Geert Wilders’s speech at anti-mosque rally

Dean E. writes: I stood in the crowd close to the stage with my Flip video recording as Geert Wilders, dressed in a dark suit, white shirt, Kelly green tie, and his trademark shock of blond hair (and flanked by two no-nonsense bodyguards), addressed the 9/11 rally in sunny downtown Manhattan yesterday. Here is my transcription of his speech:

Thank you, Pamela.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me start by saying, No Mosque Here! (Chants of “No mosque! No mosque!”) Exactly! May I ask you to be silent for ten seconds. Just be silent and listen for ten seconds. What we hear, here in New York, are the sounds of life in the greatest city on earth. No place in the world, no place in human history, is as vibrant and dynamic as New York City. You hear the cars, you hear the people, you hear them rushing to their various destinations, you hear the sounds of business and pleasure, you hear the cheers you hear the cries, the buzzing sounds of human activity. And that is how it should be, always. But if you close your eyes—and please, close your eyes, it’s a beautiful day, but close your eyes—I have been told that this day, nine years ago, was just the same as today, a beautiful day. Now remember, or try to remember, or try to imagine the sounds that were heard here, exactly on this spot, under the same blue sky, exactly nine years ago. Those were the sounds of shock, the sounds of destruction, the sounds of panic, the sounds of pain, the sounds of terror, the sounds of war. And did New York deserve this? Did America deserve this? No! Did the West deserve this? No! Of course we did not deserve this! And we don’t deserve a mosque on ground zero either.

Well, my friends, we should say to people, unfortunately those people exist, people who argue that New York, that America and the West had itself to blame for those terrible sounds. There are people, unfortunately, in this city who argued this, and they are angry because we are gathered here today to commemorate, to make a stand, and we have to, and this is what we have to do, is to DRAW THE LINE. My friends, I have come from the other side of the Atlantic to share your grief for those who died here nine years ago. I have not forgotten how I felt that day. The scenes are imprinted on my soul as they are on yours. But our hearts were not broken in the same way as the hearts of the relatives and friends of those who lost their lives here. And many relatives of the victims are here in our midst today. And I wish to take this opportunity to express my deepest and most heartfelt condolences to them and to all the people of New York and this beautiful country, America.

Humbly, I stand here before you as a Dutchman and as a European. I too, however, cannot forget. How can anyone forget? Let me remind you of the words from Darryl Worley of the 9/11 song that I presume most of you know. Darryl Worley sang,

“Have you forgotten how it felt that day?
To see your homeland under fire,
And a people blown away.
Have you forgotten when those towers fell,
We had neighbors still inside,
Going through a living hell.”

And Worley’s response, ladies and gentlemen, Worley’s response is our response:

“No, we will NEVER forget!”

We are here today because we have not forgotten all the loved ones that were lost and those left to carry on, and neither has the world. When the forces of jihad attacked New York they attacked the world. And amongst those lost were people from 55 nations, people of every religion, of every persuasion. No place on earth was more multi-ethnic and multi-lingual, than New York’s proud towers. And this, ladies and gentlemen, this is exactly the reason that they were targeted. They constituted an insult to those who hold that there can be no peaceful cooperation among people and nations without submission to sharia, to those who wish to impose a legal system of Islamic ideology over the rest of us.

But, as we all know, America, New York, and sharia, are incompatible. New York stands for freedom, for openness, and for tolerance. Indeed, New York is rooted in Dutch tolerance. New York is tolerant, not intolerant. Suppose New York were intolerant. Suppose it would only allow people of one persuasion within its walls. Then it would not be New York, but it would be like Mecca. Mecca—a city without freedom! Whatever your religion, your persuasion, or your gender is, in New York you will find a home. But in Mecca if your religion is not Islam you are not even welcome to enter the city. Ladies and gentlemen, Imam Faisul Abdul Rauf, who, by the way, is not a moderate, this Imam claims the right to build a mosque, a house of sharia here on this hallowed ground. My friends, but we have not forgotten—that is why we are here today: to draw the line! Here! Today! On this sacred spot.

We are here today in the spirit of America’s Founding Fathers. We are here today in the spirit of freedom. We are here today in the spirit of President Abraham Lincoln, who freed the slaves, and President Lincoln, he said, and let me quote: “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.” These important words are key to our survival. The tolerance that is crucial to our freedom requires a line of defense. And Mayor Bloomberg uses tolerance as an argument to allow Imam Rauf and his sponsors to build a so-called “Cordoba House.” But Mayor Bloomberg, your mayor, he forgets, however, that openness can never be open-ended. The tolerant society is not a suicidal society. The tolerant society, like your city, New York, must defend itself against the powers of darkness, the forces of hatred, the blight of ignorance. It cannot, it cannot tolerate the intolerant and survive. And this means that we must never give a free hand to those who want to subjugate us.

Ladies and gentlemen, an overwhelming majority of Americans is opposed to building this mosque, and so is an overwhelming majority of people in the non-Islamic world, because we realize what is at stake here. We know what this so-called Cordoba mosque really means. Imam Rauf maintains that American secular law and sharia law are based on the same principles. Imam Rauf refuses to condemn terrorists because he says that terrorism is, quote, “a very complex question.” He says, and I quote again Imam Rauf, that “America is an accessory to the crime that happened on nine-eleven.” In fact, Imam Rauf said, in the most direct sense, I quote him again, “Osama bin Laden is made in the USA, and terrorism will only end if the West acknowledges the harm it has done to Muslims.”

Ladies and gentlemen, the crazy and idiotic remarks of this extreme Imam proves that this man should never play the game he has in mind here in Manhattan. His “blame the West,” “blame America” message is an insult. Americans, and by extension, all of us whose civilization was attacked on 9/11, 2001 are not to blame for what happened here nine years ago. And Osama bin Laden is not made in the USA. And the West has never harmed Islam before Islam has harmed us, all the time in centuries past, over and over again. And that should stop.

Most Americans do not want this so-called Cordoba mosque to be built here, because they understand that it is not only a provocation but is also a humiliation. They understand the triumphant narrative of a mosque named after the great mosque of Cordoba, which was constructed where a Christian cathedral stood before that land was conquered by Islam. And an overwhelming majority of Americans is opposed to building an Islamic mosque close to Ground Zero. There is no lack of mosques in New York—to the contrary!—dozens of buildings where Moslems can pray, it’s not about a lack of space for prayer! It’s about the symbolic meaning, and we should not allow that to happen here. (Crowd chants: “No mosque here!”) Indeed, no mosque here!

Ladies and gentlemen, we, who have come here to speak today object to this mosque project because its promoter, and his wealthy sponsors, have never, never, ever suggested building a center of tolerance and inter-faith understanding where it’s really needed—in Saudi Arabia, in Mecca. Talking about reciprocity in Saudi Arabia, in Mecca—it’s impossible to enter, let alone build, any churches, synagogues, or temples whatsoever, so why should we do that? Ordinary Americans object to the mosque project because currently no fewer than ten major, multi-million dollar mosque projects are being planned in the United States as well as dozens in Europe, while not a single church in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. While Jews are not even allowed to move their lips in prayer on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. While the oldest Christians in the world, the Copts, are not free to renovate their churches, let alone build a new one, in Egypt. My friends that, exactly that is why we are here today. What happens in New York must be seen in the perspective of the world.

The events nine years ago made an enormous impact everywhere. And most people, of course, shared your pain. But unfortunately, some did not. Nine years ago when the news of the terrible atrocity in New York reached Europe, some Moslem youth danced in the streets. In a poll in my own country, two-thirds of the Moslem immigrants in the Netherlands expressed partial or full understanding for the 9/11 terrorists. So if a mosque would be built here on Ground Zero, such people would feel triumphant, and we should never, ever, give them that feeling.

Ladies and gentlemen, as we are standing here today we will never betray those who died on 9/11. For their sakes we cannot ever tolerate a mosque on Ground Zero. For their sakes we should say loud and clear, “NO MOSQUE HERE!” No mosque here! (Chants of “no mosque here!”) Indeed, no mosque here. For their sakes we must draw the line so that New York, rooted in Dutch tolerance, will never become New Mecca.

And let us also use the day to express our gratitude for the heroes of 9/11. Those who went down in that Pennsylvania field, those who were standing freedom’s watch at the Pentagon, and those who were here in New York nine years ago to risk and lose their lives for the victims. They deserve our applause. My friends, in honor of these victims, these heroes and their families I believe that the words of Ronald Reagan, spoken in Normandy, on the fortieth anniversary of D-Day, resonate with new purpose on this hallowed spot. President Reagan said, and I quote, “We will always remember, we will always be proud, we will always be prepared, so we may always be free.”

And we, too, as we are standing here, we will always remember the victims of 9/11 and the loved ones who were left behind. We too will always be proud of the heroes. We will always defend liberty, democracy, and human dignity. And that’s why I end with my last sentence; “In the name of Freedom—NO MOSQUE HERE!”

Thank you very much.

—end of initial entry—

Dean E. writes:

NB: Geert’s name is pronounced, “Here’t Vildurz,” and the Dutch hit that first “G” with the same throat-clearing sound heard in “l’chaim.”

LA writes:

Many thanks to Dean for doing this hard work of transcription. I imagine that text version of the speech on the Web is based on his prepared text, but this is based on what he actually said.

Wilders makes some good points. But he also strikes a few unnecessary liberal notes that I am not happy with. “Whatever your gender is, in New York you will find a home.” “Whatever your gender”? There are only two sexes. Did anyone ever suggest that either of the two sexes were not welcome in New York? So he sounds as though he’s bringing in all those other freakish varieties of “gender”—transvestites, the transgendered, etc., and somehow making accecptance of them part of our essence that we are defending against Islam. While Wilders always speaks in favor of “gay rights,” he has not struck this type of note before.

Apart from that, and overall, while there is much in the speech that is moving and good, this does not seem to me like a Geert Wilders speech. It seems like a speech that any mainstream Islam critic (or “Islamism critic”) could have made.

Daniel L. writes:

Wilders’s speech did seem watered down. He did not broach his signature issue, Muslim immigration, nor did he discuss the nature of Islam. Compare his European speeches, like the speech he delivered in the House of Lords; they have a lot more punch.

Perhaps Wilders, or the rally’s organizers, felt that a typical Wilders speech would be too controversial for an American audience. Wilders may also be worried about the home front; his participation in this rally has been criticized in the Netherlands, and a controversial speech would not help him in the ongoing cabinet formation negotiations.

Also, Wilders’ speech can also be watched on YouTube.

LA replies:

It may be he watered the speech down because this rally was already controversial, occuring on September 11 which has somehow become a sacralized day of remembrance of victims, not a day for controversy such as the mosque issue. Just consider how the NY Post trashed the rally as “desecrating” the 9/11 remembrance. So the rally organizers may have asked Wilders to stay away from his usual, radical anti-Islam theme.

Paul K. writes:

By my count, Wilders used the words tolerant, tolerance, and intolerance a dozen times in this speech. As it is understood today, the concept of tolerance mainly serves the purposes of liberals and I don’t think it is particularly useful to our side. I don’t want to have to tolerate Muslims in our society and I’m not interested in having them tolerate me.

LA replies:

Exactly. Normally Wilders touches liberal notes such as tolerance and pro homosexual rights, but only sparingly and in an inoffensive way. This is speech is very much out of character for him.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 12, 2010 12:10 PM | Send

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