Drew Zahn is a WND news editor who cut his journalist teeth as a member of the award-winning staff of Leadership, Christianity Today's professional journal for church leaders. A former pastor, he is the editor of seven books, including Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, which sparked his ongoing love affair with film and his weekly WND column, "Popcorn and a (world)view."More ↓Less ↑
The Internet money-exchange PayPal has reportedly reversed an earlier decision to cut services to a trio of websites that track and resist the spreading influence of Islam in America.
“The little money that Atlas generates (I have no large donors) is about to be cut off. Apparently the jihad is hard at work trying to kill free speech, preventing the truth from making its way to those in pursuit of it,” Geller reported on Atlas Shrugs. “Truth is the new hate speech.”
Geller explained that Paypal contributions helped pay for her recent, controversial “Leaving Islam?” bus ads, as well as rallies and the news coverage she provides on Atlas Shrugs.
Fellow Islam monitor Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch defended Geller, arguing her websites aren’t “hate speech,” but only politically incorrect.
“This is an issue with much larger implications than just a few PayPal accounts,” writes Spencer on Jihad Watch. “This is a question of whether people with politically incorrect opinions will be denied access to services.
“Businesses are free to refuse to deal with whomever they choose to, except where regulated by law,” Spencer argues. “But when they won’t do business with someone because they dislike her political opinions, the potential for abuse is enormous, and the possibility of making it economically unfeasible to hold political opinions that are unpopular with the political elites becomes immediate and real.”
According to Geller, PayPal sent her letters explaining the websites had violated the company’s policy, which bans use of PayPal for items that “promote hate, violence, racial intolerance or the financial exploitation of a crime.”
In order to comply, Geller reports, she was required to remove PayPal as a payment option from her websites, as well as all references to the company, its logo and shopping-cart features.
Now, however, Geller reports an executive with the company called and explained the decision was in error and that financial services to the websites could resume.
Nonetheless, Geller says, that’s “not good enough.”
“What recourse do smaller websites have?” Geller writes. “My soapbox is pretty big, but what about small blogs? … If a site is designated a ‘hate site,’ who decides?”
Geller had objected to PayPal’s earlier decision, arguing other sites in clear violation of the company’s usage policy still have PayPal buttons – such as “inciters to violence and Jewish genocide” RevolutionMuslim.com and an eBay seller marketing DVDs by Imam Anwar al-Awlaki, a terrorism preacher nicknamed the “bin Laden of the Internet.”
“If they are going to allow jihadis to raise dough using PayPal,” Geller writes, “what’s the point of any hate-speech designation?”
Before the decision was reversed, the Council on American-Islamic Relations issued a press release applauding PayPal’s action, labeling Atlas Shrugs an “anti-Islam hate site.”
As WND reported, however, a more recent effort to place the “Leaving Islam?” signs on buses in Detroit was squashed by the city’s transit agency.
Geller, Spencer and the Thomas More Law Center filed a suit last month against the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation, which had sold space for atheist ads reading, “Don’t Believe in God? You are not alone,” but is now prohibiting the Stop Islamization of America ads offering Muslims assistance in leaving the Islam faith.
“In Detroit, government officials grant atheists the right to express a view that God does not exist, not worrying about offending Christians,” said Robert Muise, the senior trial counsel for Thomas More. “Yet, these same politically correct officials censor speech that might offend Muslims.
“Such blatant discrimination is offensive, and it violates our Constitution,” he said.