Geert Wilders, the founder and leader of the PVV party in the Netherlands, toured Australia last month under the sponsorship of the Q Society, speaking out against the Islamization of the West to audiences in several cities.
Our Sydney correspondent LAW Wells attended Mr. Wilders’ appearance in Liverpool, a suburb of Sydney, and sends the following report.
An Evening with Geert Wilders: A Time of Convictions
by LAW Wells
A man was attempting to enter into Australia. He had signed many forms and provided all the necessary documents. Now, he was being interviewed, and the interview was going well, until the interviewer asked a very interesting question.
“Do you have a criminal record?”
The traveller was confused for a moment, before finally saying:
“I didn’t realise you still needed one.”
Thus quipped Geert Wilders as he began an hour-long speech in Liverpool, in the south-west suburbs of Sydney. Through visa delays mandated by a minister, violent protests in Melbourne, cancellations in Perth and a mass of security and last-minute changes in Sydney, he was able to declare, to the cheers of the audience, that the night would not be cancelled, and thus bring to a conclusion the Geert Wilders Australian Tour, sponsored by the Q Society.
The Plague of Double-bookings
From the start, the tour was plagued by trouble. In the face of threats of violence and reprisals, a venue would be booked and then miraculously reveal that they had double-booked, or for some other reason pull out. I was not advised of the location until Thursday night, and went a little bug-eyed when I saw where the venue was — south-west Sydney is a very long way from my home in the outer north.
Not only that, but as I allowed myself plenty of time to arrive, I was able to witness the arrival of the NSW Police Riot Squad in convoy. I’ll admit, it drove home to me the threat that protesters were bringing to this event.
I began by joining the crowd of other early birds who were all waiting patiently a short way down the street, about halfway between the venue and the intersection. There was a line of police that had already been set up, who were there to ensure that the street was clear and the protesters kept well away. Almost as soon as we began to go through, the counter-protesters, who were nearly entirely from the Socialist Alliance and their non-affiliated sympathisers, began to chant “Muslims are welcome, racists are not” and a parody of a responsorial: “Say it loud, say it clear — Wilders is not welcome here.”
The few Muslims there were in general polite (as they often are at such events in Australia). One of them had pamphlets, which I requested, and which provided very little by the way of substantial information against declared misconceptions, and really only gave the standard talking points of Islamic apologetics.
After passing through the first line, which required booking confirmation and photo-ID, we walked down the road, and at the door of the venue, we were again asked to present our booking confirmation and ID. Then inside the venue, in the foyer, we passed through metal detectors and once again presented our bookings and ID.
For security this tight, and the standard Q Society disclaimer that they read at every one of their public events, one can only wonder at the state of free speech — the freedom to speak the truth, however hurtful and painful it may be — in Australia. The message of the Tour was originally meant to be Islam will become a problem. The difficulties in the tour demonstrated, however, that it was more apt to say Islam already is a problem. The media’s focus on the offense incurred against Muslims as opposed to the restriction that Mr Wilders has had to endure for nine years now is one very obvious symptom of exactly what we fear.
On a personal note, I would like to mention a few words from the introduction on the very subject of offense. It was stated that no one feared reprisals from Catholics when the clerical sexual abuse crisis was discussed, and while I was certainly offended, I acknowledged the truth of so many of the charges. As Scripture says, it’s a sword that cuts both ways, and we should all do well to remember that and to remind others of it, for the first duty of the gentleman (and by extension the lady) is to restate the obvious.
Sam Solomon and Charting Understanding
And so the first speaker took the stage. After a brief introduction, Sam Solomon, the famed convert from Islam who now seeks a true level of understanding and peace between Muslims and non-Muslims, without ever missing the double-speak so common among the self-appointed authorities within Islam, began his talk. With a slideshow in hand (so to speak), he took us through, with an insider’s knowledge (complete with Arabic recitation of the Koran), the totalitarian construction of Islam, as a prelude to explaining just why he had written his Charter of Muslim Understanding.
He began by noting that Islam, like all religions, challenges the assumptions and norms of a non-Islamic society. However, unlike other religions, Islam demands that the non-Islamic society have change imposed upon it by whatever means necessary. Without an understanding of this demand of imposition, which would have secular jurisdiction (unlike every other religion), we cannot adequately define the problem. Quoting from Einstein, Mr Solomon stated that we need to spend more time defining the problem, so that we might apply the correct solution to it, and that the major problem of the West was that we had failed to define the problem.
Most of the rest of his talk was thus dedicated to meditating on the problem that Islam caused. Contrasting the Western view of religion of life containing religion as an element (religion being a small box contained in the larger box of life) to the Islamic view of religion in which Islam contains life as an element of itself (life being a small box contained in the larger box of Islamic religion). Islam is not a just a faith of public and private devotion, but a way of ordering an entire society, not from the ground up (as other religions are wont to), but from the top-down (as tyrannies are more inclined to). This culminated in a quote from Mohammed himself that “Islam is a religion and a state”, and ample evidence of its secular nature is found in its body of law — Sharia.
With the mention of Fitrah (that all humans are made Muslim, and so non-Muslims are logically apostates), and the perversion of prior scripture (which apparently should all be talking about Mohammed — though I wonder why it speaks of him above Allah), Mr Solomon made the point that this night was an “anti-Islamic crime”. There is an assumed enmity between Muslims and non-Muslims, well-founded within the Koran, and the supposed mercy and guidance of Islam is to revert to it. Beyond that, there is no mercy, no guidance, and no salvation.
He spent the next little while explaining the construction of Islam as a religion and a government, which I have recreated here in greater simplicity. The religious and political structures are all derived from the Koran and the Sunnah (the example of the Mohammed). In the religious aspect, there is an ethical system based on these sources. Deviation for Muslims has penalties, often violent and possibly even deadly. An obvious example is apostasy, which is considered an ethical crime and is punished by death.
The governmental and secular aspect, however, built on the same foundation, gives official status to the enforcement of Islamic ethics in Islamic “justice”, while also permitting all “freedom”, specifically (and only) the freedom to convert to and conform to Islamic ethics. All intellectual criticism is addressed by force that has the backing not just of religious authorities but state authorities too, thus in the end stamping out all opposition.
With a few minutes to go, he recounted a few stories from the launch of his Charter of Muslim Understanding at the House of Lords in Westminster, and how he verbally sparred with a Saudi imam who had come to observe in an official capacity. The imam, after several comments that Islam guaranteed freedom (which Mr Solomon challenged and revealed as the “freedom to conform”), and that Western policy rather than Islam was responsible for terrorism (which Mr Solomon again challenged using the sword verses of the Koran that existed long before the UK and the USA), walked out in a huff, defeated.
A standing ovation greeted Mr Solomon as he finished his presentation and his speech, praising Australia and hopeful for the future. He was presented with a glass bowl that was made by Sergio Redegalli of Say “no” to burqas mural fame.
Geert Wilders, as played by himself
It was no understatement to say that Geert Wilders was the reason that anyone was there that night, considering the standing ovation that he got as soon as he entered the room. He delivered the same speech in Sydney as he did in Melbourne, which can be found here. He mentioned the rise of Islam in Sydney, including such statistics as 60 mosques, halal housing, halal food (many popular cheeses are branded halal), female genital mutilation, separated swimming hours at public council pools, and ever greater pushes for the application of Sharia in Australia, as I have previously reported, and most grievously of all, the proposed changes to the federal Anti-Discrimination Act which would constrict free speech even more to protect people from hurt feelings.
He declared that we can no longer afford accommodating the demands of Islam’s militant factions in Australia, regardless of whether they seek to influence public opinion by violence or by technically legitimate means. We must confront the totality of Islam and stand in solidarity with the victims of Islam’s inherent systemic abuses — Christians, Jews, atheists, apostates, and all critics of Islam, and particularly Israel, whose fate will be our own, for better or worse.
But his most strident opposition was reserved for the phenomenon of cultural relativism, as he stated that if you don’t know who you are, you cannot fight what you are not. Our culture draws its roots from Jerusalem, Athens and Rome, not from Mecca, and he stated in defiance of the “respected” society that ours was the superior culture. Thus, if one would not conform, then one should leave. Those who commit serious crimes while maintaining dual citizenship should be expelled from their Western host country and stripped of their citizenship.
But Wilders was in no way pessimistic — the fact that the Roma Function Centre was packed out with 500 people, braving quite a travel and some very thick security, gave him hope for Australia. The statistics he cites in his speech of those opposed to Sharia and ever-greater Islamic influence in society give him hope for his own country.
The crowd murmured in agreement with many of his statements, but his final call for brave politicians to step up elicited laughter from all in attendance, even as he stated that he expected an Australian version of the PVV to arise in the near future. If it didn’t, he offered to emigrate to found it (he’d certainly find the weather nicer!).
Emphasising the cultural links between the Netherlands and Australia and all the West, he concluded by stating that we owe it to the past to preserve our freedom and to be able to pass it on to future generations.
A standing ovation saw Wilders off the podium, and after returning, he received a sculpted glass Q, again made by Sergio Redegalli, who had brought it in an old ammo box dating to the 1960s (which was used either in Vietnam or the Malay emergency) with a poem as well. The entire suite was for Mr Wilders, and I am sure that he will find the significance most telling, as he himself, quoting Ali Sana, said that we don’t raise a sword against darkness; we light a light. To find not bullets, but the memories of our past, of who we are, is perhaps the greatest ammunition one can have in this war.
A Dark and Quiet Night
With the conclusion of Mr Wilders’ speech and presentation, thanks and credits were extended by the Q Society to its team of volunteers, to the NSW Police Force (who did a sterling job outside and were thankfully treated to a relatively quiet night), and to Geert himself for making the effort to come a very long way.
Upon leaving the venue, there was absolutely no trouble as I and several others walked to the station to catch the train home. Still, we had to remove the wristbands that we had received as we entered the venue, just to avoid any unpleasantness on the way home.
Overall, Sydney proved to once again be a much more peaceful night than Melbourne, though sad to say, with the difficulties in both cities of securing a venue, there might not be much of an option for comparison in the not-too-distant future if this should become the norm. I would like to add my own personal thanks to the Roma Function Centre, to the volunteers, all of them, including the President and Vice-President, to the NSW Police, and to Geert Wilders and Sam Solomon for agreeing to speak. The headlines generated and the discussions started may yet bear far greater fruit than I now dare to hope.