Pamela Geller: Our Muhammad Cartoon Exhibit Went Great

Illustration for article titled Pamela Geller: Our Muhammad Cartoon Exhibit Went Great

Founder of the American Freedom Defense Initiative and all-person Islam-hater Pamela Geller seems—dare we say it—pretty pleased that two lunatics came to the AFDI’s “Draw Muhammad” cartoon exhibition and shot a security guard before being killed by police. In interviews and on her blog, Geller says the violence proves that Islam is “savagery” and “thuggery.”


After more than a decade of promoting the most vitriolic anti-Islam sentiment possible, the attack in Garland is, as the New York Times points out, the first time Geller’s group has faced a violent response. She’s milking it for everything it’s worth, appearing this morning on Fox News with Sean Hannity and Brandon Darby, the FBI informant turned managing editor of Breitbart Texas.

Geller accused the left of ignoring “the ideology behind” the shooting, by which she means Islam. She also called herself, essentially, the only true champion of free speech, vowing, “I will hold a thousand exhibits in solidarity with the Charlie Hebdo editorial staff.”

Geller added, “We are not going to abridge our freedoms so as not to offend savages.”

On her blog, Geller crowed, “Here’s what the enemies of freedom sought to crush last night. Truth and freedom. But they went up against the wrong kuffar, and they were crushed instead.”

The gunmen have been identified as Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi. They were reportedly roommates in Phoenix, and Simpson was previously the subject of a terror investigation by the FBI. The security guard who they shot in the ankle, 58-year-old Bruce Joiner (who Geller hasn’t really mentioned in her hours on air bloviating about her great cartoon event) is recovering. The unnamed Garland police officer who killed the two gunmen is being credited with saving the lives of the attendees inside; he’s said to be a military veteran.

Alia Salem, the executive director for the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, denounced both the shooters and Geller in an interview with NBC-DFW. “We share with the North Texas community, and the American community at large, our horror at this display of violence,” she told them. “Those organizers of the event, and those perpetrators of this violent crime, have come in with hatred on their agenda from both sides. If we don’t stand up against that type of hatred, together, then this cycle of violence is going to continue.”


Photo via AP

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Well this woman is obviously unhinged and is getting off on violence, which is ridiculous. Any point she may have is lost due to her radical/xenophobic viewpoint.

Still, I often wonder how progressives can defend a faith that has a very VERY troubling track record when it comes women’s rights, the rights of GLBTQ people, and so on.

We are quick to rail on Catholics and the Pope for not allowing women priests and being anti-abortion...yet people aren’t stoning “adulterers” or murdering homosexuals in the name of the Pope. If you wanted to draw a cartoon of the Pope at a gay orgy taking place at Planned Parenthood, I guarantee no one would come with AK-47s and try to murder you for it. In fact, of all the faiths and politics Charlie Hebdo satirized, it says something that only his criticism of Islam resulted in a violent response.

Is there a middle ground? Can we criticize radical Islam and call for a more vocal denunciation of any radical viewpoints/practices from all Muslims (things like women’s/gay rights, which studies have shown many non-radical Muslims are still very weak on) while ALSO not being racist/xenophobic about it?

There’s a dialogue that needs to be had here...a moderate dialogue, not a radical one.