The Trial of Geert Wilders: A Symposium

20 01 2010

From the International Free Press Society:

Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders goes on trial in Amsterdam on Wednesday, January 20, on charges related to his political campaign to stop and reverse the Islamization of the Netherlands. The International Free Press Society has asked an array of legal experts, authors and journalists to reflect on this momentous event, and we present their comments below.

Politic and freedom

Bat Ye’or

Muslims might feel insulted by Geert Wilders’ opinions on Islam. However, Geert Wilders and non-Muslims feel insulted – threatened — by the hostile and negative opinions on them enshrined in Muslim holy books, laws and customs. These are not hidden or dismissed as outdated, but continuously and proudly published, taught and publicly expounded throughout the world — without being opposed by Muslim leaders.

Westerners have been conditioned by their governments, their media, the Palestinisation of their culture and societies, to be the culprit and to accept without a murmur the continuous harassment of the permanent terrorist threat. Such terrorism has taken already many innocent lives and wounded countless others since it started, in the 1960s, in Europe with the collaboration of Palestinians and Nazi groups murdering Jews and Israelis.

In view of an aggressive indigenous and foreign terrorism within the Netherlands itself, it is clear that Geert Wilders is answering a provocation against him that obliges him to live under permanent security controls. How is it possible that in the XXIe century, in a democratic and peaceful Europe, some people, politicians, intellectuals, cartoonists or others, need 24-hour security when they have done nothing but lawfully express themselves ?  Will self-censorship define our culture?

For most Europeans, Geert Wilders appears to be the hero and defender of their lost freedoms and dignity; a conviction would reinforce his aura and weaken his political enemies. Public opinion would see those enemies as the stooges of the Organization of the Islamic Conference who continuously and by every means pressure European governments to punish severely what it consider blasphemy according to shariah law. For instance, in March 2006, the Executive Committee of the OIC held its first Ministerial Meeting in Jeddah.1 They decided that the OIC Member States and its Secretary-General ought to pursue efforts to realize the following objectives: 1) adoption of a resolution at the 61st session of the UN General Assembly to proscribe defamation of religions and religious symbols, blasphemy, denigration of all prophets, and the prevention in the future of other defamatory actions; and 2) planning a global strategy to prevent the defamation of religions with the implementation of effective and appropriate measures.

Western governments must decide whether they judge by Western or shariah laws. Wilders has defied shariah law, and, as a consequence, his life is in  constant danger. It seems to me that the threats against him are the real crimes the Netherlands should address. If Wilders is convicted, Europeans will see in such a verdict the suppression of their own freedom to defend themselves and their submission to dhimmitude.

Wilders’ prosecution reveals a real and profound social and political malaise. Punishments and insults will not help, it will worsen it. Through him, governments must listen to the discontent of their own people whom they have  consistently ignored or despised. This is Wilders’ message. It is also Flemming Rose’s revolt and Kurt Westergaard’s ordeal – to name a few other prominent revolutionaries against the imposition of shariah in Europe, without forgetting the Muslim apostates.
The Free World is watching and listening. Buying Europe’s security by appeasement, political correctness, self-censorship and the Palestinisation of society, will lead only to civil wars.
Humans have short memories. But history will record that Wilder’s trial will either condemn freedom of speech, or support this most precious right of Mankind against intellectual terror and cultural totalitarianism.

His Free Speech is Our Free Speech

By Clare M. Lopez

17 January 2010

When Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders goes on trial this week in the Netherlands, he will stand alone before a Dutch court. But make no mistake: it is the very principle of free speech which hangs in the balance there. Brought up on charges of inciting hatred, Wilders is one of the few leaders anywhere in the Western world who dares to denounce a supremacist Islamic doctrine that commands its faithful to jihad and terror against non-believers. As he showed so honestly in his courageous film, ‘Fitna,’ a system of pluralist, tolerant, liberal democracy is fundamentally incompatible with literal, textual Islam as presented on the pages of the Qur’an.

Increasingly, Wilders’ fellow countrymen and lovers of individual liberty under rule of man-made law across Europe are responding to his call to confront those who would follow the way of Islamic jihad. We all are beginning to understand that Geert Wilders is Everyman—every man and woman who believes in the freedom to speak one’s mind, to express truth as he sees it without fear of repression or prosecution. Free speech means nothing if it does not include the right to offend, and no belief system, not Islam and not any other, can be exempt. To speak the truth is no crime—but to rise up in gratuitous violence at the sound of truth, however offensive, ought to be.

The American Founding Fathers declared that our rights derive not from any government or religion but from the Creator Himself and the natural state of human beings. As such, no government may or ought try to alienate such rights from its people. Nor may Islam or any faith. Geert Wilders knows this and to ensure that inalienable rights remain the hallmark of human dignity, he stands in the dock for all of us.

Netherlands: the world is watching. Do not lead Europe into a long black night where the light of freedom flickers but fitfully as it does in every place where Shari’a is law. Stand with your forebears who, like William of Orange, fought to keep Dutchmen free, and do not fear the violence of assassins and mobs. Your liberty is our liberty and Wilders’ free speech is our free speech.

Standing Shoulder-to-Shoulder

By Daniel Pipes

Who is the most important European alive today? I nominate the Dutch politician Geert Wilders. I do so because he is best placed to deal with the Islamic challenge facing the continent. He has the potential to emerge as a world-historical figure.

The Islamic challenge consists of two components: on the one hand, an indigenous population’s withering Christian faith, inadequate birthrate, and cultural diffidence, and on the other an influx of devout, prolific, and culturally assertive Muslim immigrants. This fast-moving situation raises questions about Europe retaining its historic civilization; it become a majority-Muslim continent living under Islamic law (the Shari‘a).

Wilders, 46, founder and head of the Party for Freedom (PVV), is the unrivaled leader of those Europeans who wish to retain their historic identity. That’s because he and the PVV differ from most of Europe’s other nationalist, anti-immigrant parties.

The PVV is politically mainstream, with its roots lying not in neo-Fascism, nativism, conspiricism, antisemitism, or other forms of extremism, but in libertarianism and mainstream conservatism. (Wilders publicly emulates Ronald Reagan.) In addition, Wilders is a charismatic, savvy, principled, and outspoken leader who has rapidly become the most dynamic political force in the Netherlands. Finally, the PVV benefits from the fact that, uniquely in Europe, the Dutch are receptive to a non-nativist rejection of Islam. It has done well electorally; polls now generally show the PVV winning a plurality of votes and becoming the country’s largest party. Thus, Were Wilders to become prime minister, he could fulfill a leadership role for all Europe.

But he faces daunting challenges, including his opponents’ dirty tactics. Most notably, they have finally, after 2½ years of preliminary skirmishes, succeeded in dragging him to court on charges of hate speech and incitement to hatred.

Although I disagree with Wilders about Islam (I respect the religion but fight Islamists with all I have), we stand shoulder-to-shoulder against this lawsuit. I reject the criminalization of political differences and the attempted thwarting of a political movement through the courts. Accordingly, the Middle East Forum’s Legal Project has worked on Wilders’ behalf, raising substantial funds for his defense and helping in other ways.

Wilders today represents all those Westerners who cherish their civilization. The outcome of his trial has implications for us all.

Mr. Pipes (www.DanielPipes.org) is director of the Middle East Forum and Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University.

© 2010 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.

Read the rest here for more statements, including ones from Diana West and Mark Steyn ( not that everyone else isn’t good, too ).

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