May 05, 2015
Geert Wilders, Dutch Parliamentarian and head of the fourth largest party in Holland, has sought to advance a conspiratorial anti-Muslim agenda for many years. Wilders has described Muslims as a threat to European democracies, has advocated for banning immigration to Holland from Muslim-majority countries and promoted legislation that will severely restrict the practice of Islam, including a ban on the Qur'an in Holland.
In the past several years, Wilders has made it his "mission" to "warn people of the Islamization of our Western societies," claiming that Europe is on the verge falling under the sway of Islam. According to Wilders, Islam is "not a religion" but rather a "totalitarian ideology" akin to National Socialism. He has described the Qur'an as being "even worse than Mein Kampf."
Wilders rejects the division of Muslims into moderates and extremists, stating that "according to the Qur'an, there are no moderate Muslims." He further claims that the fact that most Muslims are law-abiding citizens and have no connection to terrorism is irrelevant, because Islam is an expansionist and aggressive ideology.
Any accommodation to Islamic practice is a danger to democracy and a victory for Islam, according to Wilders. In a November 2014 speech, Wilders declared, “With every Islamic assault on our values, more and more people realize that Islam wants to conquer the world that it is prepared to terrorize, kill or enslave anyone who refuses to submit.” One month earlier, in another interview, he described Islam as a “totalitarian ideology” that is “undemocratic, intolerant, barbarian, inhuman.” Wilders also seeks to create legislation in Europe to support his notion of the supremacy of Christianity, Judaism and humanism over "Islamic culture."
In 2014, a local prosecutor in the Netherlands filed charges against Wilders for hate speech after he made a statement against people of Moroccan descent at a rally in The Hague after local elections. Wilders asked the crowd, “Do you want in this city, and in the Netherlands, more or less Moroccans?” When the crowd chanted “Less! Less! Less!” Wilders replied, “Then, we will arrange that.” Wilders is still facing trial for the hate speech charges. This is not the first time Wilders has faced such charges. In 2010, authorities charged him with inciting hatred and discrimination for his anti-Islam comments. He was later acquitted.
Wilders has been embraced by U.S.-based anti-Muslim bigots like Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, and has served as the keynote speaker at demonstrations organized by Stop Islamization of America (SIOA), an organization led by Geller and Spencer that promotes a conspiratorial anti-Muslim agenda under the guise of fighting radical Islam.
SIOA operates under the auspices of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), an organization founded by Geller. On May 3, 2015, Wilders was the keynote speaker at a Texas event sponsored by AFDI, which offered $10,000 for the winner of a “Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest” in which participants were asked to submit cartoon renderings of Muhammad. The event was overshadowed by violence when police shot and killed two suspects who opened fire at the center hosting the event.
On September 11, 2010, Wilders served as the keynote speaker at a demonstration organized by SIOA against the proposed Islamic Center in downtown New York. In his speech, Wilders called on New York to "defend itself against the powers of darkness" by not allowing the center to be built. "We can never tolerate a mosque on Ground Zero," he said, calling the proposed center "a house of shari'a" and arguing that "America, New York, and shari'a are incompatible." Wilders told demonstrators that "we must never give a free hand to those who want to subjugate us."
In March 2008, Wilders received significant international attention after releasing online a short film called Fitna. The film simplistically depicts Islam as a violent religion, interspersing verses from the Qur'an with graphic scenes of terrorism.
The Freedom Party (PVV), which Wilders heads, reached its pinnacle in 2010. In that year, it captured 15 percent of the vote and 24 seats in the Dutch parliament. Wilders’ ascent was closely linked to his party's focus on immigration and Islam. The party has lost some steam since 2010. In 2012, PVV captured only 10 percent of the vote and 15 seats in the Dutch parliament and it came in third in the 2014 European Parliament election in the Netherlands. Wilders originally founded PVV in 2005. In 2004, Wilders left the Liberal Party (VVD), the largest conservative party in the Netherlands, in protest of its support of admitting Turkey into the EU. The following year he formed the PVV in order advance his idea for a temporary moratorium on immigration from Turkey and Morocco.