IN: INVITATION TO AUTHOR UPSETS MUSLIMS
The decision by the FBI's Indianapolis office to bring in author Robert Spencer to talk to its anti-terrorism task force has a Plainfield-based Muslim organization concerned that the bureau is listening to an "Islamophobe" who distorts its faith.
The FBI had planned to bring in Spencer this week to speak to Indiana's Joint Terrorism Task Force. His appearance was postponed because he had a scheduling conflict. Both Spencer and the FBI hope to reschedule.
Louay Safi, director of leadership development with the Plainfield-based Islamic Society of North America, said bringing Spencer in to talk of Islam is akin to bringing an anti-Semite to talk about Jews or a Ku Klux Klan member to talk about race.
"Many people in our community will not be happy with it," Safi said.
Spencer is the author of "The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam" and "The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World's Most Intolerant Religion." He is also a director of Jihad Watch, a Web site that calls attention to the activity of Islamic jihadists.
The site includes his take on various writings by Islamic scholars and groups as well as the news of the day in the Middle East. In fact, he announced he was coming to Indianapolis to meet with FBI officials.
Safi said Spencer's writings take selected passages from Islamic writings out of context in an effort to prove the religion condones terrorism. He said the FBI's use of Spencer could reinforce views some Muslims hold that the bureau treats them unfairly.
"When they bring in someone like that, it makes it difficult even for us to explain to the Muslim community that (the FBI) is neutral and is not listening to extremists who really hate Muslims," Safi said.