A “victory for freedom of speech ?”

I feel that the more Islam that we get in our societies the less freedom that we get “wilders  –   Dutch MP Geert Wilders .

The Europe Today programme are looking at this story today (writes editor Michaela) .

The Dutch MP has told a press conference in London that his arrival in Britain is a “victory for freedom of speech”.

The government here had initially refused him entry because of his views on Islam but he won a legal appeal against the ban.

 Mr Wilders is facing a trial in his own country for inciting hatred against Muslims.

Who benefits when a politician is banned from entering a country because of their political views?

Where do you stand when it comes to the debate about freedom of speech vs protecting people against inciting hatred?

46 Responses to “A “victory for freedom of speech ?””

  1. 1 Dennis Junior
    October 16, 2009 at 14:09

    Who benefits when a politician is banned from entering a country because of their political views?

    Simple answer, NO one benefits from the fact of a politician being banned from a country for speaking his or her views…

    ~Dennis Junior~

  2. 2 Dennis Junior
    October 16, 2009 at 14:47

    *Where do you stand when it comes to the debate about freedom of speech vs protecting people against inciting hatred?*

    I come on the side of freedom of speech, but, Geert has the right to have HIS own opinion about whatever….he regards about this issue….

    ~Dennis Junior~
    Dryden, New York

  3. 3 Maccus Germanis
    October 16, 2009 at 15:09

    “protecting people against inciting hatred”
    It may sound less Orwellian if you’d pose that people should be protected from the incitement of hatred. Or do you really mean to pose freedom against the censorship of someone for their own protection?

  4. 4 Kassandra
    October 16, 2009 at 15:32

    Here is where all of this multiculturalism has gotten us, and it will not stop here. These kind of conflicts are just the beginning, I am strongly convinced, and it will lead to anything but peaceful cohabitation.
    Each ethnicity is a distinct cultural group, with its own mores, traditions, customs which, in turn, influence the way they look at the world, understand it and make sense of it. It is clearly evident that due to this intrinsic cultural specificity, sharing a common physical territory with others who do not share the same views and do not imbue their existence with the same kind of meaning is incompatible to peaceful cohabitation.
    I am of the opinion that those who are of common cultural views must stay together and share the same territory, that is, one country, if we are to see a cessation (or at least a decrease) of conflicts based on cultural specificity. And it has nothing to do with intolerance or hatred, but a mere realistic constatation of the facts.
    We should, rather, be more preoccupied how to render each country conducive to a safe and dignified living, so that people are not pushed to emigrate to other countries, but will want to stay in their own.

  5. 5 rob
    October 16, 2009 at 16:02

    Any politacl leader of multicultural society should not speak openly in a deragatory manor about any one group of people.All peoples be they Hindu,Buhdist,Christian,or Muslim should stop trying to dominate the other.Here is an idea,since religion is such a problem;why not just drop it all together?
    Rob in Florida

    • 6 Kevin PE
      October 16, 2009 at 17:03

      Hi I feel exactly the same, we have managed to twist “spiritual faith” into a myriad of man made, savage, self serving, Indoctrinating clap-trap. There is no chance an omnipresent, loving God would be the author. Religion as it has become or rather as we have made it is now the enemy of mankind.

      • 7 soonleelue
        October 17, 2009 at 11:08

        I agree with what you said after 74 years of living in this world. Getting rid of all religions will let all of us become the world citizen one day

  6. 8 nora
    October 16, 2009 at 16:02

    The world needs to get on with mixing up the cultures and the races and marrying our opposites until nobody goes along with narrow bigotry. It is hierarchy in all the religions and suspicion of the unknown that keeps us in a ditch.

  7. 9 VictorK
    October 16, 2009 at 16:10

    Yes, a victory for free speech.

    It would be interesting to know exactly how Mr Wilders was inciting hatred, as opposed to making a fact-based argument that was unwelcome to the political establishment in the UK and Holland, and that Muslims were prepared to respond to with violence.

    Any chance that he’ll appear on WHYS?

  8. 10 Joel Salomon
    October 16, 2009 at 16:14

    (from New York)
     I like the description of some of the protesters’ signs: “Sharia for the UK”, “Sharia for the Netherlands”, & “Freedom go to hell”; that’s one really good way to make Mr Wilders’s point for him. Threatening to try him “in an Islamic court” for “insulting the Prophet” is another good method.
     Here in New York, I lived down the block from a mosque without feeling threatened. Is the Muslim community in the UK different, or—I assume—is its extremist minority just that much more vocal?

    • 11 Joel
      October 16, 2009 at 17:48

      Its basically the same in the UK, all the more reason to root out those who are attempting to impose their will on the majority population, if certain muslim groups dont like the country wether thats the US Europe or any other haven they choose to settle in they should pack their bags and go home

  9. 12 Anthony
    October 16, 2009 at 16:15

    First off, what if a Muslim man had said that about Christianity. I wonder if they would have let him in.

    Second off, what’s wrong with saying something like that if it’s technically true? ( I feel it is true, and can show verses to back it up).

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  10. 13 Roberto
    October 16, 2009 at 16:17

    RE ““I feel that the more Islam that we get in our societies the less freedom that we get “”

    ————— Mr. Wilder comes from a small country where the effects of immigration are more directly felt by the populace.

    Have no idea of what previous remarks he’s stated before I heard his interview on the beeb yesterday, but he sounded well considered and not the monster he’s made out to be. He’s a politician pandering to his immediated constituency, the British public, so I’ll reserve my opinion.

    Extremists don’t arise in a vacuum. They come up when the status quo power elite start running the ship of state aground leaving the citizens stranded as they scramble for their lives. Had the immigration policy been more sensible instead of a “come one-come all” policy, the immigrants and the people would be better able to adjust.

  11. 14 Caroline
    October 16, 2009 at 16:24

    Hi everyone,

    I’m Caroline, a producer on the BBC’s Europe Today programme. I’ve just spoken to a British politician and a Dutch politician. They both think that it’s right to allow Geert Wilders in the UK because banning him would only give him more publicity and therefore help him spread his views. What do you think? Should he be banned from the UK and perhaps from other countries?

    • 15 Prem Nizar Hameed
      October 16, 2009 at 18:12

      Dear Caroline,

      Every conuntry has its own constitution which guarantees its citizens some fundamental rights. Freedom of speech is one the fundamental rights. No one can question MP Geerat Wilders for his right which his country guarantees him. At the same time if his country prescribes some fundamental duties for him, he has to obey those things for the sake of harmony. Dutch government is aware of that, and it does the needful. People are becoming more relgious now a days. And some relgious scholars teach one’s relgion is better than others. We can be critical of different ideolgies, but cannot be critical of any religions. More often I am confused whether God protects us or we are bound to protect God. Why Mr. wilders statement could not be debated as a subject with equanimity? With documentary or circumstantial evidences, any scholars can debate the subject.. What about the atheists who are critical of all religions? Intolerance never brings any good results.

    • 16 Maxine
      October 17, 2009 at 08:19

      No Caroline,he should not be banned from sharing his views. It was a victory of freedom of speech to allow him into Britain. I believe that these views should be heard in Britain. We in Australia have just had 5 Muslim men convicted of Terrorism offences and are facing life in jail for plotting to murder on a massive scale Australian people. They had stockpiled 30,000 rounds of ammunition, bomb-making equipment and chemicals. No one should be afraid of the truth – the truth will set us free.

  12. 17 NSC London
    October 16, 2009 at 16:36

    The fact that both of those politicians you spoke to were opposed to his views is troubling.

    “First off, what if a Muslim man had said that about Christianity. I wonder if they would have let him in.”

    They absolutely would have let him in. Islam is completely unchecked in the UK. I heard two boys talking about bombing the tube while riding on the Metropolitan Line, they know they have complete freedom to plan jihad as publicly as they want.

    “Second off, what’s wrong with saying something like that if it’s technically true? ( I feel it is true, and can show verses to back it up).”

    Exactly. There’s nothing wrong with it. Islam is indefensible.

  13. 18 Ibrahim in UK
    October 16, 2009 at 16:36

    He is charged with inciting hatred in his own country, if Britain thinks that is grounds enough to stop him coming here and inciting hatred then so be it.
    Europe is particularly sensitve to inciting hatred and demonising sections of the population. Europeans used the same type of propaganda against Jews not too long ago so they would be keen to monitor the balance between freedom of speech and demonisation.
    If he said the same thing about Jews, would the question of freedom of speech be asked?

  14. 19 VictorK
    October 16, 2009 at 16:37

    @Caroline: two points. In a constitutional democracy issues are considered and decided after discussion. Mr Wilders has every right to present his case, and those who disagree have the same right to contest his position. Second, if Mr Wilders’ views are correct, then they deserve as much publicity as possible. It’s an abuse of the political process to ban/unban according to which one will lead to less publicity for the person and opinion in question..

    To simply assume that because what Wilders stands for upsets some people (Muslims, multiculturalists, leftists, etc) then he must be wrong is irrational.

  15. 20 nora
    October 16, 2009 at 17:00

    Mr. Wilders should get the same treatment as a militant Islamist speaker awaiting trial for incitement to violence in his native country, whatever that is.

  16. 21 T
    October 16, 2009 at 17:16

    It doesn’t matter who it is. With freedom of speech comes responsibility. And the truth is that lots of racists in the States are saying literally anything they want. And nobody’s stopping them. And that’s not right.

  17. 22 steve
    October 16, 2009 at 17:16

    I’m curious if the UK banned the American muslim who called for God to kill all Jews? Is he banned from the UK, and would that ban stick?


  18. 23 T
    October 16, 2009 at 17:17

    As for Wilders, he appealed to an EU court to overturn the intial ban? I know lots of people love to hate the EU. But until the rules change he can come in. So deal with it.

  19. 24 Tom K in Mpls
    October 16, 2009 at 17:45

    Idiots and prophets need to speak openly so each of us can judge them as we see fit.

    BTW, it is having more laws, more government, that limits freedom. And this guy wants to limit our choice of beliefs. I think he has this one a bit backwards. He wants to limit freedom. He is as bad as he claims others are.

    • 25 Tom K in Mpls
      October 16, 2009 at 18:08

      I need to add, in the US, there is a criminal charge, ‘incite to riot’. It applies to any activity that directly leads to violence. Also, any group needs to register to hold a gathering over a certain size in public area. The registration is free and easy to get, the reason is to be sure public safety and transportation is not compromised.

  20. 26 steve
    October 16, 2009 at 17:53

    @ T

    That “freedom with responsibility” stuff is just code for, “don’t offend anyone anywhere”. There are rules against inciting people to violence, rules about defamation, but unless it crosses those lines, people should be able to say what they want without concern for someone else’s feelings. Some people have really thin skins, and so basically things that you say that you don’t think would offend someone, would be vorboten, because someone, somewhere, is always offended by everything. You just can’t stop someone because you don’t like what they have to say. Someone might not like what you are saying. Would you want to be stopped from speaking?

  21. 27 VictorK
    October 16, 2009 at 17:55

    @Nora & Ibrahim: neither of you tells us what Mr Wilders said or why it’s incitement and in breach of the law. Till you can do both he’s entitled to freedom of speech as is the tradition of the UK.

    @Steve: I don’t know about the case you mention, but one of the few times that British Muslims have marched was in London a few years ago. The event was an incitement-fest: hatred, contempt for the UK, mass murder against Jews, Americans, the West, non-Muslims, etc. The police were under instruction from Labour politicians to ignore as much of the incitement as they possibly could, instructions that they still operate under today when dealing with Muslim incitment.

  22. 28 Christian M.
    October 16, 2009 at 18:00

    As a Dutch Citizen, I was rather surprised by the statements made by Wilders in the UK. They were far milder than his usual antics here in the Netherlands. Perhaps he is minding his words after all the trouble with gaining entry to the UK? Nonetheless, he does have the freedom of speech, granted to him by the European Convention on Human Rights, so I don’t see how he shouldn’t be allowed to make these statements as an individual. The one problem I do have with this is that Wilders is a member of Parliament, and as such I feel he should be more delicate, his opinions may by some be regarded as the opinion of the Dutch Parliament, or people, which would be unfortunate.

  23. 29 Edward Hubbard
    October 16, 2009 at 18:16

    I am British and I believe that the British government has a duty to guarantee freedom of speech to everybody within its jurisdiction. This has got absolutely nothing to do with providing a platform to a Dutchman who lives in the Netherlands and who has no claim on the British state. Let’s have some clear thinking about what freedom of speech actually means.

  24. October 16, 2009 at 18:17

    I am a great exponent of free speech. Islam on the other hand is not an exponent of free anything, including,speech,the press, movement,choice or even thought,it is totalitarian in all walks of life,simply by definition of The Koran. Banning anything or anyone,makes it/them more popular,and probably much sought after.

  25. 31 nora
    October 16, 2009 at 18:53

    Victor K:

    My point was simply that we seem to apply draconian rules to Islamic extremists, when it is Mr. Wilders views that most echo the extremes that destroyed Europe twice in the twentieth century. What is good for the goose…

    Simply search the internet for the Wilders matter in the Netherlands. I am not into repeating speech I find repugnant. The main point is that a member of Parliament is targeting a sector of the population in a way his own judicial system has taken note of, and trial is pending. Would we have such largesse with a Jordanian or an Iranian?

    October 16, 2009 at 20:57

    He is entitled to free speech. Questioning reality is okay because truth is not an absolute. We need to understand him in the long run. The desire for free speech is a consesus which might be complemented or undermined by other factors forcing us to make a shift of our stated stand.

  27. 33 scmehta
    October 17, 2009 at 08:16

    I feel, that, more the tolerance in our societies, in the matters of each others faiths and beliefs, the more freedom we’ll have to ourselves.

  28. 34 Alec Paterson
    October 17, 2009 at 12:13

    He is not inciting hatred against Muslims, he is questioning Islamic ideology, which is based on the Koran, where there is ample examples of hate speech. Political correctness would have us believe that the Koran is a book of peace, and that anyone who says otherwise is “bigoted,” “hateful,” and “Islamophobic.” What the Koran really says can easily be verified. If the Koran really curses Jews and Christians (9:30) and calls for warfare against them in order to bring about their subjugation (9:29), it is not “Islamophobic” to forewarn us Infidels by pointing this out. The Koran teaches violence and supremacism. Muslims who believe this comprise a global movement, active from Indonesia to Nigeria and extending into Europe and North America, that is dedicated to waging war against “unbelievers”, that is, non-Muslims, and subjugating them as inferiors under the rule of Islamic law (Sharia). This movement sees in the Koran its divine mandate to wage that war. Too many policymakers simply assume the Koran teaches peace without bothering to study the text.

  29. 35 Bert
    October 17, 2009 at 22:54

    I have no idea what other statements Wilders has been making, but the one statement quoted on WHYS is undeniably true. So what’s the big deal?

    Stepping back a bit, I think that multiculturalism, as it is bandied about by the sanctimonious these days, is a sham. The only multicultural societies that seem to work at all are the ones where the various immigrant cultures came to assimilate into the new host culture. Where the immigrant cultures expect to remain unchanged from their point of origin, can anyone please point out an example of great success?

  30. October 19, 2009 at 01:34

    I will for ever go with freedom of speech but we must remember that it comes with responsibilities.

  31. 37 Ibrahim in UK
    October 19, 2009 at 10:24

    I’m not aware of any UK laws he has broken, but he is facing charges in his home country so they obviously think it’s serious enough.
    The UK has also blocked others from coming in under the guise of opposing extremism and hatemongering. Will/should they be allowed in under freedom of speech?

    Of course, it is up to individual interpretation to decide whether or not it is inciteful or hatemongering to promote opposition to Muslims claiming that there is a battle against Muslims who are destroying Europe and turning all Europeans into Sharia-obedient slaves.

    Still, it is a bit ironic, that a man who wants to ban Islamic literature is seen as a champion for free speech.

  32. October 19, 2009 at 11:39

    This sounds a bit hypocritical from the British government. They let many anti-Semites in their country who do not recognize Israel? Do they ban Ahmadinejab and company? How about hate speech in UK herself by people like Anjum Chaudry and some elements in her population? Come on..

    This is all a publicity stunt to win Muslim votes. Nothing else. I am not against the Muslims and I agree that Mr WIlders crossed the line, but I just think that the British government crossed the line…

  33. 39 patti in cape coral
    October 19, 2009 at 14:18

    I have to agree with Tom K on this. No matter how repugnant, we need to hear every side and every opinion so we can judge for ourselves. Of course, there is responsibility with free speech and penalties for inciting to violence.

  34. 40 VictorK
    October 19, 2009 at 14:35

    @ nora October 16, 2009 at 18:53: that you find an opinion repugnant is no reason to suppress it. It may, after all, be true.

    And that you still refuse to specify what it is about that opinion that places it outside the limits of acceptable debate is telling. It would be a disaster for free speech if innuendo – all I’ve so far seen of the anti-Wilders case – & repugnance counted for more than actual facts.

    So, what is there about either Wilders or his party to justify demonising either or abolishing free speech?


    Apparently nothing.

  35. 41 jens
    October 19, 2009 at 15:21

    i find it rather strange, that it is OK to have some of the most hatefull people giving firday night ceremonies in mosques calling for the destruction of the very society they are living in and then having issues with albeit a rightwing nutjob pointing to that very problem.

    • 42 Tom K in Mpls
      October 19, 2009 at 18:44

      It is not strange. Extremes are always the most visible. To become the top in any endeavor requires an unusual person. This is also why when getting news, you need to keep in mind that this is not what most people are,need, or want.

  36. October 19, 2009 at 18:29

    A lot of us are very afraid of the increasingly dangerous elements in Islam.
    That doesn’t make us racists.
    The Left has been very much afraid to take up this issue of women’s rights in Islam.
    The problem with the protests and Mr. Wilders is that it is appealing to racism.
    We all (including the Muslims) need to fight obscurantism.
    The extremists accept nothing but like-minded thinkers, including other Muslims who think differently.

    Sadly, not enough Muslims are fighting this creeping intimidation.
    We will all pay the price.

    For those girls who claim to wear the veil voluntarily in Western countries, know that you are contributing to Islamophobia (and unfortunately even racism).
    Surely there are other ways to display your identity besides alienating your fellow citizens! Women in Iran and Saudi Arabia and would appreciate a little more solidarity, I am sure!

    The left needs to take up this issue and not leave it to the right.

    مساء الخير من بلجيكا

  37. 44 Farida kazmi
    October 19, 2009 at 18:44

    I think all of us should have freedom of speech .But with respected manners No religion teaches us to hurt some one .its a lake of knowledge Islam is religion of peace.In our religion harming a little aunt is a crime so how can one real Muslims can think harming other human. The people who are ruining the name of Islam and its real teaching are those who are playing this dirty game under the hand of cannibals . they don’t belongs to any religion they are ruthless killers there are thousand and thousands examples to look at them there are million peoples who are Muslims and they belongs to every field of life they are educated in Europe and they are living there with there families and serving all the human being.no matter what religion they belong . so please while speaking about religion we all should respect each others feelings.Instead of taking advantage of freedom of speech and criticizing each other why don’t we spread our love and peace massage around the world to make this beautiful world more beautiful so we and our children can live as much as time we have in our hand peacefully .

  38. 45 Audrius Kviliunas
    October 20, 2009 at 09:35

    Muslim are different peoples and have hatred against all of them is nonsense Only part of them not tolerate other religions,only part of them tolerate terror and sent other peoples to explode themselves and kill innocent peoples explaining absurd thought that after such dead they get into haven where them will wait 40 innocent girls. Those who proclaim such thoughts are criminals and law must stop them.And for such peoples who not tolerate equilnes of religions and tolerate terror must be our hatred..

  39. 46 aero
    October 21, 2009 at 05:29

    What is freedom? What is one’s right? I think that the philosophy of freedom and rights was articulated by philosophers like Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean Jcaques Rousseau when they mused over the idea of human and property rights, in relation to the state in civilized society. These philosophers helped to shape the theoretical framework by which we judge freedom and rights. John Locke said that people have inalienable rights based on natural law, therefore no one is to hamper another’s life, property or liberty. Thomas Hobbes says that if someone is denied their natural rights they can use any means necessary to restore this right. Jean Jacques Rosseau indicates that the State to whom civilized society aggreed to surrender their rights to, dictates what is right, wrong and the common good. Therefore, Dutch MP Geert Wilders would be out of line with Rosseau’s philosophy to which democratic state societies subscribe to, and he has to pove that his rights are affected greater by Islam’s introduction into Dutch society than by traditional Dutch values without the application of personal preferances/biases and subjective values. His speech has to be proved as not affecting the life, liberty and property of those persons or the representative ideology of which he is speaking, for his speech to be deemed as free and right.

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