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In Defense of Wilders

Robert Spencer

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"There will still be free speech in America in much the same way as Henry Ford used to say that you can have any color car you want, as long as it's black."

Frontpage: Robert Spencer, welcome to Frontpage Interview.

Spencer: Thank you Jamie.

Frontpage: Geert Wilders is being put on trial by the Dutch Court of Appeals in Amsterdam for making anti-Islamic statements. Tell us what this charge is about and the ramifications if Wilders loses.

Spencer: The charge is essentially that he has insulted Islam and Muslims, and engaged in hate speech. Hate speech, of course, is in the eye of the beholder, and hate speech laws are tools in the hands of the powerful that they can use to silence the powerless and crush dissent.

And make no mistake: even though the Muslims in the Netherlands and elsewhere in the West present themselves as embattled victims of racism and "Islamophobia," that is exactly what is going on here: this is just one part of the 57-government Organization of the Islamic Conference's efforts to silence speech that they deem critical of Islam — including "defamation of Islam" that goes under the "pretext" of "freedom of expression, counter terrorism or national security."

If they succeed in doing this, we will be rendered mute, and thus defenseless, in the face of the advancing jihad and attempt to impose Sharia on the West — in fact, one of the key elements of the laws for dhimmis is that they are never critical of Islam, Muhammad, or the Qur'an, so this initiative not only aids the advance of Sharia in the West, but is itself an element of that advance.

Frontpage: So if this attempt to silence the truth about Islam succeeds, who exactly, at this stage, "will be rendered mute"? If the totalitarians get their way, who will be silenced? Tell us what boundaries this affects.

Spencer: Well, when the Organization of the Islamic Conference specifies that they consider defamatory even speech about Islam that goes under the rubric of "counter terrorism or national security," they are trying to stop counterterrorism analysts from studying and discussing the motives and goals of Islamic jihad terrorists. The ones who will be rendered mute will be the ones who we most need to speak: those who understand why the jihadists are attacking us, what they hope to accomplish, and what kind of society they envision.

Since the answers to all those questions and others lead back again and again to core texts and teachings of Islam, the only ones who will benefit from our remaining in ignorance about those answers will be the jihadists themselves, who will be able to continue their work unimpeded by interference from those who understand them and can thus formulate effective ways to oppose them.

The enemies of free speech who are trying to destroy Wilders at this point also wish to silence any critical discussion about Islam in the public square, in accord with Sharia norms. If they get their way here, it will come through the UN, and through President Obama's determination to work closely with the UN and build bridges to Islamic countries.

Frontpage: And free speech in the United States?

Spencer: There will still be free speech in America in much the same way as Henry Ford used to say that you can have any color car you want, as long as it's black: free speech will still be a constitutional right, but "hate speech" will be specifically exempted from its protections, and "hate speech" will be defined to encompass speaking honestly about the actual texts and teachings of Islam that contain exhortations to violence and assertions of supremacism — unless one is referencing such material approvingly as a believer.

Frontpage: All Wilders did was point to what Islam teaches. This means that it will be illegal to say the truth about what is in Islamic theology, correct?

Spencer: Yes, when these truths are enunciated by non-Muslims in a spirit of opposition to Islamization.

Frontpage: If this process continues, when and how will these forces try to silence you? Will you be willing to go to jail for telling the truth?

Spencer: I do think this will come down the pike eventually, but I expect that there will be some major challenges to efforts to extinguish free speech in America before it happens. And maybe enough Americans will recover a sense of what made this country great, and why free speech is important, to roll back the attempt to restrict freedom of speech here. There looms a battle over the Fairness Doctrine, which is essentially an attempt to muzzle political dissent, and how that comes out will reveal a great deal about what opponents of Islamization stateside can expect next. But anyway, certainly, of course I'm willing to go to jail for telling the truth, or to die for telling the truth. Life lived by lies or sustained by lies is not worth living.

Frontpage: Now trials such as these produce a great opportunity for defendants to tell the truth right? Wilders can use the trial and the publicity surrounding it to expose Islamic theology and to crystallize the hatred in its texts, right? Someone like you can come as a witness for the defense to show that Wilders is correct theologically, etc., right?

Spencer: I would be glad to do this or to help him in any way. This has been done before, in a case in Australia's Victoria State a few years ago. However, it may be that truth is no defense, as was declared in one of the Mark Steyn show trials in Canada last year. After all, for cases like this to proceed, truth must not be a defense — otherwise the case could not be brought in the first place. Prosecutors will never be able to sustain a case that Wilders has misrepresented the Qur'an, so the only thing they will be able to do is to assert that he had some evil ulterior motive, or hurt the feelings of Muslims by stating these truths.

In any case, yes, one thing that could happen — as it did in Steyn's case — could be that much about the Islamic supremacist agenda is brought to the attention of the public. That possibility could make a trial of Wilders a great victory for free speech and for the general defense of the West against Islamization.

Frontpage: What might happen to Gilders himself if he is found guilty? Might he go to jail?

Spencer: I'm not familiar with Dutch laws regarding "hate speech" and any prescribed penalties that come from engaging in it, but I do believe that is a possibility.

Frontpage: Wilders is being prosecuted for, among other things, comparing Islam to Nazism. The problem is, however, that Islamic theology is filled with Jew-hatred, myriad Islamic leaders have called out, and continue to call out, for another Holocaust, and in the present-day anti-Israel demonstrations we see calls for genocide against Jews – and they are articulated in the cause of Islam. Can you comment on this phenomenon?

Spencer: Yes, what you're saying is true, and let us not forget the enthusiastic support that the Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, gave to Hitler during World War II, or the present-day alliance between European neo-Nazi groups such as the National Democratic Party in Germany, a neo-Nazi party, and Islamic jihadists. Yet no official notice is taken by the European Union or any other entity in Europe of this long-standing and recurring phenomenon, and instead here again Wilders is penalized for stating manifest truths.

Frontpage: Someone should start a defense fund to help Wilders with legal expenses, no? What else can citizens do?

Spencer: Indeed, and I believe such a fund is in the offing. I will offer details about it at Jihad Watch as soon as I have them. Meanwhile, the main thing we all need to do is try to raise awareness of Wilders' situation, and its implications. Very few people know how gravely threatened free speech is today internationally, and even fewer are aware of how deceptively easy, via "hate speech" laws, it could happen here.

Frontpage: How in the end will we be able to stand up for our culture if these laws become effective everywhere?

Spencer: We won't be able to. Such laws will mean the death of Western, Judeo-Christian civilization.

Frontpage: Robert Spencer, thank you for joining us today.

Spencer: Jamie, it's always an honor and a pleasure.

Read the entire article on the Jihad Watch website (new window will open).

Posted: 27-Jan-2009



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