Pamela Geller and the Professional Islamophobia Business

The great poet Maya Angelou once said, “Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.” Sadly, such wisdom is lost on the likes of Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, and Geert Wilders, the unholy trinity of professional Islamophobia. They make their living off of preaching hatred of Islam, benefitting financially and politically from dehumanizing and demonizing Muslims.

It is in their capacity as professional Islamophobes that Geller and Spencer helped to organize the “Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest” in Garland, Texas. The event, which featured Wilders as one of the main speakers, was intended to cause as much offense and ridicule as possible to Muslims by inviting cartoonists to draw incendiary pictures of Islam’s revered Prophet.

It was also an effort to exploit the tragedy of the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris in January in order to maximize media exposure for themselves and the American Freedom Defense Initiative, the organization co-founded by Geller and Spencer that sponsored the event…

…Some voices in the mainstream media are framing the event on Geller’s terms, devoting lots of attention to Islam’s prohibitions of representing Muhammad in art and its problems with free speech. This is a recycled story, one that we encountered a decade ago with the Danish cartoons and that resurfaced in Paris in January.

It’s the story of a clash of civilizations that pits Western values of freedom of expression against Islam’s intolerance of these values…

Todd Green, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Religion at Luther College. Green writes and conducts research on Islamophobia and secularization in the West. He has published articles in a number of academic journals, including the Journal of Church and State, Journal of Religion in Europe, Religion Compass, and CrossCurrents. He is the author of two books: Responding to Secularization: The Deaconess Movement in Nineteenth-Century Sweden (Brill, 2011) and The Fear of Islam: An Introduction to Islamophobia in the West (Fortress Press, 2015).

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