By FrontPage MagazineFrontPageMagazine.com Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Good minds are studied; great minds are prosecuted. If this historical dictum holds true, then Geert Wilders is a modern great mind.
The Dutch parliamentarian and leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV) currently faces trial in his native Amsterdam for “hate crimes” and incitement, for the sin of quoting the Koran’s less flattering passages in his groundbreaking film, Fitna. (Click here to view it online.) His film explores the religious roots of Islamic terrorism on the national and individual level. He considers the Koran the blueprint for a totalitarian theocracy, telling the Hudson Institute last year, “Sure, there are a lot of moderate Muslims. But a moderate Islam is non-existent.”
Although he lives under constant threat of death – a threat made all-too-real to his fellow Dutchmen Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh, both liberal-minded critics of Mohammedanism – he faces persecution for inciting his own peril. In addition to the Dutch trial, French “human rights activists” – in particular one Yassine Bouzrou – are suing Wilders for stating that many Parisian neighborhoods are “no-go areas for women without head scarves” and calling the 2005 riots a “Muslim intifada.” (FrontPage Magazine has noted the disturbing worldwide incidence of Muslim gang-rape, as well as Muslim riots in Paris.) The umpteenth French collaboration followed on the heels of the Kingdom of Jordan charging Wilders with blasphemy last summer. Another kingdom, Great Britain, denied Wilders entry in February. After he had been invited to screen Fitna before the House of Lords, his invitation was withdrawn under Muslim protest. When he arrived in the UK, he was detained for hours, then ejected from the country.
Wilders, already of consequence for his defense of freedom, may attain another historical distinction: he may become the first man convicted for expressing the dominant view of his own country. FrontPage Magazine’s Jacob Laksin has noted Wilders’ policies include support for “restricting immigration from Muslim countries; for more aggressively monitoring domestic extremism, including radical mosques; and for reducing an indulgent welfare state that allows immigrants to live comfortably without assimilating” – all positions gaining ground as the traditionally tolerant land witnesses increasing physical assaults upon its homosexual population. It is precisely his homeland’s tradition of secularism and tolerance he wishes to uphold, as he takes up his newest battle: repealing EU hate speech laws.
Despite his being on trial for allegedly offending his nation’s conscience, polls show if elections were held today, the PVV would win between one-fifth and one-quarter of the Netherlands’ 150 seats.
His stance – speaking out although it means traveling with a hefty contingent of security – has won him acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. FrontPage Magazine selected Wilders as its 2008 Man of the Year. He eschews personal glory, telling FrontPage in an interview, “Speaking out boldly cost me my personal liberty, with 24-hour security and police protection for more than four years now…I am no hero but I would rather be killed for what I say and believe than submit in silence to Islamic totalitarianism.”
It is not everyday Americans have the opportunity to meet someone charged with thoughtcrime, but they will have just that opportunity this weekend, as the David Horowitz Freedom Center and the International Free Press Society (IFPS) welcome the man London turned away. DHFC and IFPS will bring Wilders, one of the most outspoken defenders of free speech, for his first visit to the West Coast this weekend, April 4-5. On Saturday, April 4, he will speak at Chapman University. Then, from 6:30-10 p.m., the Freedom Center will bring in the fearless MP for a dinner, the California premier of Fitna, and a keynote speech in Beverly Hills. His tour will commence from 10 a.m.-noon on Sunday, April 5, in Los Angeles.
Tickets are available from Stephanie Knudson: Stephanie@horowitzfreedomcenter.org, or by calling (818) 849-3470, extension 209. Due to security, advanced registration and pre-payment are required.
Those on the frontlines of the battle against totalitarianism are rare; opportunities to hear from and assist those directly under fire for their stance is rarer yet. This weekend affords the keepers of freedom’s flame an historic opportunity.