Geert Wilders: “There is nothing wrong with Islam”

The Dutch congressman Geert Wilders (Freedom Party (Partij voor de Vrijheid)) will deliver a speech on September 11, 2010 in New York in opposition to the proposed building of a mosque close to Ground Zero. He will not only condemn the followers of Islam, but also Islam itself. He has already talked about a “dreadful mosque”. It is a great pity that he makes these sorts of statements. About 10 years ago Geert Wilders had very different opinions.

On September 24, 2001 Geert Wilders was a guest on the Dutch TV program “Barend en Van Dorp”. Wilders was interviewed about Islam, because had warned against the dangers of Muslim extremism. When asked what had prompted him to deliver the warning he answered:

By taking a careful look at what is happening in the world. By playing it safe. I have visited countries in the Middle East and further afield, from America, Iran and Syria to Israel. I have spoken to many people on my trips who made good analyses, analyses that are unfortunately not common in the Netherlands.

Wilders then said:

The remark by Fortuyn (a Dutch politician who made headlines at the time – KF) that we should start a cold war against the Islam is reprehensible, because by doing so he tars all Muslims with the same brush. As I stated today at the outset: there is nothing wrong with the Islam, it is a respectable religion. It’s all about a little bit of Muslim extremism. (…) I don’t have anything against the Islam.

Mind: this is Geert Wilders opinion. In other words Wilders states: don’t condemn Islam, because there is nothing wrong with Islam, it is even a respectable religion, but only condemn all those that abuse a religion for terrorist attacks, for example.

What happened to the ‘good analyses’ of those days that caused Geert Wilders to strike such a completely different cord today? Has he too become infected by extremism? Or is it just a case of political opportunism, targeting fear as a powerful mechanism for attracting votes?

Karel Frielink

(19 August 2010)

A bit of fun: Geert Wilders on the ‘David Letterman’ show…


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