Eurabia Versus Wilders Agonistes
A review-essay on Marked for Death: Islam's War Against the West and Me by Geert Wilders, Regnery Publishing, May1, 2012, 256 pp.
See Part I: Wilders Agonistes
During April 26-28, 2006, the Paris Institute of the Arab World celebrated three decades of the Euro-Arab Dialogue. The event was touted as a Euro-Arab Dialogue Forum, with a theme (as reported by the Arab News) entitled "Prospects and Contents of a Euro-Arab Strategic Partnership." Former President Chirac's foreign minister, Philippe Douste Blazy, delivered the final address at the April 26 Opening Session. The forum's "Objectif," according to the forum website (cited in the Preface to the 7th printing of Bat Ye'or's Eurabia), stated :
To re-launch the Euro-Arab Dialogue in conformity with new strategic perspectives in order to constitute the future bilateral pole of international equilibrium and to participate in the creation of a new world order.
Two decades after the 1991 Barreau affair, Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders has emerged as a bold, highly informed populist challenger to the deeply entrenched Eurabian establishment and its malign, dystopian paradigm. Not surprisingly, as chronicled in Marked for Death, Wilders' thoughtful, outspoken criticism of the entire Eurabian "project" has been met with ceaseless vituperative attacks on him by establishment media and political opponents, perverse state legal efforts against his free speech rights, and multiple death threats, the last of which mandate constant, intensive, well-nigh self-incarcerating personal security precautions.
Geert Wilders was born September 6, 1963, in Venlo, a town in the Netherlands' southernmost province of Limburg. As a youth, Wilders considered himself "one of the 15% of Limburgians classified as non-religious" (citing 2003 census data indicating that 78% of Limburg's residents were Catholic, 2% Protestant, 5% non-Christian religious, and 15% non-religious). Wilders acknowledges that his youthful "atheist radicalism" matured into a humble agnosticism, imbued with Friedrich Hayek's understanding of God as the "personification of that tradition of morals or values that keeps their community alive." Although not raised in a political family, Wilders' father aided the anti-Nazi Dutch resistance during World War II and was very pro-American -- an action and an attitude which have both strongly influenced the Dutch parliamentarian. Wilders' own anti-totalitarian Weltanschauung highlights the striking similarity between non-religious ideocratic and religious theocratic totalitarianism -- the latter epitomized by Islam.
Ideocratic states like Nazi Germany are ruled by governments whose legitimacy is grounded in claims to be the guardian of morality and truth. Anyone who opposes such a state is considered to be an enemy of the truth, a vessel of immorality and falsehood who deserves to be silenced. This explains why such states -- whether revolutionary France, the Soviet Union, or Nazi Germany -- exterminated their perceived enemies with guillotines, gulags, or gas chambers. There is no fundamental difference between ideocratic states and theocratic states, because the totalitarian impulse erases the difference between state and religion. A state can use religion to enforce draconian social control, such as in Iran or Saudi Arabia today, or it can be totalitarian absent a religious framework, such s the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.
Wilders further distinguishes between these secular or Islamic totalitarian societies and the non-theocratic U.S., "rooted in religious principles" believed to derive from the Judeo-Christian God of individual freedom -- a conception of Deity antithetical to Islam's ruthlessly autocratic Allah.
[T]he United States [is] a strongly religious country that proudly proclaims itself "one nation under God," as the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance says. This God is the Judeo-Christian God. "Our Saviour ... has taught us to judge the tree by its fruit," Thomas Jefferson, America's third president, wrote to Martin Van Buren, America's eight president. That is precisely what we should do with regard to Islam, which constitutes the greatest political threat facing the West today. Many people underestimate this threat. Some do not see it at all, believing Islam is merely a religion like any other. The threat, however, is political, because Islam seeks to exert totalitarian control over every aspect of life. Islam claims it all: God's part, but also Caesar's.
Ultimately, although not uncritical of the West, Wilders is unabashed in his conviction that the values of Western societies are superior and merit steadfast defense.
Defenders of Western civilization, whether religious or not, should unite protecting our way of life. The criticism of our traditional culture that permeates Western society today is disproportionate and self-destructive. No doubt Judeo-Christian civilization is imperfect, but it's unfair to denounce its faults in a historical vacuum. When you compare the West to any other culture that exists today, it becomes clear that we are the most pluralistic, humane, democratic, charitable culture on earth.
As a logical corollary to his Weltanschauung, reinforced by numerous visits to Israel, Wilders is an openly avowed, vigorous supporter of the Jewish State. Wilders has argued without apologetics that Israel is the only country in the Middle East which shares the West's Judeo-Christian identity and values. Furthermore, Wilders understands and eloquently articulates the doctrinal and historical realities -- rooted in Islam's timeless institution of jihad war against non-Muslims -- which are responsible for Israel's predicament.
Israel is simply in the way of the Islamic advance. Just like West-Berlin was during the Cold War. Israel is simply receiving the blows that are meant for all of us. If there would have been no Israel, Islamic imperialism would have found other places to release its energy and its desire for conquest. Therefore, the war against Israel is not a war against Israel. It is a war against the West. It is jihad.
... But is Israel guilty of the plight of the Palestinian refugees? My answer is "No." The Arab leaders are to be blamed - and Islam is to be blamed. We must speak the truth. The truth that Jordan is Palestine, the truth that Samaria and Judea are part of Israel, the truth that Jerusalem may not fall, the truth that Israel is the only democracy in a dark and tyrannical region, the truth that Israel is the linchpin of the West.
These unpardonable sins against the Eurabian order -- his staunch defense of Western exceptionalism and concordant vocal support for Israel -- have precipitated incessant rhetorical, legal, and even threatened lethal assaults directed at Wilders by the Muslim and non-Muslim avatars of Eurabia.
Well before the controversy erupted surrounding Wilders' brief documentary Fitna, and even prior to the killing of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh in November 2004, Wilders, in September 2003, received a death threat for requesting that the Dutch government investigate a mosque (in the city of Eindhoven, some 80 miles southeast of Amsterdam) suspected of fomenting Islamic jihadism. Additional death threats accrued over the next year -- explicit calls for his decapitation -- when Wilders abandoned the VVD Party because of its support for Turkey's entry into the European Union.
Theo Van Gogh was brutally assassinated on November 2, 2004 by a Dutch Muslim of Moroccan descent named Muhammad Bouyeri. This self-professed act of jihad terror was committed just after Bouyeri finished his morning prayers at Amsterdam's El-Tawheed mosque, an Islamic religious facility which Wilders and former Dutch Parliamentarian Ayaan Hirsi Ali had asked the authorities to investigate. That same evening, Wilders and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, along with Wilders' wife, were placed under governmental protective custody at a Dutch army barracks, near the Belgian border. The media's characterization of these events, and the reaction of mainstream Dutch politicians, reflected the prevailing Eurabian mindset, or, more aptly, what historian Robert Conquest termed "mindslaughter," when referring to destructive apologists for Soviet Communist totalitarianism and terror:
Meanwhile, the international media reported that Ayaan and I, two "anti-Muslim politicians," had "gone into hiding after death threats." They portrayed us as having run away like cowards, shunning responsibility for our alleged hatred of Muslims. In reality, we found ourselves practically imprisoned in our country for the mere fact that we had spoken out against enemies of the West.
... [O]n November 10, 2004, barely a week after Van Gogh's assassination, Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner, a Christian Democrat, and Interior Minister Johan Remkes, VVD, wrote a letter to the Speaker of the Tweede Kamer [Dutch Parliament] suggesting that the Netherlands "prevent and counter Islamic radicalization" by penalizing "insults and blasphemy."
Unlike Kurt Westergaard, I was never chased around my home by an axe-wielding Islamic fanatic. However, I do live with this kind of threat every day, which is why, like Westergaard, I have a panic room in my house, where I am supposed to take refuge if one of the adherents of the "religion of peace" makes it past my permanent security detail and into my home. In fact, it's not really my home at all -- I live in a government safe house, heavily protected and bulletproof. Since November 2004, when a Muslim murdered Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh for the crime of offending Islam, I have been surrounded by police guards and stripped of nearly all personal privacy. I am driven every day from the safe house to my office in the Dutch Parliament building in armored police cars with sirens and flashing blue lights. I wear a bulletproof jacket when I speak in public. Always surrounded by plainclothes police officers, I have not walked the streets on my own in more than seven years.
... Why do I need this protection? I am not a president or a king; I am a mere member of the Dutch Parliament, one of 150 elected parliamentarians in the Tweede Kamer, the House of Representatives of the Netherlands, a small country of 16.5 million in Western Europe. However, I have joined Westergaard in a rapidly growing group of individuals throughout the world who have been marked for death for criticizing Islam. For asserting our rights to say what we really think about this political ideology that disguises itself as a religion, we have been hounded by Muslims seeking to make an example of us. Offend us, they are saying to the world, and you will end up in hiding like Wilders, attacked like Westergaard, or dead like van Gogh.
Dr. Tina Magaard -- a Sorbonne-trained linguist specializing in textual analysis -- published detailed research findings in 2005 (summarized in 2007 here) comparing the foundational texts of ten major religions. She noted, for example, regarding the Koran:
There are 36 references in the Koran to expressions derived from the root qa-ta-la, which indicates fighting, killing or being killed. The expressions derived from the root ja-ha-da, which the word jihad stems from, are more ambiguous since they mean "to struggle" or "to make an effort" rather than killing. Yet almost all of the references derived from this root are found in stories that leave no room for doubt regarding the violent nature of this struggle. Only a single ja-ha-da reference (29:6) explicitly presents the struggle as an inner, spiritual phenomenon, not as an outwardly (usually military) phenomenon. But this sole reference does not carry much weight against the more than 50 references to actual armed struggle in the Koran, (and even more in the Hadith.)
Magaard concluded from her hard data-driven analyses:
The texts in Islam distinguish themselves from the texts of other religions by encouraging violence and aggression against people with other religious beliefs to a larger degree. There are also straightforward calls for terror. This has long been a taboo in the research into Islam, but it is a fact that we need to deal with.
Apropos to Dr. Magaard's findings, and to her plaintive warning, Geert Wilders' short documentary Fitna merely demonstrates how such Koranic verses -- based upon their orthodox, mainstream Islamic exegeses or interpretations -- are used by Muslim clerics and political leaders to incite Muslim populations to violence. It was beyond Orwellian to prosecute Wilders -- who simply held up a mirror to Islamic societies -- for being in any way responsible for the Koranic incitement and Muslim violence his documentary faithfully recorded, which he appropriately condemned. Nevertheless, as Dutch prosecutor Otto Van Der Bijl told CNN in January 2009, after a paltry total of nine persons filed complaints with the Court of Appeal, prosecutors drafted an indictment that charged Wilders with "incitement of hatred," based upon the contents of Fitna and Wilders' discussion of the film. Wilders' related comparison of the Koran to Mein Kampf was deemed "unacceptable," despite the fact that Winston Churchill had earlier equated the Koran with Mein Kampf, in a fully appropriate historical reference. Specifically, Winston Churchill (on p. 50 of From War to War, the first part of the first volume of his six-part Second World War), proclaimed Hitler's Mein Kampf to be "the new Koran of faith and war: turgid, verbose, shapeless, but pregnant with its message."
During a dinner in May 2010, Tom Schalken, one of the judges who gave the order to the Public Prosecutor's Office (OM) to prosecute Wilders, attempted to persuade Islamologist Professor Hans Jansen, an expert witness for Wilders' defense, that the Dutch MP was guilty. Jansen insisted:
... over and over [Schalken] steered the conversation towards the Wilders trial ... to convince me of the correctness of his [Schalken's] decision to drag Wilders to court.
Accordingly, a special chamber of the Amsterdam district court ruled that the ongoing case against Wilders had to be restarted with a different panel of judges. But even after these events, another "objective" jurist -- the president of the Netherlands Supreme Court himself -- made plain his own hideous bias by proclaiming that Wilders' defense of freedom of speech, let alone fair legal proceedings, somehow undermined Dutch "jurisprudence."
Despite the Kafkaesque twists and turns of the proceedings, Wilders was ultimately acquitted, as he pointed out in a June 24, 2011 Wall Street Journal op-ed, "after a legal ordeal that lasted almost two years." Bat Ye'or, appropriately emphasizing Wilders' personal heroism, characterized his acquittal as a "Copernican revolution," achieved by a solitary "unarmed man, constantly threatened by death and whose only defense was his courageous and unbending commitment to say the truth." Wilders subsequently provided this more guarded, sobering overall assessment:
The court acquitted me because I had criticized Islam, not Muslims, and because, as an elected politician participating in a public debate, I was entitled to greater freedom of speech than everyday citizens.
Wilders Agonistes versus Sharia
Twenty years ago, upon his abrupt dismissal from the French Social Affairs Ministry, Jean-Claude Barreau denounced the uncritical treatment of Islam in Europe by both Muslim and European intellectuals. Shattering this rigidly enforced taboo, he exposed the blatant hypocrisy of the prevailing Eurabian mentality by noting:
Today, not a single Christian will tell you that the Inquisition was acceptable. But not a single Muslim will dare to say publicly that sharia is unacceptable.
Barreau admonished Islamic scholars and the Muslim intelligentsia to repudiate the totalitarian sharia -- specifically, its draconian "hadd" punishments: lethal penalties for "apostasy" and adultery -- the latter applied disproportionately to women -- and mutilating limb amputations for theft. The analyses of G.-H. Bousquet (d. 1978), a preeminent 20th-century scholar of Islamic Law, explain why Barreau's urgent admonition -- although it should have been heeded long ago -- continues to be ignored by mainstream, institutional Islam.
Bousquet, in his seminal L'Ethique sexuelle de l'Islam ("The Sexual Ethics of Islam"), highlighted the "doubly totalitarian" nature of Islam -- its eternal quest to impose a universal ruling order by jihad warfare and the permanently stunted "evolution" of that "order" -- i.e., Islamic Law, the sharia. Islam's sharia, Bousquet argued, is analogous to the undifferentiated cloaca (i.e., in zoological anatomy, the posterior orifice that serves as the joint opening for both the intestinal and urinary tracts of certain animal species), which accounts for it being a "casuistic hodegepodge." Bousquet saw the sharia's emergence as a retrogressive development -- compared to the evolution of clear distinctions between "ritual, the law, moral doctrine, good customs in society, etc." within Western European Christendom -- which was utterly incompatible with modern Western conceptions of universal, individual human rights.
Marked for Death demonstrates that Geert Wilders fully grasps Bousquet's elaboration of Islam's doubly totalitarian essence. Moreover, Wilders is inspired by great Western statesmen of the past two centuries who similarly possessed his unexpurgated knowledge of Islam and of the threat of jihadism. These political leaders include John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who confronted North African jihad piracy in the late 18th and early 19th centuries; John Quincy Adams and Theodore Roosevelt, who recognized and denounced the mass-murdering Ottoman jihad depredations against indigenous, pre-Islamic Christian populations in the Balkans and Asia Minor during the 19th and early 20th centuries; Alexis de Tocqueville, who made a detailed study of the Koranic invocations for jihad war before serving as a diplomat in Algeria in the mid-19th century; and Winston Churchill, who as a young British officer fought the fanatical jihadist followers of the Sudanese Mahdi at the end of the 19th century.
Applying the timeless insights on Islam expressed by these astute, forthright Western statesmen to the present era, Wilders enumerates four actions required to protect our unique Western freedoms from Islamic encroachment and the imposition of sharia. The primary step, Wilders argues, should be a vigorous defense of freedom of speech, including the repeal of all hate speech laws deliberately tailored to silence reasoned criticism of Islam, while enacting a European equivalent to the U.S. First Amendment, to "allow the people to freely debate Islam just like any other public issue." Second, Wilders calls for the rejection of "all forms of cultural relativism," and the reaffirmation of the superiority of Western culture -- "based on Judeo-Christian and humanist values," relative to Islam -- to whom the West "owes nothing." He adds that we must also desist from the prevailing "political indoctrination of our children and proudly begin teaching them the real history of the West instead of multiculturalist lies designed to instill shame in our own heritage. We must also prepare the coming generation for the difficult times ahead by explaining Islam's true, bloody history."
The third and most comprehensive action Wilders describes is halting Western Islamization. Expanding upon his first two steps, Wilders insists that we must break taboos which obfuscate the dual realities of Islamic migration, or "hijra": its major, designed role as an instrument of Islamization, and the corollary, that across space and time, "more Islam has meant less freedom."
Specifically, he proposes a moratorium on all immigration from Islamic nations and vigorous efforts at integrating those Muslim immigrants whom the West has already welcomed by the millions. As the sine qua non of this integration process, Wilders demands that Muslim immigrants "assimilate to our societies, adapt to our values, and abide by our laws." Accordingly, Wilders vehemently opposes "the introduction of Sharia, or Islamic law, anywhere in our countries." He adds:
As for immigrants who insist on Sharia, we should recall British Prime Minister William Gladstone's statement about the Ottomans: "Let the Turks now carry away their abuses in the only possible manner, namely by carrying off themselves."
Wilders implores Western societies and their leaders to "stop pretending that Islam is merely a religion -- it is primarily a totalitarian ideology that aims to conquer the West. A free society should not grant freedom to those who want to destroy it."
He then argues for the closure of existing Islamic schools and radical mosques, the halting of new mosque construction, and the banning of face-covering burqas, the last because "it is our faces that give us our identity and our fundamental means of communication with others."
Wilders conjoins these domestic recommendations to a demand that the West confront intolerant Islamic regimes.
They [Islamic regimes] should recognize that human rights exist to protect individuals, not religions and ideologies. Member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation that do not denounce the Cairo Declaration [the Orwellian Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Islam], which elevates Sharia law over human rights, should be expelled from the United Nations. Until this happens, Western nations should refuse to make any financial contributions to the UN...Western countries should cut all development aid to OIC members that adhere to the Cairo Declaration and minimize bilateral relations.
Wilders further admonishes Western and global non-Muslim solidarity against the worldwide depredations of jihad.
Since Islam has global ambitions, we are all in danger, and we should stand with every nation and every people that is threatened by jihad. This includes Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East. We should recognize that the Israelis' conflict with the Palestinians is not about land; it is an ideological conflict between freedom and tyranny. We must also stand with all the oppressed non-Muslim groups suffering in silence throughout the Islamic world -- the Christians, Zoroastrians, animists, and secularists in nations like Egypt, Iran, the Sudan, Nigeria, Indonesia, and elsewhere.
Finally, Wilders calls for a restoration of the Western nation-state ideal, the embodiment and safeguard of our democratic liberties and political freedoms. Collectively, this nation-state renaissance, Wilders asserts, must "preside over a new blossoming of the Western spirit."
During late 2010, an alarming comment by senior Dutch politician and former EU commissioner Frits Bolkestein was released publicly, excerpted from Manfred Gerstenfeld's study "The Decay: Jews in a Rudderless Netherlands." Acknowledging the virulent Islamic Jew-hatred of Moroccan (and Turkish) Muslim immigrants to the Netherlands, and the Dutch government's inability to combat this scourge, Bolkestein suggested that "recognizable Jews" advise their children to emigrate to Israel or the United States.
I see no future for recognizable Jews, in particular because of anti-Semitism, specifically in Dutch Moroccans, who continue to grow in number...I foresee no quick solution, and anti-Semitism will continue to exist. Moroccan and Turkish young people won't care about the measures [i.e., to combat such Jew-hatred by the Dutch government].
Jews shouldn't emigrate, Antisemitic Moroccans should.
His reaction was consistent with Wilders' eminently reasonable views on the assimilation of Muslim immigrants.
The message to all newcomers in our societies should be clear: if you subscribe to our laws and values, you are welcome to stay and enjoy all the rights our society guarantees; we will even help you to assimilate. But if you commit crimes, act against our laws, or wage jihad, you will be expelled.
Bolkestein's passive resignation to the effects of bigoted Islamic supremacism is contrasted sharply by Wilders' invocation of the rule of Western law to combat such violent Islamic hatred. As Wilders observed, defiantly, in reference to the attack on cartoonist Kurt Westergaard:
Free men and women everywhere must resist this violent intimidation at all costs. Armed only with our pens, we must defy Islam's axes and knives. We must continue to speak our minds, knowing there is nothing more powerful than the truth. This is why we write our books and speeches, draw our cartoons, and make our movies and documentaries. The truth will set us free. That is what we really believe.