Pamela Geller is pretty worked up about the Southern Poverty Law Center’s designation of her group, Stop Islamization of America, as a hate group. But not because she gives the designation any credence. On the contrary, Geller — the blogger behind Atlas Shrugs and one of the most vociferous opponents to a planned Muslim community center near Ground Zero in New York City — says “a slam from the SPLC is a badge of honor.”
Stop Islamization of America was included as a hate group in the SPLC’s Spring 2011 “Intelligence Report.” The 9/11 Christian Center at Ground Zero group also made the list. The SPLC considers both groups “anti-Muslim.”
On her blog last Friday, Geller wrote that the SPLC had “slandered our human rights organization,” and called the SPLC a “subversive organization.” On Saturday, in a post titled “Southern Poverty
Law Fraud Center,” Geller posted pictures of what she said is SPLC founder Morris Dees’ posh Montgomery home, as well as what she said are his divorce papers.
In a press release reacting to the news, Geller defended her group and further bashed the SPLC.
“It’s outrageous that the SPLC designates a group dedicated to protecting the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience, and legal equality for all Americans as a ‘hate group,'” she said. “The SPLC, instead of standing for those freedoms, is carrying water for the real haters, the real neo-Nazi Jew-haters: the forces of Islamic supremacism and jihad. The SPLC doesn’t even have a category for Islamic jihadi groups. The greatest threat facing our nation, our people, our world, and they are shilling for them.”
Geller told TPM in an email that Stop Islamization of America’s parent group, the American Freedom Defense Initiative, has decided to create a kind of counter to the SPLC’s list: an annual list of groups that are “Threats to Freedom.”
“The SPLC and CAIR [Council on American-Islamic Relations] will almost certainly make the initial listing, but not because they have demonized our human rights organization,” Geller wrote. “This is by no means the first time that these organizations have set themselves up in opposition to individuals and groups like ours that are dedicated only to defending the freedom of speech and legal equality for all citizens. They need to be exposed, and we are going to expose them.”
Geller said she found out about the hate group designation in a press release sent out by CAIR, “which was crowing over the aid the useful idiots of the SPLC were giving to the Islamic supremacist cause.”
When asked about her writing in 2009 that the SPLC “has outlived its usefulness,” Geller granted that the SPLC’s past efforts against the KKK were “noble.” But she dismissed the group’s current activities.
“Certainly to fight against the KKK was a noble cause,” she said. “But now the SPLC is just a cash cow for the clueless and/or complicit tools of Islamic supremacism on the Left. The SPLC is reviled in civil rights circles for its notorious reputation. It does little to no work, while its officials enriching themselves by raising huge amounts from unsuspecting donors.”
Since the SPLC announced the designation, Geller says she and her group have received an “outpouring of support from lovers of freedom.”
“And SIOA on Facebook has received a hundred new requests to join,” Geller added.