Heeding the Times from Harry Antonides' Desk

Marked for Death: Islam’s War Against the West and Me
By Geert Wilders.

June 11, 2012 

If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time, or die by suicide. (President Abraham Lincoln, 1838) 

Who is this man who is living under the shadow of death? What did he do to deserve such outrage that he now must live as a fugitive in his own country, the Netherlands—a country that prides itself in being tolerant and freedom-loving? Here is a short list of the things that are said about Geert Wilders.

 

  • He received his first death threat in September 2003, after he asked the Dutch government to investigate, and if necessary close down, the al-Furcan mosque in Eindhoven.
  • “Wilders, you are a dead man. We are going to cut your head off.” (Anonymous, at the time he decided to sit as an independent in the Tweede Kamer.)
  • In October 2004, a video appeared on the Internet demanding that Wilders be decapitated. On November 2, 2004, filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered on an Amsterdam street, and two days later Wilders wrote: “everything changed … and I lost my freedom and became a political prisoner in my own country.”   
  • Former Amsterdam police chief Joop van Riessen said this about Wilders during a televised debate in October 2007: “Basically, one would feel inclined to say: let’s kill him, just get rid of him now and he will never surface again.” 
  • Even before Wilders’ film Fitna (showing verses  of the Koran calling for violence against non-Muslims and  footage of terrorist attacks) on  March 27, 2008, he was threatened with death. Several Dutch Islamic organizations and individuals lodged criminal complaints against him for inciting hatred, discrimination, and “group insult.”  Gerard Spong, a leading Dutch lawyer, offered to represent Wilders’ critics free of charge.
  • Threats against Wilders and the Netherlands poured in from across the Islamic world. An al Qaeda-linked website announced that Wilders should be killed. Leaders of major Dutch corporations were investigating whether Wilders could be held personally responsible for their losses in the event of an Arab boycott.  

Shooting the Messenger

And so it went. Even Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and  the European Union condemned Wilders for showing Fitna. The EU warned “that it will serve no other purpose than inflaming hatred.” 

Wilders’ troubles only got worse.  He was faced with numerous legal cases about Fitna. One of the cases was filed by Sheikh Fawaz Ineid, who had cursed Theo van Gogh and asked Allah to make him suffer in a sermon a few weeks before van Gogh was murdered. The Sheikh had also cursed Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a colleague of Wilders, “imploring Allah to give her brain and tongue cancer.” 

In June 2008, the public prosecutor’s office  in Amsterdam decided that Wilders would not be  prosecuted for Fitna or any other statement about Islam and the Koran. It explained that statements may be hurtful and offensive to Muslims but they are not of a punishable nature.

 Many objected publicly, including Mohamed Rabbea of the Green Left Party who compared Wilders’ attitude toward Muslims to the Nazis’ persecution of Jews. In January 2009, the Court of Appeal in Amsterdam ordered a retrial. This began on January 20, 2010 in the Criminal Court in Amsterdam after many delays, including the disqualifying of the first panel of judges, on June 23, 2011, this Court acquitted Wilders of all charges of hate speech. 

A Bitter Irony

This was a major victory for freedom of speech in the Netherlands, but it did nothing to restore Wilders’ personal freedom and living conditions. He still lives like a prisoner in his own country. For that to change, a far more drastic change is needed in the Netherlands. 

Marked for Death, with a foreword by Mark Steyn, provides the reader with a close-up look at the impact of the Islamic immigration into Europe, first of all in the Netherlands, but also in France, Germany, Belgium, and Britain. It describes the creeping, often criminal expansion of Islamic influence, notably in the so-called “no-go” zones in many neighbourhoods, where the authorities refuse to enforce the law of the land. 

 There are heartbreaking stories of long-time Dutch residents who helplessly watch their once-safe neighbourhoods becoming rundown and unsafe, as for example, in Kanaleneiland, a suburb of Utrecht. The same thing is happening all over Europe. 

This is an excellent, clearly written warning against the Islamization of the Netherlands and all of Europe. Wilders is the messenger bringing the bad news. For that he is demonized and forced to live like a prisoner in his own country. 

There is a bitter irony here. The very fact that Wilders now lives with a fatwa of death on his head proves his point that Islam is not a religion of peace, as its apologists claim, but one of power and violence.

This article originally appeared in Comment magazine, a journal founded by Harry Antonides. Find all of Harry’s pieces, and thousands more, at http://www.cardus.ca/comment