After libelblogger Charles Johnson defamed my colleague Pamela Geller in the Guardian last week, Comment Is Free editor Matt Seaton kindly gave me a chance to respond: “Pamela Geller: defamed freedom fighter“:
The fury of the attacks upon my colleague Pamela Geller is a measure of her effectiveness in raising awareness about issues relating to the Ground Zero mega-mosque, honour killing, the plight of apostates from Islam, and more. The enemies of free discourse, the free conscience and equality of rights for women cannot refute her, so instead, they try to destroy her personally, rendering her discredited and marginalised – even if they have to twist the truth and lie outright to accomplish this goal.
Charles Johnson’s Comment is free article was a prime example. Johnson called her an “extreme rightwing blogger” and claimed, without offering any evidence, that she had “arguably done more than anyone else to incite fear and hatred over the so-called ‘Ground Zero Mosque'”. And with a puritanical distaste that he would sneer at if it came from any conservative, he claimed that the New York Times profile of her featured a photo of Pamela “posing in her bikini”. This, too, was false.
Then, Johnson claims that, when Geller was commenting at his site, Little Green Footballs:
“The target of her rage was usually (but not always) Muslims. And not just militants or terrorists, but all Muslims; Geller was quite clear, and stated often, that she didn’t believe in the idea of a ‘moderate Islam’ at all. (Ironically, this is an opinion she shares with the leaders of al-Qaida, who insist that all Muslims must follow their extreme interpretation of Islam.)”
Johnson here confuses moderate Islam with moderate Muslims. In Ibn Warraq’s lapidary formulation, there are many moderate Muslims, but no moderate Islam. In other words, there is no traditional, mainstream sect of Islam or school of Islamic jurisprudence that does not teach warfare against and the subjugation of unbelievers. But that doesn’t mean that every Muslim is with that programme, any more than Jesus’s teaching means that every Christian turns the other cheek and loves his enemies. There is a spectrum of belief, knowledge and fervour among the adherents of any belief-system; some are very knowledgeable and committed, others are not – and sometimes, the most knowledgeable and the most committed are not the same group. The teachings of a religion are one thing and the way every individual believer puts those teachings into practice is quite another.
This is an elementary distinction, but it seems to elude Johnson and other leftists. In any case, by claiming that Geller’s “target” was “all Muslims”, rather than Islamic supremacists who wish to destroy the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience and the equality of rights of women – and particularly, by his vicious equation of her with al-Qaida, Johnson betrays a breathtaking disregard for the facts. Perhaps he hasn’t caught any of the numerous media appearances in which Geller explained that it was love for Muslims, but hatred of oppression (the Islamic death penalty for apostasy, the widespread tolerance for honour killing in the Islamic world) that led her to take the stands that she has. Those who doubt the sincerity of this statement should note that human rights organisations the world over have said and done virtually nothing about the plight of apostates from Islam or the Islamic justifications for honour killing. Who loves those victims more: the self-proclaimed human rights activists, or Pamela Geller?…
There is more. Check out also the comments section, which is filled with the expected horde of abusive and fact-challenged Leftists and Islamic supremacists. I left a couple of comments there, at Seaton’s invitation, and you may wish to do so also — although remember that reason and logic are completely lost on some people.
UPDATE: Johnson has replied at his lies-and-hate site Little Green Footballs, accusing me of lying in The Guardian and bringing forth evidence that essentially amounts to claiming that Pamela Geller and I don’t mean what they say. Well, I am impressed that Charles Johnson can read souls, but doubt that his “evidence” would pass muster with any sane group that troubled to evaluate it.