I was at this press conference this morning at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Wilders stated the case for free speech forcefully. Will post video when available.
Geert Wilders will also be speaking tonight at 6PM EST at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC, at an event sponsored by theÂ David Horowitz Freedom Center,Â Atlas Shrugs, Jihad Watch, andÂ Dr. Andrew Bostom.
“Geert Wilders: An International First Amendment and a ban on all ‘hate-speech’ laws; Keynotes Center-sponsored press conference,” a press release from theÂ Center for Security Policy:
Washington, DC: Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders, founder and floor leader of the Freedom Party (PVV), and member of the Board of Advisors of theÂ International Free Press Society (IFPS), recounted today before a packed audience in Washington’s National Press Club the recent, alarming attacks on free speech worldwide – including legal actions and death threats to which he and other political leaders and journalists have lately been exposed.Notably, Mr Wilders is being prosecuted in his own county because of reaction to his film “Fitna,” and his remarks challenging the contention that Islam is a “religion of peace.”
Attendees at the press conference co-sponsored by theÂ Center for Security PolicyÂ and the International Free Press Society had an opportunity to view “Fitna” in its entirety and to engage in a lively question and answer session with Mr. Wilders. The film features quotations from the Koran, documentary footage of Islamic leaders inciting violence (jihad) based on those quotations, and documentary footage of the results: deaths of innocent civilians and destruction of property in various Western nations.
The film can be viewed atÂ http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=216_1207467783
Highlights of Mr. Wilders’ remarks (a copy of his entire statement may obtainedÂ here) included the following:
The real question is: will free speech be put behind bars? And the larger question for the West is: will we leave Europe’s children the values of Rome, Athens and Jerusalem, or the values of Mecca Teheran, and Gaza?Hate speech will always be used against the people defending the West-in order to please and appease Muslims. They can say whatever they want: throw gays from apartment buildings, kill the Jews, slaughter the infidel, destroy Israel, jihad against the West. Whatever their book tells them.
…My prosecution is a full-fledged attack by the Left on freedom of speech in order to please Muslims.
I propose the withdrawal of all hate speech legislation in Europe….In Europe, we should defend freedom of speech like Americans do….Millions think liberty is precious. That democracy is better than Shariah….there is no stronger power than the force of free men fighting for the great cause of liberty.
In welcoming Mr. Wilders to America, Frank Gaffney, President of the Center for Security Policy, observed that the threats he faces are actually threats to all of us. They arise from the theo-political-legal program authoritative Islam calls “Shariah”: Mr. Gaffney observed that:
The insinuation of Shariah legal codes and practices into Free World societies includes the effort to impose Shariah blasphemy, slander and libel laws in the West. According to Shariah, it is impermissible to engage in speech or writings that ‘defame’ Islam or otherwise offend its followers. We must oppose all these efforts.
Diana West, the syndicated columnist and best-selling author who serves as Vice President of the International Free Press Society said:
The ideal speech protections lie in the spirit of the American First Amendment. While Mr. Wilders would clearly live and breathe more easily with such speech protections, it is important for all of us who are here today to witness him speak to note, that even under existing legal constraints, governmental efforts to further
Lars Hedegaard, President of the International Free Press Society, introduced Wilders and outlined the IFPS 2009 campaign to ban hate speech laws and to work for an “International First Amendment.” Mr. Hedegaard said:
The hate speech and blasphemy laws that are now common in many European countries lack clarity as to precisely what they aim to criminalize. Recent experience with their implementation further shows that they are unequally applied. This state of affairs is intolerable and the IFPS must therefore demand that all such laws be repealed. The way to deal with controversial, offensive or even hateful statements-unless they are directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action-is to expose them to public debate and criticism.
A video of the entire press conference will be available shortly at the Center for Security Policy’s website: www.SecureFreedom.org.