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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

How the Muslims should have responded to Pamela Gellar

There's been a lot of talk over the past week about Pamela Geller's Muhammad cartoon-drawing contest in Texas last week. The two would-be jihadists responded just as she hoped they would, with attempted violence, and walked right into the trap she had set for them. They were greeted by bullets from one of the forty armed men she had waiting for them, which allowed Geller to make the point she had wanted to: see, these horrible Muslims don't believe in free speech.

(Why did Geller hold this contest in Texas of all places? Why not New York City, where she's from? Were the gun laws in NYC not permissive enough to have allowed for that small army she assembled?)

But Geller's tactics backfired somewhat; half the editorials that appeared last week castigated her hateful tactics.

Had the Muslims been smart, they would have laid a similar trap for Geller.

They would have calmly abided Geller's cartoon-drawing contest in Texas, then staged their own meeting in New York City.

A rough equivalent to what Gellar did might have been to have a Yahweh-chanting march through a Hasidic neighborhood. (Observant Jews generally consider it disrespectful to say the name of the Jewish deity out loud.) But, that probably wouldn't have been considered the same level of sacrilege.

The Muslims might have had a "Jews control the media" conference, with chart and graphs outlining exactly who runs which media organizations and who controls the microphone in this country. But, that is not exactly news.

If the Muslims really wanted to provoke outrage a la Pamela Geller, they should have staged a Holocaust revisionist conference in New York City. They could have said what the Holocaust deniers say: yes, the Jews were rounded up in Europe in WWII, and roughly 500,000 of them died from starvation and typhus. But the 6 million number is way overblown. Etc, etc.

They could have invited Mahmoud Abbas, the co-founder of Hamas and the President of the Palestinian National Authority, and former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, both prominent Holocaust deniers. And they could have invited attendees from Egypt, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, all of which promote Holocaust denial as well.

This would undoubtedly have provoked great outrage. At which point, the Muslims could have said, if it's okay for Pamela Geller to desecrate our Prophet, why is it not okay for us to exercise our right to free speech as well?

This would have been a test of journalistic integrity as well. Would all of those journalists who sided with Geller have also stuck up for the Muslims' right to be as offensive as they wanted?

But, the Muslims were too dumb to do this. Instead, they did exactly as Geller wanted.


Steven said...

Having a holocaust revisionist conference would just completely lose them public sympathy. They might not even be holocaust revisionists. Even if there was the intended outrage, they would still be seen as the bad guys and the outrage would be seen as justified.

It would be hard for them to do anything against Jews without it being framed as Islamic anti-semitism.

jova said...

while the leftists in New York City forced me to pay for artwork of the virgin Mary smeared with excrement , they claimed it was a free speech issue.

The same leftists are now aligned with muslims who are against free speech when it involved Islamic icons.

Imagine what New Yorkers would have done if a city run museum paid for art work which defiled jewish symbols with excrement. Cannot even fathom the Brooklyn museum would display any images of the sacred mohammed , even if tastefully done, as it is against Islamic sharia law.

Muslims do not favor free speech, so they would not advance their agenda by hiding behind first amendment to attack jews. Using violence to attack their enemies has worked out well for them, as shown by the press attacks focused on Pamela Geller are more numerous than any anti-Islamic media voices here in America. Many Leftists are afraid to attack Islam , while many appear to be against free speech unless it denigrates white christians.

John Craig said...

Steven --
I don't think the Muslims have much public sympathy to begin with, but that wasn't why I was suggesting this. It would mostly just be a test of society's tolerance of different types of free speech. There are a lot of people with double standards when it comes to that issue.

John Craig said...

Jova --
Couldn't agree with you more. Having public funds pay for art is not a free speech issue. And people with a double standard when it comes to free speech are hypocrites.

Yes, repressing free speech has worked out well for the Muslims, but unfortunately for them, they can't enforce it in the West, even if they have intimidated a lot of people into tippy-toeing around them.

And yes, Leftists are all for free speech when it comes to insulting Christianity, but not so much when it comes to other groups. It was that hypocrisy I wanted to point out here.

Steven said...

oh yes I remember you making that point at the time of the Paris shooting.

The newly elected conservative government in the UK want to bring in legislation designed to combat extremists but will allow them to censor anyone 'spreading or inciting hatred on the grounds of gender, race or religion'. It sounds like a threat to free speech so I wrote in the guardian:

'You should be able to espouse any opinion and only inciting violence should be illegal.

It seems to me that 'spreading or inciting hatred' is highly open to interpretation. For example, if you harshly criticise a religion, are you inciting hatred? It could be seen that way. If you say un-pc things about race, are you spreading hate? It could be seen that way.

Islamists should be able to openly espouse and discuss their wishes to impose sharia law on Britain...they should only be arrested if they advocate terrorism or plan terrorism. Islamists would only be able to impose sharia in this country if Muslims were a majority of the population if we don't want to risk that, then don't allow that much Muslim immigration.... oh shit, am I spreading hate?'

John Craig said...

Steven --
You're exactly right, one is either for freedom of speech or not. And one man's hate speech is another man's truth, so that means you basically have to allow all "hate" speech if you want freedom of speech.

Europe generally has much less freedom of speech than we have in the US, although we have strict "laws" of political correctness that can result in people losing their livelihoods for speaking un-PC truths, which is actually a pretty effective way of keeping people in line.

Remnant said...

I think there is a fair amount of this type of thing done on college campuses.

So, basically what you would expect: the higher IQ Muslims who are in college are engaged in smart trolling. The low IQ and those with low impulse control go for the badly planned, badly executed erratic shootings.

John Craig said...

Remnant --
If there's a lot of questioning of the Holocaust going on at college campuses, I haven't heard of it. Most of the activity I've heard of has more to do with protests about the way Israel treats the Palestinians.

You're definitely right about how low IQ, low impulse control behave though.

Anonymous said...

This post had me scratching my head.

Jews are depicted in anti-semitic cartoons all the time.

Iran has held several Holocaust-denying cartoon contests.

Iran's president -- a Holocaust denier -- was invited to, and spoke, at Columbia University.

All these events were met with run-of-the-mill protesting.

No one was shot, killed or maimed.

In fact, in response to the Iranian contests, an Israeli graphic designer held his own anti-Semitic cartoon contest stating "We'll show the world we can do the best, sharpest, most offensive Jew-hating cartoons ever published! No Iranian will beat us on our home turf!"

So um, no. Don't really see a double standard.

"Hateful tactics" you write. I disagree. She is drawing attention to a very real situation, one that is a tiny spark in the U.S. but a full blown wildfire in parts of Europe.

Perhaps you are unaware, understandably since the press doesn't cover it, what has been happening in the suburbs that ring Paris and in the port city of Marseilles.

And while Pamela Geller may be of questionable character, her actions fall squarely within protected political speech, the more so because of the reaction both from Islamist and Leftists.

Americans should always, always stand up for political speech. Period.

- Gardner

John Craig said...

Gardner --
I hadn't been aware of the Iran cartoons until I started looking at stuff before I wrote this post. But what i was talking about was holding such in the US. I wouldn't expect Jewish people to react violently to such, but I would have been interested to see if the same journalists who stuck up for Geller would have stuck up for a Holocaust-denying conference in this country.

Yes, I remember when Ahmadinejad spoke at Columbia. But again, his presence in the US is not quite the same thing as a conference on such in the US.

I hadn't been aware of that Israeli graphic designer's contest though.

I don't think there's any question that Geller's tactics were hateful. I agree that she should have been allowed to hold her contest -- I'm a believer in complete freedom of speech as well -- but at the same time I don't think there's any doubt her purpose in holding that contest was to goad the Musiims into attacking her. (Otherwise why would she have had forty armed men there?)

I don't think I said anywhere in the post that Geller shouldn't have been allowed to hold that contest. I merely wanted to point out that if her actions met with approval in certain quarters, then a conference offensive to her group should have met with similar approval from those who believe win free speech.

Another thing to keep in mind is that free speech in this country isn't really free when you can lose your job and livelihood for criticizing certain protected groups. Yes, it's better than being shot or thrown in jail, but when you have an atmosphere where everybody is afraid to tell the truth about, for instance, racial differences because they don't want to lose their job, that's not really what I'd consider complete freedom of speech.

Anonymous said...

"Another thing to keep in mind is that free speech in this country isn't really free when you can lose your job and livelihood for criticizing certain protected groups. Yes, it's better than being shot or thrown in jail, but when you have an atmosphere where everybody is afraid to tell the truth about, for instance, racial differences because they don't want to lose their job, that's not really what I'd consider complete freedom of speech."

Yes! Exactly why we should defend the P.G.s of the world. No speech should be off-limits and whether it is hateful or not is a judgement call and completely irrelevant.

As for "goading" Muslims into attacking her -- give me a break. You can't goad the ungoadable. (Is that a word? Spellcheck says it isn't).

Catholics are mocked routinely and mercilessly as are "fundie" Christians. Just Google "Gay Jesus" or "Virgin Mary Slut" Or look into the art of Chris Ofili (spoiler: it involves elephant dung and the Virgin Mary) or perhaps the many depictions of Jesus with an erection.

I think you know where I'm going with this. Want to live in a free society? It means being mocked sometimes.

You CANNOT, MAY NOT, under ANY circumstances, respond with violence.


Yes, Muslims, this means you too.

- Gardner

John Craig said...

Gardner --
I'm not quite sure how this started off sounding like an argument because we actually agree completely about this.

We are both for complete freedom of speech, we are both against responding to any speech with violence, and we are also both against free speech being inhibited by fear of losing one's job.

We also agree that you can't goad the ungoadable (I just declared it a word). But Muslims are eminently goadable (that, too, is now a word). I'm not defending Muslims here, and I wasn't in the post, either, I was just pointing out that ALL speech should be free. And that includes criticism of Jews as well as Muslims. (You point out several instances of anti-Semitic speech, but tellingly, all of your examples are from abroad. The US is a different matter on that subject.)

Christians, as you rightly point out, are mocked routinely.

John Craig said...

Gardner --
PS -- I write this outspoken blog. How could I possibly be against free speech in any way?

Anonymous said...

Ha! It became an argument because I see red on this subject! It's my bugaboo.

I apologize for not picking up on your nuances.

- Gardner

John Craig said...

Gardner --
No apologies necessary, I'm always happy to hear from you (even when you're arguing with me).

I probably wasn't being clear as far as what my main point was.

Steven said...


remember there was a self-proclaimed expert on fox news who said that parts of Birmingham, England were a no-go zones for non-muslims? Then people in England were like 'wtf is he talking about?' It was basically ridiculous and untrue.

Marseilles might be a different story- I do believe there are some serious problems there. But you should exercise a bit of skepticism when reading American anti-Islamic sources about what is going on in Europe.

Also bear in mind that apart from the threat of terrorism, north African countries are quite safe for tourists and do not seem to have really high crime rates (unlike parts of sub-saharan Africa). I don't know exactly what the composition of Marseilles is but if it is mostly Algerian, I wouldn't wholly buy into the narrative of them recreating dystopian third world conditions in France.

Algiers actually seems to be a rather pleasant and beautiful city. Granted a lot of it was built by the French and looks French but it is 50 years since independence and it has been maintained in good condition. The cars are modern, the people nicely dressed, the streets clean and GDP per capita has gone from less than 2,000 to almost 6,000 since 2000.

Steven said...

...and Algiers may have some slums but it also has some beautiful suburbs. Those people are capable of both and immigrant groups are usually *at least* at the IQ average of their home country.

I suspect the issues in Marseilles are a lot to do with a) a mix of immigrant communities and b) poverty of immigrants who came with nothing. Plus on the photos I see quite a few sub-saharan Africans.

Anonymous said...

There is a spectrum to free speech. I think many readers of this blog agree that the best approach is not to limit free speech, even at its ugliest. This of course does not indicate that all free speech is laudable. “Fighting words” are an example of ugly free speech.

One definition of ‘fighting words’ from the web: “Words which would likely make the person whom they are addressed commit an act of violence. Fighting words are a category of speech that is unprotected by the First Amendment.”

Geller’s Muhammad cartoon contest would seem to fit the ‘fighting words’ definition. At this point anyone knows that there are Muslims ready to commit violence, and sacrifice their lives in the process, to defend their prophet against ridicule.

There is a slippery slope where protected groups expand the boundaries of the “fighting words” exception to defend themselves against any speech with which they disagree, or find unfavorable to the perception of themselves.

On the other end of the spectrum, speaking the truth – even when the truth offends popularly held beliefs – would be among the highest forms of free speech, and that worthy of the strongest defense.

It is interesting to consider the current attitudes in the US toward ridicule of Christians, Jews, Muslims and Asian religions.

Christians: its open season. Crucifix in a jar of urine? That’s art. Fish symbol with legs? What a clever Darwinian ridicule of Christianity. Christianity is regularly mocked in the movies and media in general. It takes no sack at all to ridicule Christianity, or Christians in general. Mock away – its cool. What are you if you assault Christianity – anti-Christian? I never hear the term in the media, it certainly carries no sting. (make your own judgment: is Christian ridicule typically “truth” speech, or “fighting words” speech)

Jews, Judaism, and Israel: Imagine instead a Star of David in that jar of urine. Clearly “fighting words”. It never fly, would never make it to a major museum. Instead any artist who attempted this would be branded ANTI-SEMITIC – one of the most powerful insults, and character stains, in the US. Organizations like the ADL are on the prowl to take down anyone who makes comments that are contrary to the advancement of Israel and the Jews.


Anonymous said...

Speaking the truth regarding Jews and Israel is punishable. A single example, not necessarily the best, but indicative: in 2010 “Rick Sanchez, a daytime anchor at CNN, was fired on Friday, a day after telling a radio interviewer that Jon Stewart was a bigot and that ‘everybody that runs CNN is a lot like Stewart.’”

ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN are Jewish owned. Was Rick Sanchez way off the mark? Or was he fired for speaking the truth?

But speak the truth against Israel or the Jewish agenda at your own peril – in the work place you’ll likely be fired; if you make public comment in the press you’ll be branded anti-Semitic – you’ll be ruined.

Muslims / Islam: In the US Islam is viewed as the enemy – the root of Arab terrorism. A danger to US interests and the US way of life. Muslims are regularly depicted as crazed religious zealots and terrorists. People can get away with a lot of this with no consequence. The press is not going to defend them against “anti-Muslim” comments (and like ‘anti-Christian’, who ever heard of the term?). The Muslims have no powerful and influential organizations in the US comparable to the ADL. But a segment of Islam has made it clear: mock their prophet and they will come, ready to die in the process, to kill you. You trip their ‘fighting words’ threshold, and they are ready to die defending their honor. Law be damned. It is what it is: go ahead and pull that tiger’s tail – are you a hero or an idiot?

Asians / Asian religions: Asians have more than double the population of Jews in the US. Yet Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism are rarely mentioned. Nobody’s out there making their religions look stupid, backward and prejudice – the way Christianity is constantly insulted. And when facts are kicked around about Asian superiority and success (academically, income, low crime, etc.), there’s no ADL type organization to scare and threaten people into silence.

Considering the Jewish dominance of the media (TV mentioned above), ownership of something like 8 of the 9 top Hollywood studios, dominance of the print media…. Is the green light to mock Christianity and Islam, the red light to Israel / Judaism – along with the apparent irrelevance of Asians / Asian religions - a coincidence?

Anonymous said...

Bear with me, John.

"But you should exercise a bit of skepticism when reading American anti-Islamic sources about what is going on in Europe"

Of course. But I have lived in France and can read French Newspapers for myself. I was in Paris for the rioting of 2005. I have a friend who is a French lawyer who herself was the victim of a horrid assault and therefore knows the justice system from both sides.

None of this is to imply that I am an expert, only that my views are not simply informed by "American anti-Islamic sources."

One must be a careful curator of news these days, I agree, and not simply believe everything you read, but one shouldn't also dismiss things out of hand.

I know very little of Britain's "no-go" zones so I will not address that. But the mockery faced by Fox news (which I do to watch by the way) seemed to be a bit "me thinks she doth protest."

In France, there are certainly neighborhoods that are essentially no-go zones. What does that mean exactly? Mostly that the local authorities and services have effectively ceded some level of control because of how dangerous it is. This may be temporary for some places -- it certainly was true in part of the Paris suburbs during the 2005 riots. It's not because they are Islamic states. But they all have very high numbers of Islamic residents.

Le Parisian referred to parts of Grigny as no go zones:

And in case you think all Frenchmen are beret-wearing fruitcakes, check out this Grigny blog:

In 2013, about 15-20 of Grigny's finest boarded a commuter train in an organized attack and robbed and assaulted riders.

The mayor of Amiens referred to the north of the city as a "zone de non-droit" -- or no go zone in 2012:

The chief of police in Marseille was attacked by gang members with Kalashnikovs earlier this year:

I strongly recommend reading this short review of a book a Muslim woman who grew up in a French suburb (or banlieue) wrote about being gang raped:,8599,2050136,00.html

Here is one quite, from a Paris judge: "They make their own rules, and don't like seeing people � usually girls � living according to the rules of French society. For many, the slightest affront is a declaration of war."

And that was more than a decade ago. Things have not improved, to say the least.

I really could go on and on, but this is your blog not mine.

I just want to say that what is happening in Europe is NOT happening in the U.S. -- we simply do not have the same kinds/numbers/types of immigrants. It is almost impossible for an American to really "get it" unless you see it and read about it first hand. Therefore, we tend to dismiss the threat/reality.

- Gardner

John Craig said...

Gardner --
Your comment is a reply to Steven, not me, so I'll keep my comments brief. In response to your first three links, I can only say, Je ne parles pas Francais, but I will certainly take your word for it.

I agree completely that what's happening in Europe is not happening over here. And what's happening over there is tragic.

Don't even think twice about whose blog this is, this can be OUR blog if you like -- as long as you stop showing off your French.