By Andrew G. Bostom
February 22, 2009
Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders will be in the United States this week, arriving direct from Italy where he received the Oriana Fallaci Free Speech Award.
During his acceptance speech, Wilders implored the audience in Rome to protect our most fundamental Western freedom, freedom of speech. Wilders expressed this commitment-contra the willful media distortions of his views-in this pellucid formulation:
That is why I propose the withdrawal of all hate speech legislation in Europe. I propose a European First Amendment. Freedom of speech is the keystone of our Western civilization, it is the keystone of our democracies and the keystone of our freedom. That is why freedom of speech should be extended instead of restricted. Salman Rushdie's ‘The Satanic Verses', Ayaan Hirsi Ali's and Theo van Gogh's film ‘Submission', Kurt Westergaard's cartoons and my documentary ‘Fitna' should never be banned, but should be protected. As George Orwell once said: "If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear".
Earlier, while calling the Koran hate speech with specific reference to the Dutch Penal Code, Wilders was simply asking for consistent application of the Dutch law. And, like Winston Churchill (who wrote that Mein Kampf was "...the new Koran of faith and war: turgid, verbose, shapeless, but pregnant with its message"), Wilders compared the Koran to Mein Kampf, and called it hate speech according to the Dutch Penal Code.
Wilders' demand for consistency, recalls the Calcutta Quran Petition of the 1980s. Like his Hindu predecessors, Wilders was fed up with Muslim abuse of similar Indian laws, and simply saying if one bans hate speech, in accord with existing Dutch Law, then the Koran is hate speech. The Calcutta Quran Petition chronicled how it was the abuse of hate speech laws by Muslims seeking to impose Sharia mandates on non-Muslim majorities that was the source of the problem.
As described in the Calcutta Quran Petition, two Hindus were arrested -- under Indian penal code sections exploited by Muslims to prevent public criticism of Muhammad or other aspects of their creed -- for publishing a poster which simply cited 24 Koranic verses (see them below*), with a caption, "Why riots take place in this country." In this landmark case, the Hindus were eventually acquitted by a sober magistrate who opined,
...a close perusal of the Ayats [verses] shows that that the same are harmful and teach hatred, and are likely to create differences between Mohammedans on one hand and the remaining communities on the other.
Geert Wilders is opposed to all hate speech laws, as he stated explicitly on February 19, 2009 in Rome, and previously, here: "Everything should be possible except to issue calls for violence." It is well past time for the media-across the political spectrum-to stop their grotesque mischaracterization of Wilders' unequivocal defense of free speech. But demonizing Wilders, and imposing de facto limitations on his free speech criticism of Islam-not matter how reasonable his concerns may be-is a task for which our craven, lemming-like media elites are far better suited.
* USC-Muslim Student Association Compendium of Muslim Texts, Pickthall Translation
(9:5) Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.;
(9:28) O ye who believe! The idolaters only are unclean. So let them not come near the Inviolable Place of Worship after this their year. If ye fear poverty (from the loss of their merchandise) Allah shall preserve you of His bounty if He will. Lo! Allah is Knower, Wise.;
(4:101) And when ye go forth in the land, it is no sin for you to curtail (your) worship if ye fear that those who disbelieve may attack you. In truth the disbelievers are an open enemy to you.;
(9:123) O ye who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you, and let them find harshness in you, and know that Allah is with those who keep their duty (unto Him).;
(4:56) Lo! Those who disbelieve Our revelations, We shall expose them to the Fire. As often as their skins are consumed We shall exchange them for fresh skins that they may taste the torment. Lo! Allah is ever Mighty, Wise.;
(9:23) O ye who believe! Choose not your fathers nor your brethren for friends if they take pleasure in disbelief rather than faith. Whoso of you taketh them for friends, such are wrong-doers.;
(9:37) Postponement (of a sacred month) is only an excess of disbelief whereby those who disbelieve are misled; they allow it one year and forbid it (another) year, that they may make up the number of the months which Allah hath hallowed, so that they allow that which Allah hath forbidden. The evil of their deeds is made fairseeming unto them. Allah guideth not the disbelieving folk;
(5:57) O Ye who believe! Choose not for guardians such of those who received the Scripture before you, and of the disbelievers, as make a jest and sport of your religion. But keep your duty to Allah if ye are true believers.;
(33:61) Accursed, they will be seized wherever found and slain with a (fierce) slaughter.;
(21:98) Lo! ye (idolaters) and that which ye worship beside Allah are fuel of hell. Thereunto ye will come.;
(32:22) And who doth greater wrong than he who is reminded of the revelations of his Lord, then turneth from them. Lo! We shall requite the guilty.;
(48:20) Allah promiseth you much booty that ye will capture, and hath given you this in advance, and hath withheld men's hands from you, that it may be a token for the believers, and that He may guide you on a right path.;
(8:69) Now enjoy what ye have won [in war], as lawful and good, and keep your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.;
(66:9) O Prophet! Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and be stern with them. Hell will be their home, a hapless journey's end.;
(41:27) But verily We shall cause those who disbelieve to taste an awful doom, and verily We shall requite them the worst of what they used to do.; (41:28) That is the reward of Allah's enemies: the Fire. Therein is their immortal home, payment forasmuch as they denied Our revelations.;
(9:111) Lo! Allah hath bought from the believers their lives and their wealth because the Garden will be theirs: they shall fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain. It is a promise which is binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur'an. Who fulfilleth His covenant better than Allah? Rejoice then in your bargain that ye have made, for that is the supreme triumph.;
(9:68) Allah promiseth the hypocrites, both men and women, and the disbelievers fire of hell for their abode. It will suffice them. Allah curseth them, and theirs is lasting torment.;
(8:65) O Prophet! Exhort the believers to fight. If there be of you twenty steadfast they shall overcome two hundred, and if there be of you a hundred (steadfast) they shall overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, because they (the disbelievers) are a folk without intelligence.;
(5:51) O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for friends. They are friends one to another. He among you who taketh them for friends is (one) of them. Lo! Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk.;
(9:29) Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low.;
(5:14) And with those who say: "Lo! we are Christians," We made a covenant, but they forgot a part of that whereof they were admonished. Therefore We have stirred up enmity and hatred among them till the Day of Resurrection, when Allah will inform them of their handiwork.;
(4:89) They long that ye should disbelieve even as they disbelieve, that ye may be upon a level (with them). So choose not friends from them till they forsake their homes in the way of Allah; if they turn back (to enmity) then take them and kill them wherever ye find them, and choose no friend nor helper from among them;
(9:14) Fight them! Allah will chastise them at your hands, and He will lay them low and give you victory over them, and He will heal the breasts of folk who are believers."
- Andrew G. Bostom is the author of The Legacy of Jihad (Prometheus, 2005) and The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism.