Robert Spencer and the disappearing articles

Sheila Musaji

Posted Jan 1, 2011      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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Robert Spencer and the disappearing articles

by Sheila Musaji

On December 21st, Robert Spencer posted an article on Jihad Watch entitled London: Flight returns to terminal after Muslim starts praying in aisle, won’t take his seat.  The article opens with the claim that “This seems to be a fairly clear provocation—maybe the praying man is hoping to provoke a “discrimination” case that will establish that praying Muslims may have the run of the airplane.” 

The problem with this story is that Spencer, as is often the case, has all of his facts wrong, and that the conclusions he draws from those “facts” are purely paranoid fantasies.

It seems that the actual story (from numerous news articles from around the world) was that a Christian man who wore dreadlocks, was dark skinned and was from a Caribbean Island left his seat and knelt in the isle and began reciting the Lord’s Prayer out loud in English as the Air Malta plane began to take off from Heathrow airport headed to Malta.  The man was asked to return to his seat, refused, and this concerned passengers and crew, particularly because the man had an orange plastic shopping bag in his hands.  The plane returned to the terminal and the man was arrested. 

The article has subsequently disappeared from Spencer’s site with no explanation, however, it can still be seen on a web cache

This method of throwing out some anti-Muslim claim, then simply removing it from the website is not new to Spencer.

For example, in our lengthy article collection on Robert Spencer we have noted: 
    - The existence of website url’s “f**” & “f**” which redirected people to Spencer’s Jihad Watch site and which Loonwatch first brought to the attention of the Muslim community.  After Loonwatch noted these sites, the redirection to Jihad Watch suddenly stopped and Spencer denied having any involvement in the two sites.  The two sites still exist but now take visitors to another site with photographs of the 9/11 tragedy.

Richard Bartholomew also did an excellent debunking article on the fake “Hamas Child Bride” story promoted by Spencer and others.  Bartholomew notes:  The many websites that picked this up have responded in various ways: some issuing corrections, some quickly deleting their postings, and some insisting that it’s all true and that Marshall is trying to cover up the fact: “Why”, demands one site “would Tim Marshall defend the Gaza pedophiles?” One of the sites that decided to scrub was Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch, which is worth noting as Spencer claims some sort of academic expertise on Islam. Of course, we know that child weddings do occcur in the Islamic world, but the idea of a mass child wedding becoming the focus for popular public celebration in such an urbanized environment as Gaza should have evoked some scepticism. Even WorldNetDaily has - grudgingly -debunked the tale.

It would be possible to have at least the possibility of believing that this man at least genuinely believes the nonsense he spews about Islam and Muslims if he printed a retraction.  When instead he engages in this sort of devious behavior, it becomes obvious that his motivation is more likely fleeting fame or financial gain.