The New York Times interviewed my colleague Pamela Geller extensively for a profile they’re publishing tomorrow. That piece is likely to be the usual mainstream media treatment of freedom fighters, but in today’s online edition they’ve published a partial transcript of their interview: “Pamela Geller: In Her Own Words.” Pamela comments here.
Ms. Geller on whether she is a leader in the fight over the planned Muslim center:
PAMELA GELLER I didn’t choose this moment; this moment chose me in that you decided that I was responsible, which is so amusing to me. I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing for years. I update the blog 10, 15 times a day. I treated the ground zero mosque story the way I treat every other story. To me it was an outrage, to me it was deeply offensive, to me it was indicative that interfaith dialogue and mutual respect and mutual understanding is a one-way street with Islamic supremacists, not Muslims. I believe that Muslims are more victimized by Islamic supremacists than even non-Muslims. But I covered it the way I covered any other story.
ALAN FEUER Do you consider yourself at this point a, or the, or one of the leaders of this fight against the mosque?
PAMELA GELLER No. No.
ALAN FEUER Why not?
PAMELA GELLER Because I think that I’m giving voice to the voiceless. But how am I a leader? Look, there is no way that I have a magical power wherein 70 percent of the American people are opposed to this mosque. It’s demeaning and it’s condescending to the individual, for you — not you, sir — for someone to say that.
Now someone somewhere decided that we’re going to make it about her and we’re going to demonize her and marginalize her and call her a racist Islamophobic anti-Muslim bigot so that anybody that agrees with her is a racist Islamophobic anti-Muslim bigot. But you know what? Maybe it’s because all the Tea Partiers were called racists, or because it’s been tried too many times, it’s just not sticking. Maybe it’s sticking on the left, but the chattering classes and the political elites do not represent the American people. Not at all. And you’ve lost their trust, which I think is the absolute worst thing.
Ms. Geller on what motivates her:
ANNE BARNARD So you sleep from 4:30 to 7:30?
PAMELA GELLER Yeah, yeah. I sleep from 4:30 to 7:30 or 4 o’clock to 7 o’clock or 4 o’clock to 8 o’clock, but that’s really my window of sleep. I just do it. Now if the couple of times where for whatever reason I didn’t do that, let’s say I’m with my kids. I can sleep till 11 o’clock. It’s not like, oh, maybe you’re an insomniac and you’re doing this because you can’t sleep. Believe me, that’s so not my problem. Whenever my head hits that pillow, I am down, I am down. So it just necessitates it and it’s enormously interesting. It’s not a labor for me in that I will not complain to you and say, “Ugh.” I do love what I’m doing.
I feel as if I am doing something that must be done. I’m making an important contribution in the information battle space, because that’s where we are now. You know, it really is a war of ideas and it’s important. That’s why the free-speech issue for me is everything. It’s the line in the sand; it is the difference between peace and war, because with freedom of speech, peaceful men can effect change. Without freedom of speech, peaceful men have no choice but to resort to violence. You have no alternative. Freedom of speech is the line in the sand.
And that’s why when I see the press, I see this self-imposed Shariah. And it’s Shariah: do not defame Islam, do not insult Islam….
There is much more. Read it all.