The Western Conservative Summit is in its third year running. They are funded by the Colorado Christian University’s Centennial Institute, and this year they invited Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders to speak to a crowd of over 1300 attendees, who is of the radical right wing party known as the Party for Freedom (Partij voor de Vrijheid – PVV). In a forty-five minute speech that received multiple standing ovations throughout, Wilders warned of the threat of Islam and the “Islamisation” of the United States “bit by bit by bit” in an attempt to implement Shariah Law in America like has been happening in Europe (apparently).
Geert Wilders might be remembered from the 2008 movie from Bill Maher Religulous, where Maher briefly interviews Wilders and never seems to challenge him for his seemingly outrageous comments about Islam, unlike most of the other people interviewed throughout the film. “Islam is, according to me, a violent religion, the Koran is a violent book, and Mohammed was a violent prophet,” Wilders told Maher.
No more violent or “totalitarian” than the Bible, but Maher never seemed to make that connection. To clear something up, Wilders is not a Christian, in case anyone was wondering, even though he was indeed invited to speak at an event funded by fundamentalist Christians. He claims to be an agnostic, but Maher and Wilders both seem to have a special distaste for Islam.
During the speech, Wilders said, “Your country is facing a stealth jihad, an Islamic attempt to introduce Sharia law bit by bit by bit.” Where have I heard “stealth jihad” from before? Oh yeah, atheist YouTuber Pat Condell, who claims to be a “liberal democrat,” yet seems to have a very heavy following of right wingers from the BNP (British Nationalist Party) and the EDL (English Defense League), one a nationalist political party the other basically a British version of the Tea Party that focuses mainly on “the existential threat to the United States of America posed by Islam,” as the man who introduced Wilders at the summit put it, or in the case of the EDL, the threat posed to the United Kingdom by Islam.
I love how paranoid people like Wilders, Condell, and others always call it a “stealth jihad.” Since there’s no evidence for it, that’s proof that the stealth jihad is underway. Seriously, point to one instance of anything close to Shariah Law being implemented in the United States anywhere. Please. The only thing I have seen is quite the opposite when the Oklahoma banned Shariah Law for no reason whatsoever other than xenophobia and overall bigotry. Luckily, a federal appeals court struck down the proposed state constitutional amendment very recently.
Getting back to the Western Conservative Summit. At one point, Wilders said, “We should forbid the construction of new mosques. There is enough Islam in the West already.”
After Wilders was done speaking, Republican Colorado State Senator Kevin Grantham said in an interview, “It’s warranted in this country. We already see the beginnings of that movement here in a smaller fashion, but it’s the same thing as it was in Europe just within the last couple decades, and we see where Europe’s at right now. So the warning is very real, and we should take heed and watch where we’re heading in this country.”
He later said, “You know, we’d have to hear more on that, because, as he said, mosques are not churches like we would think of churches. They think of mosques more as a foothold into a society, as a foothold into a community, more in the cultural and in the nationalistic sense. Our churches — we don’t feel that way, they’re places of worship, and mosques are simply not that, and we need to take that into account when approving construction of those.”
No, mosques are not places of worship. They’re simply recruitment centres so radical Muslims can destroy America and have Shariah Law by brainwashing children into believing in their “totalitarian ideology striving for world dominance,” because conservatives and fundamentalist Christians are obviously not doing the same exact thing.
Banning the building of mosques and going after Shariah implementation is not new. There was the controversy a few years ago about the “Ground Zero Mosque,” where many people tried to ban the building of a community centre that had a mosque in it a few blocks away from the site of the World Trade Centre which was hit in the September 11th terrorist attacks, claiming that Muslims were trying to disgrace the people who died in those attack which were carried out by Al-Qaeda, the Muslim terrorist organisation.
Claims initially were that a mosque was being built on Ground Zero (hence the name), that it was being funded by radical Muslims, that those radical Muslims were going to use it to recruit more radical terrorists, etc., and this is why we should ignore the First Amendment of the Constitution that Christians and conservatives point to everyday to defend the hateful things they say and do. Obviously, these were all completely false and fabricated in order to push a bigoted and fear-mongering agenda.
Former Republican Presidential Candidate Newt Gingrich was a very vocal supporter of the Oklahoma ban, saying, “We should have a federal law that says under no circumstances in any jurisdiction in the United States will Sharia [Law] be used in any court to apply to any judgment made about American law.” Fellow former candidate Herman Cain said during the primary in an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace that local communities should have the right to ban the building of mosques in their towns, because “the people in the community know best” and because the “Constitution guarantees separation of church and state.” Yes, the irony should be seeping through the screen right now.
This is not something out of the far right wing where only immensely insane and bigoted people like Geert Wilders believe this. This is contemporary Republican and conservative rhetoric and platforms in the United States and other Western nations. I guess though we could call contemporary Republican and conservative rhetoric immensely insane and bigoted.