Nashville hotel boots anti-jihad conference

By Bob Unruh

Geert Wilders

A Nashville, Tenn., hotel has summarily cancelled a meeting scheduled in its facilities by the New English Review, which is holding a conference this weekend called “Understanding the Jihad in Israel, Europe and America” and featuring a video presentation by Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders.

WND had reported only about 10 weeks ago when Wilders, whose film “Fitna” warns that Islam is threatening Western civilization, was banned from entering the United Kingdom.

Wilders had been invited to Britain in February for a special private screening of “Fitna” for Parliament in what already has been a controversial event because of challenges to his right to show the film.

“Fitna” features Quranic verses shown alongside images of the 9/11 terror attacks, the 2004 attacks in Madrid and the 2005 attacks in London.

The film calls on Muslims to remove “hate-preaching” verses from the text of their holy book.

Wilders, the leader of the Dutch Freedom Party, has been living under 24-hour police protection since 2004. Al-Qaida has called for his murder.

Loews hotel

The New English Review Symposium had been scheduled for the Vanderbilt Loews Hotel, and besides the Wilders video presentation, featured Holocaust author Richard L. Rubenstein, Jihadwatch senior analyst Hugh Fitzgerald, “Legacy of Jihad” author Andrew G. Bostom, New English Review Publisher Rebeccca Bynum, Center for the Study of Political Islam Director Bill Warner and Paul “Dave” Gaubatz, a former federal agency who is directing a major research project into activities of Islamic centers in the U.S. that “advocate terrorist acts against U.S. interests.”

Hotel Manager Director Tom Negri confirmed to WND that the symposium was cancelled by the hotel for the “health, welfare and safety of our guests and team members.”

He refused to explain.

“All I’m willing to say is what I’ve said,” he told WND.

However, Gaubatz told WND that he’d been informed by conference organizers there had been threats made to the hotel by unidentified pro-Islamic interests, and he’d also been on the receiving end of a number of threats himself.

“I got an e-mail … that said the hotel had been receiving intimidation and threats pertaining to our group speaking there, and I personally had been receiving threats, being harassed and intimidated,” he said.

He said the conference simply moved to a new hotel.

The New English Review’s terse website announcement said only: “New English Review’s first annual symposium, ‘Understanding the Jihad in Israel, Europe and America,’ will be held at a secure, undisclosed location. Loews Vanderbilt Plaza Hotel succumbed to intimidation and cancelled hosting our event. Nothing else has changed.”

The program has Gaubatz speaking tomorrow on the subject “Jihadists Do Not Respect Weakness,” and Wilders delivering the keynote via video tomorrow night on “Why I Am In America Fighting For Free Speech.”

The New English Review’s website features commentary by a number of authors who challenge the politically correct line of thought. One recent commentary by Hugh Fitzgerald, a regular contributor to The Iconoclast, discussed the possible admission of Turkey, with its millions of Muslims, to the European Union.

“What would any American government think if the government of France told it that it had a ‘duty’ to open its southern border to anyone and everyone from Mexico, because that would ‘anchor’ Mexico in the North American sphere, and then not only would thirty million Mexicans cross the border, but so too might tens of millions of others, from elsewhere in Latin America, who could more readily pose as ‘Mexicans’ just as, in the case of Turkey in the E.U., many non-Turkish Kurds, Azeris, Arabs, and other Muslims who might appear in France, or Italy, or England as ‘Turks,’ with even greater ease, and in even greater numbers, than they manage to do, with such impunity, today,” he challenged.

“[President] Obama speaks with equal certitude when, in speaking to the world’s Muslims, he announces that, ‘The trust that binds us has been strained.’

“Was it the ‘trust’ that allowed the Americans to overlook, for decades, what Saudi Arabia was like, what its textbooks and clerics taught (and teach still) about Infidels, what vast sums the Saudis and other rich Arabs gave for the spreading of Islam all over the West, and also to corrupt, through armies of Western hirelings, the policy-making apparatus of the Western world, and to delay the day of recognition of what Saudi Arabia, and Islam, meant for the West?” he wrote.

“Was it the ‘trust’ that American policymakers keep putting in Egypt, another ‘staunch ally’ that is in fact a world center of antisemitism, at the center of Arab League machinations to prevent any effective halt to Arab operations in Darfur, Egypt with its renewed persecution of the Copts, and a population eager to pocket American aid, but at the same time deeply hostile to America?” he continued.

“‘The United States and Europe must approach Muslims as our friends, neighbors and partners in fighting injustice, intolerance and violence, forging a relationship based on mutual respect and mutual interests,’ Obama told the summit.

“Why ‘must’ the United States and Europe approach Muslims as ‘our friends’ and ‘partners in fighting injustice, intolerance and violence’? Does Islam teach Muslims that they can be ‘friends’ with non-Muslims, or does Islam inculcate the idea that Muslims must not ‘take Jews and Christians and friends’? And does Islam not further teach that a Muslim may feign friendship, for the greater good of Islam, with non-Muslims, but cannot offer real friendship?” he wrote.

“Does Barack Obama know any of this? Does he know it, but not believe it?” he said.

Wilders’ 17-minute documentary, “Fitna,” meaning “strife,” likened the Quran to Adolf Hitler’s manifesto, “Mein Kampf.”

Judicial authorities in Amsterdam recently confirmed they planned to prosecute him for the film, stating, “In a democratic system, hate speech is considered so serious that it is in the general interest to … draw a clear line.”

“Fitna,” among other things, features archive footage of speeches from Muslim clerics, including one who demanded the “beheading” of all Jews.

Wilders released his film one year ago as Dutch leaders feared a reaction akin to the violence that followed the publication in Denmark of cartoons depicting Islam’s prophet, Muhammad.

Early critics had expressed fears the Wilders film would show a copy of the Quran being destroyed, but the ending offered a slight surprise.

As someone leafs through the Quran, a sound of tearing is heard.

“The sound you heard was from a page [being torn out] of the phone book. It is not up to me, but up to the Muslims themselves to tear the spiteful verses from the Quran,” text on the screen reads. “Stop Islamization. Defend our freedom,” the film concluded.

Wilders has received numerous death threats. His police protection has been in place because of the 2004 murder of Theo Van Gogh, the director of a film that exposed violence against women in Islamic societies.

Since the Van Gogh murder, the government of a nation proud of its liberal social attitudes has cut back on generous welfare programs to immigrants and made Dutch-language classes mandatory for newcomers.

Gaubatz’ work has been profiled by WND before.

The Middle East expert and former Air Force special agent is working on a “counter-terrorism tour” across America in which he plans to visit a mosque in each state in 50 days to assess their threat to the nation’s security.

He said the project, which just started last month, is to shut down Islamic centers “that advocate violence against America” and to prosecute the Islamic leaders “for sedition or treason if they are encouraging their worshippers to attack America from the ‘inside.'”