Islam is a totalitarian ideology, not a religion, and therefore a Dutch constitutional commitment to freedom of religion shouldn’t apply to it, Geert Wilders has said.
In a wide-ranging interview recorded in January and broadcast at the weekend, the populist politician and leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV) said that although Islam has many of the trappings of religion, it shares more in common with totalitarian ideologies such as communism and fascism and should be treated as such.
“Not only is the Quran more full of anti-Semitism than Mein Kampf – another terrible book – ever was, but one token of proof of totalitarianism is that you are not allowed to leave. That’s the proof of totalitarianism,” he said.
“Islam as an ideology does not allow freedom. Look at almost all the countries in the world where Islam is dominant – you see a total lack of civil society, of rule of law, of freedom for journalists, women, Christians, or even somebody who wants to leave Islam, an apostate.
“You are allowed to leave Christianity or Judaism and become an atheist or the follower of another religion; you are not allowed to leave fascism, you are not allowed to leave Communism. And still today in Holland, in Germany, in the Arab world, the penalty is death if you want to leave Islam.
“That kind of thinking, that kind of violence within an ideology is something that we should not import.”
Conceding that his view was a minority view, and that the Netherlands’ constitution was unlikely to change should his party be victorious in upcoming elections, he clarified that his objection was to Islam as a body of ideas, not to Muslim people.
“I believe that Islam and freedom are incompatible. I’m not talking about people.
“I was many times in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and Jordan, and I found very friendly, nice and often very interesting people. So I don’t have a problem with Muslims, as some people believe.
“But I believe that the Islamic ideology is very dangerous.”
Wilders also voiced opposition to the European Union, which he said was stripping European nations of their sovereignty, and chastised Europe’s leaders for their adherence to the doctrine of cultural relativism.
Invoking Donald J. Trump’s success in winning the U.S. presidency on a platform of patriotism and national pride, Wilders said: “A nation state needs to be independent, needs its own flag and values. It’s not bigotry or racism, it’s patriotism, and patriotism is on the rise today.
“So I would try to regain our national sovereignty and be independent and let the Dutch people and the Dutch government and Parliament decide their own destiny again.”
He added: “Most political leaders are not only multiculturalists but are cultural relativists – people who believe that cultures are equal.” He predicted: “I am sure that the last days of the European Union – it’s like the old Roman Empire – are coming. It’s just a matter of time.”
Wilders has proved an immensely popular candidate and the PVV is on track to gain the most number of seats. But despite the opportunity to scrutinise Wilders’ ideas ahead of the Dutch elections in March, the Dutch press has chosen instead to focus on a mistake made by Wilders during the interview.
Discussing the PVV Wilders said he had been inspired by the politician Pym Fortuyn, who, he commented: “[was] addressing the problems I am addressing now and unfortunately he was killed and murdered by a radical Muslim.”
Fortuyn was murdered by an environmentalist, Volkert van der Graaf, who claimed he shot the politician in order to ‘protect’ Muslims. Wilders acknowledged the fact in a tweet explaining that he had meant to reference film-maker Theo Van Gogh who was shot and stabbed to death by an Islamist in 2004 for directing a documentary, Submission, which criticised the treatment of women under Islam.
In a second tweet, Wilders added: “The left-wing elitist losers are enjoying my slip of the tongue but we are going to de-Islamise the Netherlands very quickly and that is no slip of the tongue.”