Welcome to the Future!

“I have called Filip Dewinter a fascist for twenty years. I was wrong. The fascists are with the Muslims. Dewinter thus had always been right. And this is from an old leftist boy such as myself.”

— Benno Barnard

Benno BarnardOur Flemish correspondent VH reported on Thursday about the silencing of Benno Barnard at the University of Antwerp. Dr. Barnard was about to give a lecture on the differences between Islam and Christianity, but loud shouting and threats from a crowd of young Muslims forced the cancellation of his talk.

VH has compiled a follow-up report about the incident from miscellaneous Dutch-language sources. First, a translated interview with Benno Barnard from De Standaard.

“This was the best lecture I ever could have given”

by Nikolas Vanhecke

Q:   The title of the lecture that you intended to give in the University of Antwerp reads “Long live God, down with Allah.” The lecture is primarily about the Judeo-Christian tradition. Why did you choose that title?
A:   Obviously, in the title I make use of the rhetorical technique of the provocation. A characteristic of the Judeo-Christian tradition is debate. This interaction goes back to the Old Testament and led to the Enlightenment, humanism and democracy. Provocation is the clearest form of disagreement. Our entire culture exists because of that.

Islam does not know that debate. To clarify the difference, I switch on the metaphor of Allah.

Q:   In other words, the Islam is an undemocratic religion.
A:   The real Islam does not know the possibility of democratization. There are democratically sound Muslims, but they do not stick to the strict rules of Islam. Sharia is described in the Quran, and it is those laws the real Islam preaches.

There is a quote from Kemal Ataturk: “Islam, that absurd theology of an immoral Bedouin, is a rotting corpse which poisons our lives.” And I can give you still more such as this from unexpected sources who criticize Islam. Secularization is in violation of Islam, as it emerged from Mecca and Medina.

And all that nonsense about the real Islam, you can study at the University of Antwerp in the context of active pluralism. Some of the members of Sharia4Belgium are studying at the UA. That way they also found out about the lecture. Or did you think it is followed outside the university?

Q:   Would you have preferred to have given your reading or do you find the incident stronger than your lecture?
A:   That was the best lecture I could give. I speak two sentences and get no further because they start roaring ‘Allahu akhbar’. Welcome to the future! By their action they have formulated a part of my thesis.
Q:   In 2004, along with other writers, you called on people not to vote for the (then) Vlaams Blok. Last year you agreed with Filip Dewinter in his criticism of Islam. What has changed you?
A:   “I have studied Islam thoroughly, by reading the Koran but also by reading other books. Nowadays I think Filip Dewinter is a prophet. I always called him a racist, but had blinders on then. He understood very early what the true nature of Sharia is. As a Belgicist, though, I am not a lover of Vlaams Belang [VB strives for an independent Flanders—translator].”
Q:   What are you then?
A:   I have often called myself a left-wing conservative. I advocate a leftist emancipation. Many leftist people are actually right-wing without knowing it. From a misunderstanding of social reality they support Muslims. Then at a certain point you get feminists who defend the burka. Education has been ruined by a mistaken equal opportunities policy of the Social Democrats. I am the opposite of a racist.

This whole story is in theory the most harmful of all for moderate Muslims. One of the police officers yesterday [Wednesday March 31] was a Muslim, and he was abused as a traitor.

Q:   Were you actually warned beforehand that protection would be needed?
A:   The police had contacted the university. Their safety unit had noticed messages on the website Sharia4Belgium and also knew that the group “Youth for Islam” was calling via SMS for the boycott.
Q:   Were you still shocked by the incident?
A:   What do you think? At that moment it seems so unrealistic that it is exactly as if you are watching yourself on television. In retrospect it only begins to dawn. Luckily I had bodyguards, otherwise I would not be able to speak to anyone today.

Next, an article from Nieuwsblad:
– – – – – – – –

Benno Barnard “delighted” with actions of radical Muslims

“This was my best lecture ever,” writer Benno Barnard responds cynically to the radical Muslim youth who Wednesday night in Antwerp tried to silence him. “They have proven that my criticism of Islam is justified.”


After minutes-long shouting of abuse the room was cleared and the lecture was canceled. “An affront to free expression”, the organizer Jurgen Slembrouck calls it. “I’m dreadfully upset by it. The public knew that after the reading they could put forward their questions and critical comments. But we were held hostage by radical youths, who also the besmirched the reputation of moderate Muslims. I can only hope that many Muslims stand up and say they don’t want such a thing happening in their name.”

Sleeping leftists

Barnard has few illusions in this area. The Dutch writer had already been particularly critical towards Islam, and this has only sharpened his views. “The Christian and Jewish tradition is one of tolerance. Islam doesn’t preach tolerance, but violence. And a moderate Islam does not exist. Of course there are opposing forces within the Muslim community. But they only exist because many Muslims have no knowledge of their own religion. My lecture was to be about all that. A somewhat dull, academic text actually. But it was my best lecture ever, as those extreme youth have proved my point.”

The author hopes “that all those sleeping leftists, as I also once was myself, now wake up and acknowledge the intolerance of Islam”. “Regarding the dangers of Islam, Filip Dewinter is a prophet. The man has been right for twenty years. It is surely unacceptable that in 2010 in Belgium you need police protection because you dare to express criticism of Islam.”

VH adds:

Benno Barnard repeats his opinion of Filip Dewinter in the newspaper Gazet van Antwerpen [reprinted on the front page of this Friday’s edition]: “I have called Filip Dewinter a fascist for twenty years. I was wrong. The fascists are with the Muslims. Dewinter thus had always been right. And this is from an old leftist boy such as myself.”

Updates from Belgian/Dutch papers:

The attack by Muslims on the writer Benno Barnard makes for a lot of turmoil in Belgium. Barnard has [again] received threats since Wednesday, but he did not want to give details about that. “I do not like being at the center of a sandal,” he said.

The incident has provoked strong reactions. “The right to freedom of expression is a pillar in our society,” said Minister of Internal Affairs Annemie Turtelboom. She let it be known that she will have the website [sharia4belgium] permanently watched. Offences will be passed on to the judiciary. The website was no longer online this Friday.

Antwerp Mayor Patrick Janssens [SP.a; Flemish Socialist Party] has filed a lawsuit against the radical Muslim organization Sharia4Belgium. “The mayor is supposed to ensure that the law is respected in his city. This includes the right to free speech. This is a symbolic case that must be promptly responded to. I have commissioned the legal department of the city to examine what we can do against it.”

Barnard has nothing good to say about the Rector of the University of Antwerp. “The man said that my view is extreme. They defend Sharia and then I am extreme?” The Dutch writer found it “an odd experience, thirty Salafi youth who hysterically at me came up to me while screaming ‘Allahu akhbar’. They also said ‘kaaskop’ [‘cheese-head’] and ‘vieze Hollander’ [‘filthy Dutchman’]. In that respect they are perfectly integrated.”

Previous posts in English about Benno Barnard:

19 thoughts on “Welcome to the Future!

  1. “This was the best lecture I ever could have given”

    Oh, but the lecture WAS delivered loud and clear. The slaves of Allah who turned up to disrupt the event did all the work for him. He should organize an entire lecture tour up and down the country and let the slaves of Allah know in advance. You don’t have to speak, to speak, so to speak.

  2. “I have called Filip Dewinter a fascist for twenty years. I was wrong. The fascists are with the Muslims. Dewinter thus had always been right.”

    Do you mean… Enoch Powell was right, too ?

    One has to salute the honesty of Benno Barnard. “I was wrong.” “This from an old leftist boy such as myself.”

  3. In hoc signo vinces

    Would be interesting to read the lecture.

    “Provocation is the clearest form of disagreement.”

    Does this literally mean to provoke a response?

  4. Robert Marchenoir,

    Enoch Powell was talking about race while Barnard is talking about religious ideology, so I don’t think he would ever say Powell was right. In a way Powell had caused a lot of damage by making it all about race and demeaning blacks the way he did, while there were many good reasons to object mass immigration, but Powell gave the left much ammunition for generations to come by playing into their argument that anyone who objects mass immigration is a racist.

  5. But Enoch Powell was right. He clearly described how immigration from the Common Wealth was poisoning politics in Britain by introducing an ethnic conflict and friction point that previously didn’t exist. Which set the scene for everything else that has followed.

    Could you have, without non-whites, a seditious organisation such as the National Black Police Association wrecking law enforcement for the sake of protecting so called ethnic-minorities from the aggression and stupidity of the police? The answer of course is no.

    The only real answer I’ve ever heard from an establishment liberal regarding Enoch Powell came from Oliver Kamm, and even then it was an exercise in counter-reality. He basically says that immigration has been a problem for Britain, but that people like Enoch Powell made it impossible to talk about. Which to me is a backhanded way of agreeing with Enoch Powell without actually acting on his suggestions. The technical term is reflexivity.

  6. “The only real answer I’ve ever heard from an establishment liberal regarding Enoch Powell came from Oliver Kamm, and even then it was an exercise in counter-reality. He basically says that immigration has been a problem for Britain, but that people like Enoch Powell made it impossible to talk about. Which to me is a backhanded way of agreeing with Enoch Powell without actually acting on his suggestions. “

    This formulation is the same kind that blames the Israelis for the violence against them.

    Its not Enoch Powell that made it impossible to talk about. It was the Left…full stop.

    The reason their is no peace between Israel and the Palestinians, is because the Palestinians dont want peace, they want the destruction of the Jewish state.

    Shame on Oliver Kamm.

    This is essentially the same argumement used against Senator Joe McCarthy. The Left still accuses people who start digging into peoples Communists and far Left backrounds and bringing it to the publics attention as McCarthyists. McCarthy was right, their were Communists (and security risks) in the State Department. Traitors to the US, spying for the Soviets, and shaping policy to Communist and Soviet interests.

  7. “I can only hope that many Muslims stand up and say they don’t want such a thing happening in their name.”

    Why is it always a passive aggressive approach. That is the very problem. It shouldn’t be hopefully we await for more hardly existent moderate muslims/ really non muslims to defend us or do the work.
    Why are we to leave ourselves at the mercy of others and their hoped for goodwill?
    Yes it is something to be hoped for, but do not hold your breath or set your hope on it.
    Instead look to something more real.
    Why is this allowed? Get smart already, stock the room , get organized yourself, do not run from these people and thereby embolden. It is the speakers obligation, in this fight, to make sure he never has to run , or allow anyone to run him out or make the cause look weak. In fact if people were serious, instead of just talkers and complainers, they would organize and take the time to do the same to Muslims without fear.
    Do not let them flex their muscles on you , in areas where they are still uncomfortable and testing their political muscle by your response to their minimal pressure tactics.

  8. HH,

    One thing is to argue that mass immigration that will create two or more large and distinct ethnic groups might lead to conflict, and another thing is to do so using demeaning terms and stereotypes regarding blacks.

    I can argue that, say, bringing some 2-3 million ethnic Romanians to Israel, who will then become about 30% of the population, is likely to cause some serious ethnic strife, which is a pretty reasonable argument. And I can argue that taking in some 2-3 million Romanians, who are inclined by nature to theft and whose dirty little children are following sweet old innocent Jewish retired ladies begging for a handout, is going to cause some serious ethnic strife. The first argument would be reasonable and rational. The second argument would be seriously flawed by racism. Powell did describe little black children – he used a derogatory term I can’t remember to describe them – following a sweet old retired teacher or something like that begging for handouts. He said it was a letter he received from her, but even if that was true, using the derogatory term was telling.

  9. EscapeVelocity,

    I’m not sure that the Israeli-Arab conflict is an adequate parallel.

    Anyway, Powell can’t be blamed for the Left silencing all argument regarding mass immigration for 40 years, even less so outside the UK where, I guess, most people never heard of Enoch Powell. However, he did give them ammunition. Though the Left is quite comfortable with completely ignoring inconvenient expressions when it suits them.

    Going back to your inadequate parallel as example, Hamas covenant explicitly states that their aim is to destroy Israel and create an Islamic state from the river to the sea, that Hamas is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, that they view killing the Jews as a prerequisite for the Islamic End of Time vision, that all infidels are one nation, that any land Muslims ever conquered by force belongs to future Muslim generations forever, and they openly quote the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” – the Left downplay the part about destroying Israel and completely disregard all the rest, as well as hide it from the public, while portraying Hamas as good innocent freedom fighters who only target Israeli civilians because they have no other choice, despite the fact Israel had offered the Palestinians 100% of the territory and a settlement in Jerusalem which is hardly ever mentioned in the media or in any other left-wing stronghold, so I’d say the Left doesn’t give a rat’s behind about expressions, statements, actions or facts.

    It’s not Powell’s words that caused the suppression of any opposition to mass immigration because the Left doesn’t care about words unless they suit its purpose. It’s the use the Left made of his words in the effort to suppress also non-racist opposition. However, he did play into their hands and I don’t have much sympathy for his terminology.

  10. I advise everybody to read (or re-read) Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” 1968 speech.

    It’s obvious he only described :

    a) things actually happening at that time,

    b) things that happened since.

    The famous little old lady who complained to him was not just followed in the streets by black children asking for handouts : she was reduced to abject poverty because she refused to let her rooms to badly-behaved black people, was looked upon and let down by her own country’s authorities, and, among other types of harrassment inflicted upon her by her immigrant neighbours, had excreta pushed through her letterbox.

    As for allegedly derogatory words Enoch Powell would have used, I can see but two : “negroes”, which, in 1968, was not derogatory at all : indeed, it was the polite and politically-correct word that you were supposed to use instead of “niggers” ; and “piccaninnies”.

    I’m not familiar enough with British colloquial history to tell whether “piccaninnies” was offensive back then, and, if so, to what degree. What I know is that Boris Johnson, the flamboyant British conservative MP, used this word in public maybe last year or the year before.

    While he did have to apologise about it afterwards, it did not prevent him from being elected as the mayor of London — a highly “diverse” city, as he himself is fond of describing it.

    More to the point, we should not fall into the trap of dismissing a political theory because one potentially offensive word has been used while expressing it. This is the height of political correctness, and it’s precisely what is hindering us at this point.

    On the whole, Enoch Powell’s speech was of a very high caliber. It was in no way the rabble-rousing rant of a populist thug. Quite the opposite.

    Actually, not only was he right, but he was far from foreseeing all the extent of the disaster to come. There’s not a word about Islam in his speech.

    Furthermore, I’d like to draw your attention to one of the less obivous ways in which “Enoch Powell was right” :

    “What surprised and alarmed me was the high proportion of ordinary, decent, sensible people, writing a rational and often well-educated letter, who believed that they had to omit their address because it was dangerous to have committed themselves to paper to a Member of Parliament agreeing with the views I had expressed, and that they would risk either penalties or reprisals if they were known to have done so.”

    How prescient was that ? The Internet did not exist at that time. Both the owners of Gates of Vienna write anonymously, despite being protected by the First amendment. So do all regular contributors. I don’t remember any commentator obviously using his real name.

    No, really : Enoch Powell was right.

    His speech was massively supported by Britons. However, both his political opponents and his own party recoiled in horror. That was to be the end of his career.

    Doesn’t that remind you of the present situation ?

  11. In hoc signo vinces

    Enoch Powell, an intelectual who was not very good at communicating with the masses bearing this in mind and that Powell was attempting to communicate to all sections of British society explains the contradictions of the low minded stereotypes and the high minded reference to the classics.

  12. Joe McCarthy was right and Enoch Powell was right, and the Left was wrong and villified both men and stained their names.

    We need to correct this, and not let the Left continue to do this without serious challenge.

    To do this we must regard our cultural confidence. Not be brow beaten into silence, with accusations.

    I realize that this also gets into economic, professional, and career punishment these days as the Left has injected their zeitgeist into all institutions. But it has to be done. We can create a web of institutions that we control in order to provide insurance against economic and professional punishment. Think tanks, uni tenureships, special interest groups, political advocacy groups, so that if someone goes down speaking Truth to Power, they wont have to hit rock bottom.

    For example the CRU professor Jones, if he were to suffer negative consequences for his politically driven agenda non-science, he will no doubt be immediately picked up as a martyr by an environmental group who will continue to pay him a high salary to continue his advocacy and lies.

    Im not advocating lies and villiany, but rather the safety net, for those who speak real truth to power.

  13. Socialism is the biggest evil that ever existed on earth.

    It’s always nice when a good leftist boy comes to his senses, but I’m very glad it is n’t I who has haughtily closed her ears against all the evidence of cultural marxism being stupid and evil

    All socialists should purge themselves and resign from office, but the damage will be very hard to repair – this belief system has pervaded everything and everybody

  14. It’s pretty daft to blame the left for the current immigration mess in the UK considering that since the early fifties when third world immigration started in earnest, the UK has had a majority of conservative prime ministers. Third world immigrants were imported to the UK because the country needed to increase its labour force after the end of WW2 (not Labor force 🙂 ) and not because Tony Blair or Gordon Brown have signed a secretive pact with the Muslim brotherhood to turn England into Great Shariastan. The influx of Muslim immigrants has to been seen in that context. And let’s be honest, the problems associated with Muslim immigration has only started to surface in the last 15 – 20 years or so. Before that most people in the west considered it to be unproblematic.

  15. “I can only hope that many Muslims stand up and say they don’t want such a thing happening in their name.”

    Waiting for so-called moderate Muslims to save us from Islam’s worst excesses is like waiting for Godot. “Moderates” by our Western definition are too few in numbers and lacking all influence in the umma, or worldwide Muslim community. They are disrespected at best, considered apostates at worst by their fellow Muslims.

    Assuming every Muslim who isn’t a active jihadi is a moderate is a common mistake in the West. The very least one should demand of moderates is that they forswear sharia in return for the privilege of living in non-Muslim lands as sharia has created the 57 Muslim hell holes they have escaped. Instead all devout Muslims are committed to promoting sharia creep in every way that they can, from gumming up western human rights machinery with frivolous and untrue complaints, to demanding public foot baths, to mummified women as an “in your face” provocation to western customs, to hiding jihadis in their midst, to supporting them financially etc. etc.

    The jihadis are the point of the spear. But the shaft is made up of countless Muslims as described above who are their backers.

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