I first wrote this post back in February 2013, when Geert Wilders was in Australia, being bigoted and racist. Given Tony Abbott’s recent comments about instituting a law to ban hate preachers (we already have such laws, but never mind), and a random Guardian commenter’s hope that this wouldn’t block Geert from coming out to Australia, I thought I’d republish this post so we can remember what Geert actually believes in, and the outcome of beliefs such as his.
Geert Wilders, the bigoted and racist Dutch politician, is in Australia peddling Islamaphobia. It is safe to say that I pretty much disagree with everything he has to say. In the marketplace of ideas his viewpoints attract people who already hold the same repugnant views as himself, those that haven’t actually thought deeply about what is being said, and those who are afraid of difference. I hope in this post to reach the last two groups, the first is welded off from hearing anything I say.
Wilders would have you believe that Europe is at risk of being overrun by Muslims and that he alone stands against the Muslim tide, which would have everyone required to submit to Sharia law, cats and dogs living together, or something. The article in today’s Age is a bit vague about what all these threats are:
Mr Wilders – impeccably dressed and coiffured, a polished media performer who never raised his voice despite some hostile questioning – said Islam was a totalitarian system that was incompatible with freedom. Individual Muslims might integrate into Western countries, but Islam never could.
“I am here to talk about the Islamisation of Europe,” he said. “If you think what happened in Europe will not happen in Australia, you are totally wrong.”
Shorter Wilders, “The Muslims are coming, things will go badly, run for the hills/ban them from coming in the first place!”
I don’t know “what happened in Europe”, I’m guessing that the French Government banning of Face Covering is clearly the fist move by the Muslims to take Europe, closely followed by banning of Mosque Minarets. Europe must be reeling from such attacks by the Muslim community… oh no wait, I got that back to front – the bigoted and racist Governments in Europe are making the Muslim communities in their respective countries feel unwelcome and unappreciated.
I might also mention from Wikipedia:
Major lethal attacks on civilians in Europe credited to Islamist terrorism include the 1985 El Descanso bombing in Madrid, the 1995 Paris Metro bombings, 11 March 2004 bombings of commuter trains in Madrid, where 191 people were killed, and the 7 July 2005 London bombings, also of public transport, which killed 52 commuters. According to EU Terrorism Report, however, there were almost 500 acts of terrorism across the European Union in 2006, but only one, the foiled suitcase bomb plot in Germany, was related to Islamist terror. In 2009, a Europol report also showed that more than 99% of terrorist attacks in Europe over the last three years were, in fact, carried out by non-Muslims. In terms of arrests, out of a total of 1,009 arrested terror suspects in 2008, 187 of them were arrested in relation to Islamist terrorism. The report also showed that the majority of Islamist terror suspects were not first generation immigrants, but were rather children of immigrants who no longer identified with the culture of their parents and at the same time felt excluded from Western society, “which still perceives them as foreigners,” thus they became “more attracted to the idea of becoming ‘citizens’ of the virtual worldwide Islamic community, removed from territory and national culture.” [emphasis added]
In reality, the Islamisation of Europe is all in Wilders’s, and others who think like him, head. Governments in Europe are nowhere near embracing Islam and instead are making life difficult for their respective Muslim communities. It is this difficulty and entrenched racism that drives some to extremism. Less people like Wilders would probably mean less extremists, if I am reading the bolded text above correctly.
For those who believe the Muslim Demographics urban myth, Snopes.com have a lovely debunking of that for you here.
Let’s now consider a vital point that Wilders and his ilk hope you don’t think about. They talk constantly about the Muslim threat, the Islamisation of Europe, that Muslims are effectively plotting together to enact Sharia in a town near you. Now just think about this for a moment. Of all the people you know, how many of them are 100% committed to a religious or political idealology? Of all those people, what is the percentage of them who will act on their religious or political idealology to attempt to change the status quo? Of that percentage, how many of them are going to be ultimately successful? It’ll be a number fairly close to zero. Now, how many Muslims do you think are actively engaged in Islamicising the nearest town?
Now this may surprise some people but Muslims are not a monolith, they do not have an agenda to take over Europe, or Australia, or even the world. Muslims don’t even have a central authority unlike Catholicism and the Anglican Church. The idea of an overarching Muslim agenda smacks very much of a rewording of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. A hoax which ultimately resulted in the Holocaust.
The average person has average dreams and ambitions, to be happy, to have somewhere to live, to have people to love and be loved, to enjoy their day, to have enough food to feel full, to be healthy, and to be financially comfortable. To suggest that anyone of any religion does not have these dreams and ambitions is suggest that they are not the same as you, that they are a completely different type of person and that they have alien desires to your own.
I know that new things are different, and that people asking for recognition of the articles of their faith may seem like they are attempting to force their beliefs on you, but just as religious days such as Christmas and Easter are public holidays in Australia, and that Coles promotes “Fish for Lent” (which pushes Christianity and Catholicism respectively on everyone else), surely recognising that other religions have their own special days and special dietary requirements won’t hurt. In fact, if it weren’t for the fantastic people who have braved the institutional racism of Australia when they came here, Australia would be a far poorer country in relation to art, fashion, food, innovation, business, design and other fields of endeavour.
Eating Halal food will not make you Muslim no more than eating Kosher food would make you Jewish. Halal and Kosher are terms that relate to religious requirements for food, they are not a gateway drug into religious experience. Eating fish during Lent does not make one a Catholic, avoiding eating beef does not make one a Hindu, and being a vegetarian does not make one a Jain or Buddhist. With the exception of the Mormons baptising people after they’ve died, you cannot be inducted into a religion by stealth.
No religion is superior to another, they are all flawed and I’m not a fan, but I respect people’s individual rights to believe and participate in any faith they choose.
For those people who argue Al Qaeda, I would like to remind you that they are a fringe group, and are definitely a terrorist group, a group who can only control through terror. I would also point out that other religions have also had their own terrorist groups with Christian Militias (with Israeli help) in Lebanon massacring Muslims in Sabra and Shatila; the Catholics and Protestants in Northern Island; the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda; the Klu Klux Klan in the US, and Sikh Extremism. There is no way that terrorism is an activity only undertaken by Muslim extremists.
- People who follow a religion are people
- No religion is superior than another
- Terrorism is a result of extremism and elements of fundamentalism which can occur in any religious group
- Recognising different religion’s special days and dietary requirements is not conversion by stealth
- You cannot be stealth inducted into a religion