Geert Wilders Endures Churchill's Burden

Geert Wilders is currently on trial, accused of hate speech and facing up to one year in prison. The "hate speech" is, at least in part, his vocally recognizing the threat of fundamental Islam and its correlation with National Socialism.

It would certainly not be right to say that all Muslims are evil zealots bent on suicide-bombing infidels, just as it would be wrong to say that all Nazis would have dropped pellets in the gas chambers at Dachau. And despite the popular opinion of his detractors, Wilders has never made such broad and irresponsible claims; Islamic apologists just make that inference because they so desperately want to believe that he is an intolerant bigot. In truth, Wilders has never said, "Muslims are evil like Nazis." He merely professes that Islam, as a political philosophy, is very much like National Socialism. And more observant students of history and politics would not call that "hate speech." Most of them would just call it "the truth."

Though Islam sprang from the well of Judeo-Christian principles, it was cultivated by intolerance and blossomed through violent conquest. It establishes strict social order and economic strictures. All who subscribe to the ideology are bound to follow orders unconditionally, and any failure to comply with its doctrine is punishable by imprisonment, violence, or death. And both Nazism and Islam have central, nearly deified figures who used fear, deception, and violence to achieve their respective levels of conquest.

To recognize the correlation between Islamism and National Socialism does not take a stretch of the imagination.  Given the blatant similarities between the two ideologies, Geert Wilders' unheeded calls to recognize the Islamic threat bring to mind the lamentably ignored warnings about Nazism from perhaps the greatest leader of the twentieth century, a man without whom Western democracies may have collapsed.

Winston Churchill succinctly heralded the evils and intentions of Nazi Germany long before the blitzkrieg against Poland plunged the world into global conflict and despair. And like with Wilders, Churchill's voice was muffled by the rhetoric of the sightless pacifists in Western societies. 

The threats that Churchill and Wilders describe are almost identical. In 1934, when speaking of the dangers of Nazi Germany, Churchill spoke of a people "in the grip of a group of ruthless men, preaching a gospel of intolerance and racial pride, unrestrained by law, by parliament, or by public opinion." If we substitute the word "Islamic" in place of "racial" in the previous sentence, would this not perfectly mirror Wilders' description of the many devout Islamic theocracies in the Middle East? 

He speaks of the Nazis as "being taught from childhood to think of war as a glorious exercise and death in battle as the noblest fate for a man." If we substitute the term "jihad" in place of "war" in the previous sentence, wouldn't this be very much like the Islamic indoctrination of children that Wilders descibes? It would certainly encapsulate the meaning of the explicit instruction of the Quran, Surah 9:111, which reads, "They shall fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain ... for that is the supreme triumph."

To further the parallel, Churchill has even said of Islam, "No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith." He would have likely described Nazism as "militant and proselytizing" as well. Had Islamic theocracies been consolidating their power in a threatening manner in his time, he likely would have spoken out against them, too. And it probably would have sounded a lot like what Wilders says today.

Winston Churchill proved correct, foreshadowing assessments that Nazism is a destructive, evil force upon the world. And now the rest of the world agrees with him, despite the fact that his initial warning was met with a cry that he was a warmonger. It took only a massive Holocaust and the deadliest global conflict in history to prove that the dangers he warned about were quite real.

And now, as in Churchill's time, Western democracies are again failing to recognize or proactively engage in aggressive diplomacy to deter the threat of a warlike culture that reserves no options beyond the conquest of their enemies. But the pressing question is, now that we know what such hateful ideologies are capable of, do Mahmoud Ahmedinejad and other representatives of fundamental Islam in the Middle East have to succeed in their genocidal vows against Israel for the world to see that Geert Wilders is not just a hatemonger, and that the threats he warns us about are very real?

William Sullivan blogs at