Dutch parliamentarian and head of the Freedom Party Geert Wilders recently visited London, where gave a news conference in a meeting room of the House of Lords. Wilders is (in)famous for his opposition to the Islamization of Europe and the spread of sharia law. In my opinion, he’s a staunch, if flamboyant, defender of free speech and Western liberalism against a new totalitarianism. Others see him differently, including many Muslims, who showed up to protest his press conference. That’s their right: even speech we deem hateful is protected, though the line draws near when that speech carries an implicit death threat:
So, let me get this straight:
- The penalty for insulting the “prophets” is death.
- Geert Wilders had better watch his back (or neck, as the case may be).
- But the young Muslim at the start of the video isn’t threatening Wilders. Oh, no.
And lest you think I’m drawing too much from this, note the speaker’s reference to Theo van Gogh, the filmmaker murdered in Amsterdam by a devout Muslim for insulting Islam and Muhammad – by exercising his right to free speech. Van Gogh was Wilders’ countryman, and the Dutch lawmaker, who lives under police protection, knows exactly what message was intended.
But he’s an Islamophobe and overreacting; after all, Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance, and perfectly compatible with Western democratic liberties.
Care to buy a bridge?
(hat tip: The Jawa Report)