Open Letter to Islamophobe Dutch MP Geert Wilders
|Tuesday, February 23,2010 09:56|
|By Frank Julian Gelli|
Dear Mr Wilders,
They say you can only take a horse to the water, you can’t make it drink. But human beings are not horses. Unlike animals, they can be reasoned with. I offer these few remarks in the faint hope you are amenable to reason.
It is about your recent speech to the Alliance of Patriots in New York. In which you paint an apocalyptic picture of ‘the Islamization of Europe’. You describe some European cities with Muslim neighbourhoods in lurid terms. It is a world ‘where women walk around in figureless tents…Their husbands, or slave holders, if you prefer, walk three steps ahead’. Mr Wilders, I live bang near one of those areas in West London. I often visit Whitechapel and Edgware Road – parts of our colourful Londonistan – I have never seen a Muslim woman walking behind her husband. Rather, the mothers stroll about in a proud, dignified manner, alongside the men. Nothing in their behaviour suggests a subordinate role, let alone slavery. And there are tons of lively, even feisty Muslim girls wearing all sorts of gear. True, they may not, as a rule, behave like permissive, liberated females, baring the flesh, hugging and kissing partners in public, no. I would even guess most of them don’t sleep with boys before marriage. But since when are chastity, modesty and self-restraint so bad? The traditional, Christian mores of the Western civilisation which you claim to uphold used to prize such things, no?
’25 per cent of the population of Europe will be Muslim just 12 years from now’. Lies, damned lies and statistics, someone said. But if you want native Europeans to stay numerically supreme, how about encouraging them to have more children? To urge them not to use contraceptives, the pills? To give up abortion? To bolster family values? Stop bashing Islam. Embrace the Christian religion in its conservative, sound traditions and all will be kosher.
‘Thousands of mosques across Europe. With larger congregations than churches’, you notice. Well, whose fault is that? Do perhaps Muslims stand at church doors, stopping the eager faithful from worshipping the Lord? Methinks you should rather address yourself to Christians. ‘Look at Muslims’ you should say. ‘Look at how many regularly pray. How keen they are on the observances of their religion. You should do the same.’ Exactly. The flourishing of mosques across Europe should serve as a stimulus to Christians. A window of opportunity. As an urgent reminder to get back to their vital, life-giving roots – the worship of the One True God. Why blame pious Muslims for the faults of lukewarm or nominal Christians, eh?
In Amsterdam ‘gays are beaten up almost exclusively by Muslims’. Awful, if true. Funnily enough, I recall the words of Pym Fortuyn, the gay right-wing politician murdered by a fanatic. ‘I have nothing against Moroccans – I have slept with so many of them.’ From Andre Gide to William Burroughs, the Arab world has been one of artistic gays’ favourite fun destinations. Tangiers’ nickname was ‘Sodom on Sea’. Homophobia can’t be all that endemic amongst Arabs, I should imagine.
‘The history of the Holocaust can no longer be taught because of Muslim sensitivity.’ How bizarre. First, a godson of mine has been to Auschwitz, on a school trip. Part of a programme to learn about wartime horrors. School curricula in Britain do in fact include projects about WWII and persecutions of Jews and other people. London’s Imperial War Museum has a holocaust section, which I viewed just the other day. What’s more, TV channels force-feed viewers with a daily, obsessive dose of films and programmes about the war and Germany’s crimes. If anybody should complain about this state of affairs, it should be Germans. It fuels Germanophobia, the lurking, masochistic English vice. Do today’s Germans deserve such constant pilloring? After all, isn’t Germany amongst the strongest supporters of your beloved state of Israel?
The Prophet Muhammad. Had he been ‘a man of peace…like Ghandi and Mother Teresa wrapped in one, there would be no problem. But Mohammed was…’ I won’t quote the rest, as it would be distasteful. Muhammad certainly did not found a religion like the Quakers, no. And he is definitely different from figures like Buddha and Jesus. However, why you did not compare him to a prophet and lawgiver like Moses? Muhammad had the Jewish tribes of Banu Qurayza slaughtered, you write. Well, Exodus 32:25 has Moses ordering the Levites to slay those who had worshipped the Golden Calf, about 3000 men. ‘Today you have ordained yourselves for the service of the Lord’ Moses told the slayers. Hardly like Gandhi, would you agree?
You are silent about Moses, I suspect, because in your speech you wrapped yourself in the mantle of defender of Israel. Mr Wilders, this Anglican priest is opposed to the destruction of the state of Israel. Because I am a Christian, Jews are rather important to me. I support both a Jewish state and a Palestinian state. A modest-sized Jewish Vatican in the Holy Land is the realistic solution. Bernard Wasserstein’s thoughtful book, ‘Israel & Palestine’, points the way. Wasserstein shows how your fantasy of Israel as a heroic outpost of the West against the incoming Jihad is nonsense. Indeed, Israeli society today needs immigrants as much as Europe does. And they won’t be Jewish immigrants. Despite your astonishing garbage about rising anti-Semitism in France (headed by a Jewish President!), Jews worldwide are happy where they are – they not migrating to Israel – or should I say ‘Isra-hell’, as my Israeli friend Ronen once wrote?
Ok, you don’t like Muslims. Yet they are not going to go away. Your case is analogous to that of the man whose garden was infested by ladybirds. They were everywhere. He didn’t like them. He tried several methods to get rid of them. Sprays, insecticides, this and that. Nothing worked. The ladybirds kept being around. Indeed, they multiplied. The guy was getting obsessed with them, growing paranoid, bitter, haunted. Eventually, he sent an e-mail to a wise old friend, an experienced gardener: ‘What should I do about the damned ladybirds?’
The reply came: ‘I suggest you learn to love them’.
Revd Frank Julian Gelli