Tempers between the Dutch and Turkish governments flared to unprecedentedly bitter levels on March 12, following the barring of Turkish Foreign Minister from attending a rally in Rotterdam. The ugly scenes that erupted ahead of the 15 March general elections in the E.U. member state, coupled with Turkish President Erdogan referring to the Dutch as Nazis, have given Conservative firebrand Geert Wilders renewed impetus to drive home his core message: Islamism must be stopped in its tracks before it destroys the Netherlands.
Much-maligned Dutch populist provocateur Geert Wilders has become increasingly notorious in recent years, mostly for his unequivocal criticisms of Islam. In addition to his recognisable appearance (he sports a stark bleach blonde hairdo, which has attracted comparisons to one Donald J. Trump), Wilders is constantly surrounded by secret service agents, and requires 24-hour police protection. During the course of the last decade and a half, he has been unjustly derided by many in the Left Wing media, who refer to him as an antagonistic aggravator of Muslim minority groups in The Netherlands and elsewhere in Western Europe.
The firebrand Dutchman is the recipient of a daily vortex of death threats; and numerous Fatwas have been issued by clerical thugs and theocratic religious leaders, from the Arabian subcontinent to the Far East, all calling for the same thing: that his blood be spilt in an act of divine retribution. The crime? Insulting the so-called religion of peace, and defaming its favourite mascot, the prophet Muhammad.
With the general elections in The Netherlands fast approaching, Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom (PVV) is tipped to win as many, if not more votes than the current Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s liberal-conservative Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD). Despite the fact that every other party standing for seats in Dutch parliament has ruled out a possible alliance with the PVV, Wilders has continued to gain traction. His hard-line rhetoric is rooted in a deterministic defense of Western liberal values, from the ever-encroaching threat of Islamisation.
Nevertheless, many have questioned Wilders’ motives, and suspect that his political agenda is based on a xenophobic attitude toward North African and Middle Eastern immigrants. Most would concede–myself included– that his recent lambasting of Moroccans in The Netherlands as scum is egregious, verging on the reprehensible. However, when violent protests erupted in Rotterdam on March 11, following Mark Rutte’s decision to bar Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu from entering the Netherlands to attend a campaign rally on the upcoming Turkish referendum, tempers between the two countries flared.
In response to Cavusoglu’s ignominious blackballing, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan resorted to brazenly and despicably likening the Dutch government to the Nazis. Subsequently, over a thousand Turkish-born Dutch citizens took to the streets, and showed their true colours in a shocking display of Turkish nationalism. Swathes of red flags and shrieking chants of Allah Akbar raged on well into the night, as Rotterdam went sleepless from these unprecedented scenes.
Since then, tensions between the two countries have been palpable. The Dutch and Turkish governments have not relented from exchanging verbal blows with one another.
In light of these hostile developments, one question must take centre stage. Is Geert Wilders indefensible, or does he deserve more credit for daring to lock horns with Islamism, regardless of the many forms it may manifestly adopt?
Since his rise to prominence, in the wake of the gruesome murders of conservative politician Pim Fortuyn and enfant terrible filmmaker Theo van Gogh, 15 and 13 years ago respectively, Wilders’ virulent stance on Islam has never wavered.
Before forming the PVV in February of 2006, Geert Wilders was an elected MP for the VVD. Then the two parties underwent an acrimonious public divorce.
The falling out between Wilders and the VVD was essentially over the party’s endorsement of Turkish integration into the European Union. Turkey was seen by many of Wilders’ colleagues on the Centrist and Leftist side of the Dutch political aisle–whom he refers to as cultural relativists–as a bridge between Europe and Asia Minor.
Turkey’s location on the map could indeed pass as bridge-like, and would make it an ideal ally if one were to assess it in strategic geopolitical terms. To the west of the country’s Bosphorus wing, Turkey borders secular countries such as Bulgaria, Cyprus and Greece–countries which, by 2007, had all already been initiated into the European Union.
However, taking that view alone warrants the criticism of being somewhat blindsided. To the east of Turkey, countries such as Iran, Iraq, Syria, Armenia and Georgia share its borders.
The first three of these countries to Turkey’s eastern wing were and still are under the boot of harsh Islamist or quasi-Islamist dictatorial and clerical rule; whereas the former Soviet states have had to suffer their fair share of brutality and genocide, at the hands of illegal and forceful Turkish military interventions. Therefore, the risk that Turkey might turn out to serve as a roguish buffer, or tunnel, for an unpalatable Islamist invasion into the European continent was far too great. Wilders firmly asserted that such was the magnitude of this risk that it shouldn’t simply be ignored. Hence his strong objections to Turkey’s induction into Europe.
Following the violent outrage expressed by the Muslim world in 2006, in light of cartoons drawn of the prophet by a Danish newspaper, Turkey made audacious attempts to claim the right to censor what can and cannot be published in Europe. Might it be said that the undertaking of such efforts to browbeat European countries exposed then-Prime Minister Erdogan of being a phony democrat? Furthermore, Erdogan’s cry that “caricatures against the prophet Muhammad are an attack on our spiritual values,” and that “there should be a limit to free speech” was, needless to say, quite arrogant, and illicitly out of order, given that Turkey was not even a member state of the European Union.
Add to that a number of other vindictive gestures, the most notable of which was the clumsy attempt to veto the candidacy of former Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen to the post of NATO Secretary-General– and one must acknowledge the validity of Wilders’ protestations apropos Turkey. These deliberately mean-spirited ambushes on Western democracy only served to widen the political and ideological schism between Europe and Turkey.
Those incidences made one thing very clear: the Turkish government under Erdogan’s leadership has absolutely no wish to embrace Western values, of free expression and democracy; therefore making his regime incompatible with Europe.
“They are the trojan horse”, Wilders said in a 2009 interview, subsequently highlighting Turkey’s contemptible habit of marginalising–and, even in many cases, quietly advocating the persecution of–minority groups such as the Kurdish and Armenian Turks.
The latter have yet to receive the long-overdue apology from Turkey, for their orchestration of the Armenian Holocaust, which resulted in the extermination of more than 1.5 million Armenian lives, during the Draconian rule of the Ottoman Empire.
What is especially worrisome is that Erdogan has made no secret of coveting the reemergence of a similar imperial oversight, with him as an authenticated sultan. Nowhere is this more evident than in the bombastic construction of his very own “presidential palace” in the capital city of Ankara in 2014, which cost double the initial estimated budget of $600 million. Vaingloriousness doesn’t even begin to do justice to the scope of the egomaniacal narcissism that Erdogan embodies.
Outlandish and pugnacious as you may find Geert Wilders to be, only a foolhardy and naive person would fail to realize the reasons behind his strong anti-Turkey stance. Therefore, it should not be confounding to suggest that any European in favour of Turkish integration could be viewed as somewhat foolish or naive.
In the years after his expulsion from the VVD, Geert Wilders was the subject of intense media scrutiny.
His political persona has been primarily projected through his outspoken criticism of Islam. He has on numerous occasions called for the banning of the Koran, referring to it as a “fascist book”, and citing it as the hateful source from which Islamists derive their demented objectives.
Wilders has also referred to Islam as a “retarded culture”, and has warned against the Islamization of Europe, pointing out that the Islamic doctrine inspires a morbid yearning for a global inquisition, with a dangerous penchant for expansionism, by way of vanquishing or converting the Kuffar, meaning infidels.
Wilders’ claim is most tellingly legitimised by the Dar al-Harb doctrine–or House of War–which is an integral part of Islamic jurisprudence. It refers to the state of the world we currently live in, whereby non-believers of Islam still wander far too freely for the liking of the devout adherents of this seventh-century ideology. It is the imperfect état global that Islamists and semi-Islamists feel obliged to resolve, by invoking Allah, for the aim of ushering in the Dar al-Islam– the utopian vision of a worldwide Islamic predominance.
How, you might wonder, do Islamists intend to summon Dar al-Islam? It´s quite simple, yet altogether nefarious and horrifying. By overthrowing the cultural and ideological precepts deemed Haram, that is to say, unclean, by Islamic standards. Take a look at this appaling excerpt from Islamic State´s July 2016 issue of their online magazine Dabiq:
“We hate you, first and foremost, because you are disbelievers; you reject the oneness of Allah – whether you realize it or not – by making partners for Him in worship, you blaspheme against Him, claiming that He has a son, you fabricate lies against His prophets and messengers, and you indulge in all manner of devilish practices. Furthermore, just as your disbelief is the primary reason we hate you, your disbelief is the primary reason we fight you, as we have been commanded to fight the disbelievers until they submit to the authority of Islam.”
The ultimate aim will be to impose Islamic law, otherwise known as Sharia, on all Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
The waging of war against non-Muslims is emphasized in the Koran, wherein various declarations are made to underscore the impertinent, insolent and disgusting nature of non-believers, just by failing to submit to Allah’s will. Here is an example of how the Koran address non-Muslims, from Surah II, verse 39:
“But they who disbelieve, and deny our revelations, such are the rightful owners of the fire. They will abide therein.”;
Surah II, verse 90:
“Evil is that for which they sell their souls: that they should disbelieve in that which Allah hath revealed, grudging that Allah should reveal of His bounty unto whom He will of His bondmen. They have incurred anger upon anger. For disbelievers is a painful doom.”
Even one of the most allegedly benign passages from the Koran, Surah V, verse 32, which states that “Whosoever killeth a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind,” is immediately followed by a slew of violent condemnations –revealing the latent schizophrenic dimension inherent in Koranic texts.
(It is noteworthy to point out that the verse I referred to as allegedly benign is a favourite among unctuous Islamist apologists. It has been employed in slogan-like tones, and was quoted by Adel Al-Jubeir, the Saudi Foreign Affairs Minister, at last year’s Security Conference in Munich. )
Surah II, Verse 33:
“The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. Such will their degradation in the world, and in the Hereafter theirs will be an awful doom.”
The first sentence clearly calibrates non-believers and criminals together, and the following verse is nothing short of sadistic and barbarous.
Surah II, verse 36 :
“As for those who disbelieve, lo! if all that is in the earth were theirs, and as much again therewith, to ransom them from the doom on the Day of Resurrection, it would not be accepted from them. Theirs will be a painful doom.”
My own provenance as someone who comes from a Muslim family, originating in Malaysia, means that I have had to withstand maelstroms of moral conveyances in the past, all of which were extirpated from the Koran, and then brusquely and discomfitingly imposed upon me, in indigestible chunks, during childhood. From the moment I embraced apostasy, at the age of 15, I have heard the argument that the Koran is often misinterpreted more times than I care to recount. Since there is not just one official arbitrary body within the Muslim world, to whom adherents can turn to in search of dogmatic clarity, I prefer to adopt a literal reading of Islam’s holy book, akin to the manner that Islamists do.
These subsequent verses further sustain Wilders´s concerns over Koranic methods on how to implement punitive legal measures.
Surah V, verse 38 jarringly declares:
“As for the thief, both male and female, cut off their hands. It is the reward of their own deeds, an exemplary punishment from Allah. Allah is Mighty, Wise.”
And thus, this combination of idiosyncratic scriptural insanity comes momentarily to a halt–if not solely for the need to turn to the following page, then for the need to brace oneself for what other bizarre edicts will come next.
Again, I implore you to ponder over whether Geert Wilders has a valid point or not, given the Koranic excerpts I have just presented you with.
It would be an understatement to say that Wilders has paid a hefty price for voicing his views on this religion, that claims to boast a total of 1.5 billion devotees.
Wilders, as I mentioned earlier, has for 15 years, been living under intense, 24-hour police protection, and is inundated with death threats every day. I appeal to your good senses, dear reader: do these consequences strike you as evenhanded or fair-minded reactions on the part of Muslims? I should think not. Doesn’t one have the right to vocally stand up for what they believe–or choose not to believe in? Lest we forget that to be able to challenge a religion or an idea, no matter how infallible its admirers wish it to be, is part of what makes our free societies excel, both morally and intellectually. Suffice to say that we must never cower from those who endeavour to silence us, and who flagrantly use blackmail to intimidate.
If it were the case that the vast majority of Muslims perceived the Koran to be a solely historical document, or a philosophical set of principles, then it would not be so difficult to expurgate its most violent passages; or at least challenge them without fear of reprisal. The truth is not so. Remember, the vast majority of Muslims, unlike the vast majority of Christians or Jews today, take every word in their holy book the Koran as the literal word of God. To servile believers of Islam, it is a series of unblemished revelations, and its source wholeheartedly celestial. The Koran’s verses are Allah´s own unalterable imports to his messenger, consisting the fundamental command to all of humankind to enslave itself to Islam, or pay the fatal price: denigration and even death.
Muslim scholars must repudiate this premise completely, in order to facilitate an open discourse, which can eventually lead to reform. Until that day comes, it is of vital necessity that non-Muslims relentlessly keep up the pressure on Islamic activists and academics for failing to alter the undesirable aspects of their faith.
The outcome of Wilders’ lawful exercise of free expression has led him to be, in his own words, marked for death. The notoriously thin-skinned Islamofascists, among whom Erdogan numbers, still preside over believers in many majority Muslim states. In this vein, the threat of Islamism hovers over Europe and the rest of the free world like a dark cloud, ever on the brink of precipitating chaos upon the continent. In some instances, these megalomaniacal mobsters also claim to be the direct descendants of the prophet Muhammad. The truly deranged among them have even claimed to share original blood with their beloved poster-prophet. In a surprisingly callous and self-demeaning sense, one of the Muslim´s most intimate missions in life is to tailor their own jib to that of Muhammad’s, as closely as their capabilities will allow them to.
By that logic, if Muslims are successful in converting non-believers to join them in their cause, the presumption that we might all share in the illiterate messenger of Allah’s own ailments is disturbingly likely. After all, it is revealed in of the Hadith that Muhammad is said to have suffered incessant headaches, from the distressing noises he heard in his head. You may find this pithy observation somewhat heartless; but the truth is that if we do not fight the gross propagators of these ancient desert ideas–which they insist to be unquestionable truths– we stand to suffer from far worse than pounding migraines.
The late Christopher Hitchens once wrote in his bestselling book God Is Not Great that “all religions take care to silence or to execute those who question them”. We must accept one glaring difference between Islam and other religions: Islam proclaims to be the final revelation. In the face of this, do not allow complacency to get the better of you.
Perhaps it’s about time for the Netherlands, and the free world, to unite behind Geert Wilders and others like him who are fighting against those who wish to curtail our cherished human rights, for their own abhorrent gains. Our unifying cry must surely persist to affirm that Europe will not be intimidated by thugs. Not anywhere, and certainly not on European soil.
During the heated presidential debate on March 13, Mark Rutte and Geert Wilders had very harsh words to say to one another. The former’s most mocking taunt was the insinuation that Wilders is nothing more than an idle rabble-rouser–a couch potato-cum-keyboard warrior. Rutte attacked the PVV leader, retorting that it would take much more than merely typing out abrasive tweets on the internet to solve the growing threat of Islamisation. The Dutch Prime Minister might be right. Rhetoric is one thing, and implementable policy is another. However, now is as good a time as any to remind Mark Rutte that if it weren’t for Wilders–with his indefatigable courage and never-say-die fighting spirit–the insidious spread of Islamism would have gone largely unchallenged. The inconvenient reality of the matter is that Islamisation is well and truly afoot. Succumbing to the will of Islamists would ultimately render us defenceless, and at the mercy of the merciless.
Lastly, I´d like to borrow the words of Wilders´s stirring address to the Turkish people:
“Your government is fooling you into believing that one day you will become a member of the European Union. Well, forget it.(…) An Islamic state like Turkey does not belong to Europe. All the values Europe stands for: freedom, democracy, human rights, are incompatible with Islam.(…) Turkey voted for Erdogan; a dangerous Islamist who raises the flag of Islam. We do not want more, but less Islam.(…)”
Whichever way the dust settles following the outcome of the Dutch general elections on March 15, would it not be wise to heed Geert Wilders’ warning, and resist the impinging tidal wave of Islamisation? Let’s do it while we still can, or we shall forever have to hold our… you get the picture.