After two Muslim lawmakers tried to block world-renowned activist Geert Wilders from entering the country, he defiantly vowed his warnings about the existential threat Islam poses to Western civilization would never cease.
"I know one thing," Wilders told the audience April 29 at a Capitol Hill reception co-sponsored by Reps. Steve King (R-Iowa) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas).
"They are very ineffective because I'm here," he said to laughter and applause.
"It's really risky to tell the truth about Islam," said Wilders who has had round-the-clock bodyguards protecting him for more than a decade.
A frightening reminder of just how risky telling the truth about Islam can be was delivered Sunday to Wilders and 300 attendees at an art competition featuring works depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad.
Depicting the founder of Islam in any medium is strictly forbidden and deemed blasphemous in Islam. Muslims have a history of killing and maiming those who commit what their religion deems to be blasphemy, especially when it comes to the founder of their faith.
A few days after the Washington speech, two AK 47-wielding would-be assassins were gunned down by police after they opened fire outside the sold-out "Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest," in Garland, Texas, northeast of Dallas. The dead men, since identified as Elton Simpson, 30, and Nadir Hamid Soofi, 34, of Phoenix, Ariz., were both mosque-attending Muslims.
The contest was organized by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), a group founded by activist and "Atlas Shrugs" blogger Pamela Geller, and by Jihad Watch, a website run by author Robert Spencer that is affiliated with the David Horowitz Freedom Center, which publishes FrontPage. Wilders, Geller, and Spencer attended the event. Wilders delivered the keynote address.
"It is impossible to look at this shooting as anything else than an attempt on Ms. Geller's life and that of Geert Wilders," Jeffrey Lord wrote at the American Spectator.
Wilders, who had left the event in Garland before the attack commenced, was undaunted. "Never surrender to terrorism!" he tweeted Monday.
James Jay Carafano wasn't yet ready to declare the events in Texas a terrorist attack, but he told Washington, D.C. talk radio station WMAL yesterday that if it is indeed a terrorist enterprise it will be the 68th such plot aimed at the U.S. since Sept. 11, 2001. Carafano is the Heritage Foundation's vice president for foreign and defense policy studies.
Even before the attack on the Muhammad-drawing contest, Wilders was painfully aware of the price of warning civilized peoples about Islam.
"If you do so, first you end up on a jihadi death list as happened to me and many others," Wilders said in his speech last week.
"Not only the Pakistani Taliban and ISIS want me killed but I'm on a death list from al-Qaeda with several columnists, authors, and journalists some of which already paid with their lives, others who are already victims of assassination, and others left under permanent police protection."
"In Europe, however, it's not just the jihadists who will go after you," he said. "The authorities do so too."
Wilders has been taken to court in his native Netherlands for speaking the truth about Islam. He was acquitted but the authorities are prosecuting him again.
"Unfortunately most Western leaders are weak," he said. "They hope that if they ignore the threat, the threat will simply disappear, but it will not. It will only get worse."
Islamic militants are everywhere, Wilders said.
"Not all Muslims are terrorists but almost all terrorists are Muslims," he said, adding that in his native Netherlands three quarters of Muslims sympathize with jihadist ideas.
Wilders is a member of the Dutch Parliament and leader of his country's Partij voor de Vrijheid (PVV), or in English, the Party for Freedom. The PVV is the third-largest political party in the Netherlands. (Wilders spoke at the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s 20th Anniversary Restoration Weekend in November last year. Video footage and a transcript of the speech are available here.)
Wilders was banned from the United Kingdom as an “undesirable person” in early 2009, two days before he was supposed to screen his anti-Islamization film, Fitna. He had been invited to show the short movie by two members of the House of Lords. Wilders asked that country's Asylum and Immigration Tribunal to review the ban and in October 2009 it was overturned.
Democratic Reps. Keith Ellison (Minnesota) and Andre Carson (Indiana) wrote to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Secretary of State John Kerry -- who is working overtime to help the Islamic Republic of Iran develop nuclear weapons-- urging that Wilders be denied entry to the United States. (The letter is available here.)
Ellison and Carson are both in-your-face practicing Muslims who rarely stop talking about how rotten, unfair, and bigoted the United States is. Both Ellison and Carson have extensive ties to the world of Islamic terrorism. When Ellison won his first congressional election in 2006, several of his supporters shouted the traditional battle cry of jihadists -- “Allahu Akbar!” -- at his victory party.
Banning Wilders from speaking in this country because his ideas might offend somebody somewhere would be quintessentially un-American, but leftists like these two letter-writing lawmakers never let American political and cultural norms get in the way of whatever cause they are promoting on any given day.
In their missive Ellison and Carson accused the Dutch lawmaker of so-called Islamophobia and asserted that he has no constitutionally protected right to speak freely in the U.S. because in their opinion his words incite violence and “prejudicial action” against protected groups. The congressmen made the absurd argument that as Wilders "continues his pursuit of political power, granting him entry will embolden him to engage in further incitement of violence and discrimination against Muslims."
Eugene Volokh, Gary T. Schwartz Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law, smacked down the argument that by expressing his strong views on Islam Wilders is engaging in unlawful incitement. The so-called incitement exception to free speech is “limited to speech intended to and likely to produce imminent lawless conduct — conduct in the coming hours or maybe few days.”
Wilders' statements appear to be constitutionally protected because they “don’t urge any imminent conduct (or even any criminal conduct, as opposed to long-term changes in the law)," Volokh writes.
Of course anyone who follows the American scene knows that Muslims in this country are far from persecuted. Criticism of Muslims for virtually any reason is often met with hysterical shrieks and verbal abuse from affective left-wingers perpetually on hair-trigger outrage alert. President Obama, in particular, seems to think Muslims can do no wrong, as liberal Bob Beckel has observed. And despite the fevered predictions of leftists 14 years ago, Americans did not scapegoat and violently lash out at Muslims in this country in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks -- nor have they ever done so.
Islamophobia, by the way, a concept concocted by Islamists to discredit and intimidate Islam's critics, is a half-baked idea.
"I don't know what Islamophobia is," Wilders said last week in exasperation.
"I read the letter from the two congressmen and it was full of, it raised a lot of nonsense. They said that I was guilty of incitement of violence and things like that. It was full of really crazy stuff."
"I am very critical about Islam, yes, but [I am] not against Muslims as such," Wilders said.
"I traveled before I got into trouble with fatwas and death threats and hit lists, I traveled all around the Arab and Islamic world. I went to Iran, Iraq, and Syria, Afghanistan many times, and I met very friendly people but I also met" those who support Islamic totalitarianism, he said.
"I don't have a problem with Muslims but I have a problem with Islam and I will say so until my last breath and no U.S. congressmen, with all respect, will be able to change that," he said to loud applause.
Islam isn't even a real religion, Wilders contended.
"Islam looks like a religion but in reality it is a dangerous totalitarian ideology which wants to bring the whole world under Shariah law," he said. "Islam means submission ... It's either submit or die and I suggest that we will do neither of them."
People don't accept what their leaders tell them about Islam. They know that Islam is "an ideology of supremacy and conquest," he said. "It's not here to integrate. It's not here to assimilate but to dominate and to subjugate and that's the truth."
The United Nations, Wilders explained, wants to resettle 1 million immigrants in Western countries. It is "a crazy idea that will provide jihadists an opportunity to infiltrate Western countries including the United States of America. And it will give terrorists the opportunity to settle in our countries without the extra scrutiny involved in obtaining a visa or a residence permit and we should not do this."
Many of these largely Muslim would-be immigrants are congregated around the edges of the Mediterranean Sea waiting to flood Europe, he said.
"They take the risk of drowning because they know that nobody will send them back once they've reached the European shores. And this situation must stop. We must send them all back without exception."
Wilders endorsed the so-called push-back policy used Down Under.
"The Australian navy pushes boats with immigrants back, without exception, out of the Australian waters," he explained.
"And if the boats of the immigrants are too shabby, the Australians provide them with new boats with food and water and even air conditioning. But they do not allow one single immigrant to enter that country. And their policy has excellent results. Not one single boat entered Australia last year. Nobody drowned and the criminal human traffickers lost their income."
It is incredibly dangerous for Western countries to continue accepting large numbers of Muslims, Wilder said.
"We should immediately stop the immigration from Islamic countries. And people who are already in our societies and who keep to our laws, our constitutions, who assimilate our values are welcome to stay, as equal as anybody else. But to those who don't, to those who commit crimes, to those who want to act according to Shariah law, to those who wish jihad, I say you are not welcome and we should send them all packing."
Countries in Europe have already been accommodating themselves to the waves of Muslim immigration. Instead of making the immigrants adopt the language and culture of their adopted countries, those countries are changing themselves to make Muslims feel more comfortable. This makes no sense, Wilders argued.
"There is more than enough jihad, there is more than enough Islam already in our societies," he said. "The less jihad, the less Islam the better. It is as simple as that."
Muslims are having a dramatic impact on Europe, according to Wilders.
"Islamization, my dear friends, has progressed much further in Europe than in the United States," he said. "Mohammed is currently the second-most common name among newborn boys in the Netherlands. And Mohammed is in Great Britain already the most popular name."
"We have to stop the mass immigration to the West from Islamic countries," he said. "Priority number one. And we have to get rid of this disease called cultural relativism. Our priorities must be the safety of our own countries."
Wilders mocked multiculturalists.
"The liberal and leftist elites adhere to the stupid politically correct view that all cultures are equal. That's why we are in such a big mess today. And I say stop this nonsense."
"Our Judeo-Christian culture is far superior to Islam and we should not be afraid to say so," Wilders said to loud applause. We must be "proud of our civilization which is the best civilization on our earth."
"We must repeat the truth about Islam over and over again," Wilders said.
"Never ever be ashamed for speaking the truth. We should do it so often and so loud that our leaders, whether it's my own prime minister or your President Obama, will hear it -- the less Islam the better because we stand for liberty and because we want to safeguard our freedoms."
Wilders noted that earlier in the day in Washington he became separated from his security detail for 20 minutes. Instead of being scared, he was overjoyed because for the first time in many years he was able to walk freely for a while without armed protection.
Those "were the first 20 minutes of freedom in the last 10 years," Wilders said as his face broke out into a warm, broad smile.
Wilders' message may be getting through in the United States.
"It's safe to say that no Dutchman has impacted American politics and foreign policy as much as Wilders since Peter Schagen announced the purchase of Manhattan from the Lenape Indians in 1626," David Francis wrote at Foreign Policy the day after the jihadist assault on Garland.
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