Wilders praises Merkel as “Islam critic”—and Merkel’s spokesman denies she is one

The story comes from a European site called “Monsters and Critics”:

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday rebuffed praise from Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders that her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has taken “the lead in the domain of Islam criticism” in Germany.

Speaking to the Dutch parliament a day earlier, Wilders had commended Merkel and Horst Seehofer, the leader of the CDU’s Bavarian sister party, for comments they made amid a fierce national debate about the integration of Muslims living in Germany.

Seehofer has said that his country should not accept more immigration from “alien cultures” such as Turkey and Arab countries. Merkel, meanwhile, has proclaimed that the concept of multiculturalism has “absolutely failed” in Germany.

“If even the chancellor says that multicultural society has completely failed, then that means something,” said Wilders, an outspoken Islamophobe whose party has become the third most powerful political force in the Netherlands.

“The most important politician of the Christian Democrats in the most important country of Europe breaks a taboo and says it like it is. And she says what millions of people are thinking,” Wilders said, according to a copy of the speech released by his party on Wednesday.

But German government spokesman Steffen Seibert denied that Merkel’s statements were critical of Islam.

“That is not true. You can’t interpret the chancellor as being an Islam critic, because she of course has respect for an important world religion,” he said, noting that Merkel had not criticized any particular belief, but rather concrete individual misconduct.

Seibert also stressed that Merkel “expresses her opinion independently of who agrees or disagrees in the domestic and international arena.”

“She certainly does not make statements to get acclaim from that side in particular,” he added.

Wilders also used his speech before parliament to assert that Europe’s political landscape is changing. Far-right parties have increasingly been making gains across the continent.

“Nobody can prevent citizens from voting for the preservation of their country and their culture. The genie is out of the bottle,” Wilders said.

Well, well, what is one to say about this?

Two things. First, before extolling Chancellor Merkel as an Islam critic, Wilders should have read VFR, where it was clearly established that her thrillingly negative remarks about Islam’s place in Germany were utterly meaningless, since they were contradicted by the exact opposite remarks which she also made. Had Wilders taken in the fact that Merkel herself is no Islam critic, he would have avoided the demurrer by the German government spokesman.

Second, while Merkel’s remarks were meaningless in themselves, they nevertheless were deeply significant as a symptom of a general shift in European thinking about Islam. And for this reason Wilders was absolutely right to cheer Merkel’s statement.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 27, 2010 12:32 PM | Send

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):