Our guest blogger is Charlie Eisenhood, a student at New York University and the Editor-in-Chief of the New York City-based blog NYU Local.
Last week, the New York City Council held hearings on whether or not to allow the construction of a proposed Wal-Mart in the city, one of many meetings that take place every week. However, conservative hate blogger Pamela Geller, upset that the Council is not meeting to discuss the financing of the Park 51 Islamic community center slated to be built in lower Manhattan, organized a rally at the hearing to protest the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque.”
Geller has generated much of the loony, right-wing apoplectic rage about Park 51 and Islam. She compared the building of the community center to the Ku Klux Klan building a “shrine” near a black church. She also launched anti-Islamic advertisements around the country, said the community center project was the “2nd wave of the 9/11 attack,” and recently pitched a book that would discuss how to fight “creeping Sharia.” She even told the New York Times that she doesn’t believe in a “moderate Islam.”
Geller’s protest, attended by about 10 people, fizzled as she failed to interrupt the hearings with comments about Park 51. After she left, Think Progress caught up with her to ask about Rep. Peter King’s (R-NY) upcoming McCarthyesque hearings on the radicalization of American Muslims. Geller told us she endorsed King’s hearings. “Of course,” she told us, adding that she’s “proud” of King’s efforts:
TP: Considering your comments on the Ground Zero Mosque, are you glad to see that Peter King will be holding hearings on the radicalization of American Muslims?
GELLER: I am happy for any defense of America. And if those hearings lead to a better understanding of those that are plotting against this country, of course. As an American, of course I’m proud of any politican who is vigorously pursuing information against people that are trying to take over and overthrow America.
King, the House Homeland Security Committee Chairman, has refused to “include all groups seen as potential domestic terrorism threats” in the hearings, choosing to focus on Muslims. Though he feigns moderation by declining to call some of the most bigoted and nasty anti-Muslim commentators as witnesses, King’s own record includes suggesting that Muslims aren’t “American” in times of war and arguing that Muslims are the “enemy amongst us.”
Of course, if the hearings were really about “pursuing information” against terrorists, King would have opened them to include all domestic terror threats, not restricting it just to Muslim Americans. King seems to justify his witch hunt with the claim that Muslims “do not cooperate” with law enforcement. In fact, they do. Bigots like Geller and King, who believes that four out of five mosques in this country are “controlled by radical Imams,” an obviously absurd claim, are using these hearings as a way to stoke Islamophobia and fear, not to root out terrorist plots.
The Los Angeles Times writes today, “[A]nti-Islamic feeling in this country is real and widespread. King’s hearings run the risk of exacerbating that.”