Geert Wilders, Dutch politician and noted anti-Islamist, pulled no punches during his debate with Jyllands-Postens foreign affairs editor Flemming Rose at Folkemødet on Bornholm this afternoon.
Wilders – whose anti-Islamic stance has earned him a death threat from Feiz Mohammed, who called on Muslims around the world to behead the politician for “denigrating” the prophet – suggested that his “great friend” Rose was “living in a fantasy world” for believing that despite Islamic terrorism around the world, Muslims had a right to free speech, and for opposing Wilders’ call to ban the Koran in Europe.
“I have been hidden in a house since I have been on Bornholm,” said Wilders. “There have been Danish navy ships patrolling off the coast in front of where I am staying. That is the reality. Would that have happened if I had said something negative about the Bible?”
Rose: Ideas should not be banned
Rose is no stranger to threats from Islamic fanatics. As culture editor at Jyllands-Posten, it was he that decided to run the infamous Mohammed cartoons that sparked off demonstrations worldwide and earned Jyllands-Posten and its employees death threats. In spite of that, Rose refused to support Wilders’ position on banning the Koran across Europe.
“We did not ban communist schools or Karl Marx during the Cold War,” said Rose. “We cannot ban ideas. History has shown that when you try to ban ideas, you only make them more powerful.”
Wilders said that history was exactly the reason that Islam should be eradicated from European countries.
“Politicians appeased the Nazis for years while they were gaining a foothold, and they are doing the same with Islam,” he said. “I have no use for appeasers, and I am not ashamed to stand up and say so.”
Hedegaard in attendance
Danish anti-Islamist Lars Hedegaard was in the audience, having been escorted in at the last minute by police who had searched every attendee and maintained a massive presence around the Bornholm schoolhouse where the debate was held.
Wilders pointed Hedegaard out as one who knew the reality of Islamic terrorism.
“He was nearly shot to death in front of his own home,” Wilders said.
Wilders apparently saw no contradiction in saying he had no problem with “friendly Muslims” while still calling for a total ban on Islam throughout Europe.
“Read the Koran,” he said. “They intend to kill anyone who will not succumb to Sharia Law. There is no middle way. We either continue to let them impose their views on us, or we put a stop to it now.”
In perhaps his most bizarre comparison, Wilders used a quote by Abraham Lincoln, the US president most noted for freeing the slaves, to defend his reasoning for denying Islam any air in the Western World.
“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves,” he quoted.
The two men took up the entire hour allotted for the debate, so there were no questions from the floor.
Wilders was hustled out of the building by a wedge of armed security as soon as the debate was over.