Building Bridges Between Christians and Muslims: A Case Study
While Christians face escalating persecution from Muslims in Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, and elsewhere, the Catholic Church temporizes, ignores the victims, and plays at “dialogue” with Islamic supremacist groups whose announced intent is to “build bridges” with non-Muslims. Such bridges are really just proselytizing mechanisms to convert them to Islam, not an attempt to engage in genuine dialogue – as the Muslim Brotherhood theorist Sayyid Qutb explained:
The chasm between Islam and Jahiliyyah [the society of unbelievers] is great, and a bridge is not to be built across it so that the people on the two sides may mix with each other, but only so that the people of Jahiliyyah may come over to Islam.
And so it was that I was scheduled to appear at a Catholic Men’s Conference in Worcester, Massachusetts, on March 16, until the Roman Catholic bishop of Worcester, Robert McManus, directed that my appearance be canceled. McManus was under pressure from Islamic supremacist groups who were calling and emailing the diocese demanding that he cancel my appearance. I’ve been informed from sources close to the events that they were asked to call the diocese and demand the cancellation by a Boston Globe reporter named Lisa J. Wangsness, who appears to have instigated the entire controversy, although she and her editor deny this.
Abdul Cader Asmal, co-chairman of communications for the Islamic Council of New England, wrote a libelous and hysterical screed to the Diocese of Worcester, labeling me a “hatemonger” and demanding that they cancel my appearance at the conference coming up this March 16. I posted it in full here. The response was immediate. I was given no chance to respond to this tissue of libel. The diocese never contacted me. The rapidity and one-sidedness of the diocese’s reaction was inexcusable -- I was tried, convicted, and executed without evidence, without investigation, and without a moment’s thought.
Instead of contacting me or researching what I actually say, Raymond Delisle, spokesman for the Diocese of Worcester, promptly gave this statement to the Globe:
Although the intention of the conference organizers was to have a presenter on Islam from a Catholic’s perspective, we are asking Robert Spencer to not come to the Worcester Catholic Men’s Conference given that his presence is being seen as harmful to Catholic–Islamic relations both locally and nationally.
Charles Jacobs, president of Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT), an organization that does research on Islamic supremacists and what they describe as “false moderates,” informed me that Abdul Cader Asmal is a self-proclaimed friend and supporter of a convicted jihad terrorist, Tarek Mehanna, who is currently serving 17½ years in federal prison for aiding al-Qaeda.
Meanwhile, Bishop Robert McManus of Worcester has not even had the courtesy to respond to my requests for a meeting. Nor has any diocesan official. Must not offend the friends of jihad terrorists.
After my appearance was canceled, Amjad Bahnassi, a spokesman for the Islamic Society of Greater Worcester, was conciliatory: “I doubt there was any foul play or bad intentions by the Diocese. We have great relations between the two faiths.”
“No hard feelings”? No “foul play or bad intentions”? Yes, we assassinated this man’s character, smeared and defamed him, and succeeded in strong-arming Bishop McManus into canceling his appearance. And hey, bishop, we don’t hold a grudge!
This isn’t about me. Robert Spencer will eventually go away, whatever happens. Do Bishop Robert McManus and the Roman Catholic Church (as well as the mainstream media) think that when I go away, their troubles will be over?
Apparently so. Msgr. Thomas Sullivan, lead organizer of the conference, explained:
I was not looking for a problem. The bishop felt that by disinviting him we would be avoiding a problem in casting a bad light on Christian-Islamic relations. Why risk that?
Why indeed? But what about the Muslims who cast a bad light on Christian-Islamic relations by persecuting Christians in Egypt, Nigeria, Iraq, Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, and elsewhere? Is anyone allowed to speak up for those Christians and explore the ideological root causes of why they’re being persecuted, or would that upset the shallow and insincere friendships you have with Muslims stateside?
Any genuine dialogue, and any healthy relationship, proceeds on the basis of honesty. Pretending that Islamic texts do not say what they say about Christians, and that Muslims do not act upon those texts to persecute Christians, will do nothing to help those Christians who are under threat. Only by confronting honestly the source of the problem can we ever hope to solve it.
Wangsness’ Globe article said that my work “depicts Islam as an inherently violent religion.” In fact, my work depicts Islam the way Islam is depicted in the Qur’an and Sunnah, and by Muslim leaders around the world. I just report on what they say. If they say Islam is inherently violent -- and they do, in hundreds of ways, every day, in all parts of the globe -- then I report on that. This is a very common Islamic supremacist tactic to try to deflect attention away from the numerous calls to hatred of and violence against infidels by Muslim clerics: to claim that non-Muslim foes of jihad and Islamic supremacism are “linking Islam to terrorism” in some unacceptable and illegitimate way when they report on how Muslim clerics link Islam to terrorism. And here we have a Boston Globe reporter using their tactic.
Does the diocese and the Globe think that if people like me are silenced that no one will ever again “link Islam to terrorism” or depict “Islam as an inherently violent religion”? Unfortunately, jihadists will continue to do both of these things.
Do they think that if they make nice with Islamic supremacist groups in the U.S. that Christians will not be persecuted in Muslim countries, and that persecution will not escalate? Do they think that when all the writers and activists who are smeared as “Islamophobes” are finally silenced that a new era of peace and harmony will dawn between the West and the Muslim world?
Such an era will not dawn. When we are silenced, the troubles of the enlightened kuffar who have placed all their hopes in “dialogue” will just be beginning. But when their own turn comes, as it inevitably will, there will be no one left to speak up for them.
I’ll be in Worcester, Massachusetts, on March 16, at an exhibitor’s table. People can see and hear for themselves if what I say is hateful or if it is just true – however much that truth may hurt. The Worcester Telegram editorialized:
Catholics and Muslims — in the Worcester area or elsewhere — have no reason to fear what Mr. Spencer has to say. His is an important voice in the ongoing debate over the nature of Islam and its relations to other faith traditions, and one that will continue to be heard.
Despite the best efforts of Islamic supremacist foes of free speech in the U.S., and those who kowtow to them.
Related at PJ Lifestyle on Islam: