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Geller, the Tea Party and Islamophobia

Pamela Geller and Islamophobia

From the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights report Tea Party Nationalism.

The term “Islamophobia” was defined in a 1997 Runnymede Trust Report as “unfounded hostility towards Muslims, and therefore fear or dislike of all or most Muslims.” Among the characteristic elements of Islamophobia highlighted in the report:

Islam is monolithic and cannot adapt to new realities; Islam does not share common values with other major faiths; Islam as a religion is inferior to the West; It is archaic, barbaric, and irrational; Islam is a religion of violence and supports terrorism; and Islam is a violent political ideology.

In fact, alongside racism, anti-Semitism, and nativism, the elements of Islamophobia have found their way into the Tea Party Movement. Tea Party leaders and members have employed anti-Muslim language. With strong Tea Party ties, Pamela Geller stands out in this regard.

As noted earlier, Geller was a featured speaker at a Tea Party Patriots-sponsored convention in Gatlinburg, Tennessee in May. Despite weeks of pressure from community groups who raised concerns about Geller’s history of Islamophobia, the convention organizers refused to reconsider their invitation to Geller.

Geller also spoke at the anti-immigrant rally in Arizona sponsored by Tea Party Nation in August 2010. She is expected to be speaking at the Tea Party Nation Unity Convention in Las Vegas in October.

Geller maintains a tight-knit trio of organizational fronts: Atlas Shrugs, SIOA (Stop Islamization of America), and the Freedom Defense Initiative. All are listed as official “partner” organizations of the ResistNet Tea Party faction. She has appeared on the ResistNet radio program that was heavily promoted by ResistNet leader Darla Dawald.

With leaders like Geller, it is not surprising to find language on a ResistNet Tea Party website that denigrates an entire grouping of people because of their faith. “We are at a point of having to take a stand against all Muslims. There is no good or bad Muslim. There is [sic] only Muslims and they are embedded in our government, military and other offices… What more must we wait for to take back this country of ours…”

Geller, like many Tea Partiers is also a birther. In addition to claiming that Obama’s birth certificate is a “forgery,” she has called President Obama a “third worlder and a coward” who’s “appeas[ing] his Islamic overlords.” She has perpetuated the lie that President Obama is Muslim.

Geller has referred to Obama as “The Muslim president.” Media Matters for America documented that Geller’s blog contains 267 posts tagged, “Muslim in the White House?” She’s gone as far as to seriously make the argument that Barack Obama is the illegitimate childof Malcolm X.

Among the many inflammatory statements Geller has posted on her blog, Atlas Shrugs, she has written that: “It is increasingly clear that the most divisive President in history is itching for a civil war. And at the rate he is going, he is going to get one – if he continues to ignore the will of the American people.”

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