Hate, of course, is the third rail of today’s public discourse. By saying that he hates anything, Wilders has rendered himself anathema to the mainstream. But when Wilders says, “I have a problem with Islamic tradition, culture, ideology. Not with Muslim people,” how is that different from saying that he has a problem with any other tradition, culture, ideology? Would his mainstream critics really reject such a statement aimed at Nazism? Did the likelihood that there were Nazi party members here and there who were nice guys foreclose any examination of the elements of the ideology that gave rise to murderous fanaticism?
Now, one doesn’t have to think that Islam is remotely like Nazism to see my point here. Should any ideology, any system of beliefs, really be placed off-limits for criticism? Should criticism of any ideology really be classified as “racism”? After all, it was no lesser a luminary than CAIR’s Ibrahim Hooper who said, “Islam is an ideology. It’s not a race.” So if it is an ideology, it can be liked or disliked, and subjected to critical scrutiny like any other, no?
By Ian Traynor for The Observer (thanks to all who sent this in):
A TV addict with bleached hair who adores Maggie Thatcher and prefers kebabs to hamburgers, Geert Wilders has got nothing against Muslims. He just hates Islam. Or so he says. ‘Islam is not a religion, it’s an ideology,’ says Wilders, a lanky Roman Catholic right-winger, ‘the ideology of a retarded culture.’
The Dutch politician, who sees himself as heir to a recent string of assassinated or hounded mavericks who have turned Holland upside down, has been doing a crash course in Koranic study. Likening the Islamic sacred text to Hitler’s Mein Kampf, he wants the ‘fascist Koran’ outlawed in Holland, the constitution rewritten to make that possible, all immigration from Muslim countries halted, Muslim immigrants paid to leave and all Muslim ‘criminals’ stripped of Dutch citizenship and deported ‘back where they came from’. But he has nothing against Muslims. ‘I have a problem with Islamic tradition, culture, ideology. Not with Muslim people.’
Wilders has been immersing himself in the suras and verse of seventh-century Arabia. The outcome of his scholarship, a short film, has Holland in a panic. He is just putting the finishing touches to the 10-minute film, he says, and talking to four TV channels about screening it.
‘It’s like a walk through the Koran,’ he explains in a sterile conference room in the Dutch parliament in The Hague, security chaps hovering outside. ‘My intention is to show the real face of Islam. I see it as a threat. I’m trying to use images to show that what’s written in the Koran is giving incentives to people all over the world. On a daily basis Moroccan youths are beating up homosexuals on the streets of Amsterdam.’
‘My allies are not Le Pen or Haider,’ he emphasises. ‘We’ll never join up with the fascists and Mussolinis of Italy. I’m very afraid of being linked with the wrong rightist fascist groups.’ Dutch iconoclasm, Scandinavian insistence on free expression, the right to provoke are what drive him, he says.
Read it all.