Pamela Geller's Followers Go Nuts (or Are Nuts, or Something)

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Please, nutty people, leave my e-mail inbox alone! I've been flooded with mail from defenders of Pamela Geller, the shrieking bigot who thinks all Muslims are evil, that Muslims live under her bed, that Muslims short-sheeted her bed at summer camp, and so on. Here is one such letter:

Pamela Geller is right, you want to see America and Israel destroyed. Why do you love Muslims so much? Are you a secret Muslim?

You got me! I am a secret Muslim. Well, not a secret one anymore. I'm actually known in Occupied Palestine as Abu Tsuris. I was a summer intern with Hamas (in the press office) and I'm hoping to get my M.A. in Shari'a from al-Azhar University, where I also play for the lacrosse team.

It is amazing to me how Geller's followers think of Islam the way they believe Islam thinks of Christianity and Judaism. For the record: I'm a proud Jew, not observant enough, but trying, and I also admire many aspects of Islam. I don't believe this to be a contradiction. I love Islamic art and architecture and poetry, and I appreciate the manner in which Islam provides meaning and solace to its followers. I appreciate Islam's firm stand against idolatry, and I also find comfort in Islam's stunning diversity. Included in this diversity, of course, are streams of Islam I find disagreeable, and one or two I find repugnant. But Islam, like Judaism, and like Christianity, is a universe. It is not a monolith, as Pamela Geller and her ilk would have you believe. Some of the best people I know are Muslim, and some of the worst are Muslim. The same holds true for Judaism. Pamela Geller is a terrible bigot because she believes that Islam is an intrinsically evil system, and that everyone who adheres to this system is intrinsically evil..

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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