Pamela Geller is on a mission, for sure. But the nature, objectives, and endgame of her quest are among the most contentious topics in the America’s present debates regarding self-expression and hate speech. Geller, who is the public face of organizations including the Freedom Defense Initiative and Stop Islamization of America, was the main organizer behind an event in Texas last week which encouraged participants to draw caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.
As reported by Inquisitr, the contest was the target of an attack by two armed men who were reportedly affiliated with the terrorist group ISIS. Although Geller has been widely criticized for allegedly inciting such a reaction through the use of incendiary rhetoric and imagery, she is reportedly in the planning stages of a similar event for sometime in the near future.
Geller recently granted an extensive interview to conservative bulwark Breitbart News in which she confirmed an event similar to the recent “Draw Muhammad” gathering, noting that no “concrete plans” have been established. She defended the Garland, Texas event, telling Brietbart that her efforts are intended to buttress free speech in America.
“We incited no one. We didn’t call for violence, justify violence, or approve of violence,” said Geller. “The people who were inciting were the ones saying that we should be killed for exhibiting Muhammad cartoons. There is no automatic or unavoidable response to being insulted. No one is forced to kill for being insulted. Those who choose to do so are responsible for their actions. No one else is.”
Christian Action Network, citing an earlier report by WND.com, reports that Geller is now the subject of a religious declaration, or fatwa, issued by ISIS. The statement allegedly calls for the “slaughter” of the anti-Muslim activist and also indicates that additional terror attacks on U.S. soil are forthcoming.
“We don’t care what land she hides in or what sky shields her,” the ISIS communiqué said of Geller. “[W]e will send all our Lions to achieve her slaughter.”
Despite Pamela Geller’s assertions that she takes issue with Islam in the interests of freedom — both with respect to the matter of free speech and her professed desire to stave off sharia law in the U.S. — she is having a hard time finding allies outside of her political sphere of influence, a circle of like-minded individuals that includes the likes of radio and television pundit Sean Hannity. The legal advocacy organization Southern Poverty Law Center maintains an extensive online critique of Geller in their online “Extremist Files,” describing her as “relentlessly shrill and coarse in her broad-brush denunciations of Islam” adding that she has “mingled comfortably with European racists and fascists [and] spoken favorably of South African racists…”
Pamela Geller also cannot claim allies among the ranks of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which was the target of a grisly attack by adherents of politicized Islam in January. New York Magazine noted that the Charlie Hebdo‘s editor-in-chief Gérard Biard and film critic Jean-Baptiste Thoret have publicly rejected efforts to compare Geller’s efforts to those the French periodical.
“The difference between us and these people is that these people are organizing contests, anti-Islamist contests,” Thoret said in an interview. “It’s an obsession… We are not obsessed. We are just obsessed by the news, and by how the world is going on. The difference with Pamela Geller, she is obsessed by Islam. She waits every morning and thinks, What can I do today to defy these people?”
Pamela Geller has shown time and again that she is not quick to shrink from controversy or condemnation. From her campaign earlier this year to festoon transit systems in New York and Philadelphia with anti-Muslim posters, to the “Draw Muhammad” event and beyond, Geller has proven a willingness to offend and inflame with wanton abandon. But if Geller’s tactics and strategies are somewhat predictable, the imminent reactions of her most vehement opponents — which include terrorist organizations and their sympathizers — remain to be seen. The ultimate designs of Geller and her assembled foes aside, it’s perhaps one of the most unfortunate lessons of history that when diametrically opposed ideologies clash violently, innocent bystanders are bound to find themselves in harm’s way through no fault of their own. At this point, it’s difficult to imagine that the future will prove any different given the present course of Pamela Geller’s crusade.
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]