Jihad Watch

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Jihad Watch
Type of siteNews and commentary
Registration501(c)(3), non-profit organization
Available language(s)English
OwnerRobert Spencer
Created byRobert Spencer and Hugh Fitzgerald
LaunchedSeptember 23, 2003
Alexa ranknegative increase 45,481 (February 2013)[1]
Current statusActive
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Jihad Watch
Type of siteNews and commentary
Registration501(c)(3), non-profit organization
Available language(s)English
OwnerRobert Spencer
Created byRobert Spencer and Hugh Fitzgerald
LaunchedSeptember 23, 2003
Alexa ranknegative increase 45,481 (February 2013)[1]
Current statusActive

Jihad Watch is a blog affiliated with the David Horowitz Freedom Center, which is run independently by American author Robert Spencer.[2][3][4][5][6] It is considered an important platform for the counterjihad movement.[7][8]

According to the website, a theology of violent jihad, which denies non-Muslims equality, human rights, and dignity, has been present throughout the history of Islam. Jihad Watch says that it is "dedicated to bringing public attention to the role that jihad theology and ideology plays in the modern world, and to correcting popular misconceptions about the role of jihad and religion in modern-day conflicts."[9]

It has repeatedly been criticised by numerous academics who claim it promotes an Islamophobic worldview and conspiracy theories.[10][11][12][13][14][15]



The site features commentary by Robert Spencer. It has been affiliated with the David Horowitz Freedom Center, as a subsidiary project.[16] Dhimmi Watch was a blog on the Jihad Watch site, also maintained by Spencer, focusing on allegations of discriminatory acts by Muslims.

Measures proposed against the site based on allegations of hate speech have been mostly unsuccessful.[17][18]


The Horowitz Freedom Center has paid Spencer, as Jihad Watch's director, a $132,000 salary (2010). Jihad Watch has also received funding from donors supporting the Israeli right,[16] and a variety of individuals and foundations, like Bradley Foundation and Joyce Chernick, wife of Aubrey Chernick.[19]

Impact and stances

Abdel Bari Atwan, the editor-in chief of the London-based pan-Arab newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi, wrote that

Most of the effective surveillance work tracking jihadi sites is being done not by the FBI or MI6, but by private groups. The best-known and most successful of those are Haganah ... SITE ... and Jihad Watch.[20]

Jihad Watch (or Spencer, as director of Jihad Watch) has been quoted in, among other publications, The New York Times,[21][22] The New York Daily News,[23] The Christian Science Monitor,[24] USA Today,[25] The Daily Mail,[26] and the Toronto Sun.[27]

Articles posted to Dhimmi Watch were archived by several news-gathering agencies and advocacy groups tracking these issues.[28][29][30] As of March 2009, Dhimmi Watch was merged into Jihad Watch.

Jihad Watch said that the English Defence League (EDL) "deserve the support of all free people" and described its opponents in Unite Against Fascism as "fascist."[31] Spencer has withdrawn his support as of June 2011.[32] Arun Kundnani, research fellow at the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism, groups Jihad Watch with other counterjihad blogs and calls them "paranoid conspiracy theorists", strongly accusing them of providing a false worldview which he writes has served as legitimisation of violence for far-right groups, such as the EDL.[10]


Jihad Watch has been criticized for its portrayal of Islam as a totalitarian political doctrine,[10] and been accused of Islamophobia.[11][dubious ][12][13][14][15]

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called Jihad Watch an "Internet hate site" and claimed it is "notorious for its depiction of Islam as an inherently violent faith that is a threat to world peace."[33] Guardian writer Brian Whitaker described Jihad Watch as a "notoriously Islamophobic website",[34] while other critics such as Dinesh D'Souza,[35] Karen Armstrong,[36] and Cathy Young,[37] pointed to what they see as "deliberate mischaracterizations" of Islam and Muslims by Spencer as inherently violent and therefore prone to terrorism. Spencer has denied such criticism.[38]

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, in her book Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West, wrote that Spencer uses Jihad Watch to spread misinformation and hatred of Islam. She added that he presents a skewed, one-sided, and inflammatory story that only helps to sow the seed of civilizational conflict.[39] The websites Spencer Watch[40] and Loon Watch[41] were founded in reaction to Spencer and the Jihad Watch website and critique the cogency of Spencer's criticisms.

American al-Qaeda senior operative Adam Gadahn described Robert Spencer as a counter-Islam consultant.[42]

Response to criticism

Spencer has responded to accusations that Jihad Watch is Islamophobic by declaring the term "Islamophobe" a label, "a tool used by Islamic apologists to silence criticism."[38] He says that his work is

"...dedicated to identifying the causes of jihad terrorism, which of course lead straight back into the Islamic texts. I have therefore called for reform of those texts... I have dedicated Jihad Watch to defending equality of rights and freedom of conscience for all people. That's Islamophobic? Then is the fault in the phobe, or in the Islam?"[38]

See also


  1. ^ "Jihadwatch.org Site Info". Alexa Internet. http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/jihadwatch.org. Retrieved 2013-02-03.
  2. ^ Robert Spencer Joins the David Horowitz Freedom Center, FrontPage Magazine, September 6, 2006
  3. ^ ROBERT SPENCER Page at Jihadwatch.
  4. ^ Glenn Beck Transcript, CNN, August 10, 2006
  5. ^ Glenn Beck Transcript, CNN, October 23, 2006
  6. ^ Invitation to author upsets Muslims[dead link], Indianapolis Star, March 18, 2007
  7. ^ Hegghammer, Thomas (24 July 2011). "The Rise of the Macro-Nationalists". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/31/opinion/sunday/the-rise-of-the-macro-nationalists.html?_r=1. Retrieved 30 July 2011.
  8. ^ "Norway killings put U.S. extremists in spotlight: Report". Associated Press of Pakistan (New York). 25 July 2011. http://ftpapp.app.com.pk/en_/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=145872&Itemid=39. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  9. ^ "Jihad Watch". Jihad Watch. March 28, 2010. http://www.jihadwatch.org/why-jihad-watch.html. Retrieved April 1, 2010.
  10. ^ a b c Arun Kundnani (June, 2012). "Blind Spot? Security Narratives and Far-Right Violence in Europe" (pdf). International Centre for Counter-terrorism. http://www.icct.nl/download/file/ICCT-Kundnani-Blind-Spot-June-2012.pdf. Retrieved July 23, 2012.
  11. ^ a b John L. Esposito (2011). "Islamophobia and the Challenges of Pluralism in the 21st Century - Introduction". Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University. http://www12.georgetown.edu/sfs/docs/ACMCU_Islamophobia_txt_99.pdf. Retrieved 2012-08-27.
  12. ^ a b Ismael, Tareq Y.; Rippin, Andrew, eds. (2010). Islam in the Eyes of the West: Images and Realities in an Age of Terror. Abingdon, UK: Routledge. p. 104. ISBN 0-415-56414-X. cited from Webb, E. (2012). "Review of Tareq Y. Ismael & Andrew Rippin (eds.), Islam in the Eyes of the West: Images and Realities in an Age of Terror". Contemporary Islam. doi:10.1007/s11562-012-0196-9. edit
  13. ^ a b D'Annibale, Valerie Scatamburlo-D’, ed. (2011). "Campus Cons and the New Mccarthyism". Cold Breezes and Idiot Winds. Rotterdam: SensePublishers. ISBN 978-9460914072.
  14. ^ a b Varisco, D. M. (2009). "Muslims and the media in the blogosphere". Contemporary Islam 4: 157–177. doi:10.1007/s11562-009-0106-y. edit
  15. ^ a b Topal, S. (2011). "Everybody Wants Secularism—But Which One? Contesting Definitions of Secularism in Contemporary Turkey". International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society 25: 1–3. doi:10.1007/s10767-011-9114-z. edit
  16. ^ a b Barnard, Anne; Feuer, Alan (October 10, 2010). "Outraged, And Outrageous". The New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E05EEDB113CF933A25753C1A9669D8B63&scp=3&st=cse&pagewanted=all.
  17. ^ Unblock Jihad Watch!. "Unblock Jihad Watch!". Jihadwatch.org. http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/017331.php. Retrieved April 1, 2010.
  18. ^ "Banning Jihad Watch". Humanevents.com. http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=21439. Retrieved April 1, 2010.
  19. ^ "Latest mosque issue: The money trail - Kenneth P. Vogel and Giovanni Russonello". Politico.Com. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0910/41767.html. Retrieved 2010-11-01.
  20. ^ The secret history of al Qaeda – Google Books. Books.google.com. http://books.google.com/books?id=1jjLvDE5Fy8C&pg=PA137&dq=%22Jihad+Watch%22&lr=lang_en&as_drrb_is=q&as_minm_is=0&as_miny_is=&as_maxm_is=0&as_maxy_is=&num=100&as_brr=3&client=firefox-a&cd=12#v=onepage&q=%22Jihad%20Watch%22&f=false. Retrieved 2010-11-01.
  21. ^ Lichtblau, Eric (April 2, 2009). "After Attacks, Supporters Rally Around Choice for Top Administration Legal Job". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/02/us/politics/02koh.html?ref=us.
  22. ^ Moss, Michael (October 21, 2007). "Militant Islamist Web sites - Terrorists - Internet - Al Qaeda". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/21/weekinreview/21moss.html.
  23. ^ "ECHOES OF '04. Blasts recall 3–11 train carnage in Madrid". New York: Nydailynews.com. July 8, 2005. http://www.nydailynews.com/archives/news/2005/07/08/2005-07-08_echoes_of__04___blasts_recal.html. Retrieved April 1, 2010.[dead link]
  24. ^ "Shooting of two soldiers in Little Rock puts focus on 'lone wolf' Islamic extremists / The Christian Science Monitor". CSMonitor.com. June 11, 2009. http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2009/0611/p02s01-usju.html/%28page%29/2. Retrieved April 1, 2010.
  25. ^ By Oren DorellUSA TODAY  (November 30, 2009). "Usatoday.Com". Usatoday.Com. http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20091130/honorkillings30_st.art.htm. Retrieved April 1, 2010.
  26. ^ "The surprising truth about Rage Boy, America's hated poster-boy of Islamic radicalism | Mail Online". London: Dailymail.co.uk. November 11, 2007. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-492864/The-surprising-truth-Rage-Boy-Americas-hated-poster-boy-Islamic-radicalism.html. Retrieved April 1, 2010.
  27. ^ By Lee-Anne Goodman, THE CANADIAN PRESS (November 5, 2009). "Muslims brace for backlash after gunman ID'ed | World | News". Toronto Sun. http://www.torontosun.com/news/world/2009/11/05/11651891-cp.html. Retrieved April 1, 2010.[dead link]
  28. ^ "Monitoring Middle East Studies on Campus". Campus Watch. http://www.campus-watch.org/docs/publication/Dhimmi+Watch. Retrieved April 1, 2010.
  29. ^ "Watch: Covering the War on Terror". Ss790.fusionbot.com. http://ss790.fusionbot.com/cgi-bin/ss_query?keys=dhimmi&sitenbr=81638526&ct=0. Retrieved April 1, 2010.
  30. ^ "Hindu Voice". Hindu Voice. http://www.hinduvoice.net/cgi-bin/dada/mail.cgi?flavor=archive&id=20070519122337&list=nll. Retrieved April 1, 2010.
  31. ^ UK: Fascist "anti-fascists" attack anti-jihad demonstrators. "UK: Fascist "anti-fascists" attack anti-jihad demonstrators". Jihadwatch.org. http://www.jihadwatch.org/2010/03/uk-fascist-anti-fascists-attack-anti-jihad-demonstrators.html. Retrieved April 1, 2010.
  32. ^ Robert Spencer (June 29, 2011). "Change for the worse at the EDL". http://www.jihadwatch.org/2011/06/change-for-the-worse-at-the-edl.html. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
  33. ^ CA Synagogue That Hosted Islamophobe Urged to Invite Muslim Speaker, November 8, 2005 archived version retrieved May 15, 2008
  34. ^ Drawn conclusions, The Guardian, February 7, 2006
  35. ^ Dinesh D'Souza (March 2, 2007). "Letting Bin Laden Define Islam". http://newsbloggers.aol.com/2007/03/02/letting-bin-laden-define-islam/.
  36. ^ "Balancing the Prophet". Financial Times. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/4a05a4a4-f134-11db-838b-000b5df10621.html.
  37. ^ "The Jihad Against Muslims". http://www.reason.com/news/show/36677.html.
  38. ^ a b c "Wikipedia and Robert Spencer". http://www.jihadwatch.org/2008/03/wikipedia-and-robert-spencer.html. Retrieved March 25, 2008.
  39. ^ Benazir Bhutto, Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West, Harper, 2008, p.245-6
  40. ^ "Robert Spencer Watch". Spencerwatch.com. http://spencerwatch.com/.
  41. ^ FCW Editorial (August 27, 2009). "Robert Spencer". loonwatch.com. http://www.loonwatch.com/tag/robert-spencer/.
  42. ^ My Invitation From al-Qaeda

External links