The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Muslim-Basher Pam Geller, Fresh From Call for Censorship, to Testify to Alaska House Today

By Robert Steinback on March 30, 2011 - 10:09 am, Posted in Anti-Muslim, Patriot Groups

Pamela Geller, one of America’s most rabid Islamophobes and a woman who is scheduled to testify today to the Alaska House of Representatives, thinks people like her should be able to decide what news people like you get to see. And she doesn’t think you can handle news presented by Middle East-based Al Jazeera English.

Geller, writing for the right-wing Daily Caller website Saturday, offered her insight on the constitutional rights and privileges of foreign media in the U.S. market. “Al Jazeera is planning to expand into the United States, and the chattering classes are treating it as a simple free speech matter,” Geller wrote.

“Let’s not let the Islamic supremacists once again invoke the freedom of speech to kill our freedom of speech,” Geller continued. “The ruse of using freedom of speech to allow propaganda broadcasts over our airways is another stealth attack on the United States of America. The issue of the expansion of Al Jazeera into the United States can only be likened to an expansion of [Nazi propagandist Joseph] Goebbels’s media network into the U.S. at the height of World War II.”

To protect freedom of speech, in other words, Geller bizarrely suggests America should suppress certain speech and control the media. Because, after all, Al Jazeera, whose coverage of the recent uprisings in the Arab world was widely lauded because it was so much more comprehensive than that of other media, is just like the Nazis.

Remarkably, given her radical views, Geller is set to testify today on behalf of Alaska’s House Bill 88, yet another proposed state law meant to stop the purported spread of Shariah, or Islamic religious, law. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has asked the Alaska House to rescind its invitation to Geller, citing her history of hateful commentary against Muslims. Geller quickly denounced CAIR’s request, accusing it of “using freedom of speech to kill freedom of speech” — essentially recycling the same charge she levied against Al Jazeera.

Geller, the executive director of Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) — a group dedicated to the idea that all devout Muslims in America are really violent radicals plotting to dislodge the Constitution and install a Shariah-driven Islamic caliphate over the United States — seems to be reaching for new lows in her attacks on Muslims. In the past, she has called Islam “the most radical and extreme ideology on the face of the earth,” said that the only moderate Muslims are secular Muslims, and equated Muslims with “savages.” Her blog, Atlas Shrugs, has published claims that President Obama was once involved with a “crack whore,” that he does the bidding of his “Islamic overlords,” even that he is the “love child” of Malcolm X.

Still, she has generally not attacked basic American creeds, like the notion that the best ideas will rise to the top in the free marketplace of ideas, until now. The irony is that Geller, a radical even in the superheated world of professional Muslim-bashers who nevertheless manages to get plenty of press, is suggesting that America would be a better place if the government decides who can speak and who cannot — a notion that most Americans would probably find wildly un-American.

Remarkably, in response to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s listing of SIOA as a hate group, Geller wrote in February that the her organization is “dedicated only to defending the freedom of speech and legal equality for all citizens.” Her latest posting certainly seems to directly contradict that pious claim.

Al Jazeera, based in Doha, Qatar, launched Al Jazeera English (AJE) in November 2006. It has 21 bureaus, plus broadcasting centers in Washington, D.C., London and Doha. AJE claims to reach 130 million homes in 100 countries, but has had poor penetration into the American and Canadian cable and satellite markets. According to National Public Radio, however, more than half of Al Jazeera English’s online traffic is from North America. In 2008, AJE won the award for “Best 24-Hour News Program” at the Monte Carlo Television Festival in Monaco.

Geller’s latest rant was apparently inspired by Al Jazeera’s March 9 announcement that it planned to introduce a children’s programming network to North America next year – an announcement also carried on the Daily Caller website.

Geller was picking up on a theme sounded a month earlier by long-time far-right propagandist Cliff Kincaid, who denounced Al Jazeera’s aspirations in North America. “Amazingly,” he wrote, “despite the savage attack [on 9/11] against the United States, al Jazeera was able to turn the tables against Washington by portraying the United States as waging war against Islam, and not in defense of its own security.” Geller will be the featured speaker Friday in Washington, D.C., at an “emergency” conference sponsored by Kincaid’s organization, America’s Survival, entitled “Al-Jazeera, Global Jihad and the Suicide of the West.”

Geller never explains exactly how she would stop al Jazeera’s access to the U.S. media market. Send federal agents into their studios to arrest its correspondents? Try the U.S. citizens on its payroll for treason? The one remedy Geller seems unwilling to trust is the classic one — allowing Americans to make up their own minds.

Then again, Geller doesn’t seem to have much passion for the First Amendment, even for Americans. “Freedom-loving people have to listen to the Katie Courics and the Matt Lauers and all the other schmucks in the mainstream media laud the coverage of Al Jazeera, while slamming and smearing Fox News,” she complains.

It’s not much of a surprise that it was the Daily Caller that published Geller’s latest rant. The online “news” operation was launched in January 2010 by former Dick Cheney adviser Neil Patel and right-wing commentator Tucker Carlson, who told The Washington Post that “we’re not enforcing any kind of ideological orthodoxy” on the site’s writers. But that turned out to be patently untrue — in fact, the Daily Caller seems clearly to specialize in attacking people like liberal commentator Keith Olbermann and then-Washington Post blogger David Weigel. Perhaps its most ridiculous attack came this Jan. 22, when John Rossomando wrote a ludicrous piece attacking the SPLC because a piece written by Hatewatch Editor Mark Potok had been reprinted on the website of the newspaper of the Communist Party USA. Although the article had been offered free to whoever cared to print it by a nonprofit that helps market “progressive” ideas, Rossomando’s article suggested that Potok’s failure to denounce its republication by CPUSA somehow put the SPLC in bed with Communists. All in all, it was a performance worthy of Joe McCarthy.

Geller’s latest round of speaking isn’t limited to lecturing Alaska lawmakers or Cliff Kincaid’s far-right outfit on the non-existent “threat” of Shariah law. On April 9, she makes her way into the world of the antigovernment “Patriot” movement that produced so much violence in the 1990s. The San Fernando (Calif.) Valley Patriots is co-hosting the West Coast premiere of the SIOA propaganda film “The Ground Zero Mosque: The Second Wave of the 9/11 Attacks,” with co-producers Geller and Robert Spencer – with whom she co-founded SIOA – in attendance.

  • Oberon

    Geller obviously cares more about Israel than the US and should move there. She is a pathetic excuse for a human.

  • Former Geller Colleague

    On Geller’s propaganda site she lies about her bio/resume. I know because I worked with her at the NY Observer. Here’s what she says, “Pamela Geller began her publishing career at The New York Daily News and subsequently took over operation of The New York Observer as Associate Publisher.”

    In reality, Geller was put in charge of display advertising. The paper had a Managing Editor who was in charge of operation of the paper.

    Her resume exaggeration is a lie and Geller knows it. How much other stuff does Geller exaggerate and lie about.

    Having worked with this nutjob, she’s more than ethically challenged.

  • jgt2598

    Ruslan,
    Yes, as always, prejudice is never generated, merely recycled. The same can be seen with the Gay Rights movement, much of the criticism of this movement (though not all) is merely recycled criticism from the civil rights movement with the the words “Negro”, “Black”, and “N****r” swapped for “Homosexual”, “Gay”, and “F****t”.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    “Taqqiya” is a buzz-word used to discredit any Muslim who doesn’t espouse what people like Spencer or Geller say real Islam is. It is similar to the way anti-Semites claimed that the Talmud instructs Jews to lie about what the Talmud really says if a Gentile should ask them. In this way, when someone explains what a particular Talmudic item actually means, the anti-Semite can simply point to their phony verse and say that he/she is lying as instructed. And if they should challenge that claim- well, same deal.

  • DeucePrez

    zionTalker:

    While you’re slowly but surely coming around the the truth that your heroine’s a bold-faced LIAR by acknowledging the character flaw that you did detect, you’re now overlooking the fact that you’ve accepted Pam Geller’s (and other Islamaphobes’) definition of taqiyya.

    In short, only Shi’a Muslims even use that tactic and only in rare circumstances; NEVER “in the cause of the propagation of Islam”, as liars claim. NOTE: While Shites represent the largest minority sect of Muslims, they are still a MINORITY and do not represent the other 90% of all other Muslims.

    Slowly, but surely, the scales are being removed from people’s eyes and they are beginning to see the Islamaphobes for the true liars that they really are. I give credit where credit’s due. You’re on that path now….

  • Mitch Beales

    Perhaps the SPLC will denounce the publication of it’s material on the CP’s website when Republican leaders denounce “birthers.”

  • Mitch Beales

    The CPUSA certainly did some great work with the Alabama Sharecroppers’ Union and similar organizations in the years after the Russian revolution. I highly recommend All God’s Dangers, the autobiography of a man who was a member. http://nathanielturner.com/all.....teshaw.htm Unfortunately, in my opinion, the CPUSA made the mistake of backing Stalin and his increasingly authoritarian regime. This unsupportable position contributed to terrible setbacks for the workers movement that have continued until this day.

  • Jordan

    “The Communist Party USA backed Hitler after the Nazi-Soviet pact.”
    And the Nazis started an American branch that attracted over 2 million members in New York state alone.
    CM,
    Thank you for posting those biblical passages (not that the right wingers won’t just ignore them).

  • Ian

    Ruslan,

    When did I say the CPUSA “backed Hitler”?

  • majii

    Geller gave a telephone interview. Geller and other Americans who believe what she believes ab out Islam are entitled to their opinions, but the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment trumps whatever they have to say. End of discussion.

  • CM

    LaAmericana, reading the Quran in classical Arabic or any other language won’t tell you anything about what the Hadith express, because they are not in the Quran: They are traditions about the Prophet, outside the Quran, and they are not all held in equal esteem by Muslim scholars. I’m guessing you’ve been listening to the kind of “former Muslims” that get trotted out on the 700 Club and other equally reliable information sources.

    In any case, the point of my earlier comment, which I thought was pretty clear, was precisely that you can go poring through other people’s religious texts and pick out stuff that sounds terrible – especially when judged anachronistically and without regard to the cultural context – but in doing so you’re ignoring the spirit of the tradition as a whole, the spirit in which the majority of its adherents understand and practice it. That’s simply dishonest.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    “Fun fact. The Communist Party USA backed Hitler after the Nazi-Soviet pact. Not to mention the epithet fascism was applied to anyone on the left who disagreed with the CPUSA’s position. Even FDR was denounced by CPUSA as a “fascist.””

    Incorrect, the CPUSA did not “back Hitler”. Ditto to you, Ian.

  • kate

    If Pam Geller had any sense at all she’d be concerned that the silicone in her grapefruit breasts might get tired of being connected to a moron and begin to rebel.

    Anthony: Go to school. You like so many wingnuts fail to understand history within context and thus, like a holy roller, trot out miscellaneous “facts” to support your silly positions. Fail.

  • Ian

    Ruslan,

    Either respond in a mature, reasonable fashion by showing either what I said that was inaccurate or what piece of important information I omitted, or do not respond at all.

  • Anthony DiMettrea

    Fun fact. The Communist Party USA backed Hitler after the Nazi-Soviet pact. Not to mention the epithet fascism was applied to anyone on the left who disagreed with the CPUSA’s position. Even FDR was denounced by CPUSA as a “fascist.”

    Nothing like a little regressive, sorry “progressive” ignorance.

    Anthony

  • Anthony DiMettrea

    The ridiculous thing is the Southern Poverty Law Center is oblivious to the fact it has drifted so far to the left that its ideology has become indistinguishable from the Communist Party USA, which by the way renounced the overthrow of the U.S. government decades ago.

    It should be disturbing to SPLC if it were a mainstream liberal organization that extremist Marxists view it as an ally. If a Republican politician wrote an article that found its way onto Stormfront or into another white supremacist publication, SPLC would be hounding them up and down.

    SPLC itself has become a mirror image of the KKK.

  • LaAmericana

    Well CM,

    Are you Western yourself? Or are you/is your family from the East/Islamic background?

    Because I sure know quite a few non-Western intellectuals and linguists who speak several Semitic languages, and who could tell you that if read the Quran in classical Arabic, the language is quite expressful in parts of the Hadith and Verses that condone murder and violence and “supremacy” over non-Muslims. Supremacy behind any ideology always leads to trouble.

    CM said:
    “Let’s gloss over the passing reference to the purely propagandistic claim, popular among right-wing Christians, that Islam isn’t really a religion but a political ideology. Instead, let’s note first the fundamentally imperialistic attitude that sees Western intellectuals as better equipped to interpret non-Westerners’ traditions than the non-Westerners themselves. Then let’s ask how much you’d like it if some outsider applied the same thinking to your own religion/ideology”

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Ian, don’t embarrass yourself any further. Then again the more ignorant one is, the harder it is for them to be embarrassed.

  • legalhound

    I started reading Al Jazeera online when I was still debating because it was helpful to know more than what was available just from US sources. I know get Al Jazeera through my Roku box and couldn’t be happier with their coverage. They don’t slant the news and dont exaggerate, which is more than I can say for some of our domestic sources. The one that isn’t allowed to broadcast in Canada as news because Canada doesn’t allow news agencies to lie comes to mind.
    Roku doesn’t discriminate in it’s newscaster channel. They include all of the domestic news channels as well. Those channels just allow Roku to have a few shows, while Al Jazeera does live streaming. I guess they aren’t as concerned with profit, which might have more to do with the quality of their coverage. Not one bit of it has been pro-Islamic unless you object to other human beings being portrayed as human.

  • Charles Dan Austin

    This woman needs to realize the U.S. Constitution does not discriminate in regard to religious liberties or unreligious liberties either. I have been reading Al Jazeera on line when I wanted too since the collapse of the World Trade Center in New York. They furnished more credible news than the New York Times in most cases as did the World Socialist Website out of England. The only one who has deserved censorship in my opinion is Pam Geller.

  • CM

    zionTalker objects to Geller’s advocacy of censorship but not to her “reasonable point that the Koran and hadiths, classically interpreted, lead to the objectionable position” of violent radicalism, which is “the ultimate position that [American Muslim converts'] adherence to their new religion/political ideology leads to.”

    Let’s gloss over the passing reference to the purely propagandistic claim, popular among right-wing Christians, that Islam isn’t really a religion but a political ideology. Instead, let’s note first the fundamentally imperialistic attitude that sees Western intellectuals as better equipped to interpret non-Westerners’ traditions than the non-Westerners themselves. Then let’s ask how much you’d like it if some outsider applied the same thinking to your own religion/ideology:

    “And Israel vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou wilt indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities. And the Lord hearkened to the voice of Israel, and delivered up the Canaanites; and they utterly destroyed them and their cities …. ” (Numbers 21:2-3)

    “And the Lord said unto Moses, Fear him not: for I have delivered him into thy hand, and all his people, and his land … So they smote him, and his sons, and all his people, until there was none left him alive: and they possessed his land.” (Numbers 21:34-35)

    “… of the cities of these people, which the Lord thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breathes.” (Deuteronomy 20:16)

    In Numbers 31, Moses rebukes the Israelites for not being sufficiently murderous: They conquer Midian, but instead of killing the women and children, they take them as spoils of battle. “And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the Lord. Now therefore kill every male among the little ones [i.e., boys], and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children [i.e., girls], that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.”

    Then there’s the extraordinary itinerary of Joshua 10:28-40 in which the Israelites conquer and raze seven cities and massacre all their inhabitants; it concludes: “So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the Lord God of Israel commanded.”

    There are numerous other examples (including the notorious line in Psalm 137 about smashing babies against the rocks), but this is already overkill. If someone wants go through a text and construct a hostile interpretation, the Bible offers plenty to work with.

  • Ian

    “[The CPUSA was] organizing Americans to fight fascism[...]”

    Taking a brief breather from 1939 to 1941, or course.

  • zionTalker

    I’m a big fan of Pam Geller’s. However, in this rare instance, I have to agree with her critics. She did seem to be suggesting that Al Jazeera should be censored for the sake of free speech. 1984-style doublethink is out of character for her. That acknowledged, I do think your characterization of SIOA’s position as “all devout Muslims in America are really violent radicals plotting to dislodge the Constitution and install a Shariah-driven Islamic caliphate over the United States” exaggerates her reasonable point that the Koran and hadiths, classically interpreted, lead to the objectionable position you claim she accuses all devout Muslims in America of taking. Many American Muslims are too new to the religion and too removed from its root to understand and adopt the ultimate position that adherence to their new religion/political ideology leads to. The fault is not in the disciple but in the discipline. Because of Taquiya, it can at times, however, be quite difficult to separate the fascists from the fair-minded.

  • http://earleydaysyet.Tumblr.com EarleyDaysYet

    Concerned Citizen – you “distrust” Al-Jazeera because…? …its name is Arabic so it sounds evil? As long as it’s not promoting extremism or propaganda, why not judge it on its merits instead of on the opinion of your cousin’s moonshine-swillin’, tabakka-chew’n’, toothless, cabin-in-the-woods-dwelling friend?

  • Jordan

    Concerned Citizen,
    Since you apperantly have the right to deem things “un-American” (and evidently censorship isn’t on your list of “un-American” things) with no sources what so ever. I here by deem you pro-white, and “un-American”, can we censor you now?

  • Louis

    I have a sterling idea for Concerned Citizen & Mark. Why not just watch the shows on Al Jazeera, then make your own judgment call. It sure beats censorship! That is how America works.

  • Michael

    Amazing how closed minded people like Ms. geller, and people who think like her are…I’d call them Christian extremists, and in my view just as dangerous as the Muslim extremists, they rail against…Of course in their sick twisted view, I’m sure they see Osama bin Laden, and his supporters behind every tree, and rock…And I’m sure in their view every Muslim is a terrorist…These people are out of their minds…I would suggest to people of their ilk…Get a Life…

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    “Perhaps its most ridiculous attack came this Jan. 22, when John Rossomando wrote a ludicrous piece attacking the SPLC because a piece written by Hatewatch Editor Mark Potok had been reprinted on the website of the newspaper of the Communist Party USA. Although the article had been offered free to whoever cared to print it by a nonprofit that helps market “progressive” ideas, Rossomando’s article suggested that Potok’s failure to denounce its republication by CPUSA somehow put the SPLC in bed with Communists. All in all, it was a performance worthy of Joe McCarthy.”

    Fun Fact: Today the CPUSA is nothing but a front for Democrats(there are rumors that it will be changing its name and no longer calling itself “Communist”. Just as well as it doesn’t deserve the title), but there was a time when the CPUSA was not only at the forefront of the civil rights struggle in the 20s and 30s, but they were organizing Americans to fight fascism while the Glenn Beck’s of that era were praising Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco.

  • jerilyn kay miller

    Oh geez iz! Pam Geller , this is to you. You are one of the most ignorant,persons that i have ever read of or known of. I’d like to know how you manage to ”con” some people into paying you speak anywhere? I am not surprised that you are speaking the Alaskan congress , as that is a right of an American citizen. I sincerely hope that the people attending will be able to stifle their laughter , because i couldn’t if i was able to attend this. You are so wrong about Islam and what gives you the right to try to take my rights as an American citizen away from me. If you persist on trying to censor what i or any other American citizens reads or views, i am afraid you will have a big fight on your hands, And you are very much outnumbered, most of us here in America have enough intelligence to make up our own minds as to what is right n’ wrong. So stop insulting my intelligence and quit wasting taypayers money with ”gibberish” to talk publicly at congress. jeri wi usa

  • The Omega Man

    Do they think if it gets on the cable and satellite networks, viewing it will somehow become compulsory? We do have the freedom in this country to pick and chose what to watch or not watch and what to listen to or not listen too. Why don’t you turn off the TV and read a book?

  • R. Weber

    Have you ever watched it? I thought not. It’s actually one of the few unbiased sources of news out there. Unlike Fox News. The rest of our corporate-owned mainstream media is also far from being liberal.

  • Sam Molloy

    They can’t be any crazier than Fox News

  • Mark

    These Muslim extremists are very bad people and should be ousted at every turn!!

  • Concerned Citizen

    I agree with Ms Geller. I don’t trust Al Jazeera. Get serious folks. Al Jazeera is pro Arab, anti American and anti Israel, that says it all. Enough for me to agrre with her. God bless this woman. She cares about Ameica. Way to go Ms. Geller!

  • Jordan

    For all the crying about “freedom of speech” from the far right, the only ones doing any censorship are them. Everytime the SPLC releases a new list of hate groups the far-right supporters claim that the SPLC is ‘censoring’ them.

    Censoring (v): “to examine in order to suppress or delete anything considered objectionable ; also: to suppress or delete as objectionable.”
    -Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary

    The SPLC has not once asked that their hate filled comments be either suppressed or deleted, yet now the Islamophobes want to censor a news station (which actually is in violation of the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights). And most ironically of all her claim is that it is to “protect free speech”, from WHO!? Al Jazeera isn’t calling for anyone’s censorship, the defenders of Al Jazeera’s freedom of speech and freedom of press aren’t calling for anyone’s censorship, the far-right are the only ones advocating censorship. Someone posted before that “comparing [Pam Geller's] kind of hate to Hitler’s” is completely not valid because all her “kind of hate” did was produce a cheap movie, well now her “kind of hate” is trying to take out the First Amendment, looks like she upgraded.

  • Paen

    In a differenr era such people would be raving about the yellow peril or the world jewish conspiaracy.Since 911 however its the Muslims who are getting slandered by these bigots.

  • CM

    Interesting, both Stop Islamization of America and its “parent” organization, American Freedom Defense Initiative, were incorporated last May (in New Hampshire), but the Internal Revenue Service doesn’t seem to have any record of either entity as a nonprofit that can accept tax-deductible donations.

    Maybe that’s why their websites direct people to donate instead to David Horowitz’s Jihad Watch, of which Geller’s associate Robert Spencer is the director. That “program of the David Horowitz Freedom Center” does have a listing with the IRS. Horowitz, of course, has been out there for years witch-hunting “liberals” among our university faculties, so it’s not surprising that his allies would have a somewhat contorted idea of what “freedom” means.

  • Ryan

    A bigoted piece of legislation supported by hate groups goes by the designation Bill 88. How appropriate.

  • Lucette

    Al Jazeera English can be watched on Facebook. The page is “Al Jazeera English”. Click on “watch live”.

  • Sam Molloy

    We’d better join the world that’s developing in the Middle East so it doesn’t go off the deep end of radicalism.

  • John

    “…the chattering classes”? I presume that includes everybody who does not agree with her. Also, given the state of corporate media in this country, the more outlets for independent news the better.