Editor’s note: Below is Geert Wilders’s speech at the Annual Lecture at the Magna Carta Foundation in Rome on March 25.
Signore e signori, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends of the Magna Carta Foundation, molte grazie. Thank you for inviting me to Rome. It is great to be here in this beautiful city which for many centuries was the capital and the centre of Europe’s Judeo-Christian culture.
Together with Jerusalem and Athens, Rome is the cradle of our Western civilization – the most advanced and superior civilization the world has ever known.
As Westerners, we share the same Judeo-Christian culture. I am from the Netherlands and you are from Italy. Our national cultures are branches of the same tree. We do not belong to multiple cultures, but to different branches of one single culture. This is why when we come to Rome, we all come home in a sense. We belong here, as we also belong in Athens and in Jerusalem.
It is important that we know where our roots are. If we lose them we become deracinated. We become men and women without a culture.
I am here today to talk about multiculturalism. This term has a number of different meanings. I use the term to refer to a specific political ideology. It advocates that all cultures are equal. If they are equal it follows that the state is not allowed to promote any specific cultural values as central and dominant. In other words: multiculturalism holds that the state should not promote a leitkultur, which immigrants have to accept if they want to live in our midst.
It is this ideology of cultural relativism which the German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently referred to when she said that multiculturalism has proved “an absolute failure.”
My friends, I dare say that we have known this all along. Indeed, the premise of the multiculturalist ideology is wrong. Cultures are not equal. They are different, because their roots are different. That is why the multiculturalists try to destroy our roots.
Rome is a very appropriate place to address these issues. There is an old saying which people of our Western culture are all familiar with. “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” it says. This is an obvious truth: If you move somewhere, you must adapt to the laws and customs of the land.
The multicultural society has undermined this rule of common sense and decency. The multicultural society tells the newcomers who settle in our cities and villages: You are free to behave contrary to our norms and values. Because your norms and values are just as good, perhaps even better, than ours.
It is, indeed, appropriate to discuss these matters here in Rome, because the history of Rome also serves as a warning.
Will Durant, the famous 20th century American historian, wrote that “A great civilization cannot be destroyed from outside if it has not already destroyed itself from within.” This is exactly what happened here, in Rome, 16 centuries ago.
In the 5th century, the Roman Empire fell to the Germanic Barbarians. There is no doubt that the Roman civilization was far superior to that of the Barbarians. And yet, Rome fell. Rome fell because it had suffered a loss of belief in its own civilization. It had lost the will to stand up and fight for survival.
Rome did not fall overnight. Rome fell gradually. The Romans scarcely noticed what was happening. They did not perceive the immigration of the Barbarians as a threat until it was too late. For decades, Germanic Barbarians, attracted by the prosperity of the Empire, had been crossing the border.
At first, the attraction of the Empire on newcomers could be seen as a sign of the cultural, political and economic superiority of Rome. People came to find a better life which their own culture could not provide. But then, on December 31st in the year 406, the Rhine froze and tens of thousands of Germanic Barbarians, crossed the river, flooded the Empire and went on a rampage, destroying every city they passed. In 410, Rome was sacked.
The fall of Rome was a traumatic experience. Numerous books have been written about the cataclysmal event and Europeans were warned not to make the same mistake again. In 1899, in his book ‘The River War,’ Winston Churchill warned that Islam is threatening Europe in the same way as the Barbarians once threatened Rome. “Mohammedanism,” Churchill wrote – I quote – “is a militant and proselytizing faith. No stronger retrograde force exists in the World. […] The civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.” .
Churchill is right. However, if Europe falls, it will fall because, like ancient Rome, it no longer believes in the superiority of its own civilization. It will fall because it foolishly believes that all cultures are equal and that, consequently, there is no reason why we should fight for our own culture in order to preserve it.
This failure to defend our own culture has turned immigration into the most dangerous threat that can be used against the West. Multiculturalism has made us so tolerant that we tolerate the intolerant.
Ladies and gentlemen, make no mistake: Our opponents are keenly aware of our weakness. They realize that the pattern which led to the fall of Rome, is at play today in the West. They are keenly aware of the importance of Rome as a symbol of the West. Over and over again they hint at the fall of Rome. Rome is constantly on their minds.
• The former Turkish Prime Minister Erbakan said – I quote: “The whole of Europe will become Islamic. We will conquer Rome”.
• Yunis al-Astal, a Hamas cleric and member of the Palestinian Parliament said – I quote: “Very soon Rome will be conquered.”
• Ali Al-Faqir, the former Jordanian Minister of Religion, stated that – I quote: “Islam will conquer Rome.”
• Sheikh Muhammad al-Arifi, imam of the mosque of the Saudi Defence Academy, said – I quote: “We will control Rome and introduce Islam in it.”
Our opponents are hoping for an event that is akin to the freezing of the Rhine in 406, when thousands of immigrants will be given an easy opportunity to cross massively into the West.
• In a 1974 speech to the UN, the Algerian President Houari Boumédienne, said – I quote: “One day, millions of men will leave the Southern Hemisphere to go to the Northern Hemisphere. And they will not go there as friends. Because they will go there to conquer it. And they will conquer it with their sons. The wombs of our women will give us victory.”
• Libyan dictator Kadhafi said, I quote: “There are tens of millions of Muslims in the European continent today and their number is on the increase. This is the clear indication that the European continent will be converted into Islam. Europe will one day soon be a Muslim continent.”
Our opponents are aiming for a repetition of the fall of Rome in the 5th century and want to use exactly the same methods. “The strategy of exporting human beings and having them breed in abundance is the simplest way to take possession of a territory,” warned the famous Italian author Oriana Fallaci.
However, the situation today could be worse than it was when the Roman Empire fell. The Germanic Barbarians who overran Rome were not driven by an ideology. After having sacked Rome, they eventually adopted the Judeo-Christian civilization of Rome. They destroyed Rome because they wanted its riches, but they realized and recognized that Roman civilization was superior to their own Barbaric culture.
Having destroyed Rome, the Germanic tribes eventually tried to rebuild it. In 800, the Frankish leader Charlemagne had himself crowned Roman Emperor. Three hundred years later, the Franks and the other Europeans would go on the Crusades in defence of their Christian culture. The Crusades were as Oriana Fallaci wrote – I quote – a “counter-offensive designed to stem Islamic expansionism in Europe.” Rome had fallen, but like a phoenix it had risen again.
Contrary to the Barbarians which confronted Rome, the followers of Muhammad are driven by an ideology which they want to impose on us.
Islam is a totalitarian ideology. Islamic Shariah law supervises every detail of life. Islam is not compatible with our Western way of life. Islam is a threat to our values. Respect for people who think otherwise, the equality of men and women, the equality of homosexuals and heterosexuals, respect for Christians, Jews, unbelievers and apostates, the separation of church and state, freedom of speech, they are all under pressure because of Islamization.
Europe is Islamizing at a rapid pace. Many European cities have large Islamic concentrations. In some neighbourhoods, Islamic regulations are already being enforced. Women’s rights are being trampled. We are confronted with headscarves and burqa’s, polygamy, female genital mutilation, honor-killings. “In each one of our cities” says Oriana Fallaci, “there is a second city, a state within the state, a government within the government. A Muslim city, a city ruled by the Koran.”
Ladies and gentlemen, make no mistake: The multiculturalist Left is facilitating Islamization. Leftist multiculturalists are cheering for every new shariah bank, for every new Islamic school, for every new mosque. Multiculturalists consider Islam as being equal to our own culture. Shariah law or democracy? Islam or freedom? It doesn’t really matter to them. But it does matter to us. The entire leftist elite is guilty of practising cultural relativism. Universities, churches, trade unions, the media, politicians. They are all betraying our hard-won liberties.
Ladies and gentlemen, what is happening in Europe today has to some extent been deliberately planned.
In October 2009, Andrew Neather, the former advisor of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, confirmed that the British Government had deliberately organized mass immigration as part of a social engineering project. The Blair Government wanted to – I quote – “make the UK truly multicultural.” To achieve this end, 2.3 million foreigners were allowed to enter Britain between 2000 and 2009. Neather says this policy has “enriched” Britain.
Ordinary people, however, do not consider the decline of societal cohesion, the rise of crime, the transformation of their old neighborhoods into no-go zones, to be an “enrichment.”
Ordinary people are well aware that they are witnessing a population replacement phenomenon. Ordinary people feel attached to the civilization which their ancestors created. They do not want it to be replaced by a multicultural society where the values of the immigrants are considered as good as their own. It is not xenophobia or Islamophobia to consider our Western culture as superior to other cultures – it is plain common sense.
Fortunately, we are still living in a democracy. The opinion of ordinary people still matters. I am the leader of the Dutch Party of Freedom which aims to halt the Islamization process and defend the traditional values and liberties in the Netherlands. The Party of Freedom is the fastest growing party in the Netherlands.
Because the message of my party is so important, I support initiatives to establish similar parties in other countries, such as Germany, France and the United Kingdom, where they do not yet exist. Last month, a poll in Britain showed that a staggering 48 percent of the British would consider supporting a non-fascist and non-violent party that vows to crack down on immigration and Islamic extremists and restrict the building of mosques. In October last year, I was in Berlin where I gave a keynote speech at a meeting of Die Freiheit, a newly established party led by René Stadtkewitz, a former Christian-Democrat. German polls indicate that such a party has a potential of 20 percent of the electorate.
My speech, in which I urged the Germans to stop feeling ashamed about their German identity drew a lot of media attention. Two weeks later, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated that multiculturalism is “an absolute failure.” Horst Seehofer, the leader of the Bavarian Christian-Democrats, was even more outspoken. “Multiculturalism is dead,” he said.
Last month, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said: “We have been too concerned about the identity of the immigrant and not enough about the identity of the country that was receiving him.”
Five weeks ago, British Prime Minister David Cameron blamed multiculturalism for Islamic extremism. “We have allowed the weakening of our collective identity,” he said. “Under the doctrine of state multiculturalism, we have encouraged different cultures to live […] apart from the mainstream.”
In his speech, David Cameron still makes a distinction between the Islamist ideology, which he calls extremist and dangerous, and Islam, which he says is peaceful religion. I do not share this view, and neither did Cameron’s great predecessor Winston Churchill. Stating that Islam is peaceful is a multiculturalist dogma which is contrary to the truth.
Politicians such as Merkel. Sarkozy and Cameron still do not seem to have understood what the problem really is. Nevertheless, the fact that they feel compelled to distance themselves from multiculturalism is a clear indication that they realize they need to pay lip-service to what the majority of their populations have long understood. Namely that the massive influx of immigrants from Islamic countries is the most negative development that Europe has known in the past 50 years.
Yesterday, a prestigious poll in the Netherlands revealed that 50 percent of the Dutch are of the opinion that Islam and democracy are not compatible, while 42 percent think they are. Even two thirds of the voters of the Liberal Party and of the Christian-Democrat Party are convinced that Islam and democracy are not compatible.
This, then, is the political legacy of multiculturalism. While the parties of the Left have found themselves a new electorate, the establishment parties of the Right still harbour their belief that Islam is a religion of peace on a par with peaceful religions such as Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and others.
The problem with multiculturalism is a refusal to see reality. The reality that our civilization is superior, and the reality that Islam is a dangerous ideology.
Today, we are confronted with political unrest in the Arab countries. Autocratic regimes, such as that of Ben Ali in Tunisia, Mubarak in Egypt, Kadhafi in Libya, the Khalifa dynasty in Bahrain, and others, have been toppled or are under attack. The Arab peoples long for freedom. This is only natural. However, the ideology and culture of Islam is so deeply entrenched in these countries that real freedom is simply impossible. As long as Islam remains dominant there can be no real freedom.
Let us face reality. On March 8, the International Women’s Day, 300 women demonstrated on Cairo’s Tahrir Square in post-Mubarak Egypt. Within minutes, the women were charged by a group of bearded men, who beat them up and dragged them away. Some were even sexually assaulted. The police did not interfere. This is the new Egypt: On Monday, people demonstrate for freedom; on Tuesday, the same people beat up women because they, too, demand freedom.
I fear that in Islamic countries, democracy will not lead to real freedom. A survey by the American Pew Center found that 59 percent of Egyptians prefer democracy to any other form of government. However, 85 percent say that Islam’s influence on politics is good, 82 percent believe that adulterers should be stoned, 84 percent want the death penalty for apostates, and 77 percent say that thieves should be flogged or have their hands cut off.
Ronald Reagan was right when he called Kadhafi a “mad dog.” However, we should not harbor the illusion that there can be real freedom and real democracy in a country where Islam is dominant. There is no doubt that the results of the Pew survey in Egypt apply in Libya, too. It is not in our interest to bring the Muslim Brotherhood to power in Tripoli and install a khalifate in Libya.
Of course, the world has to stop Kadhafi from killing his own people. However, as UN Resolution 1973 stated last week, this is primarily the responsibility of – I quote – “in particular [the] States of the region.” Why does a country like the Netherlands have to contribute six F16 fighter jets to enforce the arms embargo in Libya, while Saudi Arabia does not contribute a single plane from its fleet of nearly 300 fighter jets? Arabs are dying, but the Arab countries are shirking their responsibilities.
And one of the major threats of the current crisis is not even addressed by our leaders: How are we going to prevent that thousands of economic fugitives and fortune seekers cross the Mediterranean and arrive at place like Lampedusa? Now that Tunisia is liberated, young Tunisians should help to rebuild their country instead of leaving for Lampedusa. Europe cannot afford another influx of thousands of refugees.
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is time to wake up. We need to confront reality and we need to speak the truth. The truth is that Islam is evil, and the reality is that Islam is a threat to us.
Before I continue I want to make clear, however, that I do not have a problem with Muslims as such. There are many moderate Muslims. That is why I always make a clear distinction between the people and the ideology, between Muslims and Islam. There are many moderate Muslims, but there is no such thing as a moderate Islam.
Islam strives for world domination. The Koran commands Muslims to exercise jihad and impose shariah law.
Telling the truth about immigration and warning that Islam might not be as benevolent as the ruling elite says, has been made a hate speech crime in several EU member states. As you probably know, I have been brought to court on charges of hate speech. That is the paradox of the multicultural society. It claims to be pluralistic, but allows only one point of view of world affairs, namely that all cultures are equal and that they are all good.
The fact that we are treated as criminals for telling the truth must not, however, deter us. The truth that Islam is evil has always been obvious to our ancestors. That is why they fought. It was very clear to them that our civilization was far superior to Islam.
It is not difficult to understand why our culture is far better than Islam. We Europeans, whether we be Christians, Jews, agnostics or atheists, believe in reason. We have always known that nothing good could be expected from Islam.
While our culture is rooted in Jerusalem, Athens and Rome, Islam’s roots are the desert and the brain of Muhammad. Our ancestors understood the consequences very well. The Koran, wrote the historian Theophanes, who lived in the second half of the 8th century, is based on hallucinations.
“Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman,” the Byzantine Emperor Manuel II said in 1391, adding: “God is not pleased by blood – and not acting reasonable is contrary to God’s nature.”
For 1,400 years, Westerners have been criticizing Islam and its founder because they recognized evil when they saw it. But then, suddenly, in the last decades of the past century, especially from the 1970s onwards, Western intellectuals stopped doing so.
The moral and cultural relativism of Marxism led the West’s political and intellectual elites to adopt a utopian belief in a universal brotherhood of mankind.
Multiculturalism is a culture of repudiation of Europe’s heritage and freedoms. It weakens the West day by day. It leads to the self-censorship of the media and academia, the collapse of the education system, the emasculation of the churches, the subversion of the nation-state, the break-down of our free society.
While today – at last – our leaders seem to realize what a disastrous failure multiculturalism has been, multiculturalism is not dead yet. More is needed to defeat multiculturalism than the simple proclamations that it has been an “absolute failure.” What is needed is that we turn the tide of Islamization.
There are a few things which we can do in this regard.
One thing which we should do is to oppose the introduction of Sharia or Islamic law in our countries. In about a dozen states in the United States, legislation is currently being introduced to prevent the introduction of Sharia. In early May, I will be traveling to the U.S. to express my support to these initiatives. We should consider similar measures in Europe.
Another thing which we should do is support Muslims who want to leave Islam. An International Women’s Day is useless in the Arab world if there is no International Leave Islam Day. I propose the introduction of such a day in which we can honor the courageous men and women who want to leave Islam. Perhaps we can pick a symbolic date for such a day and establish an annual prize for an individual who has turned his back on Islam or an organization which helps people to liberate themselves from Islam. It is very easy to become a Muslim. All one has to do is to pronounce the Shahada, the Islamic creed, which says – I quote “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.” It should be equally easy to leave Islam by pronouncing a counter-Shahada, which says “I leave Islam and join humankind.”
A third measure to turn the tide of Islamization is to reemphasize the sovereignty of the nation-state. The peoples of the free world will only be able to fight back against Islam if they can rally around a flag with which they can identify. This flag, symbolizing pre-political loyalty, can only be the flag of our nation. In the West, our freedoms are embodied in our nation-states. This is why the multiculturalists are hostile to the nation-state and aim to destroy it.
National identity is an inclusive identity: It welcomes everyone, whatever his religion or race, who is willing to assimilate into a nation by sharing the fate and future of a people. It ties the individual to an inheritance, a tradition, a loyalty, and a culture.
I want to elaborate a bit on this since we are gathered here today in Rome. Again, it is appropriate that we are in Rome. In this city, in 1957, and – what an ironic coincidence – on this very day, the 25th of March, the Treaty of Rome was signed. This Treaty obliges the member states of the European Union to aim for “an ever closer union.”
Unfortunately, this union, like other multinational organizations, has become one of the vehicles for the promotion of multiculturalism. The EU has fallen in the hands of a multiculturalist elite who by undermining national sovereignty destroy the capacity of the peoples of Europe to democratically decide their own future.
The new government in my country, which is supported by my party, wants to restrict immigration. That is what our voters want. But we are confronted by the fact that our policies have to a large extent been outsourced to “Europe” and that our voters no longer have a direct say over their own future.
On account of international treaties, EU legislation prevails over national legislation and cannot be reversed by national parliaments. Indeed, in 2008, the European Court of Justice, the highest court in the EU, annulled both Irish and Danish immigration legislation. The Court stated that national law is subordinate to whatever is ruled on the European level. In March 2010, the European Court of Justice annulled Dutch legislation restricting family reunification for immigrants on welfare.
The ease with which Europe’s political elite conducts an immigration policy aimed at the deracination of Europe shows the insensitivity of this elite. It willingly sacrifices its own people to its political goal, without any consideration for the people involved.
Lower class blue-collar people have been driven from their neighborhoods. There is no respect for their democratic vote. On the contrary, people who do not agree with the multiculturalist schemes are considered to be racists and xenophobes, while the undefined offence of “racism and xenophobia” has been made central to all moral pronouncements by the European Union, the Council of Europe, the United Nations, and other supra-national organizations. This represents a systematic assault by the elite on the ordinary feelings of national loyalty.
In 2008, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe stated that the member-states must – I quote – “condemn and combat Islamophobia” and ensure “that school textbooks do not portray Islam as a hostile or threatening religion.” – end of quote.
In March 2010, the United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution criminalizing so-called “defamation of religions.” The resolution, authored by Pakistan, mentions only one religion by name: Islam. With its 57 member states the Organization of the Islamic Conference systematically uses its voting power in the UN to subvert the concept of freedom and human rights. In 1990, the OIC rejected the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and replaced it by the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam, which states in articles 24 that – I quote – “All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Sharia.” – end of quote.
This “human rights” charade has to stop if Western civilization wants to survive. Human rights exist for the protection of individuals, not religions and ideologies.
The EU’s aim, meanwhile, seems to be to destroy the old sovereign nations and replace them by new provincial identities, which are all clones of each other. Britanistan will not differ from Netherlandistan, nor Germanistan from Italiastan, or any other province of the European superstate in the making.
We must reclaim Europe. We can only do so by giving political power back to the nation-state. By defending the nation-states which we love, we defend our own identity. By defending our identity, we defend who we are and what we are against those who want to deracinate us. Against those who want to cut us from our roots, so that our culture withers away and dies.
Twenty years after the ordinary people, Europe’s mainstream conservative leaders, such as Merkel, Sarkozy and Cameron, have finally – better late than never – come to the obvious conclusion, namely that multiculturalism is a failure. However, they do not have a plan to remedy the situation.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is time for change. We must make haste. Time is running out. Ronald Reagan said: “We need to act today, to preserve tomorrow”. That is why I propose the following measures in order to preserve our freedom:
First, we will have to defend freedom of speech. It is the most important of our liberties. If we are free to speak, we will be able to tell people the truth and they will realize what is at stake.
Second, we will have to end cultural relativism. To the multiculturalists, we must proudly proclaim: Our Western culture is far superior to the Islamic culture. Only when we are convinced of that, we will be willing to fight for our own identity.
Third, we will have to stop Islamization. Because more Islam means less freedom. We must stop immigration from Islamic countries, we must expel criminal immigrants, we must forbid the construction of new mosques. There is enough Islam in Europe already. Immigrants must assimilate and adapt to our values: When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
Fourth, we must restore the supremacy and sovereignty of the nation-state. Because we are citizens of these states, we can take pride in them. We love our nation because they are our home, because they are the legacy which our fathers bestowed on us and which we want to bestow on our children. We are not multiculturalists, we are patriots. And because we are patriots, we are willing to fight for freedom.
Let me end with a final – and a positive – remark: Though the situation is bad and multiculturalism is still predominant, we are in better shape than the Roman Empire was before its fall.
The Roman Empire was not a democracy. The Romans did not have freedom of speech. We are the free men of the West. We do not fight for an Empire, we fight for ourselves. We fight for our national republics. You fight for Italy, I fight for the Netherlands, others fight for France, Germany, Britain, Denmark or Spain. Together we stand. Together we represent the nations of Europe.
I am confident that if we can safeguard freedom of speech and democracy, our civilization will be able to survive. Europe will not fall. We, Europe’s patriots, will not allow it.
Thank you very much.