See WND’s interview with Geert Wilders:
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. — With members of his permanent security detail scanning the perimeter of a patio cast in the glow of a Hollywood Hills sunset, Geert Wilders explained why he believes the definition of the global threat articulated by President Trump in his historic speech Sunday in Saudi Arabia is off the mark.
As the Dutch politician spoke to WND before addressing the American Freedom Alliance’s annual Heroes of Conscience dinner here Sunday night, it wasn’t hard to imagine why he has been under constant protection, courtesy of his government, since November 2004, when two North African Muslims were accused of planning to murder him.
“Islam is the problem,” said Wilders, the leader of the Party for Freedom, now the country’s second largest in Parliament.
“We can only deal with [the threat] if we first face the truth, [which] might not be too politically correct, but still is the truth, and that is that Islam — and not Islamism or radical Islam, but Islam — is an evil ideology like communism or fascism that has no place in a free society,” he told WND.
“And at the end of the day it will replace us, and we will lose our freedom,” he said.
The West, Wilders emphasized, is “faced today with an existential problem.”
“If we don’t act today, we cease to exist in the future.”
Wilders applauded Trump for frankly recognizing the global “fight between good and evil,” but the Dutchman insisted the evil isn’t confined to certain people within the community of Islam.
“It’s not that we have two different kinds of Islam,” he said.
“I acknowledge the fact that we have two kinds of people. There are moderate Muslims and non-moderate Muslims. But there is really only one Islam, and this is the Islam of the life of Muhammad, of the Quran, of the Hadiths, of the Sunnah.”
Casting the problem any other way won’t bring the West closer to a solution, he insisted.
Trump, in his speech Sunday in Riyadh, said terrorists “do not worship God, they worship death.”
“This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations,” the president said. “This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life, and decent people of all religions who seek to protect it.”
Wilders argues it’s “impossible for the ideology of Islam to assimilate in a free society.”
“People can. Ideology cannot. And you see it in almost every country in the world today where Islam is dominant. You see a total lack of civil society. A lack of freedom. A lack of free speech,” he said.
“We should not import it any more to our society. Not because we hate the people, but because we have a problem with the ideology that is totally incompatible with freedom,” said Wilders.
He noted speaking out “comes with a price.”
“You are taken to court. You are put on the death list of terrorist organizations. People call you a bigot,” he said.
“But still, if you know that you are talking the truth,” said Wilders, “you can look in the mirror without being ashamed at night.”
Wilders, who wears a bulletproof vest, lives in a safe house and is escorted to his office at The Hague in an armored vehicle each work day.
“In the process of fighting for the freedom of my own people, I lost my own freedom. I can do nothing without police detail anywhere and everywhere I go,” he said.
“The sad thing is now, 13 years later, after it started for me, we are all on the death list of those kinds of organizations.”
Wilders was banned from the U.K. as an “undesirable person” under Prime Minister Gordon Brown in February 2009, two days before he was scheduled to show his controversial film “Fitna,” warning of the Islamization of Europe, at the invitation of two members of the House of Lords. The ban was overturned by Britain’s Asylum and Immigration Tribunal in 2009.
Turkish, Moroccan and Antillean organizations in the country brought charges against him of criminally insulting religious and ethnic groups and inciting hatred and discrimination. In 2011, he was acquitted by a judge who called his statements about Islam “gross and denigrating” but ruled they didn’t constitute hatred against Muslims and, therefore, were “acceptable within the context of public debate.”
Just five months ago, however, he was convicted of inciting discrimination and of insulting a group for leading an anti-Moroccan chant at a political rally. The three-member judiciary panel, while determining his remarks violated Dutch law, decided not to convict him of inciting hatred and imposed no punishment.
‘It’s who we are’
Wilders, 53, considers himself an agnostic, but he insists maintaining Western civilization’s Judeo-Christian roots is essential.
“It’s our culture. It’s who we are. And you can share the identity without belonging to it yourself,” he said.
“It’s very important that we share the same values,” Wilders continued. “For instance, tolerance. Only we took it a little bit too far. We have to be tolerant of the tolerant, but we’ve forgotten that we should not be tolerant of people who are intolerant to us.”
Awash in cultural relativism, he said, establishment politicians and academics “fool the people by saying that all cultures are equal.”
Consequently, he said, Europeans have lost their identity.
“People don’t know who they are anymore. And if you don’t know what you are, you don’t know what you are not either,” said Wilders.
To regain national identity, he said, his country should join the United Kingdom in leaving the European Union.
“I am not ashamed to say that our culture is far better than the Islamic culture, which is a culture of barbarism,” he said. “We should be honest and speak about the truth, and this, unfortunately, is the truth.”
Coming to America
He warned that the Syrian refugee crisis that has rocked Europe will be dwarfed by what is to come if the trends continue. The population of Africa alone is set to quadruple by the end of the century, and one third of the population wants to emigrate to Europe.
“You haven’t seen anything yet if we don’t act today,” he said.
And what is happening in Europe could very well come to America, he said.
“Be vigilant, defend your freedom. Don’t be politically correct. And speak the truth, because I know that your sons and your children and your grandchildren want to live in a free America,” Wilders said, speaking directly to Americans.
As evidence of the failure to assimilate, in a speech to parliament in 2014 he cited a study showing that nearly three-quarters of ethnic Turks and Moroccans in the Netherlands regard those who leave the European nation to join jihadists in Syria as “heroes.” Wilders pointed out that the same percentage of Dutch Muslims condoned the 9/11 attacks.
“Of course, not all Muslims are terrorists,” he told WND, “but unfortunately, almost all terrorists today are Muslims, and that’s a reality that we face.”
Wilders was in Garland, Texas, in May 2015 when two Muslim men who lived in Phoenix were killed by police as they tried to carry out an attack at a Muhammad art exhibit and contest, regarded as the first attack on U.S. soil in which ISIS claimed responsibility.
Before the Garland event, three U.S. congressmen – two of them Muslim – asked Secretary of State John Kerry and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to reject Wilders’ visa, charging alleged ongoing “participation in inciting anti-Muslim aggression and violence.”
Israel ‘fighting our fight’
Many of Wilders’ critics insist he is motivated by sheer bigotry, but he argues the Netherlands is “still a very tolerant country.”
If he were a bigot, he reasoned, his party would have only 0.1 percent of the vote. His Party of Freedom, however, is the second largest of 13 in the House and Parliament, winning 13.1 percent of the vote in March.
“So we are very successful and anything but extreme right or bigoted,” he said.
Wilders traces the formation of his views to his two years living in Israel, including a year on a kibbutz, and traveling all over the Arab world to places such as Iran, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Jordan and Afghanistan.
“I often saw very friendly people,” he said. “But I also saw hate.”
He describes Israel, a “beacon of light in an area of total darkness,” as “the canary in the coal mine.”
“They are fighting our fight,” he said. “If Jerusalem falls, Athens, Amsterdam and Rome will be next.”