I understand why Hannity has this guy on, especially in a format as irresistible as a one-on-one with Geller, but I feel like this guy has made more appearances on his show at this point than Alan Colmes. He’s the most notorious media whore in western jihadistan; every time I see him, I think of that old Onion satire on the point/counterpoint nature of news talk shows featuring a member of Al Qaeda. He’s good for ratings, he’s a window onto the enemy’s mindset, and in the middle of a free-speech debate, I suppose it’s worth having even the Nazi view represented at the table. But there’s such a freak-show air to Choudary that it ends up feeling more like Howard Stern playing Hollywood Squares with a Klansman in the center.
Anyway, two reasons to watch apart from the gawk factor. First, some of his points echo points made lately by some of our friends in the media about Geller’s “provocation” in holding the cartoon contest. She knows what the penalty is in Islam for insulting Mohammed, Choudary insists. She went ahead with it anyway. She knew what she was getting into. That’s not unlike Noah Feldman arguing a few days ago that Geller would be morally culpable in the attack on the event if she organized it knowing that violence was a reasonably foreseeable consequence. Which of course it was, although Feldman refuses to concede that lest it lead people to conclude that the “tiny minority of extremists” isn’t so tiny. The basic point is the same, though — by now the entire western world knows that drawing Mohammed is dangerous business. If you choose to do it anyway, then you were sort of asking for it, weren’t you? Also, notes Choudary, his group of British jihadis has been evenhanded in objecting to blasphemy, protesting not just insults to Mohammed but insults to Jesus, who’s also considered a prophet in Islam. That’s his way of trying to convince the more soft-headed Christians out there that bringing back blasphemy laws is in their interest too. You’ll find the same approach increasingly being taken in western newspapers like the New York Times, who know they’ve been practicing a double standard on Islamic and Christian blasphemy and will end up suppressing insults to Jesus too now in order to make their suppression of insults to Mohammed seem like it’s part of a “neutral” policy on this subject.
The other reason to watch is Geller’s shocking claim early on that neither the FBI nor anyone else in Homeland Security has reached out to her after she ended up on an ISIS hit list. (The NYPD’s counterterror unit has.) Being targeted for death by ISIS, not four months after two animals shot up the Charlie Hebdo offices over cartoons of Mohammed, doesn’t even get you a courtesy call from the feds? That’s going to be one interesting DOJ press conference if, God forbid, some degenerate shows up on Geller’s doorstep before federal agents get around to chatting with her.