News & Politics

Was Jihadi Really Inspired by Tommy Robinson and Robert Spencer?

Was Jihadi Really Inspired by Tommy Robinson and Robert Spencer?
Tommy Robinson holds a protest over the BBC's Panorama show after he released a documentary proving the show had fraudulently targeted him. Saturday, February 23, 2019. (Danny Lawson/PA Wire URN:41374052) (Press Association via AP Images)

I’ve been writing about the ills of jihad violence and Sharia-inspired oppression of women and others for nearly two decades now, so imagine my surprise when I woke up one morning to find myself guilty of inspiring a jihad attack.

Yes, as far-fetched as it sounds, Lizzie Dearden of the UK’s Independent has blamed the “radicalization” of a Muslim who attacked police with a sword outside Buckingham Palace on Tommy Robinson, Christian apologist David Wood, and me. Apparently Dearden thinks that if we all pretend that Islam is a religion of peace and never speak about its teachings calling for warfare against unbelievers and their subjugation under the rule of Islamic law, jihad activity will go away.

For it seems that there are, in Dearden’s charmed world, no Muslims preaching violence in the name of Islam; she would have us believe that only Muslims do that.

That is the point of this spectacularly ridiculous article about how jihad terrorist Mohiussunnath Chowdhury, whose hate and bloodlust I have covered a great deal over at Jihad Watch, claims he learned from Tommy, David and me.

It’s a bit eye-popping to see us falsely accused of inciting violence by a Muslim, when usually we’re falsely accused of inciting violence against Muslims, but there it is. Dearden readily repeats Chowdhury’s claims in her article as if they were completely on the level, and intones piously on Twitter: “Those on the right who are spouting the same theological claims as Islamists should take a hard look at themselves.” She would have us believe that Chowdhury learned from us that Islam teaches violence, but entirely missed all the material we present about how those teachings make people behave monstrously, and that Sharia is bad for individuals and societies, etc.

It’s easy to see the reason for this selective reading. Apparently the establishment media has simply decided that Tommy, David and I are awful people — “far-right,” of course, for the crime of opposing jihad violence and Sharia oppression of women — and “journalists” such as Dearden don’t care how much they have to tie themselves into logical knots to establish this.

Dearden is not entirely divorced from reality, but the papers have been served and the proceedings are well advanced. She does mention in a single paragraph that Chowdhury was inspired by Anwar al-Awlaki and Sheikh Faisal, but gives over her headline and 21 paragraphs to trying to convince her readers that Robinson, Wood and I inspired Chowdhury.

Her guiding assumption in this, of course, is that Islam is a Religion of Peace, which Robinson, Wood and I are misinterpreting and thereby validating the jihadist interpretation — as if Chowdhury would have been a peaceful, loyal, productive British citizen if he hadn’t run afoul of our writings telling him the Qur’an taught violence.

If that were so, why were no Muslim clerics, with whom Chowdhury was manifestly in contact, unable to convince him of the true, peaceful Islam? Why was there jihad violence for 1,400 years before Tommy, David, or I wrote or said anything? If we validated the jihadist interpretation of Islam, where did it come from, and why did it have so much resonance among Muslims before we came along?

Dearden also calls Jihad Watch a “conspiracy blog” that “claims Muslims are trying to ‘destroy western societies and impose Islamic law’, and seeks to prove that violent jihad is mandated by the Quran.”

Well, some Muslims are certainly trying to destroy Western societies and impose Islamic law. Lizzie Dearden should know that, since Mohiussunnath Chowdhury is one of them. Meanwhile, can she document one “conspiracy theory” we spread at Jihad Watch? Can she show how we have misrepresented, misquoted, or misinterpreted the Qur’an? Of course not, and she doesn’t even try. She is, after all, an establishment media “journalist.”

I asked her the same question and some others on Twitter; she ignored the questions. Nowadays, you see, a “journalist” need not seek out the people she is writing about for comment; neither does she have any obligation to explain or justify her defamation of them. The Independent, like the rest of the establishment media today, is not even remotely a genuine news organization. It is just a propaganda arm for the hard-Left.

Lizzie Dearden knows this. I know it as well. You know it. But like its propagandistic colleagues, the Independent is staking its declining fortunes on the hope that there are some naïve and uninformed people out there who still believe it is a news outlet, and will obediently take away from Dearden’s article the idea that if we all just shut up about jihad and pretend that Islam is peaceful, then it will be. The consequences of this fantasy and wishful thinking could be quite literally explosive, as jihadis will without any doubt continue recruiting peaceful Muslims to their cause even after foes of jihad violence are silenced. Does Lizzie Dearden care about that? It’s unlikely she would risk venturing so deeply into “Islamophobia.”

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 19 books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is The Palestinian Delusion: The Catastrophic History of the Middle East Peace Process. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.