Monday, October 11, 2010

Blogger fires debate over Islam, planned Park51 site

Pamela Geller’s spitfire blog has gained national attention in recent months after the announcement of the planned Muslim community center, Park51, just blocks from the Ground Zero site.

Because of her strong opposition, Geller’s blog, Atlas Shrugs, which she started in 2005, has been branded as a hate site. Geller is a single mother of four, and a cosmopolitan from the East Side of Manhattan. She humorously refers to herself as “a racist-Islamophobic –anti-Muslim-bigot.”

“This is Islamic domination and expansionism,” Geller said.

In her blog, Geller has branded the planned site “the ground zero mega-mosque,” the “9/11 monster mosque” and the Islamic “victory lap” of “totalitarian Khomeinism.” As for the developer, she considers them a “thug” and “lowlife” who is “building on a Christian cemetery.”

“I have an interesting play on words sometimes,” she said. “If people like it, I think that’s great.”

Her opposition toward the Muslim community center may have stemmed from her beliefs in American power that she said were pervasive in earlier years. Geller, 52, connects her recent concerns regarding political correctness, media cowardice, changing national identity and individual rights to that belief.

“Growing up as the sort of tail end of the baby boomers, there was this feeling of invincibility in America,” Geller said. “We were free. The good guys won. The good cop is on the beat. I certainly don’t age a sense of that anymore.”

Geller’s interest in Islam began shortly after 9/11, when she had barely heard of Osama bin Laden. She spent one year educating herself on Islam. Geller said she “felt guilty that I didn’t know who had attacked my country.”

Prior to the controversies of Park51, Geller blogged about other hot-button issues such as the Muslim riots over cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed printed in a Danish newspaper.

When the New York Times first reported the plans to build the site two blocks from Ground Zero, Geller was quick to object, writing, “I don’t know which is more grotesque – jihad or the NY Times preening of it.”

She dropped the topic on her blog until May 5 when the project won unanimous approval from a committee of Community Board 1.

The center, which would include a mosque, sports facility and cultural programs to promote understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims, she said, “Probably wouldn’t last two minutes without being bombed by devout Muslims.”

Drawing national attention, the next week The New York Post began the cause “Mosque Madness at Ground Zero” and Geller was booked on Fox News and radio programs.

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