A Defining Moment

Melanie Phillips, The Spectator
Thursday, 22nd January 2009

So the inevitable has now come about in the teetering civilisation of Europe, and it has happened first in the Netherlands . One of the supposedly most liberal societies on the planet wants to criminalise someone for telling the truth. The BBC reports that Dutch Freedom Party MP Geert Wilders is to be put on trial

“˜…for for inciting hatred and discrimination, based on comments by him in various media on Muslims and their beliefs’…In March 2008, Mr Wilders posted a film about the Koran on the internet, prompting angry protests across the Muslim World. The opening scenes of Fitna – a Koranic term sometimes translated as “˜strife’ – show a copy of the holy book followed by footage of the bomb attacks on the US on 11 September 2001, London in July 2005 and Madrid in March 2004. Pictures appearing to show Muslim demonstrators holding up placards saying “˜God bless Hitler’ and “˜Freedom go to hell’ also feature. The film ends with the statement: “˜Stop Islamisation. Defend our freedom.’ Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said at the time that the film wrongly equated Islam with violence and served “˜no purpose other than to offend’. A year earlier, Mr Wilders described the Koran as a “˜fascist book’ and called for it to be banned in “˜the same way we ban Mein Kampf’, in a letter published in the De Volkskrant newspaper.

This is what I wrote about Fitna last March:

It shows very clearly the precise nature of what the civilised world is up against, ‚  a war of religion with striking similarities to Nazi ideology and murderous mass hysteria. It was, however, very careful not to call for the Koran or Islam to be banned. Instead it confined itself to calling for Muslims to reform their faith by removing the bad bits of the Koran, and for an end to the Islamising of Europe. To that extent it was not extreme at all, and indeed reformist Muslims themselves say much the same thing. On the other hand, it did not make any acknowledgement of those Muslims around the world who do not subscribe to the application of their religion as represented in the film, and who live pacific and unthreatening lives in both Muslim and non-Muslim countries. It was nevertheless accurate in its depiction of the religion and therefore could not be considered insulting. As a result, reaction from the Muslim world has so far been muted (although that may change). As the ‚  Financial Times reported: Omar Bakri, the Libyan-based radical Muslim cleric who is barred from Britain , did not think the film was very offensive. “˜On the contrary, if we leave out the first images and the sound of the page being torn, it could be a film by the [Islamist] Mujahideen,’ he said.

Ever since Fitna appeared, Wilders has had to live under police protection. But far from defending him and western civilisation from the totalitarian threat to life and liberty arising from the attempt to suppress discussion of radical Islamism and the religion upon which it draws, the Dutch have now decided to suppress it themselves. As has been pointed out elsewhere, in ‚  The River War published in 1899, Winston Churchill wrote this:

How dreadful are the curses which Islam lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live.

A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property”¹either as a child, a wife, or a concubine must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Muslims may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen; all know how to die; but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Islam is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science -the science against which it had vainly struggled – the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome .

During the 1930s and World War Two, the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine ““ from whom, incidentally, ‚  Hamas are directly descended ““ were the allies of Hitler. Heinrich Himmler observed:

Muslims responded to the call of Muslim leaders and joined our side because of their hatred of our joint Jewish-English-Bolshevik enemies, and because of their belief and respect for, above all — our Fuehrer.

And Churchill wrote in turn:

In truth though, just as the British stoicism recalls the same from 65 years ago, so too, there is a deep and instructive similarity between the Nazis and the Islamic-fascist forces that attacked then and attack today. The fact of the matter is that even more important than invoking the famous British “˜stiff upper lip,’ to fight this current war to victory requires understanding and accepting the similarities between the Nazis and the Arab-Islamic terrorist armies.

If Churchill were to have said these things today, he too would surely have been prosecuted, at least in the Netherlands , for inciting hatred and discrimination just for fighting for freedom against enslavement — on behalf of ‚   life and liberty-loving Muslims as well as everyone else. This is a defining moment for Europe . It is when people have to decide what side they are on. All those “˜human rights’ supporters who tell us endlessly that we can only defend our society against terror if we remain true to its values now must decide whether they are going to defend Geert Wilders against the attempt to criminalise him for exercising his freedom to speak in defence of life, liberty and western liberalism — ‚   or whether they are going to run up the white flag in the face of Islamist totalitarianism enforced by its already enslaved western dupes.

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