Pamela Geller is the founder and editor of PamelaGeller.com, formerly AtlasShrugs.com, and the executive director of the American Freedom Defense Initiative and Stop Islamization of America, both inner core Islamophobic groups. Geller proclaims herself as the “foremost defender of the freedom of speech against attempts to force the West to accept Sharia blasphemy laws, and against Sharia self-censorship by Western media outlets.”
She has gained traction and influence through her writings and public and media appearances which vilify Islam and dehumanize Muslims. Geller’s phraseology, such as “Islamofacism,” has been adopted by individuals, including Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin, and she has brought into the mainstream the idea that terrorist acts done by Muslims spring not from perversions of Islam but from the religion itself. Charles Johnson, of the right-wing blog Little Green Footballs has said, “I think she’s enabling a real bigotry — a lot of people are convinced by the propaganda she repeats like a mantra.”
After dropping out of Hofstra University in Long Island, New York, Pamela Geller started her publishing career at The New York Daily News through the 1980s, and then became the associate publisher at The New York Observer. After 9/11, she claims she “felt guilty that I didn’t know who had attacked my country” and began to look into Islam through the work of individuals such as the blatant Islamophobe Daniel Pipes.
Shortly thereafter, Geller launched AtlasShrugs.com, in homage to Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged, and has since used the site, renamed pamelageller.com, to avidly spread her anti-Islam vitriol. She once posted, and later removed, a video implying that Muslims practiced bestiality with goats.
In 2007 she wrote against Debbie Almontaser, a Muslim principal who started an Arabic-language public school in Brooklyn. Geller said Arabic-language instruction was a front for Islamist indoctrination, and fought to get her removed.
In 2010, PayPal notified Geller that Atlas Shrugs had violated its Acceptable Use Policy and would therefore no longer have access to its services. The policy states that “PayPal may not be used to send or receive payments for items that promote hate, violence, racial intolerance.”
Geller spearheaded the antagonism against thePark 51 mosque in New York in 2010. She wrote multiple posts in which she spread misinformation regarding the mosque and its Imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf. She called Park 51 “the ground zero mega-mosque,” a “monster mosque,” and a “stab in the eye of America.” Going to absurd lengths, Geller proclaimed the founding of the mosque, “Islamic domination and expansionism.” She also falsely branded Rauf a “radical Islamist.” Her inflammatory rhetoric increased opposition to the mosque, drawing thousands of people to protest against its construction. At the same time, the public dislike of Islam increased. According to an ABC News and Washington Post poll, the portion of Americans with a favorable view of Islam reached its lowest point since 9/11 — 37 percent.
To support her protests and demonstrations against Park 51, Geller invited the English Defence League to her September 2010 anti-Mosque rally in New York. The EDL is a well-known zealously anti-Muslim British group which stages frequent street protests, ostensibly against “militant Islam”. A Guardian investigative piece found “racism, violence and virulent Islamophobia” a hallmark of their demonstrations.
Geller has said she, “share[s] the EDL’s goals.” She has also stated, “Anyone with an ounce of decency would stand with the EDL.”
Geller is also an avid supporter of Dutch anti-Muslim extremist Geert Wilders, whom she invited to speak at the June 2010 anti-mosque rally.
Further building links between European and American Islamophobia, Geller actively took part in an anti-Islam rally organized by the Swedish Defence League in 2012. In 2010, she spoke at a Paris event put on by the Bloc Identitaire, which opposes race-mixing and Islamic imperialism.
Right-wing terrorist Anders Breivik praised Geller in the manifesto he posted online hours before massacring 77 people, most of them teenagers, at a youth camp in August 2011. Breivik cited Geller’s blog, and the writings of her collaborators, including Robert Spencer and Jihad Watch, more than 250 times.
Geller defended Breivik’s actions, stating he “was targeting the future leaders of the party responsible for flooding Norway with Muslims.” She also posted a photo of the youth camp attendees and captioned it, “Note the faces which are more Middle [sic] Eastern or mixed than pure Norwegian.”
In 2014, Robert James Talbot, Jr. was arrested in Texas on terrorism charges. His plotted to use C-4 explosives and weapons to kill police officers, rob banks and armored cars, and blow up government buildings and mosques. On the Facebook page he used to recruit individuals into his plan, he shared links to Geller’s site, seemingly inspired by her hateful rhetoric.
This website is a project of CAIR's Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia.