Robert Spencer & Roland Shirk: The Incredible Disappearing Man
by Sheila Musaji
Roland Shirk, Hugh Fitzgerald, and Henry Rochejaquelein are individuals who have regularly posted on Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch. I have previously written about these mystery men. Hugh Fitzgerald’s ‘Supermarket Tabloid’ Islamophobia is Showing and Roland Shirk Thinks Muslim Environmentalists Part of Sinister Plot to Colonize the West?, and Henry Rochejaquelein: Robert Spencer Discovers Another Mystery “Expert”. Fitzgerald, Rochejaquelein, and Shirk are mystery men
Hugh Fitzgerald wrote for Jihad Watch from 2004 to 2010, although any biographical information on this individual does not appear anywhere else. According to the Jihad Watch site he is Vice President of the Jihad Watch board, although because of a lack of information about him, some have questioned whether or not the name is simply an alias for Robert Spencer. In November of 2010 Hesperado reported that Robert Spencer had posted a message on Jihad Watch stating “Hugh is no longer with Jihad Watch—and he is certainly missed.” After Hugh Fitzgerald’s departure a new mystery man appeared in his place — someone named Roland Shirk about whom there is also no information to be found elsewhere.
Robert Spencer posted an article by Henry Rochejaquelein “In that Enormous Silence, Tiny and Unafraid” which is the article that I wrote about previously. The article by Henry Rochejaquelein is no longer on JIhad Watch. Citizen Warrior reprinted the article. There is nothing on Jihad Watch at all by this individual any more. That single article seems to have been his only contribution to JIhad Watch.
Roland Shirk, on the other hand, wrote many articles. The David Horowitz Freedom Center Student Center seemed to believe that Shirk was a real person, as they posted Introducing Roland Shirk saying ... I’m happy to announce that an accomplished satirical writer, Roland Shirk, will be contributing occasional pieces to Jihad Watch—more frequently, I hope, as time goes by. Roland is an accomplished and successful writer with a keen eye for the absurd (as you shall see momentarily), and a firm grasp of the necessity to defend Judeo-Christian civilization and all free people across the world from the Islamic supremacist assault. Welcome, Roland! Horowitz is Spencer’s boss and Jihad Watch is a project of the David Horowitz Center, so it’s reasonable to assume that Horowitz knows who Shirk is.
The fact that this one link doesn’t work might not mean much. But, in the course of attempting to locate the correct link, I discovered the disappearance of Roland Shirk. Hugh Fitzgerald’s articles still appear on Jihad Watch. I decided to do a search on the Jihad Watch site itself for Roland Shirk, and for the titles of particular articles - and absolutely nothing came up. Mr. Shirk has been completely disappeared from the Jihad Watch site. Roland Shirk has been erased (disappeared, vanished) as if he never existed.
I also did a search on Robert Spencer’s partner Pamela Geller’s site, Atlas Shrugs, and came up with only one article in which Geller includes an excerpt from a Shirk article. The link to that article on Jihad watch provided by Geller no longer works.
At this point, I realized that it would be worthwhile to do a little more investigation, as this pattern of simply disappearing inconvenient information is common with Robert Spencer.
In an article Islamophobes Attempt to Conceal Evidence of “Truth-Telling”, I had noted a previous disappeared article:
Spencer posted an article by Roland Shirk about the Egyptian Revolution titled “A Whiff of Grapeshot”. The article closed with this sentence: “If I could have Mubarak’s ear, I would whisper just two words of wisdom: Tiananmen Square.” Clearly a call to violence against the Egyptian people. That sentence was later removed, presumably after its inexpediency was realised, but you can see a screenshot of the original here thanks to Loonwatch. As Loonwatch notes: “This is a very serious charge which Spencer must answer. Yes, the offending line has been removed but who uploaded the original article – Spencer or someone else? If not Spencer, then who? And, perhaps most damning of all, why has Roland Shirk continued to post articles on Jihad Watch since calling for the massacre of countless Egyptians as they demonstrated against one of the Middle East’s most brutal regimes?”
In another article Robert Spencer and the disappearing articles, I noted other examples of disappearing articles:
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**kallah.com” & “f**kislam.com” 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.
The case of the incredible disappearing man, Roland Shirk seems to be the most egregious example to date of this sort of scrubbing. Here are just a few examples of Roland Shirk articles on Jihad Watch that I discovered have disappeared:
Lawrence Auster at View From the Right posted an article by Ronald Shirk from the Jihad Watch site titled “Digging Graves for the Next World War”. He posted the article because he agreed with it, but that is now the only place the article can be found, as the link to Jihad Watch that was provided no longer works. Loonwatch also wrote about this article Unconstitutional Reforms to Ghettoize Muslims, Sparks Genocidal Rage Among Readers, and they provide the same link as Auster provided - not surprisingly it no longer works
A follow up article was posted on Spencer Watch Mr. Shirk Cannot Stand by His Own Words, Too Cowardly to Name Loonwatch. This article discussed “Shirk’s response to us (albeit indirectly) at Jihadwatch. The link provided to that Jihad Watch article “Miracle on West 4th Street” no longer works, and googling the title of the article brings up nothing on Jihad Watch, but does bring up a reprint of the article on Pitts Report, and the link they provide to the original Jihad Watch article no longer works.
The Infidel Bloggers Alliance posted An Excellent Article on John Bolton From Roland Shirk at Jihad Watch in which they provide a link to the original article “The sobering of John Bolton”. The link they provide to the original Jihad Watch article no longer works.
The Bhigr blogspot posted a rebuttal to one of Roland Shirk’s articles on Jihad Watch. The article they refer to was titled “As we wait for the tsar to abdicate”. The link they provide to the original Jihad Watch article no longer works.
The Four Color Media Monitor posted Roland Shirk: Muslim cast member in Batman betrays the spirit of the Masked Manhunter by Roland Shirk. The link they provided to the original article on JIhad Watch does not work.
Islamist Watch has a listing of articles by Roland Shirk identified as from JIhad Watch, and the links provided to the original articles do not work!
What could possess an ordained Catholic Deacon like Robert Spencer to engage in such flagrant dishonesty? And, why was it important to completely scrub every article by Roland Shirk from the Jihad Watch site. I am certain that there is more to this story than meets the eye.
I know that Robert Spencer has a limited understanding of Arabic which may explain why he totally misunderstands and misrepresents the term taqiyya. Robert Spencer is a liar, a gedab, a mendaz, a pseudomai, a mentiroso, a Bugiardo, a menteur compulsif. Perhaps he understands the meaning in one of those languages.
RESOURCES FOR DEALING WITH ISLAMOPHOBIA SUMMARY
The Islamophobia Industry exists and is engaged in an anti-Muslim Crusade. They have a manifesto for spreading their propaganda, and which states their goal of “destroying Islam — as a culture, a political ideology, and a religion.” They produce anti-Muslim films. They are forming new organizations and coalitions of organizations at a dizzying speed, not only nationally, but also internationally. They have formed an International Leadership Team “which will function as a mobile, proactive, reactive on-the-ground team developing and executing confidential action plans that strike at the heart of the global anti-freedom agenda.”
Currently, the Islamophobia Industry is engaged in a full-scale, coordinated, demonization campaign against American Muslims and Arabs. In just the past few months we have seen a series of inflammatory provocations: There was the Innocence of Muslims film Titanic, a German satire magazine plans an “Islam” cover article to be published later this month. Charlie Hebdo, a French satire magazine published an issue with inflammatory cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Newsweek published their ‘Muslim Rage’ cover. Terry Jones held a “trial of Prophet Muhammad”. SION held a “global” gathering in NYC to plan propaganda strategy. A group in Toronto publicized a “walk your dog at the mosque” day. AFDI/SIOA has run a series of anti-Muslim ads on public transportation across the country. AFDI/SIOA are planning to run 8 more anti-Muslim ads. There are three more films on Prophet Muhammad in the works by Ali Sina, Mosab Hassan Yousef and Imran Farasat. They are even bringing their hate messages into public schools.
Daniel Pipes is encouraging publication of “A Muhammad cartoon a day”, and says “So, this is my plea to all Western editors and producers: Display the Muhammad cartoon daily, until the Islamists become accustomed to the fact that we turn sacred cows into hamburger.”. Pipes joins Daniel Greenfield (aka Sultan Knish) who published an appeal on David Horowitz’ Front Page Magazine Is It Time for ‘Make Your Own Mohammed Movie Month’?. And, both are following in the footsteps of such luminaries as Pamela Geller, who promoted just such a plan back in 2010 with her promotion of Draw Muhammad Day, even after the cartoonist who drew the first cartoon and suggested the idea, Molly Norris apologized to Muslims and asked for the day to be called off, and American Muslims had issued a defense of free speech. None of this is surprising as one of the Islamophobes laid out their strategy as “The Muslims themselves have shown us their most vulnerable spot, which is the questionable (though unquestioned) character of the ‘Prophet’ himself. We need to satirise and ridicule baby-bonking Mo until the Muslims fly into uncontrollable tantrums, then ridicule them even more for their tantrums, and repeat the process until they froth at the mouth and steam comes out of their ears.”
The Islamophobia of these folks is very real, it is also strikingly similar to a previous generations’ anti-Semitism, and it has predictable consequences. The reason that this is so obvious to so many is that rational people can tell the difference between legitimate concerns and bigoted stereotypes.
The claim that the Islamophobes are “truth-tellers” and “defenders of freedom” who actually “love Muslims” and have never engaged in “broadbrush demonization” or “advocated violence”, or that nothing that they say could have had anything to do with any act of violence, are nonsense. The claim that they are falsely being accused of Islamophobia for no reason other than their legitimate concerns about real issues and that in fact there is not even such a thing as Islamophobia, or their claim that the fact that there are fewer hate crimes against Muslims than against Jews or that some Muslims have fabricated such crimes “proves” that Islamophobia doesn’t exist, or that the term Islamophobia was made up by Muslims in order to stifle their freedom of speech, or that anti-Muslim bigotry is “not Islamophobia but Islamorealism” are all nonsense.
These individuals and organizations consistently promote the false what everyone “knows” lies about Islam and Muslims (including distorting the meaning of Qur’anic verses, and distorting the meaning of Islamic terms such as taqiyya, jihad, sharia, etc.). Islamophobes falsely claim to see “JIHAD” PLOTS everywhere, particularly where they don’t exist. They, like Muslim extremists, don’t understand the true meaning of the term jihad. The Islamophobes have uncovered countless examples of “shocking”, non-existent Muslim jihad plots.
Here are just a few ridiculous claims about nonsensical Muslim plots:
An Eid Celebration for Muslim Special Needs Kids was described as a “stealth jihad”. A children’s page in a newspaper focusing on Eid was described as a toxic propaganda plot. Joel Hinrichs (a Christian) had a beard and had walked through the parking lot of a campus mosque thus proving that his crime was an example of sudden jihad syndrome. Leon Alphans Traille, Jr., the Arlington, Virginia Mall Bomber was accused of possible “sudden jihad syndrome” just because he had a beard, obviously, a case of beard jihad.
Tyler Brehm who carried out the Hollywood shooting jihad was accused of “sudden jihad syndrome” because he shouted something that one witness from the Philippines said he might have shouted “Allahu Akbar”. This report was not backed up by any other witnesses. The awful April 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech by a Korean student was also called Islamic jihad because Cho’s father had once worked in Saudi Arabia (before he was married and before Cho was born). A Muslim doctor had a heart attack and died at the wheel of his car which then crashed into a shopping mall and this was described as “vehicular jihad”. A Muslim cab driver objected to what he considered pornographic ads on the roof of his cab, and that became a stealth-jihad plot to impose Sharia on America. Any Muslim who has sued an employer for violation of their rights under the EEOC is engaged in employment jihad, or litigation jihad. Muslim environmentalists are said to be actually engaged in “civilizational jihad”. A cartoon series “The 99” aimed at young Muslims was described as “cultural jihad”. The victims of the terrorist attack of 9/11 included Muslims, they were accused of dying as martyrs in an act of jihad. Muslims hoped to open a Muslim hospital in the U.S. and that was called hospital jihad.
The Islamophobes have uncovered countless examples of “shocking” Muslim jihad plots. They have uncovered:
bumper sticker jihad — Thanksgiving turkey jihad — paisley scarf jihad — marriage to important men jihad — spit jihad — fashion jihad — spelling bee jihad — rape jihad — defacing dollar bills jihad — population jihad — creeping Sharia jihad — mosque building jihad — terror baby jihad — “creeping Sharia” jihad — pedophilia jihad — bus driver prayer jihad — forehead bruise jihad — postage stamp jihad — soup jihad — banning alcohol jihad — fake hate crimes jihad — piggy bank jihad — tv reality series jihad — handshake jihad — prom jihad — interfaith jihad — Arabic language jihad — public school jihad — religious accommodation jihad — Crescent moon jihad — Christmas tree tax jihad — oath of office jihad — immigration jihad — community fundraiser jihad— public school/madrassa jihad — post office jihad — food jihad — pyramid jihad — crucifixion jihad in Egypt — fireworks jihad — computer donation jihad — civic participation jihad — Olympic “judo” jihad— stealth name jihad— pre-violent jihad — Love jihad — fashion jihad 2 — #MyJihad ad jihad — talk show host jihad — art museum jihad — Halloween jihad — DNC Muslim Prayer Jihad — cat crucifixion jihad in Ghana — Scottish Muslim women’s stealth jihad — anti-democracy jihad — un-neighborly Musims in Paris jihad — jihad on Christopher Columbus — Iranian smallpox jihad — Muslim Christmas grinch jihad — #MyJihad twitter jihad — Muslim takeover of National Parks jihad
Nothing is too trivial to escape the eagle eyes of these “defenders of Western civilization” against devious Muslim stealth jihad plots. Christina Abraham (a Muslim) has a name that is not recognizably Muslim enough and so we have stealth name jihad. And, if a Muslim somewhere is not doing anything at all suspicious, then they are engaged in pre-violent jihad.
Islamophobes generalize specific incidents to reflect on all Muslims or all of Islam. Islamophobes consistently push demonstrably false memes such as: - we are in danger from creeping Sharia, - the Muslim population is increasing at an alarming rate, - 80% of American Mosques are radicalized, - There have been 270 million victims of “jihad” - There have been 17,000+ “Islamic terrorist” attacks since 9/11 - Muslims in government are accused of being Muslim Brotherhood plants, stealth jihadists, and creeping Sharia proponents and should be MARGINALIZED or excluded. Muslim and Arab organizations and individuals are connected to the infamous Muslim Brotherhood document or the unindicted co-conspirator label, or accused of not condemning Hamas, telling American Muslims not to talk to the FBI, of being “Jew haters”, etc.
Islamophobes do not understand freedom of speech or that freedom of speech does not include freedom from condemnation of that speech and they are quick to call for censorship and repression of speech they don’t like.
There is a reason that many, even outside of the Muslim community see such demonization of Muslims as Islamophobic. There is a reason that the ADL has stated that Brigitte Gabriel’s Act for America, Pamela Geller & Robert Spencer’s Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA), David Yerushalmi’s Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE) are “groups that promote an extreme anti-Muslim agenda”. There is a reason that The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated SIOA as a hate group, and that these individuals are featured in the SPLC reports Jihad Against Islam and The Anti-Muslim Inner Circle. There is a reason that these individuals and organizations are featured prominently in: — the Center for American Progress reports “Fear Inc.” on the Islamophobia network in America and Understanding Sharia Law: Conservatives skewed interpretation needs debunking. — the People for the American Way Right Wing Playbook on Anti-Muslim Extremism. — the NYCLU report Religious Freedom Under Attack: The Rise of Anti-Mosque Activities in New York State. — the Political Research Associates report Manufacturing the Muslim menace: Private firms, public servants, and the threat to rights and security. — The ACLU report Nothing to Fear: Debunking the Mythical “Sharia Threat” to Our Judicial System — in The American Muslim TAM Who’s Who of the Anti-Muslim/Anti-Arab/Islamophobia Industry. There is a reason that the SIOA’s trademark patent was denied by the U.S. government due to its anti-Muslim nature. There is a reason that these individuals and organizations are featured in just about every legitimate report on Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred.
See Resources for dealing with Islamophobes for many more reasons that these people cannot be trusted.
Sheila Musaji is the founding editor of The American Muslim (TAM), published since 1989. Sheila received the Council on American-Islamic Relations 2007 Islamic Community Service Award for Journalism, and the Loonwatch Anti-Loons of 2011: Profiles in Courage Award for her work in fighting Islamophobia. Sheila was selected for inclusion in the 2012 edition of The Muslim 500: The World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims published since 2009 by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Amman, Jordan. Biography You can follow her on twitter @sheilamusaji ( https://twitter.com/SheilaMusaji )