21 Feb 2013

Geert Wilders Is a Lightning Rod For Racists

By Nick Riemer
Liberal defences of freedom of expression fall short when applied to Geert Wilders, who seeks to banish Islam in the West. Simply to ignore his racism isn't good enough, writes Nick Riemer

What do you do when a famous racist politician descends on Australia in a fanfare of media? Geert Wilders' current speaking tour makes the question topical, raising key issues about free speech, the political response to racism, and the utility of protest.

No sooner had Wilders' tour been announced than activists in Melbourne and Sydney called for demonstrations at his meetings. The Melbourne protest — involving scuffles and allegations of provocation on both sides — was on Tuesday. Wilders is speaking in Sydney tomorrow. The Perth talk, slated for yesterday, was cancelled by the venue at the last minute.

Problems securing venues have been endemic on Wilders' tour. The only location willing to host Wilders in Melbourne was on the city's northern fringe. Something similar is likely tomorrow in Sydney.

Wilders and his supporters haven't hesitated to construe the venue problems and the Melbourne protest as violations of the right to freedom of expression, a recurrent theme of the commentary the tour has so far received.

"Whether you support or whether you differ," a representative of Wilders' sponsor, the Q Society, was quoted as observing, "to me the big issue is he should be able to speak".

There is, of course, something of a paradox about a defence of free expression being advanced by groups that want to banish the practice of Islam from the West. The Q Society campaigns against Halal food and the construction of mosques, believing that "the further Islamisation of our Nation must first be stopped, and then reversed". Last year in Holland, Wilders' party, the PVV, set up a dob-in-a-foreigner website designed to provoke resentment against Eastern Europeans.

It is, in any case, hard to believe that anyone could seriously imply that there is an obligation on venue owners to rent out their premises for Wilders' talks. No commitment to free speech entails any duty to actually facilitate the dissemination of particular views. Nor does it preclude taking active steps to prevent certain views spreading. What politics is about, among other things, is control of the public sphere. Shaping the channels through which ideas flow is an essential part of this.

There is, however, a tactical question for Wilders' opponents. A sizeable current of opinion apparently agrees with Victorian premier Ted Baillieu that the best way to counter Wilders is to ignore him. On this view, his opponents should simply pull their heads in and deny Wilders oxygen.

This belief neglects three factors at least. Most obviously, Wilders was always likely to be fêted by a strong media presence. An absence of overt protest leaves his prescriptions for Australian society — "find and elect politicians who are not afraid to speak the truth about Islam" — unchallenged. Only demonstrations at the scene can keep Wilders' views controversial in the minds of the public who only watch the TV news.

Second, Wilders' respectability in The Netherlands can only be influenced by his reception abroad. Giving him a free pass in Australia contributes to the standing of the PVV.

But the most important rationale for direct protests at Wilders' events is their effect on his immediate audience.

Wilders is a lightning rod for Australian racists. The success of events like his tour will be a key factor in their ability to convert their ideas into meaningful political action, adding to the momentum already created by the Rise Up Australia Party, which shares Wilders' anti-Islamic agenda.

Political programmes need activists — ordinary people prepared go out into the real world to interact with the flesh-and-blood public. This is exactly why it is important that their attempt to do so be nipped in the bud while they are still relatively weak.

This doesn't mean that anyone should be physically prevented from entering an event where Wilders is speaking. But there is every justification for discouraging actual or potential racist campaigners by refusing to rent out venues for their functions, by creating a climate in which the venue cannot be advertised in advance, and by protesting vigorously outside the meetings.

Wilders and the Q Society both trade on the idea that the character of Wilders' appearances is essentially educational. He is, on this interpretation, informing people on a matter of social importance. Consequently, any attempt to disrupt him is fundamentally illiberal, as this editorial in The Australian also suggested.

A similar implication can sometimes be extracted from the classic liberal defence of free speech, John Stuart Mill's 1859 On Liberty. Mill's main contention is that "only through diversity of opinion is there, in the existing state of human intellect, a chance of fair play to all sides of the truth".

Balance — between "democracy" and "aristocracy", between "sociality" and "individuality" — is the overriding goal Mill promotes. His claim that we should defend the right of those to express even the most mistaken opinions is a central plank of classical liberalism.

In his autobiography, Mill described himself as having believed, at an early point, that "educated intellect, enlightening the selfish feelings" would be the source of political progress. He claimed to have later abandoned that belief, but in fact it deeply informs On Liberty.

Mill's argument assumes a bloodless, scholar's world in which the exchange of opinions only serves the purposes of dispassionate, impartial reflection in which the truth will finally win. He has nothing to say about all the other goals achieved by political expression: the emotional rallying of supporters, the fostering of esprit de corps, the arousal of hatred. These effects are real, but Mill's intellectualised analysis ignores them.

Wilders' talks are clearly not principally aimed at "educating" anyone, regardless of his and the organisers' claims. They are first and foremost political events which have the potential to consolidate and give new impetus to the already entrenched currents of Islamophobia and racism in this country.

It is a remarkable double-standard to decry — as so many liberals did — commuter passivity in the face of the recent racist diatribes on Melbourne and Sydney buses but also to insist that Wilders' ideas should simply be swept under the carpet.

The bus episodes and Wilders' appearances are essentially identical: both are attempts to vilify people solely on the basis of their identity. In both, the targets of the attack have committed no crime other than belonging to a category which their assailant finds offensive.

While identical in kind, Wilders' appearances in Australia are a far more serious threat than the public transport incidents, as horrifying as those are. Wilders' intent is political. Under his suits, his veneer of rationality and his politician's obfuscations, the bigotry of his message is just as palpable as that of the Melbourne commuters who attacked French tourists or the Sydney woman responsible for Jeremy Fernandez's ordeal.

If challenging Wilders directly is counterproductive or infringes free speech, then the same must be said about challenging the public transport racists. The absurdity of that argument could not be clearer.

Mill intended his arguments to foster the clash of opinions, not as an excuse to leave mistaken views free rein. Wilders uses classic liberal arguments as cover for the corrosive poison he disseminates. A society that cares about the equality of its members cannot sit on its hands while racist forces celebrate their high mass.

The author is one of the organisers of a Sydney protest against Wilders' visit.

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Rocky
Posted Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 12:23

There are many flaws in the arguments presented in this article.

(1) Opposition to Islam is not racism, Moslems do not constitute a "race". Islam is an ideology that, as currently practised in majority Moslem nations, is inimical to liberal democracy, so opposition is a natural position for liberal democrats. Does the author know Islam's history?

(2) Who is to judge "mistaken" beliefs?

(3"If challenging Wilders directly is counterproductive or infringes free speech, then the same must be said about challenging the public transport racists. The absurdity of that argument could not be clearer." Well, the absurdity of this argument is certainly clear, there's no justification in conflating racist rants on metro buses with criticism of an ideology.

An attempt at creating a straw man argument.

Actually the Americans don't accept that argument, the US Constitution doesn't prohibit hate speech-- on the free speech principle.

I have no idea what Wilders' real agenda is, however he has the right to criticise Islam.

denise
Posted Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 13:57

He should be allowed to express his opinions freely, however his arguments are not flawed just on the basis of his prejudice, but his ignorance; because he's unable to differentiate between a benign Muslim, happy to practice Islam within a secular democracy and a dangerous Islamist who wants to destroy all secular freedoms.
The worst mistake he makes is that he stereo-types Muslims, when in reality they are as different racially, as they are divided in their opinions about the Koran; just as people of all religions are racially varied and have a variety of opinions about their holy books.
And finally he has a right to speak, but what he says in his criticism of Islam as a religion, is a pointless exercise; because all he's really done is insult the millions of happy Muslims who are not Islamists.

LukeMR
Posted Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 14:25

Mr Riemer, protest his views - please, by all means. But, directing the protest against his right to speak - for example by pressuring venues not to host him - is a poor decision in the extreme, and to be honest, just belies the lack of realism underpinning the ideas of many who seek to call themselves activists in modern day Australia.

I know this sounds harsh, but unfortunately I happen to believe it.

But beyond a philosophical discussion on "free speech", why, from a practical standpoint do I consider it a poor decision?

This man should be encouraged to speak. At the very least, a man like this might provoke us to grow up a little bit and actually have a conversation about immigration - and it IS immigration that Wilders seeks to discuss, not the rights of people already in Australia to practice a religion.

So what kind of discussion ought we have? For me, we need to discuss: why immigration is good for Australia, what immigrants most fit our goals, and probably most importantly, how we can help people to do better once they arrive?

The fact that the airwaves are dominated by silence and ideologues is precisely WHY in Europe people like Wilders have a following.

Take The Netherlands: people aren't happy, and they have a right not to be, and they have a right to express anti- immigration views without being branded a racist by ideologues on the left. The fear that this racist labelling creates silences the centre, and forces people desperate for their views to be somewhat represented into the arms of an ideologue like Wilders

bambi26
Posted Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 14:29

From a legal perspective, I absolutely agree with his right to speak. I disagree with some of the totality of his proposals for Holland and its place in Europe, but it cannot be said that it has come about without cause.

Islam has attracted a lot of negativity from actual events, whether it be honour revenge/killings, female circumcision, or pubic stoning for adultery, and as a feminist, these are the things which I find most difficult to digest. Every religion, or ideology, has its flaws, but for some 'westerners', and you can blame media if you like but there is some truth in it, its the radicalness of some Muslim groups and the treatment of women that form the polar divides between the the east and the west.

If we were to ban Wilders from entering the country, what do we do with the (more than likely Australian citizens) extremists, such as those at the demonstration in Sydney last year wearing 6th Pillar T-shirts? Surely these symbols are inciting violence and hatred too?

Tolerance is a lovely word, and a great ideal. But then again I feel that way about communism, and I'm not planning on a move to China any time soon.

As long as different cultures and religions reside beside one another and share a 'land', there is going to be civil unrest. As long as we invoke free speech as a right, we are going to have civil unrest. That's just life.

EarnestLee
Posted Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 15:17

Sorry Nick but you haven't thought this one through.

Curtailing speech simply breeds anarchy and extreme methods of attention seeking.

Unlike the most of the West we haven't had a Civil War.

Lets encourage expression in the open as means of self-preservation.

GrantD
Posted Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 15:22

Some good comments above, well done. I have lived and worked in Auburn and Bankstown so have first hand positive and negative experiences of being in an Australian-Middle Eastern community. Let me tell you, as an Anglo these are tough places to live - especially for the older folk who have seen their community change dramatically over the years. Some of these people were respected community members but are now spat at when they go downtown. I found it is people from outside these areas (mostly from homogenous communities) that 'embrace multiculturalism' and they stile the local voice. Personally I think we will see more of these radical views being expressed because of the PC culture we have. If you disagree with anything you are instantly labelled and demonised eg if you disagree with homosexuality you are homophobic, if you say anything about Islam (even if based on facts) you are racist, if you say it is ok to smack your kids you are a child abuser. We need to stop labeling people and allow open debate - this will be more productive. For example, it would be good for the public to see Mr Wider's in dialogue with an intelligent Muslim man who doesn't beat his wife and have an AK47 under his bed. This would attract viewers from both ends of the spectrum and if there was a good moderator (eg Andrew Denton) it could be very productive - for both sides. The general public have questions about the the over-representation of Muslims in the legal system etc and unless there is open discussion those questions will only be answered by people like Wilders.

bladeofgrass
Posted Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 15:31

As has been pointed out above, being anti-Islam is not necessarily the same as being racist. Anyone of any colour can become a Muslim if they choose, being an Arab is certainly not a pre-requisite.

Geert Wilders appears to be uber-conservative, who has chosen Islam as his foe because it represents, to him, the biggest threat to what he regards as his culture. And if his culture involves being a white, Dutch-speaking Christian, who can argue with him?

Australia has never been as genetically and culturally homogenous as the Netherlands. It is highly doubtful whether his views will appeal strongly to more than a small minority here. It is certainly not worth setting a precedent by seeking to censor the views of those we may despise, simply because we think they are wrong.

This user is a New Matilda supporter. Accent
Posted Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 15:41

I'd be willing to give Geert half an ear if he shone the same light on all religions. After all, Christianity and Judaism certainly have plenty of their own crimes to atone for.

As it is religion is just the cultural glue of tribalism. No one is any better, or worse, than the rest (although some are more callous at milking a good living out of the meek and subservient).

To pick on one superstition (and by default give credence to the others) is certainly racist and politically self serving.

This user is a New Matilda supporter. Marga
Posted Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 15:44

In addition to good points made above:

As far as I can interpret, Geert Wilders is not opposed to Muslims per se - ie when they practise their religion in the privacy of their homes. He objects to organized religion, totalitarian Islam, the political process and the desire to rule the world, as all organized religions dream of.

There is a big difference between organized religion and just following a religion privately for peace of mind.

He is outspoken; he has a right to express his opinion; he should be heard and what he has to say can be discussed and debated. But a racist he is not, as a religion is not a race.

Too many people in modern secular societies are too timid and too pc to speak out. I understand from a good source that France - a country more courageous in taking action in regard to organized religion - has prosecuted 100 cases where sharia law was clandestinely practised in France. It is secretly practised in England, in Germany, in Australia and many other western countries. But do they prosecute? No, unless it comes to murder, but by that time the horse has bolted.

outrider
Posted Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 16:07

Outrider
When someone opens by equating anti-Islam with racism, you know he has lost the argument. Muslims come in all colours. When there is enough of them they attempt to break down the divide between Church and State which was the foundation of Western civilization. Some of the problems with venue according to the organizers was fear of violence. We are already running scared because we know that murder is one of the techniques of enforcement (van Gogh). Many people are on the officially sanctioned hit list. Noteworthy that one of the attendees described himself as Jewish -they have most to fear.

ozzydazz
Posted Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 16:13

This article is not even worth the effort to read, the headline is enough to understand that the author is a fool and nieve.

I think the author is an idiot, does that make me a racist?

pwinwood
Posted Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 19:05

Merlinau
I am old enough and sufficiently well educated to make my own judgement on the worth of Wilder's opinions, thank you very much.
I do NOT need a mob denying me the opportunity to hear him.
Opposition to the spread of Islam (and Sharia law) is NOT racism.
Wilders asserts that Islam is a totalitarian political movement brooking NO opposition or criticism and from what I have observed in Iran and Africa (Mali) and the experience of Salman Rushdie,and many other places and instance, there is very definitely a case to argue.
Let the man speak.

This user is a New Matilda supporter. DrGideonPolya
Posted Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 19:18

It is heartening to see Australians across the political spectrum speaking out against the ugly, dangerous racism and bigotry of Geert Wilders' Islamophobic message.

The humane and articulate British imam and broadcaster Ajmal Masroor was brilliant in his defence of free speech and Islam and demolition of Wilders' bigotry in an interview on the ABC today (see "British Imam on Geert Wilders tour", ABC Radio National Breakfast, 21 February 2013: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/british-imam-on-g... ).

That said, one cannot underestimate the danger posed by Wilders' Islamophobic views in a look-the-other-way country like Australia that is dominated by pro-war, pro-Zionist, US lackey, "politically correct racist (PC racist) Lib-Lab (Liberal-Laborals) who while laudably rejecting Wilders' bigotry are complicit in the Zionist-backed, US state terrorism-led War on Muslims that has been associated since 1990 with 12 million Muslim deaths (half of children) from violence or war-imposed deprivation, the breakdown being 4.6 million (Iraq0, 5.6 million (Afghanistan), 2.2 million (Somalia) , 0.1 million (Libya), 0.1 million (Palestine), 0.1 million (Syria). (Google "Muslim Holocaust Muslim Genocide": https://sites.google.com/site/muslimholocaustmuslimgenocide/ ).

I am an atheist but appreciate the comfort religion gives to billions of people (I get my comfort from science, music, art, poetry, literature, nature, company). That said, at an intellectual level I appreciate the polite but rigorous approach of people like Professor Richard Dawkins (read his book "The God Delusion").

I have many gentle, good and generous Muslim and Muslim-origin friends who range from the non-observant to the strictly observant (as an atheist scientist I have polite and friendly discussions with my observant Muslim friends as I do with my observant Christian, Jewish, Zoroastrian etc friends, while respecting the importance of their faith to them) .

It must be recognized that Western colonialism, neocolonialism and the Zionist-backed US War on Muslims have delayed the advance of modernity in many Muslim countries as explored in "Inside Muslim Minds" by Professor Riaz Hassan (for a review see: https://sites.google.com/site/bookreviewsbydrgideonpolya/hassan-riaz-ins... ).

I am upset by the threat and upset caused to Australian Muslims by Geert Wilders' crude Islamophobia, bigotry and racism. The appalling crimes of Islamophobic, pro-Zionist mass murderer Anders Breivik evidently stemmed from his fanatical desire for a Muslim Genocide in which all Muslims were to be expelled from Europe, Palestine, China, and India. However those appalling crimes are dwarfed by the carnage of the US War on Muslims (see Alan Jasson, "Bush, Blair and Breivik", MWC News: http://mwcnews.net/focus/analysis/12512-bush-blair-and-breivik.html ).

Peace is the only way but Silence kills and Silence is complicity.

phoneyid
Posted Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 20:17

Let him speak I say; I'm happy to let any 'friend of Israel' speak; even Wilder's admirer that Norwegian nut case Anders Behring Breivik if he hadn't killed all those kids that had been calling for a boycott of Israel.

During this 'war footing' of West against so many Islamic nations we need to sensitive to possible alternate agendas of some of those seeking to guide us.

“Israel is fighting our war”
http://www.geertwilders.nl/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=173...

So if he's lived and worked on a farm near Jericho, then it would be way in the West Bank; it'd be a so called "settlement" in a 'sensitive' area occupied since 1967 and because of it's 'sensitivity' occupied by Jews only... which would be him. ... someone correct me please.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geert_Wilders

Let's see the colour of the the blonde boy's roots..
http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/4094

I'm weary of people like him and AIJAC when they 'warn' us of Iranian sleeper cells in the Halal meat industry etc.
Are they trying to warn us against people that don't like us, or people that Israel doesn't like.??

fightmumma
Posted Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 21:13

so i'm confused - who do we hate? Who is it ok to allow to teach to deny the rights of others? And is denying the rights of those who deny the rights of others make us as bad in denying them their rights to abuse/oppress/discriminate? Who is representing social justice? How about the rights of women re their bodies, sexual experience, freedoms? Are we a society with homogeneous values of freedoms and rights? Is it right to defend/support these? Or can our society welcome completely opposing beliefs about women, liberty, self-determination and still live harmoniously?

And do we really need to worry about Islam when we still have soccer hooligans destroying public spaces? Are the Muslim ones worse? Are other religions or "races" (an obsolete term in sociology anyway) "better" even if they do identical behaviours?

What would all the dogmatic nutters who are fortunate enough to have religion and "race" to utilise in sustaining their self-centered hatefulness and lack of courage to live a full, empowered life, active life...what would they do with themselves?

And what would WE be doing if we didn't have them all to think over, worry about and write on online newspapers about? Meanwhile my ice-cream is melting...and more seriously all the brilliant things we could be doing remain...undone...

This user is a New Matilda supporter. dazza
Posted Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 22:02

I would be happy to criticise Wilders as a demagog, one who preaches dissention and revolution and hatred. Australia has a problem is more than a dozen or so or our citizens actually want to listen to him.
But.. at the same time, if we agree that he has a right to 'free speech' (with some necessary controls), how about the same right here in Australia to criticise the religion and activities of Jewry (and Zionism), without being harassed and derided (and shut up!) by powerful Jewish Organisations.
Or those who may want to criticise the dogmas of Christianity, which have as many problems as does Jewry and Islam. Without the terrible mess of abuse of children that has arisen, would we now be even criticising the Catholic Church anywhere near present levels.
Both Islam and Jewry practice child abuse, with circumcision, (some parts of Islam with female genital mutilation). So do Christians, but this is just following Jewish practice.
Fair go, fellers!
Let us hope that Wilders gets sick of preaching his hateful messages here, and goes home. And he needs to keep his eyes on the skies, or someone may send a killer drone his way. After all, the President of the United States is quite happy to kill thousands of people in far off places with killer drones, most totally innocent of any war activities, and soon others will say, if he can do it, so can I. He is upsetting an awful lot of people, with his possible 'truths'.

phoneyid
Posted Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 23:45

I'm not for government's burning of books, or suppression of words in any sense; public or on line, short of direct calls to physical harm.

Those that are "insulted" should go back to grade 1 and learn to recite...
"sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me".

While we've digressed to the topic of genital mutilation.
We should be free to openly discuss a sometimes Jewish practice of applying oral suction of the infant penis, known as "metzitzah" which has been well documented to inflict hepatitis in American cases.

How common is that practice here and is it consistent with Australian values or even laws??

Which discussions of specific child cutting rituals for example will be deemed offensive or insulting "racist slur" with all the recent changes to such laws.

Is it still a "racist slur" if it's true?

As a test of free speech; I'd bet my next month's income that if Wilders was calling for the expulsion, 5 year moratoriums on building of religious temples, loss of voting privileges, and the right to preach or educate in their language and even call for war... against Jews... as he called against Muslims in his own country.... he wouldn't even have gotten in this country.

I don't see Geert Wilders as a true Test of free speech.
The media have promoted him for what I see as more of the same, but lacking polished edges and with little logic at all.

K Brown
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 - 01:37

I lived in Egypt in the 1980s and travelled extensively through the region. I have never encountered more hospitality and religious tolerance than that extended by my Muslim friends and acquaintances. On one occasion, I hitch-hiked from Aqaba, Jordan to Petra/Wadi Musa. Anyone driving past that had a spare seat would pick you up. A passing road maintenance gang was particularly hospitable. They picked me up along with a half dozen other locals on the Wadi Musa turn-off on the Aqaba – Amman Desert Highway and then picked up a dozen or so other people including a couple of German backpackers who needed needing a lift. We all packed in around a pile of gravel, drums of asphalt and road maintenance tools but arrived safely in Wadi Musa.

Islam has protectedChristian landmarks such as St. Catherine’s Monastery at Jebel Musa, the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem for centuries.

When I have expounded such a benign view of Islam, why is it that my four daughters do not have a similar view and refuse to travel home after clubbing in town in a taxi being driven by someone who may be Muslim ? The reason is that they are tired of being propositioned by Muslim taxi drivers whose religion inculcates them with the idea that any women that does not wear the hijab or the burga are sluts!

Australia's Islamic organisations need to step up and denounce these traditional Islamic attitudes to women and tell Muslim men that they are responsible for their actions, not the way women and girls dress.

raismail
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 - 01:58

It sounds attractive to say that extremists like Wilders should be free to speak their minds and the public should be free to make up their minds about what is said. I don't have a theoretical argument against that. What I do have is a wife who gets abused sometimes while she is shopping because she chooses to cover herself (I never asked her to, it was her decision and if because of the abuse she changed her mind I would support her.) I have a son who was recently abused in public as a 'terrorist' and a 'black c***.' My wife and daughter were traumatised when a drug crazed neighbour decided to pick a fight with the only Muslims in the street and, while shouting anti Muslim abuse, lobbed bricks through our front windows. I am concerned that the ravings of Wilders and his like will impel other unstable members of the community to further abuse and more physical violence. To me, just trying to live a peaceful life in the land of my birth, that consideration beats all the theoretical defences of Wilders' right to freedom of speech.

Atheistno1
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 - 02:09

For those who think that freedom of speech is the right way to go, I'm all for it & speaking out against the nasty book of Islam is the right thing to do, but as far as Geert Wilders is concerned, I'd like to hear his conference myself, even though I know the man is a Zionist & on the Jews pay role.

England is currently under pressure of Islamic Sharia law thanks to pandering of Muslim culture & I see Australia headed the same way as the laws of culture are passed with laws of the United Nations. No wonder our politicians want the public to turn a blind ear to his rantings when they so willingly bow to other cultures pressure to have the public of this country bow to them.

raismail
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 - 03:00

Atheistno1: Neither England nor any other Western country is 'under pressure of Islamic Sharia law.' Where are your facts? On the contrary, Muslims in these countries are under pressure from cranks like Wilders who erect the straw man of a 'Sharia threat' in order to beat us around the head. Then we get our windows broken.

phoneyid
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 - 03:10

Anyone would think that Muslims have had such a bad influence in Australia that we've gone from war to war killing children and other innocents at their bequest.
I just see predominantly Zionists of influence taking us down that path.

Apart from war mongering, I just finished telling you about people sucking on infants' genitalia; but you see the greatest evil in our midst as being taxi drivers flirting with your out on the town daughters.
Concerned about men fiddling with your daughters?
Tried getting up to give them a lift?? My view is; that's what a responsible guardian does.
I for one never even use to let my kids attend "sleepovers", I'm not a Muslim; but because I know that in this country of a mixed ethnicity kind of a 'petri dish' all the kiddy fiddlers of pre-pubescents seem to always be white fellas. AngloSaxons quite typically.
And not necessarily Catholic Priests..
I haven't heard any calls from your ilk to kick out Catholics or others.
You don't have a problem with those groups near your daughters, just Muslims right??
Muslims flirting with your daughters... well that one is just unacceptable.

Lets bring it out in the open shall we. Bring it all out.

phoneyid
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 - 03:19

All I see is another Zionist, likely a Jew, telling us to fear Muslims; and quite plausibly the Megaphone Software is attracting other separatists here too.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megaphone_desktop_tool

In the C21st propaganda and deception field, our Zionist brethren make the Muslims look like they still use typewriters and carbon paper.

fightmumma
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 - 07:54

phoneyid - yeah - you would think that in our era of excellent access to information, technology and multiculturalism that we wouldn't be so easily influenced by extremists, with hateful views dressed up as "reasonable" arguments, wouldn't you!! But remember, we have only a small group of very wealthy, powerful people with special connections that they need to protect and make valid in our country - this type of stuff helps with the asylum seeker problem because it makes these people into "Other" rather than human beings who need our empathy and compassion. Who controls discourse and public opinion? Why? Why don't we hear about West Papua except through New Matilda? Why? The same thing happens with sexuality...certain groups want their security, and this requires others being hated, made targets of suspicion and to dampen-down our humanitarian tendencies (which IMHO is related to "animalising" us).

Rocky
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 - 08:42

rasmail,

"Atheistno1: Neither England nor any other Western country is ‘under pressure of Islamic Sharia law.’ " That seems a rather disingenuous statement.

I suggest that you reference "Sharia Law in Britain ... France... Holland etc", there is indeed pressure to introduce Sharia in Western democracies, initially within the Moslem communities.
Would you class violent demonstrations by outraged Moslems as "pressure"?

I'm also sceptical in regard to the claim that the majority of Moslems are "moderate", why then are majority Moslem nations such as they are, violent and governed by tyrannical regimes. Only the most gullible "useful idiot" would regard Islamic theocracy as benign, it's as much a threat to liberty as communism was in the 20th century.

Moslems should be free to practise their religion within the parameters set by liberal democratic states, and also be free of harassment and public abuse.

redact
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 - 11:50

Gee Mr Riemer must be feeling a bit lonely when his only supporters are the verbose Drgideonpolya and the anti-Semitic and racist phoneyid.

And one would think that someone 'in the English and Linguistics departments at the University of Sydney' would know the meaning of the word racist.

phoneyid
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 - 12:28

Hush, hush; tread quietly; don't approve of any mention of Jewish or Zionist practices or agenda.
Don't honour any critique of them by discussing it's validity.
Bury the critique.
Call the thought police!
Call the critics "antisemites"

This user is a New Matilda supporter. dazza
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 - 12:33

Man, there is no doubt about it, discussion of religion is always going to bring out the extremists, and result in heated discussion.
I say a POX on ALL Religions.Surely humanity must be getting to the stage where they can cast off superstition, and operate logically. Well, I guess not!
Christianity, fundamentally speaking, has caused the deaths of hundred of millions of people over the centuries. Remember The Inquisition.
Islam, fundamentally speaking, much the same. An awful lot of people were given the choice of swearing allegiance to Allah or getting their heads chopped off, and this started way back when Muhammed was gathering converts.
We can see now just how many people have been 'exterminated' with extreme prejudice by Jews, particularly in Palestine and surrounding countries.
Now, me being a ZPG fan, I hope and expect that millions more of humans will expire in the next fifty years, as Global Warming bites.
But I still hope that soon, the stupid belief in superstitions will die out, because unless it does, we are in for a torrid time. Certainly, this business of putting Chaplains in State Schools to brainwash a whole generation of young people with superstitious nonsense, one JG should have her brain washed out for agreeing to it, and backing it with millions of taxpayer dollars.
Same goes, I do not want anyone to be mentally or physically infiltrated with Sharia Law. The 17th. Century was a long time ago, and things have changed since then. Why on Earth would anyone want to turn back the cultural clock that far.
Quite insane. But there are a lot of Mullahs and males who like the power that Sharia gives them over women.
We seem to be getting these revolutions, where secular forces fight for freedom, only to see the forces of fundamentalist Islam sneak in and insist that Sharia Law must be enforced.
I say NO!
So if Mr. Wilders wants to speak against Sharia Law, good luck to him. It is an abomination!

This user is a New Matilda supporter. dazza
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 - 12:35

Man, there is no doubt about it, discussion of religion is always going to bring out the extremists, and result in heated discussion.
I say a POX on ALL Religions.Surely humanity must be getting to the stage where they can cast off superstition, and operate logically. Well, I guess not!
Christianity, fundamentally speaking, has caused the deaths of hundred of millions of people over the centuries. Remember The Inquisition.
Islam, fundamentally speaking, much the same. An awful lot of people were given the choice of swearing allegiance to Allah or getting their heads chopped off, and this started way back when Muhammed was gathering converts.
We can see now just how many people have been 'exterminated' with extreme prejudice by Jews, particularly in Palestine and surrounding countries.
Now, me being a ZPG fan, I hope and expect that millions more of humans will expire in the next fifty years, as Global Warming bites.
But I still hope that soon, the stupid belief in superstitions will die out, because unless it does, we are in for a torrid time. Certainly, this business of putting Chaplains in State Schools to brainwash a whole generation of young people with superstitious nonsense, one JG should have her brain washed out for agreeing to it, and backing it with millions of taxpayer dollars.
Same goes, I do not want anyone to be mentally or physically infiltrated with Sharia Law. The 17th. Century was a long time ago, and things have changed since then. Why on Earth would anyone want to turn back the cultural clock that far.
Quite insane. But there are a lot of Mullahs and males who like the power that Sharia gives them over women.
We seem to be getting these revolutions, where secular forces fight for freedom, only to see the forces of fundamentalist Islam sneak in and insist that Sharia Law must be enforced.
I say NO!
So if Mr. Wilders wants to speak against Sharia Law, good luck to him. It is an abomination!

This user is a New Matilda supporter. dazza
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 - 12:35

Sorry, I hit the button twice!.

fightmumma
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 - 13:18

yeah Dazza I agree, but we need to remember that christianity exhibits exactly the same tendencies as Sharia law that is if extremists had their way...it is just that christians fly under the radar, not as visually obvious, speak the same language, harmonious with capitalism (protestant work ethic), supportive of mainstream power-structures...having been raised in a religious cult here in Oz I have lived an entire secret, tormented life under that environment especially my whole childhood/adolescence/young married life. The question is - why doesn't this dude speak out as much about all that and equally oppose/act on that? I agree I don't want Oz having ANY laws/processes that enable Sharia law, but I want female uni graduates to earn as much pay as male graduates and I want as many women on the world's wealthiest people list (at the moment I think about 8 out of 100!!), and equal representation in parliaments, corporations powerful positions and decision-making positions as what men are - and this still isn't happening anytime soon!! Why aren't people who hate Muslims as worried about all that?

Rocky
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 - 13:34

dazza,

Agreed, however many people seemed to need religion, the problem is that some believers insist on inflicting their superstitions on the rest of humanity.

fightmumma,

Don't agree with your equation of Islam and Christianity, even though Christianity has an extremely violent history there is very significant difference between the two faiths.
Christian societies produced the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the Scientific Revolution and the Industrial Revolution while Islam slept its thousand year sleep and didn't progress past the 12th century. Moslem countries, unlike East Asian nations have been unable to modernise, that is significant.

This user is a New Matilda supporter. Marga
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 - 15:07

dazza:
You may like this story, which I read last year in a humanist newsletter.
The S.A. author of that letter had become concerned about global food shortages and learnt that we should not be more than 1 - 2 billion people in the world.
So, his solution was that seeing that there are so many other people who have another place to go to (namely: heaven, paradise, Walhalla et al) these people should volunteer to go there and leave the planet to those who have nowhere to go - namely atheists.
Problem solved.

MazelMan
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 - 15:19

My compliments to New Matilda for publishing Riemer’s article because at least it has generated some interesting debate about what Geert Wilders has to say. As GrantD so aptly said “We need to stop labeling people and allow open debate - this will be more productive.”
So much of Riemer’s article is contentiousness and most of the commentators here, with the exception of those who choose to digress (Polya) and the anti-Zionists (phoneyid), who will take any opportunity to lambast Jews, have excoriated Riemer and spoken out in the spirit of free speech and open discussion.
Both GrantD and Marga have told us that we are being weighed down by an insane political correctness that pervades through our whole society from the top down. Very few are brave enough to really listen to Wilders and then come out and speak their mind. Andrew Bolt (http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/commen...) and Senator Corey Bernardi (http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/political-news/senator-backs-wilders-to... ) are just two.

Now to shred Riemer’s arguments:
1. “advanced by groups that want to banish the practice of Islam from the West.” It is not the aim of organisations like the Q Society to destroy Islam. With more than 1.5 billion Muslims around the world that is obviously going to be impossible to achieve.
2. Riemer has said there is no obligation on venue owners to rent out their premises for Wilders’ talks. From a business point of view that may be true. Further he proclaims “there is every justification for discouraging actual or potential racist campaigners by refusing to rent out venues for their functions”. This is a straw man argument which is based on the completely false assumption that Wilders is a racist campaigner.
Unfortunately Reimers has overlooked the fact that venue owners , when they have seen the enormous police presence looming, have been cowed into reneging on signed contracts. That is the poisonous social climate that we now live in, where fear and intimidation make so many of us withdraw from the contest, surrendering to the malevolence of Islamic totalitarian ideology.
3. “An absence of overt protest leaves his prescriptions for Australian society — "find and elect politicians who are not afraid to speak the truth about Islam" — unchallenged.” Do the Socialist Alliance rabble who rolled up at Somerton chanting ‘Free Free Palestine’ qualify as challenging what Geert Wilders has to say? The organisers should have broadcast the Wilders speech to the outside of La Mirage Receptions in Somerton so any open-minded protestors in the vicinity may have heard something that challenges their propaganda agenda.
4. “Wilders is a lightning rod for Australian racists.” Wilders may attract unsavoury elements but that does not detract one iota from the validity of Wilders argument.
5. “This doesn’t mean that anyone should be physically prevented from entering an event where Wilders is speaking.” But Nick they were and many have minor injuries to show for it.
6. “Wilders’ talks are clearly not principally aimed at "educating" anyone”. There was a book stall selling Geert Wilders’ book ‘Marked for Death’ which essentially covers the material he delivered in his Melbourne lecture. Most assuredly the great majority attending the event were already converts to his cause, but those who had not yet read his latest book were benefitting from a succinct educative summary of its contents.
There was also another speaker on the night, Sam Soloman, who deserves some credit (refer http://counterjihadreport.com/2012/11/26/ex-muslim-sharia-expert-sam-sol...). Being an ex-Muslim he was certainly informative and educated the audience with his detailed slide presentation about Islam.
7. To suggest that the bus episode and Wilders’ appearance are comparable is absolutely ludicrous. In Geert Wilders we have an astute Dutch politician, whose Freedom Party today has the second largest following in the polls in the Netherlands.
On the other hand even in moderate Malaysia today you have institutional racism where there are quotas that favour the indigenous Malay Muslims over the Chinese and where anyone who marries a Muslim is compelled to convert to Islam. This is of far more significance Nick than the solitary incident you have touted involving some stupid, ignorant behaviour on a bus.

Sorry Nick, you need to go back to the drawing board.

fightmumma
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 - 17:29

Geeeeeeert reminds me of "SYNDROME" from the kids' cartoon The Incredibles.

phoneyid
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 - 19:07

For many here, to discuss any manner of topic supposedly applying to Muslims is to benefit from the virtues of free speech and supported by all here it seems.
Only defensible with sound reasoned argument.

But in complete contrast; to raise issues pertaining to Jews or Zionists proves that even reasoned comparisons will not be defended with evidence but mere slurs. This is free speech among self proclaimed thinkers in Australia.

Not reason, just insults; schoolyard tactics.

And it is with that mindset that the new racism/vilification/insult laws will be framed in Australia.
There is ample evidence here and in wider Australia and other European/Western nations that this is the way of future thought, not just for contemplated laws but modern existing laws in many of these countries.

jackal01
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 - 20:24

Accent, fightmumma, dazza are about the only unemotional, inteligent, unbiased commentators here, who have stuck to sound reasoning.

My only input here will be to say. Watch one of Chomski's Videos it touches on how and why we end up with refugees and how the very people who create them also then Vilify them to hide their own crimes.
America and the masive influx from South America being a point in question.

K Brown who's opinions I mostly respect, starts well then goes of on some emotional clap trap based on fear for his kids.

I know there are a lot of ignoramouses in this country who hate because someone hated or hates them, I suppose thats why the Victims of Pedophilia go on to become Pedophiles etc.

Racism is an act used by those who are unfortunate, people who believe that their country no longer serves them, what ever serves means to them. You can be racist towards the Indiginous people because you want more of what they once owned, their Land and Governments fail to take more of it on your behalf.

As populations out grow the mental comfort zone, people become racist, thats why the defeat of Germany never solved the so called problem. We failed to reliese that, the racism of the 20's and 30's was due to the greed of the 20's and collapse of world economies in the 30's.

Our problem is the them verses us mentality present in all humans, hence we form up into mutual admiration societies of all manner.

Democracy in Australia has basicaly always meant, the democratic right of the Victor of the election to Rape, Pillage and Plunder the Tax Purse funded by the Nations resources that we Plunder of the Indiginous People. Thats why we Vilify them, we want what they once owned, for the want of a better word.

And Marga it seems that u 2 belong to a mutual admiration society, some of even your emotional crap, shows me your a small person needing big, powerful mutual admiration comfort zones.

Point, Capitalism is for, the Individualistic ego. Humans require the comfort of the many for survival, hence Democracy fails us. Democracy has been Railroaded to seve the Ego's of the Few at the expense of the many, this is consumerism. Racism springs from the confussion created to serve Greed.

O. Puhleez
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 - 21:18

"Nick Riemer is a member of the Refugee Action Coalition, and in the English and Linguistics departments at the University of Sydney."

He is also bloody confused. Possibly from an excess of pomo.

He says "If challenging Wilders directly is counterproductive or infringes free speech, then the same must be said about challenging the public transport racists..."

I think that Riemer needs to get a few distinctions into his mind, as it is clearly too late to get them into this lamentable article.

First, and most important: to be anti-Islam, as Wilders is and I am, is not to be anti-Muslim. I am anti-Islam in the same way that I am anti-fascist, anti-communist, anti-Catholic and anti-flatearthian. These are all philosophies that I have strong disagreement with. But I hold no hostility to the people who have been raised in or brainwashed by them.

So I'll repeat that in block caps: BEING ANTI-ISLAM DOES NOT MAKE ONE AUTOMATICALLY ANTI-MUSLIM.

Being anti-Muslim probably qualifies one as a bigot. So does trying to stop an anti-Islamic politician like Wilders from speaking freely.

As Islam is not a 'race', it is hard to see how being anti-Islamic is 'racist'. Muslims do not belong exclusively to any category one might describe as a 'race', as Muslims are found among all the races described in detail by 19th and 20th C physical anthropologists.

RACISM occurs when members of one race or ethnicity are deemed inherently superior to those of another. Racist attacks have undeniably occurred on public transport recently. But to then say: "If challenging Wilders directly is counterproductive or infringes free speech, then the same must be said about challenging the public transport racists..."

SO TO BE ANTI-ISLAM DOES NOT MAKE ONE 'RACIST'.

Public transport racists should be shut up and put out of business. But by 'challenging' Riemer really means 'taking action to prevent Wilders being heard'. This is what the protestors are trying to do, and why he has so much trouble finding venues: because management fears Wilders will provoke Muslim extremists to violence. So "the same" does not follow at all.

I would like to hear Wilders speak, uninterrupted, preferably in Canberra some time in the next 2 weeks. But I fear the likes of Riemer will succeed in denying me an opportunity.

phoneyid
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 - 21:51

Here is a list of some people who have been tried and sentenced for the crime of holocaust denial.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:People_convicted_of_Holocaust_deni...

Including Fredrick Toben of Australia, who wasn't jailed for "holocaust denial" per se, but contempt of court for failing to remove information from his website because Jews were offended by his denials.

The last one was in Hungary a few weeks back.
http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130201/auschwitz-or-museum-t...

Selective freedom of speech.

The proof is in the Pudding.

O. Puhleez
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 - 22:09

There are those in Australia likewise who deny that any systematic massacre, murder, call it what you will of Aborigines ever took place. (It is not hard to find holes in their arguments.)

But it is difficult to argue that they should be silenced or jailed for it.

I do not support the banning of Holocaust denial, however repugnant it may be to me and others.

Atheistno1
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 - 22:39

My my my, how nasty religious people can become when someone who has no religion & want's an end to religion all together, put's their knowledge forward.

Geert Wilders wants Muslim beliefs rid of all together & that's inline with Israel's ideology on terrorism, but I suppose those that are sitting there accusing me of being everything they want other people to believe me to be, in protection of their religious "beliefs".

I feel sorry for the Catholic sympathizers & Jewish Zionist abusers of Muslims, making claims against Atheist's that aren't true.

fightmumma
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 - 23:09

opuhleez - isn't the issue of most significance from this article NOT saying he is racist, but that his opinions will attract people who ARE racist? Inciting people to be hateful for whatever reason is unattractive, war-like behaviour, he has a certain percentage of audience that would like what he has to say precisely because it is "anti" the same thing they HATE...and many hate with full abandon rejecting all reason, justice, moderation or intelligent interaction...they just hate (usually borne out of fear and small minds/esteem/self-efficacy). Isn't it like a rally against poverty being overrun by communists who simply hate all rich people...one group has some valid points, but it can mutate into other discourses with other agendas...???

phoneyid
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 - 23:40

O. Puhleez
You and I and most here find burning of books and stifling of speech repugnant.

But what Wilders and others here have to say about Muslims and the evidence of political actions against many in the West for expressing other certain opinions shows very clearly which opinions are persecuted and which are not.

This is not about protection of speech for all, but political privilege for some.

All the media know this, but choose to conceal the elephant in the room.

I wonder what our Jewish Federal Attorney General Mark Dreyfus would say about that.

"There is no place in Australian political debate for comparing any Australian government to Hitler’s Third Reich.” Mark Dreyfus

Dreyfus accused Tony Abbott of being like Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels in an op-ed last year.
"Dreyfus has refused to apologise for his comment and in fact claims to stand by it.”
http://www.jewishnews.net.au/dreyfus-becomes-second-jewish-ag/29540

Good for the goose but not for the gander....

I rest my case and stand accused of antisemitism by the ZioNazis.

Zionists ( keep'n it "pure") insist on the usurping of Palestinian Land and further on the site of the biblical land of Judea; and grant people that call themselves Jews and don't even look like Semites, a "right of return" even though their families have lived in Eastern Europe for well over 1000 years.

‘Australia's ultimate priority would be Israel's security’ Julia Gillard.
http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/12/07CANBERRA1745.html

Atheistno1
Posted Saturday, February 23, 2013 - 09:19

The government, under Howard, told the public to ignore extremist views was done as a point of protecting the Catholic church against whistle blowers & supported by politicians of all groups as it was disguised as a means to shut out the terrorist's. But don't worry Phoneyid, they've got a couple of priest's they've chosen who are tied up with child molestation & are to pick out a new paedophile boss Pope for you to pray to.

The fact is that any person who needs to silence someone through arrogance is extremely stupid & doesn't want to hear their point of view because they are deeply threatened & their fears exceed their confidence.

America has more Latino's than American's that Latino's can now outvote the Government, according to @ABCnews24 The world this week program. Angela Merkel quoted recently that multiculturalism doesn't work because of the problems in Britain & America , as well as Europe with the immigration problems getting out of control, referring to Holland mostly, all thanks to the do gooder Christian's who want to give everything away to other people, ignorant of population & an finite world.

By the way Phoneyid, you might have a Phoney ID but I have a good solicitor who can check with NM admin who you are.

O. Puhleez
Posted Saturday, February 23, 2013 - 09:23

fm:

"opuhleez - isn’t the issue of most significance from this article NOT saying he is racist, but that his opinions will attract people who ARE racist?"

That may well be the case; Wilders' audience may well include quite a spectrum of political affiliations and viewpoints. But if he can be banned for that, then so can Tony Abbott and a swag of other [ahem] respectable pollies.

I am of the opinion that Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' was not the foundation document of fascism; the Koran was. Wilders I think has said much the same thing. I don't believe he or I should be silenced for saying that.

Atheistno1
Posted Saturday, February 23, 2013 - 09:37

O. Puhleez, I agree with you. The respectable pollies (ahem) were definitely dragged in to Howard's plot even though there was quite a few who knew what he was doing.

phoneyid
Posted Saturday, February 23, 2013 - 10:05

O. Puhleez.
In spite of your blatant threats of silencing my opinions and statements of fact through the legal thought police state, which betray your agenda as you call for free speech..

I'm of the opinion that a significant early collaborative influence for Hitler (1933) was not the Koran, but Zionism; which is well documented and even cast into bronze with commemorative medals of the period.

A striking irony when considered in light of the understanding given to us and our children through Hollywood and our education system and the rest of the Main Stream Media.... wouldn't you agree?
http://randompottins.blogspot.com.au/2007/05/coin-with-two-sides.html

Do the "friends of Israel" have nothing more than unsupported rhetoric to offer here?

phoneyid
Posted Saturday, February 23, 2013 - 10:10

Oh, my mistake;
the threat was made by Atheistno1.