Pamela Geller, the once-obscure right-wing blogger known for peddling hateful, wildly over-the-top rhetoric (she once claimed that Barack Obama was the bastard stepchild of Malcom X) and for pulling stunts like taping a harangue against Muslims while clad in a bikini, has parlayed the anti-mosque hysteria sweeping across America into mainstream media attention just in time to promote her new book, The Post-American Presidency.
Geller and co-author Robert Spencer have been relentlessly promoting the “nontroversy” over the Park 51 project. According to a profile in the Guardian, the pair have “been at the forefront of drumming up opposition to the center, two blocks from Ground Zero, through an array” of organizations like the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) and Stop Islamisation of America (SIOA). The groups “have become increasingly influential as conservative politicians exploit anti-Muslim sentiment before November's congressional and state elections.”
The groups’ ideology is reminiscent of the reckless demagoguery of Joe McCarthy. According to the Guardian, AFDI “says it is fighting ‘specific Islamic supremacist initiatives in American cities’ and hunting down ‘infiltrators of our federal agencies'." SIOA, which bills itself as a human rights organization "is tied to a similar group, Stop Islamisation of Europe, which goes by the motto: ‘Racism is the lowest form of human stupidity, but Islamophobia is the height of common sense.’"
'Islamophobia is the height of common sense'. This is the mindset that rational people have to contend with.
According to the Guardian, Geller’s blog, Atlas Shrugs, “lays bare her sympathies with extremist groups across the globe.” Geller “vigorously defended Slobodan Milosevic” when he was convicted of war crimes at the Hague, denying that the Serbs committed atrocities during the 1990s. She has “allied herself with racist extremists in South Africa in promoting a claim that the black population is carrying out a ‘genocide’ of whites,” and says that she “shares the goals” of the far-right English Defense League (EDL). "We need to encourage rational, reasonable groups [like the EDL] that oppose the Islamisation of the West,” she wrote. Geller has also embraced Geert Wilders, the far-right Dutch politician who advocates banning the Qu'ran.
The world is chock full of nuts, I see.
According to Charles Johnson, a right-wing blogger who had a noisy falling out with Geller when the latter appeared at a conference organized by European fascists (apparently that was a bridge too far even for Johnson, who was described by Gawker as a “hysterical right-wing Muslim-hating blogger”), Geller founded AFDI with attorney David Yerushalmi, who, according to journalist Bruce Wilson, advocated “legislation that would effectively outlaw Islam in the United States by imposing 20 year jail sentences on practicing Muslims.”
If I excerpt any more of this report, I will never get the stains out of this blog. Go and read it at Alternet because it carries several warnings for our future, including this one...
These are some of the people the Guardian describes as the “leading force in a growing and ever more alarmist campaign against the supposed threat of an Islamic takeover at home and global jihad abroad.” Their views are as extreme as one might imagine, yet they've come to be embraced by politicians like former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin, and far too many angry, fearful Americans.