Posted by on April 30, 2012 in Blog
Despite repeated attempts to incite a media frenzy surrounding their “Jessica Mokdad Human Rights Conference” in Dearborn, Michigan this Sunday, the Islamophobes did not succeed this weekend in garnering the press attention they wanted, and now they are crying about it. On her website, Pamela Geller, the conference’s main organizer, vents about her event’s lack of media coverage: “There is something fundamentally broken in our culture. Imagine a society that extols the supremacist tyranny of the sharia while smearing and defaming human rights activists fighting for freedom and individual rights over gencdercide [sic] and gender apartheid.”
Geller’s bigoted narrative was effectively drowned out by the community who, on the same day as her conference, convened a town hall on Islamophobia with interfaith leaders from a number of different faith groups, members of Congress, Michigan state representatives, and Government officials. Attempts to incite the media started immediately following the announcement that the community would convene a town hall.
Robert Spencer, one of Geller’s friends and fellow speaker at her Dearborn conference wrote on his blog: “We also fully expect they'll be trying to disrupt ours [Conference], as they increasingly are adopting the tactics of Hitler's brownshirts.” His intention was clearly to incite the media to anticipate an incredible and heated Arab American and American Muslim protest, one which he, Geller, and their friends would attempt to present as evidence of their anti-Muslim, anti-Arab, and anti-immigrant message. Needless to say, the frenzy Spencer created in his own mind stayed there, and never gained traction in the papers. Like a parent teaching their crying baby to self-soothe, the media let Geller and Spencer “cry it out,” and they continue to do so.
So when Geller asks in her latest blog why the “the pro-honor killing event get all the positive press?” what she is really asking, is “why isn’t anyone listening to me?!” The answer is simple: because she and her hate-mongering partners have been exposed for what they are: a traveling bigoted circus act almost unanimously rejected by Michigan residents. Perhaps Geller’s conference did not take root with the community because virtually no members of the community were allowed in, even those Geller and her friends say they were there trying to protect. Yesterday, outside the conference doors stood a number of Arab American and American Muslim young women waiting to get in. The group was denied entry to the conference despite having received online confirmation of their attendance. And when those young women repeatedly requested an explanation for their exclusion, they were forced off the premises by police officers Geller and Spencer made sure were in place to protect their gathering. Don’t worry, we got the entire thing on tape, because both myself and my colleague Omar Baddar were also forced to leave the hotel, and we will share that footage with you soon. The Islamophobes failed to sway public opinion this time around because they weren’t left unopposed. The Arab American, American Muslim community and our friends stood up for what was right and stood in solidarity, and the news reports reflect that.
Read related news reports:
Dearborn conferences to address honor killings, Islamophobia
Michigan Radio, NPR
Rejecting Islamophobia: Dearborn conference counters Geller's hatefest
Human Rights Conference at Hyatt Sparks Controversy
Dearborn Free Press
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