The organizer of the Mohammed cartoon contest attacked by two ISIS terrorists on Sunday has vowed to continue her campaign – even if it turns out to be a losing battle.
Pamela Geller – who is the founder and president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) – was at the event in Texas when it was targeted by two Muslim gunmen. Like other event participants she escaped unharmed thanks to police, who shot dead the gunmen almost immediately.
But she expressed her frustration in a series of interviews with US media outlets, in which she was accused of having provoked the attack via her actions. Geller in turn accused the press of abandoning the First Amendment and the values of free speech "so as not to offend savages."
In interviews with outlets from CNN to Fox News, Geller accused her interviewers of blaming the victim.
"We have to have this conversation, and the fact that we have to spend upwards of $50,000 dollars in security speaks to how dangerous and how in trouble freedom of speech is in this country," she said. "And then we have to get on these news shows and somehow we – those who are targeted, those who were going to be slaughtered – are the ones who get attacked, speaks to how morally inverted this conversation is."
However, Geller told Arutz Sheva that she is unfazed by both the physical and media attacks on her and her campaign – and vowed to carry on regardless.
"We will continue to defend freedom with various initiatives," the controversial campaigner declared, refuting claims in the media that the AFDI is anti-Muslim.
"AFDI started to provide an organizational basis for my efforts to defend the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience, the equality of rights for all before the law, and individual rights, and its objective is to do exactly that."
Her critics counter that her campaign – which has also featured prominent bus ads criticizing Muslim anti-Semitism – focuses on criticizing and ridiculing Islam alone, but Geller insists that is merely because criticism of Islam – and the violent, often murderous response to it – has become the "defining issue" for free speech.
"It was not I who chose Muhammad cartoons as the defining issue for the freedom of speech; it was the jihadis when they massacred the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists," Geller told Arutz Sheva.
"They made it clear that they would kill if we expressed our freedom of speech in this way. That made it imperative that we defend the freedom of speech by drawing Muhammad cartoons and thereby showing that we would not capitulate to violent intimidation."
And she noted that despite the overwhelmingly hostile reception given to her by the media, there were a few prominent dissenting voices.
"There have been some supportive responses. Sean Hannity and Megyn Kelly, among others, have understood what is at stake," she said, naming two Fox News presenters who lashed out at pundits – including their own colleagues – who stated that Geller had brought the attack on herself.
But when asked if the otherwise overwhelmingly negative response to her campaign by the mainstream media made her feel she was fighting a losing battle, Geller struck a defiant tone.
"I don't care if I win or lose. I care about doing the right thing, and will continue to do so, come what may," she said.
Watch – Fox News anchor attacks media response to Mohammed cartoons: