Controversy continuous while Dutch politician Geert Wilders is touring Australia. Many mostly conservative media outlets support his views, although he claims he does not want meddle in Australian politics. Only few politicians gave their support, like the homophobic Cori Bernardi or the Christian anti-abortion lobbyist Jim Wallace. His speech in Perth has been cancelled; no venue wanted to host the event. He is heavily guarded and venues are under tight security restriction, which has become sort of his trade mark. According to some Australians, after hearing Mr. Wilders talk, there is no freedom of speech in the Netherlands, because Mr. Wilders lives in hiding and is surrounded day and night by security officers. But that does not prevent him from talking. On the contrary, no other politician has received so much attention in the press and air time on television in the Netherlands. And looking at media reports, he does not seem to suffer from attention deficit in Australia neither. He has turned his threat into a relatively successful personal political business.
According to Mr. Wilders, the Netherlands and Europe have already fallen victim to sharia and what he calls ‘islamisation’. He sees proof because there are appr. 900,000 Muslims living in Holland — 6% of the entire population — and an estimated 25 million in the European Union — 5% of over half a billion citizens. Like their counterparts from other religions, they have their cultural centres, their houses of worship, schools and associations. But unlike their counterparts, Mr. Wilders argues that any form of Muslim association is alien and does not belong in the Netherlands. He claims that we are a Jewish-Christian culture, whereas anyone with some education knows antisemitism is a long held tradition in Christian Europe. In the Netherlands, less than 20 % of the Jewish population survived World War II. Appr. 8,000 were forced to convert to Christianity during the war. Many that survived the war had nothing left. Their property, houses, businesses, bank accounts and art collections had disappeared, plundered by Dutch collaborators.
Muslims, like Christians, Jews and members of other religions in the Netherlands and Western-Europe have become increasingly secularized, adapt liberal and social values common to their new home. Only a small minority attends Mosques and practice their religion. An overwhelming majority of Muslims are law abiding citizens, pay taxes, and have sometimes successful businesses. And Muslims is a broad term for a variety of people from different nations such as Turkey, Morocco and Iran, and in recent years from war torn countries like Somalia, Irak and Afghanistan and other countries. They represent quite different cultures with often very different values. But not in the world of Mr. Wilders, they are all the same, because they are all Muslims. In his view, there is a conspiracy to overthrow the west, all crime is related to foreigners, we have wasted billions on letting these people in. The national office for statistics estimates that the Muslim part of the population could grow to 8% in 2050, hardly evidence for a take over.
His ‘Freedom Party’ in the Netherlands, which holds 10% of the vote, advocates primarily outlawing, banning and forbidding. Although he claims he has nothing against Muslims he compares Islam to nazism and urges Muslims to convert from Islam to Christianity. He wants to ban the Quran and to halt immigration from ‘Muslim-countries’. He also wants to stop the building of new mosques and suggested earlier that any Islamic facility should be shut down. He wants a ban on veils and has unsuccessfully tried to pass legislation on ritual slaughter. The latter is interestingly not only effecting the Muslims in the Netherlands but Jews as well. The argument for the ban is animal suffering, which is odd to say the least in a country, which is the second biggest food producer in the world. Although the Netherlands is a small country with a land mass of only 25,000 km2, we manage to produce half a billion animals every year for consumption. An achievement only possible if you treat animals like things.
One way of getting rid of unwanted people is to turn them into non-humans and to turn this idea into policy and politics. Like Jews before, or gipsies or coloured people, Muslims are portrayed by Wilders and his ilk as retarded people, criminals, pedophiles, fraudsters, the enemy within who want to destroy, enslave or kill us. People who therefor do not deserve the right to be treated as equal and in a civilised manner. Of course, in a civilised society anyone under serious threat will receive protection and perpetrators will be prosecuted. But Mr. Wilders has turned his personal security problem into politics and tries to impose his view of Islam and the world onto us under the false argument that freedom is at stake and we are at war with an alien force. The continuous defamation of immigrants and Muslims in particular and anyone else who disagrees with Mr. Wilders should be a warning to every reasonable human being, who does not recognise egocentrism, intolerance and hatred as virtues. There will always be a fringe audience for scapegoating, hatred and messages of doom and fear. It is silly to try to prevent their role models like Wilders from speaking. If people really understand what he is actually saying, they would stop listening.