I attended Geert Wilders speaking tour during one of stop-overs in Toronto at the Canadian Christian College, to feed my curiosity. I was apprehensive and anxious about the type of message being targetted to the public, afraid that Islamophobes would take to the streets and make life difficult.
What I saw was a circus and many, many clowns.
One of the topics of discussion, was ‘preventing the construction of mosques’.
A guy to my left, wearing a USS Navy baseball cap whispered “yes” underneath his breath each time the speaker lobbied for a ban on mosque construction, as if he was seconds away from orgasm (it’s like this guy was ready to throw molotov cocktails at the first place of worship he could find).
The guy to my right was the Canadian version of Florida pastor Ted Jones, complete with the curly moustache; his insignia was to stomp the ground with his walking cane every time he agreed with something.
I mean seriously, it was a nut house and the scariest part was, these people actually believed it all.
The CCC president often goes public with his entourage of the Jewish Defense League (marked by FBI as a terrorist organisation) and Ron Banarjee of the Canadian Hindu Advocacy, who has on occasion applauded the Gujarat massacre in public.
I now feel a sense of relief each time these clowns band together and prance around in public, because they’re oblivious to the fact that they’re actually reinforcing negative perceptions and only end up shooting themselves in the foot.
The surprising thing was that after attending his lecture, which was filled with ignorant remarks about Islam (half of which were not even true, but what does that matter when you have an audience that WANTS to believe them)….but just to be fair to Wilders, I found him to be tolerant at an individual level, however, with certain conditions attached.
He claimed his problem was not with Muslims but only with Islam.
My leaving impression was that his problem was not Islam either. His real problem was the influx of immigrants from Morocco and the Arab world, who he felt were destroying the European identity by not integrating well. He blamed this refusal to blend into the local culture on Islam.
This is not so the case.
Arabs are just like other communities across North America and will retain their cultural roots, the same way Italian Americans, Anglo-Saxons, Latinos or Asians have. And it is easier to maintain your ethnic identity in North America because the continent is vast and everyone has their identity in different roots as well. Eventually, a homogenous identity emerges after one or two generations, while at the same allowing people to retain their ethnic culture in some way.
In Europe, this is not so the case. Europeans are of a different mind-set and are proud of their cultural identity and do not wish to be a melting pot of cultures. “Either be like us or ship out”, Geert Wilders said that day (to thundering applause).
Since it is not politically correct nowadays to take names of cultures or nationalities, it is easier to just paint them with the single brush stroke of Islam. It is also easier to convince peoples’ conscience that Islam needs to be shipped out of the Netherlands, rather than Morroccons or Arabs. They are being led to believe that this is actually meant to help the ‘ignorant Muslims’ and their ‘oppressed women’.
It seemed to me, more about protecting the Netherlands from a cultural invasion than an Islamic conquest. This is highly irresponsible on his part, because the sheep that follow him are being led to think the problem is Islam. If he wants to ride the wave of sentiment that is against multiculturalism, then just say so, why use Islam as the scapegoat?