Add this to the increasing marginalization of radical anti-Muslim views: A Catholic diocese in Massachusetts today rescinded its invitation to Robert Spencer, a prominent anti-Muslim writer and activist, to speak about Islam at an upcoming conference.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,” diocesan spokesman Raymond Delisle said in a statement to the Boston Globe.
Spencer had been invited to speak at the March conference, organized by the church in Worcester, sparking outrage from local Muslim groups. After an outcry, the diocese rescinded the invitation.
Spencer, whom the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism has called “the godfather of the anti-Muslim movement in this country,” has made a career out of writing books and giving lectures on the dangers of Islam. He, along with close collaborator Pam Geller, helped lead the opposition to the Park51 Islamic community center in Manhattan and has been behind dozens of other controversies. More darkly, Norwegian anti-Muslim mass shooter Anders Breivik cited Spencer’s writings 50 times, though Spencer has called the shooter “insane” and refuted any association.
The response from Spencer and Geller was predictable: Blame the media. Writing at FrontPage, Spencer claimed that he was “informed” that the Boston Globe’s reporter, Lisa Wangsness, “instigated the entire controversy” and that she “asked [Muslim groups] to call the diocese and demand the cancellation.” Spencer published his entire, lengthy email exchange with Wangsness, including her phone number and email address, along with a correspondence with Wangsness’ editor. They declined to comment in an email to Salon.
More: Catholic Diocese Boots Anti-Muslim Speaker
UPDATE at 1/31/13 12:39:00 pm (by Charles)
Spencer’s even more deranged crony Pamela Geller is ranting away: BOSTON GLOBE’S LISA WANGSNESS COVERTLY AGITATES TO STRONG-ARM DHIMMI CATHOLIC DIOCESE TO NIX ROBERT SPENCER!!! - Atlas Shrugs.
Those covert strong-arm agitators are the worst.
Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester Cancels Speech by Critic of Islam - the Boston Globe