SPLC also derides Pamela Geller as “the anti-Muslim movement’s most visible and flamboyant figurehead.” Among Geller’s sins, by SPLC’s reckoning, is her characterization of Islam as “the most radical and extreme ideology on the face of the earth.”
An important correction is in order here; Viewed in proper context, it is clear that Geller used that phrase to describe Islam’s fundamental system of Sharia Law. It is remarkable that an organization whose self-declared mission is to track and combat “hate,” should deem it offensive for someone to classify, as “radical and extreme,” an ideology whose fundamental tenets countenance the death penalty for such transgressions as adultery, homosexuality, blasphemy, and apostasy; an ideology that relegates “infidels” to second-class (dhimmi) status; an ideology that unambiguously mandates jihad and calls for worldwide Islamic supremacy; and an ideology that relegates women to second-class status in a host of ways.
By SPLC’s telling, Geller exploited the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy as her “ticket to anti-Muslim superstardom” when she led, along with Islam scholar Robert Spencer, “an effort to depict the [Mosque] project’s planners as radical extremists.” Conspicuously absent from SPLC’s analysis is any substantive refutation of the suggestion that those planners were in fact extremists. Indeed the leader of the project, Faisal Abdul Rauf, is a permanent trustee of a New York-based Islamic Cultural Center whose Imams blamed “the Jews” for the 9/11 attacks. Moreover, Rauf has portrayed 9/11 as an Islamic “reaction” to unjust U.S. “policies” that served as “an accessory” to the attacks; he has accused the United States of having “more [innocent] Muslim blood on its hands than al Qaeda has on its hands of innocent non-Muslims”; he has said that “in the most direct sense, Osama bin Laden is made in the USA”; he has praised Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, the grotesquely anti-Semitic Muslim Brotherhood “spiritual leader” who supports Palestinian suicide bombings; he has described the “American political structure” as “Sharia-compliant”; he is a key member of a Malaysian-based organization that is the single largest donor to the Free Gaza Movement, which is a pro-Hamas initiative; and he has refused to give a definitive answer to the question of whether Hamas should be classified as a terrorist group. Is it really so outlandish to characterize Rauf’s views as “extremist”?
Just as SPLC conflates individual hatemongers with respectable conservatives, so does it lump together bands of neo-Nazi lunatics with “anti-Muslim groups” whose only transgression is that they dare to criticize Islam’s dark side; i.e., the Islamic jihad and Sharia Law. For instance, the Center has condemned such organizations as Concerned American Citizens, whose objective is to “develop a coalition with moderate Muslims … for promoting Islamic reform in America”; the Sharia Awareness Action Network, which seeks to educate “the American citizenry about how Sharia Law stands in opposition to Constitutional Law”; Political Islam.com, a website that points out, quite accurately, that Islam is “a political ideology” that “divides the world into Muslims and unbelievers,” the latter of whom “must submit to Islam in all politics and public life”; and the Christian Action Network, which produced a documentary, titled Homegrown Jihad, featuring footage of activities inside terrorist training compounds throughout the United States.
Neither the declared objectives nor the public statements of these organizations call for any type of mistreatment of Muslims. But SPLC, presumably convinced of its own ability to ascertain the hidden motives of its ideological adversaries, nonetheless assures us that “anti-Muslim” bigotry is the animating force that drives them. Thus the Center seeks to delegitimize these groups as the moral equivalents of Klansmen. This is standard-operating-procedure for Mark Potok and his crew. In late 2007, for instance, SPLC, working as a propaganda arm for the National Council of La Raza, labeled the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)—whose mission is to “improve border security” and “stop illegal immigration”—as a “hate group.” “What we are hoping very much to accomplish is to marginalize FAIR,” Potok candidly confirmed at the time. “We don’t think they should be a part of the mainstream media.” Same story, different day.
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