Exclusive: Geert Wilders: Not Bowing Down to Islamists or their Enablers in the West
by PAM MEISTER
March 2, 2009
Last Friday evening at CPAC in Washington D.C., Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs, along with Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch, Islamic scholar Dr. Andrew Bostom and David Horowitz, sponsored an evening with Dutch MP Geert Wilders. Wilders’ short film, Fitna, begins by intermingling inflammatory passages from the Koran with newspaper and TV clips depicting threats and acts of violent Jihad. The second half of the film, titled "The Netherlands Under the Spell of Islam," warns that Holland's fast-growing Muslim population – which more than doubled between 1990 and 2004 – poses a threat to the traditional liberal values of that nation. Under the heading, "The Netherlands in the future?!" it shows cruel and brutal images from Muslim countries: men being hanged for homosexuality, a beheaded woman, a woman being publicly executed, and yet another woman undergoing what looks like genital mutilation.
As a result, Wilders has lived his life under the threat of death by Islamists for daring to “insult Islam.” In addition, he faces prosecution in his homeland “for inciting hatred and discrimination, based on comments by him in various media on Muslims and their beliefs.” And just a couple of weeks ago, he was refused entry into Britain, despite having been invited to show Fitna to the House of Lords, on the grounds that allowing him in "would threaten community security and therefore public security."
I attended “An Evening with Geert Wilders” along with FSM contributing editor Tom McLaughlin and another friend. At the “standing room only” event at the Omni Shoreham Hotel Friday evening, hundreds gathered to hear Wilders speak and to see the film that has stirred up the controversy. (According to Geller’s information, there were 500 people and many others had to be turned away due to space restrictions.) In her introductory remarks, Geller called it an “historic event” because “truth is the new hate speech.” She went on to say that, “Showing Fitna and discussing the infringement on free speech is considered a violation of Muslim rights, according to CAIR, who filed a complaint with Attorney General Eric Holder today.”
Geller asked why Americans should care about what happens to “some politician in Europe.” Because: “This war is not a nation-state war. This war is a global war. It is a global Jihad against the West, against Western values.” And she asserted that conditions in Europe regarding free speech and Islam are only five or ten years ahead of America. Geller also remarked that at CPAC this year there were no panels on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan or Islamic Jihad or free speech. (However the next day, Saturday, Bill Bennett mentioned in his address to CPAC attendees that we must remain vigilant regarding Islamic Jihad.)
Following Geller’s speech, Bostom and Spencer also spoke (Geller led the crowd in singing Happy Birthday to Spencer). During his remarks, Spencer held up a paper that was being handed out by members of Muslims for America, claiming that the Koran passages used in Fitna were taken out of context. Using a book written by Muslims for Muslims to help interpret the Koran, he showed that the passages weren’t out of context at all.
Wilders arrived under heavy guard, graciously posing for photos and giving autographs before speaking to the crowd despite the exhaustion he must have felt having spent a whirlwind week in America, speaking to various groups including the National Press Club. The text of his speech to the CPAC gathering is below. When he gave it, it was punctuated by applause, cheers, and the occasional boo:
Pamela, Robert, Andrew, thank you very much for inviting me. And - to the immigration authorities - thank you for letting me into this great country.
It is always a pleasure to cross a border without being sent back on the first plane. (applause, laughter)
I feel very honored to have the privilege to speak here in the United States and to show my short documentary Fitna that you will see in a couple of minutes. To be in the United States of America I do feel, and thank you for that, at home here in the United States. (applause)
Today, unfortunately, the dearest of our many freedoms is under attack all throughout Europe. Free speech is no longer a given. What we once considered a natural element of our existence, our birthright, is now something we once again have to battle for.
As you already know, I will be prosecuted in my own country, because of my film Fitna, (boos) my remarks regarding Islam, and my view concerning what some call a ‘religion of peace.’ And a few years from now, I might be a criminal. And on top of that The Kingdom of Jordan also threatens to prosecute me for insulting Islam and is threatening to ask for my extradition as well.
Whether or not I end up in jail is not the most pressing issue; I gave up my own freedom four and a half years ago when I came under full-time police protection ever since because of death threats from Muslims and terrorist groups linked to al Qaeda.
I lived in different safe houses with my family, army-barracks and yes: even in prison cells to be safe. But it's not about me. It’s not about Geert Wilders. The real question is: will free speech be put behind bars? And the larger question for the West is: will we leave our children, will we leave your children, will we leave Europe’s children the values of Rome, of Athens and Jerusalem, or the values of Gaza, Mecca, Tehran?
This is what video blogger Pat Condell said in one of his latest YouTube appearances. He said: “If I talked about Muslims the way their holy book talks about me, I’d be arrested for hate speech.” Now of course, Mr. Condell is a stand-up comedian, but in the video he is dead serious and the joke is on us. Hate speech will always be used against the people defending the West in order to please and appease Muslims. They can say whatever they want: they can say throw gays from apartment buildings, kill the Jews, slaughter the infidel, destroy Israel, Jihad against the West. Whatever their holy book tells them.
Ladies and gentlemen, make no mistake, my prosecution is a full-fledged attack by the left on freedom of speech in order to please Muslims. In fact it in the Netherlands was started by a member of the Dutch Labour party.
If you read what the court of Amsterdam, the court of appeal that ordered my prosecution has written about me, you read the same texts that cultural relativists produce. In fact, cultural relativism is the biggest disease in Europe today. (applause) Most of our politicians believe that all cultures are equal. Well let me tell you: they are not. (applause)
Our Western culture based on Christianity, on Judaism and humanism is in every aspect better than the Islamic culture. (applause) Like the brave apostate Wafa Sultan, who is residing now in your country, said: it's a comparison between a culture of reason and a culture of barbarism.
Back to my country. How low can it go in the Netherlands? About my prosecution, The Wall Street Journal noted, and I quote: “this is not a small victory for Islamic regimes seeking to export their censorship laws to wherever Muslims reside.” The Journal concluded that by The Netherlands accepting the free speech standards of, “Saudi-Arabia,” I stand correct in my observation that - I quote - “Muslim immigration is eroding traditional Dutch liberties.” (applause)
Now, if the Wall Street Journal has the moral clarity to see that my prosecution is the logical outcome of our disastrous, self-hating, cultural relativist immigration policies, then why can’t the European liberal establishment see the same thing? Why aren’t they getting at least a little bit scared by the situation today? For example in the United Kingdom, news that tells us that the Muslim population in Britain is now growing ten times as fast as the rest of society. Why don’t those liberals care? Well the answer is they don’t care, (laughter) they don’t care because they are blinded by their cultural relativism. Their disdain of the West is so much greater than the appreciation of our many liberties. And therefore, they are willing to sacrifice everything.
The left once stood for women rights, gay rights, equality, democracy. Now, they favor immigration policies that will end all this. Many in my country even lost their decency. Elite politicians in the Netherlands, in the streets of Amsterdam, have no problem to participate in and even finance demonstrations where Muslims shout “Death to the Jews.” (gasps from the audience) Seventy years after Auschwitz they know of no shame.
Ladies and gentlemen, two weeks ago, I tried to get into Britain, a fellow EU country. I was invited to speak in Parliament. However, upon arrival at London Heathrow airport, I was refused entry in the United Kingdom. I was detained for three hours and sent back on the first plane to The Netherlands. The reason: I would threaten community harmony – whatever community harmony is –and therefore public security. And all this because of my film, Fitna. It was an absolute disgrace.
The British Home Secretary even publicly admitted on BBC television that she never watched my film Fitna but decided to ban from the United Kingdom anyway. (boos) And today, the news in Britain is the spokesman of Hezbollah was invited and very welcome in the United Kingdom. (boos) If I would have been admitted to the United Kingdom, if I would have been allowed to speak at the House of Lords, I would have loved to have reminded the British audience of a great man who once spoke in the House of Commons. In 1982 President Reagan (applause, cheers) gave a speech that very few people in the United Kingdom liked. Reagan called upon the West to reject communism and to defend freedom. He introduced a phrase: ‘evil empire.’ President Reagan’s speech stands out as a clarion call to preserve our liberties. I quote these very important words of President Reagan. He said: If history teaches anything, it teaches that self-delusion in the face of unpleasant facts is folly. What Reagan meant is that you cannot run away, you cannot hide away from history; you cannot escape the dangers of ideologies that are out to destroy you. Denial is no option. Communism was the threat. Today, Islam is the threat to the West. (applause)
Ladies and gentlemen, I suggest to defend freedom in general and freedom of speech in particular, I propose the withdrawal of all hate speech legislation in Europe. I propose a European First Amendment.
In Europe we should defend freedom of speech like you Americans do. (applause) In Europe freedom of speech should be extended, instead of restricted. The right to criticize ideologies and religions are necessary conditions for a vital democracy. As George Orwell once said: “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. (applause)
Let us defend freedom of speech and let us gain strength and work hard to become even stronger. Millions of people think just like you and me. Millions of people believe liberty is precious. That democracy is better than Shariah. And why, after all, should we be afraid? Our many freedoms and our prosperity are the result of centuries of endeavor. Centuries of hard work and sacrifice. We do not stand alone.
Ladies and gentlemen, our enemies should know: we will never apologize for being free men, we will never give in. (applause) We will never surrender. There is no stronger power in the world than the force of free men fighting for the great cause of liberty. Because freedom is the birthright of all men. Freedom must prevail, and freedom will prevail. Thank you very much. (applause)
After the applause died down, Wilders was escorted from the room and the film Fitna was shown. During movies, one often hears others whispering or fidgeting in the audience, but not during Fitna. You could have heard a pin drop in that room. Even though I had already seen it, I was still affected by the powerful images accompanied by a somber musical score. It has in it the capacity to sadden and anger the viewer at the same time.
If you have not seen Fitna yet, I urge you to do so. The images may disturb and even upset you, but as Geert Wilders says, “democracy is better than Shariah.” And as the old saying goes, sunlight is the best disinfectant.