A row has broken out over four MPs of Geert Wilders’s Freedom Party who wore badges in the Dutch parliament this week featuring a well-known neo-Nazi insignia which has links to the country’s infamous national socialist party of the 1930s.
The display came on Thursday after exchanges the previous day when the leader of the centre-left D66 party, Alexander Pechtold, called on Mr Wilders to distance himself from extremists who waved the Prinsen flag and gave Nazi salutes at a Freedom Party rally in The Hague last weekend.
Against an all-time high in opinion polls, the rally was the start of what Mr Wilders has promised will be a popular backlash against EU austerity measures “imposed” by Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s trailing Liberal-Labour coalition government “at the behest of” Brussels.
He has also revealed plans for an alliance of right-wing parties – including the National Front in France, Alternative for Germany, and the Northern League in Italy – to fight European Parliament elections next May, a strategy supported recently by National Front leader Marine Le Pen.
Spats in parliament featuring Geert Wilders are nothing new, but his exchanges with Mr Pechtold were unusually bad-tempered and vitriolic.
When Mr Pechtold asked how he felt about Ms Le Pen’s belief that “Jewish skull caps should be banned”, Mr Wilders replied by describing Mr Pechtold as “a sad, miserable, hypocritical, little man” whose question was “too miserable to be taken seriously”.
The Freedom Party leader said he was “proud” of last weekend’s rally, and “proud of everyone who attended it”.
However, he did qualify that: “It goes without saying that the PVV [Freedom Party] and its thousands of supporters have nothing to do with extremism or anti-Semitism. The PVV has nothing to do with that sort of idiocy.”
The following day, however, the four MPs – including Martin Bosma, one of Mr Wilders’s closest associates – sat together in parliament wearing badges featuring the Prinsen flag, which is virtually identical to the Dutch flag except that its red horizontal bar is replaced with an orange one.
The Prinsen flag was first carried by followers of William of Orange in the 80 Years War against Spain in the 16th century, and is still used by extreme right-wing groups such as Stormfront. It was adopted by the national socialists during the 1930s because of its links with “a golden age” for the Netherlands. Because of those Nazi associations, it was replaced with the current flag in 1937 on the instructions of Queen Wilhelmina, who fled to London during the war.
Mr Wilders has refused to comment, as in 2011 when the Prinsen flag was photographed in his party’s offices.
If Geert Wilders’ consistent and prolonged anti-Islam/Muslim diatribes weren’t enough of a reason to quit supporting him…
If Geert Wilders anti-freedom policies and attacks on civil liberties weren’t enough of a reason to quit supporting him…
If Geert Wilders xenophobic fearmongering about Polish and Eastern European immigrants to the Netherlands weren’t enough of a reason to quit supporting him…
There’s another reason: The defection of a senior Freedom Party (PVV) MP Hero Brinkman, an ideological counterpart who parted ways with Wilders due to his “autocratic nature” and “unqualified stance against immigration.”
At least that is what polling data seems to be showing:
The anti-immigration party would now have 21 seats in parliament, three less than the number of seats it won at the last elections, held nearly 18 months ago. MP Hero Brinkman, seen as a key ideologue, left the party earlier this week in protest at Mr Wilders’ autocratic style and unqualified anti-immigrant stance. However, if elections were held now, Mr Brinkman would lack enough support to gain an independent seat, according to the weekly survey.
The minority government of liberal Prime Minister Mark Rutte depends on Mr Wilders’ Freedom Party for a majority in parliament. Now that Mr Brinkman has broken ranks with Mr Wilders, the conservative cabinet may have to rely on other parties as well, in particular on the tiny Christian fundamentalist SGP party.
The minority cabinet has already relied on Labour, the Democrats 66 and the Green Left parties for all those policies not supported by Mr Wilders, such as giving financial aid to Greece and bolstering the euro in general.
We can’t read too much into these sorts of polls, especially when one considers the fickle nature of polling. However, it is significant, in that it exposes not only rifts and cracks in Wilders movement, but also potential fallout.
What remains to be seen is how Wilders and company will react to all this. Will they ignore this trend or just plain dismiss it? Will they become more aggressive and double down? Will they tone down their jingoistic rhetoric?
In the meantime it seems Wilders hatemongering is continuing to have repercussions:
“I don’t just hate the Poles who work in the Netherlands, I hate all Poles” says Geert Wilders.
It’s not the real Wilders, it’s a satirical programme on Polish television. The Freedom Party leader himself hasn’t gone that far. However, his party does have a website where Dutch people can leave their complaints about Eastern European immigrants. It has been stirring up emotions in Poland for weeks, according to our correspondent Ekke Overbeek.
Szymon Majewski is a well-known Polish comedian with a popular show on the country’s biggest commercial station. In front of a backdrop of windmills, ‘Wilders’ begins the sketch by saying good evening in Dutch (goeie avond). The word goeie, however, means something unpleasant in Polish, so the stage is set. He then explains, in Polish, that he hates all Poles because they drink too much.
Another film, posted on YouTube, has an Asian man telling us that all foreigners, even Dutch, are welcome in Poland. Having nearly been run over by foul-mouthed Dutch people on bikes, he invites all Dutch people to come to Poland for the European football championships. “Poles are friendly and helpful. All the ugly, nasty, greedy Poles are over in the Netherlands”. He is joined by the same fake Wilders who says “Holland for the Dutch.”
Jokes about drugs, euthanasia and abortion follow. The final gag: “You may have a world famous Red Light District, but we have something better. Here you get screwed as soon as you step into a taxi at the airport.”
The Freedom Party’s complaints website has regularly made the news in Poland for over a month. The affair drags on because the Dutch government, which owes its parliamentary majority to Geert Wilders’ support, refuses to disown the website. Prime Minister Mark Rutte says it is an initiative by a political party and has nothing to do with his government. He was asked to appear before the European parliament and explain this stance but chose not to go.
The appearance of a Wilders clone on Polish TV shows that the controversy is beginning to affect the Netherlands image abroad. Until recently, most Poles thought of the Netherlands as a tolerant country, with good job prospects. The number of Polish people in the Netherlands is estimated at between 150 and 200 thousand.
For those of you who speak Polish (there are no subtitles), here is the second clip:
Looking at the BPE site reveals that it is just another organization using the title and badge of human rights to add an air of legitimacy to the real intent behind their work: demonization and marginalization of Europe’s Muslims.
Thanks to one of our German readers, Morakot, we were able to see for ourselves the true nature of this group that Spencer attempts to trump up. It is a group whose aims are undifferentiated from those of neo-Fascists like Geert Wilders and the BNP.
In “Der Verein” (The Association) section of their website they claim that they are not “anti-Muslim” but the facts speak otherwise. Similar in substance to neo-Fascists and Euro supremacist groups, they take up the mantle of proclaiming themselves to be the vanguard and champions of “European Culture.” They define this as being “exclusively committed to the preservation of the Christian-Jewish tradition of their European culture” and opposed to the so called “creeping Islamization” of Europe, which is nothing less than the perpetuation of the debunked Eurabiaand Muslim Demographics conspiracy theories.
Their solutions to the so called problem of “creeping Islamization” are elucidated in a document they released titled De-Islamization program which states amongst its main points,
– Organizations of islam critics as well as of people who left islam shall be funded by the state and have an adaquate say in the media.
Lets think about this for a second. They want the state to reward critics of Islam (who defines “critics of Islam?” Would anti-Muslim Geert Wilders of “tax-the-hijab-fame” be considered an acceptable “critic?”) and people who leave Islam with funding, essentially lobbying the government to take an official position in opposition to Islam. Does this not cross the boundary of separation of Church and State, and the fundamental tenets of secularism? It seems the “Christian-Jewish values” that this organization wants to protect bears more of a resemblance to a theocratic “Holy Roman Empire” rather than a pluralistic Democracy.
-All islamic organizations following a political instead of a religious agenda and/or on behalf of a foreign governement shall be disbanded.
Who will decide if an “Islamic organization is following a political agenda?” This is really a concealed attempt to disband all Muslim organizations. Everything the BPE represents indicates that they agree with a Geert Wilder-esque concept that ’Islam is not a 1500 year old religion at all but rather a political movement,’ so no matter what you do as an organization you will be labeled a political organization.
It also highlights the double standards they advocate: on the one hand you have the Christian Democrats (CDU) led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, which is “Christian-based, applying the principles of Christian Democracy and emphasizes the ‘Christian understanding of humans and their responsibility toward God.’” CDU is a political party which heads the German government, imagine the firestorm that would be created if Muslims even attempted to create a party which “emphasizes the ‘Muslim understanding of humans and their responsibility toward God.”
-Persons supporting djihad or installment of sharia in Germany shall undergo a de-islamization training or must suffer severe sanctions.
Who would define what “supporting djihad” or installing “sharia” consists of and what would be the scope of these definitions? As we well know Robert Spencer and the advocates of the conspiracy theory of Eurabia believe that many law abiding Muslims, by the very fact of their increasing presence and visibility in the West, are pushing a “stealth djihad.” For example there are people in Europe who think wearing a headscarf, or installation of footbaths is an act of “djihad,” would such acts entail implementation of the “severe sanctions” being proposed, and of what would these “severe sanctions” consist?
– Quran-schools are to be forbidden.
They should just go a step further with their fascistic ideas and follow their brethren in Europe who have called for the Quran to be banned. If in some fairyland-Democracy-minus-religious-freedom envisioned by these jokers this is okay, then why are: Bible schools, Torah schools, Bhagavad Gita schools not similarly forbidden?
– Islamic head cloths are to be banned in kindergardens, schools, campusses, workplaces, public buildings and events.
This was another predictable point, the obsession with hijab for Islamophobes is unending. Not only have laws been proposed such as the above (and passed in places like France) infringing on a woman’s right to wear what they want and follow their conscious, not only have proposals been made to tax it, but it also has led to violence such as murder and assault.
– Parents who submit their children to forced marriage or deny them proper education have to be deprived of child custody.
Everyone can agree that forced marriages are terrible and have to be fought, and many Muslims are leading the fight against the practice. It is curious though that this issue is being painted as springing from Islam, which condemns the practice. It is also a phenomenon that is not peculiar to Muslims but rather affects women and men from Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Christian and Gypsy backgrounds and cultures.
As far as the vague idea of “deny them proper education,” what does that mean? Knowing what we know from the above proposals, would a family that taught their children the Quran be considered as “denying a proper education?” Would they then advocate the child be ripped from their family for studying the Quran?
– Mosques are to be built only with approval of the neighbourhood. Minarettes and the call of the muezzin are to be forbidden. Sermons are to be held solely in German.
It is usually a good policy to have the involvement of a neighborhood when any religious structure is built, as it will become a major landmark bringing in more traffic and people into the area. It goes without saying that religious groups should prioritize good relations with their neighbors, something all religions believe in because they all teach the golden rule.
However, the wording in this proposal is very confrontational and seeks to legislatively limit the construction of the traditional mosque with minarets; it is an attempt to make the Muslim presence in essence invisible. What is the difference between such proposals and what goes on in some of the theocratic Muslim nations that Islamophobes regularly complain about when facts seem to indicate that they are two peas in the same pod?
This time Spencer and his friends in the BPE were in Stuttgart, Germany where we are told by Spencer they held a “well advertised” event that was to have “Middle Eastern Christian musicians,” and other anti-Muslim “activists,” all gathering together to “fight the jihad.”
So what happened? Did thousands of newly “enlightened” and “awakened” Europeans show up to signal their solidarity with the BPE and Spencer and “fight” Islam and Muslims in the guise of a new front against the phantom threat of “jihad?”
No. In stark contrast to the much propagated idea pushed by xenophobic Islamophobes that “the West is waking up to the ‘threat’ of Islam,” it seems more people are waking up to the threat posed by anti-Freedom activists and Euro-supremacists such as the BPE and Spencer.
Thousands of anti-fascists protesters showed up at the event and stood down the hatred that was being promoted on Spencer’s side (video coming soon). Spencer was clearly shaken up as his side only attracted a few dozen aging fans. He likened his experience to “looking into the pit of hell.”
For this Germany has received Spencer’s diagnosis of being a country on the “brink.” The brink of what you may ask? Well, full blown radical-Islamization-jihad-creeping-sharia-evil-darkness-take-over of course.
Spencer spells this out in an interesting lecture he gives a few days after the failed BPE event in Stuttgart. The lecture is about “Islamization” and how he now doesn’t believe “Muhammed” actually existed (a regurgitation of age old Orientalist arguments such as those of Klimovich):
Robert Spencer: The process of Islamization is of course very advanced. And we are now entering into a different stage of it, and we saw this two days ago. In the Quran there are three stages of development, as many of you no doubt know, in the doctrine of Jihad. And the first is when Muhammad first became a prophet and preached in Mecca that he was the new prophet of the One true God. Most people paid no attention, he got a small band of followers together. The Quraish, they were the pagan Arabs of Mecca and the Quraish leaders did not like what he was saying at all because it challenged them, they had the Kaba, it was there at that time too before Islam and it was full of idols, 360 pagan idols, and the Arabs from all over Arabia would go there to venerate their gods. So the Quraish had a shrine, you know if you’ve ever been to Rome or Jerusalem or Fatima or Lords you know its a big tourist trap and so was Mecca and the Ka’ba, and so they didn’t like this…but in any case at that time he taught tolerance and peace and whenever you see the Imams on TV talking about tolerance and peace they are quoting from a time when Muhammad was weak and his enemies were strong and he had no military or political power. So he was not preaching tolerance and peace for non-Muslims, he was preaching tolerance and peace for them, he was asking to be tolerated.
Man from the crowd: same as what happens now…
Robert Spencer: Precisely, that’s the stage we are in now in Europe and America…So in other words when there is a small group of Muslims without military or political power then they preach tolerance and peace, just like Muhammad did when he was a small group in Mecca, when they gain more political and military power then they get more aggressive. I believe now we are moving from the first stage to the second stage in Europe and in America to a lesser degree. And ultimately of necessity there will come the third stage as well and this will be open warfare. Its a very sad situation but if we stand it down now then the game is already over. (emphasis added)
In the bolded portion above Spencer makes no distinction between Islam and Muslims, nor does he speak about “radical Islam” or “radical Muslims.” He speaks clearly, dropping all caveats and says Muslims are the problem and can’t be trusted, “when there is a small group of Muslims without military or political power then they preach tolerance and peace…when they gain more political and military power then they get more aggressive.”
Spencer tells us that “it isn’t too late for Europe.” Islam and Muslims can still be stopped with the help of anti-Muslims like the BPE, René Stadtkewitz and his new Freedom Party, etc.
Hollow words from a shallow man on the losing side of history.
The Southern United States and the Midwest have been ravaged by violent forces of nature in the past few weeks; massive flooding has threatened to erase whole communities from Tennessee to Alabama, and over the past few days behemoth-like tornadoes, whipping in fury and frenzy swallowed and spit out whole towns.
The cataclysmic events of the Rapture predicted by Christian radio broadcaster Harold Camping may not have come to pass but these tragedies have altered lives forever, and our thoughts and prayers should be with those affected. I encourage everyone to contribute in whatever way they can to relief and support efforts in those regions.
“Heartland USA” as this region is otherwise known is too often ignored, some forget that beyond the confines of our large urban cities there is a whole other America that is rural, conservative and vibrant.
It is here that another force has taken hold and is setting up the perfect storm of intolerance, bigotry, racism, xenophobia and hatred.
This force is a product of the wedding of Islamophobia across the Atlantic, between right-leaning populist politicians and Christian and Israeli/Jewish Zionists that has led to a feverous increase in anti-Democracy and anti-Muslim activity.
This is the real monster that should worry us, not some eight-headed dragon beast that might emerge from the sea and usher in the Second Coming of Christ.
Extremism on our Shores
On May 12, 2011 in Madison, Tennessee, a suburb of Nashville, Geert Wilders readily accepted an invitation from the Tennessee Freedom Coalition to speak at Cornerstone Church, a mega church with regular attendance exceeding 3,900 weekly. LW received exclusive video from Rob, a fan of LoonWatch who attended the event and taped the speeches of Wilders, Lou Ann Zelenik and Andy Miller. He was so upset by what he saw that he immediately sent us the footage he captured.
Wilders speech was a diatribe against Islam and Muslims in which all the familiar talking points were rehashed but with a little extra venom, undoubtedly playing to the sentiments of the crowd.
LW Exclusive: Shocking Video of Geert Wilders Hate Speech on US Soil Part 1:
Geert Wilders: “Its Islam Stupid (raucous applause). We must stop the Islamization of our countries, more Islam means less freedom”…”And now, now Europe is looking slowly but gradually like Arabia”…”It was the land of our fathers, it is our land now, it is our values, our values are based on Christianity, Judaism and Humanism and not Islam, it is that simple (applause)”…”and I have a message for all those people who want to rob us from our freedoms, and my message is stay in your own country (loud applause)”…”we are not going to allow Islam to steal our country from us (applause)”…”if Jerusalem falls, Athens, Rome, Amsterdam and Nashville will fall therefore my point is we all are Israel (applause)”…”the only place where Christians are safe in the Middle East is that beautiful country called Israel (loud applause)”…”Make no mistake, please make no mistake, Islam is also coming to America, in fact Islam already is in America. America is facing a stealth jihad, the Islamic attempt to introduce Sharia’ law bit by bit”…”what we need my friends, what we need to turn the tide is a spirit of resistance, what we need I repeat it again is a spirit of resistance”…”we must repeat it over and over again, especially to our children, our Western values and culture based on Christianity and Judaism is better and superior to the Islamic culture (applause), and leaders who talk about immigration without mentioning Islam are blind (applause)”…”we must stop the immigration from non-Western countries and we must forbid the construction of new hate palaces called mosques (applause)”…”the press calls it an Arab spring, I call it unfortunately an Arab winter (applause), Islam and freedom, Islam and democracy are incompatible (applause)”…”the so called Prophet Muhammad was a terrorist worse than Bin Laden ever was (applause)”…”neutrality my friends, neutrality in the face of evil is evil itself (applause).”
Why is a mega-church, an institution that professes to follow the teachings of Christ hosting such a hate-mongerer in the heartland of the USA? What is the Tennessee Freedom Coalition and why is it paying an extremist foreign politician who undermines “freedom” to speak at a Church? What are the ramifications for the rest of the West, the USA in particular when such an extremist is given a platform to incite hate?
This mega-church is a bit like a franchise corporation. It has two locations: one in Bowling Green, Kentucky and the other in Madison, Tennessee. It is led by Senior Pastor Maury Davis,
Pastor Maury Davis was arrested at age eighteen for the crime of first-degree murder. Following his trial and conviction, he served eight and one-half years in the Texas Department of Corrections. During his incarceration, Pastor Davis found his Savior in Jesus Christ and led a revival among his fellow prisoners.
Can anyone imagine what would happen if say Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf had a rap sheet similar to Pastor Davis? Pamela Geller would be doing back flips through Manhattan.
Aside from boasting about its large attendance, the Church also has a Starbucks-esque Coffee shop and other amenities for the Faith-full shopper. It successfully marries capitalism and religion and also adds an ultra-extra helping of Nationalism.
When nearing the Church, the first thing one notices is the strikingly gargantuan American flag in front of the Church:
Inside the Church the backdrop is red, white and blue and the colors surround a white modern looking Cross that reminds one more of the lapel pin worn by Captain Kirk on Star Trek than a cross. I guess they really want you to know they are patriots.
The Church’s philosophy is based on a literal belief in the Bible. They are certainly evangelical and reaffirm the theology of the “millennial reign of Christ,” i.e. the Rapture or the-floating-into-the-sky version of the End Times.
They believe that the Bible, “both the Old and New Testaments, are verbally inspired of God and are the revelation of God to man, the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct (2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Peter 1:21).”
The Tennessee Freedom Coalition, led by Lou Ann Zelenik and Andy Miller is a right-wing organization that can be considered a part of the Tea Party Movement, the base of the GOP. The addition of the TFC to the long list of GOP organizations can be considered one more dark stain in the history of the Tennessee GOP. It was not long ago that their members were making racist remarks about the president:
On top of the racism, homophobia isn’t far behind, the Republican governor of Tennessee has until June 1st to consider an “anti-Gay bill that would prohibit the passage of anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBT individuals.”
Tennessee also happens to be the state where we have seen a rise in hate against Muslims (in fact it is quickly becoming the center of anti-Muslim hate). Courts have been considering whether Islam is a religion, lawmakers are likely to pass a “Ban Sharia’ law” bill inspired by a documented racist and extremist Zionist named David Yerushalmi. It is scene to the Murfreesboro mosque struggle which made headlines this past summer. A year ago Pamela Geller was a headline speaker for the Tennessee Tea Party convention, talk about insane.
For its part the Tennessee Freedom Coalition was passing out this pamphlet at the Church:
How do you promote tolerance by “fighting” a religion? What they really mean to say in light of Wilders speech is, “Promote Religious Tolerance by Working to Stop the Growth of Islam,” which is like saying “promote tolerance by being intolerant.” Obviously this puts Muslims, you know, those who practice Islam in quite the bind.
LW Exclusive: Shocking Video of Geert Wilders Hate Speech on US Soil Part 2:
This is not the first time Geert Wilders has spoken at the pulpit, previously he spoke at Synagogues and at Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller’s SIOA 9/11 hate rally. However his presence amongst 3,000 admiring followers on US soil is not only reprehensible, it is a development that bodes ill for all of us.
It will only increase the radicalization of the anti-Muslim movement which seeks at its fundamental level to curtail freedom of religion and expression, first the rights of Muslims (soft target) and then anyone else they disagree with.
A word must also be said about Wilders obsessive citation of Israel. It is a country which he boasts about visiting over “forty times” and which he cites as a paragon of virtue, freedom, liberty, justice and light. He cites the security of Israel as one of the reasons that the West must fight Islam.
Lets forget the war crimes, human rights violations and apartheid policies in Israel for a second and really look at the hate that is emerging in its name. Individuals and organizations with deep connections to Israel, both network-wise and theologically are calling for the destruction of Islam which they regard as evil incarnate.
Aubrey Chernick (one of the leading funders of Islamophobia), Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, Geert Wilders, David Horowitz, Brigitte Gabriel, Allen West, the BNP, EDL, SIOE, SIOA, BPE, JDL, large numbers of Christian and Jewish Zionists and others believe that as long as you are fervently pro-Israel you can be as anti-Islam/Muslim as you want without suffering any consequences. Such a position at the end of the day only harms Jewish moral interests, and this much has been expressed by brave voices such as Not in Our Name, Jews without Borders, Muzzlewatch, Richard Silverstein, Max Blumenthal, our very own loonwatcher Gefilte, Glenn Greenwald and others.
The spectacle of a racist, anti-Muslim Dutch politician arriving on our shores to warn us about Islam is quite ironic, but what is most disturbing is the reception he received from a large audience of Americans. It may seem far-fetched now but one day Geert Wilders or someone like him (Allen West?) may move on from addressing thousands of Church goers to addressing Congress–the question is will he receive as many applauses as Benjamin Netanyahu?