Geert Wilders has been a member of the Dutch Parliament for 14 years and is the founder and head of Holland’s Party for Freedom (PVV). He is known across Europe for his staunch defense of individual liberties in the face of increasingly strict speech codes and other politically correct legislation. His party is fighting an uphill battle to cut the strings that bind the Netherlands to the European Union and in recent elections proposed separating from the common euro currency. Mr. Wilder’s new book is “Marked for Death: Islam’s War Against the West and Me” (Regnery, 2012). You can find out more about his views at: geertwilders.nl
Decker: You portray the rise of political Islam as a threat to freedom everywhere. How is that so?
Wilders: Islam is an ideology aiming for world domination rather than a religion. It demands that the state be regulated according to Islamic law. As a consequence, it wants to rule over all other religions, ideologies and political visions. Islam is based on the Koran, which according to the Islamic faith is a book written by Allah himself. Hence, it leaves no room for interpretation. The Koran commands Muslims to conquer the world, if necessary through violence. There is no freedom in Islam. Because of its global aims, it is a threat to freedom everywhere.
Decker: It’s fashionable in the West to give lip service to the notion that we’re not at war with Islam, and that the fight against radicalism isn’t a religious showdown. The problem is, that’s not how a big chunk of the Muslim world sees it. Is it possible to defeat an enemy when we’re not sure — or are afraid to admit — who that enemy is?
Wilders: I make no distinction between radical Islam and so-called moderate Islam. Islam in itself is radical. It leaves no room for interpretation and compromise. I do make a distinction, however, between the ideology and the people. There are moderate Muslims, but these are people who are moderate and do not live according to the Koranic demands. If the West refuses to face the reality that Islam is a violent and totalitarian ideology, it will be defeated. That is why, in order to preserve our freedoms, we must speak the truth and inform our fellow citizens about the true nature of Islam.
Decker: The sad fact of the matter is Europe and the United States are in a period marked by serious moral and economic decay. Political correctness, relativism and powerful leftist cultural impulses make it very difficult to turn the tide. How are our own permissive laws being used against us, and does the West still have the character to take on such a committed foe?
Wilders: Cultural relativism is undermining our willingness to defend our civilized Western culture against the barbaric culture of Islam. People who do not believe that their values are worth defending will not defend them. Today, we notice that Western laws, such as the hate-speech laws in Europe, are used to silence critics of Islam, such as myself. I was brought to court for speaking the truth about Islam. Fortunately, I was acquitted after a legal ordeal which lasted over two years.
Tolerance is an important Western value. However, as the philosopher Karl Popper noted, “Unlimited tolerance leads to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.”
Decker: You have paid a heavy price in your personal life for speaking out against the Islamist threat. Can you recount some of the tale of what you and your family have gone through, and do you think tactics of intimidation against critics of Islam will be used increasingly around the world, even in America?
Wilders: I am an elected politician in the Netherlands. Since 2004, however, I have been living under round-the-clock police protection due to death threats from extremist Muslims. I live in a safe house and cannot walk the streets on my own. The same situation applies for a number of cartoonists and journalists in other European countries, such as Denmark and Sweden. Even in America, people have had to hide from Islamic assassins for stating the truth or giving their opinion about Islam. I oppose immigration from Islamic countries because the more Islam a country gets, the less free it becomes.
Decker: You quote President Woodrow Wilson warning, “America cannot be an ostrich with its head in the sand.” As a Dutchman, what do you see as America’s special role in the world, and are you worried the United States will tire of its global responsibilities and pull back into a posture marked by less active engagement in international affairs?
Wilders: America cannot afford to behave like an ostrich because Islam is also a threat to America. What happened on Sept. 11, 2001, and what happened this week to U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens in Libya, makes this abundantly clear. Islam is a threat to the whole world, including America. Withdrawal from its responsibilities is not an option for the United States. It is not an option for anyone who cares about his own freedom and safety and those of his children. This is why America should wake up.
President Obama has very naive and wrong opinions about Islam, as was clear from the speech which he gave in Cairo in June 2009. I have written my book to warn America. It will save a lot of American lives if its people and its political leaders understand that Islam is incompatible with freedom and democracy. We must stand together to counter Islamization. We must speak the truth and defend our civilization. If we fail to do so, we will end up either enslaved or dead.
Brett M. Decker is editorial page editor of The Washington Times. He is coauthor of the new book “Bowing to Beijing” (Regnery, 2011).