Today, Daniel Pipes. the controversial columnist who has had to defend himself more than once against charges that he was an Islamophobe, put to rest any doubts about his feelings towards Muslims in his National Review column, ‘’Why I Stand with Geert Wilders.’’
Pipes goes out of his way to lavish praise on Wilders, calling him “the most important European alive today.” (No word from the Vatican on if the Pope has any response to his relegation to the number two position by Pipes.)
For years, Pipes has denied accusations that his columns have espoused Islamophobic rhetoric, but his recent column in the National Review goes out of its way not just to endorse Geert Wilders, but also to explicitly praise anti-Muslim statements made by Wilders.
In addition, Wilders is a charismatic, savvy, principled, and outspoken leader who has rapidly become the most dynamic political force in the Netherlands. While he opines on the full range of topics, Islam and Muslims constitute his signature issue. Overcoming the tendency of Dutch politicians to play it safe, he calls Muhammad a devil and demands that Muslims ‘’tear out of half of the Koran if they wish to stay in the Netherlands.’’ More broadly, he sees Islam itself as the problem, not just a virulent version of it called Islamism. [Emphasis added.]
Wilders has gained notoriety for his explicitly anti-Muslim statements in the Netherlands. He has called for a ban on the Koran in the Netherlands, claimed that ‘’radical Islam doesn’t exist’’ and compared the Koran to Mein Kampf.
He has been charged with “incitement to hatred and discrimination” in the Netherlands and was banned from entering the United Kingdom last year when the Home Office decided that his presence was a “threat to one of the fundamental interests of society”. The ban was subsequently overturned.
During his frequent trips to the U.S., Wilders has enjoyed the hospitality of Frank Gaffney‘s Center for Security Policy, David Horowitz‘s Freedom Center, Pipes’ Middle East Forum, and the Republican Jewish Coalition.
My colleagues Daniel Luban, Ali Gharib and I wrote about Wilders in February, 2009 and I blogged about Wilders, and those who host him, a month later.
Pipes’ assertion that Wilder’s politics are ‘’without roots in neo-Fascism, nativism, conspiricism, anti-Semitism, or other forms of extremism’’ simply does not line up with the facts.
In a December 17, 2008 interview with Haaretz Wilders acknowledged that he was considering forming an alliance with the Belgian, Flemish nationalist, far-right Vlaams Belang party.
Vlaams Belang is widely shunned by Belgian Jews and attracts controversy for advocating the rehabilitation of convicted Nazi collaborators.
In May, 2009 the Anti-Defamation League issued the following statement denouncing Wilders’ rhetoric.
The ADL strongly condemns Geert Wilders’ message of hate against Islam as inflammatory, divisive and antithetical to American democratic ideals.
This rhetoric is dangerous and incendiary, and wrongly focuses on Islam as a religion, as opposed to the very real threat of extremist, radical Islamists.
Pipes’ endorsement of Wilders brings a new low to his credibility as a serious commentator on Middle East affairs.
When George W. Bush named Pipes to the board of the US Institute of Peace (USIP) in 2003, Democratic senators expressed strong opposition to the move, forcing the president to resort to a recess appointment. When it came time for his re-nomination when the appointment expired at the end of 2004, however, the White House demurred. Bush’s spokesman made clear at the time that the president did not agree with his appointee’s views about Islam.
*Jim Lobe contributed to this post.
I don’t like Mr. Pipes; never have. But the idea of trying someone like Wilders for “inciting hate speech” is Orwellian. I hope Wilders gets off. I say again, every people has a right to its own cultural sphere. If the people of the Netherlands decide to ban Muslim immigration, that’s their business. The Islamic homeland is plenty big enough to accomodate the world’s Muslims. The idea that Western Europe-America have to commit suicide for the sake of political correctness is just nuts.
I, as some may have noticed like to challenge Christians and Jews to come up with anything in the Koran that compares to the Book of Joshua. If that is kosher pursuit of the promised land, then we should commend the Israelis for their restraint. The Old Testament genocide and slaughter celebrated and even claimed to be consecrated has no compare in the nuanced iats (verses) of the Koran.
@ Jon Harrison:
Muslims are part of our societies, be it the Netherlands or my country, Germany. They are citizens. They have citizens’ rights.
Wilders and the Islamophobes attack people who are my neighbors, my friends.
You know what happened to the Jews. They were part of the German population, citizens of Germany, Germans of Jewish faith or Jewish descent. But the Nazi antiSemites denied their being Germans. For them the Jews were dangerous aliens. – It escalated, and the result was desastrous – for the victims as well as for the perpetrators. Geert Wilders is one of those who want the conflict to escalate. He wants a crusade.
The only way to deal with the issue reasonably is to pursue the politics of integration, and to respect the faith of the Muslim minority in our European societies. The very few violent Islamists may hit here or there, but they are no danger in the sense of political success. From personal aquaintance with plenty of Muslims in Munich, Germany, I cannot see that there is any political or societal danger for Germany coming from our Muslims. Quite the opposite – they are an asset.
I quite agree with Loewe 50’s sentiments. But I still think prosecuting speech is wrong. And I maintain that any country can limit immigration and set standards for assimilation. I expand on my views with a comment on the “Islamophobia, Bad for Jews” post.
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