Political activist Pamela Geller was the target of Boston jihadi Usaamah Abdullah Rahim who sources say plotted to behead her, but when he decided to attack the Boston Police instead, he was fatally shot by authorities Wednesday.
Geller, a controversial figure in the free speech movement, set off a series of debates over the years relating to stories about Islamists and their allies in the United States. From fighting the proposed Ground Zero mosque to proposing metro ads critical of Islam to Muhammad art exhibits, Pam Gellar has been an effective free speech activist for a number of years. The Daily Caller sent Geller questions via e-mail Thursday and she returned the following responses:
TheDC: How do you think the left has changed on the subject of free speech?
GELLER: From the Free Speech Movement of the 1960s, it has been a long descent — or perhaps a long revelation of the left’s authoritarianism and hypocrisy. The left is not interested in free speech or free discourse. It wants to crush all dissent.
TheDC: You mentioned there would be more Muhammad art oriented exhibits in the near future. Is there an estimate as to how many are currently scheduled or are in the planning process?
GELLER: We have several new initiatives in defense of free speech that we will be announcing soon.
TheDC: Some critics of these art exhibits say the works showing images of Muhammad are “offensive” to Muslims. Is it the fact that just an image of Muhammad (whether with ill will or good intent) was created that’s the offense? Can you explain this?
GELLER: Yes, Islamic law forbids making images of Muhammad, but this prohibition was often ignored in Islamic history, particularly in medieval Persia. The fury over Muhammad cartoons today is an attempt to force the free world to accept Sharia blasphemy laws, and establish the precedent that Western law and mores must give way to Sharia.
TheDC: Has there been any positive reaction from your efforts from Muslims around the world? Please describe the most interesting responses.
GELLER: Many Muslims and ex-Muslims, those who live both openly and secretly, have written me with immense and touching gratitude and relief, thrilled that someone is at last exposing the violence, hatred and hypocrisy that deformed their lives, and about which they finally woke up and from which they were finally able to free themselves.
TheDC: Do you wear body armor? If yes, how often?
GELLER: For obvious reasons, I do not comment on my security measures.
TheDC: How often do you receive threats? Is it mostly via internet, social media?
GELLER: Quite frequently, usually via email and often also via comments on my website.
TheDC: Have you received the threats any other way outside of the internet? Please describe.
GELLER: The FBI and police have informed me of several threats, as well as of the chatter last week that turned out to be the Boston jihadis’ plot.
TheDC: What about close friends and family? Have they been threatened as a result of their association to you?
GELLER: For obvious reasons, I have no comment on this.
TheDC: What about lawsuits? Are there any pending against you as a result of the art exhibits? Have you filed any 1st amendment lawsuits yourself?
GELLER: No lawsuits are pending against me. How could there be? It is not illegal under American law to show Muhammad. And we took every precaution to protect those who attended our Garland event — and our precautions worked. Yes, we have filed many First Amendment lawsuits regarding various transit authorities’ refusal to run our ads — and we have won.
TheDC: How did you initially find out you were the target of this jihadist who wanted to behead you? Did authorities inform you before the media reported it?
GELLER: I was first informed by CNN, when they asked me for comment about the plot against me. Authorities had told me in general terms, but not specifically.
TheDC: How supportive has law enforcement been of your cause?
GELLER: They have been professional, thorough, and helpful.