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Massachusetts diocese cancels appearance by Robert Spencer, writer on Islam

Catholic World News - January 31, 2013

The Diocese of Worcester has canceled an appearance by Robert Spencer, the author of several books on Islam. Spencer had been invited to speak at a diocesan Catholic men’s conference.

“Although the intention of the conference organizers was to have a presenter on Islam from a Catholic’s perspective, we are asking Robert Spencer to not come to the Worcester Catholic Men’s Conference, given that his presence is being seen as harmful to Catholic–Islamic relations both locally and nationally,” said diocesan spokesman Raymond Delisle.

Abdul Cader Asmal, spokesman for the Islamic Council of New England, called the diocese’s decision “very reassuring” and added, “Somebody may have been blindsided by Robert Spencer, not knowing exactly what kind of hatemonger he was.”

Spencer, who blogs at Jihad Watch, is the author of several books on Islam, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), The Complete Infidel's Guide to the Koran, and Did Muhammad Exist?: An Inquiry into Islam's Obscure Origins.

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  • Posted by: samuel.doucette1787 - Feb. 05, 2013 8:59 AM ET USA

    And I was just beginning to hope that Worcester was becoming an orthodox diocese. Bishop McManus is doing a good job in defending Catholic truth, but this is a step backward. Mr Spencer is not a hatemonger, just a truth teller. Is "ecumenism" really worth the cost of ignoring the historical and current reality that Islam and all other world religions simply are not compatible? Islam is the world's bully, yet they cry "victim" better than anyone else, and too many cave in out of fear.

  • Posted by: unum - Feb. 01, 2013 9:37 AM ET USA

    Our Catholic bishops run from controversy (except when telling Congress and the White House how to run the country!) I have not heard a homily in years on Catholic teaching that might get people "upset". The bishops can either run from controversy or speak the truth on moral issues as Jesus did. They cannot do both!

  • Posted by: Archpriest - Jan. 31, 2013 10:36 PM ET USA

    Appalling! Robert Spencer is a Catholic deacon in good standing with the Melkite Diocese of Newton. To call Father Deacon Robert a "hate-monger" is unjust and adds further injury to the situation of Eastern Catholics - daily persecuted and even martyred in the Middle East. I am a retired military chaplain. Deacon Robert has addressed military staff symposia. Is the Diocese of Worcester so politically-correct that it would ignore the suffering of fellow Christians in the lands of Christ's birth?

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Jan. 31, 2013 9:02 PM ET USA

    This is what we call a "heckler's veto". I have heard Robert Spencer speak many times to audiences like the Worcester Catholic Men’s Conference. He is not "harmful". The problem isn't Spencer, the problem is that Islam as taught and practiced in most of the world is at "war" and not at "peace" with the West with both machine guns and media. Any speaker with the boldness to address the false impressions created by Islamic propagandists would likewise be labeled a "hater".

  • Posted by: Salome - Jan. 31, 2013 7:43 PM ET USA


  • Posted by: Francis - Jan. 31, 2013 6:10 PM ET USA

    Robert Spencer dares to speak the truth about Islam from a scholarly perspective. It is Islam, not Spencer that should make one very wary. This is another sad instance of politically correct Catholic "leaders" bowing to pressure from advocates of a “religion” whose adherents continue to persecute Christians worldwide, without apology.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Jan. 31, 2013 5:41 PM ET USA

    Shrink is quite right. If this is the way cowards in the Worcester diocese behave here, what would be their reaction if they lived in Baghdad or Cairo? Presumably they would turn their churches into mosques on Fridays. Oh, and Robert Spencer is not a "hatemonger." He merely tells the truth about a religion that regularly kills those who decide to abandon its ranks. Someone should take Delisle and other deluded officials in the Worcester diocese on an "educational" trip to the Muslim world.

  • Posted by: Defender - Jan. 31, 2013 1:52 PM ET USA

    "Islamic radicals driving Catholic religious out of eastern Libya" is one of today's headlines, this one could be renamed, "Catholic diocese assists Islamic group in limiting First Amendment." I'm sure this administration is proud, too. (It's a good thing there are no cartoons, I guess.) One may not agree with someone, but this is just too much.

  • Posted by: shrink - Jan. 31, 2013 12:13 PM ET USA

    I would suggest that the Worcester catholics redirect next year's annual donations to the bishop's fund to a charitable organization that helps the victims of Islamic terrorism.

  • Posted by: Contrary1995 - Jan. 31, 2013 11:37 AM ET USA

    An excellent decision.

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