Why the trial against Geert Wilders is wrong


by guest
6th October, 2010 at 10:14 am    

by Iman Qureshi

Equating the Quran with Hitler’s manifesto Mein Kampf, calling Islam a “retarded” religion, and demanding a “head rag tax” are just a few examples of how Dutch politician, Geert Wilders, has succeeded in catching the attention of many media headlines, as well as a Dutch court.

Wilders, whose trial is set to resume this week, is facing five counts of giving religious offence and inciting hatred against Muslims—particularly those immigrant to the Netherlands which are of Moroccan origin—through his comments to the public and media, as well as his short film, Fitna, which can be viewed on YouTube:

Wilders’ arguments make the scaremongering right wing press in America look moderate. His appearance on Fox News is almost amusing in its juxtaposition of an interviewer who clearly agrees with Wilder on many issues, but doesn’t quite have the balls or endorsement to say so out loud.

Indeed, Wilders’ is acutely aware of his unconventional and outspoken discourse. He dismisses theories of multiculturalism, cultural relativism and political correctness. They have no place in a Western liberal-democratic society, he argues. And nor does Islam and its proponents.

If we ignore, for the moment, the fact that Wilders’ advocacy of free speech is in direct conflict with his calls to ban the Quran, there should be no doubt that he is entirely within his rights to express his opinion – disagreeable or “politically incorrect” as they may be.

The hegemony of political correctness and a reluctance to offend has resulted in an insidious oppression of opinion. It seems that the global epidemic of cultural and religious hypersensitivity, spawned by critics of Rushdie over 20 years ago, is now a dominating force of politics.

The danger is that, by skirting around or censoring cultural and religious issues for fear of offending, we are left with stilted debate and analysis.

Wilders’ points out that even the left wing journalists in the Netherlands appreciate his frank discussion because he “makes sure there is a debate”.

If Wilders’ critics are scared of how much power this polemic figure holds in government—his Party for Freedom (PVV) won 15% of the vote and is integral to the current coalition government—they must act through the other democratic institutions in place, and not by censoring his opinions. They must use their own power of free speech to highlight the idiocy of his arguments. Perhaps someone could point out to him that the Quran is a poetic plagiarism of the Bible and the Old Testament.

Furthermore, the implementation of his obtuse policies can be rebuffed on basic grounds of equality – the banning of Muslim schools but not equivalent Christian or Jewish ones can and will, if it comes to it, be challenged at all levels of the democratic system in place. It should not be challenged on a hypothetical level of expression.

More importantly, Wilders’ views—and their worrying popularity, as 1.4 million people voted for him in the last election—signal grave social, cultural and economic problems that are not being adequately dealt with in the Netherlands. For example, Wilders’ argues that Muslim immigrants are not assimilating because the welfare system is such that they don’t need to go out and work.

He also attributes the majority of crime in the country to Moroccan immigrants and asylum seekers. These indicate socio-economic problems, not religious ones. This emphasizes the pressing need to embark on an open and unabashed dialogue regarding these issues – not censorship.

If found guilty, Wilders’ risks up to a year in jail or a £6,600 fine. Most distressingly, however, it will not just be a defeat for Wilders’, but the demise of free speech altogether.


Iman Qureshi is a freelance journalist and writer – her blog is here and she is also on Twitter


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  1. sunny hundal

    Blogged: : Why the trial against Geert Wilders is wrong http://bit.ly/93d90N


  2. Iman Qureshi

    My blog on why the trial against Geert Wilders is wrong, on Pickled Politics: http://bit.ly/93d90N


  3. earwicga

    RT @ImanQureshi: My blog on why the trial against Geert Wilders is wrong, on Pickled Politics: http://bit.ly/93d90N


  4. Post-Itting… « Back Towards The Locus

    [...] Kate Belgrave on being a prostitute; Philip Challinor on Dave; Radley Balko on the Drugs War; Iman Qureshi on Geert Wilders and John Brissenden, who wields a samurai-goddamn-umbrella! Elsewhere, moustaches [...]


  5. Joe Otten

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Why the trial against Geert Wilders is wrong http://bit.ly/93d90N


  6. C L O S E R » Blog Archive » Wilders on Trial Part V – Goodfellas & The Power of Words

    [...] But Wilders is a politician and perhaps politicians should be given some leniency in this regard: Pickled Politics » Why the trial against Geert Wilders is wrong If we ignore, for the moment, the fact that Wilders’ advocacy of free speech is in direct [...]


  7. Elise Lefort

    RT @sunny_hundal: Why the trial against Geert Wilders is wrong http://t.co/lGiFs1eC NOT AN ENDORSEMENT let's get tothe bottom of this matter




  1. DavidMWW — on 6th October, 2010 at 11:08 am  

    Excellent article. Sane and well expressed.

    Wilders is a fool. But you must let fools speak. If you don’t, how are you going to take the piss out of them? You’d have no material to work with.

    It seems Wilders himself has not learned this lesson. If you want to demonstrate what an appalling book the Koran is, you don’t ban it or burn it. You open it.

  2. MaidMarian — on 6th October, 2010 at 11:29 am  

    ‘These indicate socio-economic problems, not religious ones.’

    Good lord, it always worries me when I see that. The difference between religion and race is that one is a conscious lifestyle choice and the other is not. It may very well be that certain aspects of a religious lifestyle feed into socio-economic problems (which the taxpayer often gets the bill for). There are a great many (for example) Muslims fully integrated into Western life – it is not a multiculturalism issue per se, nor is it blaming the victim to point any of this out.

    The people are not stupid and can see the connections and difference in society.

  3. Reuben — on 6th October, 2010 at 11:34 am  

    Excellent article indeed!

  4. Sarah AB — on 6th October, 2010 at 12:22 pm  

    Yes – very good article – prosecuting/banning him actually *stops* people (I think) focusing on what’s wrong with his ideas.

  5. Kojak — on 6th October, 2010 at 12:57 pm  

    A good article with which I agree.

  6. Cauldron — on 6th October, 2010 at 1:22 pm  

    The penultimate paragraph is spot on. I’m always puzzled why Wilders goes on about Islam when the problem in the Netherlands seems to be with Moroccans, not Muslims. The Moroccan migrants are a wholly underachieving migrant group with no colonial ties to Holland and a cultural aversion to education. They are presumably a source of great embarrassment to other migrant groups, much as the Somalis are in Sweden and the Mirpuris in the UK.

    If Wilders was serious about improving life in the Netherlands he should have demanded a specific ban on all further migration – including marriage migration – from Morocco until the existing stock of migrants start making a net positive contribution to society. Instead, his price of supporting the coalition is a wholly tokenistic demand for a burqa ban.

  7. salim — on 6th October, 2010 at 2:03 pm  

    This is a Muslim response to the distortions in Wilder’s film “Fitna”

    Misquoting Qur’an To Misinterpret Islam
    http://www.livingislam.org/k/mqmi_e.html

    Rebuttal of Fitna
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbzISDYc-EM

  8. salim — on 6th October, 2010 at 2:18 pm  

    More importantly, Wilders’ views—and their worrying popularity, as 1.4 million people voted for him in the last election—signal grave social, cultural and economic problems that are not being adequately dealt with in the Netherlands. For example, Wilders’ argues that Muslim immigrants are not assimilating because the welfare system is such that they don’t need to go out and work.

    He also attributes the majority of crime in the country to Moroccan immigrants and asylum seekers. These indicate socio-economic problems, not religious ones. This emphasizes the pressing need to embark on an open and unabashed dialogue regarding these issues – not censorship.

    Sounds like your justifying Wilders’ bigotry. Hitler also attributed such things to the Jews -does that mean he was right? Even someone as anti-Muslim as David T of Harrys Place has spoken out against Wilders!

  9. chairwoman — on 6th October, 2010 at 4:06 pm  

    My goodness Sunny, I actually agree with you.

    Is this a first :) .

  10. Rumbold — on 6th October, 2010 at 4:28 pm  

    Probably not, as Imam wrote it. Heh.

  11. Soso — on 6th October, 2010 at 6:03 pm  

    Perhaps someone could point out to him that the Quran is a poetic plagiarism of the Bible and the Old Testament.

    The Koran is a joke, when it isn’t a work of hate, and I invite all here to read it.

    It’s the forerunner of Mein Kampf ecept that it is far less well written and far more incoherent.

    Think of it as Mein Kampf…in a blender.

    It is shoddy, full of contradictions, defects and flaws, and is obviously the work of semi-literate Bedouins who never quite understood either the Old or New Testaments.

    Parts of it will have you rolling on the floor

  12. Narinder — on 6th October, 2010 at 6:40 pm  

    You could get into semantics with Wilders, investigating the subtext of what he is saying as opposed to the literal understanding of his arguments – even though he is often already quite frank in his descriptions – but if truth be told, the whole charade makes him appear like a ‘martyr’.

    Forget his freedom of speech argument for what he says; that is just a poor excuse for a man who lacks tact in voicing his opinions. In describing Muslim headscarves for example, which he referred to as head rags, you get a man who projects himself as a weak debater, who just shouts out silly little diatribes without any real weight because ‘freedom of speech’ entitles him to it.

    His honesty reveals a personal antagonism to Muslims and Islam, not a sincere want for discourse to understand the religion within the context of existing in the west.

  13. An Olf Friend — on 6th October, 2010 at 7:32 pm  

    Soso,

    Your comparison of the Koran and Mein Kampf is a joke, full of hate, flaws, defects, contradictions and has me rolling on the floor as I type.

  14. Kamal — on 6th October, 2010 at 8:38 pm  

    Soso no that’s the Talmud -same doctrine of racial superiority as mein kampf

  15. BenSix — on 7th October, 2010 at 12:43 pm  

    Well said, Iman! I suspect the prosecution has more to do with politics than protecting minorities.

    Let’s remember Europe is no oasis of free expression. Tha po’lice have a broad mandate for dragging us to the cells for doing no more than slighting them. People have been jailed for years for doing no more than holding a certain view of history. This gives a handy excuse to further-flung authoritarians.

  16. Ravi Naik — on 7th October, 2010 at 1:49 pm  

    If we ignore, for the moment, the fact that Wilders’ advocacy of free speech is in direct conflict with his calls to ban the Quran, there should be no doubt that he is entirely within his rights to express his opinion

    It pisses me off how the mainstream establishment enables people like Wilders. Instead of framing him as someone who is against freedom of speech and religion, they are putting him in a position where he is now a martyr and defender of freedom of speech in Europe.

  17. Rutul — on 7th October, 2010 at 4:02 pm  

    I dont agree at all. How can one defend ‘freedom of speech’ of someone like Wilders whose speech is full of bigotry and hatred towards others. If Wilders has a right to his speech then every extremist have right to (verbally) attack the other religions, other people and their culture. It is not only morally wrong but it is also strategically disastrous. In the name of ‘freedom of speech’, people like Wilders gets chance to spread their hatred and hog the limelight.

  18. Don — on 7th October, 2010 at 5:42 pm  

    Rutul,

    If we extend freedom of speech only to the nice people with whom we agree, it won’t be freedom of speech.

    Short of direct incitement to violence, or misinformation that can have a serious negative impact on others, then they should have their say and we can reply and show how wrong they are.

  19. Jai — on 7th October, 2010 at 7:40 pm  

    It pisses me off how the mainstream establishment enables people like Wilders. Instead of framing him as someone who is against freedom of speech and religion, they are putting him in a position where he is now a martyr and defender of freedom of speech in Europe.

    I agree completely with Ravi. Something various people appear to be conveniently ignoring in these kinds of situations is that, in legal terms, “freedom of speech” doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It is not actually completely unrestricted in Europe or the United States, because other laws involving incitement to hatred, incitement to violence, defamation, libel, harassment etc also come into play. The first two are particularly relevant in cases where the “speech” certain parties wish to “freely” exercise actually crosses the line into what can be termed hate speech.

    Regarding a couple of issues the PP article above specifically mentioned:

    Perhaps someone could point out to him that the Quran is a poetic plagiarism of the Bible and the Old Testament.

    That would have the opposite effect to what is intended, as it would give someone like Wilders even more ammunition in his campaign against Muslims en masse. See Soso’s remarks in #11 for an example of the way that someone fuelled by extreme bigotry would twist such “helpful advice”.

    they must act through the other democratic institutions in place, and not by censoring his opinions. They must use their own power of free speech to highlight the idiocy of his arguments.

    Both can be done simultaneously, ie. prosecute Wilders if he’s potentially broken the law, and simultaneously debunk his arguments. They’re not mutually exclusive courses of action.

    If found guilty, Wilders’ risks up to a year in jail or a £6,600 fine. Most distressingly, however, it will not just be a defeat for Wilders’, but the demise of free speech altogether.

    On the contrary, it would be a victory for the fact that nobody is above the law, including (perhaps “especially”) politicians.

    And the bottom line is the following: If Wilders has indeed broken Dutch laws on five counts as per the charges levelled at him, then he should be prosecuted for it and, if found guilty, he should subsequently go to jail or pay the requisite fine. It’s as simple as that.

    If Wilders is proven to be guilty of breaking the laws concerned and subsequently becomes a convicted criminal, then the trial against Geert Wilders will have been proven to be right — at least for those who believe in the rule of law and the concept of all of a country’s citizens being equally subject to it, without exception.

    Ultimately, that is what matters; academic exercises in intellectual gymnastics about Wilders’ right to “freedom of speech” are irrelevant if he’s actually been engaging in criminal actions by abusing that freedom of speech.

  20. BenSix — on 7th October, 2010 at 9:23 pm  

    Jai -

    Ultimately, that is what matters; academic exercises in intellectual gymnastics about Wilders’ right to “freedom of speech” are irrelevant if he’s actually been engaging in criminal actions by abusing that freedom of speech.

    Unless, of course, one doesn’t think such “criminal actions” should have been prohibited.

    If a law is wrong it makes scarce little difference to me whether somebody’s “guilty” or not. For example, if in 1950s England some poor bloke had been pulled up for sodomy I wouldn’t care about the verdict: I’d think he should be released whether a raving homosexual or an ardent womaniser.

  21. Trofim — on 7th October, 2010 at 10:28 pm  

    BenSix@20:
    Absolutely. You may be breaking the law, but the law may well be an ass. People broke the law in Germany in the 1930′s – and do you know what some of those naughty law-breaking people did? They broke the law which said you shouldn’t say nasty things about Nazism, and they went to concentration camps for it.
    Note how frequently the opponents of freedom use ludicrously hyperbolic language such as rutul @ 17 – “attacking religion”. How do you “attack” religion? A religion is a set of ideas. That’s all. If you “attack” people, you use physical force, you cause damage, blood loss, broken bones, contusions, damage to the immune system. Religions don’t bleed, fall down, feel pain. Religions have to compete in a market place of ideas, like all others. We have a right to promulgate the ideas we approve of, and subject the ideas of which we disapprove to rigorous scrutiny, destructive analysis and ridicule. Religions should have no immunity from this process.

  22. Tyler — on 7th October, 2010 at 10:36 pm  

    No, no, no fellas.

    Don’t be disagreeing with Jai or he will say you are someone else and start censoring you.

    Not time for free speech has our friend Jai.

    Even less for the truth.

  23. Random63 — on 7th October, 2010 at 10:44 pm  

    Exactly, BenSix.

    Laws should be defending civil liberties, not prohibiting them.

    In any event, this trial is bad news. If Geert Wilders is found guilty, then not only does it endanger freedom of speech as outlined by Iman Qureshi, but it will also enable Geert Wilders to play the victim card which will undoubtedly get him more support.

    Many people in Holland already consider this to be a political trial, so a guilty verdict will probably help the PVV party. So some of the posters above who clearly want Geert Wilders convicted might want to be careful about what they wish for. Do you really want Geert and the PVV to get more support?

  24. usa — on 8th October, 2010 at 12:34 am  

    Incitement to hatred? is that correct- Incitement to violence, yes, is important-with plenty of gray area.

  25. douglas clark — on 8th October, 2010 at 12:55 am  

    usa,

    where is the boundary between ‘incitement to hatred’ and ‘incitement to violence’?

    Seems to me to be much the same thing…

  26. usa — on 8th October, 2010 at 1:48 am  

    hatred is akin to extreme dislike, which could be due to thought process,ideas as well as emotions-violence ,of course, is a physical act. Why must the former lead to the latter? It doesnt usually-

  27. douglas clark — on 8th October, 2010 at 1:56 am  

    usa – heh!

    You have a rough respect for danger.

  28. Trofim — on 8th October, 2010 at 9:07 am  

    Hatred v violence? Can some people not distinguish them? Violence is a form of action – hatred isn’t. I hate rice pudding. Some people hate capitalism, some hate socialism. The internet is replete with expressions of hatred for both. But it doesn’t usually lead to people killing capitalists or socialists. If you’re convinced that hatred irrevocably leads to violence, then you’d better call for expressions of hatred on political grounds to be outlawed. And why stop at hatred? Why not outlaw dislike? Ooh, or liking, for that matter. If I love something you hate, it might upset you.
    There is one immutable principle, the acceptance of which is one of those things which distinguish the left from the right: you cannot legislate people’s feelings. Laws can’t stop people feeling hatred, dislike, love, liking, distaste, admiration ad infinitum.

  29. Jai — on 8th October, 2010 at 11:54 am  

    BenSix,

    Unless, of course, one doesn’t think such “criminal actions” should have been prohibited.

    If a law is wrong it makes scarce little difference to me whether somebody’s “guilty” or not.

    For example, if in 1950s England some poor bloke had been pulled up for sodomy I wouldn’t care about the verdict: I’d think he should be released whether a raving homosexual or an ardent womaniser.

    Fortunately, the Western world has considerably moved on from the 1950s. Generally-speaking, there are currently laws in place in Europe and the United States to protect religious minority groups from persecution by the majority population. Wilders has effectively been accused of attempting to incite such persecution, and his numerous assertions about what kind of measures would be formally implemented if he had his way further demonstrate the scale of what would be inflicted on Holland’s minority Muslim population along with Muslims en masse in the various other countries where Wilders has been trying to spread his poisonous propaganda.

    Europe has relatively recent precedents for politicians engaging in populist demagoguery targeting religious minority groups – not just the most extreme elements of the latter, but a wholesale demonisation of the entire population. If Wilders is indeed guilty of breaking the modern-day laws designed to prevent this, and he is successfully prosecuted for it, then it would be a victory for the fact that individuals in positions of power & influence such as politicians will not be allowed to abuse their power yet again by deliberately stereotyping, stigmatising and persecuting the followers of a country’s minority religion en masse.

    And in this instance, the law is absolutely right.

  30. Jai — on 8th October, 2010 at 11:56 am  

    Incidentally, in an interesting twist, it appears that the anti-immigrant Geert Wilders himself is actually of mixed Dutch-Indonesian ancestry, a fact Wilders has been accused of deliberately covering up: http://www.nrc.nl/international/article2350022.ece/Geert_Wilders_Indonesian_roots_define_his_politics%2C_says_anthropologist

  31. BenSix — on 8th October, 2010 at 12:08 pm  

    Jai -

    If I can get away with incidental self-promotion, I have a high bar of tolerance when it comes to such legislation. He hasn’t advocated violence or active persecution; its not a country where division is sparked by a hair trigger; I don’t see a case.

    …his numerous assertions about what kind of measures would be formally implemented if he had his way further demonstrate the scale of what would be inflicted on Holland’s minority Muslim population…

    If, as I suspect, Wilders is being charged to discredit him/hinder his upwards progress its rankly disingenuous.

    Incidentally, in an interesting twist, it appears that the anti-immigrant Geert Wilders himself is actually of mixed Dutch-Indonesian ancestry, a fact Wilders has been accused of deliberately covering up…

    Heh – now that would be amusing.

  32. usa — on 8th October, 2010 at 11:06 pm  

    I dont think its so relevant re wilder’s Indonesian background- At this time, in his country he feels it is helpful to restrict immigration in a particular way- Has this never been done? For the safety of its citizens? or the economic wellbeing perhaps?

    Also, I feel that we, in the states, have been a truly ethnically mixed society longer than u have. We understand hatred and love exists between groups(xenophobia) , but we must all refrain from violence. Without understanding and accepting anger, hatred and forced to whitewash it, wouldnt be helpful. But we try to be civil, no name calling.

    Ragheads is not civil, but lots of things Wilders says make sense.

  33. Michael Price — on 9th October, 2010 at 9:54 am  

    “But we must let fools speak.”

    Indeed, otherwise we’d never learn what official government policy is.

  34. Ravi Naik — on 9th October, 2010 at 11:14 am  

    Fortunately, the Western world has considerably moved on from the 1950s. Generally-speaking, there are currently laws in place in Europe and the United States to protect religious minority groups from persecution by the majority population. Wilders has effectively been accused of attempting to incite such persecution,

    Indeed we have moved on to a point in which we do not need to put people on trial for their points of view. Geert Wilder’s point of view should be confronted by arguments to demonstrate he is nothing more than bigot. These laws that aim protect minorities end up protecting people like Wilders because by silencing him, you are also protecting him from having to defend his point of view.

    Case in point – when Wilders was invited to show his movie fitna in the parliament. It is a pretty mediocre video, and even I could point out its flaws. Lord Ahmed could have taken this opportunity to counter with a presentation and humiliate Wilders. He didn’t – instead, it seems, he wanted to censor it. Why?

    This is something that bothers me, because I see the racist far-right morphing from skinheads/C18 types into something that appears benign and appeals to the worst instincts of the general public, and I see the establishment completely unprepared to deal with this.

  35. A pedant writes... — on 9th October, 2010 at 1:21 pm  

    Wilders, whose trial is set to resume this week, is facing five counts of giving religious offence and inciting hatred against Muslims—particularly those immigrant to the Netherlands which are of Moroccan origin

    *Who* are of Moroccan origin… many thanks.

    And why should Moroccans (who are generally about the most laid-back, nay – spaced out – Muslims) be singled out?

  36. joe90 — on 9th October, 2010 at 2:34 pm  

    This case is giving wilders more publicity for his disgusting racist and islamaphobic views, which he claims is his right to spread hate. If he is guilty he will be made to look a martyr so either way he wins no matter the outcome.

  37. Ravi Naik — on 9th October, 2010 at 4:20 pm  

    And why should Moroccans (who are generally about the most laid-back, nay – spaced out – Muslims) be singled out?

    Because Theo Van Gogh was brutally murdered by a Moroccan. It was a case the shocked the Neatherlands, and made it easier for people like Wilders to make this sort of accusations.

  38. Kamal — on 9th October, 2010 at 4:50 pm  

    Ravi naik -pim fortuyn a far more prominent figure was murdered by a White Dutchman -don’t remember people demonising and generalising about all White Dutch people do you ?
    Indira ghandhi was murdered by Sikhs does that justify the attacks and singling out of innocent sikhs after her murder ? Course not so why does it for morrocans/Dutch muslims?

  39. A pedant writes — on 9th October, 2010 at 8:21 pm  

    “Laws should be defending civil liberties, not prohibiting them.”

    And what exactly does *that* mean?!?!?!

  40. A pedant writes — on 9th October, 2010 at 8:23 pm  

    “Also, I feel that we, in the states, have been a truly ethnically mixed society longer than u have.”

    Is that right, O citizen of a country founded less than 250 years ago?

    Honestly, you could not make it up.

  41. Pedant — on 9th October, 2010 at 9:38 pm  

    Can I just interject and point out that I and “A pedant writes” are not one and the same.

    (And that every time someone speaks off the hymn sheet here someone has to accuse them of being Dan Dare as “A pedant writes” appears to doing in another thread.)

    Right.

    So, “A pedant writes” it seems pretty obvious that Random63’s point is that free speech is fundamental to a free society, it is at its very foundation and is the surest barometer of its health.

    Short of speech inciting violence, very little else said by free men should be any business of the state whatsoever. Especially not political speech.

    But then you strike me of the type who thinks any affront (even if just perceived) to any political platform or group you hold sacred is an outrage, but have no problems whatsoever labeling someone (me) as a “right wing goon” on the basis of two paragraphs that you didn’t even comment on and couldn’t appear to refute in another thread.

    And I doubt very much your arbitrary judgments and contemptuous labeling are restricted to just me and that presumably you conduct yourself in this very judgmental fashion, tar and feathing people and groups of people that fall foul of your perspective.

    So why are you any different then the people you decry?

  42. Ravi Naik — on 9th October, 2010 at 10:01 pm  

    Ravi naik -pim fortuyn a far more prominent figure was murdered by a White Dutchman -don’t remember people demonising and generalising about all White Dutch people do you ?

    No – this sort of trick only works against minorities.

  43. usa — on 9th October, 2010 at 11:59 pm  

    most of europe has much more segregation than the states do.

  44. Andyb — on 10th October, 2010 at 8:01 am  

    @43

    Have you been to ” most of Europe” then USA?

  45. usa — on 10th October, 2010 at 2:57 pm  

    yes i have

  46. usa — on 11th October, 2010 at 3:03 am  

    and u r in bad shape, but, then again, u must know that, even if u wont admit it.

  47. Andyb — on 11th October, 2010 at 9:22 pm  

    Define bad shape?

  48. Dr Paul — on 11th October, 2010 at 11:18 pm  

    Ravi Naik wrote: ‘This is something that bothers me, because I see the racist far-right morphing from skinheads/C18 types into something that appears benign and appeals to the worst instincts of the general public, and I see the establishment completely unprepared to deal with this.’

    There is this danger, and Wilders represents it, but rather than appealing to ‘the worst instincts of the general public’, he is more effective than skinheads, football hooligans and the other EDL types, because he is able to key into the widespread secular feeling that exists in all modern societies.

    Coming from a vague Chruch of England background, when I was young I and many like me found Roman Catholics a bit odd because they took their religion too seriously, they looked old-fashioned, and believed in weird things that the CofE had left behind. They also tended to have bigger families, which everyone else saw as adding to broader human problems.

    This is a common feeling amongst people who are not religious (as I am now, being an atheist) or are only vaguely religious (as I was then). It is, I feel, an automatic response in a society which is going in a secular direction.

    There is a problem with it, namely, that it can feed into a standpoint that is openly hostile to one or another religious group, should that group take its religion very seriously, and parade that seriousness in public. And when the most devout elements within that religion implement policies that transgress modern social attitudes — say, in respect of sexual equality — that have become (or are becoming) the norms in modern societies, then one can get a hostile attitude towards a religion combining with the defence of modern social norms.

    Hence, one can see that the current hostility towards Muslims can key into liberal ideas about sexual equality; that is, key into the better instincts of the general public.

    The big issue facing left-wingers is how to defend a religious group that is under attack without making concessions to backward ideas that this religious group may project, and without betraying our progressive standpoint on social issues.

  49. usa — on 12th October, 2010 at 4:06 am  

    u just seemto bedigging urself ina hole- the acceptance of aspects of sharia law, i.e. the things that r given to islamic prisoners, from what i have read-facing mecca, foods etc.it just seems that there are lifestyle preferences that are said to be ‘religious’, and these appear to interfere wth the liberty of other groups, or the majority of the population. etc. Also,The crime in certain areas seem to suggest an anti-western bias, crime done for the purpose of intimidating westerners, and these are never identified as bias crimes- this is my impression.Seems there r people let in who r threats to ur country- and that some of the decisions of govt are done out of fear- actually the fear is seen here already too- Our papers wont publish innocuous pics of mohammed, cartoons etc. Molly Norris of Seattle is now a fugitive for ‘draw Mohammed day’

  50. RezaV — on 15th October, 2010 at 2:16 pm  

    “…Wilders’ is acutely aware of his unconventional and outspoken discourse. He dismisses theories of multiculturalism, cultural relativism and political correctness. They have no place in a Western liberal-democratic society, he argues. And nor does Islam and its proponents. ”

    Unconventional? It seems that whenever an opinion poll is conducted, whether here or elsewhere in Europe, it concludes that the majority of respondents oppose multiculturalism, cultural relativism, political correctness as well as the increasing influence of Islam. So nothing “unconventional” about Geert’s discourse.

    “The hegemony of political correctness and a reluctance to offend has resulted in an insidious oppression of opinion. It seems that the global epidemic of cultural and religious hypersensitivity, spawned by critics of Rushdie over 20 years ago, is now a dominating force of politics.”

    Excellent point. But an insidious oppression of opinion is the ONLY option open to the left. The alternative would be to confront and discuss in open the inconvenient truths regarding the ‘benefits’ of mass Third-World immigration, multiculturalism and diversity.

    “ He also attributes the majority of crime in the country to Moroccan immigrants and asylum seekers. These indicate socio-economic problems, not religious ones.”

    You’re right; the problems are not necessarily religious. But neither are they exclusively socio-economic. They are as a matter of fact cultural.

    It is easily measurable and demonstrable to show that on average, people from some cultures, are simply not as capable of supporting an industrious and prosperous society as the indigenous Dutch.

    And whether or not it is by coincidence, it is simply a fact that the cultural groups that on average are the worst at being of economic or societal benefit to the Netherlands have Islam as their religion.

    However, this statement of pure incontrovertible fact is exactly the type of opinion that the left seek to oppress insidiously.

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