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Local Imam, Interfaithers: ‘Block Pamela Geller’s L.I. Shul Talk’

Geller says her speaking is nothing like yelling "fire" in a crowded theater. However, trying to convince people that there is no threat from jihadists and Islamic supremacists, which is like telling people in a burning theater that there is no fire, and they should stay in their seats and watch the show.
Great Neck Synagogue, Long Island, New York

Great Neck Synagogue, Long Island, New York

Pamela Geller has been speaking out for years about the dangers of the political ideology which drives Muslim societies and cultures and especially Islamic countries, known as Sharia, or Sharia law.  The message she delivers and the style in which she does it inspires fierce loyalty and also fierce hatred, with large numbers in each group.

Geller, of course, is the creator, publisher and editor of the popular blog Atlas Shrugs, and is the executive director of  American Freedom Defense Initiative and Stop Islamization of America.  She is also the author of several books, the latest one, “Freedom or Submission: On the Dangers of Islamic Extremism & American Complacency.”

There is currently a desperate battle being fought on Long Island by an imam  – who is also a human rights commissioner of Nassau County – and members of an interfaith group to bar Geller from speaking at a local shul. The group, which includes several local religious leaders, refer to Geller as the equivalent of a Nazi or “an anti-Semite who claimed that Jews were trying to impose kosher laws on the nation.”

The men’s club of the Great Neck Synagogue invited Geller to speak at the shul, which she will do on April 14, at 10:00 a.m.  Her topic is “The Imposition of Sharia in America.” Geller will be introduced at the talk by Greg Buckley, whose son, Lance Cpl. Greg Buckley, Jr., was one of three U.S. Marines killed in a “Green on Blue” insider attack on a military base in the Helmand province, Afghanistan, on Aug 10.

According to Geller’s website, “The Marine Corps presented Geller with the flag flown on September 11, 2011, over Camp Leatherneck, ‘amid the battlefields of Afghanistan during decisive operations against enemy forces in Helmand Province.’”

Despite clear support from U.S. marines, the Long Island interfaith group is nonetheless convinced that Geller should be barred from speaking.

The individuals who organized the wave of protest calls to the synagogue include Tom Goodhue, who is the executive director of the Long Island Council of Churches, Robert Nuxoll, a representative of the Interfaith Alliance of Long Island and a member of The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Shelter Rock as well as Claire DeRouche, also a member of UUCSR.  Both Goodhue and Nuxoll compared Geller to Nazis in their efforts to convince the rabbi of the shul to prevent Geller from speaking.

The central figure in the effort to get the rabbi at the Great Neck Synagogue to bar Geller at the gate is Habeeb U. Ahmed, who is a vice president of the Islamic Center of Long Island.  More disturbingly, Ahmed is a member of the Nassau County Human Rights Commission.

The Jewish Press asked Ahmed on Friday morning why he, as a member of the Human Rights Commission, feels it is appropriate to try to bar someone from speaking.

“Geller goes after Sharia law and it is like asking an anti-Semite to come into a mosque.”  When pressed on whether he plans to attend the talk or just wants to bar Geller from speaking, Ahmed responded: “free speech is not absolute, and Geller’s speech is like yelling fire in a crowded theater – that is not protected.”

Geller, not surprisingly, disagreed. She told The Jewish Press,

What I do is not comparable to yelling fire in a theater – that is the practice of claiming that there is a problem when there is not one.  What I am doing is yelling fire when there is a fire.  Ahmed is trying to convince people that there is no threat from jihadists and Islamic supremacists, which is like telling people in a burning theater that there is no fire, and they should stay in their seats and watch the show.

Ironically, Geller just gave a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference last week, the focus of which was that Americans are losing the right to free speech because too many are afraid to criticize radical Islam, Sharia and jihadism.

However, the rabbi of Great Neck Synagogue, Rabbi Dale Polakoff issued the following statement, which he says is the final word on the matter:

Great Neck Synagogue rejects the categorizing of any religious majority based on the actions of a minority. It does though believe that it is appropriate, and within the tenants of free speech, to speak about the actions of such a minority and to evaluate their impact on the perception of the majority of their co-religionists, and on the community in general. It is within such a framework that the Men’s Club has invited Pamela Geller to speak. She will be joined by Greg Buckley, Sr. father of Marine Corporal Gregory Buckley Jr, who was murdered by Jihadists.

The rabbi also told The Jewish Press that he spoke with a representative of the Anti-Defamation League who said, ‘while we disagree with what Geller says, we have no plans to boycott her talk.’

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


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14 Responses to “Local Imam, Interfaithers: ‘Block Pamela Geller’s L.I. Shul Talk’”

  1. Arie's Pragmatic Politics says:

    Freedom of Speech: Amongst the jihadists and supporters of the "lord and savior," it is blasphemy and criminal if you either disagree with them or have the AUDACITY to speak the truth! It's what the foundation of fascism is all about.

  2. The rabbi is demonstating he has courage standing with the righteous against the wicked. The ADL as well as AIPAC no longer stnad with Jews and Israel.

  3. Arie's Pragmatic Politics says:

    The ADL has become a group of political hacks who respond faster to issues relating to jihadists then it does to attacks on Jews. If you look at the list opposing her speech, it is spearheaded by a member of CAIR (identified by FOUR separate US Federal Court Judges as being a terror group front for hamas and hezbollah), and leaders of Christian denominations who continue to demonize Jews at their leadership level. We have an option of being the Jews of 1939 Berlin, or a new breed of Jews that stand up for ourselves and let the world know we do fight back now!

  4. Steve Klein says:

    The rabbi of Great Neck Synagogue, Rabbi Dale Polakoff issued the following statement, which he says is the final word on the matter:

    "Great Neck Synagogue rejects the categorizing of any religious majority based on the actions of a minority.."

    We do not know that a minority of Muslims worldwide reject the interpretation of the Qur'an, the life and example of the prophet Muhammad by their fellow devout Muslims. Do we?

  5. Arie's Pragmatic Politics says:

    The word of the "prophet:" Kill all infidels, led by the genocide of Jewish communities in the Arabian Peninsula; forced marriage for 6 yr olds; demonization of women; slavery. Today his followers destroy Buddhist religious artifacts and icon in Afghanistan and India; Jewish religious symbols and artifacts in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Jerusalem, Jericho, and Africa; Attempts to exterminate BaHai in Iran and Armenian Christians in Turkey. FACT is that islam is synomynous with terrorism and genocide for a reason. And the foundation, regardless of how PC the Rabbi of Great Neck wants to be, is the quran. Perhaps he should ask the large Iranian Jewish community that lives in Great Neck!

  6. Arie's Pragmatic Politics says:

    The word of the "prophet:" Kill all infidels, led by the genocide of Jewish communities in the Arabian Peninsula; forced marriage for 6 yr olds; demonization of women; slavery. Today his followers destroy Buddhist religious artifacts and icon in Afghanistan and India; Jewish religious symbols and artifacts in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Jerusalem, Jericho, and Africa; Attempts to exterminate BaHai in Iran and Armenian Christians in Turkey. FACT is that islam is synomynous with terrorism and genocide for a reason. And the foundation, regardless of how PC the Rabbi of Great Neck wants to be, is the quran. Perhaps he should ask the large Iranian Jewish community that lives in Great Neck!

  7. Gil Gilman says:

    It is not difficult to see how small world thinking informs the minds of many, nor that few seem to escape the coffee klatch mentality. What is astounding, to me at least, is that those who wish to have their opinion heard, and agreed with, would seek to silence those with an opposite view. In my formative years, I was taught that this was the hallmark of cowardice, the angst of those who anxiously believe their opinion is without efficacy, and would be unmasked in a short debate. Never has Proverbs 18 appeared to be more salient than today: "The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him." Are you afraid of being examined and found lacking? This is the question which needs to be asked of these banners of free speech. They not only do not want Geller & Co. to speak, they do not want you to be able to hear it. There is no reason for mere words to incite retaliation unless those offended are indeed barbarians. This attempt at silencing would appear to add credence to the views silenced rather than the reverse, but then your small-world coffee-klatch experience is full of anecdotal rumor and gossip, and it is said to say that what appears as shining truth in these instances, melts in the larger arena.

  8. Gil Gilman says:

    It is not difficult to see how small world thinking informs the minds of many, nor that few seem to escape the coffee klatch mentality. What is astounding, to me at least, is that those who wish to have their opinion heard, and agreed with, would seek to silence those with an opposite view. In my formative years, I was taught that this was the hallmark of cowardice, the angst of those who anxiously believe their opinion is without efficacy, and would be unmasked in a short debate. Never has Proverbs 18 appeared to be more salient than today: "The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him." Are you afraid of being examined and found lacking? This is the question which needs to be asked of these banners of free speech. They not only do not want Geller & Co. to speak, they do not want you to be able to hear it. There is no reason for mere words to incite retaliation unless those offended are indeed barbarians. This attempt at silencing would appear to add credence to the views silenced rather than the reverse, but then your small-world coffee-klatch experience is full of anecdotal rumor and gossip, and it is sad to say that what appears as shining truth in these instances, melts in the larger arena.

  9. Alan Kardon says:

    3 cheers for the Great Neck Synagogue. Sorry I will not be able to attend. Shame on the Human Rights Council for its position. My question, would they take any stance if someone was to speak at a Mosque?

  10. Arie's Pragmatic Politics says:

    They would applaud any CAIR or Hamas member that is prepared to attack Jews

  11. Lloyd Bergner says:

    Juden Erwache..We have seen the enemy, please don't let it be us.

  12. geller is courageous and intelligent. the ADL doesn't "agree" with what ms. geller communicates. with what does the ADL not agree? islamic followers reiterate their intentions (and their heinous acts) every day and night against Jews. our toddlers, little children, infants in their cribs are not safe from these savages. the ADL should be ashamed of themselves.

  13. you are the enemy, Bergner. we see you. and through you.

  14. Nanette CohenRayman says:

    Ahmedand imams should shut their pieholes….Jews need never listen to what they tell us to do or say……the absolute balls of these people to tell a synagogue who they can have speak there is beyond the pale…I know, let's tell that smelly imam that we want him to stop talking trash and get out of the country….at least tell him to SHUT UP….why don't we tell the imam what he can say in his own house? I am sick of this islam garbage…sick of it.

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