A couple of days ago, Media Matters for America senior fellow Karl Frisch described his notes from the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) as "Postcards from the edge." If CPAC is the edge, then here are my notes from the edge of the edge, better known as “Jihad: The Political Third Rail;” an event created by Atlas Shrugs' Pam Geller and Jihad Watch's Robert Spencer.
Geller's and Spencer's event was so controversial in fact, that CPAC organizers made sure to tell Fox News that the event was “unofficial,” and “sponsored by outside groups.” However, it was official enough to be listed on CPAC's agenda.
In announcing the event, Geller stated that she found it “most distressing that the largest gathering of conservatives in America does nothing to address the single greatest threat to our national security, our Constitution, our very way of life.” Indeed she and Spencer both expressed dismay that CPAC did not more fully embrace their point of view, which Spencer summed up by saying that "[i]t's absurd" to think that “Islam is a religion of peace that's been hijacked by a small minority of extremists:”
So what was the goal of this “unofficial,” yet coordinated event at CPAC? Geller previously noted that the event was “designed to educate Americans about the Muslim Brotherhood's infiltration at the highest levels of the U.S. government, as well as its war on free speech.” A pretty heavy goal to be sure, but it wasn't all serious. Geller kicked it off by displaying her trademark humor:
After that brief introduction it was time to get down to business, with a non-stop parade of anti-Islam rhetoric.
The first speaker was former Muslim Wafa Sultan, who declared that “Islam is a not merely a religion, but an agressive and dangerous political ideology which aspires to world domination” :
Then came Austrian Elisabeth Wolff, who told the audience that she has been indicted in Austria for anti-Muslim hate speech. In decribing the incident, Wolff explained that whatever words she used, she was simply trying to convey the message that “Islam is supremacist, it is against women's rights, it's against human rights, it's against everything you and I believe in” (transcript available here):
Next up was a speaker who has said things that even Geller apparently thinks are too extreme. Despite having put what she says is the "full video" of the event on her site, Geller actually cut out several comments made by Anders Gravers, the Danish Leader for the Stop the Islamisation of Europe. For instance, Geller's video edits out Graver's assertion that "[r]ape is also a part of" Muslims' efforts to convert non-Muslims in Europe, and that "[d]emocracy is being deliberately removed" from the European Union by “incorporating Muslim countries of North Africa and the Middle East in the European Union.” Gravers went on to explain (in a portion of the speech that Geller did include) that the purpose was to gain “some European control of oil resources” at the cost of the “introduction of Sharia law and removal of democracy” in Europe. No, really. Check out this exclusively un-edited portion of his remarks (transcript available here):
With a panel like that, CPAC probably should have worked harder to separate itself from Geller and Spencer's event.