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CAIR Asks Marine Corps to Drop Islamophobic, Anti-Arab Books From Reading List

screenshot 2018.04.30 14 52 08(WASHINGTON, D.C., 4/30/2018) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on the United States Marine Corps to drop two Islamophobic and anti-Arab books from a recommended reading list on its official website.

CAIR asked the Marine Corps to remove any reference to and perceived endorsement of the factually-incorrect and Islamophobic books, “The Truth About Muhammad: The Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion,” by Robert Spencer, and “The Arab Mind,” by Raphael Patai from the Marine Corps University Research Library website’s Military Reading Lists page, which links to the “HQMC Civilian Marine Reading Lists.”

SEE: HQMC Civilian Marine Reading Lists

In a letter to Marine Corps Commandant General Robert B. Neller, CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw wrote in part:

“Spencer is notorious as a key figure in the ”˜Islamophobia Industry’ in the United States. The Boston Globe has described Spencer as a man who ”˜depicts Islam as an inherently violent religion.’ Spencer has referred to Islam’s Prophet Muhammad as a ”˜con man. Someone who is knowing [sic] that what he is saying is false, but is fooling his followers.’

 “The University of California, Berkeley’s Asian American Law Journal’s January 2007 review of the book, ”˜Inspiring Intolerance: The Truth about Robert Spencer – A Review of the Truth about Muhammad: Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion’ by Deepika Bains and Aziza Ahmed, finds that the book has ”˜structural and substantive flaws,’ ”˜unfounded assertions about Islam’ and ”˜Islam’s treatment of women,’ and promotes a ”˜view of all Muslims as violent.’ The review concludes with: ”˜Ultimately, Robert Spencer’s book does little more than contribute to an already abundant discourse of hate speech against Muslim Americans.’

“Academics formally trained in Islamic studies, such as Dr. Carl Kenan and Dr. William Kenan at UNC-Chapel Hill, have also stated that Spencer’s views have ”˜no basis in scholarship.’

“When Spencer is not disparaging Islam’s Prophet Muhammed, he bizarrely promotes the false claim that Muhammad may never have existed. Spencer’s follow-up book to ”˜The Truth About Muhammad’ is ”˜Did Muhammad Exist?: An Inquiry into Islam’s Obscure Origins.’ In that book, Spencer claims the belief, ”˜that the prophet of Islam lived and led in seventh-century Arabia”¦ begins to crumble on close examination.’

“In a special report, the independent national media watch group Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), identified Spencer as one of the ”˜Dirty Dozen: America’s Leading Islamophobes’ who systematically ”˜spread fear, bigotry, and misinformation.’

“In that report, FAIR notes, ”˜By selectively ignoring inconvenient Islamic texts and commentaries, Spencer concludes that Islam is innately extremist and violent, and quotes Spencer as saying, ”˜Unfortunately, however, jihad as warfare against non-believers in order to institute ”˜Sharia’ worldwide is not propaganda or ignorance, or a heretical doctrine held by a tiny minority of extremists. Instead, it is a constant element of mainstream Islamic theology.’’

“In the past, Spencer listed his participation in the 2006 Pim Fortuyn Memorial Conference among his ”˜Notable Speaking Engagements.’ Fortuyn’s anti-Muslim views and concurrent backlash against Muslims living in the Netherlands were noted in the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Reports for 2002 and 2005.

“CAIR’s full profile documenting Robert Spencer’s anti-Muslim hate and Islamophobia may be found on our website:

“CAIR also seeks the removal of Raphael Patai’s ”˜The Arab Mind’ from the ”˜HQMC Civilian Marine Reading Lists.’

“Brian Whitaker, a journalist for the British newspaper The Guardian since 1987, and the paper’s Middle East editor from 2000 to 2007, said of the book: ”˜Its best use is as a doorstop,’ and this it is, ”˜a collection of outrageously broad ”” and often suspect ”” generalizations’ about Arabs.

“An article published in The Boston Globe, ”˜Misreading ‘The Arab Mind’,’ also criticized the book’s methodology, calling it ”˜emblematic of a bygone era of scholarship focused on the notion of a ‘national character,’ or personality archetype.’

“”˜The Arab Mind’ was pulled from the FBI’s internal ”˜recommended reading list’ about Islam after Wired broke the story in 2011 that the agency was using it and other anti-Arab and anti-Muslim training materials.

“Discriminatory and factually incorrect statements within the book include:

  • ”˜Why are most Arabs, unless forced by dire necessity to earn their livelihood with ‘the sweat of their brow’, so loath to undertake any work that dirties the hands?’
  • ”˜The all-encompassing preoccupation with sex in the Arab mind emerges clearly in two manifestations …’
  • ”˜In the Arab view of human nature, no person is supposed to be able to maintain incessant, uninterrupted control over himself. Any event that is outside routine everyday occurrence can trigger such a loss of control … Once aroused, Arab hostility will vent itself indiscriminately on all outsiders.’

“The misinformation, false assumptions, and inherent anti-Arab, anti-Muslim and Islamophobic nature of Spencer’s ”˜The Truth About Muhammad: The Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion’ and Patai’s ”˜The Arab Mind,’ make both books unsuitable resources for the Marine Corps University Research Library.

“CAIR requests that any endorsement or recommendation of these books, and any similar books, be removed from resources provided by the U.S. Marine Corps.”

A copy of CAIR’s letter was sent to Marine Corps University Research Library Research Branch Head Gregory Cina.

The Washington-based civil rights organization said it has witnessed an unprecedented spike in bigotry targeting American Muslims and members of other minority groups since the election of Donald Trump as president.

Community members are being urged to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR’s Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or by filing a report at:     

CAIR launched an app to share critical “know your rights” information and to simplify the process to report hate crimes and bias incidents. CAIR is urging American Muslims and members of other minority groups to download the app and utilize this resource to stay informed and empowered.

For a quick download of CAIR’s civil rights app, click here:

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.


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CONTACT: CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448,; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,


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