Beware Islamisation

A few days ago, I was asked by a colleague what I made of the overturning of the ban on Geert Wilders’ entrance to the UK for accepting an invitation to show his film ‘Fitna’ before the House of Lords. He asked if it was really ok that the ban should have been lifted on the man.

Before I offer my reply, take a look at what all the fuss is about. Make sure you’ve a stern enough stomach to watch this. (The film comes and goes, depending on the stomach of the hoster, so be prepared to hunt around for your turn at savouring a moment of free expression and speech, uncensored, if this link doesn’t work.)

Never one to use one word where two might hammer home a particular point, I answered:


Of course the ban should have been lifted, just as it should never have been imposed in the first place eight months before.

The reasons given for the ban relied on wilful misrepresentation of ECHR law, as Jacqui Smith pursued her fearful road of capitulation to the Islamist maniacs in her midst, which law purported to show that Wilders exposed himself to restriction of freedom of speech on ‘national security’ grounds. It didn’t wash (the underlying application of law seems to have been faulty) as the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal has now found.

The Government’s capitulation, in effecting this ban, to Jihadist violence – such violence as was threatened by Lord ‘still driving?’ Ahmed in terms of his promise to mobilise 10,000 Muslims to protest Wilders’ entrance – was far from this country’s finest hour. For not only did it do away in one unprecedentedly cowardly swoop with the notions of freedom of speech and freedom of expression, it also horribly showed up the latent bigotry of the Government, a bigotry far more sinister than the bias some ignoramuses incomprehensibly find in Wilders’ film. For the Government’s decision was predicated on the perception that Muslims as a whole would be offended by Wilders’ film such that violence would necessarily ensue, therefore immediately granting that all Muslims are in fact represented by the most extreme, unreasonable and fanatically intolerant and vocal Muslims in the UK.

Ironically, such bias worked precisely for and not against the welcome granted by the UK to Ijaz Mian, a fanatical Muslim preacher to whom no banning or censure was offered by the Government when he said:

‘You cannot accept the rule of the kaffir. We have to rule ourselves and we have to
rule the others… King, Queen, House of Commons: if you accept it, you are a
part of it. If you don’t accept it, you have to dismantle it. So you being a
Muslim, you have to fix a target. From that White House to this Black House, we
know we have to dismantle it. Muslims must grow in strength, then take over…
You are in a situation in which you have to live like a state-within-a-state -
until you take over.’

The banning of Wilders was, I think, not only a dark day for freedom of expression but an enormous condescension and insult to Muslims in general, who were despicably considered by the Government to be incapable of controlling themselves and of thinking for themselves. The British Government simply endorsed the entirety of Wilders’ filmic proposition by doing worse than ever Wilders had done in his attempt to show, correctly, the canonical basis of Islamic violence – they simply lumped all Muslims together and genu-jerked fearfully at their imaginings of collective and potentially deliberately imposed Muslim mayhem. By banning entry to the UK of the potential victim of this mayhem and violence, who was miscast as its potential instigator, a serious second offence, encompassing sheer cowardice and insult against liberal and enlightened values, was contemptibly committed.

If it had been the case that Muslims were considered by Smith and her cohorts to be ‘genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat’ as to require Wilders to stay away, then the Government may have been on to something at least arguable and honest. As it is, these quoted words refer not to the Muslims feared to be capable of violence, but to Wilders himself, in a letter sent to him by Irving Jones, under the aegis of the Home Office. I submit that the twisted logic of this is very hard to follow.

In such a circumstance, it becomes even more important to listen to the one person who wishes to speak. Christopher Hitchens correctly says that it is not only a question of that individual’s right to speak, but of our right to listen. As I consider the Wilders case, and his despicable treatment at the hands of a scared and integrity-lacking Government, I can’t help remembering a passage on the Danish cartoon fiasco of 2006 from a splendid book called ‘The Fall Out’ by Andrew Anthony, a British columnist and author, which I hope you don’t mind my quoting:

‘[A]s British liberals raced to point the finger of blame at Denmark, Islamists took to the streets of London in protest at the cartoons that had never been published in this country. Standing outside the Danish Embassy, they held up placards with such legends as ‘Butcher those who mock Islam’, ‘ Behead the one who insults the Prophet’ and ‘Britain you will pay, 7/7 is on its way.’ Despite the incitement to violence and murder, no arrests were made at the demonstration. ‘Those gathered were well natured and in the main compliant with police requests,’ said a Metropolitan Police statement. A few weeks later I would watch as a group of six or seven senior police officers agreed on the urgent need to arrest a solitary man holding up an image of one of the cartoons at a demonstration in favour of freedom of expression. The man, an Iranian refugee from religious tyranny, was in good spirits and completely unthreatening but he was swiftly hauled off by several policemen’.

Whatever one may think of Wilders’ wish to see Islamification of his own country be abolished and restored not by overtly secular tenets but by a curious and in my opinion wrongheaded notion of ‘Christian values’; whatever one may think of Wilders’ call to ban the Koran in his own country, which is maintained by his supporters to be a call simply for an equally applied hand in circumstances where ‘Mein Kampf’ is banned, and which is used by his detractors as a ‘Gotcha!’ accusation of freedom of speech hypocrisy; one may in some sense compare him – given his lack of criminality, given his general courtesy and given his wish simply to speak before an audience which invited him to do so in the House of Lords – to the lonely Iranian taking a stand against the forces ranged against freedom of expression and democracy.

Both suffered at the hands of a cowardly, capitulating Government, hatefully appeasing to both Islam and Muslims, a premiership which is supposed to protect rather than threaten the very values of free expression both Wilders and our mysterious Iranian endorsed and publicly promoted.

This was the first time that an elected politician from another member state of the EU had ever been denied access to Britain and the date of its imposition should be committed to memory as an example of just how fragile our hard-won rights to freedom of expression really are. I propose a few moments on the 10th February spent each year remembering quite how the British Government shamed and dishonoured our difficultly acquired, enlightened rights of freedom of speech and expression, so to ensure that we value them all the more.

I trust any and all readers agree.



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