Recently I was interviewed by a Muslim journalist named Rachel Elmalawany, who asked me a series of hostile, prosecutorial questions based on U.S. Islamic supremacist groups’ libels of me. Our exchange, of which I have reproduced excerpts below, is illustrative of how Islamic supremacists spread their lies and distortions, and shows the truth about the false charges Islamic supremacists frequently circulate about me and the counter-jihad movement in general.
Rachel Elmalawany: Do you see any similarities between the anti-Islamization movement rhetoric and other movements of American history? For example, the Italians in the late 19th century/early 20th century, the Jews (even today there’s a strong anti-Jewish rhetoric among some groups), the Japanese and African-Americans? If not, what are the differences between the anti-Islamization movement and these other movements?
Pamela Geller: This is a common slur against the work I do, but there is no substance to it. The three groups you mentioned were unjustly and falsely accused. None had a program in which they stated in their own words their intention of “eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within,” as the Muslim Brotherhood states as its goal in a captured internal document. The fact that some groups have been falsely accused does not mean that any group accused of subversive activities is ipso facto innocent.
Elmalawany: What about the denial of free speech, freedom of conscience and institutional oppression of women and minorities in this country and others that is not at the hands of Islam? What is it that has made you want to fight a Muslim’s oppression rather than anyone else’s oppression like, for example, Orthodox Judaism or Hinduism (or any other religion for that matter)? In the U.S., one in four women will experience abuse (and it can be at the hands of a very religious Christian or an atheist – abuse is abuse) while in Malaysia, the highest Muslim population in the world [actually that's Indonesia – PG], that number is much smaller, and in Syria that number is slightly lower. How would you explain these statistics?
Geller: Spousal abuse occurs in all cultures. Only in Islam is it given divine sanction, with an exhortation in the Quran itself to beat disobedient women (4:34). This not only perpetuates a culture of abuse; it also leads to severe underreporting of spousal abuse in Muslim countries. Since Allah sanctions such abuse, all too many women take it as their due, and wouldn’t dream of reporting it, both for the dishonor that such reporting would bring upon their family and for the threat of further abuse if they do so. They have to face the prospect of being abused or being shamed and punished further, perhaps even ostracized and killed, if they complain about or report the abuse.
Elmalawany: Just as people of the anti-Islamization movement point out that Muhammad never killed anyone, I would say you also never killed anyone. However, your movement is largely associated with the strong anti-Muslim sentiment that average Americans hold due to their reading or listening to your materials and drawing conclusions. Just last December, Erika Menendez killed someone in a New York subway because she thought him to be Muslim. Perhaps she had read your book. If a Muslim were to kill someone and had read a book of radial ideas (good or bad), would the blame not be put on the author of that book? The fact that your website explicitly mentions only the crimes that Muslims have committed, purportedly in the name of Islam, may lead (and has been said to have actual influence) many to assume Islam is bad, and therefore Muslims are bad. If the majority of Muslims don’t support terrorist attacks and the few Muslims who do are fighting foreign presence, what does that mean for the goal of your organization and movement?
Geller: Ibn Ishaq says that Muhammad personally beheaded between 600 and 900 men of the Jewish Qurayzah tribe. Muhammad also ordered people killed, including Abu Afak, Ka’b bin Ashraf and Asma bint Marwan. I have never killed anyone or ordered anyone killed. Your comparison is odious, as is your invocation of Erika Menendez, who has a history of violence and attempted to kill a non-Muslim firefighter several years before she murdered the Hindu man in the subway. She is clearly insane. Also, why don’t you mention the subway murder perpetrated just a week or so before that of Menendez, when a devout Muslim who went to mosque daily, Naeem Davis, murdered a non-Muslim? How do you know Menendez wasn’t motivated by that?
My books and other writings never advocate any kind of violence, or anything but the defense of freedom. If you think that books that do not advocate violence can lead to violence, what must you think of the Quran, which in many, many passages advocates violence? Your assertion about Muslims not committing terrorist acts in order to advance Islam is also inaccurate. Numerous terrorists have explained that that was exactly what they intended to do, and numerous Muslim spokesmen have also made supremacist statements about how Islam will take over the world – including Ahmadinejad and Qaradawi, among many others.
Elmalawany: Lastly, I’d like to ask what the “call to action” is for the anti-Islamization movement? How should America, or the world, rid itself of Islam? More importantly, what should the 1.6-plus billion Muslims of the world, Muslims such as myself, do if they were all to accept the movement?
Geller: I have never said that America should rid itself of Islam. I have said that Muslims who live in America should reject, explicitly and in deed as well as word, the elements of Islamic law that contradict constitutional principles and freedoms. I have said that Muslims should reform the Quran and Islamic teaching to expunge it of Jew-hatred, misogyny, incitement to violence, etc. If they did that, there would be no problem.