[Below are three courageous freedom fighters receiving the Annie Taylor Award at David Horowitz's Restoration Weekend in Palm Beach, Nov. 18-21.]
David Horowitz: I took my wife, April, to Niagara Falls. And I always — when I go to Dealey Plaza, I go into the flea museum. And at Niagara Falls, they got a little flea museum, and they have the barrels that people use to go over the falls. And they’re all — they’re like submarines. I mean, they’re heavy tanks. And there was a barrel. Then they have a little film in there. They had a film of the woman who went over Niagara Falls in this barrel, whose name is Annie Taylor.
And Annie Taylor, then, is the first woman to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel and survive. And I thought, this is a perfect award for conservatives. And that’s why we’re giving it tonight.
David Horowitz: We have two [alumni, former] award winners here — Jim Warner, who is a graduate of the Hanoi Hilton. Jim, want to stand up? Is he here? And — hey, there he is — Amir Fakhravar, who is the leader of the Green Revolution in Iran. Amir?
To present our first award, I’m going to bring up Center board member, constitutional lawyer, a member of the Federalist Society; a number of other organizations — Karen Lugo. Thank you.
Karen Lugo: I’ve had the privilege of chatting with this recipient this evening and comparing notes.
Some of you may have heard me earlier today, during my panel presentation, mention the Federalist Society. And to have come from a group of attorneys and lawyers who seek to foster debate and bring into the public square the balanced idea of what conservative originalist law is, relative to what often is taught and certainly propagated in the rest of legal circles, which is a very leftist orientation.
As we know, many law students graduate from law school with an orthodoxy that they are to go out and change the world according to their idea and President Obama’s idea of social justice and empathy. And so to have an attorney, or someone who with personal character comes to a position and sees a situation that he knows within his heart and as a person is unjust — but then as an attorney, with a career at stake, understands that what is going on and, in this case, what was going on in the Justice Department — and the fact that there was an orientation within this particular Justice Department that was clearly racist, that this individual recognized as racist, and had the courage to call it what it was, and to do that publicly.
And as we know, it is a very rare situation to have someone who is willing to stand and take the risk, and pay the cost that he did. So in looking back over the recent course of events, and the fact that the Black Panther [voter intimidation] case was exposed by this individual — and then he was willing to go public, and he’s been interviewed — most of us have seen the interviews on Fox News. Megyn Kelly did a recent wonderful interview.
And so it is a tremendous privilege tonight, as an attorney, as a member of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and as a conservative, and someone who cares very deeply about founding law and traditions and this country — I am very pleased to present this award to J. Christian Adams and would like to call him up now to receive it.
J. Christian Adams: I’m amazingly humbled by this. And so you’d please bear with me if I stray. But thank you very much, Mr. Horowitz.
Mr. Collier, when he first called me about this, said it was named after the first woman to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel. And until now, I didn’t know whether she lived or died. And I’m relieved to find out she lived.
But I remember my last year of law school, I used to get something in the mail called “Heterodoxy.” And I always wondered, how did I get on this mailing list? And I guess now I know.
But I want to tell you all that when I decided to leave the Justice Department — I loved working there, I mean, it’s the best law firm in the world to work in, unless you’re in the voting section in the Civil Rights division in the Obama Administration. But I loved it. And I loved being a Justice Department lawyer. But the folks who worked on the Black Panther case saw first hand how our most important legal institutions can become corrupted.
And it wasn’t done overnight, but it’s always been there. And with the attitude that they had about blatant voter intimidation, none of us on the team felt that we could easily stand watching what was happening with the case.
And so I will never forget — when I quit, and I was flying to New York for my interview with Megyn Kelly [at Fox News], I thought to myself — I looked out the window, I said, what in the world have you just done? And I thought, there’s no turning back now. And if it weren’t for my wife, who’s actually here, Jana– I mean, it was truly a joint effort. You just can’t throw yourself into that without support of a great family. And I knew that I was dragging them with me.
But I want to leave you with this — and I hope that you all can see this firsthand more — but I cannot underestimate the level of rot, the bureaucratic rot and outright lawlessness, that infuses election law enforcement inside this Justice Department. I have not even told the whole story.
And Chris Coates, my colleague, who testified about four weeks ago, who’s still at the Justice Department — God bless him, he’s still there, and hopefully in the next year. But bear in mind this Justice Department will be in charge of our elections in 2012. And they won’t take dead people off the voter rolls, they won’t enforce the Motor Voter Act. I could go on and on until I hit the wall of privilege, and I’ll have to stop there. But bear that in mind as you watch the election this coming year.
Thank you very much. I’m profoundly humbled. I appreciate it.
Moderator: Thank you. I’m now going to ask — he’s already been recognized, but the Director of Jihad Watch, a great friend of all of ours, a real hero who will introduce — will give an award to another hero. But here’s Robert Spencer.
Robert Spencer: The next recipient of the Annie Taylor Award personifies courage and being on the cutting edge of the defense against the spread of elements of Islamic law in the United States. And for her efforts in defense of human rights, in defense of America, defense of Israel, defense of Judeo-Christian civilization, she has been demonized, ridiculed, mocked and, of course, threatened with death. And yet, she’s never given up and never will give up. Even Annie Taylor said, Nobody should ever do that again. But the next winner of this award keeps on doing it.
She has taken the battle to the Islamic supremacists in the United States and put them on the defensive like nobody ever has before, calling attention to the human rights abuses that are inherent in Islamic law in unprecedented and imaginative ways that have brought national attention that has never before been directed to subjects like honor killing, the death penalty for apostasy, and, of course, the sinister intent behind the Ground Zero mosque.
She created and placed all over the country bus ads that offered help to people who were leaving Islam. They were — as the media always does distort the truth — they were mischaracterized as asking people to leave Islam or inviting them to do so. Actually, this was a real offer for help for people that the whole world has ignored.
Islam mandates a death penalty for apostasy. Mohammad said if anybody changes his religion, kill him. But nobody ever cares for those people. Have you ever heard Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch say a word about apostates from Islam who are under the threat of death every day of their lives?
She brought national attention to this issue. And never before had the Islamic supremacist groups, like the Council on Islamic-American Relations — never before had they experienced this kind of pushback. Never before had they been put on the defensive. And the campaign was brilliantly conceived.
Because if you think about it, what could CAIR say? Well actually, yes, we do think the apostates should be killed. We don’t think that people who are threatened ought to be offered help. Never before had their agenda and their pseudo-moderation been so thoroughly and completely exposed.
She put ads on taxi tops, with pictures of beautiful young girls who had been murdered, murdered by their families, for besmirching the Islamic honor of their families. And you know, you hear about honor killings, and you hear about statistics. And people say, well, you know, 91 percent of the honor killings in the world take place in Islamic contexts. And these things are justified by various rulings in Islamic law. But 91 percent is a number. Never before had public attention been brought to the fact that these are girls, these are human beings. These are people that ought to have been saved and protected.
And here again, this kind of thing had never been attempted before. All the time, the groups like CAIR are on the offensive and are making us play catch-up and react to them. Never before had they been put on the defensive.
And of course, the crowing, the culmination of all this, was how she made the Ground Zero mosque a matter of national discussion and shone a light on the Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf’s pro-Sharia activities, his denial of basic freedoms in the United States, his call for restrictions on freedom of speech, his ties to the jihad flotilla against Israel, and so many other things; such that Daisy Khan, his wife, identified the [person I’m about ready to bring up] as the leader of the opposition to the mosque.
And then the Islamic attack machine went into high gear. She became a lightning rod for abuse from the Left, from the mainstream media. And it continues. It continues on a more or less daily basis.
I remember seeing an attack piece in a major publication and thinking, well, you know, these things are going to happen, with the Left controlling the media. Then the next day, there was another, and another, and another — one after the other.
And just a couple nights ago, you may have seen, the illustrious Keith Olbermann named her the worst person in the world, actually, for a controversy she had nothing to do with. But now she’s a symbol, you know, a symbol of freedom and a symbol that we will never give up.
And so, you know the old saying — if you’re getting flack, you know you’re over the target. If they’re screaming, you know they’re hitting them hard. And she never gives up and continues to work with passionate vision, insight, immense love for the West, for America, for Israel, for civilization.
We live in so cheap and tawdry an age that all you have to do to be a hero today is tell the truth. And yet there are so few heroes. Because if you dare to tell the truth, you will be made to pay a very great price. And yet, the next winner of this award is someone who has paid it, and paid it with great courage, and with a great joy in life that is an inspiration to me personally in my work with her.
It is my great pleasure and honor, therefore, to present the Annie Taylor Award to a true hero, a great warrior for the Right, whom I am proud to say is my friend and colleague, Pamela Geller.
Pamela Geller: Oh, my God. You see, Mom, miracles really do happen. I don’t think she thought I would amount to much. I had two sisters that were doctors. And you know, you could become President of the United States, but you’re not a doctor.
First, I want to thank my colleague, my friend, and the person I consider to be the world’s leading counter-jihadist, Robert Spencer. Please. He joined forces with me a couple of years ago. And it started with the Aqsa Parvez memorial, honor killing victim in Canada who was buried in an unmarked grave. And I wanted to raise the money just to get her a marker. And that was the beginning of the partnership.
And I can’t thank him enough for supporting every initiative, no matter how dangerous. He never, ever tried to talk me out of anything that I wanted to do — we wanted to do. We started the Freedom Defense Initiative, we started Stop the Islamization of America. I tip my hat to him.
Even the involvement that I have with the David Horowitz Center — I have to again thank Robert. And any time I approach the David Horowitz Center, if it was one of the events I wanted to do at CPAC — the largest conservative gathering in America — to bring some education in terms of jihad to CPAC — David Horowitz would always get me the room.
These are small things, but they’re important. Because, as this past year has seen, you don’t need an enormous amount of people or money to make the difference. You take the enemy’s playbook, and you shove it right down their throat. And that’s what I did.
Very briefly — the Freedom bus ads — you know, I was covering the Rifqa Bary case. And this was the — back story is a Christian convert out of Islam. Father threatens to kill her, she runs away. So now she’s in Florida, and they’re trying to bring her back to the household, the devout Muslim household, that wants to kill her. Mind you, there are girls who run away by the millions. They’re doing drugs, they’re selling bodies; nobody’s looking for them. But this little virgin, the straight-A student — they’re tracking her like a serial killer.
So when I was in Florida, I would see these bus ads proselytizing for Islam — “Come to Islam,” “Why Islam?” And I thought, what about those that want to leave Islam? And that’s how it started.
And the reason why it was so pivotal was because on these television shows, where they’d say, you know, they’re anti-Islam, these are anti-Islam ads — I’d say, “How are they anti-Islam ads?” If I did an ad for spousal abuse, that’s like every husband in America saying, “Hey, I’m insulted.” We got to say things that were never said in the media.
The Ground Zero mosque — sadly, we know they’re going to go forward. Listen. Listen, you have to understand that we’re in a war. We are at war now. It’s not coming, it’s not around the corner; it’s now. The Ground Zero mosque is the second wave of the 9/11 attack.
And when I appear on television, and I say things like, “It’s an Islamic pattern to build triumphal mosques on the cherished sites of conquered lands.” People never heard that. People never heard, why build a shrine to the 270 million victims of jihadi wars, cultural annihilations, land appropriations and enslavements? People never heard that before. It’s a teachable moment.
And I’m sure it’s gotten quiet at the Ground Zero mosque because they have to show the money. Here he’s a slumlord, Imam Rauf, whose buildings just went into receivership. But he’s building a $150 million mosque. And Sharif El-Gamal, the developer on it — he was just thrown out of his offices in Soho, SOHO Properties. And he’s building a $150 million mosque. They know that the flashlight is on them. And so they’re going to have to move very carefully. And yes, when they break ground, there’s going to be moms and their kids, with little strollers, standing up there — “Move us.”
We are under attack. Obviously, the violent jihad, the academic jihad, the sociological jihad, the cultural jihad, the academic jihad — we have been infiltrated at the senior level of the DOD, the Department of Defense. I mean, look at what you’re put through to travel. Look at what you’re put through to travel. And yet, not one time in the Department of Defense’s report on the Fort Hood jihadi — not once was religious motivation mentioned. Yesterday, we had the verdict in the first Gitmo trial — acquitted of 280 counts, guilty of destroying property.
So what does this mean? It means that — understand that it was doctors and lawyers, and moms and dads and kids, and aunts and uncles — they were the target in 9/11 and beyond. They were the target. They are the soldiers. We are the soldiers now.
This is not a conventional war. Each one of you must fight this war. I cannot impress this upon you enough. You are each activated. What does that mean? It means you have friends, you have an e-mail list, yes? You have — when you wake up in the morning, and you throw your legs over the bed, and you rub the sleep from your eye, you ask yourself, what am I going to do today to save the Republic? I mean it.
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