'We have to win war against Islam'

Dutch lawmaker Wilders screens his controversial film 'Fitna' in Jerusalem.

Fitna 224.88 (photo credit: LiveLeak)
Fitna 224.88
(photo credit: LiveLeak)
Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders screened his controversial film Fitna in Jerusalem on Sunday, calling on Europe to restrict immigration "from backward Islamic countries" and describing Islam as a totalitarian ideology "full of hate, violence and submission." "Europe is in the process of 'Islamization.' We need to fight it," Wilders said. "We have to win the war against Islam. If we don't... we will lose our cultural identity, our rule of law, our liberties and our freedom." Wilders made the comments at a conference in Jerusalem organized by MK Arye Eldad, who founded the new Hatikva Party, entitled "Facing Jihad." Wilders's comments, as well as the screening of the film, drew strong criticism from Arab-Israeli leaders, who defended Islam and argued that the film did not represent an accurate picture of the fastest-growing religion in the world. "We are talking about a distorted film that distorts the image of the Islamic religion and particularly our prophet, Muhammad," said MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta'al) in a telephone interview Sunday. Wilders "is trying to exploit the 'Islamophobia' that there is in the world... It's a film that is motivated by hatred of Arabs and Muslims as well." The 17-minute film, which shows a selection of verses from the Koran interspersed with media clips and newspaper clippings, argues that the Koran and Islam encourage acts of terrorism, anti-Semitism and violence against women and homosexuals. "Without placing all Muslims in the same category, I think I have succeeded in showing that the Koran is not some dusty, old book, but that it's still used today as a source of inspiration for, and justification of, hatred, violence and terrorism all over the world," Wilders said during the conference, which was held at the Begin Heritage Center. MK Ibrahim Sarsour (UAL-Ta'al) called Wilders "one of the most nasty enemies of Islam," arguing that the Dutch parliamentarian knew nothing "about the greatest and most marvelous history of Muslims for more than 1,400 years. Islam has contributed a lot to the building of human principles, human charters, human technology, human development, human prosperity, stability, security and peace for all those generations of nations who sought these greatest values." One of the goals of Islam, Sarsour said, "is to cooperate, to know each other, not to fight and hate each other, and the only instrument to judge people… is whether this individual or this group contributes to the building of a humanistic society." Wilders also argued that "not all cultures are equal" and that "our Christian-Judeo culture is far better than the Islamic culture." Israel, he said, was not fighting a territorial war, but an ideological one, in which Islam "aims for dominance over non-Muslims." He said there was no such thing "as moderate Islam." Tibi said the Jewish population should be worried about the apparent cooperation "between European fascists and Jewish fascists in Israel," adding that "when we're talking about a meeting of fascists, hate and racism are the consequence." Tibi also said the film, its creator and Eldad deserve "condemnation and nothing more." Eldad, whose new party opposes the formation of a Palestinian state, told conference attendees that if Islam is practiced as it is practiced today, "the chance that we will see real peace with [the Palestinians] is very slim." Eldad said a new set of emergency bills were needed in the Knesset "to help us stop the invasion," preserve Israel as a Jewish state and guard against "the enemy within." The legislation, which he said he planned to introduce in the next Knesset, would require all Israeli citizens to pledge an oath of allegiance to the State of Israel as "a Jewish democratic state." It would also require all citizens to serve in the military or do national service in order to receive certain benefits, and would crack down on "illegal building" and acquisition of land. Most Arab leaders in Israel oppose obligatory national or military service, though many say they would favor a national service system not run by the state. Sarsour said he hoped members of the next Knesset would "courageously face" the increasing deterioration between the State of Israel and its Arab population by voting against the package. "Whether this package will be accepted or not, that will not change the fact that we are an indigenous minority in Israel," he told the Post last week. "We were here before Eldad and his parents came to the country, and we will go on living peacefully within the limitations of the Israeli law." Arab-Israelis, he said, are loyal in that they accept and respect Israel's laws. "But those who endanger the presence and the future of the State of Israel are Eldad and his allies, who push the Israeli state to the edge of confrontation."