Few would consider Robert Spencer, author and prominent scholar of Islam, to be a radical.
Spencer’s politics fit snuggly within the mainstream of conservative thought. He appears regularly at both Human Events and FrontPage Magazine. His books are published by the stalwart conservative press Regnery.
His rhetoric and demeanor are hardly radical either. Read his books and you’ll find sly, witty humor to complement his often depressing subject matter. His talks are no different. He presents a friendly demeanor. Here’s an example from the recent Restoration Weekend:
So in what manner is Spencer possessed of the Radical Spirit?
To understand this we need to understand what it means to be radical. The first definition of the term (coming from its etymology) sums it up: “Arising from or going to a root or source.”
Thus Spencer’s radicalism soon becomes clear to those familiar with his books and his essential blog, JihadWatch. His principle project is this: to go to the root of understanding Islam. To strip away the obfuscations of the Left and alleged “moderate” Islamist apologists and to really demonstrate just what this religion is all about.
And so his newest book, The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran is in a sense his most radical work yet. In the past Spencer has hit numerous Islam-related topics. Last year’s Stealth Jihad looked at how many Islamists have shifted tactics from violence to quiet subversion. Previous books focused on Muhammad and the differences between Islam and Christianity.
Now he examines the Koran itself. In twelve accessible chapters – each interspersed with sidebars and quotes in Idiot’s Guide fashion – Spencer gives a crash course on the Koran’s origins, its interpretation and its contents. He explains how the book was assembled and why it’s so difficult to understand. (It’s not even written chronologically!) He also shows how pervasively anti-Christian, anti-Semitic, misogynistic, intolerant, and violent attitudes are embedded within this book revered by more than a billion people.