Backgrounder: Stop Islamization of America
Posted: September 19, 2012
A version of this report was originally published in March 2011.
"Wake up America!" With this cautionary phrase, Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) has sought to rouse public fears about a vast Islamic conspiracy to destroy American values.
The organization, created in 2009, warns of the encroachment of Shariah, or Islamic law, in the U.S. and encourages Muslims to renounce and leave the "falsity" of Islam. "The U.S. constitution is under attack from fundamentalist Islam and Shariah," reads SIOA's mission statement.
Consistently vilifying the Islamic faith under the guise of fighting radical Islam, the group has introduced a growing number of Americans to its conspiratorial anti-Muslim agenda.
Headed by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, SIOA operates under the auspices of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI). It is modeled after a European organization with the same agenda, Stop Islamisation of Europe (SIOE).
Through their blogs, books, ad campaigns and public events, Geller and Spencer promote the organization's goal of challenging a powerful and dangerous "Islamic machine" that threatens the security and cultural fabric of the United States.
The challenge facing America, as explained by Geller in her book, also called Stop the Islamization of America, "is not just immigrant Muslims, the problem is the doctrine of jihad and the ideology of Islamic supremacism, which any Muslim anywhere can hold."
Their ability to cultivate relationships with other like-minded anti-Muslim bigots and organizations internationally and domestically, including radical Dutch politician Geert Wilders and David Yerushalmi, has further enabled them to reach broader audiences and expand their activity. Yerushalmi is one of the driving forces behind Shariah related conspiracy theories.
Furthermore, any organization or individual that opposes their efforts is dismissed as part of this Islamic conspiracy or compared to Nazi collaborators.