Geert Wilders was on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on April 30, 2015 at a press conference with Rep. Steve King (R-IA), Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Scott Perry (R-PA). He warned Americans about the dangers of mass Muslim immigration and suggested letting Americans who volunteer leave and join the Islamic State but be denied return to this country. He said:
I am warning America. Don’t think that what’s happening in Europe today will not happen in America tomorrow because it will. Islamic immigration has proven to be a Trojan horse, the jihadists are among us,” he added, warning of “enormous security problems” in the United States if Muslim immigrants are allowed to stay. Let them go, but never let them return.
The Congressmen praised Wilders exercise of free speech vis a vis his criticism of Islam, defense of Judeo-Christian values and Israel. Wilders paid court to this” beautiful land” with its protection of free speech rights and expressed “the wish that the he and other citizens of the EU” had the equivalent protection. Wilders is once again the target of investigations by the Dutch police as the behest of Public Prosecutors in the Hague over his alleged hate speech remarks at a Freedom Party rally during the May, 2014 European Parliament elections in the Hague, over “ fewer Moroccans”. Wilders has criticized Islam for being an ideology and the Qur’an for being the equivalent of Hitler’s Mein Kampf. His most recent book, Marked for Death, presented that and more fundamental arguments referencing Qur’anic doctrine, Hadith, Sunna and Shariah Islamic Law. Wilders defeated an earlier hate crime charge brought against him in the Amsterdam district court in 2011.
Watch the Wilders Capitol Hill press conference with Reps. King, Gohmert and Perry:
Prior to his Capitol Hill press conference, Wilders gave a speech on April 29, 2015 at the Washington, D.C., Conservative Opportunity Society. Two Muslim U.S. Representatives, Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Andre Carson sent a letter on April 23, 2015 to Secretary of State Kerry and Department of Homeland Security Chief Jae Johnson seeking to bar Wilders entry to the US on the grounds that his speech violated provisions of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. They wrote:
In the past, the United States has denied entry to international leaders under the authority of the International Religious Freedom Act which allows the Department of State to deny entry to a foreign leader who is responsible for severe violations of religious freedom. This precedent is applicable to Mr. Wilders.
In the U.S., freedom of speech is a bedrock principle that distinguishes free societies from ones living under oppressive regimes. Freedom of speech, however, is not absolute. It is limited by the legal and moral understanding that speech that causes the incitement of violence or prejudicial action against protected groups is wrong. As Mr. Wilders continues his pursuit of political power, granting him entry will embolden him to engage in further incitement of violence and discrimination against Muslims.
Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are sweeping through Europe. Mr. Wilders is among the hateful leaders responsible for perpetuating prejudice. Allowing him to enter the United States will cause harm to our nation that values religious freedom and respects pluralism.
Eugene Volokh, a UCLA law professor and expert on free speech and religious freedom law in a “Volokh Conspiracy” column in the Washington Post, examined the arguments of the two Representatives, referencing Supreme Court case rulings, notably, Brandenburg v. Ohio and Hess v. Indiana, regarding “incitement. Volokh concluded:
Whether “Christian culture is superior to other cultures,” which groups should be allowed to immigrate into a country, and even whether Islam should be viewed as an ideology rather than a religion (an unsound distinction, in my view) are matters that the First Amendment allows us all to debate. The Congressmen quite clearly don’t want to allow Rep. Wilders to debate such matters here in the U.S. But their “In the U.S.” paragraph suggests that they view even such debates by Americans as constitutionally unprotected.
CAIR, the self styled Muslim civil rights group affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, sent Government Affairs Manager, Robert McCaw, to question Wilders and the Congressional Representatives who participated in Capitol Hill press conference. The CAIR press release noted the exchange:
CAIR Government Affairs Manager Robert McCaw pressed Rep. Gohmert as to whether he stood by “Wilders’ statement that Islam is an ideology of a retarded culture.” Congressman Gohmert avoided the question only stating that he “proudly stands by Wilders” and that he may not always agree with him but will defend his right to make such comments.
McCaw also pressed Wilders on whether or not the Republican Party should adopt his Dutch Freedom Party’s proposal of “banning the Quran and the building of new mosques.” Wilders sidestepped the question by stating that he is “not trying to unify the two parties” and comparing the Quran to Hitler’s Mein Kampf.
“By endorsing and promoting Geert Wilders’ anti-Muslim hate, these elected officials tarnish the Republican Party’s reputation and harm our nation’s international image,” said McCaw.
CAIR arranged for a counter press with the authors of the letter, Reps. Ellison and Carson, joined by Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY) protesting Wilders anti-Islam stands and promoting inter-faith unity.
Watch the CAIR YouTube video of McCaw’s questioning of Wilders and Rep. Gohmert:
Tomorrow, May 3, 2015 Wilders will next appear at an event in Texas. According to a Breitbart News report Wilders Will speak at the First Annual Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest. The event will be held May 3rd at the Curtis Caldwell Center, which is owned and operated by the Garland Independent School District, and hosted by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI). The Curtis Caldwell Center was the site of an “Honor the Prophet” rally in January. About two thousand Texans came out to protest that event.
Pam Geller and Robert Spencer of AFDI will also be speaking at the event. For those interesting in watching this event. It will be live streamed at 5-7 (CST) and 6-8PM (EST). Read more, here.
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of Geert Wilders at a press conference near Capitol building April 30, 2015 in Washington, DC (AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski).