Jacob Laksin hits the nail on the head:
Among other things, Wilders used the occasion to try out the defense for his likely trial in the Netherlands. “Formally, I’m on trial, but actually free-speech is on trial,” he told Front Page when asked about the pending case, which could mean a two-year jail sentence if he is convicted. It’s a typically media savvy sound bite that has the added advantage of being true.
Agree or disagree with him about the distinctive dangers of Islam – and most Dutch, according to recent polls, share his suspicions that Islam is incompatible with the country’s liberal and democratic traditions – Wilders may be prosecuted for nothing more than expressing an opinion.
For the Dutch appeals court, that opinion is so “insulting for Muslims that it is in the public interest to prosecute Wilders.” In the United States, where the First Amendment holds, such a ruling would not pass the laugh test, let alone proceed to trial. In the Netherlands, it may yet cost Wilders his freedom.
Read the whole thing here. Also worth reading is the speech given by Geert Wilders in NYC.
SPEECH GEERT WILDERS NEW YORK, FOUR SEASONS February 23, 2009:
Thank you very much for inviting me. And – to the immigration authorities – thank you for letting me into this country. It is always a pleasure to cross a border without being sent back on the first plane.
Today, 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 birth right, is now something we once again have to battle for.
As you might know, I will be prosecuted, because of my film Fitna, my remarks regarding Islam, and my view concerning what some call a ‘religion of peace’. A few years from now, I might be a criminal.
Whether or not I end up in jail is not the most pressing issue; I gave up my freedom four years ago. I am under full-time police protection ever since. The real question is: will free speech be put behind bars? And the larger question for the West is: will we leave Europe’s children the values of Rome, Athens and Jerusalem, or the values of Mecca, Teheran and Gaza?
This is what video blogger Pat Condell said in one of his latest you tube appearances. He says: “If I talked about Muslims the way their holy book talks about me, I’d be arrested for hate speech.” Now, 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: throw gays from apartment buildings, kill the Jews, slaughter the infidel, destroy Israel, jihad against the West. Whatever their book tells them.
Today, I come before you to warn of a great threat. It is called Islam. It poses as a religion, but its goals are very worldly: world domination, holy war, sharia law, the end of the separation of church and state, slavery of women, the end of democracy. It is NOT a religion, it is an political ideology. It demands your respect, but has no respect for you.
There might be moderate Muslims, but there is no moderate Islam. Islam will never change, because it is built on two rocks that are forever, two fundamental beliefs that will never change, and will never alter. First, there is the Quran, Allah’s personal word, uncreated, forever, with orders that need to be fulfilled regardless of place or time. And second, there is al-insal al-kamil, the perfect man, Muhammad the role model, whose deeds are to be imitated by all Muslims. And since Muhammad was a warlord and a conqueror we know what to expect. Islam means submission, so there cannot be any mistake about it’s goal. That’s a given. It’s fact.
This is Europe 2009. Muslim settlers calling for our destruction, and free speech on trial. All this is the outcome of a sick and evil ideology, the ideology that is weakening us, the surrender ideology of cultural relativism. It believes that all cultures are equal, and therefore Islam deserves an equal place in the West. It is their duty, the left thinks, to facilitate Islam. This way the cultural relativists paradise comes within reach and we will all be happy, and sing kumbaya.
The forces of Islam couldn’t agree more. Islam being facilitated by government is their agenda too. But they see it as jizya, the money dhimmis pay in order not to be killed or raped by their Muslim masters. Therefore, they happily accept the welfare cheque or the subsidies for their mosque or the money governments donate to their organizations.
This is just one example of cultural relativists and Muslim settlers having the same agenda. There is another. Islam considers itself a religion and therefore we are not permitted to criticize it. The left agrees. Although it hated Christianity for decades, now that Islam appears on the scene, they suddenly change course and demand ‘respect’ for something they call a religion.
Again we see the left and Islam having the same agenda: it is a religion, so shut up.
This all culminates in a third coming-together: nor the left nor Islam is in favor of criticism. In fact, given the opportunity, they would simply outlaw it. Multiculturalism is the left’s pet project. It is actually their religion. Their love of it is so great, if you oppose it, it must be hate. And if you say it, it is labeled hate speech. Now here is something the Islam can agree on.
This is the essence of my short introduction today: where the left and Islam come together, freedom will suffer.
My friends, make no mistake, my prosecution is a full-fledged attack by the left on freedom of speech in order to please Muslims. It was started by a member of the Dutch Labour party, and the entire legal proceeding is done by well-to-do liberals, the radical chic of Dutch society, the snobbish left. Too much money, too much time, too little love of liberty. If you read what the court of Amsterdam has written about me, you read the same texts that cultural relativists produce.
How low can we go in the Netherlands? About my prosecution, The Wall Street Journal noted: “this is no 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”.
Now, if the Wall Street Journal has the moral clarity to see that my prosecution is the logical outcome of our disastrous, self-hating, multiculturalists 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 latest news out of, for example, the UK. News that tells that the Muslim population in Britain is growing ten times as fast as the rest of society. Why don’t they care?
The answer is: 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 favour immigration policies that will end all this. Many even lost their decency. Elite politicians have no problem to participate in or finance demonstrations where settlers shout “Death to the Jews”. Seventy years after Auschwitz they know of no shame.
Two weeks ago, I tried to get into Britain, a fellow EU country. I was invited to give a speech in Parliament. However, upon arrival at London airport, I was refused entry into the UK, and sent back on the first plane to Holland. I would have loved to have reminded the audience of a great man who once spoke in the House of Commons. In 1982 President Reagan gave a speech there very few people liked. Reagan called upon the West to reject communism and defend freedom. He introduced a phrase: ‘evil empire’. Reagan’s speech stands out as a clarion call to preserve our liberties. I quote: If history teaches anything, it teaches self-delusion in the face of unpleasant facts is folly. What Reagan meant is that you cannot run away from history, you cannot escape the dangers of ideologies that are out to destroy you. Denial is no option.
So, what should we do? Is this a good moment for freedom-loving people to give in or to change course? To all-of-a-sudden start singing praise of Islam, or proclaiming there is such a thing as a moderate Islam? Will we now accept the continuation of Muslim mass immigration to the West? Will we appease sharia and jihad? Should we sacrifice gay rights and women rights? Or democracy? Should we sell out Israel, our dearest ally, and a frontline state of Islam?
Well, my humble opinion is: No way, Jose!
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. In Europe freedom of speech should be extended, instead of restricted. Of course, calling for violence or unjustly yelling “fire” in a crowded theatre have to be punished, but the right to criticize ideologies or religions are necessary conditions for a vital democracry. 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”.
Let us defend freedom of speech and let us gain strength and work hard to become even stronger. Millions think just like you and me. Millions think liberty is precious. That democracy is better than sharia. And after all, why should we be afraid? Our many freedoms and our prosperity are the result of centuries of endeavour. Centuries of hard work and sacrifice. We do not stand alone, and we stand on the shoulders of giants.
Late December 1944 the American army was suddenly faced with a last-ditch effort by the Germans. In the Ardennes, in the Battle of the Bulge, Hitler and his national-socialists fought for their last chance. And they were very successful. Americans faced defeat, and death.
In the darkest of winter, in the freezing cold, in a lonely forest with snow and ice as even fiercer enemies than the Nazi war machine itself, the American army was told to surrender. That might be their only chance to survive. But General McAuliffe thought otherwise. He gave the Germans a short message. This message contained just four letters. Four letters only, but never in the history of freedom was a desire for liberty and perseverance in the face of evil expressed more eloquently than in that message. It spelled N – U – T – S. “Nuts”.
My friends, the national-socialists got the message. Because it left no room for interpretation!
I suggest we walk in the tradition of giants like General McAuliffe and the American soldiers who fought and died for the freedom of my country and for a secular and democratic Europe, and we tell the enemies of freedom just that. NUTS! Because that’s all there is to it. No explanations. No beating around the bush. No caveats.
Our enemies should know: we will never apologize for being free men, we will never bow for the combined forces of Mecca and the left. And we will never surrender. We stand on the shoulders of giants. There is no stronger power than the force of free men fighting for the great cause of liberty. Because freedom is the birthright of all man.