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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Geert Wilders: ANOTHER LOOK

Western Civilization on Trial: Why We Should Be Watching Geert Wilders

by Daniel Pipes
February 8, 2010

As the Geert Wilders case goes into pre-trial, National Review Online asked our experts: Is there any legitimate reason he's in court? What are the implications of such a trial being held, never mind its outcome? (For replies by Bat Ye'or, Paul Marshall, Clifford D. May, Nina Shea, and Robert Spencer, click here.)

Wilders is in court because the Netherlands has no First Amendment and so, endlessly, tries to figure out what speech to permit or prohibit. Wilders is hardly the only victim of this predicament; the arrest and jailing in 2008 of a cartoonist who goes by "Gregorius Nekschot" notoriously symbolized the state's incoherence.

U.S. media should cover the Wilders proceedings because Wilders' career has implications beyond one man, one party, or one country. It potentially affects all of Europe as the continent works out its response to the Islamic challenge. The U.S. media does an adequate job of informing its audience about this topic, so the near-silence about Wilders comes as a bit of a surprise.

The Islamic challenge forces Europeans to take stock of themselves in an unprecedented way. Colorful examples include the British ICONS project that features 120 "national treasures" that help define English culture; the Dutch government's film for potential immigrants that features a topless woman on the beach and two men kissing; and the French prime minister's decision to expel a man from France for compelling his wife to wear a burqa.

Europe's future is in play. Wilders' time in court affects the outcome. (February 8, 2010)
Geert Wilders to INN: 'Traditional European Freedom at Stake'

Hillel Fendel - Feb 09, 2010
Geert Wilders, of the PVV (Party for Freedom) in the Netherlands, is on trial in his native Holland, charged with five counts of discrimination against Muslims and similar offenses. He says that it's not he who's on trial, but his "freedom of speech" - and that at stake are traditional European freedoms. wildersIn an exclusive interview with IsraelNationalRadio's Yishai Fleisher on Monday, Wilders said, "I'm fighting for one thing: the preservation of our culture, which is based on Christianity, Judaism and humanism - and not on Islam… While Islamization of our society grows, the political elite looks in the other direction and ignores the real problem, namely, the impending loss of our freedom. I am fighting not against Moslems, but against the influx of a totalitarian ideology called Islam."

Asked if he has been cited for generalizing about Moslems, Wilders responded that he does not talk about Muslims per se: "I know the majority of Muslims are not terrorists, but are rather law-abiding citizens. Islam is the problem; in Islam, there is no room for anything else but Islam, and therefore at the end of the day, we will lose everything that we stand for. I've visited almost every Islamic country, and I know that wherever Islam is dominant, there is one common denominator, and that is a loss of freedom, especially for Jews, women, non-Muslims, etc. We have to stand up and say that whoever wants to replace our ideology and culture with Islam is not welcome to stay." "Islam is more an ideology than a religion," Wilders said. "It wants to dominate every aspect of the state and of people's lives, and cannot tolerate criticism." "Who is suing you?" Fleisher asked. "Is it the people, or the government - or who?" "Certainly not the people," Wilders said. "Our party is very popular, tripling in size, according to the polls... The public prosecutor originally decided not to prosecute me, but he was overruled after some Muslim organizations and leftist politicians decided to appeal… If I am convicted, freedom of speech in Europe will have been brought backwards a few centuries." "People must know that I, a democratically elected politician who does not employ violence and the like, am being put on trial for speaking my mind and for making a movie (Fitna) that simply quotes the Koran itself. There must only be one outcome for this trial, and that is a full acquittal - and if not, Europe will pay a heavy price." Israel Must Not Fold Wilders said that the Israeli-Arab conflict is not, "as some believe, an issue of territory; if Israel would give back land, nothing would change. In truth, it's a conflict of ideology. Theirs is an ideology of hatred that wants to conquer the free world; Israel is like the canary in our coal mine. We cannot afford to lose Israel." He noted that the media in Holland is largely against him, and that his trial is not totally fair: "Of the 18 witnesses I wished to call in my defense, the court only allowed me three - and even those three will only be heard behind closed doors. How can I defend myself under such circumstances?"

In conclusion, he said, "many of our politicians in Europe are simply afraid; they are appeasers… There is a lot of fear and a lot of political correctness, and the only way to deal with this is to stand up and not be afraid and not allow yourself to be intimidated."

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