Type of site
|Created by||Robert Spencer and Hugh Fitzgerald|
|Alexa rank||48,906 global; 14,743 US (May 2019[update])|
|Registration||501(c)(3), non-profit organization|
|Launched||23 September 2003|
Jihad Watch is an anti-Muslim conspiracy blog affiliated with the David Horowitz Freedom Center, run by Robert Spencer. 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 correct popular misconceptions about the role of jihad and religion in modern-day conflicts."
The site features commentary by multiple editors, and its most frequent editor is Robert Spencer. It has been affiliated with the David Horowitz Freedom Center. Dhimmi Watch was a blog on the Jihad Watch site, also maintained by Spencer, focusing on allegations of acts by non-Muslims in defence of the Muslim world.
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, and a variety of individuals and foundations, like Bradley Foundation and Joyce Chernick, wife of Aubrey Chernick. Politico said that during 2008-2010, "the lion's share of the $920,000 it [David Horowitz Freedom Center] provided over the past three years to Jihad Watch came from [Joyce] Chernick". In 2015, Jihad Watch received approximately $100,000 in revenue, with three quarters of that revenue coming from donations.
Jihad Watch has widely been described as an anti-Muslim conspiracy blog. Jihad Watch has been criticized for its portrayal of Islam as a totalitarian political doctrine. Jihad Watch has been described by the Southern Poverty Law Center and Anti-Defamation League. Guardian writer Brian Whitaker described Jihad Watch as a "notoriously Islamophobic website", while other critics such as Dinesh D'Souza, Karen Armstrong, and Cathy Young, 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, and has said that the term "Islamophobe" is "a tool used by Islamic apologists to silence criticism."
Benazir Bhutto, the late Pakistani Prime Minister, 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. Spencer stated that the passage Bhutto cited was written by Ibn Warraq.
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 [Internet] Haganah ... SITE [Institute] ... and Jihad Watch.
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