Pamela Geller is one of the anti-Muslim movements most vehemently outspoken leaders. A prolific blogger and author, Geller co-founded the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) and is the executive director of the group Stop Islamization of America (SIOA). Both organizations are considered hate groups by a number of civil rights organizations.
She is best known for her flamboyant prose and her broad, ignorant denunciations of Islam. Unlike many in the anti-Muslim movement, she makes no claims of holding an understanding of Islam, intellectual or otherwise. This has not stopped her, however, from dedicating her life to stoking hatred of those who practice the religion.
Over the years, Geller hasn’t tried to conceal her racism and bigotry—though she claims to promote “Islamorealism” not “Islamophobia.”
She aligns herself with almost any group that expresses extreme anti-Muslim sentiment. This has lead to her organizing and strategizing with white supremacists and fascists in Europe. Due to her reputation for inciting hatred, she was banned from traveling to the United Kingdom to address an English Defense League (EDL) rally in Woolwich last year. The Home Secretary stepped in after receiving a petition from the anti-hate group HOPE Not Hate and a letter from a Member of Parliament from the Labour Party. Geller has continuously defended the EDL – a nationalistic street movement made up of football hooligans, neo-Nazis, and other far-Right thugs – referring to members simply as “courageous English patriots.”
So extreme are her views, her writing was cited twelve times by Norwegian terrorist and mass murderer Anders Breivik to justify various points littered throughout his hate-filled manifesto.
Through her various groups, alliances, and in her own writing, Geller promotes some of the more vicious anti-Muslim conspiracy theories. After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, she ramped up her hate-filled crusade against Muslims when she started her own blog called Atlas Shrugs, which is eponymously titled in honor of right-wing pro-Capitalist author Ayn Rand who wrote the 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged.
Beginning in 2009, Geller became one of the leading voices against the proposed construction of a Muslim community center in Lower Manhattan, where she joined forces with Robert Spencer, her partner at SOIA and head of the blog Jihad Watch. (He was also banned from the UK at the same as Geller.) She and Spencer staged a rally in Lower Manhattan in 2010 to oppose the project, drawing thousands of demonstrators for and against her efforts and plenty of media coverage. The pair defamed the project’s planners, claiming without any proof that they were radical extremists. It was this battle that propelled her into notoriety and to the forefront of the organized anti-Muslim movement. Trough their connections with the EDL and other racists in Europe, Geller and Spencer have built SIOA into an international network called Stop Islamization of Nations.
Currently Geller is perhaps best known for the purchasing of ad space through the transit authorities of major cities in the United States. Branded with the AFDI, these ads are full of wildly irresponsible associations, factual inaccuracies, and incendiary claims regarding the broader Muslim world, and often appear on buses and in subway stations. The first iteration of this project was the purchase of bus ads in New York and Miami, bearing messages that invited Muslims to reject Islam.
Geller is a columnist for many other far-Right and conspiracy minded outlets online such as American Thinker, Human Events, and WorldNetDaily.
While her rhetoric might seem easily dismissible, Geller plays a key role within the organized movement of bigotry she represents. Similar to other outlandish spokespersons, Geller hopes to soak up large amounts of attention from those who would oppose the bigotry she perpetuates. By doing so, she creates cover and more spaces for those within her movement seeking to quietly pass laws and to popularize “softer” and more codified rhetoric against Muslim communities.