Right-wing media have expressed outrage over President Obama hugging Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the G-20 summit, claiming that Obama is "hugging enemies [and] abandoning allies." In fact, Turkey is an ally of the United States via its membership in NATO; moreover, this is just the latest example of the right-wing media's obsession with how Obama greets leaders.
On the Friday edition of his Fox News show, Sean Hannity invited Pamela Geller, head of the anti-Muslim group Stop the Islamization of America, to discuss events in Libya and the Middle East. The Southern Poverty Law Center identifies Geller's organization as an anti-Muslim "hate group," and Geller herself has an extensive history of hate speech and extremist rhetoric -- both of which she brought to her Hannity appearance.
Geller engaged in her usual anti-Muslim ranting, declaring that Sharia law "discriminates against women and non-Muslims, it restricts the freedom of speech and freedom of conscience." After being asked by Hannity how many Muslims are radicalized, Geller replied, "I don't think they're radical, I think they're devout." She seemed to think Moammar Gadhafi had been doing just fine as Libya's leader: "I think we have to question why we went into Libya. Libya had, after the Bush doctrine, abandoned their unconventional weapons, abandoned their WMD, was selling oil to us, less than the Saudi Arabians. I mean, why did we go into Libya then? Why didn't we go after the real devil?"
That "devil," apparently, is Iran. Geller declared that Iran was "the only site of the real Arab revolution," with protesting women in "lipstick, high heels, lipstick, and hijab." (Most residents of Iran are ethnic Persians, not Arabs.) She then outrageously asserted that President Obama "did nothing, he mowed them down in the street."
Hannity, meanwhile, joined in the extremist spirit, phrasing the question of how the United States works with the post-Mubarak government in Egypt as, "How you do think with evil people? What do you say, 'Please be nice? Pretty please? Sugar on top?' " Hannity then said, "You know what I would do if I was President Obama? I would join with Israel and knock out Iranian nuclear sites tomorrow."
The Houston Chronicle is reporting that The Sugar Land Hyatt canceled a tea party event featuring Pamela Geller after protests by the Sugar Land Democrats Club drew attention to Geller's rampant Islamophobia. Sugar Land's Hyatt Place manager stated the cancelation was due to the "business disruptions" Geller's appearance was creating. Geller, a right-wing activist, was scheduled to deliver an address and promote her new book Stop the Islamization of America.
Although the Sugar Land Hyatt decided not to host Geller, she regularly finds a home at Fox News Channel to spew hate. In an April 13, 2010 post on her blog, Geller claimed that President Obama was "a third worlder and a coward" who would "do nothing but beat up on our friends to appease his Islamic overlords." In July 2010, Geller appeared on Fox News' Hannity, and was asked whether she thought Barack Obama was anti-Semitic. Geller said that she did.
As a guest on Fox's Fox & Friends, Geller once claimed that building an Islamic community center in New York City near Ground Zero was like "stab[bing] Americans in the eye." In a later edition of the show, Geller pushed the falsehood that the cultural center would open on September 11, 2011, in order to promote her belief that the center was a mockery of 9/11.
Geller has popped up on Fox Business to promote birtherism, and has theorized that Barack Obama is the son of Malcolm X. Her new book continues along a similar path. In a chapter on "cultural jihad," Geller 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."
When CBS' Scott Pelley asserted that Geller did not "tell the truth" on her blog during a 2010 interview, Geller responded to the 60 Minutes description by appearing on Fox News and saying that it was "part of the Islamic supremacist agenda."
Geller responded to the cancelation by posting the following response on her website Atlas Shrugs:
The quisling cowards at the Hyatt Place Sugar Land caved to intimidation, but that didn't stop freedom lovers from coming to hear me speak. The event was held at the Sugar Land Community Center, and the house was packed. Hundreds came out to hear what the sharia forbids -- the truth. It was an amazing evening. I was struck by the number of apostates (former Muslims) in the house. Gd bless Texas!
In July, Islamophobe Pam Geller suggested that she supported impeaching President Obama on the basis of the myth that his administration supported the release of the Lockerbie bomber. Now she's found a new false rationale for impeachment: Obama's supposed knowledge of the ATF's failed Operation Fast and Furious.
Geller claims that both Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder knew the controversial operational details of that failed gunrunning sting, which is currently under DOJ and congressional investigation. Her evidence? Obama's support for economic recovery legislation which did not fund the operation, and a speech in which Holder did not talk about Fast and Furious.
In a post entitled "Direct Evidence: Holder Lied, Bragged About Project Gunrunner In Mexico In 2009," Geller wrote:
This is the most corrupt and criminal administration in American history. And their contempt and disgust for the American people is degenerate, rotten, scandalous. Holder must be fired. Obama should be impeached for Fast and Furious. The Republicans must uphold the laws of this country.
Geller points to a blog post which details how "despite... repeatedly denying knowledge of Project Gunrunner," Obama approved stimulus funding for the program and Holder gave a speech referencing it.
Apparently we need to point this out again: Project Gunrunner and Operation Fast and Furious are not the same thing.
Obama and Holder never denied knowing about Project Gunrunner, a high-profile effort begun under the Bush administration in which ATF agents were directed from other offices to the Mexican border region in order to reduce cross-border gun trafficking. They have consistently denied knowledge of the details of Fast and Furious, the failed operation run under Project Gunrunner by a team from the ATF's Phoenix office, in which agents allowed guns to be transferred to known traffickers in the hopes of building a complex conspiracy case against cartels.
Indeed, Fast and Furious was not begun until fall 2009, months after Holder's comment.
Even right-wing bloggers have pointed out that people making this conflation are wrong. But Geller apparently can't be bothered to fact-check.
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.
From the September 23 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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In a September 22 post on Andrew Breitbart's Big Government blog, anti-Muslim blogger Pamela Geller attacked the Park51 Islamic cultural center after it opened a photography exhibit because it had actually "broken ground on September 11, 2001." From Big Government (emphasis in original):
One year ago, Ground Zero Mosque leader Daisy Khan, the wife of stealth Islamic supremacist Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, said that they would be breaking ground on September 11, 2011 for the 15-story monster mosque going up in a building that was destroyed in the Islamic attack on America on 9/11. It was redundant. They had broken ground on September 11, 2001.
Still, for all this triumphalism, CNN still admits that the Park51 grifters "are not speculating about a timeline for construction." Nevertheless, "Park51's planners say they are committed to their original Lower Manhattan location. They are now seeking to raise $7 to $10 million in financing."
Give that money to the first responders. Don't build a mega-mosque at Ground Zero.
If Pam Geller organizes a protest against the Park51 Islamic community center, but there's no sustained media hype to accompany it, does it make a sound?
Not really. Although Fox News continues to promote Geller, and despite the best efforts of Dick Morris to remind Fox News viewers of Park51 at every opportunity, the issue's draw power has declined remarkably since last August. Geller's first protest against the "Ground Zero Mosque" benefited from a right-wing hype campaign with origins in coverage by the News Corp.-owned New York Post. It soon spread to Fox News and other media, becoming one of the biggest manufactured stories of the summer.
This year the news cycle was less kind to Geller's crusade, which hosted its second rally yesterday timed to the tenth anniversary of 9/11. With the nation focused on remembering and mourning the dead, Geller's protest at its peak drew no more than two hundred people, who barely filled a narrow gated pen on West Broadway, a few blocks from Ground Zero. "Last year's was so much bigger," said a protestor holding a sign reading, Mohammed was a Terrorist. "The media didn't cover this or our issues this year." Among those at the protest who also experienced considerably less media attention in 2011 was Terry Jones, the Florida preacher who made headlines last year for burning a Koran.
So it's no surprise that Fox News leapt on an op-ed published last week in the Times with the title, "Don't Fear Islamic Law in America." The op-ed argued that recent efforts by certain states to outlaw Sharia, or Islamic law, "fosters a hostile environment that will stymie the growth of America's tolerant strand of Islam."
Fox News, however, interpreted the op-ed's conclusion as the Times' calling for "America ... to embrace Sharia law," as Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy said. On today's show, Doocy invited conservative blogger Pamela Geller to bash the Times op-ed and fearmonger about pending Sharia doom.
From the September 8 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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In an August 31 post on her blog Atlas Shrugs, Pamela Geller called the guidelines released by the Obama administration on observing the 10th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, "Islamic supremacist 'talking points' disrespecting our war dead and whitewashing the incalculable cost of the jihadist war on America." From Atlas Shrugs:
The Obama administration defended the marking of 9/11 with Islamic supremacist "talking points" disrespecting our war dead and whitewashing the incalculable cost of the jihadist war on America. This crushing act of appeasement is for ....
.....the creation of a "positive, forward-looking narrative."
The leftist/Islamic machine is in full throttle now, with the White House strong-arming officials to omit who attacked us and why we were attacked. The White House has issued guidelines detailing what the White House has deemed the important themes that must be discussed, as well as the tone the 9/11 observances should take.
If this is not surrender, what is?
In the weeks before the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, right-wing media figures have renewed their attacks on President Obama for calling for a National Day of Service on September 11. However, in 2009, a majority of Republican senators voted to establish a 9-11 National Day of Service, and President Bush routinely called on Americans to volunteer on September 11.
The anti-Muslim segment of the conservative media has identified yet another Republican as a traitor to America because he is supposedly too close to Muslims. The current target is Governor Rick Perry (R-TX), labeled as the "5th column candidate" by Pamela Geller because of his ties to Muslim leader Aga Khan IV and others.
Right-wing bloggers and radio host Michael Savage have baselessly suggested that the Obama administration, including the president, took actions that caused the deaths of 30 American troops killed when the Taliban shot down their helicopter in Afghanistan on August 6.
In January, after New Jersey's Republican Governor Chris Christie first announced his nomination of attorney Sohail Mohammed for a Superior Court judgeship, he quickly came under fire from a right-wing blogosphere warning of Mohammed's "dirty Islamist ties" and the ever-popular creeping shariah.
Mohammed, a Muslim born in southern India, has "close ties with New Jersey's judicial and law enforcement communities," who describe him as "an important resource" in bridging gaps with the Muslim community. But such facts are irrelevant to the likes of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, which called him a "longtime mouthpiece for radical Islamists," or blogger Pam Geller, who decreed Christie was "in bed with the enemy."
The attacks on Mohammed and Christie continued for months. Finally, asked about the criticism during a press conference last week, Christie lashed out at the "ignorance" of his opponents, slamming them for their "crazy" behavior.
CHRISTIE: Ignorance is behind the criticism of Sohail Mohammed. Sohail Mohammed is an extraordinary American, who is an outstanding lawyer and played an integral role in the post-September 11 period in building bridges between the Muslim American community in this state and law enforcement ... Shariah law has nothing to do with this at all. It's crazy ... This Shariah law business is crap. It's just crazy, and I'm tired of dealing with the crazies.
Christie's comments have drawn plaudits from the editorial board of the New Jersey Star-Ledger and from the ACLU and Southern Poverty Law Center. But the "crazies" are unhappy, and they're not letting the matter rest.
Geller comments that Christie "has shown himself to be a dangerous blustering bloviator, a good little dhimmi" who has made a "monumental mistake." Andrew Breitbart's Big Peace website calls it "disappointing" to see Christie "dismissing substantive and damning facts, statements and associations in order to accuse his critics of racism and bigotry." And JihadWatch comments, "to think that some people think this tool would be a good president."
It will be interesting to see whether other Republican politicians follow Christie in denouncing the anti-Islam right-wing media, or if they knuckle under in the face of this sort of criticism.