Pamela Geller & Robert Spencer: Far-right terrorists are “ordinary Americans” & “patriots”
by Sheila Musaji
The Atlantic Wire reported:
Aren’t conservatives supposed to be hawkish on terror? They tend to be when it comes to foreign terrorists, but many are taking umbrage at a new West Point report on violent far-right extremists home-grown right here in the U.S. Earlier this week, the Combatting Terrorism Center (CTC) at America’s leading military academy published an extensive report on the “dramatic rise in the number of attacks and violent plots originating from individuals and groups who self-identify with the far-right of American politics.” Christian fundamentalists, Militia movement groups, Skinheads, neo-Nazis, and violent anti-abortionists were all cited in the report, titled Challengers from the Sidelines: Understanding America’s Violent Far-Right. These factions may harbor different ideological goals, but as this chart shows, they’ve all ramped up their violent tactics in trying to achieve them:
“Although in the 1990s the average number of attacks per year was 70.1, the average number of attacks per year in the first 11 years of the twenty-first century was 307.5, a rise of more than 400%,” writes Dr. Arie Perliger, Director of Terrorism Studies at the CTC.
In short, this report makes a convincing case about extremists trying to inflict harm upon innocent Americans, and it’s full of alarming data and clear policy recommendations. Conservatives love appealing to these kinds of studies when arguing that we need to get tough on terror, right? Well, not in this case. One Republican congressional staffer—who thinks only Muslims can be terrorists—told The Washington Times’ Rowan Scarborough:
If [the Defense Department] is looking for places to cut spending, this junk study is ground zero. Shouldn’t the Combating Terrorism Center be combating radical Islam around the globe instead of perpetuating the left’s myth that right-wingers are terrorists?
The National Review‘s John Fund also wants to change the subject to terrorists in other parts of the world:
The world is beset by terrorists—witness the American hostages taken in Algeria this week—but portions of our federal government continue to obsess about alleged home-grown threats from the “far right” ... My sources inside Congress tell me they continue to worry that efforts to monitor domestic Muslim extremists as well as interdiction efforts against radical Islamists crossing the U.S. border are sometimes put on the back burner. The government denies this, but it seems to me its protestations would be more persuasive if it spent less time producing half-baked warnings about the danger of “right-wing extremists.”
World Net Daily’s Michael Carl extensively quotes blogger Pamela Geller in his article on the report. “This is another appalling attempt to demonize loyal Americans and whitewash the Islamic threat,” Geller says. “West Point probably is working on orders from higher ups. Or else it has bought into the dominant PC culture.” Over at Newsmax, Christiana Lilly buries the lede—turning a story about far-right terrorists into a story about liberals:
The U.S. Military Academy at West Point released a paper calling far right groups anti-federalists while describing liberals as “future oriented,” the Washington Times reports.
And yes, you better believe Drudge sirened it:
West Point cites dangers of ‘anti-federalists’ in U.S…. drudge.tw/WnbwBW
— DRUDGE REPORT (@DRUDGE_REPORT) January 18, 2013
The Atlantic Wire mentioned Pamela Geller in passing, but she and her partner in hate, Robert Spencer, went far outside of anything that could charitably be called rational.
West Point targets believers in “individual freedoms” as terrorists is the title of Geller’s screed. Geller says: “As the country (and the free world) face increasing threats and acts of war from jihadists both here and abroad, America’s leading military academy is focusing its military training on the enemy’s (and fifth column’s) obstacle to enslaving the union: Americans who believe in individual rights.”
She then cherry picks one sentence out of the West Point report, ignoring the rest of the report, and uses that out of context sentence justify this gem: “The founding principle of this once-great nation is individual rights. The very reason for our existence. Everything magnificent and noble that we are acheived as a nation was a consequence of that founding principle. And now those patriots who adhere to that fundamental belief are the enemy. ... This is war against who and why we are. And it seems it is “perishing” without so much as firing a shot.”
She is saying that American non-Muslim far right terrorists are an “obstacle to jihadists enslaving the union” and therefore they are “patriots”. West Point in targeting these “patriots” is helping “the enemy”. This is what happens to reason and decency when pathological hatred of any minority becomes the sole focus of an individuals worldview.
She then references an article by her partner in hate, Robert Spencer to reinforce her position West Point brands believers in “individual freedoms” as terrorists. Spencer says “The U.S. Government has long since abandoned any realistic discussion of the Islamic jihad threat, and now is focusing on ordinary Americans who believe in individual rights as terror threats. And so the descent continues, ever more rapidly.”
The satire site Wonkette pretty well nailed this one Pamela Geller: Why Is America Being So Mean To Domestic Terrorists?:
Vision of loveliness Pamela Geller has taken a break from inciting crazy people to push Sikh dudes into the path of oncoming trains to wonder why West Point is being so mean to “loyal Americans” who just want to violently overthrow the United States government and/or kill some mud people! It is not like the oaths of office we just heard Barack Obama and Old Handsome Joe Biden swear include anything about enemies “foreign and domestic.” And our domestic terrorists loyal Americans just happen to be committing an average of 307 violent attacks per year lately, according to a new report from West Point! So what does Pamela Geller think of loyal Americans using violence to make their needs known?
“This is another appalling attempt to demonize loyal Americans and whitewash the Islamic threat,” Geller said. “West Point probably is working on orders from higher ups. Or else it has bought into the dominant PC culture.”
It’s true, Pamela Geller. Everyone knows that Timothy McVeigh was a loyal American, just watering that good old tree of liberty. And you couldn’t ask for nicer guys than the ones who shoot up temples if’n they are worshiped at by non-whites. West Point is a communist. Go to jail, West Point! Go directly to jail.
Such lunacy is par for the course for Geller and Spencer. Their comments on the Hutaree Christian Militia arrests, and their shameless attacks on Anders Breivik’s Norway terror victims are an example of their one-dimensional worldview. They are concerned only with Muslim criminals, any one else pretty much gets a free pass.
New Study Highlights Threat From Far Right-Wing Groups In U.S., Hayes Brown http://thinkprogress.org/security/2013/01/18/1467741/west-point-study-right-wing-threat/
West Point Report Warns of Violent Far-Right Groups http://www.allgov.com/news/top-stories/west-point-report-warns-of-violent-far-right-groups-130120?news=846803
RESOURCES FOR DEALING WITH ISLAMOPHOBIA SUMMARY
The Islamophobia Industry exists and is engaged in an anti-Muslim Crusade. They have a manifesto for spreading their propaganda, and which states their goal of “destroying Islam — as a culture, a political ideology, and a religion.” They produce anti-Muslim films. They are forming new organizations and coalitions of organizations at a dizzying speed, not only nationally, but also internationally. They have formed an International Leadership Team “which will function as a mobile, proactive, reactive on-the-ground team developing and executing confidential action plans that strike at the heart of the global anti-freedom agenda.”
Currently, the Islamophobia Industry is engaged in a full-scale, coordinated, demonization campaign against American Muslims and Arabs. In just the past few months we have seen a series of inflammatory provocations: There was the Innocence of Muslims film Titanic, a German satire magazine plans an “Islam” cover article to be published later this month. Charlie Hebdo, a French satire magazine published an issue with inflammatory cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Newsweek published their ‘Muslim Rage’ cover. Terry Jones held a “trial of Prophet Muhammad”. SION held a “global” gathering in NYC to plan propaganda strategy. A group in Toronto publicized a “walk your dog at the mosque” day. AFDI/SIOA has run a series of anti-Muslim ads on public transportation across the country. AFDI/SIOA are planning to run 8 more anti-Muslim ads. There are three more films on Prophet Muhammad in the works by Ali Sina, Mosab Hassan Yousef and Imran Farasat. They are even bringing their hate messages into public schools.
Daniel Pipes is encouraging publication of “A Muhammad cartoon a day”, and says “So, this is my plea to all Western editors and producers: Display the Muhammad cartoon daily, until the Islamists become accustomed to the fact that we turn sacred cows into hamburger.”. Pipes joins Daniel Greenfield (aka Sultan Knish) who published an appeal on David Horowitz’ Front Page Magazine Is It Time for ‘Make Your Own Mohammed Movie Month’?. And, both are following in the footsteps of such luminaries as Pamela Geller, who promoted just such a plan back in 2010 with her promotion of Draw Muhammad Day, even after the cartoonist who drew the first cartoon and suggested the idea, Molly Norris apologized to Muslims and asked for the day to be called off, and American Muslims had issued a defense of free speech. None of this is surprising as one of the Islamophobes laid out their strategy as “The Muslims themselves have shown us their most vulnerable spot, which is the questionable (though unquestioned) character of the ‘Prophet’ himself. We need to satirise and ridicule baby-bonking Mo until the Muslims fly into uncontrollable tantrums, then ridicule them even more for their tantrums, and repeat the process until they froth at the mouth and steam comes out of their ears.”
The Islamophobia of these folks is very real, it is also strikingly similar to a previous generations’ anti-Semitism, and it has predictable consequences. The reason that this is so obvious to so many is that rational people can tell the difference between legitimate concerns and bigoted stereotypes.
The claim that the Islamophobes are “truth-tellers” and “defenders of freedom” who actually “love Muslims” and have never engaged in “broadbrush demonization” or “advocated violence”, or that nothing that they say could have had anything to do with any act of violence, are nonsense. The claim that they are falsely being accused of Islamophobia for no reason other than their legitimate concerns about real issues and that in fact there is not even such a thing as Islamophobia, or their claim that the fact that there are fewer hate crimes against Muslims than against Jews or that some Muslims have fabricated such crimes “proves” that Islamophobia doesn’t exist, or that the term Islamophobia was made up by Muslims in order to stifle their freedom of speech, or that anti-Muslim bigotry is “not Islamophobia but Islamorealism” are all nonsense.
These individuals and organizations consistently promote the false what everyone “knows” lies about Islam and Muslims (including distorting the meaning of Qur’anic verses, and distorting the meaning of Islamic terms such as taqiyya, jihad, sharia, etc.). Islamophobes falsely claim to see “JIHAD” PLOTS everywhere, particularly where they don’t exist. They, like Muslim extremists, don’t understand the true meaning of the term jihad. The Islamophobes have uncovered countless examples of “shocking”, non-existent Muslim jihad plots.
Islamophobes generalize specific incidents to reflect on all Muslims or all of Islam. Islamophobes consistently push demonstrably false memes such as: - we are in danger from creeping Sharia, - the Muslim population is increasing at an alarming rate, - 80% of American Mosques are radicalized, - There have been 270 million victims of “jihad” - There have been 17,000+ “Islamic terrorist” attacks since 9/11 - Muslims in government are accused of being Muslim Brotherhood plants, stealth jihadists, and creeping Sharia proponents and should be MARGINALIZED or excluded. Muslim and Arab organizations and individuals are connected to the infamous Muslim Brotherhood document or the unindicted co-conspirator label, or accused of not condemning Hamas, telling American Muslims not to talk to the FBI, of being “Jew haters”, etc.
There is a reason that many, even outside of the Muslim community see such demonization of Muslims as Islamophobic. There is a reason that the ADL has stated that Brigitte Gabriel’s Act for America, Pamela Geller & Robert Spencer’s Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA), David Yerushalmi’s Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE) are “groups that promote an extreme anti-Muslim agenda”. There is a reason that The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated SIOA as a hate group, and that these individuals are featured in the SPLC reports Jihad Against Islam and The Anti-Muslim Inner Circle. There is a reason that these individuals and organizations are featured prominently in: — the Center for American Progress reports “Fear Inc.” on the Islamophobia network in America and Understanding Sharia Law: Conservatives skewed interpretation needs debunking. — the People for the American Way Right Wing Playbook on Anti-Muslim Extremism. — the NYCLU report Religious Freedom Under Attack: The Rise of Anti-Mosque Activities in New York State. — the Political Research Associates report Manufacturing the Muslim menace: Private firms, public servants, and the threat to rights and security. — The ACLU report Nothing to Fear: Debunking the Mythical “Sharia Threat” to Our Judicial System — in The American Muslim TAM Who’s Who of the Anti-Muslim/Anti-Arab/Islamophobia Industry. There is a reason that the SIOA’s trademark patent was denied by the U.S. government due to its anti-Muslim nature. There is a reason that these individuals and organizations are featured in just about every legitimate report on Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred.
See Resources for dealing with Islamophobes for many more reasons that these people cannot be trusted.
Sheila Musaji is the founding editor of The American Muslim (TAM), published since 1989. Sheila received the Council on American-Islamic Relations 2007 Islamic Community Service Award for Journalism, and the Loonwatch Anti-Loons of 2011: Profiles in Courage Award for her work in fighting Islamophobia. Sheila was selected for inclusion in the 2012 edition of The Muslim 500: The World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims published since 2009 by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Amman, Jordan. Biography You can follow her on twitter @sheilamusaji ( https://twitter.com/SheilaMusaji )