UK Double Standard on Free Speech
The recent detention at London’s Heathrow airport of Dutch politician Geert Wilders points to an apparent double standard when it comes to the subject of free speech. Wilders, whose documentary “Fitna” portrays Islam as being a violent religion, was denied entry into the UK by the Secretary of State for the Home Department. In a letter from the UK Border Agency the Secretary of State stated that Wilders presence in the UK would (due to his statements about Muslims and their beliefs):
Pose a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat to one of the fundamental interests of society.
Wilders was invited to show his documentary in the UK by a member of the British Parliament. Wilder is a member of the Freedom Party which holds nine of the 120 seats in the Dutch Parliament. His documentary and statement that Islam is a violent religion has stirred much controversy around the world. Britain’s Home Office said that it “opposes extremism in all its forms” and would work to “stop those who want to spread extremism, hatred and violent messages in our communities from coming into our country.”
Wilder’s response to the ban on his traveling to the UK is:
Threat to society? I’m an elected member of Parliament; I have done nothing wrong. I’m a normal, law-abiding democrat. You might agree or disagree with my political point of view, but I’m no threat to anyone.
Wilder defends his documentary by saying that the only hate speech in the movie comes from the preachers and texts it is documenting. Brooke Goldstein, a human rights attorney with the Legal Project said in Wilder’s defense:
I think it is ironic the majority of the film is composed of quotes from the Koran and scenes of radical imams preaching death to the Jews and death to infidels.
I find it ironic that while the British Home Office opposes extremism in all its forms and vows to stop those who want to spread extremism, hatred and violent messages, apparently that opposition applies only non-Muslims. Radical Islam has grown in the UK at an alarming rate, infiltrating colleges and universities and society as a whole. Yet little is done to oppose that growth. Street protests are a common sight in the country, with extremists shouting death to Israel, death to the US and death to the infidels, all the while being protected by British bobbies. Apparently that speech is OK as long as it is coming from Muslims. But let a non-Muslim point out that type of behavior and suddenly the British Home Office swings into action.
I am opposed to all hate speech and it should not be allowed to go unpunished. But there is a difference between expressing your opinion that Islam is a violent religion and saying “butcher all those who mock Islam”. Saying “butcher all those who mock Islam” is not an opinion but a statement of hate and violence . If you are going to crack down on a Dutch politician for his documentary and his views on Islam, then you better crack down on the hate speech that is being uttered on the streets in your own cities. You also had better crack down of the ideas and beliefs of hatred and intolerance that are being spread among the youth of your colleges and universities. Until you do that, your condemnation of Wilder comes across as nothing more than a dangerous and unfair double standard.