The Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) announced that Robert Spencer, one of the nation’s leading Islam-bashers, will not speak today at the annual conference of the American Library Association (ALA) following intervention by CAIR and concerned librarians, and the withdrawal of the other scheduled panelists who protested Spencer’s participation.
Librarians from across the country contacted the ALA questioning the appropriateness of inviting Spencer to speak on a panel titled “Perspectives on Islam: Beyond the Stereotyping” because of his history of intolerant views. The other speakers invited to join the panel withdrew after hearing of Spencer’s scheduled participation.
“We thank all those who stood up for tolerance and mutual understanding to challenge Robert Spencer’s Islamophobic views,” said CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab, who had written to the ALA questioning why an anti-Islam bigot was invited to a panel on dispelling stereotypes about Islam.
“Because stereotyping of Islam is such an important issue, we hope a future panel on this topic can be arranged with credible scholars and representatives of the American Muslim community,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. “We strongly support open and honest discussion of difficult issues, but Mr. Spencer’s agenda-driven polemics promote the very stereotypes that the ALA event sought to dispel.”