David Thompson


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February 11, 2009



"An honour he shares with several outspoken women and elderly cartoonists."

Surprised you omitted Robert Redeker


> The meeting of Mr. Wilders and members of the British Parliament had originally been planned for 29 January, but was postponed. Lord Nazir Ahmed, a Muslim member of the House of Lords (Labour), had threatened to mobilize 10,000 Muslims to prevent Mr. Wilders from entering the British Parliament. Lord Ahmed boasted in the Pakistani press that the cancellation of Mr. Wilders' visit was "a victory for the Muslim community." <



Yes, I was going to include that paragraph, but I couldn’t find an original source for the “10,000 Muslims” bit. It isn’t clear where that came from. That said, it’s entirely in keeping with statements by Ahmed’s associates at the MCB, most notably Muhammad Abdul Bari, who warned, or rather threatened, that “negative attitudes” towards Muslims would result in Britain being faced with “two million Muslim terrorists — 700,000 of them in London.”


Lest we forget, Nazir Ahmed is the absurd dissembler who equated Rushdie’s knighthood with “rewarding terrorism”. According to Ahmed, Rushdie has “blood on his hands” - as opposed to those who, for instance, took it upon themselves to stab, shoot and murder the translators of his book.


Again, there’s just a teeny bit of displacement taking place.


Thanks for that. I’ve updated the post. Isn’t interactivity wonderful?


The west is steadily descending into a state of dhimmitude, and no one seems to have the courage to say STOP.


This is how wife beating works. "It's my fault, I made him angry."



“This is how wife beating works. ‘It’s my fault, I made him angry.’”

There is something about the dynamic…

One could, of course, say that Wilders is a provocateur and isn’t exactly the best representative of his own broader argument. (Calling for a book to be banned, even ironically, isn’t his soundest move, all things considered.) And others have claimed that Wilders has some unsavoury associates, including, supposedly, Vlaams Belang. But I’ve yet to find evidence of this, or of any threatening statements made by Wilders himself. And the argument made for denying him entry is dubious nonetheless, since it implies that Wilders, not his Islamist opponents, is the “threat” to “harmony and security”. Which is to say, *he* is regarded as the cause of potential violence, rather than those who would actually *indulge* in it, or who threaten to with disturbing regularity.

As Mary Jackson points out:

“This attitude assumes that the reaction of Muslims is a given, like a force of nature, about which we can do nothing, and to which we must simply accommodate ourselves. The decision is the equivalent of telling women that they must not venture out of doors because to do so will lead, as night follows day, to rape.”


James S

The Douglas Murray / Tariq Ramadan debate is great. Especially when brother Tariq loses his temper. :)


> Lord Ahmed, who said other Muslim peers shared his concerns, stressed that Mr Wilders' views would certainly present a threat to public order. "When Muslims are attacked obviously you will see people react to that." <


Translation: if anyone says bad things about Islam *Muslims* will "present a threat to public order."


As I said, displacement. And a sly conflation of verbal criticism of an ideology with physical assaults on actual people. It’s quite eerie just how widespread this displacement is and how readily it’s accepted. Christopher Hitchens noted it with regard to a Newsweek feature on Ayaan Hirsi Ali with the headline “A Bombthrower’s Life”:

“The subject of this absurd headline is a woman who has been threatened with horrific violence, by Muslims varying from moderate to extreme, ever since she was a little girl. She has more recently had to see a Dutch friend butchered in the street, been told that she is next, and now has to live with bodyguards in Washington, D.C. She has never used or advocated violence. Yet to whom does Newsweek refer as the “Bombthrower”? It’s always the same with these bogus equivalences: They start by pretending loftily to find no difference between aggressor and victim, and they end up by saying that it’s the victim of violence who is ‘really’ inciting it.”



From the Redeker article:

> In its exquisite concern for "visible minorities", the agency ignores the fate of an invisible minority - intellectuals reduced to silence because they dared to criticise Islam. The freedom to say what one thinks about any religion - its clerics, practices, precepts and sartorial rules - is as much a part of the European heritage as giving voice to the oppressed. At the dawn of the 21st century, in a once enlightened Europe, Theo van Gogh was savagely murdered. Authors and politicians need police protection, have been forced into hiding, reduced to silence and deprived of their fundamental rights. For Robert Redeker, a former philosophy teacher at a lycée in Toulouse, the consequences of this thought control have been devastating…

The support of a handful of courageous minds was outweighed by criticism from academic and journalist colleagues, teachers' unions and public officials, who accused him of reckless insensitivity. Today, Redeker is still in hiding, under government protection. Redeker explained to Standpoint his current situation: "I am a sort of political refugee within my country." He has given up teaching, moved away from his home region and must be protected by two bodyguards when he goes to any city. His life has become a crippling exercise of perpetual precautions…

"Islam is the only religion that frightens people," says Redeker. >


Karen M

""Islam is the only religion that frightens people," says Redeker."

Spot on.

Steve in San Diego

10,000 muslims marching on Parliament is not an impossible threat. No. It is a target-rich environment. Your police must become more competent at crowd control, and more comfortable dispensing wood shampoos to the atavistic, yelping human coyotes who are asking for it.

Bap. Bap. Bap.


Wilders is an attention seeker. He wants to be a martyr.

"Islam is something we can't afford any more in the Netherlands. I want the fascist Koran banned. We need to stop the Islamisation of the Netherlands. That means no more mosques, no more Islamic schools, no more imams... Not all Muslims are terrorists, but almost all terrorists are Muslims."



“Wilders is an attention seeker.”

Yes, I think he is. As I said: “One could, of course, say that Wilders is a provocateur and isn’t exactly the best representative of his own broader argument.” But is that really the important point here?

Regardless of his motives, Wilders has illuminated a real issue - one that affects, and will affect, more sympathetic characters. If one doesn’t argue against the gross moral displacement seen above, and seen many times before, what happens when more serious figures find themselves in a similar position? What if, say, Robert Spencer, Ibn Warraq, Douglas Murray or Andrew Bostom find themselves named as “threats to community harmony,” which would be bizarre but hardly unthinkable? What then?

And if Wilders can face criminal prosecution for “insulting Muslim worshippers” – which is to say, for bruising the egos of deluded people – where exactly are we? Do you really want the state to start policing how its citizens feel? And how are bad ideas to be replaced with better ones if criticising those bad ideas entails the risk of prison? Should intellectual progress grind to a halt to preserve the vanities and dishonesties of certain privileged groups?


I see your happy to quote right wing Islamophobic rags like the Brussels Journal…



The link was sent to me, if that’s what you’re fishing for. I’m not familiar with the broader content of the Brussels Journal; it’s not something I read. But the quoted passage highlights the point I found interesting, which is the displacement discussed above. Barring Wilders on grounds that he, not his Islamist opponents, is a “threat to public security” is a wee bit disingenuous, is it not? Instead of loftily dismissing the source of a news item, as if that in itself proved some kind of point, perhaps you’d like to engage with the actual substance of the discussion?

James S

"Is it really so much to ask that our political overlords bother to watch a film before condemning it and supporting its creator being barred from the country? How is Miliband any better than Muslims who screamed about The Satanic Verses without bothering to read it?"




What’s odd is how so many commentators have been ready to denounce something they haven’t actually seen. The cretinous Keith Vaz, for instance. These people seem eager to mouth opinions they feel they ought to be *seen* having. Whether those opinions are coherent or even held in good faith doesn’t appear to matter.

One might regard Wilders’ film as clumsy and lacking context, which it is, but to describe it as containing “extreme anti-Muslim hate,” as Miliband did, is a tad hyperbolical and not entirely honest. The vivid examples of hatred in the film are acts of jihadist terrorism and the Qur’anic texts used to justify those acts. If highlighting that connection, albeit crudely, is an act of “extreme anti-Muslim hate” then the term “pathological denial” is in order. Miliband also implied that the purpose of the film is to “stir up hate,” which is a bold insinuation for someone who admits to not having seen the film in question.

And I find such behaviour - and its prevalence - much creepier than Wilders.

Horace Dunn


"I find such behaviour - and its prevalence - much creepier than Wilders".

Agreed. I think it is important at times like this not to go overboard. We are hardly living in a police state, and it doesn’t help to start getting paranoid. Things have, nonetheless, taken a pretty turn, haven’t they? Comparisons with the Rushdie affair are useful here. There were a few mainstream politicians who sided with the murderous extremists over the Satanic Verses, but most stood firmly by democratic principles. The fact that Rushdie had the right to freedom of expression almost went without saying. But now things are quite different. Reviewing the Wilders affair, the only possible conclusion that can be reached is that the right to freedom of expression no longer obtains, and that – insofar as any democratic processes come into play – the mobs have it.

As I said, it doesn’t help to start getting paranoid, but in truth, when a situation exists in which violent extremists receive official approval and protection, while those who question such beliefs are labelled hate-mongers by the same officials, it could well be time to start reaching for the Kafka comparisons.

But the main question is: what can be done? For my part I can only feel pessimism about the situation. I can’t see how this decline can be halted, far less reversed. It’s best not to think about it.



Well, it seems to me that if such displacement persists, there’s a risk that some people may turn to other, uglier outlets for their disaffection. If Wilders is a buffoon or a bigot or whatever, then why not press him on these points publically? Do his censors not have confidence in winning that argument? Barring Wilders from the country while inviting overt hatemongers like Yusuf al-Qaradawi and Ibrahim Mousawi seems likely only to fuel a mix of legitimate frustration and less attractive motives. Denial isn’t a credible option, though it seems to be ascendant.

Rachel Hatred

re: Horace's pessimism
While people in the west have been living an increasingly comfortable existence, there is reluctance to wake from their stupor and protest in numbers, on the street, about these illiberal appeasing slimeballs.
People just don't feel comfortable airing their views in the current climate of speech-code oppression.... but it seems there is a massive undercurrent of disaffection with the *islamist/progressive-left question*.
I have a feeling that with increasing economic woes, then disaffection could result in mobilisation of this sleeping dragon.
I feel a need to act at some point. I'm sure others do too.
Tis a matter of co-ordination & numbers.
Can one just sit and watch civilization pass into a new dark age?


What Geert Wilders wants: "all immigration from Muslim countries halted, Muslim immigrants paid to leave and all Muslim 'criminals' stripped of Dutch citizenship and deported 'back where they came from'."


And you're defending his free speech? Seriously?



Please remember I’m *not* defending Wilders’ statements or politics, or the Guardian’s paraphrasing of them; nor is the post above about defending Wilders’ free speech per se, though based on what I’ve read so far I don’t see why one should wish to censor him. If you look at what I’ve actually written, you’ll see my point is the displacement of anxiety from people who threaten violence (or are expected to) to someone who doesn’t. I’ve made this point more than once here, using examples you may find more sympathetic. In a sense the post above isn’t about Wilders at all; it’s about individuals who are being blamed for the threats and violence of others. Do you really think Wilders is “a threat to public security”? Not an oaf or a git or whatever, but an actual “threat to public security”?

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