Pamela Geller (CNN)

Pam Geller responds to reports she was Boston terror suspect's original target: They wanted to behead me "for violating Shariah law"

"They mean to kill everyone who doesn't do their bidding and abide by their law voluntarily"


Scott Eric Kaufman
June 4, 2015 6:42PM (UTC)

Law enforcement sources told CNN that the original target of Usaamah Rahim was not a member of the Boston Police Department, but anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller.

According to an FBI affidavit, Rahim told associates that he didn't want to wait for an opportunity to behead Pam Geller -- the Islamophobic blogger whose "Draw the Prophet" contest provoked two extremists to attack in Garland, Texas last month -- and so he decided to attack "the boys in blue." He was shot by BPD officers as he approached them waving a knife on Tuesday.

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CNN's Erin Burnett spoke to Geller last night, who said that "they targeted me for violating Shariah blasphemy laws. They mean to kill everyone who doesn't do their bidding and abide by their law voluntarily."

She said that since the attempted attack in Garland, she has surrounded herself with "an army of security." Geller did not mention whether that "army" may have dissuaded Rahim from attacking her and turning his attention to police officers instead.

"This is a showdown for American freedom. Will we stand against this savagery or bow down to them and silence ourselves?" she asked.

"This is what is required just to show a cartoon in America, 2015. It's striking. It's devastating, and people need to understand what's at stake. If we surrender on this point, what will we surrender next?"

When Burnett asked whether she was "stoking the flames," Geller responded testily, asking "Who self-promotes to get killed?"

Usaamah Rahim was under anti-terrorism surveillance as he planned the attacks, and two of his associates are currently in custody. BPD Commissioner William Evans said that "we believe[d] he was a threat [and] was someone we were watching for quite some time." As the threats he made on social escalated, FBI agents decided it was time for a confrontation.

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Video evidence contradicts some witness testimony that Rahim was on his cellphone with his back turned to officers when he was shot.

Watch the entire interview below via CNN.


Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at skaufman@salon.com.

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