Spencer and Geller's proposed banner
Crossposted with permission from Omer Subhani’s blog
Robert Spencer and Pam Geller are part of an organization called Stop Islamization of America (SIOA). SIOA just announced a bus ad campaign on Tuesday, April 13 in Miami-Dade County, FL designed to thwart the supposedly “misleading” bus ad campaign created by the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and CAIR to promote the shared commonalities of Islam with Christianity and Judaism.
SIOA’s bus ad campaign had the following remarks on the 10 or so buses running their ads:
Fatwa on your head?
Is your family or community threatening you?
This ad was apparently designed for the purpose of promoting freedom of religion. Obviously, the purpose is a bit more sinister once you start to dig deeper into what Spencer and Geller are promoting here.
The ad includes an address to a website: refugefromislam.com. Go ahead and check out that web site. What do you find there? A web site dedicated to slandering Islam and promoting the views of Spencer and Geller.
Here’s a fair and poignant remark from this web site:
Muslims like you who have seen the falsity of Islam and have made the difficult decision to be free.
Oh sure, that’s just speaking the hard truth. Islam is false and Spencer and Geller want all Muslim apostates to know they got their back in saying so.
Well, it’s Friday, April 16 now, and guess what? The Miami Herald is reporting that the Miami-Dade transit authority took a look at the ads after they were posted on some buses and decided to remove them because they “may be offensive to Islam.” Ya think?
Of course, there’s a freedom of speech issue here. Certainly, Spencer, Geller and their lunatic fringe can spew their hatred on their blogs, but once they take their trashy bigotry outside of their internet cesspool into civil society it only goes to show you that normal, civilized people aren’t going to go along with the whole freedom of speech defense these bigots might use.
Do you think the Miami-Dade transit folks would be okay with posting up ads for the KKK or for some neo-Nazi group? Of course not. So why should ads smearing Islam and manufacturing propaganda against Muslims be tolerated? It shouldn’t, and it isn’t. Kudos to Miami-Dade County for standing up and doing the right thing here.
This entire ad campaign being led by Spencer and Geller is not about freedom of religion anyway, but is about their agenda of smearing Islam and Muslims.
There may in fact be Muslims out there who want to change their faith and fear doing so, but this ad campaign is nothing but propaganda designed to smear Islam and scare ignorant Americans into believing there is a genuine problem with Muslim apostates fearing for their safety. There is no such problem.
The real problem is the double standard Spencer and Geller hold when it comes to Muslim Americans exercising their First Amendment rights.
So for example, Spencer and Geller argue for the freedom of apostates to leave Islam. But what about Muslims who want to be able to practice their faith here in the United States?
Such Muslims don’t get any love from Spencer and Geller. In fact, they only get scorn and vitriol.
For example, recently a Muslim woman in Michigan was refused a position with McDonald’s because she wore the hijab or Muslim headscarf. Spencer accused Muslims of wanting America to conform to their “Islamic sensibilities.” No mention of freedom of religion there. Of course not, because freedom of religion doesn’t apply to Muslims, according to Spencer. The EEOC was quoted in the article Spencer referenced as saying that it had issued new guidelines for accommodating religious practices and beliefs in the workplace. The EEOC must also be a part of this whole Islamic sensibilities campaign, too.
Applying Spencer’s logic to other faiths would mean that a Sikh man shouldn’t complain if he is not given a job at McDonald’s either, or an orthodox Jew. They simply want to impose their “sensibilities” on the rest of us real Americans. Freedom of religion? Pssh.
After saying things like that, Spencer has got a lot of gall to be talking about freedom of religion. The Miami-Dade County transit folks aren’t buying his and Geller’s propaganda, and neither should anyone else.
Addendum by Danios:
The astute law student Omer Subhani has pointed out that this has nothing to do with freedom of speech, as nobody is stopping Spencer et al. from posting his profuse vitriol on his website. However, he does not own the buses and therefore has no right to dictate what goes on them, as I do not have the right to dictate what ads run on JihadWatch. Hypocritically, these Islamophobic elements supported the removal of the WhyIslam.org banners on metro stations, but now they seem to be struck with partial amnesia, claiming that it is a violation of their rights to remove their Islamophobic ads. Apparently, freedom of speech to them is the freedom for them to voice their views and silence those of their opponents. The issue is made exceedingly clear by the example given above, namely that nobody would expect the buses to put up ads supporting the KKK or some neo-Nazi group. Alternatively, one can hardly imagine Usama bin Ladin being allowed to promote his message on these buses.
This is less of an issue about freedom of speech, but more about common human decency. It revolves around Spencer and Geller’s departure from the bounds of reasonableness and entrance into the realms of fringe fanaticism. (A reader of ours noted: “The word ‘departure’ implies that there was a time they were ever within the bounds of reasonableness.” Good point!) Their ad campaign reflects their juvenile behavior. One can hardly expect better from Geller, but shouldn’t Spencer have at least some standards so he can continue to uphold his false claim to scholarship? Bravo, Spencer. You continue to expose yourself as the lunatic you are. Please continue, so we can show the world what a raving lunatic you truly are.