Wilders Has a Right to Express Appalling Views

Geert Wilders, the right wing Dutch MP, was refused entry to the UK on Thursday, on the grounds that his presence would threaten public order and damage community relations. It was said that any extremist will be refused entry to the UK. This is a dangerous statement. It is a real threat to individual and civil liberty. By this argument any one who espouses any idea regarded as extreme by the British government will be banned from the UK.

This is the world after September 11 and the world which has been pulled into a so-called “war on terror” by the neo-conservative US government. “Any thing goes!” Under the guise of security, any violation of human rights, human dignity and individual and civil rights will be justified. People, not only in the US, but worldwide expressed their anger and loathing for Bush and whatever he stood for.

You would have expected that the Bush-Blair legacy will be wiped out. But no, it is business as usual. One might oppose to these statements, arguing that, the ban is on an anti-Islamist and not the other way around, so this has nothing to do with the war on terror. My response is: The war on terror was not, as it was proclaimed, only on Islamist terrorists. It was against individual and civil freedoms we have taken for granted in the west. It was a war on human civilization. It was a war of terrorists against humanity.

Fear and intimidation are the tools used by the ruling classes and right wing thugs to curtail our rights and liberties as citizens. Fear and intimidation are the strongest tools against freedom and civility. Islamists have used it to gain power and use it to expand their power. The right wing governments are using the threat by the Islamists to achieve what they can otherwise not achieve so easily.

The only way to safeguard our freedom and civil rights, to ensure we live in a free society is to achieve “unconditional freedom of speech and expression.” The secret is in the word “unconditional.” Otherwise, we have always the big brothers to interpret the limitations and conditions, and before we know it they can take all our rights away. (And this does not only happen in the East. Nazi Germany is next door and only sixty years ago!)

I am in total opposition to Wilders’ ideas. I believe he is a racist. He belongs to extreme right. He is a threat to humanity and all the good and progressive ideas developed by it. However, I defend his right to express his ideas and his right to show his appalling film. I also defend the right of those who oppose him, to protest against him. This is what freedom of expression is about. If we defended only the freedom of expression of the like-minded, this would be an empty gesture in defence of freedom. Ironically, this is what Wilders is doing. He campaigns for the banning of the Koran, and opposes the ban on his freedom of expression. This is a double standard. But what else can one expect from a right wing politician?

To me, both Fitna and the Koran are appalling products of backward, reactionary, discriminatory and bigoted minds. I loathe them both. I am struggling to build a world free of both types of mentalities. Nevertheless, I strongly believe in unconditional freedom of expression. So, neither Fitna nor Koran should be banned. Both Wilders and Islamist should enjoy freedom of expression. Only when someone is putting these reactionary and racist views into practice against another human being, violating their rights, the state should intervene. We should work hard to make a world in which the likes of both Fitna and the Koran belong to the museum of pre-history.

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