What a week. In an Australian café, a self-declared jihadi seized at least 17 hostages, two of whom were killed; and in Pakistan, 148 people, including 132 children, were massacred by the same branch of the Taliban that tried to murder Mala Yousafzai to prevent her from being educated.
Whether the terrorist in Australia acted alone or had an organization behind him is irrelevant. It did not stop him from killing two hostages. The manager of the Lindt cafe, 34-year-old Tori Johnson, and a 38-year-old lawyer and mother of three, Katrina Dawson, lost their lives.
What we have in both slaughters are individuals motivated by the same ideology, Islamism, and committing attacks against innocent civilians. More alarming is that many people apparently seem not to want to talk about the motivations, apart from mental illness, behind both attacks: Islamic ideology. Perhaps they fear being exposed to the same violence one day, or perhaps they fear jeopardizing business deals or votes. There may also be the temptation to run away from reality, in the hope that the more you deny it, the farther you are from it.
The ideology that flew planes into the World Trade Center in the U.S. and that took people hostage in Australia and that murdered over a hundred schoolchildren is one and the same. Without discussing it -- what is there in or about it drives people to violence and hatred? -- violent attacks, threats and intimidation are here to stay.
A wise and courageous man in Europe, Geert Wilders, has been speaking out about these truths for years -- and has been made to pay a huge price for it. When the filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered in 2004 over his short film, Submission, the paper on the knife in his back promised that Wilders (and Ayaan Hirsi Ali) would be next. Wilders lives in a state-provided house with high security; for his defense of freedom, he has received countless death threats and has been called "a hate mongering racist," "a bigot," "an extremist" and other names intended not to flatter. He is the founder and leader of the Netherlands' Party for Freedom (PVV), ranked number one in the polls; the creator of the film Fitna, and also author of the book, Marked for Death: Islam's War Against the West and Me.
Wilders warned Australia. He has devoted his life to warning us all. In a February 2014 television interview, he spoke to Australians about Islamism:
"Look how in societies today where Islam is dominant and prominent, how any non-Islamic person, whether it's a Christian or an apostate or a woman or a critical journalist, how they are treated. This is in a very bad way, often with the death penalty or imprisonment or all those kind of terrible things."
Geert Wilders warns Australians about the dangers posed by Islamism, multiculturalism and mass immigration, on ABC Lateline, Feb. 13, 2014.
Due to an enormous influx of people from Islamic countries in the last decades, he continued, Dutch society has changed and worsened, so that,
"unfortunately non-Western immigrants, often Muslims, are over-represented in statistics of crime, of dependency on social benefits, that we have honor killings, that we have genital mutilation, that we have streets where women with headscarves and burqas are not the exception any more. And that it's getting worse... What I'm trying to do when I visit your beautiful country, Australia, is warn Australians that even though it might not be the case today, learn from the mistakes that we made in Europe: be vigilant and look at Islam for what it really is. Islam is not a religion of peace. Islam is a totalitarian ideology. The best example is that if any person, any Muslim wants to leave Islam, then the penalty is death. It is not even allowed to leave it."
Wilders made clear that he was not threatening or attacking anyone for a religious or ethnic identity:
"I have nothing against the people. I have nothing against the Indonesian people or the Arab people or the Muslim people. I'm talking about the ideology. And indeed, as long as a country has a culture, a religion, an ideology where Islam is dominant, it will never be a democracy. It's also happening in Indonesia. Look at how they treat Christians in Indonesia or how they treat Christians in any other country where Islam is dominant."
"Why is it not possible to build a church in Saudi Arabia, where, as we in the Netherlands, have almost 500 mosques being built; why is it not possible to buy or sell a Bible in any Muslim or most of the Muslim countries, whereas we can buy a Koran here on every street corner? This is the exact example of the fact that Islam is an intolerant society."
Wilders emphasized that there is no moderate or non-moderate Islam, but there are moderate and non-moderate Muslims:
"As a matter of fact, the majority of the Muslims living in our society are moderate people. But don't make the mistake that even though there are moderate and radical Muslims that there is a moderate or a radical Islam. There is only one Islam, and that is a totalitarian ideology that has no room for anything but Islam. You see it once again in any country in the world where Islam is dominant."
Wilders's critics claim he is a bigot who hates all Muslims and wants to drive all of them out of Western countries, regardless of who they really are and what they do. Those claims are completely false.
Wilders has made it clear countless times that what he opposes is Islamic violence and totalitarianism, and that he has no problem with Muslims who are peaceful and law-abiding. The problem, he says, emerges when Muslims engage in violence or criminal acts, or try to impose their religious beliefs on non-Muslims, or attack or threaten those who do not agree with them, or try to establish the parallel legal system of sharia courts in their neighborhoods, or rape (with our without a gang) European girls, and so on.
"I believe that Muslims that are in our society today are of course equal as anybody else, as long as they adhere to our laws, to our constitution, to our values. And as long as they do not cross this red line -- if they commit crimes, if they start beating up women, if they start the genital mutilation, if they start to commit other crimes and honor killings as they unfortunately do in Western Europe, many times -- if they do that, I believe we should expel them, the same day if possible, from our country."
"So to stop the immigration to our societies -- because we have had more than enough Islam in our societies -- and people who are here and who are behaving according to our laws and our constitutions are happy to stay, are equal to anybody else, or even want to help them with the better education, but if they cross the line of crime, start acting according to Sharia law, there will be no place for them in our free societies…."
It would seem indispensable for all people who want to defend their liberty to take a stand against criminal and violent people who aim to destroy or damage their societies. If those people are extremist Muslims, why they should be exempt? And if they are not extremist Muslims, why should they be not protected from the same threats and violence that menace us?
In September 2010, an Australian Islamic fundamentalist preacher, Feiz Mohammad, in an internet chat room incited his Muslim followers to behead Wilders.
Ironically, however, it is not the violent Islamic teachings inspiring these crimes that are questioned or criticized -- or prosecuted -- on major media outlets or among political circles. It is, instead, the victims of these teachings: among others, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Lars Hedegaard, Susanne Winter, Elisabeth Sabaditsch Wolf, Imran Firasat, and Geert Wilders. They are threatened by Muslims, accused by progressives of being "extremists," interrogated by authorities, and even sued and made to stand trial.
Wilders lives in a state-provided house, outfitted to be bulletproof, and heavily guarded by police. He is driven from his home to his parliament office in an armored police vehicle, has round-the-clock bodyguards, and wears a bulletproof vest. "I am in jail, he says, "and they are walking around free."
The life Wilders is forced to lead stands as proof that there is something terribly wrong with the current Western stand toward Islamic terrorism and "hate speech." "Hate speech" was invented in the Kremlin of the USSR by political operatives who saw that it could be used effectively against anyone who did not agree with you, whom you wanted to silence. It is a way to try forcefully to coerce others to your religion or way of thinking, or, failing that, to make them afraid to speak and neutralize them. Islamists and jihadists use hate speech to convert impressionable people, as Adolf Hitler did, to their way of thinking, and to recruit followers and jihadists who might enjoy torturing and beheading.
What Geert Wilders does cannot be called hate speech. It is a struggle, if occasionally imperfect, to protect the liberties of all of us in the face of unending threats and attacks, most recently from Islamic extremists. Geert Wilders is not an extremist of any kind. He is a democrat who defends Western values, the most important of which are liberty and life. We should not prosecute Wilders. We should thank him for sacrificing his life to defend us -- and defend him back.
 Flemming Rose, The Tyranny of Silence (Cato Institute, 2014. 240 pp.)