Three cheers for Geert Wilders

There is an exciting article in the Guardian about Dutch politician Geert Wilders and his forthcoming movie on Islam. The piece has so much in it that I’m copying the whole thing below. But the most important part is the summary of Wilder’s positions on what to do about Islam:

Likening the Islamic sacred text to Hitler’s Mein Kampf, he wants the “fascist Koran” outlawed in Holland, the constitution rewritten to make that possible, all immigration from Muslim countries halted, Muslim immigrants paid to leave and all Muslim “criminals” stripped of Dutch citizenship and deported “back where they came from.” But he has nothing against Muslims. “I have a problem with Islamic tradition, culture, ideology. Not with Muslim people.”

Amazing. This is the first time I’ve encountered someone who publicly advocates virtually everything I have been advocating re Islam; and, moreover, he’s not just a writer, but a leading politician.

  • I have suggested a constitutional amendment banning the practice of Islam in the United States. Wilders calls for outlawing the “fascist Koran,” and amending the Dutch constitution to allow this. By “fascist Koran” I assume Wilders means all the “slay the unbeliever and torture him in hell forever” parts of the Koran. However, since those parts are half of the Koran and integral to it, banning the “fascist Koran” is the same as banning the Koran itself—which is the same as banning Islam itself.

  • I call for the cessation of all Muslim immigration; Wilders calls for a halt of all immigration from Muslim countries.

  • I have advocated a variety of measures to encourage or require Muslims to start leaving the U.S., including Steve Sailer’s idea of paying them to leave. Wilders advocates the same.

  • Furthermore, if the Koran or Islam itself were outlawed, we wouldn’t have to do anything to make Muslims leave; they would leave on their own. Banning the Koran would be to the Muslims among us what employer sanctions would be to the illegal aliens among us: it will make their being here unsustainable for them and they will voluntarily decamp.

Here is the article, followed by comments:

“I don’t hate Muslims. I hate Islam,” says Holland’s rising political star

Geert Wilders, the popular MP whose film on Islam has fuelled the debate on race in Holland, wants an end to mosque building and Muslim immigration. Ian Traynor met him in The Hague
The Observer, Sunday February 17 2008

A TV addict with bleached hair who adores Maggie Thatcher and prefers kebabs to hamburgers, Geert Wilders has got nothing against Muslims. He just hates Islam. Or so he says. “Islam is not a religion, it’s an ideology,” says Wilders, a lanky Roman Catholic right-winger, “the ideology of a retarded culture.”

The Dutch politician, who sees himself as heir to a recent string of assassinated or hounded mavericks who have turned Holland upside down, has been doing a crash course in Koranic study. Likening the Islamic sacred text to Hitler’s Mein Kampf, he wants the “fascist Koran” outlawed in Holland, the constitution rewritten to make that possible, all immigration from Muslim countries halted, Muslim immigrants paid to leave and all Muslim “criminals” stripped of Dutch citizenship and deported “back where they came from.” But he has nothing against Muslims. “I have a problem with Islamic tradition, culture, ideology. Not with Muslim people.”

Wilders has been immersing himself in the suras and verse of seventh-century Arabia. The outcome of his scholarship, a short film, has Holland in a panic. He is just putting the finishing touches to the 10-minute film, he says, and talking to four TV channels about screening it.

“It’s like a walk through the Koran,” he explains in a sterile conference room in the Dutch parliament in The Hague, security chaps hovering outside. “My intention is to show the real face of Islam. I see it as a threat. I’m trying to use images to show that what’s written in the Koran is giving incentives to people all over the world. On a daily basis Moroccan youths are beating up homosexuals on the streets of Amsterdam.”

Wilders is lucid and shrewd and the provactive soundbites trip easily off his tongue. He was recently voted Holland’s most effective politician. If 18 months ago he sat alone in the second chamber or lower house in The Hague, his People’s Party now has nine of 150 seats and is running at about 15 per cent in the polls. His Islam-bashing seems to be paying off. And not only in Holland. All across Europe, the new breed of right-wing populists are trying to revive their political fortunes by appealing to anti-Muslim prejudice.

A few months ago the Swiss People’s Party of the pugnacious billionaire Christoph Blocher won a general election while simultaneously running a campaign to change the Swiss constitution to ban the building of minarets on mosques. Last month in Antwerp, far-right leaders from 15 European cities and from political parties in Belgium, Germany and Austria got together to launch a charter “against the Islamisation of Western European cities,” reiterating the call for a mosque-building moratorium.

“We already have more than 6,000 mosques in Europe, which are not only a place to worship but also a symbol of radicalisation, some financed by extreme groups in Saudi Arabia or Iran,” argued Filip Dewinter, leader of Belgium’s Flemish separatist party, the Vlaams Belang, who organised the Antwerp get-together. “Its minarets are six floors high, higher than the floodlights of the Feyenoord soccer stadium,” he said of a new mosque being built in Rotterdam. “These kinds of symbols have to stop.”

Where a few years ago the far right in Europe concentrated its fire on immigration, these days Islam is fast becoming the most popular target. It is a campaign that is having mixed results. In Switzerland, the Blocher party has been highly successful. In Holland, Wilders is thriving by constantly poking sticks in the eyes of the politically correct Dutch establishment. But when Susanne Winter ran for a seat on the local council in the Austrian city of Graz last month by branding the Prophet Muhammad a child molester, she lost her far-right Freedom Party votes.

For the mainstream centre-right in Europe, foreigner-bashing is also backfiring. Roland Koch, the German Christian Democrat once tipped as a future Chancellor, wrecked his chances a fortnight ago by forfeiting a 12-point lead in a state election after a campaign that denounced Muslim ritual slaughter practices and called for the deportation of young immigrant criminals.

Wilders echoes some of the arguments against multiculturalism that have convulsed Germany in recent years. Like many on the traditional German right, he wants the European Judaeo-Christian tradition to be formally recognised as the dominating culture, or Leitkultur. “There is no equality between our culture and the retarded Islamic culture. Look at their views on homosexuality or women,” he says.

But if Wilders shares positions and aims with others on the far right in Europe, he is also a very specific Dutch phenomenon, viewing himself as a libertarian provocateur like the late Pim Fortuyn or Theo van Gogh, railing against “Islamisation” as a threat to what used to be the easy-going Dutch model of tolerance.

“My allies are not Le Pen or Haider,” he emphasises. “We’ll never join up with the fascists and Mussolinis of Italy. I’m very afraid of being linked with the wrong rightist fascist groups.” Dutch iconoclasm, Scandinavian insistence on free expression, the right to provoke are what drive him, he says.

He shrugs off anxieties that his film will trigger a fresh bout of violence of the kind that left Van Gogh stabbed to death on an Amsterdam street and his estranged colleague Ayaan Hirsi Ali in hiding, or the murderous furore over the Danish cartoons in 2005.

The Dutch government is planning emergency evacuation of its nationals and diplomats from the Middle East should the Wilders film be shown. It is alarmed about the impact on Dutch business. “Our Prime Minister is a big coward. The government is weak,” says Wilders. “They hate my guts and I don’t like them either.”

And if people are murdered as a result of his film? “They say that if there’s bloodshed it would be the responsibility of this strange politician. It’s almost a self-fulfilling prophecy. They’re creating an atmosphere. I’m not responsible for using democratic means and acting within the law. I don’t want Dutch people or Dutch interests to be hurt.”

But he does want to create a stir. “Islam is something we can’t afford any more in the Netherlands. I want the fascist Koran banned. We need to stop the Islamisation of the Netherlands. That means no more mosques, no more Islamic schools, no more imams … Not all Muslims are terrorists, but almost all terrorists are Muslims.”

Free speech or hate speech? “I don’t create hate. I want to be honest. I don’t hate people. I don’t hate Muslims. I hate their book and their ideology.”

For more than three years, Wilders has been paying for his “honesty” by living under permanent police guard as the internet bristles with threats on his life. He has lived in army barracks, in prisons, under guard at home. “There’s no freedom, no privacy. If I said I was not afraid, I would be lying.”

There is little doubt that if Wilders’s film exists—and it’s shrouded in secrecy—and is broadcast, it will be construed as blasphemy in large parts of the world and may spark a new bloody crisis in relations between the West and the Muslim world.

He does not seem to care. “People ask why don’t you moderate your voice and not make this movie. If I do that and not say what I think, then the extremists who threaten me would win.”

- end of Guardian article -

Sage McLaughlin writes:

Keeping it simple here: Mr. Wilders does not hate Muslims, only Islam. He would have Islam disappear, but there can be no Muslims without Islam. Thus, he really is saying he’d like to see every Muslim disappear. Unless I miss my guess, his distinction isn’t going to hold much weight with the powers that be in Holland. The pragmatists’ philosophy of meaning has a strong influence on leftist thinking at the level of real policy (which is where you disparate impact theory and all the rest). My point is just that there’s little chance Wilders is going to get very far speaking this way, even though I wish it were otherwise.

LA replies:

I disagree with your criticism of Wilders. (Oh my gosh, I just used hate-speech against you. I’m so sorry!) I think it’s a reasonable way of saying that he does not hate human beings.

And if, as you say, there’s little chance for Wilders to get far speaking this way, there’s little chance for the West to save itself from Islam. (More hate speech from me! I guess I just can’t help myself.)

Sage M. replies:

Now that I’ve been the target of your hatred, I should probably clarify what I mean.

Wilders is making a distinction that you and I accept—a basically Christian one which says that there is a difference between the sin and the sinner. We can hate one without hating the other. But Leftism rejects these distinctions, as part of its programmatic pragmatism. So it is my opinion (though one not backed up by deep knowledge of domestic Dutch politics) that the powers that be in Holland, who are universally liberal, will [not] accept his distinction.

I agree with your syllogism, and conclude therefore that the West has little chance of saving itself from Islam. But in keeping with the tenor of much conservative commentary lately, I would say that it’s our duty to press on, even without any rational hope if we must, and to trust in Providence.

M. Jose writes:

I don’t think that outlawing the Koran would be a good idea, even if if banning Islam were a good idea.

Seeing as there are more than a billion people worldwide who believe in the Koran, would it not be wise to have the book available so that people could find out what those Muslims believe?

LA replies:

Yes of course. We don’t know exactly what Wilders means by banning the “fascist Koran.” I doubt very much that he was saying that the publishing of the Koran as a book should be outlawed. I was taking it as meaning roughly the outlawing of the dissemination of the “fascist,” i.e., the jihadist and tyrannical, teachings of Islam.

N. writes:

Mr. Wilders has made a brave and bold choice, and one that we should all think about very hard. He has been marked for death by the jihad, and the assassination of Theo van Gogh makes it clear that there are those willing to carry it out. A lesser man would, upon finding himself sleeping in an army barracks or a police station for his own safety, seek to appease those that revile him, or perhaps leave the country. It seems likely that Wilders has decided that there’s nothing more that can be done to him than has already been done or demanded, therefore he no longer has anything to lose.

Since he has nothing more to lose, there is no reason to hold back. By taking this bold position, however, he stands to win something that moderation, or negotiation, or rapprochement would not gain him: the chance, the bare chance, of seeing a Netherlands where he could walk the streets of Amsterdam without risking death by assassin with every step.

Again I say we all should think very hard about this man and the choice he has made. Are we not all, in some sense, already “Geert Wilders”?

LA replies:

Well said.

Mary Jackson writes:

Long time no visit.

Belated Happy New Year from a dissenter, but in this case in agreement.

Geert Wilders is correct. You can—indeed you should—hate Islam but not hate Muslims.

Some are born Muslim. (According to the Koran, we all are.) That’s tough. Some become Muslims. That is reprehensible. Many—too many—have Islam thrust upon ‘em.

There are many who call themselves Muslims, but who want to escape from it—apostates in all but name. There are many, many more who are merely nominal Muslims, waiting for someone like Wilders to show them the way out. The testimony of these people is invaluable when it comes to arguing against Islam. Former Muslims and dissenting Muslims generally understand Islam far better than idealistic non-Muslims.

Mary Jackson
Senior Editor
New English Review

KPA writes from Canada:

Here is some revealing information of Hirsi Ali’s views on Wilders’ film and his ideas in general. Wilders is of course anti-immigration.

“From her self-imposed exile in Washington, Hirsi Ali last week criticized the new film as “provocation” and called on the major Dutch political parties to restart a debate on immigration that has split Dutch society in recent years, rather than leave the field to extremists.”

She later recanted saying: “I disagree with Wilders on many, many issues, but he still has a right to make a film.”

By the way, it is really hard to find these convoluted quotes by Hirsi Ali. I suspect the media is trying to project her as a victim, and definitely sees her as a heroine, although the Dutch have mostly stayed quiet about her, and I think they’re just being polite. She did after all abandon their country with a lucrative deal to work in the U.S. Now she wants their round-the-clock protection.

Lilli writes from Germany:

“I don’t hate Muslims. I hate Islam” is a common mantra among critics of Islam. I think Geert Wilders knows the sensible meaning of this sentence and so do you and the VFR-readers, but many do not but rather use it mindlessly.

I personally really don’t hate Muslims but admittedly I don’t like them either, and I have lived among Muslims in a multicultural quarter of a European city for many years and once was a true liberal cultural relativist. It’s not a prejudice, I know many of them, and I tried to like them despairingly to prove myself the liberal dogma. They are not evil people, most of them are ok but there is a kind of “wall” in conversations that makes it impossible to feel: “Oh, I like this person really, hope we can be friends.” I noticed this long before I started to learn about Islam and long before I gave up liberal thinking. I felt uncomfortable and feared I could be an evil racist xenophobe without knowing it let alone wishing to be one. And so I tried to find the one amiable Muslim that I could like. Unfortunately I didn’t find him or her.

So many people seem to think there is nothing between hating and liking. Actually there is a broad range of neutrality and disliking between the two. And when they state: “I don’t hate Muslims” they go on searching to find “wonderful Muslims” in order to prove this mantra. Perhaps this is at least partly the reason why everyone hopes to find “moderate” and “peaceful” Muslims and claims there must be many of them. There are indeed many of them, but unfortunately it’s difficult if not impossible to like them (as you like a friend) if you learn to know them closer at latest when they express their opinion about Israel and 9-11, but most often it’s the way of arguing in general. It’s difficult to explain, but they are somehow “different.” I think we should accept that neutrality and even dislike is not forbidden and must not be confused with hatred.

But there is another problem: Some of those proclaiming the mantra “I don’t hate Muslims” just mean “I don’t hate ALL Muslims” and try to assort those they hate from those they don’t hate. Well, the terrorists … that is easy. But in order to assort the rest of Muslims people establish dozens of criteria, most of them of the kind only thought-readers could ever apply. They need this distinction because they think hating people is an indispensable precondition to deny them immigration—and even more—to expel them.

You write: “Furthermore, if the Koran or Islam itself were outlawed, we wouldn’t have to do anything to make Muslims leave; they would leave on their own.”

I am sorry to disagree. They are a tinderbox right now and even the smallest “offenses” cause heavy reactions, but never the reaction: “Well we’re fed up with those evil infidels, come on let’s leave for an Islamic country.” I think they would riot and burn down cities—at least in Europe. And all infidel countries—except the one that had outlawed the Koran—the EU and the UNO and all human right organizations would side with the Muslims. They don’t leave on their own to their countries, because they are convinced they already are in THEIR country.

LA replies:

First, on the “hate” phrase: the problems this word has produced demonstrates that it’s the wrong approach. I would never say either that I “hate” Islam or that I “don’t hate” Muslims. The question of hate, of my feelings, is irrelevant. What is relevant is the facts. The fact is that Islam is incompatible with our society, that it spells the doom of our society. The niceness or lack thereof of individual Muslims is irrelevant. Of course, it helps to show that one is not driven by hate. But saying “I don’t hate Muslims” puts one in a defensive position. I would say that I have no ill will toward Muslims as human beings; but, insofar as they are Muslims, they simply do not belong here.

Second, on Lilli’s troubling point that the Muslim are now so ensconced in Western Europe that nothing would make them voluntarily leave, that remains to be seen. Every appropriate measure must be thought through and attempted. Jeff in England is always telling me that I’m living in a fantasy world when I say that Muslims must leave. Well, then, I’m living in a fantasy world when I say that I want Western society to survive. Because if the Muslims do not leave, Western society will not survive. Therefore every measure, starting with money offers to get them to leave voluntarily, graduating to outlawing the practice of Islam to get them to leave voluntarily, graduating to forced deportations, must all be considered. If people recoil from the thought of civil war in European countries, imagine the civil wars European countries will be facing in 25 years if the Muslim population and power continue to grow. So there is no escape from this problem. If it is not faced, it will only keep getting worse. If the Europeans dread war now, they will face a much more devastating war later. Unless their ultimate aim is simply to surrender to Islam.

Peter H. writes:

“I don’t hate Muslims. I hate their book and their ideology.”

I do appreciate this man and what he’s trying to do. I do not think, however, that the issue is whether one “hates” Muslims as much as it is whether they’re compatible, as a culture, with Western society, not just whether their book or ideology is compatible. I thinks it’s important to keep in mind, again, that there are very real, almost-immutable, biological, intellectual, and cultural differences between different groups of people and that Muslims make up not just an ideology but a people. While this may not be true in a strictly “racial” sense, it is certainly true in a cultural one. One could reasonably say, therefore, that, while one doesn’t hate Muslims, one does not believe that they, as a people, are compatible with our society. The issue seems to me to be analogous to the idea of the U.S. as an idea, or set of ideas, rather than a distinct people that has come, over millennia, to adopt those ideas because of who it is.

Although there is much more to it than IQ, it was IQ that showed me that there are measurable differences between different groups of people, at least in the intellectual realm. If in the realm of the intellect, then, why not in other areas as well? If there are real differences, then the possibility of incompatibility becomes real.

This is all to say that I hope that although we should not “hate” Muslims, the reality of their incompatibility should be discussed freely, and that this discussion should not be construed as hate.

Sam H. writes from the Netherlands:

Obviously Wilders means that he hates pious Muslims to the extent they are acting as pious Muslims. Otherwise his comments about Islam make no sense. He is advocating that Muslims should give up their religion, either adopting another one (Christianity) or becoming non-religious. He doesn’t hate Ayaan Hirsi Ali for example.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 17, 2008 02:06 PM | Send

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