Cutting edge scholarship at Jihad Watch

by Omar Shtewi

Robert Spencer included the following on his blog:

Algeria closes 900 mosques and Muslim prayer halls because jihad terrorists used them for meetings

Here Spencer demonstrates his intellectual shallowness and I think it’s worth examining a little.

Robert Spencer has no knowledge of Algeria or its politics.  If he did, he would know that the Algerian government is a dictatorship that runs a torture state.  Levels of corruption in Algeria are so high that this wealthy country languishes in nearly society-wide poverty while the elite enriches itself.

If these mosques were indeed closed, it stands to reason that they were being used not by ‘Jihad terrorists’ (Spencer forgets to use the word ‘alleged’) but by agitators for reform and democracy.

The article that Spencer links to provides no evidence whatsoever as to the activities of what Spencer terms ‘jihad terrorists’.  As a matter of fact, the article itself does not use this term.  It says

The Algerian government last week closed around 900 mosques and prayer halls throughout the country because it says they were used for meetings by suspected Islamic terrorists, Algerian newspaper El-Khabar reported on Monday.

One would wonder why an American like Robert Spencer would place so much trust in the words of a dictatorship that is in no meaningful sense better than that of the late Col. Gaddafi.

I raised these points in an email I wrote to Mr Spencer – champion of freedom of speech and debate – and enquired on what basis he places such high value on the claims of the Algerian torture state.

I’m not holding my breath for a response since Spencer is a coward who will not answer for the claims he makes on his blog.

Below is the email I sent.  Readers may like to paste it into an email of their own and send it to him using the following address:

Perhaps he will answer if enough people ask the right questions?


Dear Mr Spencer

On your blog today you include an article from a news website under the title “Algeria closes 900 mosques and Muslim prayer halls because jihad terrorists used them for meetings”.  You then go on to speculate as to why, if the Algerian government can do such a thing, the American government does not pursue similar policies.

Did it not occur to you that Algeria is a blood-soaked dictatorship that runs a torture state?  Did it not occur to you that the Algerian government could be lying?  What if, for example, people in these mosques and prayer halls were discussing the massive and staggering levels of corruption in the Algerian government that plunge the people into poverty and spiraling unemployment?

If you had any knowledge of the basics of Algerian politics and opposition movements, you would know that corruption and oppression are at the top of the agenda for anti-government movements in Algeria.

On what basis do you so uncritically believe the announcements of a corrupt dictator like Bouteflika?

Does this represent the ‘cutting edge scholarship’ which you claim characterises your blog?

Kind regards

Omar Shtewi BA, MSc