Je Suis Pamela GellerRoundup
tags: Muslims, Pamela Geller
... Unless we speak up on behalf of every victim of Islamic terror, including Pamela Geller, we cede the free-speech argument to anti-Islamic bigots like Geller. And we implicitly confirm her most vicious claim: that Muslim people are inherently violent and intolerant. Why else would they require special protection from offensive speech?
To be fair, Geller didn’t invent Islamophobia. Writing in Poor Richard’s Almanack in 1741, Benjamin Franklin wondered aloud whether it was worse to follow Mahomet—another name for the Prophet Muhammad—than Satan. Thirty years later, on the eve of American independence, Continental Congress delegate John Dickinson worried that Islam would impose “oppressive superstition” and “miserable slavery” on everybody else.
The same fear seized Americans in the 19th century, when the Ottoman Empire seemed poised to conquer the world in the name of Islam. “Hereafter, upon the fair face of your beloved America … a night of apostacy may settle down,” an American missionary to Turkey told a Boston audience in 1833, “and hordes of yet unnamed barbarian invaders fasten deep the blight of some new Mohammedanism.”
Nor did Muslims submit to the authority of anybody else, as disgruntled American officials would discover after the United States acquired the Philippines in the early 20th century. The most resistant “natives” were the Moros, President Theodore Roosevelt wrote, a Muslim people whose warlike and capricious ways reminded him of the Sioux and Apache who were the “terror of our settlers” in the American West.
Back in the West itself, finally, bigots likened Muslims to another hated population: the Mormons. Both groups practiced polygamy and promised their adherents eternal grace, the argument went. And, most of all, both appeared intent upon conquering the globe.
A century ago, in other words, all of the elements of our present-day anti-Islamic prejudice were already in place: Muslims were ferocious brutes, bent on world domination. But this cartoon received a huge boost on September 11, 2001, which brought real jihadists—not imagined ones—into America’s consciousness.
The 9/11 attacks also spawned a new generation of Islamophobes like Pamela Geller, whose own cartooning project last Sunday elicited precisely the kind of barbarism that she imputes to Islam as a whole. She’s wrong about that, but she has every right to say it. As one of Charlie Hedbo’s surviving editors recently said, during a visit to New York to accept the PEN award, you are for free speech or you are not. There is no middle ground.
comments powered by Disqus
- ‘Lock me up’: The last man to be arrested for defying Congress during an investigation
- Faith made Harriet Tubman fearless as she rescued slaves
- A Turkish dam is about to flood one of the oldest continuously settled places on Earth
- Soldiers got Medals of Honor for massacring Native Americans. This bill would take them away.
- UNC Will Give Silent Sam to a Confederate Group — Along With a $2.5-Million Trust
- The Ten Best History Books of 2019
- ‘Well Worth Saving’
- Anne Boleyn Has Had a Bad Reputation for Nearly 500 Years. Hayley Nolan Wants to Change That
- James Grossman Writes Article on Career Diversity: "Revising Revisited: Words Matter When It Comes to Career Diversity"
- Review: A Gospel for the Poor: Global Social Christianity and the Latin American Evangelical Left