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Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, co-heads of the anti-Muslim hate group Stop Islamization of America (SIOA), have truly outdone themselves.
In the wake of European authorities’ cancellation of a planned rally in Strasbourg, France, the pair has announced its most grandiose plan yet: On Sept. 11, 2011, the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, SIOA plans to launch a “Freedom from Jihad aid flotilla” called The Audacity of the Infidel. The plan is, in part, meant to mock past and planned flotillas organized by leftists to bring aid to the Gaza Strip, which has been isolated by Israel.
Strasbourg officials put the kibosh on the planned summit, which was to have taken place this Saturday, due to security concerns over protests planned by antifascist groups and what SOIA characterized as “Islamic supremacist organizations.”
(Violent left-wing protests are more common in Europe than they are in the U.S. As Geller and Spencer point out, Strasbourg was also the site of a 2009 demonstration against NATO that turned violent when about 1,000 “Black Bloc” anarchists attacked police and set a hotel on fire. Also in 2009, an anti-Muslim rally in London organized by SIOA’s sister organization, Stop Islamisation of Europe, and the anti-Muslim English Defence League (EDL) ended badly, with riot police shielding the anti-Muslim demonstrators from a vastly larger crowd of counter-protesters.)
“The SIOA/SIOE Freedom From Jihad aid flotilla is intended to be a direct response to the capitulation of French, European, and American authorities to Leftist and Islamic supremacist forces of oppression and injustice,” the SIOA announcement says. “The mission is the first attempt by free citizens anywhere in the world to come to the aid of non-Muslims persecuted for their faith in Muslim countries.”
This is not strictly true. Though history shows that the Crusades were ultimately far more about conquest than virtue, in a 1095 speech at the Council of Clermont, Pope Urban II urged Christians to take up arms and rescue their “brethren” in the East: “As the most of you have heard, the Turks and Arabs have attacked them,” he said. “I, or rather the Lord, beseech you … to carry aid promptly to those Christians and to destroy that vile race from the lands of our friends.”
Traveling much the same path that the Crusaders did, the SIOA/SIOE flotilla will stop in Greece, sail along the Turkish coast, and stop in Egypt – where, according to Geller and Spencer’s announcement, “All Coptic Christians seeking to escape Islamic oppression will be saved.” It will also visit Nigeria, Pakistan, Indonesia “and other areas where Christians are facing persecution from Muslims, they said. The expansive itinerary even includes stops in Bangladesh (to help Hindus) and Thailand (to help Buddhists).
The cancellation of the Strasbourg summit, Geller and Spencer wrote, is just more evidence that the flotilla is needed. “When our governing authorities are refusing to protect freedom, we have to do it ourselves.”
As it turns out, the summit was doomed by more than just counter-protests.
Roberta Moore, head of the EDL’s Jewish Division, was to have joined Spencer, Geller, SIOE Director Anders Gravers, and others on Saturday at the now-cancelled Strasbourg rally. But just yesterday, Moore quit her position at the EDL. In an open letter posted on the EDL’s Facebook page, she wrote, “While we are aware that the EDL is doing a fantastic job, … there are elements within that have hijacked the EDL for their own Nazi purposes. I do not wish to be part of it any longer.” The EDL’s fascist tendencies were already well known to most people.
But Geller, who has been a steady booster of the EDL and even invited the thuggish group to join her at her rally last Sept. 11 against the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque,” only finally repudiated the organization in an item posted this morning on her “Atlas Shrugs” blog. “When the EDL first came on the scene, I noted their strong support of Israel: Israeli flags at their rallies, and forthright expressions of solidarity with the Jewish State in its resistance to the same relentless jihad that is advancing in Britain,” she wrote. “[T]he presence of the Jewish division was decisive.”
Geller admitted to having been “troubled” by images of EDL members giving the Nazi salute, but said she had been sure that the group was committed to expelling all anti-Semites and fascist sympathizers.
“However,” she wrote this morning, “it has become increasingly clear that the EDL has morphed and diverged from its original course. They now have clearly been infiltrated by the worst kind of influences, something that had successfully staved off for years, and they’re no longer staving it off. …Now that the person whom I most trusted in the EDL, Roberta Moore, has resigned, as she was increasingly uncomfortable with the neo-fascists that had infiltrated the administration of the group, I too am withdrawing my support from the EDL.”