Update on Wikipedia vs. JihadWatch

January 5, 2006 at 6:09 am | Posted in Hating Hate | Leave a comment

An update on the Wikipedia vs. JihadWatch issue. It seems that the JihadWatch folks, in defense of free speech, have removed virtually all criticism of Robert Spencer from the article. Not because it is wrong, but because it doesn’t “read well” As you have no doubt noted, I am not a particularly gifted writer, so I figured the criticisms would fit in well here. Taken directly from the now defunct Wikipedia page:

== Criticism ==

* “Spencer cherry picks few out of the hundreds verses that deal with issues of peace and war, and misrepresents Islam by arguing that the Quran directs Muslims to fight non-Muslims on the account of having different faith. He does that by obscuring both the textual and historical contexts of the verses he cites.” [http://usa.mediamonitors.net/content/view/full/24568] [http://www.tharwaproject.com/index.php?option=com_keywords&task=view&id=1105&Itemid=0]

* “Spencer attributes beliefs etc to the Qur’an when in fact they are NOT from the Qur’an but tradition.” [http://www.frontpagemag.com/articles/readarticle.asp?ID=13957&p=1] Specifically, Spencer overweights the sayings of Muhammad, while ignoring the contrary verses in the Quran, even though the sayings do “not have the authority of the Qur’an and was made up long after Muhammad died.” [http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=17727]

* Spencer ignores non-religious motivations of conflict between Muslims and non-Muslims. [http://www.thewhitepath.com/archives/2004/10/terrors_roots_not_in_islam.php]

* Spencer “falls into the Orientalist trap of trying to use Islamic legal compendiums dating back well over 600 years…to define for all times what Muslims think about a particular issue.” [http://hnn.us/articles/9005.html]

* Spencer has no formal training in Islamic studies and his works do not meet scholarly standards:

  • Spencer’s “books are not scholarly, and they do not pass the review of blind refereed evaluation practiced by university presses. They are instead supported by specific political and ideological interests through think-tanks and private foundations.are instead supported by specific political and ideological interests through think-tanks and private foundations” [http://www.unc.edu/courses/2004spring/reli/026/001/spencer.htm].

Spencer does not read classical Arabic. Hussam Ayloush, the executive director of the Southern California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) asserts no scholar can interpret the Qur’an correctly, unless thay are knowledgeable of Islamic revealtion context (”Asbab An-Nuzul”) in which the history, timing, and occasion of each verse is explained. Most of ”Asbab An-Nuzul” has not been translated to english. [http://www.frontpagemag.com/articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=6431]*Spencer has been accused of emphasizing the violent interpretations of jihad while providing comparisons to favorable interpretations of other religions, especially Christianity. [http://www.ratzingerfanclub.com/blog/2003/11/differing-interpretations-of-jihad.html][http://indyweek.com/durham/2003-01-08/ae.html]

* Some Islamic-American and Arab-American groups, such as the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and CAIR, have accused Spencer for inciting hatred towards Islam.

  • “CAIR-LA has learned that Robert Spencer, who operates the “Jihad Watch? Internet hate site, spoke at Temple Shalom for the Arts during a Yom Kippur event. Spencer’s website is notorious for its depiction of Islam as an inherently violent faith that is a threat to world peace.” — November 11, 2005. CAIR press release [http://www.cair-net.org/default.asp?Page=articleView&id=1853&theType=NR]
  • “Since 9/11, right-wing evangelical preachers such as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, and commentators such as Robert Spencer and Daniel Pipes, have spared no effort to spread fear and hatred of Islam and the growing American Muslim community.” — American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, [http://www.adc.org/index.php?id=2153&type=100]

*Spencer has received much criticism for the views of other JihadWatch members and readers [http://blogs.salon.com/0003494/2004/10/29.html]. The fact that Spencer offers JihadWatch positions to people with more extreme stated views, and then posts articles authored by these Members, has led to Spencer being associated with, and criticised for, those extreme views. Most notably, articles written by JihadWatch Board Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald, posted and endorsed by Spencer are seen as particularly incendiary.


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