that led to numerous hate crimes surrounding the so-called “ground zero” mosque.
In other words, things have dramatically changed since 2008 – except Robert Spencer’s lies.