Archive for Geert Wilders

John R. Bowen: Europeans Against Multiculturalism

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2011 by loonwatch

A very extensive piece from John Bowen regarding the rightward shift of European politics and the constructed attack against “multiculturalism.”

Europeans Against Multiculturalism

John R. Bowen (Boston Review)

One of the many signs of the rightward creep of Western European politics is the recent unison of voices denouncing multiculturalism. German Chancellor Angela Merkel led off last October by claiming that multiculturalism “has failed and failed utterly.” She was echoed in February by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron. All three were late to the game, though: for years, the Dutch far right has been bashing supposedly multicultural policies.

Despite the shared rhetoric, it is difficult to discern a common target for these criticisms. Cameron aimed at an overly tolerant attitude toward extremist Islam, Merkel at the slow pace of Turkish integration, and Sarkozy at Muslims who pray in the street.

But while it is hard to know what exactly the politicians of Europe mean when they talk about multiculturalism, one thing we do know is that the issues they raise—real or imagined—have complex historical roots that have little to do with ideologies of cultural difference. Blaming multiculturalism may be politically useful because of its populist appeal, but it is also politically dangerous because it attacks “an enemy within”: Islam and Muslims. Moreover, it misreads history. An intellectual corrective may help to diminish its malign impact.

Political criticisms of multiculturalism confuse three objects. One is the changing cultural and religious landscape of Europe. Postwar France and Britain encouraged immigration of willing workers from former colonies; Germany drew on its longstanding ties with Turkey for the same purpose; somewhat later, new African and Asian immigrants, many of them Muslims, traveled throughout Western Europe to seek jobs or political refuge. As a result, one sees mosques where there once were only churches and hears Arabic and Turkish where once there were only dialects of German, Dutch, or Italian. The first object then is the social fact of cultural and religious diversity, of multicultural and multi-religious everyday life: the emergence in Western Europe of the kind of social diversity that has long been a matter of pride in the United States.

The second object—suggested by Cameron’s phrase “state multiculturalism”—concerns the policies each of these countries have used to handle new residents. By the 1970s, Western European governments realized that the new workers and their families were there to stay, so the host countries tried out a number of strategies to integrate the immigrants into the host society. Policymakers all realized that they would need to find what later came to be called “reasonable accommodations” with the needs of the new communities: for mosques and schools, job training, instruction in the host-country language. These were pragmatic efforts; they did not aim at assimilation, nor did they aim to preserve spatial or cultural separation. Some of these policies eventually were termed “multicultural” because they involved recognizing ethnic community structures or allowing the use of Arabic or Turkish in schools. But these measures were all designed to encourage integration: to bring new groups in while acknowledging the obvious facts of linguistic, social, cultural, and religious difference.

The third object that multiculturalism’s critics confuse is a set of normative theories of multiculturalism, each of which attempts to mark out a way to take account of cultural and religious diversity from a particular philosophical point of view. Although ideas of multiculturalism do shape public debates in Britain (as they do in North America), they do so much less in continental Europe, and even in Britain it would be difficult to find direct policy effects of these normative theories.

Politicians err when they claim that normative ideas of multiculturalism shape the social fact of cultural and religious diversity: such diversity would be present with or without a theory to cope with it. Nor are state policies shaped by those ideas, which tend to be recent in origin. Quite to the contrary, each European country has followed well-traveled pathways for dealing with diversity. Methods designed to accommodate sub-national religious blocs are now being adapted and applied to Muslim immigrants. Far from newfangled, misguided policies of multiculturalism, these distinct strategies represent the continuation of long-standing, nation-specific ways of recognizing and managing diversity.

• • •

Consider the case of Germany. Merkel’s claims were perhaps the least weighty, but her words point to a growing conviction among some Germans that Muslim immigrants are inassimilable. Merkel’s attack was as vague as it was opportunistic. She regretted that the German “tendency had been to say, ‘let’s adopt the multicultural concept and live happily side by side, and be happy to be living with each other’” and concluded that this attitude had not produced results, as if she had thereby identified policies that could be changed. Her real meaning was made clear by the presence of Horst Seehofer next to her on the podium. Seehofer, the Bavarian state premier and Merkel’s coalition partner, has called for curtailing immigration.

One poll showed a third of Germans believed the country was ‘overrun by foreigners.’

Merkel’s speech followed a series of anti-Muslim public statements by high-placed German officials. In June 2010 then-Bundesbank member Thilo Sarrazin published a book in which he accused Muslim immigrants of lowering the intelligence of German society. Although he was censured for his views and dismissed from his central bank position, the book proved popular, and polls suggested that Germans were sympathetic with the thrust of his arguments. One poll showed a third of Germans believed the country was “overrun by foreigners.” A few months earlier, in March, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble waded in to say that Germany had been mistaken to let in so many Turkish workers in the 1960s because they had not integrated into society.

At least the finance minister pointed to a real German policy, one that encouraged low-paid laborers to relocate to the country and rebuild it. But Merkel’s notion that the German government had promoted a multikulti society (as distinct from celebrating colorful Kreuzberg or a Turkish star on the German soccer team) ignores the brunt of German immigration policy, which, until 2000, denied citizenship to those workers, their children, and their grandchildren. In other words, the government and many, perhaps most, Germans had not hoped, as Merkel claimed, that everyone would live side by side. Rather, the hope was that “they” would just pack up and leave.

In this sense Germany has largely followed its longer-term policies for dealing with diversity: German federal and state governments have historically denied that immigration could be of value and maintained a policy of limiting citizenship only to those who could demonstrate German descent. But Germany may also follow the public-corporation model it has arranged with Christian and Jewish groups. A proposed Islamic public corporation would have the legal status to obtain government funding for mosques and would serve as a legitimate overseer of materials selected for Islamic religious education. This promising policy goal, not yet achieved, would recognize and support Islam in accordance with long-standing German principles governing religious diversity, not on grounds of multiculturalism.

• • •

In contrast to Germany, Britain has promoted multiculturalism as an explicit policy, but not in those domains where Cameron denounced it. In his February 2011 speech, Cameron blamed multiculturalism for creating spatial divisions and fomenting terrorism. “Under the doctrine of state multiculturalism,” he claimed, “we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and apart from the mainstream.” Left apart, some have submitted to extremism, he argued, and some of those extremists have in turn carried bombs in the name of Islam. His solution was three-fold: ensure that any organization asking for public money subscribes to doctrines of universal rights and encourages integration, keep extremists from reaching students and prisoners, and ensure that everyone learns English.

As a diagnosis of problems of homegrown terrorism, the speech fell short. The British bombers principally responsible for the 2005 attacks in London knew English and English people well. Mohammad Sidique Khan, believed to be the leader of the bombing plot, was recalled as a “highly Westernized” man who grew up in Leeds and attended university there. Shehzad Tanweer, another of the bombers, had a similar background. According to the official report on the bombings, both men had developed jihadist convictions in Pakistan.

If these and other homegrown terrorists have problems feeling at home in Britain, it is because they do not remain in their “separate cultures” but instead become isolated individuals without a social or cultural base. In otherwise-distinct analyses of European jihadists, French political scientist Olivier Roy and American counterterrorism expert Marc Sageman each paint a picture of young men who suffer from a lack of ties with others in their communities. Roy calls them “deterritorialized”; Sageman describes a “bunch of guys” who find themselves without opportunities at home, who are considered foreigners despite being born in Europe, and who end up traveling abroad to seek out extremists. Hardly walled off in enclaves in Bradford (or Hamburg), they are free-floating, perfect speakers of English (or German) who feel themselves rejected by the people and institutions around them.

It’s not just Muslims who cut themselves off. A large percentage of British children attend schools that admit only Catholics and Anglicans.

Cameron used his speech to argue for his “Big Society”—policies of state divestment from welfare predicated on the belief that if people have to work together to survive they will gain a stronger sense of being British. But whatever the merits of this approach to British social ills, it has little to offer individuals who already consider themselves discarded by those around them.

So Cameron got it wrong when it comes to homegrown terrorism. What did he have in mind when he spoke of “state multiculturalism”? Multicultural policies in Britain today mainly concern how state schools handle their diverse clientele: teaching cultural and religious studies curricula, offering halal meals to Muslim pupils. Behind these specific policies is the notion, generally accepted in Britain, that the cultural and religious traditions of each pupil should be positively recognized. These politics find one salient expression in a commissioned white paper by the political theorist Bhikhu Parekh, whose 2000 book, Rethinking Multiculturalism, asks: in a multicultural society, how should the state balance legitimate claims to diversity with the need to “foster a strong sense of unity and common belonging among its citizens”? This is precisely Cameron’s concern, but Parekh voices it as a justification for educational multiculturalism. Parekh argues that recognizing the traditions held by religious and ethnic communities through multicultural school curricula provides a psychologically sound basis on which to construct an inclusive national identity. (His view comes close to claims made by another political theorist, Will Kymlicka, who argues that maintaining cultural heritage is of psychosocial importance in the development of a liberal citizen.)

There is controversy in Britain about schooling and the isolation of cultural minorities, but spatial segregation of immigrant communities was a product of South Asian settlement patterns in Britain in the 1960s and ’70s, not state multiculturalism. When men (and, later, families) moved from Pakistan and Bangladesh to Britain, they brought whole lineages and villages along with them, reproducing their old linguistic and religious networks in urban British neighborhoods. The result was a chasm separating Asian and white communities, and in some cities this absence of interaction and understanding spiraled into hatred and unrest. In the spring and summer of 2001, riots pitted Asians against whites in the northern cities of Oldham, Burnley, and Bradford. Today, these cities remain highly segregated. Their schools reflect, and exacerbate, the problem. Pupils remain sorted into largely white and largely Pakistani or Bangladeshi schools. As one head teacher at a 92 percent Pakistani primary school said in a report released on the tenth anniversary of the riots, “Some of our children could live their lives without meeting someone from another culture until they go to high school or even the workplace.”

Charles Roffey / Flickr.com / CharlesFred

The combination of religion and schooling contributes to this segregation, but not in the way that Cameron’s speech suggests: it’s not just Muslims who’ve cut themselves off from the rest of society. Across Britain a large percentage of children go to schools that only admit students who regularly attend a Catholic or an Anglican church. In sharply segregated Oldham, 40 percent of secondary schools are of this type, and they draw from a largely white population. This religious divide is increasing, due to the addition to the school scene of state-supported “faith academies,” mainly Church of England and Catholic schools. Whereas in the United States government support for religiously exclusive schools would be judged as excessive entanglement of the state with religion, British ideas of public life start from the premise that religious communities are legitimate and socially important sources of citizen education, and thus deserving of state aid.

Thus, if state multiculturalism exists in 2011, it would be found in broadly accepted principles about the role of state support in promoting diverse kinds of schools. These policies can have segregating effects, but they are also current Tory policies. Cameron and his Party don’t like to bring them up in other contexts, though; they are not in the business of attacking Christian schools.

On the whole, then, it seems that accommodation of immigrants in Britain has taken the usual course for that nation. The methods applied to distinct religious groups that predate Islam on the Isles have been extended to the newest arrivals.

British ideas of public life start from the premise that religious communities are legitimate sources of citizen education.

Cameron’s policy proposals were on a wholly different topic: he paid special attention to reducing the degree of toleration afforded Islamic groups with extreme views. Here one might join with the prime minister in finding that certain Islamic groups ought to have their public activities curtailed. The most frequently cited example is the Hizb ut-Tahrir, who reject participation in British politics and urge British Muslims to prepare themselves for the coming of the Islamic state, to be created somewhere in the world in the not-too distant future. This, however, does not concern the validity of recognizing cultural diversity but rather the degree to which the state ought to allow extreme or intolerant public speech, the same issue that arose thanks to the Danish cartoons controversy and that regularly figures in laws against Holocaust denial.

• • •

Although French President Nicolas Sarkozy attacked le multiculturalisme, more often French politicians use the term “communalism” (communautarisme). This refers not to the North American philosophy of communitarianism, although that takes its lumps sometimes as well, but to everyday practices and attitudes that reject “living together” in favor of “living side by side.” Usually Britain is the negative example, though of late the French have been blaming themselves for this supposed deficiency as well.

But communalism is no more precise an object of denunciation than is multiculturalism. InLe Monde on March 16 of this year, the new Interior Minister, Claude Guéant, said that high unemployment among those who come to France from outside the European Union proves “the failure of communalisms” because those immigrants tend to clump together by culture and doing so keeps them from getting jobs. He acknowledged that people chose where to live, that the state did not put them there, but argued, “We have gone too long in letting people group together in communities.” Guéant suggests that what has been going on is a state multiculturalism of inaction without specifying how the state could break up existing communities.

A few pages later in the same issue, a columnist analyzed the American “Galleon affair,” a case of financial fraud involving financiers from India, as an instance of communalism because these men, who held degrees from Harvard and Wharton and worked at Goldman Sachs and McKinsey, had common national origins. Now, these immigrants did get jobs, great ones. Apparently communalism of one sort is the key to success, albeit illicit success, while communalism of another sort explains high unemployment rates. A cynic might add that if working in small incestuous groups defines communalism, then France, with its unusually small set of industrialists serving on interlocking boards of major companies, its exclusive school system, and marriage practices designed to preserve the elite, is among the most communalist of nations.

In any case France has never undertaken state multiculturalism. Although some officials have decried the politics of the “right to a difference” that marked several years at the beginning of François Mitterrand’s presidency in the 1980s, those politics could hardly be called “multicultural.” Some instruction in “languages of origin” was provided, but this was intended to facilitate the eventual “return” of immigrants and their children. Other sources of aid provided tutoring and training, and current policies direct additional money to school districts with large numbers of pupils “in difficulty.” At the same time, the French state has provided free language classes to immigrants, assistance to groups seeking to build mosques, and practical accommodations to allow the preparation of halal meat in abattoirs. State support for and control of religious groups is, despite the rhetoric of strict state-religion separation, a long-term feature of French policy. More than a century after France’s 1905 law of church-state separation, the state pays for the upkeep of older religious buildings, gives tax breaks to religious groups, and hires teachers for private religious schools (most of them Catholic).

• • •

Blaming multiculturalism for social ills is a Dutch national sport. Yet, as the University of Amsterdam sociologist Jan Willem Duyvendak has written, the Netherlands has never pursued state multiculturalism or the preservation of minority cultures. Instead it has pursued two sets of policies, one aimed at maintaining the long-standing commitment to the political peace, the other at achieving the integration of minorities.

The long-standing Dutch preference for compromise is embodied in the polder model—a reference to working together to build dykes, a bit like Tocqueville’s American “barn-raising.” Historically this meant that people were loath to criticize unassimilated immigrants. Dutch cultural practices thereby favored the unofficial continuation of a multicultural social reality, where people were free to continue to speak their own languages, worship in their own ways, and so forth. This kind of “live and let live” social habit was the Dutch solution to religious conflicts during a period of relatively intense religious belief and practice in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It gave rise to a quasi-official model of “pillars”: religious networks and institutions within which each Dutch man or woman was presumed to remain.

For the Dutch right, attacking Islam is a psychologically useful way of reworking their own heritage.

This social conception of keeping the religious and political peace by separating people according to religion subtended policies of creating and financing religious schools. Although the pillar structure had come apart before major Muslim immigration was underway in the 1970s and ’80s, a psychological residue persisted, dictating that each religious group should ignore the particularities of the other. Far from accepting or recognizing the other’s validity, this attitude promoted bare tolerance, civic acceptance of the right to the existence of Catholics, Protestants, and for that matter, gays and pot-smokers. Condemnation was constrained to the home or the pulpit. So while Dutch policies and norms favored a diverse society, they took no part of what is today thought of as multiculturalism, with its efforts to reach beyond toleration toward appreciation.

At the same time, governments developed a series of policies aimed at promoting the advancement of minorities through provision of schoolteachers who spoke their languages (principally Arabic and Turkish), construction of local councils that would advise the government on how best to foster integration, and special funding to provide additional tutoring and support at schools heavily attended by the children of immigrants. By the end of the twentieth century these policies had been changed to focus more on skills training and teaching in Dutch, but the goal of state policy continued to be, as it had always been, that of promoting integration. In the Netherlands, as in France, financial aid was targeted to schools with many poor students, who happened to descend from recent immigrants.

The attack on these policies and attitudes has focused on values attributed to Muslims or to Islamic doctrine. In 1991 parliamentary opposition leader Frits Bolkestein criticized the government for failing to defend Western values of free speech and equality against Islamic views. He used the case of Islam to launch a broader attack against the political elite and their way of papering over differences (the polder model) rather than standing up for Enlightenment values against the Islam of the Ayatollahs. A rising class of populist politicians seconded this critique, among them the right-wing and openly gay Pim Fortuyn—killed in 2002 by an activist concerned about scapegoating Muslims—and the anti-Islam campaigners Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Geert Wilders. Their attacks on Islam were also political appeals against the elites in order to curry favor with the forgotten working classes. Polder politics, elite domination, and Islam were the common enemy, and the refusal of the leading classes to denounce non-Dutch and anti-Enlightenment Islamic values was the major evidence that things had gone wrong. As in France this admonition has been heard on the left and the right, from Social Democrats as well as from Wilders’s far-right Party for Freedom. It reflects a cultural nationalism that can appeal to the old-style populism of the right or to the universalism of the left.

In life and in death, Fortuyn focused the attack on multiculturalism even more narrowly as an attack on Islamic intolerance of sexual diversity, and in particular, of gay lifestyles. Fortuyn personified a secularist, sexually open, and “tolerant” Dutch identity, against which Islam and Muslims could easily be targeted as the pre-Enlightenment other. In no other country has the issue of tolerating gays become so central and so salient a part of the critique of Islam. This line of attack was powerful because it also was a critique of older Dutch ways of doing politics and thinking about sexuality. Throughout most of the twentieth century, most Dutch people held religious views about homosexuality and women’s rights that were not too different from those now ascribed to Muslims by their opponents. Attacking Islam was thus also a psychologically useful way of reworking one’s own heritage.

Ironically, the current focus on Islam per se—Wilders compared the Qur’an to Mein Kampfand seeks to have it banned in the Netherlands—has distracted the far right from policies about minority achievement and language learning. The focus now is on the acceptability in the Enlightenment West of the pre-Enlightenment Muslim. And yet the right continues to attack Dutch multiculturalism because it remains rhetorically useful to link the cultural critique of religion to a populist critique of past elites.

• • •

Blaming multiculturalism, then, is useful because it is both vague and misdirected. It would be much harder for Cameron to acknowledge that British racism, immigration trajectories, foreign policy, and faith-based schools have made major contributions toward minority isolation than it is to say: we got it wrong, now let’s get it right, let’s all be British. Islam provides a soft target for aspiring cultural nationalists. It is easier for Sarkozy and Marine Le Pen of the right-wing French National Front to decry Muslims praying in the street than it is to make room for adequate mosques. And across Europe, it is easier to point to the irresponsible statement of a foreign imam and say that Islam is the problem than to figure out how Muslims, like practicing Catholics and Jews before them, might best construct the cultural and religious institutions they need to be at ease in their new (and not so new) countries.

One can, and should, refute these misdiagnoses and at the same time give due credit to policies promoting integration within each of these societies. Speaking the language of the country and gaining job skills are the keys to becoming a productive citizen. France made free French courses part of its “integration contract” in 2003; with its 2005 Immigration Act, Germany began providing free German lessons to people granted work visas. When most Islamic religious officials are recent immigrants, it makes good sense to offer them instruction in the language, law, and politics of their new country of residence. These are policies of integration rather than assimilation; they are perfectly consistent with the promotion of equal respect for all religions and cultures.

Blaming multiculturalism ties the package together: it discredits a foreign element—Islam—and it identifies the fifth column that let it in, those past proponents of multiculturalism. That it misreads history is beside the point. It makes for effective, albeit irresponsible, populist politics.

Creeping Shariah: Stealth Threat or Conspiracy Theory?

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 1, 2011 by loonwatch

I wanted to find out what the kerfluffle over “creeping Shariah” was all about. After all, this is a Republican worry in thirteen states which have introduced anti-shariah laws. And apparently it’s more serious than even a global economic Depression.

So I went to a blog by the promising name of “Creeping Shariah” and its matching Twitter feed for some hard answers.

The website promised to easily locate the numerous recent cases of jihad being waged on our very shores. In Massachusetts alone there were forty incidents of jihad, as those sly Mahometans managed to finesse a Muslim holiday in Cambridge, plotted to build a cemetery in Belchertown, and the Muslim Brotherhood had apparently consulted with Whitey Bulger to get governor Duval Patrick to build a mega-mosque in Bah-stahn.

Those armed-and-dangerous ladies from Code Pink were raising money for Hamas, CAIR was at it again, trying to help out some headscarf-toting Muslim terrorists at a Boston pharmacy school, Yale University was cozying up to faculty jihadis by not re-inviting an Islamophobe to come back for a conference, and some crazy Mooslim women troublemakers in Kansas City wanted to wear Islamic-style bathing gear in a pool. The fate of our pools, our children, and our very nation were at stake. And all this trouble from a bunch of Muslim women, no less.

Beside the fact that New Haven and Kansas City are not exactly in Massachusetts, most of the other “incidents” reported were endlessly-recycled hate blurbs from people like Pamela Geller and Rick Santorum — which, I will grant you — do constitute a sort of domestic terror. But most of the postings were over a year old. Maybe getting all that “news” onto his website was just too overwhelming for him. HTML can be so wordy.

But now I was really curious. Incidents of creeping shariah and jihad were obviously so numerous, so dangerous, and so troubling that perhaps a Twitter feed could provide better real-time coverage of the onslaught. And surely the feed would corroborate a pattern of Islamification of our beloved heterosexual, fetus-friendly, pro-capitalist, White-loving, brown-skin-hating, Ayn Randophilic, Judeo-Christian-based culture! I went online looking for more answers.

And answers I found. More attacks on Keith Ellison, indignation at a Toronto school which tried to accommodate a Muslim student who wanted to pray quietly in a corner of its library, and the unmitigated gall of the town of Farmington, Michigan, to sell an unused school to an Islamic cultural association. Truly disturbing stuff, indeed!

Elsewhere in the tweets were some on a Republican congressman (Wolf, R-VA) going after CAIR via the IRS, Judicial Watch going after CAIR, and disappointment that CAIR could sue a former intern who stole tens of thousands of documents for his Islamophobe father, Paul David Gaubatz.

There was also a speech by Geert Wilders at the Cornerstone Church in Nashville, part of his“Warning to America” event, which concluded with the words:

You and I, Americans and Europeans, we belong to a common Western culture. We share the ideas and ideals of our common Judeo-Christian heritage. In order to pass this heritage on to our children and grandchildren, we must stand together, side by side, in our struggle against Islamic barbarism. That, my friends, is why I am here. I am here to forge an alliance. Our international freedom alliance. We must stand together for the Judeo-Christian West. We will not allow islam to overrun Israel and Europe, the cradle of the judeo-Christian civilization.

Wow. Now I get it. Only Leni Riefenstahl was missing from the picture. Or was that Hermann Goering?

I mean, thank goodness I’m a Jew! It wasn’t that long ago that Nordic types like Wilders were saying the same thing about my people. Now with the cool kids expanded to “European Judeo-Christians” and not just Christians anymore, I could join a select club and kick around Muslims if I wanted to — rather than just being a Yid whose faith and culture was once characterized by Nazis exactly as Wilders paints Islam at churches and synagogues today.

I’d get with his program, but all I’d have to do is stop trying to be a mensch. That and the stench Wilder’s words would leave in my mouth.

Wilders Acquittal Strains Netherlands

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 27, 2011 by loonwatch
Geert Wilders

This article is not about the validity of the Dutch law regarding hate speech, but about the consistency of the rule of law as well as its implications for Dutch society.

Wilders Acquittal Strains Netherlands

By Cas Mudde for openDemocracy

The acquittal of Dutch politician Geert Wilders on 22 June 2011 on charges of “inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims” is a political victory for Wilders, a legal travesty, and a missed opportunity for Dutch democracy. Wilders and his Party for Freedom (PVV) are known around the world for their Islamophobic propaganda. A random selection of his Islamophobia includes statements such as “Islam is a fascist ideology”; “Mohammed was a paedophile”; and “Islam and freedom, Islam and democracy are not compatible”. He has also warned of a “tsunami” of Muslim immigrants and compared the Qur’an to Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

A glance at the declarations of Wilders and his party leaves no reasonable doubt that Islamophobia is at the core of his program. Wilders may have changed his opinion on various issues, most notably non-Muslim immigrants and the welfare state, but on one point he has never wavered: his struggle against the alleged “Islamisication” of the Netherlands, Europe, and even the world. For example, at a speech on 12 May 2011 at the Cornerstone Church in Tennessee, he said:

“My friends, I am sorry. I am here today with an unpleasant message. I am here with a warning. I am here with a battle-cry: ‘Wake up, Christians of Tennessee. Islam is at your gate.’ Do not make the mistake which Europe made. Do not allow Islam to gain a foothold here.”

While I am not a lawyer, I cannot see how the Amsterdam court can come to theconclusion that Wilders did not – according to Dutch law and precedence – “incite hatred and discrimination” against Muslims. The emphasis is important: for the Netherlands has – since the case of the Centrumpartij(Centre Party / CP) of Hans Janmaat (1934-2002) in the early 1980s – long experience of charging political parties and politicians under anti-discrimination legislation.

Since that time, several parties and politicians whose public statements have been far less consistent and far-reaching than those of Wilders have been convicted of incitement to racial hatred. For example, Janmaat was given a suspended sentence of two months’ imprisonment and a fine of 7,500 guilders (c 3,400 euro) in 1997 for declaring at a demonstration that “as soon as we have the opportunity and power, we will abolish the multicultural society” – a statement that Wilders regularly makes. In fact, a Dutch court even found that the slogan “Full is Full” – used in the 1990s by the CP, and its successor the Centrumdemocraten (Centre Democrats / CD) – constituted incitement to racial hatred. Today, that statement would be almost uncontroversial.

The contrast between Janmaat’s conviction and Wilders’s acquittal reflects an important development in Dutch politics and society. While Wilders’s Islamophobic comments are objectively harsher than Janmaat’s xenophobic equivalents of the 1990s, they are also much more accepted in contemporary Dutch society. This is not necessarily to say that the Dutch population has become more xenophobic over the past generation. What has happened, rather, is that the taboo on expressing xenophobia in public has been broken, particularly regarding Islam and Muslims (see “The intolerance of the tolerant”, 20 October 2010). It was, incidentally, the earlier flamboyant populist Pim Fortuyn (1948-2002) rather than Janmaat or Wilders who was the agent of that change.

In consequence, politicians such as Wilders can gain much more electoral support than Janmaat ever could, which gives them real political power. And there is no doubt that Wilders’s political power has played a major role in the court’s decision. After all, it is much easier to convict the leader of a marginal and ostracized party like the CD than a figure like Wilders, the leader of the third-largest party in the parliament and a “support-party” of the current government (see “ The Geert Wilders enigma“, 23 June 2010).

A political failure

But a political victory is not automatically a democratic victory. In fact, I would argue that the acquittal of Geert Wilders is both a defeat of and a lost opportunity for Dutch democracy. Don’t misunderstand: I am a long-term opponent of the Netherlands’ anti-discrimination laws, I support absolute freedom of speech; and I believe that a democratic state should not limit or regulate speech, particularly in politics.

That said, a liberal democracy cannot function without the rule of law; and an essential aspect of this is equality before the law. Clearly, however, this is not the case in the Netherlands, where for decades people have been treated differently with regard to anti-discrimination laws (for example, in the 1990s the powerful conservative politicianFrits Bolkestein was not even indicted, far less convicted, for statements very similar to those of Janmaat).

To be fair, in acquitting Wilders the Amsterdam court has undoubtedly taken the changed public discourse on immigrants into account. But this does not get to the heart of the problem, which is notjudicial but political. The Amsterdam court found itself trapped by history; it was asked to enforce a law inherited from the past for which there no longer exists majority political and public support. Its acquittal has taken the lint out of the powder-keg of anti-discrimination legislation. It is now up to the politicians – not judges – to bring social values and laws back into harmony.

If Wilders had been convicted, a political crisis was inevitable: how then, after all, could the Dutch government rely on the support of a party of a convicted “anti-democratic” politician? A combination of the ensuing public outcry and sheer political necessity would have forced parliament to amend the legislation by bringing it more into accord with the public view. Now, Wilders might continue at times to raise the issue, even if mainly to portray himself as a near-martyr in order to generate political support; but the political elite will resume ignoring the topic while trying to regulate who is indicted or not (and, in the few cases that this fails, to try and influence who is convicted or not).

This outcome continues a policy of legal insecurity that undermines the rule of law in the Netherlands. It is therefore high time that Dutch politicians update the anti-discrimination laws in accordance with their own and contemporary Dutch society’s preferences

Where does Geert Wilders grab his “facts” from?

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 16, 2011 by loonwatch
Geert Wilders in Nashville at the Cornerstone Church

Geert “ban the Quran” Wilders has been on a recent North American tour. Bringing his hateful anti-Muslim rhetoric to our shores. Just a few days ago we received exclusive footage of Wilders’ speech at Cornerstone Church, a mega church in Tennessee. (hat tip: Rob)

In the following shocking footage Geert Wilders reveals where he grabs his “facts” from. Enjoy!:

We will be following up this video with an exclusive feature piece on Geert Wilders’ maniacal anti-Muslim diatribe and the crazy response from a massive zealous Christian crowd applauding his anti-Freedom agenda.

It makes you wonder who the real enemies are to our Constitution, values and principles?

Geert Wilders Opposes Cartoon About His Party

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 16, 2011 by loonwatch

I thought only the evil Mooslims were offended at cartoons?

Geert Wilders is upset that his party the (anti)Freedom party was accurately compared to the Nazis. He wants it to be removed. Hypocrisy-much?

While this is not a clear legal attempt by wily Wilders to ban a cartoon, he obviously wanted it censored and he is still an advocate of banning the Quran.

Disillusioned Citizen informs us that the cartoon has been removed from the offending site:

I went to the site and this is what I saw in Dutch: “De cartoon ‘Wordt vervolgd’ die hier te zien was sinds 11 februari 2011 is op 24 februari verwijderd na ernstige bedreigingen aan het adres van VARA-medewerkers.”

I popped that on to Google translate and this is what it says (sorry I don’t speak Dutch):

“The cartoon “Continued” was shown here since February 11, 2011 to February 24 after removal due to serious threats against VARA staff.”

I guess Geert Wilders has learned a thing or two from the Jihadis: threat of death gets things done.

Wilders angry about cartoon

Freedom party leader Geert Wilders is angry at Dutch public broadcaster VARA for publishing a cartoon on its website Joop.nl which compares a Freedom Party (PVV) plan to Nazi practices. The party recently proposed building so-called ‘scum villages’ for anti-social people. In the cartoon, the residents of such a village are being led to a shower, the same way the prisoners of Nazi destruction camps were led to ‘showers’ where they were gassed.

Mr Wilders said on Saturday it was “a disgusting cartoon. It must be removed from that website immediately, or the PVV will not attend the VARA provincial elections debate scheduled for next Wednesday.” Mr Wilders spoke of “sick minds” at the VARA.

The Joop.nl website is funded by VARA, but has full editorial independence. Francisco van Jole, the website’s editor-in-chief, said Mr Wilders remarks were tantamount to blackmail and that the programme which the Freedom Party was scheduled to attend had nothing to do with Joop.nl. He said he would not remove the cartoon: “This is the opinion of an opinion maker who we are offering a platform. This does not mean we necessarily always share his opinion. It is simply intended to spark debate.”

Mr van Jole said he found it odd that a politician would seek to ban this cartoon. “I understand he is upset … but it forms part of the social debate.” He said Mr Wilders was trying to smother the debate. A VARA spokesperson said the organisation did not necessarily share the opinions presented on Joop.nl and would very much like the Freedom Party to attend Wednesday’s provincial elections debate, but had no intention of ordering Joop.nl to remove the cartoon.

(gsh)

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

Abhijit Pandya:UKIP Candidate Supports Wilders

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , on April 28, 2011 by loonwatch
Abhijit Pandya

Lovely lookin’ fella’ isn’t he? Maybe if he dyes his hair using peroxide he can try to be the British version of Geert Wilders?

I guess he was too Brown for the BNP. I wonder how the EDL folks who want “British to be about British” feel about this lad? Anybody will do who can save us from the dreaded  ”Muslamic ray guns.”

UKIP by-election candidate backs Geert Wilders, says Islam is ‘morally flawed and degenerate’

Abhijit Pandya, an Indian-origin candidate for the Leicester South byelection, has sparked fury by making critical remarks about Islam in his blog less than a week before the May 5 elections.

Pandya, 31, is the candidate for the UK Independence Party, which is opposed to Britain’s membership of the European Union.

On his blog, Pandya called Islam “morally flawed and degenerate” and said he backed Geert Wilders, a controversial Dutch politician who allegedly called Islam a retarded ideology.

He wrote: “A theological system that fundamentally encourages discrimination between those who believe it and those who don’t, treating the latter as second-class citizens, is backward. A system that treats women as slaves without chains is morally flawed and degenerate.

“Cultural practices in many parts of the world which include child marriages and the death penalty for practising homosexuality are reminders that man is capable of going back to the dark ages very quickly.”

He goes on to ask: “Why should Britain, the country that fathered the modern world, put up with this, as Wilder’s [sic] put it, ‘retarded ideology’.”

Pandya wrote: “Islamic culture inherently rejects the Western way of life, more specifically the Protestant work ethic that has successfully built the economies of the West.

“It is also fundamentally socially intolerant, closing itself off to the rest of society and local communities and forming ghettos that are economically dysfunctional and ethically espouse, perhaps without realising it, intolerance that undermines both social and human capital”.

Deccan Herald, 27 April 2011

See also Leicester Mercury, 27 April 2011

Geert Wilders: Racist Gets Crazier with Article on Prophet Muhammad

Posted in Feature, Loon People, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2011 by loonwatch

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.

School Muslim Headscarf Ban, Only if Education Under Threat

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2011 by loonwatch

School Muslim headscarf ban, only if education under threat

(Dutch News)

Religious schools in the Netherlands may not ban Muslim pupils from wearing headscarves simply if it contradicts their core values, the cabinet said on Tuesday in answer to questions from the anti-Islam PVV.

‘The freedom of education refers primarily to the process of giving education. Special schools can place demands on the participation in that education, if this is necessary to realise their core values,’ home affairs minister Piet Hein Donner and education minister Marja van Bijsterveldt said in astatement.

In addition, the argument that the wearing of headscarves shows a lack of equality between men and women gets equally short-shrift from the ministers. ‘Fashion dictates all sorts of differences between the way men and woman dress,’ the ministers said.

Meanwhile, a Muslim girl at the centre of a row over her headscarf at a Catholic school in Volendam has agreed to cover her head in the assembly hall and in school corridors only, the Telegraaf reports.

© DutchNews.nl

 

Israel being Courted by Right-Wing European Politicians

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 20, 2010 by loonwatch

Haartez reports an interesting development amongst the anti-Muslims who are trying to forge ties across borders.

Europe far right courts Israel in anti-Islam drive

Far-right political parties in Europe are stepping up their anti-Muslim rhetoric and forging
ties across borders, even going so far as to visit Israel to hail the Jewish state as a bulwark against militant Islam.

National Front leader Marine Le Pen has shocked the French political elite in recent days by comparing Muslims who pray outside crowded mosques — a common sight during the holy month of Ramadan — to the World War Two Nazi occupation.

Oskar Freysinger, a champion of the Swiss ban on minarets, warned a far-right meeting in Paris on Saturday against “the demographic, sociological and psychological Islamisation of Europe”. German and Belgian activists also addressed the crowd.

Geert Wilders, whose populist far-right party supports the Dutch minority government, told Reuters last week he was organising an “international freedom alliance” to link
grass-roots groups active in “the fight against Islam”.

Earlier this month, Wilders visited Israel and backed its West Bank settlements, saying Palestinians there should move to Jordan. Like-minded German, Austrian, Belgian, Swedish and other far-rightists were on their own Israel tour at the same time.

“Our culture is based on Christianity, Judaism and humanism and (the Israelis) are fighting our fight,” Wilders told Reuters in Amsterdam last week. “If Jerusalem falls, Amsterdam and New York will be next.”

While he seeks anti-Muslim allies abroad, Wilders said some older far-right parties such as France’s National Front or the British National Party were “blunt racist parties I don’t care for” and he would avoid cooperating with them.

Campaigns aimed at Muslims have been gaining ground in Europe, most notably with the Swiss minaret ban last year and France’s law this year against full facial veils in public, which Wilders said the Netherlands should copy next year.

Support for these steps has spread beyond anti-immigrant parties and towards the political centre as globalisation and the ageing of Europe’s population fuel voters’ concerns about national sovereignty, according to a leading French analyst.

Political scientist Dominique Reynie said the financial crisis had prompted more voters to agree with the far right that their political elites were incompetent.

“Some people refuse what they see as a change in their cultural or religious surroundings,” he told the Paris daily Le Monde. “These are the problems posed by mosques, burqas and the provisions of halal food.”

Some on the far right see similar trends in the United States. Wilders attended a rally in New York on Sept. 11 to protest against a mosque planned near Ground Zero and the leader of the Austrian Freedom Party, Heinz Christian Strache, has said he wants to visit the United States to meet leaders of the Tea Party movement.

Marine Le Pen, who is preparing to succeed her father Jean-Marie as head of the National Front, had in recent years toed a more moderate line before her anti-Muslim comments. She notably refused to echo the anti-Semitic views expressed by her
father.

On Sunday, she insisted all public subsidies for building mosques must stop. Several politicians and Muslim leaders have said Muslims often pray in the street because they do not have enough space in mosques and urged that more be built.

The rightists’ Israel visits set what some analysts call the “new far right” apart from older extremists who were often anti-Semitic and backed Arab countries against the Jewish state.

Declaring support for Israel gives them an opportunity to oppose Muslim opinion in their home countries, since European Muslims are often pro-Palestinian, as well as celebrate the Jewish state as the front line against militant Islam.

“It is not Israel’s duty to provide a Palestinian state,” Wilders said in a speech in Tel Aviv. “There already is a Palestinian state and that state is Jordan.”

A so-called “Jerusalem Declaration” issued by four other European rightists during their Israel visit also staunchly defended the country’s existence and its right to defend itself
“against all aggression, especially Islamic terror.”

Heinz-Christian Strache from Austria, German Freedom Party head Rene Stadtkewitz, Sweden Democrat MP Kent Ekeroth and Filip Dewinter, head of Belgium’s Vlaams Belang party, denied they were stoking Islamophobia with their statement.

“The Arab-Israeli conflict illustrates the struggle between Western culture and radical Islam,” Dewinter said in Tel Aviv. Strache made a similar link to Europe, telling a conference in Ashkelon — a city that has been hit by rockets from the nearby Gaza Strip — that Israel faced “an Islamic terror threat that aims right for the heart of our society”.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz accused the rightists of “trading in their Jewish demon-enemy for the Muslim  criminal-immigrant model” and visiting Israel only to get
“Jewish absolution that will bring them closer to political power”.

 

Jordan Sekulow: WaPo Blogger “Proud” to Have Shared Stage with Geert Wilders

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on December 17, 2010 by loonwatch

An interesting blogpost by Sarah Posner of Religion Dispatches.

WaPo Blogger Jordan Sekulow is proud to stand with Geert Wilders, if Washington Post has any self-respect they will fire him.

Washington Post Blogger “Proud” To Have Shared Stage With Geert Wilders

by Sarah Posner (Religion Dispatches)

After Matt Duss called out new Washington Post blogger Jordan Sekulow at Think Progress and on Twitter for saying at a demonstration against the Park51 project, “Imam Rauf, America rejects you,” Sekulow responded by tweeting: “Enjoyed that speech!”

And in response to Duss pointing out that Sekulow shared the stage with far-right nationalist, anti-Islam Dutch politician Geert Wilders, Sekulow tweeted, “proud to.”

In one of the State Department cables released by WikiLeaks, a U.S. embassy official in the Netherlands summed up Wilders for President Obama as “no friend of the U.S.”:

The Wilders Factor: Golden-pompadoured, maverick parliamentarian Geert Wilders, anti-Islam, nationalist Freedom Party remains a thorn in the coalition’s side, capitalizing on the social stresses resulting from the failure to fully integrate almost a million Dutch Muslims, mostly of Moroccan or Turkish descent. In existence only since 2006, the Freedom Party, tightly controlled by Wilders, has grown to be the Netherlands second largest, and fastest growing, party. Recent polls suggest it could even replace Balkenende,s Christian Democrats as the top party in 2011 parliamentary elections. Wilders is no friend of the U.S.: he opposes Dutch military involvement in Afghanistan; he believes development assistance is money wasted; he opposes NATO missions outside “allied” territory; he is against most EU initiatives; and, most troubling, he forments fear and hatred of immigrants.

Let’s sum up: the Post’s On Faith, which has a stated mission to promote “intelligent, informed, eclectic, respectful conversation,” has hired a blogger who describes himself as a “human rights attorney” yet is proud to share a stage with someone who “calls Islam ‘the ideology of a retarded culture’ and likens the Quran to ‘Mein Kampf.’”

 

Geert Wilders: “Jordan is the Only Palestinian State that Will Ever Exist”

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2010 by loonwatch

Geert Wilders, the peroxide dyed anti-Muslim neo-Fascist Dutch politician is adding to his list of bigoted comments. Not only is he for banning the Qur’an, taxing the hijab, expelling immigrants, and ending all Muslim immigration to the Netherlands but he is now pontificating on the Palestinian/Israeli issue.

Forget the two-state solution! Wilders believes Palestine will never exist as an independent country, and he repeats the Golda Meir line that Jordan is the only Palestinian state. Essentially he has thrown his weight behind Occupation, displacement, theft of land and violence against Palestinians…again. The question is how crucial is the Palestinian/Israeli issue to the Netherlands in the first place, and why does Wilders see a need to comment on it? (Hat tip: Anneke Auer)

Wilders’ Tweet:

Jordan is the only Palestinian state that will ever exist. Judea/Samaria are Israel’s the more settlements their the better

 

Geert Wilders is Guilty in the Court of Public Opinion

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2010 by loonwatch
Geert Wilders

Geert Wilders, the anti-freedom-anti-Muslim-peroxide-using Dutch politico is in the news this week because he is on trial for charges relating to hate incitement and defamation. This comes on the heels of Wilders’ (ironically named) Freedom Party (PVV) being allowed to join a coalition with the Christian Democrats (CDA) and the Liberal Party (VVD). The coalition is viewed as frail and many are speculating whether it can survive a crucial vote of confidence in the parliament.

Wilders and his goof troop are trying to paint this as an Islamic assault against Freedom and an appeasement or capitulation by the Dutch “ruling elite” to Islam. His two vice regents of Islamophobia in the US, fellow soldiers in hate Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer have taken the talking points of *victimization* and run with almost daily postings on the “Geert Wilders” trial.

LoonWatch understands the value of freedom more than any of these goons combined. The right to Free Speech, even unpopular speech is fundamental, and frankly the democracy of the internet gives us the opportunity to expose these modern day hypocrites who wrap themselves in the flag of freedom while at the same time undermining it.

What is crossing the line?

Criticism of Islam and Muslims is fair game. Making fun of Islam or Muslims is fair game as well and most Western Muslims are thick-skinned enough to handle it. This is evidenced by the fact that incidences such as the Danish Cartoons, Fitna, Everybody Draw Mohammed Day, Terry Jones’ handlebar mustache, etc. didn’t evince the expected throng of wild-eyed bearded Muslims rioting across Western Capitols.

Crossing the line however is incitement to violence against Muslims. An essentialization of Islam and regurgitation of common, long held Orientalized views and stereotypes of Muslims provide fodder for the demagogues willing to instrumentalize such views for their ends. Wilders fits into this description, his tactic is to denounce Muslims and their “retarted culture” through a full frontal attack on Islam that usually lacks honesty and facts and seeks to disinform a public already on edge with world events and local concerns such as immigration.

Already Wilders is guilty in the public realm of hypocrisy, (proclaims “freedom” but then wants to ban the Qur’an, tax Hijabs, deport citizens of immigrant background, etc.), of exploitation (instrumentalizing Islam and Muslims for political gain) and a bad, out-of-date hairdo, but is he guilty of incitement and discrimination?

This will be for the Dutch courts to decide, but it is enough to note that he is one of the guiding inspirations for an anti-Muslim movement that spans two continents and bridges the Atlantic. Organizations such as the EDL, SIOA, SIOE, ACT! for America and many more are inspired by Wilders hate speech. When he stands in New York and says, “No Mosque here!” his followers know the implication of his words and they are enthralled. The Dutch prosecutors will analyze Wilders’ racist statements, his proposals for discriminatory policies, but no matter what they decide, and contrary to premature assertions from Wilders’ spin masters Geller and Spencer, he is already guilty!

While you are waiting for the trial enjoy our favorite Geert Wilders jingle!:


Translation:

Our Geert

I know exactly how things stand,

Don’t bore me with the facts.

Give me one of those lefty newspapers,

So that I can sh*t on it.

The Dutch broadcasting corporations,

Pretend to be journalists,

They don’t do anything but lie,

Those dirty socialists.

They hate our Geert,

We hate the government,

That is secretly heading

For islamization.

We were born stupid,

Never had any education,

But we don’t give a damn,

We’ll vote for Geert anyway.

The government doesn’t do anything

About all those Moroccans

Who are on the dole

And stealing our jobs.

They also have a god,

But ours is better.

Their women are all ugly,

Ours are much hotter.

They don’t have any respect

For rules and legislation,

But Geert is not at all afraid,

He’ll throw them out of the country.

We were born stupid,

Never had any education,

But we don’t give a damn,

We’ll vote for Geert anyway.

As soon as Geert is Prime Minister,

As he’s told us oftentimes,

He’ll ban the Koran,

Allah and His prophets.

But that’s not all,

Geert is not easily satisfied,

The Imams will have to go

He’ll close down all their mosques.

And if the Muslims

Start protesting

Geert will shoot them through the knee

And we’ll all chant:

We were born stupid,

Never had any education,

But we don’t give a damn,

We’ll vote for Geert anyway.

© Lyrics: Lucien Van Rooy

For more on the exposition of Geert Wilders please visit: Krapuul.nl (Use Google Translator)

 

Spencer and the Qur’an: Book Burning bad but Book Banning Good

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs, Loon Sites with tags , , , , , , , , on September 9, 2010 by loonwatch

Robert Spencer has a Geert Wilders problem. He is an unabashed supporter of Wilders, citing him as the champion of Western civilization, the only one willing to stand up for our freedoms in the face of the Muslim menace and an individual we should all be supporting.

[I] support Wilders. And so should anyone who holds dear the Western values that are threatened by Islamic supremacists — notably, as I said above, the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience, the equality of rights of all people before the law.

But apparently not Freedom of Religion.

Recently Spencer has commented on the Burn a Koran day festivities saying,

I oppose the Qur’an-burning. I don’t like the burning of books…However, these people are free to do what they want to do.

Isn’t Spencer so merciful? Thank you for opposing the burning of books, what a courageous stand for a defender of the West!

But wait Spencer, you oppose burning books but your buddy Geert Wilders has called for the Quran to be banned in the Netherlands.

The Koran must be banned

Pretty unequivocal statement right there. No ifs, ands or buts just plain banning. So when are you going to take a courageous stand and defend Freedom of Speech and Religion by calling your buddy Wilders out for his Nazi like fascistic statement to ban the Quran?

 

The New Anti-Semitism: Replace Jew with Muslim

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 21, 2010 by loonwatch
The anti-Muslim movement is gaining momentum

Danial Luban examines the people and ideas behind the growing anti-Muslim hysteria. What he finds is a mixture of crusader-inspired nuts and right wing politicians willing to compromise sanity for electoral success.

The New Anti-Semitism

by Daniel Luban

After Abraham Foxman waded into the “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy,opposing [1] plans to construct an Islamic community center a few blocks from the World Trade Center site, the Anti-Defamation League chief was assailed by critics who charged that the ADL was giving license to bigotry and betraying its historic mission “to secure justice and fair treatment to all citizens alike.” A week after initially coming out against the mosque, Foxman announced that the ADL was bowing out of the controversy, but the damage to the group’s reputation had been done.

The problem for the ADL is that there simply isn’t much anti-Semitism of consequence in the United States these days. While anti-Semitism continues to thrive elsewhere in the world and to molder on the fringes of American society, Jews have by now been fully assimilated into the American ruling class and into the mainstream of American life. A mundane event like the recent wedding of Protestant Chelsea Clinton and Jewish Marc Mezvinsky drove this point home. What was notable was not the question “will she convert?” but how little importance anyone attached to the answer; the former first daughter’s choice between Judaism and Christianity seemed as inconsequential as the choice between Episcopalianism and Presbyterianism would have a few decades ago.

At the same time, many of the tropes of classic anti-Semitism have been revived and given new force on the American right. Once again jingoistic politicians and commentators posit a religious conspiracy breeding within Western society, pledging allegiance to an alien power, conspiring with allies at the highest levels of government to overturn the existing order. Because the propagators of these conspiracy theories are not anti-Semitic but militantly pro-Israel, and because their targets are not Jews but Muslims, the ADL and other Jewish groups have had little to say about them. But since the election of President Barack Obama, this Islamophobic discourse has rapidly intensified.

While the political operatives behind the anti-mosque campaign speak the language of nativism and American exceptionalism, their ideology is itself something of a European import. Most of the tropes of the American “anti-jihadists,” as they call themselves, are taken from European models: a “creeping” imposition of sharia, Muslim allegiance to the ummah [2] rather than to the nation-state, the coming demographic crisis as Muslims outbreed their Judeo-Christian counterparts. In recent years the call-to-arms about the impending Islamicization of Europe has become a well-worn genre[3], ranging from more sophisticated treatments like Christopher Caldwell’s Reflections on the Revolution in Europe to cruder polemics like Mark Steyn’s America Alone and Bat Ye’or’s Eurabia.

It would be a mistake to seek too precise a correspondence between the new Islamophobia and the old anti-Semitism, which differ in some key respects. Jews have never threatened to become a numerical majority, or even a sizable minority, in any European country, so anxiety about Jewish power naturally gravitated toward the myth of the shadowy elite manipulating the majority from behind the scenes. By contrast, anti-Muslim anxiety has focused on the supposed demographic threat posed by Muslims, in which the dusky hordes overwhelm the West by sheer weight of numbers. (“The sons of Allah breed like rats,” as the late Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci put it.) It may be that in many ways this Islamophobia shares more of the tropes of traditional anti-Catholicism than classic anti-Semitism.

But if the tropes do not always line up, there is some notable continuity in the players involved. One of the most striking stories of recent years has been the realignment of segments of the European far right behind a form of militant support for Israel. Much of the traditional neofascist right remains both anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic, but savvier far-right leaders have realized that by dropping the anti-Semitic elements of their platforms and doubling down on Islamophobia, they can tap into a new base of support from pro-Israel hawks across the Atlantic. Both the British National Party and the Vlaams Belang in Belgium have gone this route, although it remains questionable whether the move away from anti-Semitism is more than skin-deep. (The Vlaams Belang’s predecessor party, for instance, was disbanded after a controversy [4] concerning Holocaust-denying statements made by one of its top officials.) Equally striking has been the rise of Geert Wilders, the controversial Dutch politician whose Islamophobia, virulent enough to draw thecondemnation [5] of even the ADL, has made him a darling of “anti-jihadists” in the United States.

Although there was a predictable upsurge in anti-Muslim sentiments in the United States following the Sept. 11 attacks, much of the most virulent Islamophobic discourse remained marginal on this side of the Atlantic in the early years of the war on terror. There are several possible reasons for this, but one of the most important is simply that George W. Bush, as president, was committed to a rhetoric about Islam as a “religion of peace” divided into a moderate majority and an extremist minority. The justification for the Iraq war came to depend heavily on this distinction, and right-wing hawks, with some grumbling, generally fell into line. The election of Obama, however, freed the hawks from any obligation to temper their rhetoric and simultaneously provided ample material for conspiracy theories about Muslims and fellow travelers in the White House. The result has been an intensification both in the amount of Islamophobia and in its political prominence, as ideas that were once marginal have moved to the center of political debate.

***

The two years since Obama’s election have seen a sudden flood of books describing an alleged Muslim conspiracy against the United States. Examples include Robert Spencer’s Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam Is Subverting America Without Guns Or Bombs, Spencer and Pamela Geller’s new The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War On America, Paul Sperry’sInfiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington, and Sperry and P. David Gaubatz’s Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That’s Conspiring to Islamize America.

The works share a set of common themes. Radical Muslims who engage in violence are only the tip of the iceberg, goes the argument; the more insidious threat comes from the far larger group of religious Muslims (most, perhaps all) who aim to subjugate the United States under sharia law through ostensibly peaceful and legal means. In this they are aided and abetted by the leftist elites controlling the government, media, and academy—above all, the ambiguously Muslim Obama himself—and a cast of villains that includes some mix of the Muslim Brotherhood, Jeremiah Wright, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Obama adviser Dalia Mogahed, ACORN, and George Soros. Some of the authors of these works have ties to the European far right themselves; Geller and Spencer, for instance, have alienated former political allies by championing Geert Wilders and the Vlaams Belang.
Andrew C. McCarthy’s The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America is among the most recent, and likely the most comprehensive, contributions to the genre. McCarthy is, on the surface, a credible figure: A former federal prosecutor, he came to prominence by winning convictions against Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman and others linked to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. During the Bush years, he was a vociferous defender of the administration’s detainee policies, while Obama’s election caused him to venture into nuttier territory. (He has speculated [6], for instance, that Bill Ayers may have been the real author of Obama’s Dreams From My Father.) His book helps illustrate both the potency of the Muslim-conspiracy myth and the extent to which it has taken hold of mainstream right-wing discourse.

McCarthy’s thesis is simple: Muslims aiming “to supplant American constitutional democracy with sharia law” have joined forces with leftists—including Obama himself—to impose a shared “totalitarian, collectivist” vision. Which Muslims? McCarthy hints that the real problem is Islam itself but that for reasons of political correctness it is wiser to stick to the term “Islamist”—a distinction that loses some of its force given his estimation that two-thirds of Muslims are Islamists. (Indeed, he applies the term to some, like Edward Said, who were not Muslims at all.)

The bulk of the Muslim population, then, aims to impose sharia over every aspect of American life. How will they do this? Through violence, if need be—but McCarthy is keen to note that Islamists are above all master dissimulators who will seek to impose sharia through legal means if they can (“grand-jihad-by-sabotage,” he calls it). This means that even peaceful attempts to follow Islam through strictly private means (for instance, through sharia-compliant finance) are simply precursors to a takeover of the overall system. Muslims who live within religious or ethnic enclaves are not merely trying to remain within a familiar community or preserve shared values; rather, they are presented as deviously following the “voluntary apartheid” strategy of Yusuf al-Qaradawi, ideologue of the Muslim Brotherhood—the group whose “global tentacles” extend into nearly every Muslim-American civil society organization. It is too obvious to be worth belaboring that no one would dream of applying a similar logic to Orthodox Jews or evangelical Christian homeschoolers.

At times, McCarthy speaks the language of religious tolerance, arguing simply that Islam should not have a “sacrosanct status” denied to other religions. Yet it becomes increasingly clear that he is in fact arguing for special targeting and discriminatory measures against Islam, and he eventually concedes that he believes it is wrong to place Judaism and Christianity “on a par with an inherently discriminatory, supremacist doctrine.” As a result, “foreign Muslims should not be permitted to reside in America unless they can demonstrate their acceptance of American constitutional principles.” (But how, given the Muslim propensity for dissimulation, can we be sure that their professions of loyalty are genuine?)

The Islamist threat to the United States, McCarthy further argues, would not be so dire if it weren’t for their alliance with the leftists who “dominate policy circles, the academy, and the media.” The most important of these, of course, is Obama himself. Obama “publicly professes” to be a Christian, and McCarthy generously allows that there is no reason to doubt him—although he goes on to include two full chapters on Obama’s Muslim roots—before asserting that the “faith to which Obama actually clings is neocommunism.” This distinction ultimately matters little, however, for the Marxism of Obama and the rest of the American elite coalesces in key respects with the Islamism of the Muslim Brotherhood and its American minions.

The overall tone and content of McCarthy’s polemic will be familiar to students of 1850s Know-Nothing anti-Catholicism or 1950s anti-Communism—or, for that matter, late-19th-century European anti-Semitism. It is tempting to dismiss him as a crackpot, and on an obvious level he is one. But his speculations and those of his fellows are far from irrelevant to the political moment. They are not being published in anonymous blog comments sections, but in widely publicized and bestselling books. More to the point, they have already made a notable impact on American political discourse.

The mosque furor is only the most recent and revealing demonstration of the anti-jihadists’ political influence; from the beginning of the controversy, McCarthy and his allies have dictated the terms of debate on the right. In his July 28 statement attacking the Islamic center, Newt Gingrich cited The Grand Jihad and framed the controversy in McCarthy’s terms of Western civilization under siege from creeping sharia. More recently, the American Family Association—a leading fundamentalist Christian group—cited the book to argue that no more mosques should be built anywhere in the United States because “each Islamic mosque is dedicated to the overthrow of the American government.” A campaign spearheaded by Pamela Geller, the right-wing blogger who was previously most notorious for publishing a lengthy piece alleging that Obama is the illegitimate child of Malcolm X, will place ads on New York City buses opposing the Islamic center. On September 11, she and Gingrich will lead a major rally against the center that will also feature Wilders, the Islamophobic Dutch politician. What was once a lunatic fringe now appears to be running the show, aided and abetted by mainstream figures like Gingrich.

It is quite possible that the next Republican president will also be a party to what can justly be called the new McCarthyism; for that reason alone, McCarthy and his allies deserve our attention. But even more important is the impact of this steady stream of anti-Muslim vitriol on the popular consciousness. Cynical politicians like Gingrich may know that all the talk of the Islamic center as a “9/11 victory monument” and of ordinary Muslims as stealth sharia operatives is mere agitprop designed to win votes in an election year, but ordinary citizens may take them at their word and act accordingly.

While activists like Pam Geller have led the anti-mosque campaign and the broader demonization of Muslims that has accompanied it, leaders like Abe Foxman have acquiesced in it. In doing so they risk providing an ugly and ironic illustration of the extent of Jewish assimilation in 21st-century America. We know that Jews can grow up to be senators and Supreme Court justices. Let’s not also discover that they can grow up to incite a pogrom.

Daniel Luban is a doctoral student in political science at the University of Chicago.

 

Washington Post Neutral on Anti-Muslim Bigots Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2010 by loonwatch

UPDATED below (8/20/10).

Michelle Boorstein, a journalist with the Washington Post has written on anti-Muslim bigots Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer and their growing influence amongst Conservatives. We have extensively followed these two, providing evidence of their hate, bigotry, genocidal rants, and pseudo-scholarship through links, snapshots and in-context quotes.

Boorstein puts on the kids gloves when tackling these two, and labels them “Islam critics.” However, they are more than  mere “critics” of Islam, (a statement one might make of Orientalist Bernard Lewis), they are anti-Muslim Islamophobes. They wallow in, pander and promote the vilest and weirdest conspiracy theories about Islam and Muslims, and sometimes non-Muslims as well.

Boorstein’s article, though it recognizes Geller and Spencer as the principal front figures and activists propelling the anti-mosque agitation is at the end of the day an epic failure due to its neutrality. Despite one mention of Geller’s nutty claim that Obama was the “love child” of Malcolm X, it glosses over the plethora of bigoted, hateful, irrational and borderline genocidal statements Geller has made.

When it comes to Robert Spencer the failure is even more pronounced, Boorstein cites IslamophobeDaniel Pipes (whom she dubs, “perhaps the most prominent US scholar on radical Islam”) opinion of Spencer as a “serious scholar.” This is like a kid being asked what grade his best friend should get on his report card, especially since Pipes considers himself allied with Spencer and Geller against similar “enemies.”

Pipes, according to Boorstein claims to be in the middle now, but that is belied by the fact that he admits he is “raising money” for the “most anti-Islam” individual out there, Dutch politician Geert Wilders, to supposedly “protect freedom of speech.”

Wilders you will remember says Islam is not a religion, compares the Quran to the Mein Kampf and wants it banned, wants to tax the hijab, and repatriate “criminal” Dutch Muslim citizens to their lands of origin. So how in his right mind can Pipes claim to be in the middle?

In the same breathe that Pipes says the “anti-Islam” agitation is growing in the US he admits that the “anti-Islam” bloggers (presumably including Spencer and Geller) have brought an “unsophisticated tone to the debate,” but then nimbly moves to say he shares the “same goals” as them. Double talk anyone? In reality the divide between Pipes and Spencer is a difference without a distinction.

You cannot have your cake and eat it as well. You can’t say that you don’t share in the methodology or beliefs of vociferous anti-Muslims whose goals are to eradicate Islam and strip Muslims of their citizenship but then join them because you have similar goals of “preserving freedom.” That is hypocrisy wrapped up in a contradiction.

In the mean time what is being missed by reporters and journalists in news papers and on TV alike is that these mere “critics” of Islam are at the forefront of a growing, organized anti-Muslim movement. The Park51 “Ground Zero” mosque controversy did not come out of nowhere, it is part of a plan to dig up and spread controversy about Islam and Muslims.

What is surprising is that Michelle Boorstein made no mention of the link between Geller and Spencer and the anti-Muslim movement, especially considering we featured her as an anti-loon in June for asking the question in her blog, “How influential will anti-Muslims become?

What is the future of the anti-Muslim movement in the United States?

For years there has been a small but passionate group of people concerned with the influence of Islam, and their activism seemed to be largely focused on blogging and lobbying political conservatives. But their presence — and the arguments they raise — seem to be coming into the broader sphere of late.

There’s the fight over a mosque at the Ground Zero site, and this weekend the on-line electronic payment firm PayPal reportedly cut off the anti-Muslim blog Atlas Shrugs, saying it’s a hate site.

Needless to say, this has prompted a roar from Atlas Shrugs supporters who see political bias.

Commentators across the spectrum, from the libertarian Becket Fund to the progressive Media Matters are asking: Where is this anti-Muslim movement going? How significantly will it steer the debate in this country about religious freedom and bias?

Why couldn’t she make that connection about these two leaders in the anti-Muslim movement in this article? Is it a reversal of nomenclature on her part due to pressure from the anti-Muslims? Hopefully she is not kowtowing to pressure.

Boorstein mentions Loonwatch towards the end of her piece (hat tip: Marco). One sentence, in a very obscure paragraph.

A site monitoring the Muslim critics is called Loonwatch. Conspiracy theories on the blogs about murder attempts and bestiality are common. People on both sides say they get death threats and thus can’t disclose where they live.

This paragraph is odd and it is a poor transition from the previous paragraph. Loonwatch does not monitor “Muslim critics” which is what that sentence implies. Muslims and Islam may justifiably be criticized by anyone. We don’t have a problem with that. We monitor anti-Muslims and Islamophobes. The paragraph also doesn’t specifically assign the “conspiracy theories” and “bestiality” to the Spencer and Geller blogs and for that reason is too ambiguous. It leaves the door open for people to think we partake in “conspiracy theories” or talk about “murder attempts” and “bestiality” which we do not.

Boorstein could have used a number of our posts and pieces to highlight how insane it is for the Right-wing to allow these two Muslim haters to rise up to stardom in their ranks. How, in fact they belong on the periphery amongst the fringe, but she chose not to and for that reason her article leaves a lot wanting.

However, I did find the final few sentences of her piece quite revealing,

Asked if he was being deliberately combative and provocative, Spencer chuckled.

“Why not?” he asked. “It’s fun.”

This gives us a glimpse into who Spencer is and what he really is about. He finds the fact that he is dooping Conservatives and others in America by creating controversy funny. It is not at all about being a “serious objective scholar,” it is all about the anti-Muslim crusade.

Update: Michelle Boorstein changed the title of her article it is no longer, In flap over mosque near Ground Zero, conservative writers gaining influence, now it is “The pens of anti-Muslim conservatives impact N.Y.C. mosque debate mightily.” She deserves kudos for that.

 

Poll favourite may put anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders in Cabinet

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , on June 9, 2010 by loonwatch
Geert Wilders

(For everything on Geert Wilders, check out the Dutch site: Krapuul)

Here’s something scary from TimesOnline:

Poll favourite may put anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders in Cabinet

By: David Charter, The Hague

Geert Wilders, the far-right Dutch politician who wants to tax Muslim headscarves and ban mosque building, could join the next government, the leader of the country’s biggest party said.

Mark Rutte, who is tipped to be the next Prime Minister after Wednesday’s vote, told The Times that he was prepared to share power with the anti-Islamic MP in a new coalition.

Mr Rutte’s right-wing Liberal Party (VVD) is expected to win the largest number of seats in the general election and polls suggest that it could form a majority with the Christian Democrats and Mr Wilders’ Freedom Party.

Mr Wilders, 46, was prohibited from visiting Britain last year by Jacqui Smith, the then Home Secretary, because of his inflammatory views but managed to overturn the ban. His party is in fourth place after briefly topping opinion polls this year.

Mr Rutte dismissed suggestions that his country could suffer an international backlash if he offered a Cabinet post to Mr Wilders. He said that he saw the Freedom Party as “just another party”, and disagreed with its policies on headscarves and mosques. He and Mr Wilders agreed however that the Netherlands should restrict immigration and cut benefits to recent arrivals.

Speaking to The Times during a break in campaigning in The Hague, Mr Rutte, 43, said that he was open to forming a coalition with Mr Wilders, just as he was with the Labour Party led by Job Cohen, the former Mayor of Amsterdam, which is second in the polls. “For me, the Wilders party and the social democratic Labour Party — we do not rule out a coalition with any of the two,” he said. “With both of them, we have many points of difference. But I am not distancing myself from Wilders on the basis of morality, like the Labour Party leader Job Cohen. He is saying Wilders’ party is wrong.

“The problem with Wilders is that he is quite left-wing on the economy . . . while at the same time we agree with some of the measures we could take on immigration in the Netherlands. We disagree on this issue of Islam.”

Asked if he thought that the Netherlands would suffer from problems in the Islamic world if Mr Wilders were part of the government, he said: “I don’t think so. For me it is just another party.”

Latest polls for the 150-seat Parliament put the VVD on 36 seats, Labour on 29, the Christian Democrats on 24, the Freedom Party on 18 — double its current number of MPs — and the Socialist Party on 12.

Dutch commentators believe that Mr Rutte is keeping open the possibility of coalitions involving Mr Wilders and Mr Cohen to try to attract their voters.

 

Dutch Muslims Taking Geert Wilders’ Abuse?

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 18, 2010 by loonwatch
By Ruben L. OppenheimerBy Ruben L. Oppenheimer

Sheila Kamerman and Dirk Vlasblom have an interesting article about how Dutch Muslims are dealing with the ascendancy and rhetoric of Geert Wilders. Some are choosing to ignore him while others see what he is calling for as impossible and unactionable.  While they are concerned, some Dutch Muslims also think that the best thing might be for Wilders’ PVV to actually win elections and lead the country because the PVV would then be forced to confront and offer more than just anti-Muslim rhetoric. What are your thoughts?

(make sure to check out Krapuul.nl, which is an anti-hate site and ally of ours tracking everything Wilders does. You will need Google Translator for the site.)

Muslims Quietly Take Wilders’ Abuse by Sheila Kamerman and Dirk Vlasblom

Day in and day out, Dutch Muslims are told their religion is “a fascist ideology” and “a threat to Dutch society”. They hear their “so-called prophet Muhammad” is “a barbarian, a mass murderer and a paedophile”, or words to that effect. The indignities come from a member of parliament: Geert Wilders.

After leaving the right-wing liberal VVD party in 2006 and setting up his own Party for Freedom (PVV), Wilders has made criticism of Islam his one main issue. He is being heard by native Dutch people who fear the country of 16 million is suffering under the burden of its estimated one million Muslim citizens. Wilders obtained 5 of the 25 Dutch seats in European parliament last year. His PVV did very well in the two municipalities in which it participated in recent local elections. Some polls have predicted his party could become the biggest in parliament after the upcoming national election.

Some of Wilders’ statements on IslamAbout the Koran: “This book incites hatred and murder and therefore does not fit into our legal system. If Muslims want to participate, they need to distance themselves from the Koran. I realise this is a lot to ask, but we have to stop making concessions.” (Dutch daily De Volkskrant – 2007) .

One wonders why the Muslims he is targeting are not standing up against his attacks and letting themselves be heard.

When asked this question, Islam expert Mohammed Cheppih immediately countered it: “Aren’t we all Dutch?,” he asked. “Society as a whole should stand up to Wilders. Wilders is destroying the Netherlands. We should all ignore him.”

Counterproductive?

Farid Azarkan, the director of an interest group of Moroccan-Dutch people, SMN, agreed. “Where are all the reasonable Dutch people who say: ‘This is not how we treat each other here’?” Ideally, non-Muslims would support their Muslim compatriots en masse, Azarkan ventured. “Suppose that all the women in Almere [the one city where Wilders’ PVV won the most council seats in the local election] would don a headscarf.” Azarkan chuckled at the idea of such a form of protest against the PVV’s proposed headscarf ban in municipal buildings there: “But that is not realistic.”Azarkan has thought about instigating large-scale protest, but believes it would ultimately be counterproductive. “Imagine we would organise a mass demonstration, say, on the Malieveld in The Hague,” he said, referring to a meadow near buildings housing the national government. “It would suddenly be filled with thousands of headscarves. People who don’t fear Islam wouldn’t be bothered by it. But those are not the people we need to convince. The people who support Wilders however, will go ’Yuk, there they are’.”

The fear of rubbing native Dutch people the wrong way by lashing out at Wilders is one argument why Muslims aren’t organising themselves. Another is that a movement would be hard to establish because there is no single Muslim community in the Netherlands. Moroccans, Turks, Somalis, Surinamese, Iranians and Iraqis in the Netherlands all have their own religious lives and communities. They are impossible to mobilise, according to Azarkan.

“”Ultimately many fundamental problems in the Netherlands are directly related to migrants, like infrastructure, traffic jams, housing problems, the welfare state.” (German news agency DPA – 2008) .

Faith in democracy

A unifying, Dutch Islam has yet to develop, said Loubna el Morabet, who is a PhD researcher in social science at Leiden University. “This is an ongoing process. Muslims in the Netherlands are already very Dutch,” she said. “I have done research in the Netherlands and England and learnt that Muslim students here have adopted the Dutch mentality. This is their country.”

Arkazan offered the example of the lack of success of Muslim parties as an argument why any fear of Muslims “taking over” the Netherlands is “a joke”. In this month’s municipal elections, Islamic parties failed to obtain a single council seat anywhere but in The Hague. “Obviously, Muslims vote for a party that suits them, they don’t vote for a religion,” said Arkazan. “We call that integration.”

Q: “So there is a link between Islam and crime?” A: “Absolutely. The figures show that. One in five Moroccan youth is listed as a suspect in police records. Their behaviour stems from their religion and culture. You cannot separate one from the other. The last pope was quite right: Islam is a violent religion. “(De Volkskrant – 2006) .

Many Muslims and non-Muslims in the Netherlands are uncomfortable with the things the PVV has been saying. The party has suggested Muslims who don’t adjust to the dominant Dutch culture should be deported. It has also talked about shooting criminals of Moroccan descent in the knees.

But for most who disagree with him, their faith in democracy is larger than their fear of Wilders.

“Why are we afraid to say that Muslims should adapt to us, because our values are simply of a higher, better, more pleasant and humane level of human civilisation? No integration; assimilation! And let the headscarves fly on the Malieveld. I will eat them raw.”(De Volkskrant – 2004) .

“Of course I feel threatened when I hear Wilders speaking,” said Loubna el Morabet. “But if I take a step back, I realise he will never be able to carry out his ideas. Taxing headscarves is nonsense and halting immigration from Islamic countries is discrimination. The principle of equality is deeply embedded in Dutch law.”

Compromises

Even if he wins the upcoming national election, many Muslims don’t believe he can change Dutch, let alone European, laws that protect them. “And you can’t rule a country ranting and raving,” Farid Azarkan said about Wilders’ politics.

Several Muslims interviewed said they would welcome a large PVV after the June election. If Wilders were to be forced to take responsibility and make compromises, his rank and file would realise he can’t deliver, they said.

“And the Koran is the Mein Kampfof a religion that seeks to eliminate others, and calls those others – non-Muslims – infidel dogs, inferior beings. Read the Koran, that Mein Kampf, again. In any version whatsoever, you’ll see that all the evil that the sons of Allah committed against us and themselves comes from that book. “(Letter in the Volkskrant – 2007) .

The Netherlands is always ruled by coalition governments and if Wilders were to form one “he would need to have clear ideas about other issues than just Muslims,” said El Morabet. “What does he really want for our country? The only statements he yells are anti-Islam, everything else is hazy.”

Cheppih, however, disagreed. “It is extremely frustrating that other parties don’t preclude governing with Wilders. It would be a clear sign if other parties would say: ‘We don’t want to cooperate with the PVV’. The party is empty and has hardly taken positions on anything.” Cheppih encouraged other political parties to rule out any coalition with the PVV after the election. “Society as a whole should hit back hard: we do not accept this! Make that clear. Otherwise, things could escalate. The fear he sows is imaginary, but he is being heard. The higher the minarets, the more frightened the people.”

“I think that there need to be fewer Muslims in the Netherlands. I think the ideology of Islam is abject, fascist and wrong. “(Flemish newspaper Het Nieuwsblad – 2008) .

Personal encounters

This fear of Islam is fuelled by the media hype surrounding Wilders, said El Morabet. “I think it is ridiculous that media pay so much attention to a party that has garnered a handful of seats in the municipal elections. [Left-wing liberal party] D66 was the real winner of the local elections and that happens to be the one party that tells Wilders: ‘You are shutting people out, you discriminate’. That gets relatively little attention.”

To counter the anxiety some native Dutch feel for Islam, Farid Azarkan thinks, Muslims need to try to remove this through personal encounters. “You have to reach out to people. A minority happens to be xenophobe. I don’t believe you can sway all of them. They have to notice out on the streets that you may be Muslim, but apart from that, you are all right.”

 

A Geert Wilders Jingle: “Our Geert”

Posted in Anti-Loons, Feature, Loon Media with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2010 by loonwatch

This is an awesome satirical song brought to us by Lucien Van Rooy that will be the new anthem for those opposing the Euro-supremacism of Geert Wilders and his buddies.

Enjoy! (For some of our sensitive viewers be aware that there are some raunchy pictures)

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lm1reVyKDqw 400 350]

Translation:

Our Geert

I know exactly how things stand,

Don’t bore me with the facts.

Give me one of those lefty newspapers,

So that I can sh*t on it.

The Dutch broadcasting corporations,

Pretend to be journalists,

They don’t do anything but lie,

Those dirty socialists.

They hate our Geert,

We hate the government,

That is secretly heading

For islamization.

We were born stupid,

Never had any education,

But we don’t give a damn,

We’ll vote for Geert anyway.

The government doesn’t do anything

About all those Moroccans

Who are on the dole

And stealing our jobs.

They also have a god,

But ours is better.

Their women are all ugly,

Ours are much hotter.

They don’t have any respect

For rules and legislation,

But Geert is not at all afraid,

He’ll throw them out of the country.

We were born stupid,

Never had any education,

But we don’t give a damn,

We’ll vote for Geert anyway.

As soon as Geert is Prime Minister,

As he’s told us oftentimes,

He’ll ban the Koran,

Allah and His prophets.

But that’s not all,

Geert is not easily satisfied,

The Imams will have to go

He’ll close down all their mosques.

And if the Muslims

Start protesting

Geert will shoot them through the knee

And we’ll all chant:

We were born stupid,

Never had any education,

But we don’t give a damn,

We’ll vote for Geert anyway.

© Lyrics: Lucien Van Rooy

For more on the exposition of Geert Wilders please visit: Krapuul.nl (Use Google Translator)

 

Hollywood: Geert Wilders Movie Aborted: Yes We CAN!

Posted in Anti-Loons, Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2010 by loonwatch

Huib Reithof, a Brussels based blogger, historian and activist writes on the recent episode involving Geert Wilders and the Geller-Spencer axis. If our readers are unaware CAN, (Christian Action Network) a virulently homophobic and Christian supremacist organization which has had a long working history with Robert Spencer made a film, Islam Rising glorifying Geert Wilders.

Geller and Spencer both were giddy over their Hollywood debut, they had visions of red carpet treatment, sips of champagne and for Pamela maybe, mercifully some plastic surgery?

All kidding aside their Hollywood dreams blew up in their faces when the obvious despicable history of Martin Mawyer and CAN went viral in Holland and Europe. It was up to Geert Wilders to deliver thecoup de grace as his carefully cultivated ‘legitimacy’ as the heir to Pim Fortuyn was threatened.

Huib gave us permission to reproduce his article with a few minor touches, enjoy:

LA Wilders Sanctification Movie Aborted: Yes We CAN*! by Huib Reithof

The May 1st launch of an one hour Wilders adoration movie, produced by Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller and Martin Mawyat’s Christian Action Network (CAN) in Los Angeles (Ca), fell lamentably through, two days after its proud announcement.

The “Islam Rising” video features Geert Wilders, posing as an Old Testament prophet, calling off the numerous mene tekels on the wall of dhimmi-ridden Christianity. Among the illustrations: The unavoidable Ground Zero, loony bearded hysterics and Barack Obama meeting an Arab authority.

Outrage rose in Geert Wilders’ home country, Holland, after the announcement. In Europe, he never shows off with the extreme right. He never disowns their support either. Wilders pretends to fight for abortion rights and gay rights. CAN’s homophobic and pro-life agitation does not rhyme well with that.

At first, Wilders tried to play down the issue but last night, the “21st century Churchill” (Pamela’s description) met his Dardanelles (1915) against the modern Turks. He backed off, telling the news agencies that he “did not know” about CAN’s ideas, that he would NOT go to LA, and disappeared behind a “no-comment” wall. At the website of his political “party” (no members, only Pipes-money), the jubilant references to the movie and its launch disappeared all at once.

Spencer received a very “Dutch Treat”

Spencer had to call off the May 1st event. The damage to his cause is immense. “Going Dutch: Never More!” and receiving a “Dutch Treat” will best describe his inner feelings.

Our inner feelings are quite the opposite. Something like: “Yes We CAN”. What CAN couldn’t, we achieved.

We, the men and women who time and again exposed Wilders’ hypocrisy, finally met with some acknowledgment:

  • In Holland he is behaving like a middle of the road politician, denouncing a “dangerous ideology, the Islam”, denying that he is against Muslims or Arabs, adopting some progressive issues like women’s liberation, freedom of choice (abortion), gay rights, gay marriage and keeping the pension age at 65.
  • Outside Europe, Wilders associates with Christian fundamentalists, Great-Israel religious ultra-Zionists and American Birthers and Tea Party ideologues.

Why does Wilders do so? I think, that in his heart, he agrees with the ideas of his foreign sponsors. But he cannot win the vote in Holland with statements like he made in Copenhague last year (“deportation of tens of millions of Muslims out of Europe” and “the Palestinians already have their state: Jordania”). His racist rants in some US synagogues were not adapted for home consumption either.

But, I think, he HAD to tell his sponsors from time to time the things they want to hear from him, so he did, leaving out the subjects they would certainly have objected to, like abortion, gay rights, etc. Wilders chose his locations as far away from Holland as possible. Hoping that the Dutch are too dumb to see the difference. Hoping that Daniel Pipes, Robert Spencer and Avigdor Lieberman do not master enough of the Dutch language, to see the fraud.

Well, this is the beginning of Wilders’ exposure as a Fraud. The stream of US money that helps him to stay out of Dutch party funding control and to run a no-member “party” without inner political discussion will wither away. Good for Holland.

The Loony Right will have to look for another, more reliable hero.

The movie will just be a collector’s item.

 

Fastrack around the Globe: Islamophobic Crime Continues

Posted in Feature with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2010 by loonwatch

Islamophobic violence is on the march as we continue to document hate crimes on Muslims and Muslim places of worship. Of course to Robert Spencer and company Islamophobia doesn’t exist.

In Leeds, we have the story of Muslim gravestones being desecrated:

Muslim Graves Damaged in Leeds Cemetery

Nineteen gravestones have been vandalised in a section of a Leeds cemetery used by Muslims.

One headstone was broken and a number of name plaques on wooden stands were damaged at Harehills Cemetery.

Police said they were “keeping an open mind” on whether the graves were deliberately targeted because they were linked to Muslim families.

The damage is believed to have happened overnight last Thursday. Witnesses are being asked to contact police.

Insp Nik Adams said: “This incident has caused a great deal of upset and distress to a number of people in the local community.

“Over the weekend we have worked alongside community and religious leaders to identify and contact the next of kin of those whose graves have been affected by this mindless vandalism.

“At this stage in the investigation we are keeping an open mind on whether the graves were deliberately targeted because they were linked to Muslim families or whether they were vandalised because of their proximity to a nearby path and two thoroughfares that run through the cemetery.”

In the Netherlands, that bastion of tolerance and liberty where polls have shown an increase in popularity for neo-fascist Muslim hater Geert Wilders we have the story of a pig head left by a Mosque which was also smeared with blood and animal intestines.

Groningen Mosque Smeared with Blood

A mosque in the Selward neighborhood of Groningen was smeared with blood Tuesday night, police reports. In addition to the blood, animal innards and the head of a wild boar were found by the mosque.

The Groningen city council responded in shock to the attack Thursday.

“We are deeply affected, because Groningen hadn’t known such outrages till now. Only expressions of indignation and disgust are proper here,” according to deputy mayor Frank de Vries. “This doesn’t belong in our city. We immediately promised the mosque board our support.”

The police opened an investigation and will keep extra watch for the mosque and the area.

Our final story comes from Canada, where someone obviously wants to intimidate the “Mooslims.” (via: Islamophobia-Watch)

Ontario Mosque Vandalized

waterloo-mosque-graffiti

Regional police are investigating a possible hate crime after the mosque of the Muslim Society of Waterloo & Wellington Counties was vandalized this week.

Two windows were broken and offensive graffiti painted around the Erb Street building, leaving many members to question why someone would do such a thing to a place of worship. Offensive pentagonal symbols and the numbers 666 were painted around the building. The windows that were broken were in the women’s prayer area. “It’s a hate crime,” said Faheem Uddin, president of the mosque. “It’s pretty bad. It’s upsetting.”

Yesterday, a large crowd attended a funeral at the mosque, with the graffiti and broken windows in plain view. “We just pray for the person who did this,” said Abdul Mannan. “May God guide him. We’re peace-living people. We love everyone and we want everyone to love us.”

A news release sent out by Waterloo Masjid public relations states that similar incidents have occurred at mosques in Hamilton and Montreal.

The Record, 20 March 2010

See also IQRA, 21 March 2010