The Blond Freedom Fighter
By Gregory Crouch
New York Times, March 22, 2008
Edited by Andy Ross
For more than two decades, Geert Wilders, the controversial anti-Islam
member of the Dutch Parliament, has dyed his hair a platinum blond. He has
built a career and a new political party on a risky and defiant
outlandishness that encompasses everything from his hairstyle to his
Wilders, 44, is in the news for a
10-to-15-minute film he says he has made depicting the Koran as the
inspiration for terrorist attacks and other violence. Having failed to
persuade a single Dutch television network to broadcast the film in its
entirety, he said he planned to release it on the Internet by the end of
He routinely equates the Koran with Hitler's Mein Kampf,
saying it should be banned in the Netherlands, and he declared in an
interview that the Prophet Muhammad could be compared to the German
dictator. Wilders said he made the film to show that "Islam and the
Koran are part of a fascist ideology that wants to kill everything we stand
for in a modern Western democracy."
Some here see Wilders' film
titled "Fitna," Arabic for civil strife as a potential hate crime and
have already filed police complaints in various Dutch cities, concerned that
his past statements and the film will polarize religious groups and foster
discrimination. His supporters say he protects traditional Dutch values. His
critics say he is a right-wing extremist risking his country's good name for
his own political gain.
Wilders, who lives under constant police
protection in an undisclosed location, is undeterred by threats from the
Taliban to escalate attacks against Dutch soldiers in Afghanistan if the
film is released. Nor is he moved by Dutch expatriates abroad who,
remembering the fallout from the Danish cartoons featuring the Prophet
Muhammad, worry that the film may make their lives harder, or even
Framing himself as a defender of free speech, Wilders
said there would not be such a fuss about his film if it were about the
Bible. "We can never allow people who use nondemocratic means, people who
use violence instead of arguments, people who use knives instead of debates,
we can never allow them to set the agenda," he said.
After the 2004
release of a short film here that graphically portrayed the abuse of women
in the Islamic world, the director, Theo van Gogh, was killed by a Muslim
extremist. Wilders, already in the Dutch Parliament for six years at
that point, was not associated with that film, but he went briefly into
hiding when government security forces feared he might become the next
Two years later, memories of the van Gogh murder coupled
with concerns about Muslim immigration helped Wilders and his newly
formed Party for Freedom capture 6 percent of the seats in Parliament. Of
the Netherlands' 16.5 million residents, a million are either Muslim or of
Wilders says he detests
Islam but not Muslims. He was raised Roman Catholic, but is no longer
religious. He traveled and worked his way through the Middle East for two
years after his high school graduation. Since then, he said, he has visited
Israel at least 40 times and maintains close contacts there.
The Brussels Journal, March 12, 2008
Edited by Andy Ross
Geert Wilders has had to cancel the March 28 press conference where he intended to
show his 10-minute movie Fitna. The Nieuwspoort press center in The Hague wanted Wilders to
pay 400,000 euros for extra safety measures. No Dutch broadcaster has been
willing to show the film.
Dutch international companies, fearing a
boycott of their products by Muslims, have announced that they intend to
hold Wilders responsible for a loss of profits and markets in the event
of a boycott. Lawyers have already lodged some fifty formal complaints
against the politician for "incitement to racial hatred and discrimination
of Muslims" because Wilders expressed the opinion that the Koran is "a
fascist book which should be banned in the Netherlands."
November, when Wilders announced he was going to make a movie expressing his
view on Islam and the Koran, Doekle Terpstra, a member of the board of
directors of Unilever, told the Dutch media that
"Geert Wilders is evil, and evil has to be stopped." Terpstra called
upon the Dutch to "rise in order to stop Wilders from preaching his evil
Wilders has been
living under police protection for almost four years. Muslim fanatics have
threatened to assassinate him for his outspoken criticism of Islam. The
politician has no fixed residence and has to live in army barracks or other
heavily secured premises.
leading Dutch journalist Henk Hofland proposed that the Dutch authorities
lift Geert Wilders' police protection. Hofland asserted that, if Dutch
citizens get murdered in retaliation for Wilders' opinions on Islam, not the
assassins are to be blamed, but the politician. Hofland is not the
only Dutchman willing to deliver Wilders and other critics of Islam to
those who want to murder them. In an interview last week, Wilders, who is
married but has no children, said that he is prepared to die for his
The Wilders Controversy
The Brussels Journal, March 4, 2008
Edited by Andy Ross
Europe is anxiously awaiting Geert Wilders' movie on the Koran. The Dutch
government fears that the release of the movie might lead to terror attacks
on the Netherlands or on Dutch citizens abroad. The government may seek to
ban the film.
Last week Wilders complained that the Dutch authorities
are putting him under pressure not to release his 10-minute film. Yesterday,
a poll showed that the governing Dutch Christian Democrats of Prime Minister
Jan-Peter Balkenende are losing popularity because of their attempts to tone
Wilders likes to point out that the Koran is "as
intolerant and dangerous as Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf." If his movie shows
praying Muslims next to marching Nazis, or if it compares Koran verses to
antisemitic rants by Hitler, that may seem outrageous to Western eyes. But
it will hardly affect Muslim radicals, who tend to agree with Hitler.
If Wilders were a wiser man he would have focused on the question
whether Muslims belong in the Netherlands rather than on whether or not the
Koran is an intolerant book. He is putting his own life at stake as well as
that of millions of his compatriots.
The Wilders Trial
City Journal, January 19, 2011
Edited by Andy Ross
Last year, Geert Wilders was charged under articles in the Dutch penal code
that forbid group insult, hate speech, and incitement to discrimination.
Wilders had made such statements as: "The heart of the problem is the
fascist nature of Islam" and "Islam is a violent religion."
The trial dominated public debate in the Netherlands for months. Wilders' lawyers
successfully appealed for a declaration that the judges in the Amsterdam
District Court had appeared biased. The trial will now have to start all
The public prosecutor, Paul Velleman, initially refused
to prosecute Wilders. In refusing to press charges, Velleman acknowledged
that Wilders' statements "may have been insulting for Muslims," but
concluded that Wilders was not guilty of lawbreaking, since the statements
were made "in the context of public debate."
The court heard three
defense witnesses: Hans Jansen, an author of books on Islam; his former
student, Simon Admiraal; and Wafa Sultan, a journalist who grew up in Syria.
Admiraal said Islam is an ideology and testified that Wilders had
correctly translated the Koranic verse that opens his film Fitna: "Prepare
for them whatever force and cavalry ye are able of gathering to strike
terror, to strike terror into the hearts of the enemies, of Allah and your
Jansen emphasized that Islam prides itself on the
destruction of the Christian and Zoroastrian empires that flourished in the
Middle East before Islam. He said that no moderate Islam exists, that
moderate Muslims exist but they do not have scripture on their side.
Sultan said that inequality between men and women, aggression toward
unbelievers, and the lack of ambition and scientific development found in
the Islamic world were all rooted in the essential teachings of Islam.
The public prosecutor, Paul Velleman, addressed the charges against
Wilders and demanded an acquittal. Wilders' main defense lawyer, Bram
Moszkowicz, appealed to the challenging committee that the judges appeared
biased. The committee agreed and the judges were dismissed from the case.
Preparing a retrial may take a year.
The Wilders trial has inflamed
feeling everywhere in Europe about the place of Islam in European society.
Islam itself may stand trial in Holland.
Wilders Back in Court
Associated Press, February 7, 2011
Edited by Andy Ross
Lawyers for Geert Wilders say that if their client's case is not dismissed
they want a retrial with new defense witnesses including Mohammed Bouyeri,
the extremist serving a life sentence for the 2004 murder of filmmaker Theo
Wilders faces charges of inciting hatred against Muslims
after he compared Islam to fascism and called for a ban on the Quran. His
case pits his right to free speech against the right of Muslim immigrants to
freedom from insult and discrimination.
A new panel of judges is
hearing the case against Wilders after the previous tribunal stepped down
last October. The panel must decide whether to dismiss the charges, change
the venue, or begin all over again.
The legal process so far has been
a farce. Prosecutors at first declined to press charges. But an appeals
court ordered the prosecutors to bring the case to trial. Prosecutors
presented their case and then called for acquittal on all counts.
Before the trial judges could rule, allegations emerged of possible bias. A
review panel ordered a new set of judges to take over the case. Prosecutors
say the case should not be dismissed but that defining the nature of Islam
is out of scope.
AR The trial, if and when
it finally results in a judgment, could be historic, for all of us.
Geert Wilders Says No To Islam
By Christopher Dickey
Newsweek, January 15, 2012
Geert Wilders, 48, is a man to watch carefully. His Party for Freedom,
founded in 2005, is the third-largest political party in the Netherlands. At
his parliamentary office in The Hague, Wilders complained that the Obama
administration isn't doing nearly enough to combat the "totalitarian fascist
ideology" of Islam.
Wilders was raised a Roman Catholic in the town
of Venlo but was not much of a student. He quit school and went to stay in a
Jewish farming settlement on the West Bank. Back in the Netherlands he
worked briefly in insurance before going into politics. Populist politicians
in the Netherlands shaped his hostility to Islam.
In recent years
Wilders has dabbled in U.S. politics. On September 10, 2010, he delivered
the keynote address at a rally in New York to denounce the Ground Zero
mosque. "A tolerant society is not a suicidal society," he warned. "We must
not give a free hand to those who want to subjugate us."
no shortage of influential allies in America. His incendiary documentary
film Fitna, attacking the Quran as a manifesto for violence, was given a
special screening on Capitol Hill in 2008. His new book,
Marked for Death: Islams War Against the West and Me, is due out in