Geert Wilders: Racist Gets Crazier with Article on Prophet Muhammad

Geert Wilders, the racist, anti-Muslim, Islamophobic Dutch politician is upping the anti-Islam rhetoric in the face of his incitement to hate trial. Wilders and his supporters and patrons claim that Wilders is not a racist and that his trial is an attack on free speech. One thing for sure though is that Wilders is definitely a racist:

Recently, Wilders, in a bid to get more attention attacked the Prophet Muhammad in an article using tired and old Orientalist/Christian missionary arguments that Muhammad suffered from “schizophrenia” (Did Wilders travel back in time with a psychiatrist to evaluate Muhammad?), and other baseless claims that we have grown accustomed to from the anti-Muslim crowd.

The Telegraph (Conservative UK paper) reported on Geert Wilders’ increased anti-Islam rhetoric though they failed miserably in critiquing the haters Wilders cited in his Muhammad article, even calling them “academics”:

The leader of hard-Right Dutch Freedom Party will be prosecuted in an Amsterdam court on April 13 for previous comparisons of Islam to Nazism.

On Thursday he fuelled the controversy surrounding his anti-Muslim politics and trial by publishing an article citing academics who accuse Islam’s founder of crimes ranging from child rape to murder.

Who are some of the “academics” Wilders cites?

Ali Sina: He is familiar to most of us as a nobody, rabid anti-Muslim polemicist, a far less popular male version of Pamela Geller. He believes Muslims are “satan worshippers” who follow a “demon prophet,” and that Muslims have “sold their soul to Satan” and therefore are “destined for hell.”

Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff: Her claim to fame is that she believes “Muslims rape children” and that Muslims are “destroying Austrian culture.”

Theophanes: Byzantine Christian from the late 8th and early 9th centuries, venerated as a saint. No bias there?

Masud Ansari: An Iranian dissident who claims to hold a BA in Law, an MA in Political Science and claims to have received his doctorate in “hypnotherapy” from what was then known as American Pacific University (now Kona University) which specializes in “distance learning.” His book “Psychology of Mohammed” carries an illustration on its cover that shows a Qur’an with a bloodied sword superimposed over it.

Not biased in the least I suppose?

These individuals are either hard core anti-Muslims with racist tendencies or ancient individuals, as in the case of Theophanes, who not only has been dead for a while but also had an axe to grind against Islam and Muslims, considering the waning power of Byzantium and the rise of Muslim power at the time.

The Telegraph goes on to mention that Wilders’ hate incitement trial will move forward:

In a ruling on Wednesday, an Amsterdam court ruled that Dutch prosecutors were entitled to indict Mr Wilders, if found guilty, he could face up to a year in jail or a £6,700 fine.

First off it does not matter to most people what Wilders says or does, they recognize that free speech, even that of a cretin such as Wilders is important and insures their own liberty, which ironically many Islamophobes hypocritically seek to curtail. Secondly, this underscores the point that Wilders is a demagogic inspiration for racists, neo-Nazis and virulent anti-Muslim groups that are a true danger to the freedom, peace and security of our societies. What Wilders is doing is similar to yelling “fire” in a crowded theater (if not worse). In this scenario, the theater is filled with mostly scared, disgruntled and angry White Europeans, neo-Nazis, EDL and SIOE types and Wilders is yelling “the Mooslims! They’re heeree!” Finally, if there is a strong argument that he is inciting violence or harm he can be tried so as to reduce the harm he potentially may inflict upon Dutch/European society.

However, as we have stated previously no matter what the outcome of any trial, Wilders is already guilty in the court of public perception.

*Update: First of all I want to express my gratitude to Danios, Rousseau, and Inconnu who graciously brought up their point of view on free speech, its value and protection. Upon revisiting my sentence, I can see how it may be misinterpreted and also how my own evaluation of the context of the case was askew.

We have to be clear that free speech is invaluable, it is something we take for granted that once lost is hard to regain. If Wilders’ trial is merely about his despicable, repellent, offensive statements and ideas then I for one think it should not go forward. I also agree with Mosizzle’s point that we don’t want to make Wilders out to be a martyr, I would add that we also wouldn’t want an unintended consequence of this case to be increased poll ratings. An important distinction however would be if the issue at hand is not concerning the above, but rather  incitement to hate and violence– I believe a case can be made on these grounds.

The profound irony, as pointed out by some is that Wilders himself infringes on free speech by calling for the banning of the Quran, yet fancies himself a warrior for free speech. Lastly, I will say free speech is not absolute, and the deeper conversation (which goes beyond the space afforded here) is how do we walk the fine line of preventing harm and violence while at the same time not infringing or taking away from our civil liberties? In our increasingly  complex world answers to that question are not so simple.

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