Pamela Geller has posted a warning to the Washington Post, in response to a critical article by Michelle Boorstein entitled “How Influential will Anti-Muslim Groups Become?“:
I am not anti-Muslim.
I love Muslims. I am pro-freedom and anti-islamic supremacism.
Stop the slander and defamation. It’s an incitement to violence.
Do it again and I am going to sue you.
Yours in liberty,
I’d like to see how that would play out in court. It’s true that her associate Robert Spencer talks of “Muslims of conscience” (albeit while simultaneously sneering at the idea of moderate Muslims by sarcastically calling extremists “misunderstanders of Islam”), and that she has promoted an organisation called “Muslims Against Shariah”. It’s also the case that the groups with which she is involved tend to support reformists in Iran, which disgusts those further to the right; Debbie Schlussel, for instance, recently attacked Geller on this point as part of a denunciation of HBO for a documentary about Neda Agha-Soltan (“I don’t mourn her one bit”, sniffed Schlussel, refering to the murdered Iranian).
However, while Geller’s complaints against the “Ground Zero mosque” referenced the supposed secret extremism of those behind the project, her rhetoric has made it quite clear that any sort of mosque close to the site would be unacceptable, on account of the character of Islam per se – not because of “Islamic supremicism”:
“The only Muslim center that should be built in the shadow of the World Trade Center is one that is devoted to expunging the Quran and all Islamic teachings of the violent jihad that they prescribe, as well as all hateful texts and incitement to violence”.
As I noted a few days ago, this isn’t a statement made in good faith: a Muslim center with an “expunged” Quran makes about as much sense as a church with the anti-Jewish parts of the New Testament expunged or a synagogue with the more sanguinary passages of the Torah expunged – ancient religious texts may be re-interpreted or contextualised in ways that make them more amenable to the modern world, but they are seldom repudiated by adherents. And Geller didn’t write “Islamic center” – she wrote “Muslim center”.
And as for the whine about “incitement to violence”, this shows Geller to be someone who can dish out the most inflammatory abusive but not take any of the same treatment. In Geller’s world, critics of Israel are (inevitably) Nazis, and anyone who raises concerns about the Rifqa Bary media circus must be in favour of honour-killings.
(Correction: I originally wrote that Boorstein was with Newsweek rather than the Washington Post)
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