Citizenship Confusion: Pamela Geller Abuses a Murder

Every Monday in Citizenship Confusion, Alan Noble discusses how we confuse our heavenly citizenship with citizenship to the state, culture, and the world.

A few weeks ago I wrote about how Robert Spencer, of Jihad Watch “fame,” had grossly misrepresented a Texas Christmas day murder-suicide as an Islamic “honor-killing,” a claim which was not substantiated by the police or the news reports. In that post I ended by saying:

“Spencer goes well beyond speculation by calling this an ‘Islamic honor killing’ and accusing the media of a PC coverup. The article is deceptive (or at least grossly irresponsible) and dangerous.

I chose this article because I stumbled upon it yesterday, but I have seen the same kind of deception in other posts from Spencer. My point is that he is a very influential figure in some Christian circles yet he quite blatantly lies. Some would excuse his articles as ‘exaggerations’ and point out that the real threat is Islam, not the brave voices who speak out against it.

My admonition for the Church is to deny the political nihilism of our culture by being a discerning reader, hungry for the Truth, even when it challenges our preconceptions. Let’s not make excuses for lies or irresponsible speculation or promote deception.”

Recently I was made aware of another highly-influential figure in the “creeping Sharia” movement who was using a murder to promote societal suspicions that Muslims are a deadly invading force in our country. Pamela Geller, who often works with Robert Spencer and runs her popular blog, Atlas Shrugs, has announced that she will be holding a conference to expose the cover-up of an honor killing in Michigan. The conference will be called the Jessica Mokdad Human Rights Conference, named after a 20-year-old Muslim girl who was killed by her father last year.

The problem is, that the girl’s family and the county prosecutor all deny that this was a religiously-motivated killing. And the step-mother has demanded that Geller not use her step-daughter’s name, but Geller plans to keep the name and hold the conference anyway.

According to FOX news, the step mother stated that, “this disgusting act had nothing to do with Islam, a religion she said Jessica practiced proudly.” And her father claimed, “It was nothing about religion or anything. It was just about a sick human being.”

In addition, the local chief of the homicide unit stated that: “It has nothing to do with religion. It has everything to do with his anger and frustration, apparently. . . .The wife of the defendant has indicated it was his intent to kill (Jessica’s) father. We’re still investigating motive, but the family says it’s very clear that the motive was not religion.”

While it is true that part of the step-father’s controlling behavior did include trying to force his step-daughter to wear a head-scarf, Geller goes far beyond what is reasonable by claiming that there is “overwhelming evidence” that it was an honor killing.

Voices like Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller are very dangerous, particular for Christians and conservatives–people who are prone to having a very low view of Muslims.

First, grossly, negligently, and cruelly exaggerating evidence in order to call a murder an “honor killing” distracts from the very real and horrible reality of honor killings, abuses, and misogyny done in the name of Islam.

Second, these exaggerations from influential bloggers fuel racism, hatred, and xenophobia. If you have any doubt about these, read some of the comments they receive on their sites.

Third, these voices are quite popular among Christians.

If we want to have a chance at ministering to our Islamic neighbors, sharing the Gospel with them, meeting their needs, and loving them as ourselves, we have to treat them with respect. We can begin respecting them by reading, sharing, and supporting commentators and bloggers who speak truthfully and in love.

 

About Alan Noble

(Co-Founder/Editor/Columnist) is a part-time lecturer at Baylor University. He received his PhD in Contemporary American Literature from Baylor, writing on manifestations of transcendence in 20th Century American Lit. He and his family attend Redeemer Waco, a PCA church. Alan's passion is studying how believers can be a faithful presence in culture to the glory of God and the edification of others. In addition to editing, Alan writes his column, Citizenship Confusion for CaPC.

---Follow Alan on Twitter @TheAlanNoble and on Facebook.

---For questions, comments, or interest in speaking engagements please email me at noble.noneuclidean [at] gmail [dot] com.

  • http://www.jihadwatch.org Robert Spencer

    I cannot begin to enter the mindset of someone who would willingly become an apologist for honor murder, but that is what you have become. I have no idea how you sleep. The Texas case was probable, the Mokdad case certain. When you adduce the family’s denials in the latter case as proof that it wasn’t an honor killing, you demonstrate that you have not the slightest clue what an honor murder really is. Look at the Aqsa Parvez case for indications of how the surviving family members react in the aftermath of these murders. They were so shamed by Aqsa, not by her murder, that they buried her in an unmarked grave. In Pakistan there are even separate cemeteries for honor victims, where they are likewise buried in unmarked graves.

    Jessica Mokdad’s stepfather, Rahim Alfetlawi, killed her because she “wasn’t following Islam“ (report from TwinCities.com) and was “not adhering to Muslim customs“ (Star Tribune). Arab American News reported that the last recorded dispute between Jessica Mokdad and her stepfather was over the wearing of the hijab (head scarf), which he originally forced her to wear (just as in the honor murder of Aqsa).

    Alfetlawi was also pathologically controlling, as was the father who murdered his family in Texas (the first case in which you covered yourself with shame). At one point Jessica called her natural father and told him: “Dad, I can’t live here anymore, he’s too strict, I can’t even go to the store to buy a pop if I want.”

    Macomb County Assistant Prosecutor Bill Contaldo said: “He thought she was becoming too Westernized. I think this was a very nice young lady wanting to experiment with Western culture without control and without abuse.” The Detroit Free Press reported: “Mokdad’s mother told police that Alfetlawi felt so shamed by her daughter’s Western ways, he killed her in an honor killing, Warren Police Sgt. Stephen Mills said.”

    Alfetlawi was so concerned about Jessica’s behavior that he even forced her to go to a mosque and marry her boyfriend.

    The Daily Mail reported this from London: “Devout Muslim stalks his step-daughter over four states ‘before killing her for being too Western.” The Daily Tribune reported: “Stepfather charged with murder in Warren, upset victim didn’t adhere to Muslim customs.”

    And the Fox reporter who noted the family’s denials (without ever giving a hint of the evidence that it was an honor killing), Alexis Wiley, had written in a previous report for Fox Detroit: “He forced her to wear a traditional head scarf instead of allowing her to make that decision on her own, and when she stopped wearing a scarf, friends say he became furious.”

    You know nothing of honor killing and are willingly fronting and making excuses for murderers. You disgust me.

  • http://www.diannaeanderson.net Dianna

    I cannot begin to enter the mindset of someone who would willingly become a promoter of Islamaphobia and racism, but that is what you have become. I have no idea how you sleep. The Texas case was impossible, the Mokdad case only has a scrap of evidence linking it to religion. When you make assumptions about family actions in the latter case as proof that it was an honor killing, you demonstrate that you have not the slightest clue. Look at the comments on your site for indications of how the white people who are scared of brown people react in the aftermath of your assertions and assumptions. They are so riled up by your words, not by the maligning of American citizens, that they react in ways that would make even the most extreme jihadist blush. In a comment only tangentially related to the topic at hand, they weave baskets underwater while making comments on their iPhones.

    Now I’m going to quote a whole bunch of biased, unreliable sources like UK newspaper The Daily Mail (sample headline: “New breed of ‘piranha women’ who are preying on rich men to get them pregnant!”) and Fox News (who once took an Onion story seriously simply because it was about Obama). These sources are not local news, do not have connections to local news, and exist to create traffic to their websites and increase ad revenue.

    You know nothing of understanding and compassion and are willingly distorting facts and maligning the dead. You disgust me.

    Well, that was easy.

  • http://www.alienman.blogspot.com Brad Williams

    Robert,

    I wish you would post comments like this more often. You stuck and exclamation point at the end of Alan’s claims about you with this ridiculous tirade, and did much to help his case against you.

  • http://johnkpatterson.wordpress.com John Patterson

    Robert, way to leap to your own defense and give all of us another reason to not take you seriously. Here you are, rushing in to a critical article that was probably in your peripheral vision and screaming “Nuh-uh! I’m right, you’re wrong.” I’ve only seen folks at MovieGuide get so ludicrously defensive that they post rants in the comments of articles that point out how very irresponsible and unproductive you are being.

    It wouldn’t be so bad if you didn’t so readily distort or assume things you have no business assuming, just to get Muslims either chased out of the country or beaten so low they’ll never dare show pride in their religion on American soil. You have a responsibility to truth, no matter what it is, even when it hurts your case. And this is a responsibility you have neglected for far too long.

  • http://johnkpatterson.wordpress.com John Patterson

    An addendum: Even though I am a Christian, I have a great deal of respect for the freedoms other people enjoy in exercising their religions here. God will not coerce someone into accepting Him, and may He never allow a day when America persecutes Muslims like we have been persecuted in most Islamic countries.

    Contrary to the popular song’s lyrics, I am not “proud to be an American.” I am *grateful* to be one.

  • Alan Noble

    Robert,

    Thanks for dropping by. You’ll be happy to know that I sleep quite well at night, thanks for asking.

    I’m happy to see that you now admit that the Texas case is only “probable,” although I still insist that you are exaggerating. Can I expect you to update your original article and alter the title to reflect your new acknowledgement that you are merely speculating about what you think is a “probable” honor-killing? Or will you keep the title, “Islamic honor killing in Texas” and deceive your readers?

    As I mentioned in the column, there were some religious aspects to the step-fathers obsessive and controlling behavior, but I do not believe they were significant enough to say (as Geller does) that there is “overwhelming evidence.”

    You cite many of the presumptuous, early news articles in your comments. As this Daily Tribune article notes, prosecutors no longer believe that the step-father intended to kill the daughter for not adhering to Muslim customs:

    “Initially, investigators said Alfetlawi was angry at the young woman for not strictly following Muslim customs and because she had relocated to Michigan.

    Prosecutors now believe her biological father was the intended target of his rage.”

    Part of what I’m objecting too is the confidence with which you and Geller make your assertions. I don’t think there is anything necessarily wrong about questioning what role (if any) Islam played in these murders. But there is something wrong with arguing (against the prosecution and the families) that these are certainly honor killings.

  • Adam E

    Robert,

    It’s hard to love those our Lord has commanded us to, when we fear them. For that’s the driving force behind these comments, and others similar. You, and many other Christians, are afraid of Muslims.

    The answer to this fear is not to stereotype them or attack them. We must love them, with Christ’s perfect love – his patient, kind, humble, selfless, truth-confronting love. Fear and love don’t mix.

    Blessings

    Adam

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/pgepps pgepps

    Alan, I like your comment in reply, above. I don’t see any black-and-white reason to isolate the religious from the other attitudes, in these cases–but that’s just it. It’s not OK to weaponize these claims in this way.

  • http://moviegoings.wordpress.com/ Jared

    “I cannot begin to enter the mindset of someone who would willingly become an apologist for honor murder, but that is what you have become.”

    Robert, I don’t know anything about you and I’ve never been to your website. As such, that sentence, at the beginning of your comment, forms my first impression of you. And my impression is that either you don’t know what “apologist” means, or you are a person who is extremely careless about the words he uses to describe others. Neither possibility speaks very highly of your ability to be an educated, responsible voice for an audience that obviously takes what you say very seriously. And I find that both sad and disappointing.

  • Marsh626

    Ugh. Leftist Christians are such a disgrace.

    They constantly try to demonize Robert’s work and his readers by claiming that strongly criticizing islam is “dangerous”, “racist”, “ignorant”, and “islamophobic”; when they would never push such a hyperventilating narrative about the legions of anti-Christian bigots from their own “liberal” ranks.

    I guess Robert should apologize for assuming that his readers have brains and that they can read past the headlines of blog entries where they’d discover that the overall thrust of his blog entry is that the evidence is quickly growing that this is indeed most likely an islamic honor killing.

    This is what disgusting totalitarn leftists always do when they disagree with your views. They find minor supposed gaffes and then blow them out of proportion in their maligning campaigns against ideological opponents.

    It’s pretty obvious that your main beef with Robert isn’t sensationalist headlines but his work overall. Just be open about your true intentions; that you’ve been caught up in the whole “We gotta defend muslims from the racist Tea Partiers!1″ stampede on the Left.

    Congratulations. You’ve done your noble work as “liberals” to stand up for a minority “brown” religion in the face of bigoted and ignorant right-wing persecution.

    Just don’t feel too guilty when islamic jihadists hit us again. And don’t you worry, you’re not responsible at all for the deafening silence in the face of global and daily muslim crimes against humanity.

  • Alan Noble

    Marsh626,

    Classy, my friend, classy. If you ever care to deal with the actual situations I write about rather than rant and spew ignorant (I’m not a “Leftist Christian”) stereotypes, drop by again. Otherwise, you’re just contributing to the noise.

  • http://wilsonstation.com Jon Trott

    Thank you for intelligent push-back to lies about Islam. I am a Christian living in a Christian intentional community (Jesus People USA) and trying to celebrate Easter. Yet all around me this season are signs of American Christians willing to crucify their Savior again. I wish that felt like hyperbole. But it really doesn’t. Not this year.

  • Rob

    Oh, well, I for one think that Spencer and Geller make a lot of sense. If there were any record in history of Christian fathers being strict and domineering, or of Christian parents killing their children, then they wouldn’t. But of course, there is no such record.

    Wait, what’s that? Did someone say “Andrea Yates?”


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