10202014Headline:

Confronting Pamela Geller

Harris Zafar

Harris Zafar

Public speaker, writer, news commentator about Islam. Adjunct Instructor. National Spokesperson of one of the oldest Muslim organizations in US: Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

Originally Published in The Huffington Post


“As a Jew, I am offended to my core. Muslims have no right to invoke Moses and Abraham. This is a delegitimization of Judaism. It is offensive and vile. And while Jesus is not my guy, the same thing goes for him. It is a delegitimization of Christianity. These are not Muslim prophets.”

 

This typical quote from Pamela Geller perfectly represents her perplexing manner of argumentation and the blatant ignorance deeply rooted in her work. In this particular case, Geller takes exception with Islam’s acceptance of the prophethood of Abraham, Moses and Jesus Christ. Whereas most people view common beliefs as a means of building bridges of kinship between Jews, Christians and Muslims, Geller feels Muslim’s belief in such prophets is “offensive and vile.” Apparently she feels that Jews have exclusive rights to believe in Moses and Abraham. Paradoxically, her ignorance has no problem granting Christians the right to invoke Moses and Abraham without delegitimizing Judaism.

Accustomed to providing responses to substantive attacks against Islam, I found it challenging to determine the appropriate manner in which to address the attacks levied against Islam by Geller, as her work is mostly outrageous and irrational. She does not purport to be a scholar of Islam, nor does she possess academic or experiential credentials that provide any unique insight into Islam. Her self-education about Muslims began after 9/11, when she “felt guilty that I didn’t know who had attacked my country.” Deceived by the false premise that Islam attacked this great nation on 9/11, Geller searched for reasons to loathe the Islamic faith, seeking education from those most antagonistic of Islam, such as Bat Ye’or (pseudonym for Gisèle Littman, a Jewish-Egyptian French writer who imputes Christian and Jewish suffering to the theological beliefs of Islam), Ibn Warraq (pseudonym for a Pakistani author well known for writing about leaving Islam) and Daniel Pipes (American author who extensively criticizes Islam but whom Geller eventually rejected due to his belief in the existence of a moderate form of Islam).

Rather than relying on scholarship for substantive arguments against Islam, Geller often resorts to shock-value through outlandish statements. She has falsely claimed that President Obama is a Muslim with the aim of fostering America’s submission to Islam; Arabic is not a language but “the spearhead of an ideological project that is deeply opposed to the United States”; Hitler and Nazism were inspired by Islam (therefore “devout Muslims should be prohibited from military service”); that “Islam is the most anti-Semitic, genocidal ideology in the world”; called for the removal of the Dome of the Rock from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem; bought bus ads offering Muslims an opportunity to leave Islam; and called for boycotts of both Campbell’s soup and Butterball turkeys for offering a certified halaal food line.

Her claims are so bizarre that one struggles to understand whether they are worthy of a response. Indeed, one can understand why Charles Johnson, who runs the blog Little Green Footballs, where Geller used to write, said about her: “That would be Ms. Geller. She has a very long record of absolute lunacy, mixed with bigotry and racism and I am far from the only person to point this out.”

Yet, hidden beneath the rubble of vitriolic attacks, campaigns, rallies and statements lies tangible attacks against the very teachings of Islam, and it is imperative to address these attacks, as they form the foundation upon which Geller attempts to smear Islam. Most commonly, Geller draws attention to the writings of Robert Spencer in her allegations against Islam. This duo works together extensively in order to attack the Islamic Faith, commonly highlighted by Geller’s attention-getting statements.

Apostasy

“Apostasy is the most egregious of Islamic crimes.” –Pamela Geller

One common allegation the two have advanced together is that Islam prescribes a death penalty for apostasy. They cite real-life troubling accounts of people (e.g. Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani) punished for converting from Islam to another religion. This issue is real and undeniably must be addressed, but on this point let it be clear that there is nothing contained within the Holy Quran — the highest authoritative source in Islam — that sanctions any punishment for apostasy.

The Quran contains at least 10 verses about those who leave Islam, none of which sanction death in response. Exemplifying the Quran’s principles, the Prophet Muhammad never ordered any person to be killed for apostasy. In fact, in his peace treaty with Meccans, his acceptance of the condition that any Muslim recanting their faith be allowed to return to Mecca unharmed demonstrates that no punishment exists for apostasy, as he would never accept anything that went against the sharia.

The oft-cited proponent of radical interpretations of Islam is the influential cleric and founder of the Pakistani political party Jamaat-e-Islami, Abul Ala Maududi, who wrote, “In our domain we neither allow any Muslim to change his religion nor allow any other religion to propagate its faith.” He believed the Quran’s injunction that there can be no compulsion in religion did not apply to Muslims, who must be compelled to remain a Muslim. Sadly, present-day scholars (e.g., Dr. Bilal Philips) continue to advance this preposterous theory.

Islam affords all people — believers and non-believers — freedom of conscience and religion, with no threat of coercion in matters of faith. God’s universal prohibition from religious compulsion came with no qualifiers nor exceptions and must be applied to complementary Quranic verses 10:109 and 88:22-23, where God instructs Prophet Muhammad that he is not appointed to be a keeper over the people. Not even the Prophet was permitted to coerce his people to believe. The Promised Messiah and founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community also condemned any punishment for apostasy and any violence to spread faith. He wrote, “Religion is worth the name only so long as it is in consonance with reason. If it fails to satisfy that requisite, if it has to make up for its discomfiture in argument by handling the sword, it needs no other argument for its falsification. The sword it wields cuts its own throat before reaching others.”

Taqiyya

“Deception, taqiya, and lies are essential to advancing Islam (according to the unflushable Koran.)” –Pamela Geller

Another common allegation Geller makes — with references to the writings of Spencer — is that Muslims engage in the practice of taqiyya, which she defines as the practice of lying to non-Muslims in order to advance the cause of Islam (though most Sunni and Shiite scholars define it as concealing one’s beliefs explicitly to avoid physical harm). She levies this allegation against any Muslims speaking for peace, reconciliation or rationality. This exposes her inherent hypocrisy, as she criticizes Muslims for not being loyal to the U.S., but when they do pledge allegiance to the U.S., she claims it is deception (as she did with our Muslims for Loyalty efforts).

As with most of her accusations against Islam, there is indeed truth to be found in the writings and actions of some fanatics, but Geller conflates their words with Islam. Advancing the scholarship of Robert Spencer, she advances the theory that deception and dishonesty are permitted to Muslims to advance their faith, although no verse from the Quran is provided as a clear instruction for this practice.

As part of its effort to revive the teachings of Islam, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community entirely rejects the claim that Islam permits deception or lying. Quite to the contrary, the Quran clearly articulates honesty as incumbent upon Muslims when it says, “And confound not truth with falsehood nor hide the truth, knowingly” as well as “Most hateful is it in the sight of Allah that you say what you do not do.” Muslims have also been warned repeatedly to avoid language that may have double meanings in any situation and to, rather, employ straightforward and clear speech when dealing with members of our own household, neighbors or even enemies.

Allah continues in the Quran by instructing Muslims to be truthful even if doing so will harm them, their family or the community.

“O ye who believe! Be strict in observing justice, and be witnesses for Allah, even through it be against yourselves or against parents and kindred. Whether he be rich or poor, Allah is more regardful of them both that you are. Therefore follow not low desires so that you may be able to act equitably. And if you conceal the truth or evade it, then remember that Allah is well aware of what you do.”

Thus is every Muslim instructed to bear true testimony even if it is against themself, other Muslims, children, parents, kin, etc. Even if our honor or property is at stake, we are required to be fair, just and honest. The very idea that believers may legitimately deceive unbelievers when under pressure is patently absurd and not grounded in the teachings of the Quran.

 

Partnership With Robert Spencer

Geller’s modus operandi is to use head-turning statements to merely draw attention to the message of Robert Spencer. The two of them co-founded an organization (Stop Islamization of America) whose actions the Anti-Defamation League concluded “promotes a conspiratorial anti-Muslim agenda under the guise of fighting radical Islam.”

Together, they produce a pair very similar to that of Abu Lahab and his wife, as described in the Quran. Abu Lahab (literally “Father of Flame”) was the nickname given to the Prophet’s uncle, ‘Abd-ul-‘Uzza, because of his fiery temper and reprehensible stance toward the Prophet. He made every effort to follow Prophet Muhammad everywhere and dissuade people from seeing or paying any attention to him, calling him a mad man and liar. While Abu Lahab made efforts to obstruct Muhammad’s true message from people, his wife would make outrageous efforts such as scattering thorns and even garbage on the path on which the Prophet walked to either hurt him or impede his progress. More than anything, though, she was known for her slander and defamation of the Prophet.

Driven by their fiery hatred of Islam and its Prophet, Spencer and Geller have unwittingly become the modern day Abu Lahab and his wife. Fittingly, Chapter 111 of the Quran (entitled al-Lahab) predicts that the plotting of such nefarious enemies of Islam would appear but ultimately fail miserably, and their wealth will not avail them.

Like Abu Lahab’s wife, Geller will continually attempt to obstruct any effort to spread the truth of Islam. She expressed this commitment recently on two of her blogs when she targeted me with the following words: “Yes, Zafar, there are always going to be truth tellers in this world exposing these lies. Yes, Zafar, there are always going to be free men fighting for freedom of speech, freedom of conscience and individual rights. Yes, Zafar, I will fight you in the media, I will fight you on the billboards, I will fight you on radio. We will never give up.”

If Geller is not herself committing taqiyya here, she has become hysterical with delusions of grandeur, coupled with paranoia of an imaginary global conspiracy.

Ms. Geller, if you truly want to “fight” us with any type of honor and sense, lay aside your crass tactics and put your words into action. It’s time to publicly end your absurdity and fiery propaganda, which is no match for the truth of Islam, as revived by the Promised Messiah and rightly guided Reformer, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian. Prove that you mean it when you say you are willing to fight us anywhere. Prove I am wrong that you are nothing without the likes of Robert Spencer or David Yerushalmi by your side. You will find the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community just as willing to debate you in public, as long as you are honest about this offer and not practicing deception.

Originally published in the Summer 2012 edition of The Muslim Sunrise.

 

9 Responses to "Confronting Pamela Geller"

  1. Kashif Chaudhry KashifMD says:

    I look forward to Ms. Geller accepting the repeated requests for a public debate. If she is so strong in her conviction against Islam, she should not shy! Keep us updated Harris.

  2. oz33 says:

    hey pam gellar will whip ur a@#$s! with regard to Taqiyya i love how u use a quote to prove its only used by fanatics. Why don’t you quote versus or passages which endorse it?
    Qur’an (16:106) – Establishes that there are circumstances that can “compel” a Muslim to tell a lie.Qur’an (3:28) – This verse tells Muslims not to take those outside the faith as friends, unless it is to “guard themselves.”

  3. oz33 says:

    it’s ironic ur using Taqiyya to lie about Taqiyya! hilarious! Another reason I love Islam and Muslims!

  4. Sanity Check says:

    oz33,

    If Mr. Zafar says sky is blue, will it still be Taqiyya in your estimation?

    Let me go with your allegation of Mr. Zafar using Taqiyya for argument
    sake. You / Ms. Geller still has to answer the logic/challenge advanced by
    Mr. Zafar. Crying “liar liar” in he face of rational points is foolish. I suspect it is being done merely to avoid a response. Whatever the motivation, when the author makes an argument (rather than just make a claim) and goes as far as challenge Ms. Geller to take him up on a debate then all the rhetoric in the world will not avail. You gotta answer.

    Here is the translation for the verse 106 from chap 16:

    Whoso disbelieves in Allah after he has believed — save him who is forced thereto while
    his heart finds peace in the faith — but such as open their breasts to
    disbelief, on them is Allah’s wrath; and they shall have a severe
    punishment.

    This verse points out that there may be those who under the risk of persecution choose to hide their faith in a hostile environment. The application of this verse is simply not valid in America and other Western countries where there is freedom of religion. Unfortunately, it is more applicable to Saudi Arabia where followers of certain Muslim sects will be deported or not allowed to perform pilgrimage. It is up to the detractors now to show how to stretch the translation of this verse to include lying for political gains. Especially when Quran lays so much emphasis on truth telling, honesty and bearing true witness that one will not find in another scripture.

    As for making non-Muslim friends, this is unrelated to the discussion and elsewhere in the Quran, it is clearly demonstrated that this injunction is an exception rather than the rule and applies only to sharing / giving away of strategical information.

  5. RCCA says:

    I don’t believe you are qualified to state what “most people” think about anything, let alone how they feel about the appropriation or I should say, the misappropriation of their religious traditions. For instance, Jewish patriarchs and leaders — who are never referred to as prophets by Jews are repackaged as Muslim property. Somehow it strikes me as arrogant to redefine someone else’s religious luminaries for Muslim purposes, and claim that is being respectful. I’m sure the same is true for Christians who are deeply offended by the Muslim demotion of Jesus as a Muslim prophet rather than the son of God and savior. Simply put, only Muslims who are deeply ignorant of the teachings of Judaism and Christianity think they are showing respect by what they do. And yet, Muslims are so easily offended and enraged when they are not respected.

  6. Jim Fox says:

    Islam… truth…honesty…such unlikely bedfellows.

    Qur’an (3:54) – “And they (the disbelievers) schemed, and Allah schemed (against them): and Allah is the best of schemers.” The Arabic word used here for scheme (or plot) ismakara, which literally means deceit. If Allah is deceitful toward unbelievers, then there is little basis for denying that Muslims are allowed to do the same. (See also 8:30 and10:21)

    Allah is the best of schemers- there it is, black & white, koran truth. HOW do you loons delude yourselves so completely??

    • safeer says:

      For your information, this has been preeched for half a century by one who calls himself a Muslim, but who at the same time mocks at the Quran, claiming he is has studied widely. Such malicious groups have sabotaged all religions not only Islam.

      You said ‘loons'; how appropriate. That’s what we all are. We don’t see God, and wouldn’t see him even if He sat beside us while He planned against us. And we ‘loons’ think we can scheme because we have places where we can do so without anyone’s knowledge.

      Deceiptful schemers think of themselves as the wisest because to them their schemes are perfect. But for us ‘loons’ God takes up their challenge.

  7. safeer says:

    The lady would be well advised to listen to those who are made to suffer in Muslim countries for proclaiming to be Muslims. She will discover that such claimants to Islam are viled by Muslims far more than those whom she is fond of quoting. Her quoted may have benefitted one way or the other from their publications, but the nuts I am talking about have nothing to gain but God’s love. Yes, when God loves someone, the world also loves that person. The lady should try saying a few words of love for the good Muhammad (may peace be upon him) has done, and see how she is loved by those she wants to love. Hatred can only beget malice.

  8. DogmaelJones1 says:

    Zafar’s is the lengthiest instance of taqiyya I’ve read yet.
    I invite him to visit Rule of Reason at http://ruleofreason.blogspot.com/
    and see just what Americans really think about Islam, that “religion of
    peace.” There is also a pamphlet he might want to read, too, “Islam’s
    Reign of Terror,” here: http://muhammadimages.com/downloads/ReignTerrorFinalVersion.pdf Other readers are also invited to visit these
    sites.

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