Philosophy without knowledge is repugnant: cowardly critics of Geert Wilders shame Australia

On daring to hear Wilders, and on simply smearing him

Andrew Bolt

AUSTRALIA: Geert Wilders greeted in Melbourne by rabid Left Wing Fascists and Islamofascists

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Cowardly critics of Geert Wilders shame our country

IF Geert Wilders is wrong, let his critics explain next month’s “Islamic Peace Conference” at the Melbourne Showgrounds.

I’ve checked what huge billboards around Melbourne claim is the “largest ever Islamic Conference in the history of Australia”, at which 20,000 people are expected.

I’ve checked what the “chief guest” – Sheikh Abdur-Rahman Al-Sudais, imam of Mecca’s Grand Mosque – has said of Jews: “The scum of the human race, the rats of the world, . . . the offspring of apes and pigs” whom God should “terminate”.

I’ve checked what other invited speakers have said about killing gays, beating women to make them “shape up”, executing apostates and supporting terrorists.

And the evidence is damning: Wilders’ critics owe him an apology for having been so blind. So cowardly.

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Wilders is the eloquent leader of Holland’s third-largest political party and last week tried to conduct a speaking tour of Australia to argue Islam is incompatible with Western values and freedoms.

Wilders might know. For nine years, he has had to live under constant police guard after criticising Islam.

Islamists have been jailed after plotting his death. Another Islamist used a knife to pin a note to the body of slaughtered film director Theo van Gogh, warning Wilders would be next.

Yes, most Muslims are moderate, Wilders agrees, but their “violent Islamic ideology” is not and commands followers not to be, either.

If so, mass immigration to the West of followers of such an ideology is a danger.

There may be good arguments against this, but attempts here to simply drown Wilders out with abuse, misrepresentation and threats shame this country.

His Melbourne speech was blockaded by violent protesters. His Perth speech was called off when the venue became one of 30 to cancel for fear of reprisals.

Even the Executive Council of Australian Jewry claimed it was Wilders, himself, who incited hatreds: “Inciting hatred and animosity towards specific cultural or faith-based communities has no place in Australia.”

The Islamic Council of Victoria, along with the Victorian Council of Churches, agreed : “We are concerned that the visit of Mr Wilders will be used to introduce overseas hatreds.”

Yet this same Islamic Council actively promotes next month’s “Islamic Peace Conference”, some of whose invited speakers preach an Islam that sounds just like the imported hatred Wilders describes.

The conference is fronted by Wazeem Razvi, founder of the Melbourne-based Islamic Research and Education Academy and supporter of Sharia law here.

“We are not non-violent,” he preached last year.

“We are violent but when there is a need for it . . . We have in Islam, jihad, yes, but we will never do terrorism. Yes, jihad is very Islamic.”

But in a recorded speech in December, Razvi said one of the speakers he had invited for the conference was Indian sheikh Zakir Naik, “my boss’s boss”, who has a very different line on terrorism.

A YouTube clip shows Naik declaring: “If (late terrorist chief Osama bin Laden) is fighting the enemies of Islam, I am for him.” He adds: “Every Muslim should be a terrorist.”

Razvi talks big, and none of the overseas speakers he claimed in December he had asked is yet listed in the conference schedule.

But his wish list suggests the Islam he wants to push.

Another invited speaker is Sheikh Assim Al-Hakeem, who says “homosexuality is an abnormality” to be punished by death.

He says polygamy is allowed, genital mutilation of girls “recommended”, and wives refusing their husbands sex “a sin”.

Leaving Islam “is apostasy and it is punishable by death in an Islamic society”.

Another speaker, Abu Hamza, head of the Islamic Information Services Network of Australasia, also says women “must respond” if their husbands want sex and could be beaten “to shape them up”.

“Don’t hit your wife,” Hamza says on YouTube, before instructing men to do so in an Islamic way as a “last resort” without causing bruising or bleeding: “The beating the prophet Mohammed showed is like the toothbrush.”

Malaysia’s Sheikh Hussain Yee, another invitee, claims Jews celebrated the September 11 attacks and are the true “extremists”.

Then there’s Sheikh Mohammed Omran, head of Australia’s fundamentalist Ahl as Sunnah wal Jamah, who once said: “I dispute any evil action linked to bin Laden.” Later he conceded: “He is a good man in some ways, and not in other ways.”

I don’t say all Muslim groups backing this conference know of or support these statements. Razvi claimed he was surprised to hear of Sudais’ attacks on Jews.

Yet the question remains: why is Wilders vilified for warning against exactly the Islam preached by invitees to the “largest ever Islamic Conference in the history of Australia”?

Reader kw:


Hi Andrew

I want to share my experience of attending the Geert Wilders’ talk last Friday evening in Liverpool NSW. I hope that you will share this with other readers of your blog.

I drove to Liverpool at 6.00pm on Friday with a friend, after receiving that morning an email notification of the venue (which was withheld till the last moment, as a security precaution). I admit that I was worried about attending the talk, given that Geert Wilders’ talk in Melbourne in the previous week had been disrupted by some violent protests.

When we arrived at the venue, there was a group of protestors (about 30 or so in number) in the street, who were chanting ‘anti-racist’ slogans and expressing their objection to Geert Wilders’ tour. Some of the protestors actually shouted abuse at people who were trying to enter the talk venue, but there was no violence. The NSW Police were superb in the way that they handled the situation, ensuring the safety of those attending the talk; the police were present in large numbers, with general duty officers, public order and riot squad officers, and mounted police officers. I also noted the presence of a number of high ranking police officers. The NSW Police deserve to be congratulated on the way that they carried out their duty on this occasion, which is “to serve and protect” the community.

When we arrived at the entrance to the venue, we commenced a process of the most remarkable and thorough security check/s that I have ever experienced in my 66 years. All those attending the talk were required to:

• produce photo ID and their email ticket(on three separate occasions)
• have their bags physically searched
• go through a metal detector
• undergo an individual body scan
• have their names marked off a roll, and
• have an identification tag placed on their wrist.

The venue was bristling with private security guards and, I presume, plain clothes police. While the security arrangements were superb, and I felt reasonably safe, I was saddened in the realisation that all of this was now necessary in our Australian society. What have we become, that Australians should feel afraid to go out to listen to someone express his views in a peaceful way?

kw’s full letter is in the comments thread. He says he found Wilders to be not at all the far-Right racist portrayed by so many media outlets.

UPDATE

Typical of the lazy smearing of Wilders is this effort in The Age by Tim Soutphommasane, political philosopher at the University of Sydney and member of the Australian Multicultural Council:

To put it plainly, we have to put up with things [in a liberal democracy] we may find repugnant. We have to tolerate the intolerable.

For the vast majority of us, Wilders’ views belong to this category.

Define “us” who find Wilders “repugnant”. Is it Age readers? Academics? Professional multiculturalists?

[Wilders] believes Islam is


‘’a dangerous totalitarian ideology’’ that is incompatible with liberal freedom. The prophet Muhammad was, he argues, 
‘’a warlord, terrorist and paedophile’’.

According to Wilders, Australia should cease accepting Muslim immigrants. While we’re at it, we should ban the Koran and the building of mosques. Any accommodation of Islam will ultimately deprive us of ‘’our freedom, our identity, our democracy, our rule of law, and all our liberties’’.

It doesn’t take too much thought to understand that Wilders’ message is one of hate and division.

That depends on your view of Islam. If you believe Islam preaches hatred of Jews, a shunning of unbelievers, the execution of gays and the subjugation of women, you could well argue that opposing such an ideology is not to preach “hate and division” but oppose it. Soutphommasane is simply begging the question and shooting the messenger – not disproving him.

Short of Wilders breaking laws or inciting violence, the proper response wasn’t to keep him out or expel him – it was to demonstrate the falsehood of his views.

There is an evasion here. Soutphommasane fails to note the Gillard Government indeed managed to keep out Wilders last year by stalling for two months on his visa, causing his original speaking tour to be postponed.

As for Soutphommasane declaring the real challenge lies in “disproving” Wilders, nowhere in his article does he do so. Nowhere does he disprove what he lists as evidence of Wilders being “repugnant” – Wilders’ claim that Islam is ‘’a dangerous totalitarian ideology’’ incompatible with liberal freedom and that Muhammad was “‘a warlord, terrorist and paedophile’’.

The Wilders visit has presented, if anything, an occasion for us to reaffirm the success of multicultural Australia. Somewhat ironically, the past week has been a good demonstration of how Muslim communities in this country have exercised that liberal virtue of tolerating the intolerable. Contrary to type, there were no burnings of effigies, no local fatwahs issued.

“Contrary to type”? Is Soutphommasane indeed noting just the intolerance of free speech Wilders warns against, so vividly demonstrated by the violent protests against the videoInnocence of Muslims, the fatwa against writer Salman Rushie, the murder plots against the Danish cartoonists, the attempted shooting this week of Swedish historian Lars Hedegaard, the murder of director Theo van Gogh and the death threats against Wilders’ himself?

Soutphommasane is right to note there was no local fatwahs issued against Wilders. But he is very wrong to claim all Muslims here showed “that liberal virtue of tolerating the intolerable”. Muslims were among the protesters who violently picketed Wilders’ Melbourne speech, and some of the people posting vile attacks and threats on the Facebook site of the venue had Arabic names. Fear of protests drove 30 venues to cancel bookings for the Wilders tour. Musilm students (as well as Leftist protesters) were broadcast vilifying Wilders as a racist and hate-preacher.

This does not strike me as a demonstration of “tolerating the intolerable”. On the contrary, Soutphommasane’s absurd praise reads to me more like a sigh at having escaped a reaction he feared would be worse.

Not nearly enough has been said about our liberal toleration of Wilders. For all the predictable complaints about political correctness shutting down free speech, our Dutch guest enjoyed a broad national audience. There have been interviews and news reports on television, radio and newspapers (not to mention social media). At the time of writing, the Victorian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission has received not one complaint about his visit to Melbourne. So much for any alleged multicultural censorship.

Much of the coverage of Wilders was to damn him. What was to complain of? No politician, even Wilders supporters, dared to meet him. The WA Premier boasted of having helped to deny Wilders any venue in Perth. Fear of lawfare no doubt deterred public expressions of support for Wilders’ message, of which there were remarkably few. And it is a fallacy to suggest that censorship does not exist if a single person is found who is not censored.

For all of their talk about liberal freedoms, Wilders and his ilk are profoundly illiberal. They endorse free speech, but fail to accept this means those who disagree with them have the freedom to denounce them too.

I’ve spoken to Wilders. I have heard him say the very opposite of what Soutphommasane claims. He does not deny the right of anyone to denounce or debate him. Indeed, he would welcome a debate. Soutphommasane’s allegation is simply false.

 

They speak highly of a free society, yet forget that a liberal state must not dictate its citizens’ religious convictions.

That’s largely false. Wilders does not want government to dictate the faith of its citizens. What is wants is the state to curb immigration from Islamic countries. Soutphommasane may well find that offensive, but he should not mischaracterise Wilders’ message. I would go only with Soutphommasane only on this: Wilders has said both that we wants to ban the Koran and that he doesn;t – and banning the Koran is an illiberal act that the state has no business making. I am also against Wilders’ call to ban outright the building of mosques.

 (Im disagree with Andrew here. A mosque is not simply  a place of worship, it is our sworn enemies headquarters,  behind enemy lines, in the middle of the dar-al harb. It is the same as allowing the Nazis to build a propaganda centre in NYC or in Washington.)

Let’s not mince words. Wilders and his local Q Society supporters are proponents of a thinly veiled form of racism.

What racism? Also on Wilders’ tour, speaking with him, was a former Muslim. Wilders is not against a race but an ideology. Again, Soutphommasane misrepresents what Wilders says in order to smear him.

 

It’s the sort you hear from the sly bigot who says he hates Asians or Jews or Muslims – but only in the abstract. It’s the sort that results in someone being judged not on their deeds or character, but on something else.

This is simply incoherent. Wilders does not say he hates Muslims in the abstract. He says the opposite – that he does not hate Muslims, but opposes the Muslim ideology. Again, Soutphommasane misrepresents Wilders in order to smear him.

It is true that the Netherlands, like many countries in Europe, has had its difficulties with migrant integration. In the case of the Dutch, their governments believed that the ‘’pillarisation’’ model they traditionally used to deal with religious and social differences would work with cultural diversity. They never put in place policies to ensure new arrivals would be equipped to participate in Dutch life. They were too diffident in asserting the importance of a unifying Dutch national identity.

Finally, a very muted admission that there may be some truth in some things Wilders says, although the fault is found more with Holland for allegedly not doing more to “equip” Muslims with what’s needed to “participate in Dutch life”. Just why Muslims above any other group needs this equipment provided is not explained. Just what other equipment the Dutch should supply – apart from free schooling, freedom of speech, free medical care for the poor, Dutch classes and lots of welfare – is not discussed. Also not noted is that Dutch-born Muslim youths are wildly overrepresented in crime rates. What “equipment” do they lack?


In Australia, however, we have struck the right balance between solidarity and diversity, between rights and responsibilities. Where a cultural practice is inconsistent with parliamentary democracy, the rule of law or individual liberties, we are bound to decline to endorse it.

Soutphommasane may be right, although this criticism suggests Wilders is simply wrong about Australia and is not the racist Soutphommasane claims. But Wilders might well argue in return that Australia nevertheless does have problems with its Muslim minority, as demonstrated by the fact – for instance – that almost everyone convicted here of terrorism is Muslim. He might further point out that Australia’s relative success might have something to do with Muslims here representing 2.2 per cent of the population, while Holland’s comprisesnearly 6 per cent.

It’s as simple as that. Official multiculturalism has never meant cultural relativism.

This is debatable. And it ignores what Muslims, among other religious or ethnic groups, take multiculturalism to mean. The real question is whether Australia is now tribalising, with newcomers especially retreating into ethnic enclaves. This is the real issue, and, again, Soutphommasane dodges it. A brisk walk through Lakemba might help.

And engaging with what Wilders actually says might help even more. Wilders may be wrong, but Soutphommasane has not proved it. To resort to smears, evasions and misrepresentations suggests Soutphommasane actually has trouble disputing what Wilders came here to discuss.

3 thoughts on “Philosophy without knowledge is repugnant: cowardly critics of Geert Wilders shame Australia”

  1. *cough, cough* I was there ! There were no more than 50 to 60 protestors, 150 police and 560 of us.

    Emma needs to check her Math and facts.

  2. Sorry to sidetrack.
    The children and grandchildren of multimillionairs and billionaires MUSLIMS are currently being educated in western colledges and unversities and schools.Most of these millionaires acquire their wealth by exploiting infidels,cronysm,manipulation of oil prices,terror etc.
    Some are supporters of Jihad.
    Want to make easy money?
    Copy techniques of Somali pirates.
    Please pass this message to as many as possible .
    Thank you.

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