Archive for Xenophobia

Pamela Geller, Guide Dogs, and Genocide

Posted in Loon Blogs, Loon People with tags , , , , , , , on April 3, 2012 by loonwatch

Pamela Geller

Pamela Geller

More lunacy from the looniest blogger ever:

Pamela Geller, Guide Dogs, and Genocide

by Sheila Musaji (The American Muslim)

Pamela Geller posted a letter she received from an Atlas Shrugs reader calling himself Scott Sylte.  She introduces this letter saying Remember, there is no golden rule under Islam.

Here is the text of the posted letter

I have a disability which requires that I use a service dog. His name is Ray and he helps to counterbalance, alert and guide me. Under Federal Law, The Americans with Disabilites Act of 1990, a disabled person with their service dog must be allowed public accomodation and admittance. Among such places include Airplanes, Public Transportation, Businesses which serve the gerneral public, restaurants, etc.

One evening two friends, myself and my service dog Ray entered a kabob restaurant in Virginia. Within seconds a man, apparantly who was the owner, made a scene about my service dog and asked me to leave. I was fairly certain he was Pakistani Muslim. There were other people in the restaurant who apparantly were also Muslim because of their coverings. Anyhow, I told him about the ADA, which he knew nothing about, and I told him that I was refusing to leave the restaurant and demanded that we be served the food we ordered. He was obviously very, very unhappy about it, yet he did eventually very reluctantly comply.

If he had insisted that my dog and I leave and refused to serve us in his restaurant, I would have filed a Human Relations Complaint of Discrimination or a ADA complaint with the US Dept. of Justice. If that would ever happens I wonder if this Islamization has gone that far that it would limit me from entering a Muslim owned or opperated establishment which serves the public? It’s sad to see our society begin sliding down the slippery slope of making these kinds of self serving accomodations. The people who are in favor of these kinds of accomodations as being in the friendly spirit of Freedom and Liberty are missing the point that our strong tendancies for “cultural” and “religious” acceptance are really being used to undermine our very freedoms and liberties in a very clandestine manner.

The very essence of the Judeo-Christian belief is based upon “Loving our neighbors,” but all to frequently forgotten is another teaching of our sacred writings is that if we know that someone is going to kill us “We are “obliged” to kill them before they can kill us. In the context of this teaching, “obliged is stronger than being commanded.” We are not commanded to murder someone because of their belief system or because they are different, but if they are going to kill us, self defense is an imperative. I believe as many of our fellow Americans would like to believe, is that the majority of Muslims here in our country are not about Jihad; HOWEVER, a belief system which commands its believers to deceive and lie to non-adherants about their murderous intentions is most certainly one that should be closely examined.

Respectfully submitted, Scott Sylte

This individual is claiming that someone at a kabob restaurant in Virginia that he believed to be a Muslim asked him to leave the restaurant with his guide dog.  After he explained about the ADA, the man reluctantly served him.  He does not say what his disability is, or what kind of a service dog.  Since he is describing the appearance of people in the restaurant, it seems that he is not blind, and perhaps his disability was not readily apparent.  The law does not require service dogs to wear identifying markings, and if this was the case it is possible that the restaurant employee/owner simply thought it was a man and his dog coming in to eat.

He says that if he had not been served he would have filed an official complaint of discrimination.  That is absolutely appropriate, and he would have been well within his rights to do so – if this is an accurate recounting of a genuine incident.  If, however, there was no way for the man who worked in the restaurant to know that he was disabled, and that his dog was a service dog, then that would be a very different story.

However, the last paragraph of Mr. Sylte’s letter makes me doubt everything he claims.  I’ll repeat that paragraph

The very essence of the Judeo-Christian belief is based upon “Loving our neighbors,” but all to frequently forgotten is another teaching of our sacred writings is that if we know that someone is going to kill us “We are “obliged” to kill them before they can kill us. In the context of this teaching, “obliged is stronger than being commanded.” We are not commanded to murder someone because of their belief system or because they are different, but if they are going to kill us, self defense is an imperative. I believe as many of our fellow Americans would like to believe, is that the majority of Muslims here in our country are not about Jihad; HOWEVER, a belief system which commands its believers to deceive and lie to non-adherents [sic] about their murderous intentions is most certainly one that should be closely examined.

I would have highlighted the genocidal take on what is required of Christians out of their love for their Muslim neighbors, but the entire paragraph would need to be highlighted.

He is saying that he would like to believe that most Muslims are not out to kill “us”, but since their religion (in his view) teaches Muslims to lie about their murderous intentions, then the command to kill Muslims before they kill you mandated in Christianity “should be closely examined”.  We should consider that it might be a “Christian mandate” to begin killing Muslims.  He does not give any references to particular verses of Christian “sacred scriptures”, but I am certain that whatever passages he believes would justify such genocide are being misinterpreted by him.

That Pamela Geller thinks such hatred is deserving of a positive mention, and of being published on her site is yet more evidence as to why the SPLC lists not only her Atlas Shrugs site, but her partner Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch site, and their joint organizations AFDI and SIOA as active anti-Muslim groups, and why they are listed in our Who’s Who of the Anti-Muslim/Anti-Arab/Islamophobia Industry.  This is hatred pure and simple.

As to the issue that set off this tirade – Muslims who serve the public refusing service to people with guide dogs – that has happened.  There needs to be a clear statement issued by scholars in the U.S. and Canada clarifying this, and that statement needs to be widely distributed and discussed in mosques.  The problem is that many immigrants confuse cultural and religious beliefs, and some are not aware of the law.

This process has begun, and Muslim scholars are attempting to educate people, but to avoid any such difficulties in the future, this needs to be much more widely discussed.  Here are a few examples of community efforts to educate:

In 2008, the issue of service dogs came up in England and a fatwa
was issued

“The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association described the decision as “a massive step forward for other blind and partially-sighted Muslims”. Previously, all dogs were banned from mosques because the Islamic faith historically sees them as being for guarding and hunting only. However, the position was softened because guide dogs could be classed in the “working dogs” category. The animals are still barred from entering the prayer hall for the sake of hygiene but are allowed to guide their owners to the area where shoes are placed, the fatwa says.

A special rest area has been set up in the entrance of the Bilal Jamia mosque for Vargo while Khatri is praying. Previously, the teenager, who attends the RNIB College in Loughborough, had to be accompanied to the mosque by a sighted helper. “

…  After issuing the fatwa, Muhammad Shahid Raza, director of the Imams and Mosques Council UK and secretary of the Muslim Law (Sharia) Council UK, said: “I hope that all existing mosques will follow Bilal mosque in serving the disabled people in a similar way by providing facilities to them. I also believe that, in all new mosques, such facilities for disabled people will be an essential part of their design.”

You can see a video about this here

In a case in Minnesota, the local CAIR-MN chapter issued a statement

The moral and legal need to accommodate individuals using service dogs far outweighs the discomfort an individual Muslim might feel about coming into contact with a dog, which is one of God’s creatures, said CAIR-MN Communications Director Valerie Shirley.

Muslims believe the saliva of dogs invalidates the ritual ablution performed before prayer. For this reason, it has become a cultural norm for individuals not to have dogs in their houses – not because the dog is unclean.

The Prophet Muhammad allowed the use of dogs for protection and for hunting. He related several traditions (hadith) in which individuals were rewarded by God for protecting animals and punished for mistreating them.

Shirley mentioned that in 2007, a similar misunderstanding took place between Minneapolis cab drivers and passengers with guide dogs. After CAIR-MN facilitated dialogue between the two groups and cleared the misunderstanding, the Muslim taxi drivers offered free rides to attendees of the American Council of the Blind Convention in downtown Minneapolis. Abdinoor Ahmed Dolal, owner of Twin Cities Airport Taxi, said “Islam forbids us to turn away a blind passenger, whether they have a guide dog or not. Their rights come first.”

CAIR-MN says it will continue to work with the Muslim community in Minnesota to educate them about their Islamic and legal duty to accommodate those using service or guide dogs.

In another case in Vancouver, Canada a local Imam issued a clarification

An Iman from the local Az-Zahraa Islamic Centre, Javed Jaffri, researched the dog topic and served as an expert witness for a blind man refused passage by a Muslim taxi driver. Jaffri spent long hours on this, and provided an unbiased interpretation of the Koran that indicated “there is nothing saying that one must refuse service to another person because of the fear of contamination by a dog.”

He also said that “there can be exceptions to blanket refusals to deal with dogs, especially if it means helping someone in need. All that would be required in most circumstances would be for a Muslim person to wash their hands before eating if they have been in contact with a dog. That’s not a terrible task to go through,” he said.

“There is not an animal on earth, nor a bird that flies on its wings, but they are communities like you. Qur’an 6:38.

“The Holy Prophet told of a prostitute who, on a hot summer day, saw a thirsty dog hovering around a well, lolling its tongue. She lowered her socks down the well and watered the dog. God forgave her all her sins (for this one act of kindness)”  Sahih Muslim

SEE ALSO:

A Fatwa on dogs, Khaled Abou El Fadl http://www.scholarofthehouse.org/tloofesfaond.html

All-American Muslim and Wrigley the Dog, Sheila Musaji http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/wrigley-dogs

Animals’ Lawsuit Against Humanity, Ikhwan al-Safa http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/books_the_animals_lawsuit_against_humanity

Animals in Islam, al-Hafiz B.A. Masri, http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Academy/7368/an1.htm

Dogs in the Islamic tradition and in nature, Khaled Abou El Fadl http://www.scholarofthehouse.org/dinistrandna.html

Islam and Experiments on Animals *, al-Hafiz B.Z. Masri http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/islam_and_experiments_on_animals1

Misconceptions About Islam and Dogshttp://misconceptions-about-islam.com/dogs-allowed-muslims.htm

Quotes from Qur’an and Hadith about dogs as service animals http://toledomuslims.com/criterion/Article.asp?ID=288

What’s up with Muslims and dogs?, Dr. Ingrid Mattson http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ingrid-mattson/whats-up-with-muslims-and_b_1144819.html

Anti-Muslim Hate Comes to Hillsborough County School Board Meeting

Posted in Feature, Loon People with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 1, 2012 by loonwatch

Parents, and Adults attend Hillsborough School Board Meeting

Parents, and Adults attend a Hillsborough School Board Meeting

Hillsboroughbilly County, Florida–

In November 2011, a Tampa, Fla., high school invited a Muslim lecturer, Hassan Shibly to speak about Islamic history and tradition to college level advanced placement students. When anti-Muslim extremists David Caton and Terry Kemple found out, they brought dozens of Islamophobes to spread lies, fear and hatred against Islam and Muslims at school board meetings (H/T: A. Lessirey):

David Caton was described in a Tampa Bay Times column as a “theo thug,” and a “Biblical bully” with a history of anti-Muslim activism:

Perhaps the best way to get your hands around this latest example of theo-thugs gone wild is to think of local sanctimonious mouth foamer David Caton as the North Korea of faux piety.

For whenever Caton feels he’s fallen off the publicity-hound radar and isn’t being paid enough attention, the vicar of vituperativeness feels compelled to engage in some really daffy behavior as if to reassure the world he’s just as loopy as ever.

Well, brother and sisters — he’s back! It was this man of fleece who just a few weeks ago managed to persuade Lowe’s, a Fortune 500 company, to drop its sponsorship of All-American Muslim on TLC.

Caton got his sackcloth in a wad because the series revealed Muslims in America are quite capable of living just as stultifyingly boring, law-abiding lives as Protestants, rather than spending their days assembling car bombs.

And Lowe’s fell for it, acquiescing to the Islamaphobic demands of a single illiterate hate-monger who should have about as much influence on the affairs of the day as the defense minister of Groucho Marx’s Freedonia.

Now, fresh off his Florida Family Association campaign to make Lowe’s look like corporate America’s answer to a cowering puppy that just piddled on the kitchen floor, Caton, the Ernst Blofeld of the Bible, has set his myopic sights on Kelly Miliziano, a history teacher at Steinbrenner High School, who committed the unpardonable, unforgiveable sin of (dare it be said) educating her students.

For several years Miliziano has invited speakers representing various faiths to meet with her classes. The idea here is to expose students to a range of ideas and beliefs, which in the end will serve to make them better informed, discerning, well-rounded, independent-thinking, educated members of society.

Miliziano obviously posed a threat to Caton’s recruitment efforts. After all, if these kids learn stuff, well, the next thing you know, they’ll figure out obtuse gasbags like Caton are full of hooey. And that’s bad for the bigotry business, which needs a steady stream of lemmings to keep the flames of malevolence burning.

Another Tampa Bay Times article described the school board meeting as one of “did-I-just-hear-that” intolerance. It went on to criticize Caton and Kemple, saying,

What’s not good is wrapping your hands around the eyes and ears of kids out of fear. What’s not good is assuming a local Muslim leader, a young lawyer raising a family here, comes not to educate but to indoctrinate and steal young minds — and that teachers are either in on it or too clueless to care.

Such rhetoric is unhelpful and it seems that students who actually participated in the class don’t think it was a big deal.

But for those who believe they are on a Crusade against Islam, such as Caton and Kemple the Muslim speaker’s presentation represents the apocalypse!

NYTimes: Killing of Iraqi Woman Leaves Immigrant Community Shaken

Posted in Loon People, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2012 by loonwatch

Alawadi

Alawadi’s daughter

Background on El Cajon, CA in light of the tragic murder and possible hate crime against Shaima AlAwadi:

Killing of Iraqi Woman Leaves Immigrant Community Shaken

By IAN LOVETT and WILL CARLESS (NYTimes)
Published: March 27, 2012

EL CAJON, Calif. — Shaima Alawadi’s family says they found the first note taped to the front door of their house on a quiet suburban street here. It said: “This is my country. Go back to yours, terrorist,” according to her 15-year-old son Mohammed.

Like many others in the neighborhood, Ms. Alawadi and her husband, Kassim Alhimidi, are immigrants from Iraq. Mr. Alhimidi says he wanted to call the police. But his wife said no, insisting the note was only a child’s prank. In 17 years in the United States, they had been called terrorists before, he said.

But last Wednesday, her 17-year-old daughter found Ms. Alawadi in their dining room, lying unconscious in a puddle of blood with a severe head wound. Nearby lay another threatening note, similar to the one the family found a week earlier.

Ms. Alawadi, 32, died three days later, and the police say they are still trying to determine whether she was, indeed, targeted because of her religion or ethnicity, calling that just one possibility.

“At this point, we are not calling it a hate crime,” said Lt. Mark Coit of the El Cajon police department. “We haven’t made that determination. We are calling it an isolated incident, because we don’t have any evidence of anything similar going on at this point.”

Isolated or not, the crime has shattered the sense of security for Iraqi immigrants in El Cajon, exposing cultural tensions and distrust that have often simmered just below the surface since the Sept. 11 attacks.

Hanif Mohebi, director of the San Diego chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said that many Muslim women in the area were worried that Ms. Alawadi had been targeted because she wore a headscarf in public, as many observant Muslim women do.

“The majority of the community that wears scarves are concerned,” Mr. Mohebi said. He cautioned against a rush to judgment before the police had finished investigating. Still, he added, “the community has gone through some hate crimes before, and the assumption the people have is that they’re going through one now.”

Just two decades ago, El Cajon, just northeast of San Diego, was largely white and English-speaking. But as wars in their homelands pushed more and more Iraqis and other people to emigrate, the Middle Eastern population here has exploded. El Cajon now houses one of the largest Iraqi communities in the country. Middle Eastern groceries and restaurants dot both sides of Main Street, while on the sidewalks, many families stroll by speaking only in Arabic.

Ms. Alawadi and her family moved to the United States from Saudi Arabia in 1995, after fleeing Iraq during the first Gulf War. They have five children, and, for the most part, Mr. Alhimidi said, the neighbors made them feel welcome.

Still, even before this month, he was already familiar with the kind of language he says was on the notes left at his house.

“Some neighbors, I say ‘hi’ to them, and they just turn away,” Mr. Alhimidi said in Arabic, with his son Mohammed translating. “More than 95 percent of the time, I feel welcome. But once in a while, people shout at you. They shout ‘terrorist,’ or ‘go back to your country.’ ”

Most people in town lamented Ms. Alawadi’s killing as a tragedy. Janet Ilko, a middle school teacher, said the news had come as a shock to students.

“It was upsetting to everyone,” Ms. Ilko, 47, said. “Our community is very close-knit. Our students get along very well. People have been here a long time.”

But tension between the newcomers from the Middle East and some of the town’s other residents was also readily apparent on Main Street, even this week. One woman, 30, who was at a park with her children and refused to give her name, called the city’s Iraqi residents “territorial,” adding, “maybe because we are at war with them.” She said her own background was Mexican, though she had grown up in Southern California.

That tension extends to non-Muslims as well.

“I’ve lived here for 32 years, and I’ve been told many times to go back to my country,” said Sascha Atta, an immigrant from Afghanistan. “Here in El Cajon, most of the Iraqis are not even Muslim, they are Christian, but people don’t know the difference.”

One of those Iraqi Christians is Lara Yalda, 18, who fled the country with her family in 2004, living in Syria for six years before coming to El Cajon, where she is now in high school. She said that last year one teacher told all of the Iraqi students to go back to their country, complaining that they took welfare and other money from the United States. That teacher does not teach Iraqi students any more but still works at the school, she said.

Ms. Yalda said Ms. Alawadi’s death frightened her.

“Yeah, I’m scared,” Ms. Yalda said. “I feel sad, because here it is a free country, and there is no reason to kill her. She has a family. So why they kill her? ”

The killing does not make sense to Ms. Alawadi’s son Mohammed either.

“There’s only three people that know what happened,” he said. “God, my mom and the guy who did it.”

Support for Geert Wilders’ “Freedom Party” Drops Over Crisis

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2012 by loonwatch

Still my favorite picture of Geert Wilders

If Geert Wilders’ consistent and prolonged anti-Islam/Muslim diatribes weren’t enough of a reason to quit supporting him…

If Geert Wilders anti-freedom policies and attacks on civil liberties weren’t enough of a reason to quit supporting him…

If  Geert Wilders xenophobic fearmongering about Polish and Eastern European immigrants to the Netherlands weren’t enough of a reason to quit supporting him…

There’s another reason: The defection of a senior Freedom Party (PVV) MP Hero Brinkman, an ideological counterpart who parted ways with Wilders due to his “autocratic nature” and “unqualified stance against immigration.”

At least that is what polling data seems to be showing:

Geert Wilders support drops over party crisis

The anti-immigration party would now have 21 seats in parliament, three less than the number of seats it won at the last elections, held nearly 18 months ago. MP Hero Brinkman, seen as a key ideologue, left the party earlier this week in protest at Mr Wilders’ autocratic style and unqualified anti-immigrant stance. However, if elections were held now, Mr Brinkman would lack enough support to gain an independent seat, according to the weekly survey.

The minority government of liberal Prime Minister Mark Rutte depends on Mr Wilders’ Freedom Party for a majority in parliament. Now that Mr Brinkman has broken ranks with Mr Wilders, the conservative cabinet may have to rely on other parties as well, in particular on the tiny Christian fundamentalist SGP party.

The minority cabinet has already relied on Labour, the Democrats 66 and the Green Left parties for all those policies not supported by Mr Wilders, such as giving financial aid to Greece and bolstering the euro in general.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

We can’t read too much into these sorts of polls, especially when one considers the fickle nature of polling. However, it is significant, in that it exposes not only rifts and cracks in Wilders movement, but also potential fallout.

What remains to be seen is how Wilders and company will react to all this. Will they ignore this trend or just plain dismiss it? Will they become more aggressive and double down? Will they tone down their jingoistic rhetoric?

In the meantime it seems Wilders hatemongering is continuing to have repercussions:

The Polish Wilders Hates Poles

“I don’t just hate the Poles who work in the Netherlands, I hate all Poles” says Geert Wilders.

It’s not the real Wilders, it’s a satirical programme on Polish television. The Freedom Party leader himself hasn’t gone that far. However, his party does have a website where Dutch people can leave their complaints about Eastern European immigrants. It has been stirring up emotions in Poland for weeks, according to our correspondent Ekke Overbeek.

Szymon Majewski is a well-known Polish comedian with a popular show on the country’s biggest commercial station. In front of a backdrop of windmills, ‘Wilders’ begins the sketch by saying good evening in Dutch (goeie avond). The word goeie, however, means something unpleasant in Polish, so the stage is set. He then explains, in Polish, that he hates all Poles because they drink too much.

Another film, posted on YouTube, has an Asian man telling us that all foreigners, even Dutch, are welcome in Poland. Having nearly been run over by foul-mouthed Dutch people on bikes, he invites all Dutch people to come to Poland for the European football championships. “Poles are friendly and helpful. All the ugly, nasty, greedy Poles are over in the Netherlands”. He is joined by the same fake Wilders who says “Holland for the Dutch.”

Jokes about drugs, euthanasia and abortion follow. The final gag: “You may have a world famous Red Light District, but we have something better. Here you get screwed as soon as you step into a taxi at the airport.”

The Freedom Party’s complaints website has regularly made the news in Poland for over a month. The affair drags on because the Dutch government, which owes its parliamentary majority to Geert Wilders’ support, refuses to disown the website. Prime Minister Mark Rutte says it is an initiative by a political party and has nothing to do with his government. He was asked to appear before the European parliament and explain this stance but chose not to go.

The appearance of a Wilders clone on Polish TV shows that the controversy is beginning to affect the Netherlands image abroad. Until recently, most Poles thought of the Netherlands as a tolerant country, with good job prospects. The number of Polish people in the Netherlands is estimated at between 150 and 200 thousand.

(imm)

For those of you who speak Polish (there are no subtitles), here is the second clip:

UK: Racists Convicted of Attack on Muslim Taxi Driver

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , on March 25, 2012 by loonwatch

According to Islamophobes, this taxi driver probably deserved his beating:

Racists convicted of attack on Muslim taxi driver

A taxi driver today told how he feared for his life after a group of passengers launched a racist attack on him before threatening to “take him down a side street and kill him”.

During the terrifying incident, father-of-five Muhammed Hussain, from Holme Slack, Preston, was spat at, punched in the face, grabbed around the neck and called racist names. His attackers even threatened to cut off his beard.

The Millers taxi driver, who has been in the trade for 10 years, gave evidence in Urdu via an interpreter at the trial of his attackers, Shaun Burns, 19, of Mayfield Avenue, Ingol, and Callum Tennant, 20, who lives with his grandparents on Marshall Grove, Ingol.

Preston Magistrates Court found both men guilty of racially aggravated assault and criminal damage to the taxi, which was kicked and dented when Mr Hussain pulled over to let them out at Lane Ends pub in Ashton.

Burns’ girlfriend Bryanne-Serrita Langham, 22, of Sylvancroft, Ingol, pleaded guilty to criminal damage to a taxi and making off without paying the £4.50 fare.

Today Mr Hussain, 36, told the Evening Post: “I thought they were going to kill me. This is the first time someone has been so violent towards me. It is out of order particularly being spat on – that was an insult. I believe it was because I am a Muslim. I was scared for my life.”

Lancashire Evening Post, 23 March 2012

Hero Brinkman: Defector From Geert Wilders anti-Islam Party Says PVV is Bankrolled by US Supporters

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2012 by loonwatch

Geert Wilders and David Horowitz Freedom Center

Geert Wilders and David Horowitz Freedom Center

Tell us something we didn’t already know (via. Islamophobia-Watch):

Wilders’ anti-Islam party is bankrolled by US supporters, says former MP

American lobbyists make large donations to a foundation set up by the anti-immigration PVV, Hero Brinkman, the MP who left the party on Tuesday, told a television talk show on Tuesday evening.

Brinkman said he could not rule out the money being used to pay for Geert Wilders’ defence on racial hatred charges but declined to comment further on what the money had been spent on. Nor would he comment on the size of the donations.

The PVV is thought to generate significant funding from Israeli and far-right supporters in the US.

Because the PVV has no members, it does not receive government subsidies to run the campaigning side of its operations and relies instead on donations.

Dutch News, 21 March 2012

Brinkman’s allegation about the PVV’s finances confirms what had already been revealed in the Dutch press. Last year Dutch Newsreported that the two main US sources for the PVV’s funding were David Horowitz and Daniel Pipes.

See, We Told You: Geert Wilders Xenophobia is Not Limited to Muslims

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2012 by loonwatch

Still my favorite picture of Geert Wilders

Far-right populist Geert Wilders has made a name for himself through his anti-Muslim and anti-Arab rhetoric, and for this reason he is, to quote Robert Spencer, one of the “heroes” of the anti-Muslim movement.

We have consistently pointed out however that Geert Wilders and his allies are not one stop bigots. Behind the “acceptable” attacks on Muslims is hidden a wider xenophobia against ‘the other.’ A bigotry which if not born out of any consistent ideological character is definitely a reflection of the realization that playing on the fears of the majority may lead to positive results at the ballot box.

Wilders and his party, the PVV are riding a wave of popularity through the launch of an anti-Polish/anti-Eastern European website which has been the cause of much controversy and embarrassment in the Netherlands. After launching the site it was reported that the PVV,

would gain 24 seats in parliament if elections were held today, the number of seats the party currently holds, says pollster Maurice de Hond. Geert Wilders’ populist far-right party is the third largest party in the Netherlands.

Wilders’ PVV site displays,

news clippings with bold headlines blaming foreigners for petty crime, noise nuisance – and taking jobs from the Dutch. “Are immigrants from Central and Eastern countries bothering you? We’d like to hear from you,” it says.

The Dutch government has distanced itself from the website but this hasn’t ebbed the disastrous PR that Wilders move has generated.

Besides criticism from ten European ambassadors and the European Commission, the Dutch public has also expressed concerns about possible repercussions. Poles are calling for a boycott of Dutch products.(emphasis mine)

The issue was taken to the European parliament which just yesterday announced its ‘dismay’ and formal response to Wilders most recent populist move:

EP condemns PVV website, exec puts ball in Netherlands’ court

By Gaspard Sebag in Strasbourg | Wednesday 14 March 2012 (Europolitics.info)

Representatives of the political groups in the European Parliament, on 13 March, unanimously called upon the Netherlands’ Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, to condemn a website launched by his far-right political ally, the PVV party headed by Geert Wilders. Said website, up since early February, urges Dutch citizens to report problems they experience with nationals of Central and Eastern European countries. “Unacceptable,” “a disgrace,” “scandalous” – said MEPs. The European Commission, for its part, announced it would not get involved from a legal point of view and leaves the responsibility of assessing the lawfulness of the website to the Dutch authorities. A joint parliamentary resolution will be put to the vote, on 15 March (see box).

The EPP, which counts among its ranks the junior partner in the Netherlands’ government, the centre-right CDA, was particularly vocal. “We cannot tolerate, from a party that takes part in a coalition government, a call to hatred against nationals from another member state. That is unacceptable,” said EPP leader Joseph Daul (France).

Despite the fact that Rutte is part of the Liberal political family, ALDE Chair Guy Verhofstadt (Belgium) was unequivocal about condemning the “silence” of the Dutch government and the message sent by the website. “My group has nothing but contempt for Mr Wilders’ initiative.” Recalling the need to be even-handed in criticising populist tactics, Verhofstadt lumped together French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Wilders. “I wonder who is the extreme-right wing candidate [in France], is it [Marine] Le Pen or Sarkozy?” he asked.

Reactions from other political group leaders all condemned Rutte’s passivity, whose hands are tied by his need for Wilders’ support, and who thus claims it is not a governmental issue. S&D leader Hannes Swoboda (Austria) called for the website to be closed down. Polish deputy Jacek Kurski (EFD) said Rutte’s lack of reaction is “scandalous”. “The prime minister [of the Netherlands] is not taking up his responsibility,” said Marije Cornelissen (Greens-EFA, Netherlands). “The prime minister ought to have directly condemned this website,” said Peter van Dalen (ECR, Netherlands), adding, however, that the EP holding a debate on this issue is “too much honour” for Wilders.

Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding, who had already condemned the PVV website in February, welcomed the comments made in the plenary chamber. “It is unacceptable that EU citizens become target of xenophobic attitudes because they have exercised their right to move from one state to another,” she said. Reding also called upon on the Dutch authorities to “fully investigate the lawfulness of the website under Dutch law and Union law”.

According to Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE-NGL, France), this is not enough. “You continue to refer to member states and their tribunals but I thought that the Commission was the guardian of the treaties, that freedom of circulation and non-discrimination were part of the European values,” she said. “I notice that certain values are more important than others and that in economic matters when the free circulation of goods and capital is concerned, competition barriers the Commission is prompter to condemn,” added Vergiat.