Why I Don’t Owe Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller an Apology

banned2Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller are two of the most outspoken Islamophobes in America. Both Geller and Spencer have their own profiles at the website of the Southern Poverty Law Center, and their hateful rhetoric has been featured by most media outlets. Anders Breivik, the rampant Islamophobe responsible for the Norway massacre, was a fan of Pamela Geller. He praised her blog, and referenced her writing in his manifesto. In return for his adoration, Geller seemingly defended Breivik’s actions by saying the youth camp Breivik targeted was an anti-Israel “indoctrination training center.” Geller also wrote the victims would have grown up to become:

future leaders of the party responsible for flooding Norway with Muslims who refuse to assimilate, who commit major violence against Norwegian natives including violent gang rapes, with impunity, and who live on the dole.

This past Saturday I received a flurry of emails from Twitter, alerting me to some rather odd activity. People I had never heard of were re-tweeting a post by yet another person I had never heard of, telling me I owed Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer “an apology.” This all stemmed from an article I wrote for another website almost two years ago about the murder of Shaima Alawadi. All the resources I used to compose this piece were taken directly from major news sources – NBC, CNN, ABC, etc. At the time, Alawadi’s murder was thought to be a hate crime, given that she was a devout Shiite along with the fact that a note had been found on her body, indicating Islamophobia. Her body was discovered by her 17-year old daughter. Eight months later, her husband was arrested for the crime.

In my original article (as far as I can recall) I call out Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer by name, correctly pointing out their rabid hatred of Muslims. And now, two years later, trolls have popped up on Twitter demanding I apologize for that. And I respond with a loud, “Hell no.” Let me share with you some quotes from Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer about the Islamic faith and Muslims. First, Pamela Geller, from Southern Poverty Law Center:

Islam is not a race. This is an ideology. This is an extreme ideology, the most radical and extreme ideology on the face of the earth.

Hussein [meaning President Obama] is a muhammadan. He’s not insane … he wants jihad to win.

Then there was the ad Geller put up in New York. You can find the graphic here, but it’s a still of the Twin Towers on fire, and the text reads:

Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers. (Quran 3:151)

The websites listed with the ad are Atlas Shrugs (Geller’s own site), Jihad Watch (Robert Spencer’s site), and Truth About Quran. Her previous ads calling Muslims “savages” were so horrible, even Fox, which often has Geller as a guest, decried them. During the furor over the Park51 Islamic Center, Fox News featured Pamela Geller numerous times, allowing her to promote her hate and claim that President Obama “was giving seminars in Sharia finance once a week,” after he “nationalized some banks.”

Robert Spencer, founder of Jihad Watch, a blog affiliated with the David Horowitz Freedom Center, has his own inflammatory history. From SPLC:

As the director of the Jihad Watch blog and co-founder of Stop Islamization of America, Robert Spencer is one of America’s most prolific and vociferous anti-Muslim propagandists. He insists, despite his lack of academic training in Islam, that the religion is inherently violent and that radical jihadists who commit acts of terror are simply following its dictates. His writing was cited dozens of times in a manifesto written by the Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik. Spencer was banned from the United Kingdom as an extremist in July 2013.

So, early in 2012, I wrote an article filled with information I pulled from major media outlets, about an Iraqi-American woman who had been murdered, a hate-filled note left on her body. Eight months after her death, her husband was arrested for the crime. Police were initially treating Shaima Alawadi’s murder as a hate crime, which was what major media reported. And given the amount of hate many people in America feel towards Middle Easterners, thanks in no small part to people like Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, I wrote the piece.

If I owe an apology to anyone, it is Shaima Alawadi’s daughter, the young woman who discovered her mother’s body. Fatima, I am sorry your mother is dead, I am sorry your family was torn apart by domestic violence. I’m sorry that because of the hateful rhetoric that spreads through this country, your father was able to put suspicion on others, rather than himself. I hope you, your brother, and the rest of your family, accept my heartfelt condolences.

As for Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, no. Because of the hate they spew day in and day out, Shaima Alawadi’s husband was able to blame Islamophobia for his own heinous crime. He knew what to write on that note, because it’s the same language used over and over again by the right wing. Terrorist, Jihad, evil, go home, you’re not American. Remember Brian Kilmeade and his “all terrorists are Muslims” comment? It’s important to note, Kilmeade made that horrific comment in defense of Bill O’Reilly, who said during an appearance on “The View:”

Muslims killed us on 9/11.

What if someone said all Christians were terrorists because of the violence in the Bible? Or all Christians believed a woman who is raped as a virgin has to marry her rapist because that’s in the Bible? What if an entire group of people rose up and said, because of Byron Williams, or Frazier Glenn Cross, or James Wenneker von Brunn, all white men are murderers? Would that be accurate or fair? Of course not. But in America, for some reason, it is perfectly acceptable for people to say all terrorists are Muslims, or that Islam is a religion of violence based on the Quran.

There are violent, unstable people in every group and every religion. Branding everyone who practices Islam or Christianity or any religion as a terrorist, or violent, or evil, is wrong. And demanding a writer, who correctly pointed out two people who traffic in hate speech, apologize for pointing out that hate speech, is ridiculous.

Erin Nanasi

Erin Nanasi is the creator of The Bachmann Diaries: Satirical Excerpts from Michele Bachmann's Fictional Diary. She hates writing about herself in the third person. Erin enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with family. And wombats. Come visit Erin on on Facebook. She also can be found on Twitter at @WriterENanasi.


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