The organizer of a free speech event and Muhammad cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, that was targeted by two shooters on Sunday night clashed with a CNN host on Monday over critics' claims that there's a "fine line" between free speech and intentionally inciting extremists.
Pamela Geller (Photo credit: Pamela Geller)
CNN’s Alisyn Camerota and Pamela Geller, president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, had a heated back and forth over Geller's controversial event, which featured depictions of Muhammad over the past 1,400 years.
As TheBlaze has reported, Islam bans any images of the prophet from being displayed, with extremists routinely targeting those who have defied this rule.
During the CNN segment, Camerota cited critics who have said that there's a "fine line between freedom of speech and being intentionally incendiary and provocative" — a charge that Geller didn't take too kindly too, responding that the "west must stand up for freedom of speech."
"Intentionally incendiary and provocative by drawing a cartoon? This is the low state of freedom of speech in this country," she said. "I disagree and I disagree most vehemently."
Geller said that the shooting, which left two suspects dead, shows the need for free speech conferences like the one she was holding when the violence unfolded, going on to say that the refusal to respect free speech is unacceptable.
"It's illustrative of the violent assault on freedom of speech," she said.
From there, Camerota and Geller clashed over comments made during the keynote speech made by Dutch politician Geert Wilders at last night's event.
Camerota said that Wilders' words — uttered just before the shooting — seemed anti-Islamic and not simply anti-extemist, leading the two to battle over the differences between being opposed to Islam as a general religious construct and being "anti-jihad," with Geller adopting the latter to characterize her own views.
"You're being very condescending," Geller snapped back at one point, proclaiming that Camerota was the one who sounded "very Islamophobic."
"There is a problem in Islam … and anyone who addresses it gets attacked," Geller said.