Robert Bruce Spencer (born 1962) is an American anti-Muslim     author,  blogger and one of the key figures of the counter-jihad movement. Spencer describes himself as "the 'good' kind of Islamophobe". His published books include two  .
New York Times bestsellers
In 2003 he founded and has since directed a blog that tracks Islamic extremism known as
Jihad Watch. He co-founded the anti-Muslim group Stop Islamization of America (American Freedom Defense Initiative) with blogger Pamela Geller. Reports that two of Spencer's books were listed in  FBI training materials and that he had given seminars to various law enforcement units in the United States stirred controversy.  He has frequently appeared on  Fox News. In 2013 the  UK Home Office barred Spencer from travel to the UK for 3 to 5 years for "making statements that may foster hatred that might lead to inter-community violence".
Spencer was baptized in the
Greek Orthodox Church and joined the Melkite Greek Catholic Church in 1984.   In a 2006 interview, Spencer stated that his grandparents were forced to emigrate from an area that is now part of Turkey because they were  Christians. According to a 2010 interview in  magazine, Spencer's father worked for the New York Voice of America during the Cold War, and in his younger days, Spencer himself worked at Revolution Books, a Maoist bookstore in New York City founded by Robert Avakian. 
Spencer received an M.A. in 1986 in
religious studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His masters thesis was on Catholic history. He has said he has been studying Islamic theology, law, and history since 1980.   He worked in  think tanks for more than 20 years, and in 2002-2003 was an adjunct fellow with the  Free Congress Foundation. Spencer named  Paul Weyrich, also a Melkite Catholic, as a mentor of his writings on Islam. Spencer writes, "Paul Weyrich taught me a great deal, by word and by example - about how to deal both personally and professionally with the slanders and smears that are a daily aspect of this work." 
Spencer was criticized by clergy in the Catholic Church because of his views on Islam.
He left the church in 2016 to return to the  Greek Orthodox Church as a result of "personal reflection and historical study". 
Views on Islam
Spencer is known for his anti-Muslim views.
      He describes himself as an  Islamophobe of "the 'good' kind", and comments on  radical Islam. 
Spencer co-founded the anti-Muslim
   group  Stop Islamization of America (also known as the American Freedom Defense Initiative) with Pamela Geller in 2010. The organization is designated as a hate group by the Anti-Defamation League and the  Southern Poverty Law Center.   He and Geller led a campaign to stop the building of  Park51, an Islamic community center near the World Trade Center, which they referred to as the "Ground Zero Mosque". 
In 2009, Spencer blamed then-president
Barack Obama himself for false rumors that Obama was a "secret Muslim". 
In July 2011,
reported that two of Spencer's books were listed in Wired FBI training materials. Both and The Truth About Muhammad were recommended for agents hoping to better understand Islam. The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam 
Anders Breivik, the Norwegian spree killer behind the 2011 Norway terrorist attacks which killed 77, cited Spencer 64 times in his manifesto and wrote of him, "About Islam I recommend essentially everything written by Robert Spencer."  Spencer condemned Breivik and said he was unfairly blamed by the media for the attack.   
The government of Pakistan banned Spencer's book,
, in 2016, citing "objectionable material" as the cause. The Truth About Muhammad  was banned in Malaysia in 2007. Onward Muslim Soldiers 
In an October 2010 news article, an investigative report by
described Spencer as one of several individuals who "... cash in on spreading hate and fear about Islam." The Tennessean Tennessean investigation concluded: "IRS filings from 2008 show that Robert Spencer earned $132,537 from the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and Horowitz pocketed over $400,000 for himself in just one year."  
On April 13, 2017, Spencer spoke at the
Truman State University despite protests and a petition against him. He was invited by the Young America's Foundation. On May 1, 2017, Spencer spoke at the  University of Buffalo. There he was shouted down and heckled. On May 3, 2017, Spencer spoke at  Gettysburg College; 375 alumni urged the college president Janet Morgan Riggs to cancel the speech, but the event went on as planned. Spencer said, "There is one kind of diversity that is not valued generally in an academic setting and that is intellectual diversity."  On November 14, 2017, Spencer spoke at  Stanford University. Many students walked out during the event. 
Spencer said that "a young Icelandic Leftist" poisoned him in 2017 in Reykjavik, Iceland.
 Spencer also criticized the doctor who then treated him and the police who investigated.  
Ban from entering the UK
On June 26, 2013, Spencer and
Pamela Geller were banned from entering the UK. They were due to speak at an  English Defence League march in Woolwich, south London, where Drummer Lee Rigby was killed. Home Secretary Theresa May informed Spencer and Geller that their presence in the UK would "not be conducive to the public good". 
A letter from the UK Home Office stated that this decision is based on Spencer's statement that Islam "is a religion or a belief system that mandates warfare against unbelievers for the purpose of establishing a societal model that is absolutely incompatible with Western society. ...Because of media and general government unwillingness to face the sources of Islamic terrorism these things remain largely unknown."
The decision was to stand for between three and five years. The ban followed a concerted campaign by the UK anti-racism organization
Hope not Hate, which said it had collected 26,000 signatures for a petition to the Home Secretary.  Spencer and Geller contested the ban, but in 2015 the  British Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal, arguing that "this was a public order case where the police had advised that significant public disorder and serious violence might ensue from the proposed visit."  
The ban was criticized by
Douglas Murray. He stated that Islamist hate preachers are still allowed to enter the UK. 
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Best Sellers - Hardcover Nonfiction Archived April 2, 2015, at the Wayback Machine - NYT
Paperback Nonfiction - NYT
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