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.