“In the process of fighting for freedom, I lost my own freedom,” Dutch politician Geert Wilders explained.
Our weekly Canadian program, “On the Front Line,” was one of the media outlets carefully selected to interview Wilders during his first visit to Canada last week. For several years, public and private discourse has centered around the sensationalism of Wilders’ epic battle against the Islamization of the West. But this interview (still to be aired) revealed some of Wilders’ less publicized views on moderate Islam and the personal cost of his quest.
Wilders, who remains under explicit death threats from Muslims, is dismissed by leftists as a scary, anti-Muslim radical. While one may disagree with his views and methodologies, his struggle against radicalism is nothing short of a Western obligation. The principal point of contention on Wilder’s approach is that he does not readily make a distinction between moderate and radical Islam. He referred to the famous Belgian Professor of Islamic Studies—Urbain Vermeulen—describing Islam as 95 percent ideology and 5 percent religion. Islam, like communism and fascism, is totalitarian and seeks to rule every aspect of individual and state life.
Wilders pointed out that “there are almost more mosques than windmills in Holland today.” His answer is to stop building new mosques and madrassas that teach violence and hate, and to stop immigration from Muslim countries to stem the Islamization of the West. He does not advocate deporting Muslims, except those that have crossed the “red line” which refers to any Muslim acting according to Shariah and against our values (for example, practicing FGM and honour killings). Such Muslims, says Wilders, should be stripped of their western nationality and sent back to their countries of origin.
Yet on further probing about the moderate Muslims who face death threats fighting for the same anti-Islamist cause, Wilders did recognize the existence of moderates and makes a key distinction between the Muslim individual and the ideologies of Islam. The more moderates the better, he said, and we should support them in any way possible. He also made the point that the Koran regards such Muslims as apostates worthy of death, yet if they see themselves as Muslims, we must support them.
The final question we posed to Wilders concerned the personal toll on his life, even before the release of his short film “Fitna.” His neutral look gave way to his humanity with a brief sadness as he replied: