Pamela Geller, organizer of the Muhammad cartoon contest that was targeted by extremists in Garland, Texas, last month, says that she has no plans to back down from her battle against Islamic extremism.
Geller, who recently appeared on The Church Boys: Freefall podcast series, also explained how the Sept. 11 attacks motivated her to become a controversial activist.
"I was the quintessential New York career girl. I loved my life, I loved my job, I loved my art, I loved my fashion," she said of her life before 9/11. "I assumed my freedom. I never for one moment ever suspected or worried that it could be taken away from me."
But as she watched the attacks unfold, she said that these perceptions were immediately shattered.
"[The attacks] changed all that. It shattered this premise that was frankly quite false. Your freedom is not free, it is not guaranteed and you cannot assume it," she said. "And so on 9/11, watching from a dock the Twin Towers burn, I was devastated, I was astonished. I didn't know who had attacked my country."
Listen to Geller discuss these issues below:
Geller described feeling guilty that she knew so little about why her country was attacked, so she said that she began studying radical extremism. She took to the Internet, where she felt sources were more trustworthy than the mainstream press in exploring terrorists' motivations.
Before long, she launched her own blog titled, "Atlas Shrugs," which she said has been the "mother ship" of all of her activism over the past decade.
Geller also discussed how her life has changed since the Garland attack and why, despite their intense disagreements, she's willing to give CNN's Chris Cuomo some credit.
"Clearly, the security apparatus has changed ... you can't go anywhere without an army," Geller said of her current need for around-the-clock security after her cartoon contest enraged Islamic State members. "This is the price of freedom in America in 2015 for showing a little cartoon. That's how bad things are."
She went on to dismiss critics who claim that she's simply trying to make a name for herself by holding events that some Muslims find offensive.
"Trying to make a name for myself by making myself the number one target of ISIS? It's absurd. It's ridiculous," she said. "I'm standing for my First Amendment rights."
Geller continued, "I won't live in fear. I'm more afraid of doing nothing."
As for Cuomo, she said that he's the first news person to allow her to sit down and share her viewpoints without leading her into a debate with one of her ideological opponents.
"This was an opportunity to express my ideas -- not an ambush, where they have terror groups like CAIR on spewing lies -- libel and lies -- and then it just becomes about 30 seconds of deconstructing a lie," she said. "No, this is a discussion that the American people have to have."