Thursday, 19 May 2011

Geert Wilders and the Fate of Western Liberty

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While many American and European politicians have responded to the Jihad currently being waged against the West either by denying its Islamic character, or by seeking to engage in endless wars against the Jihad around the globe, Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders (left) is striving for the freedom of Europeans to live in their own countries without the fear of sharia law being imposed on them. Wilders’ reward for his efforts has been a charges of "bigotry" and criminal prosecution.

As Bruce Walker previously reported for The New American, Wilders’ and his Party for Freedom have been denied their freedom of speech, on account of the “hate speech” laws of the European Union:

Wilders commented in a newspaper interview, “The core of the problem is the fascist Islam, the sick ideology of Allah and Mohammed as written down in the Islamic Mein Kampf.” He has spoken out against Islam many times in his homeland, raising Islam to a national policy debate. Yet this prominent political leader, who is simply stating what he believes is true about Islam, has been prosecuted under Dutch “hate speech” laws, accused of making these sorts of comments more than 100 times. Each “offense” carries a possible term of one year in prison, so theoretically Wilders could receive a 100-year sentence for calling Islam a violent, intolerant, and dangerous religion. It is expected, though, that if convicted, he would instead be ordered to pay a fine.

The spectacle of a criminal prosecution for a man who has simply exercised his freedom of expression to state facts which are obvious to millions of his countrymen and countless tens of millions of his fellow Europeans has brought shame on the court, and on his nation. JihadWatch reported Wilders’ final remarks before the court, in which he stated the obvious:

This penal case is a political trial. An attempt is being made here to silence a politician who speaks on behalf of one and a half million people and who already pays a heavy price for that every single day. Formally, only I stand on trial here, but in practice the freedom of speech of millions of Dutchmen is on trial.
This trial is not merely a political trial. It is also an unjust trial. When you look at the order of the court (to prosecute me) it is clear that the verdict has already been passed. The court has issued an order to prosecute me in which it concludes that I am guilty of incitement to hatred. The court has concluded that my statements as such are of an insulting nature. The court has concluded that I am guilty of the most serious charge: the incitement to hatred and discrimination. The court has concluded that it expects that the criminal prosecution will indeed lead to a conviction. Mister President, members of the court, the court has already done your job. Long before I was brought to trial before you, I was found guilty and was condemned. Hence my right to a just trial has been violated.

Despite the efforts to silence free speech in the Netherlands, Wilders has not hesitated to continue speaking out against the Jihad. On May 17, he spoke in Toronto at the invitation of the International Free Press Society, and gave an interview to the Canadian Jewish Tribune. Wilders emphasized that his involvement in resisting the importation of Sharia law into the territory of the EU was sparked by the murder of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh in the streets of Amsterdam. Simply put, Wilders believed he could not stand by and watch as his countrymen were assaulted or killed by Islamic fanatics. The result of speaking out against the dangers which Islam poses for Western civilization, and organizing a political party to resist the curtailing of human freedom which necessarily attends the imposition of Sharia law has been the attack on Wilders’ own liberty. As he was quoted in the Jewish Tribune:

"I called my party the Party for Freedom because we have to fight to preserve our freedom and I’m very much convinced that Islam and democracy, and Islam and freedom, are the opposites of one another and don’t go hand in hand." Despite the danger and the severe restrictions on his day-to-day life, Wilders has continued to speak publicly.

“In the process of fighting for freedom, I lost totally my own personal freedom.... It’s a very high price to pay but I know that if I would moderate my voice or leave politics the people who use non-democratic means – and use threats and violence – would win and I will never let them win. It’s not religious but I feel like I’m on a mission and I know what I’m doing it for: I’m doing it because I want our children and our grandchildren [to] live in a free world where there’s nothing wrong to be a woman, there’s nothing wrong to leave Islam for Christianity or another religion, there’s nothing wrong [with] being a Jew, there’s nothing wrong [with] being a homosexual, that you have freedom, that you have freedom of speech.”

However, while Dutch authorities who pushed for Wilders’ prosecution may agree with him that there is nothing “wrong” with such things, it would appear that they fear those who are prepared to kill for such transgressions of Sharia law, more than they love their liberty.

The adage of Benjamin Franklin comes to mind once again: “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

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