Stop Islamization of America

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Abbreviation American Freedom Defense Initiative, Freedom Defense Initiative
Formation 2010 (2010)
Location New York, United States
President Pamela Geller
Co-founder Robert Spencer
Website freedomdefense.typepad.com/sioa/

Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) (also known as the American Freedom Defense Initiative or simply the Freedom Defense Initiative) is an American extreme right[1][2] Islamophobic organization[3] led by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer.[4] Geller describes it as "a human rights entity dedicated to the freedom of speech, which is under attack, as well as to the freedom of religion and to individual rights."[5]

The group was founded in 2010 as the US branch of Stop Islamisation of Europe. It became notorious for its highly publicized ad campaigns in New York City, especially one opposing Park 51, a Muslim community center proposed for lower Manhattan.[2] SIOA was named a hate group in June 2011 by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).[6]

History

SIOA was founded by and is led by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer.[7] It is also known as the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI).[8] It was founded in 2010 at the request of Anders Gravers Pedersen, the leader of Stop Islamisation of Europe, of which it is the American affiliate.[8]

SIOA has been described as being on the extreme right of the political spectrum.[1][2]

2010

SIOA first entered the public eye with its early opposition to the construction of Park51, a 13-story Muslim community center proposed for a location two blocks from the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan. On May 6, 2010, following community approval of the project, Geller posted a blog piece[9] calling the building a "Monster Mosque".[10] SIOA launched a "Campaign Offensive: Stop the 9/11 Mosque!" and other protests.[8]

In July 2010, the organization purchased bus advertising in New York[11] and other American cities promoting a website offering "refuge from Islam."[12] According to Pamela Geller, the ads "were designed to help provide resources for Muslims who were fearful of leaving the faith".[11] The Council on American-Islamic Relations criticized the premise of the ads, that there were any such Muslims, calling it "a smoke screen to advance [Geller's] long-standing history of anti-Muslim bigotry".[11]

2011

The Southern Poverty Law Center named SIOA an anti-Muslim hate group in February 2011,[13] calling it a "propaganda powerhouse" that paints moderate Muslims as radical terrorists.[6] The Anti-Defamation League also lists it as a hate group, saying that it "promotes a conspiratorial anti-Muslim agenda under the guise of fighting radical Islam" and "seeks to rouse public fears by consistently vilifying the Islamic faith and asserting the existence of an Islamic conspiracy to destroy 'American' values."[14]

In July and August 2011, Geller and Spencer were discussed in the media because Norwegian mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik's anti-Muslim manifesto quoted Spencer at length and also cited Geller's blog.[15] According to Heidi Beirich, Deputy Director of SPLC, Geller and Spencer's writings were "the primary sources for the anti-Muslim propaganda that had helped give voice" to Breivik's 1500+ page manifesto.[2] SIOA published a statement jointly with Jihad Watch and Stop Islamisation of Europe condemning Breivik's attack.[16]

2012

SIOA ran another series of ads in the New York City subway in September 2012, reading "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad."[4] Several groups have sponsored subway ads to counter SIOA's original ad and condemn it as "hate speech."[17] The Jewish Council for Public Affairs has called it "bigoted, divisive" and JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow has said "the fact that ads have been placed in the subway attacking Israel does not excuse the use of attack ads against Muslims."[18] William McGurn, former speechwriter for President Bush, wrote an editorial in the Wall Street Journal supporting the ads.[19]

2013

In early January 2013 the AFDI placed over 200 advertisements in New York City subway stations.[20] The ads juxtaposed images of the September 11 attacks with a quote from the Koran: "Soon shall we cast terror into the hearts of the unbelievers."[21] The New York City Transit Authority, required by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution to accept the advertisements, insisted that 25% of their area contain a Transit Authority disclaimer.[22] The ads ran for a month.[20]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Ivanova, Mina (2013). "A Stab in the Eye of America or a Center for Multi-Faith Dialogue? Ideology and Contested Rhetorics Surrounding the Proposed Muslim Community Center near New York City's Ground Zero". In Clarke Rountree. Venomous Speech: Problems with American Political Discourse on the Right and Left. ABC-CLIO. p. 360. ISBN 9780313398674. 
  2. ^ a b c d Beirich, Heidi (2013). "Hate Across the Waters: The Role of American Extremists in Fostering an International White Consciousness". In Ruth Wodak, Majid KhosraviNik, Brigitte Mral. Right-Wing Populism in Europe: Politics and Discourse. A&C Black. pp. 89–92. ISBN 1780932456. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b Epstein, Emily Anne (September 27, 2012). "Woman 'attacked' while defending anti-jihad subway ad plans to sue activist who sprayed painted HER". The Daily Mail. Retrieved February 9, 2014. 
  5. ^ Nolan, Karen (August 18, 2010). "The power of hate, fear". The Reporter (Vacaville, CA). "According to Elliott, one person who was paying attention, and blogging about it, was Pamela Geller of the Atlas Shrugs Web site. She also runs Stop Islamization of America ( SIOA ), an anti-Islamic group that laughably claims to be a 'human rights organization dedicated to freedom of speech, religious liberty, and individual rights; no special rights for special classes.'" 
  6. ^ a b Steinback, Robert (Summer 2011). "Jihad Against Islam". The Intelligence Report (142) (Southern Poverty Law Center). 
  7. ^ Atkins, Stephen E. (2 June 2011). The 9/11 Encyclopedia: Second Edition. ABC-CLIO. p. 222. ISBN 978-1-59884-922-6. 
  8. ^ a b c Barnard, Anne; Feuer, Alan (October 10, 2010). "Outraged, And Outrageous". The New York Times. 
  9. ^ Elliott, Justin (August 16, 2010). "How the "ground zero mosque" fear mongering began". Salon. 
  10. ^ Gottschalk, Peter (2012). "Religion Out of Place: Islam and cults as perceived threats in the United States". In Gershon Shafir, Everard Meade, William J. Aceves. Lessons and Legacies of the War on Terror: From Moral Panic to Permanent War. Critical Terrorism Studies. Routledge. pp. 111–112. ISBN 0415638410. 
  11. ^ a b c "'Leaving Islam?' bus adverts draw anger in NYC". Telegraph. May 27, 2010. 
  12. ^ Rice, Stephanie (July 28, 2010). "'Anti-Islamic' bus ads appear in major cities". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved January 31, 2012. 
  13. ^ Siemaszko, Corky (February 25, 2011). "Southern Poverty Law Center lists anti-Islamic NYC blogger Pamela Geller, followers a hate group". New York Daily News. 
  14. ^ "Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA)". Extremism. Anti-Defamation League. September 14, 2010. Retrieved January 12, 2013. 
  15. ^ Shane, Scott (July 24, 2011). "Killings in Norway Spotlight Anti-Muslim Thought in U.S.". The New York Times. 
  16. ^ Nathan-Kazis, Josh; Guttman, Nathan (August 5, 2011). "U.S. Critics of Islam Vow To Continue Activism After Oslo". The Forward. "A statement published on July 25 on Jihad Watch, by Spencer and Geller ’s SIOA and Stop Islamisation of Europe, their group’s European ally, condemned the attacks. The statement went on to say that Breivik had attempted to join SOIE but had been kept out of the organization 'because of his Nazi ties.'" 
  17. ^ Masood, Ashwaq (Oct 4, 2012). "Pro-Muslim Subway Ads to Hang Near Anti-Jihad Ads". New York Times. 
  18. ^ "JCPA Condemns Bigoted, Divisive, and Unhelpful Anti-Muslim Ads". JCPA. Retrieved September 21, 2012. 
  19. ^ McGurn, William (October 1, 2012). "Call a Terrorist a ‘Savage’? How Uncivilized". Wall Street Journal. 
  20. ^ a b "More Ads With Inflammatory Messages About Islam Appear In NYC Subway". CBS news. January 8, 2013. 
  21. ^ Epstein, Emily Anne (December 7, 2012). "New Anti-Islam Ads to Debut This Month, Now With 25% More MTA Disclaimer". The New York Observer. Retrieved February 28, 2014.  The quote is from 3:151
  22. ^ Flegenheimer, Matt (Dec 13, 2012). "Controversial Group Plans More Ads in Subway Stations". New York Times. 

External links