Thoughts on Geert Wilders and Free Speech

I just learned about the acquittal of Dutch MP Geert Wilders for his hate speech against Islam. The Netherlands court ruled that his remarks couldn’t be linked directly to discrimination of Muslims.

As an American and a journalist, I believe free speech and free press is an important foundation of our society. We tolerate a lot in order to preserve these freedoms, as they are not supported or believed in worldwide. Protecting people’s speech I believe is essential to allow difference of opinions and the ability to criticize corruption and wrongdoing, especially when feelings are so subjective and unpredictable, however I do not think we should abuse that privilege through clearly, pre-meditated obscenity, hate and incitement.

Nevertheless, our courts will not simply charge someone for being offensive or hurting others unless they are trying to attack a group and threaten them with violence, so it’s all about words moving action. This is fine by me for the most part. I think it’s part of life that we have to deal with people saying mean, rude or crude things, but we must show we are the bigger person and ignore them. Don’t let weak people overpower you, is my philosophy.

Unfortunately, some people erroneously believe Muslims by law do not tolerate dissent, criticism or insults and are mandated to react with violence. Somehow because a few people were vocal in opposition to cartoons or filmmakers, they think all Muslims are as sensitive as children.

We’re not sensitive-we’re mature and don’t appreciate obscene and vulgar argumentation that doesn’t provide any benefit or truth.

Muslims do not obsess about inciting hate against other religions, drawing cartoons, creating pornographic films, insulting faiths as ideologies that are backwards. Yes there are certain individuals who are vengeful and hateful, but no one is drawing up political votes and favor for this and comparing groups to Nazism as Wilders has done.

If Wilders thought he was actually making constructive criticism or logical statements, then he would have no need to be ostentatious, vulgar and confrontational about Islam. If he truly has no problem with Muslims, just Islam, then he wouldn’t be campaigning so hard to eliminate them. It makes no sense to say you respect someone, but find everything about them despicable. Wilders trying to act like he’s not Islamophobic is like trying to act like slave-owners are not racist.

Why is Islam used as the test for how far freedom of expression is? Every single group from Jews, Catholics, blacks, Mexicans has been insulted and react vocally, sometimes violently through history yet they are never pushed and prodded triumphantly and patriotically?

Though I accept his acquittal since he didn’t support violence, I find it in poor, poor taste to see people like him abuse the noble principle of freedom of speech for such ridiculous, ugly causes. Disgraceful really that he thinks we all gave him a “burden.” Hah!
The demonstrators in Syria, Libya and the rest of the Arab world are the real heroes of freedom of speech, fighting for liberty, dignity and respect for quality of life against real corruption.

No one’s saying you can’t discuss Islam or other religions in public debate, Wilders. You may have the ability to say what you want, but just know that you don’t have the monopoly of truth and I hope people display moral courage to ignore your fallacy-ridden, fear mongering and look to intelligent, rational and humble people for knowledge and discussion. You are a cult of personality and eventually, the hysteria and fanaticism around you will disperse and move on to something else. You are being used and you don’t even know it.

At least it’s good to see people are understanding that Wilders is using the Islam issue to further his career by riding off of popular sentiment as most politicians do. Forget investing in gold. The anti-Islamic book market is a sure-fire way to make a quick buck. Watch him come out with a memoir or TV special documenting his morally-superior battle to fight intolerance. Coming to a Barnes and Noble near you….

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4 thoughts on “Thoughts on Geert Wilders and Free Speech

  1. “The West has a long tradition of reading and acquiring information and understanding. Westerners are coming to understand Islam for what it is and are rejecting it completely. ”

    I’m sorry you think this way, Bob. Muslim countries throughout history were the centers of innovation, education, knowledge and enlightenment where people of all faiths, creeds, ethnicities and nationalities came together to learn from one of another. The “West” is simply a geographic orientation that you have created in your mind to split the world up and divide people. You are completely negating and ignoring “Eastern” advancements and contributions to society from medicine, the arts, politics, science etc and all that the West observed, took and modified from them. The world was ripe for exploring and engaging with one another and sadly, we have now lost that mentality and forsaken it for this superiority complex and “otherization” of people.

    People are not understanding Islam now more than they understood it when it first was revealed and people are not “rejecting it completely.” The Westerners you claim know the truth about Islam all admit they know nothing about it, are not experts or students of the religion, but they are still rewarded for it. People are more aware of politics and self-interest than they are of actually engaging and studying deeply. Just at look at the people who are talking about the threat of Sharia or the use of taqiyya or takfir. That’s all they talk about and they have create definitions and emphasis on ideas by themselves to share with unsuspecting citizens who are genuinely concerned about learning about the world.

    People are not rejecting Islam, they are rejecting what they think is Islam. That is why people who actually are friends with Muslims, live and work with Muslims are not afraid of them and do not shun them. I’m sorry you believe so strongly in the “clash of civilizations,” because that is not a fact, it’s one’s man’s theory. Geert Wilders is one man. He is not upholding dignifty by creating fear and vilifying others.

    Now, the media and politicians may try to act like we are all against each other, but that is wrong. I’m a Westerner and an American and Muslim. Nothing can break the bonds of my identity. America is a great pluralistic and tolerant country and non-Muslims and Muslims all over the world remain friends and allies, taking the time to study and learn from one another and I hope you get the chance to do so as well, Bob. The pursuit of knowledge is never over. You can never fully understand anyone, but we all equally yearn to be understood.

    I’d like to invite you to read a few sites, if you have the time:
    -http://www.mybestfriendismuslim.com/
    -http://myfellowamerican.us/
    -http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2011/06/16/right_wing_arabic_glossary/

    Thank you so much for stopping by and have a great day!

  2. Pingback: Geert Wilders acquitted, far right delighted, Islamists disappointed | iToD Daily Newspaper

  3. Though I completely disagree with you (when implying that in this respect, Geert Wilders is a person of rather spotty character), it was quite nice to read what you have to say anyway. My reasons for rejecting Islam are more theological then anything else but it certainly does not stop me from appreciating what others have to say. Dialogue is great.

    • Hi methodus,

      I don’t have any problem with you not believing in Islam, because everyone has a right to believe what they wish. That’s the wonderful thing about religious freedom. My critique of Wilders is his crusade to hurt and impair the ability of people to practice and believe what they wish and to live a dignified, respected life. I wish more people were like you that know how to respect and appreciate others even if you disagree with them.

      Thanks for stopping by:)

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