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Friday, February 12, 2010

Bruce Bawer interviews Geert Wilders

From Bruce Bawer's introduction to the interview:
[Geert] Wilders, a member of the Tweede Kamer and head of the Freedom Party, is a target for countless individuals in the Netherlands who would murder him in the name of Islam, and is obliged to spend his life behind ... layers of protection in order to avoid the unthinkable. In the last decade, after all, there have already been two assassinations of famous Dutch critics of Islam, Pim Fortuyn in 2002 and Theo van Gogh in 2004. And yet Wilders’s opponents in parliament, whose lives are shaped by the impact of the high-level security procedures that have become an everyday routine at their workplace, act as if the very threat that makes these procedures vitally necessary is a chimera. Indeed, to listen to them, and to the media, and to the great majority of the professors and commentators and business leaders who make up the Dutch establishment, is to acquire the distinct impression that it is Wilders himself, and not his Islamic would-be murderers, who represents a danger to Dutch society. In the interview that follows, I cite an opinion piece that appeared on Thursday in Trouw, a major Dutch newspaper (I mistakenly refer to it as having been in De Volkskrant), in which Thomas Mertens, a law professor at universities in Nijmegen and Leiden, argues that Wilders, by seeking so urgently to clarify for the general public the truth about Islam, is actually undermining the central precept that underlies the Dutch social contract which has been in place for centuries: namely, the agreement among members of different faith traditions to tolerate their theological differences – to close their eyes, as it were, to one another’s truth claims. What Mertens and others like him refuse to acknowledge is that the willingness of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Catholics, Calvinists, Lutherans, and others to agree to disagree about theological abstractions has no relevance whatsoever to the present situation, in which the Netherlands, and the West generally, are confronting a faith tradition for whose most committed adherents theological abstractions have calamitous real-world consequences – not only terrorist attacks but such appalling practices as polygamy, forced marriage, honor killing, and the execution of apostates, gays, and adulteresses. Indeed, what we are speaking of when we speak about Islam is a religion whose holy book calls for the conquest of infidel-run territories in the name of Allah – a religion, that is, whose guiding beliefs leave no room for the kind of live-and-let-live mentality that Mertens and his ilk think, or pretend to think, can still be relevant in a country whose largest cities will soon have Muslim majorities. In a nation whose guiding philosophy for centuries has been “don’t rock the boat,” Wilders has dared to challenge this traditional attitude and address these terrible realities, and it is for having done so that he is now on trial for speaking his mind – and speaking the truth.
In this video, Bruce Bawer, the author of While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within, talks to Wilder about his trial on charges of 'Islamophobia.' The interview took place Friday, February 5 in The Hague.

You can watch the videotape here (Hat Tip: Michael F).


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