This week's column:
All eyes on the war on free speech, the one that Dutch powers-that-be are waging inside an Amsterdam courtroom. That's where Geert Wilders is standing trial for his increasingly popular political platform, based on his analysis of the anti-Western laws and principles of Islam, that rejects the Islamization of the Netherlands.
But don't stop there. There's much more to see in the trial of Wilders, whose Partij voor de Vrijheid (Party for Freedom) is the silent partner in the Netherlands' brand new center-right coalition government. That camel in the courtroom is the tip off.
You haven't noticed it? I've been watching it since last year, when sometime after Dutch prosecutors announced in January 2009 that Wilders would go to trial for "insulting" Muslims and "inciting" hatred against them, Stephen Coughlin, famous in national security circles in Washington for his airtight and exhaustive briefs on jihad, clued me in to his analysis of the Wilders trial to date.
What we know now we knew then: that this trial presents a watershed moment. Wilders, leader of a growing democratic movement to save his Western nation from Islamization, risks one year in prison for speaking out about the facts and consequences of Islamization. Such speech is prohibited not by the Western tradition of free speech Wilders upholds, but rather by the Islamic laws against free speech that he rejects. Wilders' plight demonstrates the extent to which the West has already been Islamized.
"It is irrelevant whether Wilder's witnesses might prove Wilders' observations to be correct," the public prosecutor stated back at the beginning. "What's relevant is that his observations are illegal." Since when are observations "illegal"? Under communist dictatorships is one answer. Under Sharia is another.
Writing in Wilders' defense in the Wall Street Journal, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, herself a former Dutch parliamentarian, reported that Dutch multiculturalist parliamentarians, "spooked" by Wilders rising political star, modified the Dutch penal code in the fall of 2009 to fit Wilders' alleged crimes. They crafted what Hirsi Ali went on to call "the national version of what OIC diplomats peddle at the U.N. and E.U." when trying to criminalize defamation (criticism) of religion (Islam).
This is a crucial point to understand, and one that takes me back to what Stephen Coughlin posited last year. Everywhere the OIC (Organization of the Islamic Conference) goes, it peddles Islamic law. In effect, then, to build on Hirsi Ali's point, the Dutch modified their laws to conform with Islam's. This gibes precisely with how Coughlin saw the trial from the start: as an attempt to apply Islamic law, as advanced by the OIC, in the Netherlands.
The OIC is an international body guided by policy set by the kings and heads of state of 57 Islamic countries in accordance with Islamic law. Such law permeates OIC activities, which are shaped by the Sharia-based Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam. The OIC relies on the Cairo Declaration as its "frame of reference and the basis ... regarding issues related to human rights." (These include free speech rights as restricted by Sharia.) The organization's 57 foreign ministers meet annually, as the OIC's website explains, to "consider the means for the implementation" of OIC policy. As Coughlin puts it, these are "real state actors using real state power to further real state objectives."
Topping the OIC wish list is its effort to criminalize criticism of Islam in the non-Muslim world. And this is what makes the Wilders case is so significant. It's one thing if Islamic street thugs mount assassination attempts in Western nations against violators of Islamic law (i.e., elderly Danish cartoonists), or Muslim ambassadors to Western nations lobby them to punish such violations (the free press), or OIC representatives introduce similar Sharia resolutions at the United Nations. It would be something else again if a Western government were itself to convict a democratically elected leader for violating the Sharia ban on criticizing Islam. That's not war anymore; that's conquest.
In this context, Wilders' trial was never a straight judicial process; it was a political battle from the start, a proving ground for Sharia in the West, dovetailing with the OIC's "10 year Plan," which includes a global campaign against so-called Islamophobia. It remains a test of the tolerance of Dutch elites -- tolerance for the truth -- and their openness to the intolerance of Sharia.