A Dutch lawmaker notorious for his Muslim-bashing is scheduled to speak tonight at Temple University in Philadelphia.
Geert Wilders, who has repeatedly compared the Koran to Hitler’s Mein Kampf, was for months banned from Britain because of concerns that his anti-Islamic views would trigger violence. He held a press conference there on Friday after a court overturned the no-entry ban.
Although the Temple University event marks Wilders' first visit to Philadelphia, he spoke in several U.S. cities during a visit to America earlier this year. In an April 27 speech in Miami, he said Europe was “on the verge of collapsing” due to an influx of Muslim immigrants. “The takeover of Europe is part of the global fight of Islam for world domination,” he said, according to a transcript of the speech that’s posted on Jihadwatch.org, an anti-Islam website. “Islam is not a religion. It is a political ideology. Islam’s heart lies in the Koran. The Koran is a book that calls for hatred, violence, murder, terrorism, war and submission.”
Because Islam is not a religion, according to Wilders, “the right to religious freedom should not apply to Islam.” He called for a moratorium on the building of new mosques and the closure of all Islamic schools because “they are fascist institutions.” He said anyone belonging to a “non-Western minority” should be required to enter into “a legally binding contract of assimilation.” He also asserted that Islamic culture is inferior to Judeo-Christian culture.
In February, he screened his anti-Islam documentary Fitna on Capitol Hill at the invitation of Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz. Fitna shows verses of the Koran along with graphic footage of atrocities committed by radical Muslims, including the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"I think he's arguably the world's worst Islamophobe, but what is truly scary is his acceptance in the mainstream," said Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State
University, San Bernardino. "He's unabashedly retrograde because he exploits deep-rooted fears about citizenship and security. His reprehensible, bigoted stereotyping of Islam completely mischaracterizes the beliefs of the overwhelming majority of the world's Muslim adherents. [And] his totalitarian proposals are not only practically preposterous, but the most morally reprehensible that one could conceive of next to murder or forced conversion."
At Temple, campus organizations have condemned the decision by a student group called Purpose to invite Wilders. Purpose’s president, Brittany Walsh, told The Associated Press that the event was “an opportunity for the students to really express and practice their freedom of speech.” Temple officials defended the right of student organizations to host controversial speakers.
Wilders’ appearance at Temple is financed by the far-right David Horowitz Freedom Center in California. Wilders also is scheduled to speak tomorrow at Columbia University in New York.