Pamela Geller has written a new, WorldNetDaily-published book, Stop the Islamization of America. The book shares its name with the organization she runs, which the Southern Poverty Law Center identifies as an anti-Muslim "hate group." As one would expect from someone with an extensive history of hate speech and extremist rhetoric -- so much so that her work was cited by Norwegian massacre suspect Anders Breivik -- the book is more of the same, presented as a how-to guide for activists. There's lots of name-calling, lots of self-promotion, a dose of revisionism and, for some reason, lots of quoting of Ayn Rand, complete with Geller's dedication of her book to "the individual."
In this slim tone (less than 200 pages including endnotes and the index), all the usual Geller targets and tropes are here -- declaring that the proposed "Ground Zero mosque" is "triumphal," railing against honor killings, and ranting that Sharia law is "the most radical and intolerant system of governance on the face of the earth." She also touts her group's battle to run anti-Muslim ads on buses and bus shelters in several cities. There's also a freakout about "secret halal meat" that may be "going to public school lunch programs."
Geller engages in a lot of name-calling as well: Christiane Amanpour is a "notorious stealth jihadist ... whose obvious Jew-hatred and predilection for submission has become the hallmark of her embarrassing career," Diane Sawyer is a "[d]himmi," Sen. Dick Durbin is a "useful idiot," Rep. Keith Ellison is a "stealth jihadist," the British newspaper The Guardian is "notoriously leftist and morally bankrupt," and the pro-Israel organization J Street is "an anti-Israel, anti-Semitic, fringe organization that no one took seriously." She also laughably calls Fox News "a center-left news organization."
Geller claims her group is "not against Islam or Muslims as such, but against the political and supremacist character of Islam as enunciated by Muhammad, the Muslim prophet who declared, 'Islam must dominate, and not be dominated.' " For instance, she claims that the ads she has tried to place on municipal buses throughout the country were not "anti-Muslim," but "merely offered help to those threatened with death in America for leaving Islam, under Islam's traditional death penalty for apostasy." But in her book, she repeatedly attacks "Muslims" and "Islam" without making any distinction between the religion and the "political and supremacist character" she purports to be criticizing, leaving the unmistakable impression that she's completely and utterly anti-Islam.
Geller vs. the SPLC and Soros
Geller devotes most of one chapter of her book to denouncing the SPLC for listing her "human rights organization," Stop Islamization of America, as a hate group. As in the rest of her book, the ad hominem attacks fly: According to Geller, the SPLC is a "subversive uber-leftwing fringe group" that "was designated as a Communist front" during the Soviet era. She asserts that "[i]t was essentially run by a couple, Anne and Carl Braden, who were Communist Party USA members." She writes that today's SPLC "continue[s] their work to subvert and destroy America." She continued to rant: "I equate the Southern Poverty Law Center coming out for Islamic supremacists with the same organization coming out for Nazis."*
Geller's assertion about the Bradens appears to bear no relation to reality. The SPLC pointed out to Geller that the organization was founded in 1971 by "Alabama civil rights lawyers Morris Dees and Joe Levin, both of whom remain active in the organization today." Geller responded by insisting that her account was accurate and that her source was "a Communist Party insider" who "worked for a Communist Party bookstore between 1978 and 1983."
Geller went on to highlight the creation of a "Threats to Freedom Index" by one of the groups she runs:
Who appointed the Media Matters, the SPLC, or the mainstream media the judge and arbiter of what constitutes a hate group? My own group, the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), of which SIOA is a program, is much better equipped to identify such groups, since we are much more realistic about the real threats facing America today.
Needless to say, the SPLC is on that list, as is right-wing bogeyman George Soros, about whom she repeats the fabrication that he "assisted the Nazis" during World War II.
Geller vs. the media
As her insults of media figures indicate, Geller can't stand news organizations that treat Muslims with respect. In her book, Geller bashes the Society of Professional Journalists for issuing guidelines after the 9-11 attacks on how to "take steps against racial profiling in their coverage of the war on terrorism." Geller declared that this was "sheer propaganda" that was "deliberately misleading the American people." Here are the guidelines that Geller finds so offensive:
- Seek out people from a variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds when photographing Americans mourning those lost in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.
- Seek truth through a variety of voices and perspectives that help audiences understand the complexities of the events in Pennsylvania, New York City and Washington, D.C.
- Seek out experts on military strategies, public safety, diplomacy, economics and other pertinent topics who run the spectrum of race, class, gender and geography.
- Regularly seek out a variety of perspectives for your opinion pieces. Check your coverage against the five Maynard Institute for Journalism Education fault lines of race and ethnicity, class, geography, gender and generation.
Here's Geller's "translation" of these commonsense guidelines: "despite the horror, murder, and bloodshed of jihad, don't tell the people. That is what is important: the scrubbing of the truth. In effect, they are aiding in the self-enforcement of the Sharia (blasphemy laws)." Geller also wrote:
Portray the beheaders, the homicide bombers, and the infiltrators in the "richness of their diverse experience"? You mean the stonings, amputations, Sharia law, clitorectomies, Jew-hatred, Hindu-hatred, the brutal conquests of India and Persia, and the caliphate? Yes, infidels, that is the poisonous fruit of the revered institution of multiculturalism.
At one point Geller asserts: "The global jihad has every news organization at its heel. The BBC. NBC. CBS. ABC. The New York Times. The Guardian. Where can freedom-loving people get their news? Only from the Net."
Geller vs. Jasser
Geller declares that Zuhdi Jasser -- a Muslim whom you'd think she would consider an ally, given his frequent appearances on Fox News to denounce radical Islam -- is "anything but representative of the Muslim community in America. Jasser's Islam does not exist." She went on to assert that Jasser "cannot educate about the threat, because he obfuscates the truth and has invented the Islam he follows" because he "referred to Israel as occupied territory" and "downplay[ed] the reality of Islamic anti-Semitism" in an interview she conducted with him in 2007 on her Web radio show.
Geller was far more solicitous of Jasser on that radio show than in her book. She began the show by praising him as a "courageous, heroic icon -- yet-to-be icon" and saying "he takes on the devil." She concluded that very same interview by saying, "I support you, I support what you're trying to do," and at the end of it, said to him: "I do think that you're a great man, and I think you're a hero. ... Listen, I'm behind you."
In the next couple of years, something seems to have gone wrong between her and Jasser. Geller was clearly upset with him in a 2009 blog post, and earlier this year, Jasser published a response to her attacks on him in relation to Rep. Peter King's anti-Muslim hearings in Congress.
"Secret halal meat"
In a chapter on "cultural jihad," Geller covers subjects like "The Islamic/Leftist Alliance," "The Mosqueing of the Workplace," and "the Islamization of the Schools." There's also a section on "Secret Halal Meat," in which she highlights "numerous explosive revelations" about "the little-reported fact that much of the meat in Europe is being processed as halal and yet sold without the halal label." Geller declared this to be "a little-known strike against freedom" and that "we are being forced into consuming meat slaughtered by means of a barbaric, torturous, and inhuman method: Islamic slaughter, the cutting of the animal's throat without stunning or any other form of mitigation for the animal's pain." Geller went on to assert that it "appears clear" that "some of this halal meat is going to public school lunch programs."
This tirade is reminiscent of Geller's call for a boycott last year over Campbell's Soup for taking part in the "cultural jihad" by introducing a line of halal soups. In the book, Geller insists that the boycott isn't over the soups themselves (that's a "dishonest" depiction from the "leftist media," she claims); rather, "what we objected to was their using a Muslim Brotherhood-linked group as their halal authority." In fact, the organization in question, the Islamic Society of North America, is a mainstream Muslim group, so much so that the Department of Justice has reportedly set up information tables at the group's conventions.
Geller's how-to tips
Since Geller's book is ostensibly a how-to guide for "freedom lovers" battling "jihadist initiatives in local communities," there are tips scattered throughout the book offering advice on how to do that. Among them:
- "Read anything by Ayn Rand that you can get your hands on." (Geller didn't mention that Rand was an avowed atheist.)
- "Always carry an American flag. This is what you are fighting to defend, and it should always have a prized and central place in all your demonstrations and protests."
- "Carry signs with the pictures of mosque leaders and organizers, detailing their ties to jihad killers."
- "Do not carry inflammatory signs or allow them to be displayed at your rally. ... People on our side know that we are fighting against Islamization because Islamic law contravenes American freedoms in numerous particulars. Such signs at your protest could therefore be evidence of Leftist/Islamic infiltration."
- "Do not taunt the Muslims who may be demonstrating in opposition to you. ... Remember again that the mainstream is predatory, and hates you. Reporters will be looking for anything they can use to frame Muslims as innocent victims and the people at your demonstration as ignorant, racist, redneck yahoos."
Geller also offers to publicize anti-Muslim protests if people email photos of them to her: "I will cover it and give the story legs."
Geller uses her book to peddle revisionist history about her activities. For instance, she claimed that the "Rally of Remembrance" she staged last year drew a crowd that was "so large, it stretched as far as the eye could see; you could not see the horizon from our stage." But even she conceded that the New York Post estimated that only 2,500 attended her rally, although she claimed that figure was only "marginally more honest" than those reported by other outlets.
After complaining that the SPLC noted that she "has questioned whether President Obama was born in America," Geller responded: "Actually, in the past, like many Americans, I simply pointed out that the president had never produced the long-form birth certificate that would definitively put to rest the questions about his place of birth. ... When Obama finally did produce a long-form birth certificate, the document he produced raised more questions than it answered."
Geller did much more than point out that Obama did not release his long-form birth certificate -- she touted the work of someone going by the name of "Techdude" to claim that the short-form birth certificate "is a horrible forgery," further asserting that "the previous ovner [sic] of Obama's forged birth certificate is a 'female.' " Geller also cited Techdude's supposedly "detailed images of RGB value heat maps" to forward the idea that Obama hadn't released his long-form birth certificate because the name listed on it is "Barry Soetoro."
And Geller didn't simply note that Obama's long-form birth certificate "raised more questions than it answered"; she appeared on Fox Business' Follow the Money to spin conspiracy theories with host Eric Bolling, who introduced her as "a leader in the birther movement for years." Alongside a blown-up image of the long-form birth certificate, Geller asserted that "this is actually not a birth certificate." She went on to agree with Bolling that the border around the birth certificate "had to be Photoshopped in."
In sum, Geller's book is her usual mix of dishonesty and Islamophobia -- a word Geller huffily dismisses as "a term that Islamic supremacists use to enforce what they can of Islamic blasphemy laws in the West."
*This passage was updated to include a quote omitted during editing.