“Not Conducive to the Public Good”: American Islamophobes barred from the UK

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Geller and Spencer not welcome here from Hope Not Hate petition site

Geller and Spencer not welcome here from Hope Not Hate petition site

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American Islamophobes are deemed to be "not conducive to the public good" by the British Government. Right on! This is not even about Islam and Islamophobia. It is about the type of society that we wish to live in, and whether we are to be a society of citizens ruled by law and mutual respect, or to live in an environment characterized by fear and paranoia.

  • Marty

    There is that word again, Islamophobe, what is the history of this word does anybody know? We are throwing this word like it is going out of style!
    If a Muslim does not agree with Christian values does that make him a Christophobe? This is not a good day for the UK. I know, I am from there!
    Freedom is fleeting
    Darkness encroaching
    Ignorance expanding
    They cry peace when there is no peace

  • Yousef

    I’m not a fan of these two individuals in the least, but barring them from entry into a country based on their views is not something to be celebrated. Diversity of opinions includes disagreement (and yes, even hatred) of Islam as a religion. As far as I know, they have not been convicted of incitement to violence in the US, so the UK’s position seems premature at best, discriminatory at worst. As it is, their views are easily disseminated in writing, videos, speeches, etc. online so it seems paradoxical that a foreign government is barring them entry in the name of curtailing inter-community violence when all their words are still available online for everyone in the UK.

    As a Muslim, I have grown exhausted of the immaturity of our community in dealing with such bigots. We should stop focusing on essentially trying to be PR reps for the religion or Muhammad, and giving these people more attention, rather letting our actions as Muslims speak for themselves. I would have hoped someone of your prominence would recognize this instead of lauding ultimately futile actions.

  • Hello Marty. I think here’s where we are differing: It is not disagreeing with Muslims or Christians, or Muslim values or Christian values (whatever they are, I would need some definition) that we are talking about here. We are talking about espousing hatred towards an entire block of humanity. My own stance is clear: It is not Muslim values to espouse hatred towards Christians, and not Christian values to espouse hatred towards Muslims. The Christianity that I know and admire is not the same as the vile hatred preached by the Spencers of the world.
    As for your quotations, many of us also know our scripture, and let’s just leave it at we have a different reading of the books of Ezekiel and Jeremiah than you seem to have above. May God bless you.
    Omid Safi (Author of the blog).

  • dear Yousef, If you actually had studied the legacy of Spencer and Co., you would see how their writings were cited over 50 times by the Norwegian terrorist Anders Brejvik. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2018976/Norway-shooting-Anders-Behring-Breivik-inspired-Robert-Spencer-Unabomber.html So actually it is the case that Spencer’s writings have already resulted in violence.
    Some of us do spend our life in making the teachings of our faith better known (including my book Memories of Muhammad), but we also have a responsibility to counter voices like Spencer.
    May God bless you.
    omid safi (author of the blog).

  • Ibn Tahhara

    Muhammad was cited many times by Osama bin Laden. Were the Prophet alive today, should he be banned from the UK on that basis or arrested as a war criminal for his treatment of his enemies? Would love your thoughts on that one, Omid …

  • dear “Ibn Tahhara”, whoever you are. I love getting posts from people who lack the courage of their convictions enough to use their real name and their real email address. But since you asked: The Prophet’s teachings on warfare are very clear, and they speak against killing non-combatants, killing women, children, elderly, priests and rabbis. As such, Bin Laden’s actions and rhetoric presents a violation of the teachings of the Prophet. If you have spent time studying Spencer, Geller, and Co., you would see how they have built a career out of marginalizing, persecuting, and demonizing a block of humanity in a way that parallels classic anti-Semitism. Be well, may God lead you to beautiful places.

  • Scott

    I am appalled at your story, Can you give me just one incident that either Robert or Pamela have called for violence against Muslims. Can you show me any hate speech that they have ACTUALLY said? I am not talking about a paraphrase based on your obvious bias. Have they called for the annihilation of the Muslim people? Here is also a few questions for you…Do you believe that Hamas is a Terrorist organization? Do you support CAIR? Do you think that your freedom of speech is any more important than theirs? Would you be willing to openly Debate Robert Spencer? If not, why not?

    Thanks for your time have a great day.

  • Yousef

    I have read the works of Spencer, Pipes, Geller, Hirsi Ali, “Ibn Warraq”, etc. I don’t agree with many of their statements on the life of Muhammad, but I have never once read or heard any of these individuals openly call for violence against another human being. (If you feel otherwise, I would urge you let me or anyone know, I’d be happy to notify a state or federal authority on incitement charges). Otherwise, I am not sure what you believe they are guilty of by their writings being quoted by Breivik, a madman whom none of them had ever met or corresponded with.

    I find it ironic that the editor/author of books I’ve appreciated for their often progressive views of Islam/Qur’an (views met with censure and open hostility in many parts of the world) is applauding and effectively capitulating to a government dictating what is and is not acceptable to say. These two individuals were to speak at an event by EDL, an extremist organization with an arguably far more direct link to violence than either Geller or Spencer (and an organization which is not banned in the UK). if you haven’t already read about it, you should check out how a local mosque in York handled a direct confrontation with them. You win over such enemies through compassionate actions, not by telling them to go away.

    I would respectfully request you re-read some of your own books on the Prophet’s teachings, Professor. Otherwise, I have a few on the First Amendment & Freedom of Speech that I think may make you reconsider your position. There are few things more frighteningly Orwellian than banning someone from a country based on their words in the name of “the public good.” Well-traveled Muslims know better than most that if you play with such fire, you will often find yourself getting burned in the end.

  • Abdulla Mumadi, ex muzlim/follower of Jesus

    Taqia. You define it. As a converted muzlim I know what it means. Islam is death to a man’s soul and you have proved it. Too bad the taxpayers have to foot the bill for your deceit. moohammed many times said to murder all non-believers. I suppose you make excuses for having sex with children or the murder of a wo,ans husband so you can sex with her. taqia. So well.

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  • Read this, and many more articles like it on Loon Watch, etc.


  • Yousef

    I know what Loonwatch is and I’ve read many of Gellar’s ridiculous comments. That has nothing to do with my views on her being barred from the UK. If anything, it just further proves my point that, despite her often insane comments on Obama’s origins, the US government has not felt it necessary to take similar action against her in the name of “the public good.”

    Professor, I don’t really know what to make of your complete non-responsiveness on such an important topic (or unwillingness to explore such a basic idea when originally writing this article). It is quite disheartening to see someone of your stature essentially belittle the very freedoms and principles that I wish more of our Muslim brethren would uphold, and only validates some of these “Loonies” ‘s accusations: that we are often conflating animosity towards Muslims with animosity towards Islam under the increasingly large umbrella of Islamopohobia.

  • Hello “Yousef”. Again, you’re not paying attention. There is now a trend of people, including people running for presidency of the United States, who are talking about “eradicating” Islam.
    Where are they speaking these words? In forums sponsored by David Horowtiz, Spencer’s buddy buddy.
    I am done here. But know that I will never be silent when someone is speaking about eradicating a block of humanity, or the faith that animates their lives….whether they are speaking about Islam and Muslims, Jews and Judaism, or whatever faith tradition. Blessings, and goodbye.
    p.s. You claim to have read some works of progressive authors. You seem to have missed the fundamental responsibility of standing up for justice for the downtrodden and impoverished, as well as compassion.

  • Scott

    Loonwatch is not a valid site, and you know it. You still did not address my other questions. Is Hamas a terror organization? Do you Support Muslim Brotherhood front groups like Cair? Here is one one One should have asked in the first place. Why are you celebrating the quelling of free speech? What are your motivations? Do you not support free speech? Hmmm you have now got me interested on doing a story about you….Some real instigation is need on your “progressive” assertions

  • Oh thanks for revealing yourself to be a troll. Thanks for not engaging the real issue of this blog, Mr. Spencer and Ms. Geller being deemed not for public good by the UK gov’t, and trying to talk about CAIR and MB, etc. Goodbye troll.

  • Yousef

    In the article you link to, “eradicating” Islam is put in the context of educating, evangelizing, and engaging in the abstract. Killing Muslims is not mentioned, but there is definitely innuendo of a violent war (whether you disagree or agree, that is protected speech). Such language makes me extremely uncomfortable, but First Amendment law in the US has developed to distinguish between abstract discussions and imminent actions of violence. (Brandenburg is a fascinating SCOTUS case on the limits of free speech here in the US, re: rhetoric by KKK members). Reasonable people can debate the merits of such laws (Europe has greater restrictions on free speech IMHO) or where certain remarks may fall on the spectrum, but this very important nuance is lost in both your original article and subsequent responses. You’ve found: Geller ranting about Obama’s origins on Loonwatch and pointing out that they were quoted by Breivik. Again, irrespective of which country’s laws we are using, you’ve failed repeatedly to point to SOMETHING that either Geller or Spencer have acted out or said that could be considered inciting violence against another human being. Professor, I am more than willing to entertain the idea Muslims in the US, UK, etc. should exercise our rights in holding individuals accountable for their actions (e.g. denying Narendra Modi a travel visa for his actions in Gujarat), but you are either willfully ignorant of these necessary facts based on your emotions about the speakers or don’t particularly care/understand why it might be important. If you don’t have anything to point to, just be honest and admit it.

    Standing up for justice includes standing up for the rights of individuals who you vehemently disagree with. The means by which their rights are granted or denied will be the same measuring stick used against you, me, and future generations to come. When people have their rights infringed upon in the name of “the public good,” we have a duty to ask why and for what purpose, whether it concerns bigots such as Geller/Spencer freedom to speak their mind in another country, women desiring to wear hijab/niqab in France & Turkey, or even the rights of violent criminals who have attacked us (http://www.npr.org/2011/06/19/137283467/9-11-hate-crime-victim-seeks-to-save-his-attacker).

    No one is asking you to be silent about speaking out against such bigots or remarks. Far from it! Speaking out against such people using reason and compassion is THE most important thing we can and must do (and which you have done in the past). Again, I am a bit dismayed you are jumping to irrational conclusions in your defensiveness.

    I’ve read and re-read my copy of Progressive Muslims since college days at Duke, enjoyed Memories of Muhammad, and appreciated your insights on Sufism in several articles, including this blog. I am an attorney in New York and yes my name is Yousef (without the quotation marks). I have tried to engage with you respectfully and rationally; if you do not wish to go further, that is your choice. Regardless of my views on your writings, I have always been taught, per my view of Islam, to “examine what is said, not he who is speaking.” I stand by my words and would challenge you to re-examine yours on this matter, Professor.

  • Jason

    lot of trolls here

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  • Jon

    Why is is Robert Spencer hateful reporting the truth about Islam?

  • Jon

    That’s a pretty ridiculous smear. Brevik quoted many others more often than Spencer.

  • Jon

    Judging from the comments here Omid, your taqiyya camapign is failing.

  • Jon

    Loonwatch, Omid? Comon, you can do better than to cite such a ridiculous source.

  • As long as an individual does not advocate physical harm or destruction of property no one and no government should try to shut them up. Mr. Spencer and Ms. Geller wanted to go to the UK to pay their respect to Lee Rigby, a British citizen and soldier, butchered mercilessly in the streets by a jihadist. In the interest of humanity Professor Safi should join together with Mr. Spencer and Ms. Geller and go with them to denouce this heinous crime and celebrate the life and humanity of Lee Rigby. Amen.

  • Always good to hear from one of the main supporters of Mr Spencer and Co. Nice of you to overlook the fact that the role of the viciously racist and violent EDL group. Goodbye.

  • Professor Safi, I assume since you have a PhD you have a high level of reading comprehension. The motto of the EDL is “Not Violent, Not Racist, and No Longer Silent”. As of yet I have seen no evidence of any violence on the part of the EDL but if there were then you would be justified in saying so. Until that time, which isn’t going to come, since you’re simply projecting the behavior of SOME Muslims on then, you truly need to look deep within yourself and apologize to Mr. Spencer for accusing him threatening deadly violence against you and your family. You will be a better person for admitting and acknowledging you mendacity.

  • Well, terrorists continually cite the Qur’an and the Hadith and you don’t get your panties in a wad about that. Today is the 4th day of Ramadan and so far Muslims have carried out 27 terror attacks and killed 112 people, Muslim and non-Muslims. Meanwhile persons of all other religions have killed ZERO people in the name of their respective faiths and even the dreaded bogey man, the “Islamophobes” (including the non-violent and the non-racist EDL…) have also killed no one. How about apologize to Mr. Spencer for the false claims you made against him?

  • Amazingly enough, I am capable of reading. There is this tool you might be familiar with. It’s called Wikipedia. Read up on EDL’s long history of violence. This is who your very precious Mr. Spencer is in bed with. Lovely people tend to flock together. Goodbye whoever you are.


    In January 2010 in Stoke-on-Trent, EDL members broke through police lines; four police officers were injured and police vehicles were damaged.[52] In March 2010 in Bolton, 74 people were arrested in the demonstrations; at least 55 of the arrested were from the UAF and nine from the EDL.[53] Weyman Bennett, joint secretary of Unite Against Fascism was arrested and charged with conspiracy to organise violent disorder,[54] Martin Smith, of Love Music Hate Racism and Dr. Moran, joint secretary of Greater Manchester UAF were among those arrested on conspiracy charges.[55] Police said that UAF protesters were responsible for most of the trouble and that they had turned up intending to cause trouble saying “It is clear to me that a large number have attended with the sole intention of committing disorder and their actions have been wholly unacceptable.”[56]
    At their second Dudley protest, on 17 July 2010, there was widespread damage to local property. The local council estimated the bill to be over £500,000.[57] On 11 September 2010, police in Oldham received an advance call from the EDL. Around mid-day approximately 120 supporters had arrived in the town. A separate group of around 50 members attacked a police car with bottles. There were 8 arrests for public order offences.[58]
    On 9 October 2010, a police officer and several civilians were injured during protests by the English Defence League and Unite Against Fascism in Leicester. A Sky News van was attacked by members of the English Defence League[59] who had earlier thrown fireworks, smokebombs and bricks at police[60] and smashed windows of the city’s International Arts Centre.[61] There were also clashes between EDL supporters and local black and Asian youths as a group broke out of the EDL protest site at Humberstone Gate East and engaged with the locals. One man from Tyne and Wear was later convicted of causing criminal damage to the value of £1500 to a restaurant in this area of the city.[42] Riot police fought to maintain control over the sporadic fighting that ensued.[62] Thirteen people were arrested, one on suspicion of assaulting a police officer,[63] only one was from the city of Leicester[64] and the cost of policing the demonstration was put at £850,000.[65]
    In February 2011, prior to an EDL march in Luton, national British newspapers ran headlines with expectations of violence.[66] The march, which was held on 5 February 2011, was concluded without major incident.[67]
    On 10 August, during the 2011 England riots Acting Metropolitan Police Commissioner Tim Godwin expressed concern that the EDL and the BNP were seeking to exploit the situation after ninety EDL members joined vigilantes in Enfield claiming that their physical presence would discourage troublemakers.[68][69] The EDL also gathered in Eltham for the same purpose.[70] EDL officials claimed they were safeguarding local businesses, but separate reports claimed the EDL were attacking black youths.[71]
    On July 2011, the EDL visited Muslim MEP Sajjad Karim at his home with a crowd of EDL members, which Karim believed was an attempt at intimidation and threatening behaviour.[72] A video was later released of the protest, in which Karim refused to accept a letter from the EDL.[73] The EDL has been accused of spray-painting and attacking mosques.[74][75] Extremist members of the EDL have been involved in physical assaults against Muslims.[76][77] EDL members have been convicted of graffitying EDL initials on mosques and Asian-run businesses.[78]
    EDL members have been reported attacking an anti-fascist concert in Yorkshire.[79] EDL members have been jailed for attacking staff at office buildings which had hosted anti-EDL meetings.[80] EDL members have also attacked a bookstall in Sandwell.[81] An EDL member has also been reported attacking non-white people on London Underground.[82]
    Some news reports have shown pictures which are claimed to depict EDL members posing wearing paramilitary outfits, with guns and crossbows.[83][84]
    On 7 December 2011, EDL activist Simon Beech was one of two men jailed for 10 years for an arson attack on a mosque. Sentencing the men, Judge Mark Eades stated: “It seems to me your purpose was not to get at extremists, but to get at Muslims in general and your purpose can only have been to destabilise community relationships.” Chief Superintendent Bernie O’Reilly, who heads Stoke-on-Trent policing division, said: “This was a planned attack to try to blow a mosque up in a residential area.”[85]
    On 5 June 2012, EDL members attacked and threw fireworks at a group of people protesting against the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. They were also filmed giving Nazi salutes.[86]
    In 2013 six Islamists pleaded guilty to plotting a bomb and gun attack on an EDL march in Dewsbury.[87] The EDL march and UAF/TUC counter demonstration had passed “peacefully, safely and without serious incident.”[88] In June 2013, a burnt down mosque in Muswell Hill was found with EDL graffiti on it.[89] A series of firebombings associated with EDL graffiti began in March 2011 in Luton. Police said of the two people arrested that “there is no evidence linking them” to the EDL.[90] In June 2013, EDL members threatened to assault another EDL member for planning to “make a bomb and go on a killing spree”.[91]