Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding

Opinion Editorials, April 2009


Al-Jazeerah History


Mission & Name  

Conflict Terminology  


Gaza Holocaust  

Gulf War  




News Photos  

Opinion Editorials

US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)




 Islamophobe Conference in Washington D.C., MPAC

mpac, April 17, 2009


The Florida Security Council's self-titled "Free Speech Summit" later this month is bound to be an extravaganza, one in which known Islamophobes will use the guise of free speech to lambaste Islam as a "totalitarian ideology." The summit will feature the infamous Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders and his propaganda film "Fitna," released last year to overwhelming international condemnation.

Wilders will receive the Florida Security Council's "International Freedom of Speech Award," and will be one of more than a dozen speakers, including Frank Gaffney and Americans Against Hate's Joe Kaufman, expected to spew hate speech in a tainted exercise of the First Amendment. The Dutch parliamentarian is currently facing trial in his native Netherlands for inciting hatred and discrimination, namely equating Islam with Nazism and the Qur'an with Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf, and has been denied entry into the UK.

Last week in California, while on his U.S. tour of hatred, Wilders stated that "Muhammad was a warlord, a conqueror, a pedophile and a mass murderer." In the same speech, Wilders also praised Tom Tancredo, the bigoted former U.S. Congressman who stated his desire to "bomb Mecca."

"Tom Tancredo is one of those heroes," Wilders said. "Last year he introduced his counter-Sharia 'Jihad Prevention Act' which would bar the entry of people who advocate Sharia law. This is exactly what the West needs: brave leaders who have the courage to do something against the growing Islamization."

Adding to the growing list of Islamophobes in public office is Florida state representative Adam Hasner, a speaker at the Free Speech Summit, who has in the past not shied away from publicly endorsing films such as Obsession.

Recently, Representative Hasner became worried when some Muslims constituents planned to speak with their elected officials in Tallahassee. In February 2009, reports state that Rep. Hasner wrote an email to Jewish Tallahassee lobbyists to ask whether they "intend to be part of an information campaign in opposition to" a Florida Muslim Capitol Day organized by the Muslim group United Voices for America. "I intend to host a Jewish Caucus meeting soon to discuss this," he added, "and would hope that you all will reach a conclusion as to whether your organization intends to provide information or participate..."

The Florida Security Council's summit is deplorable for reasons too numerous to count. For example, Frank Gaffney, one of the event's other sponsors, is linked to an anti-Islam group that has advocated prison terms in the U.S. for "adherence to Islam." It is interesting how those advocating for freedom of speech have forgotten about the freedom of religion.

As much as the speakers who are scheduled to participate may claim that their allegations and warnings of the "Islamization" of America and Europe are a result of a relatively small portion of Muslims around the world, the Islamophobes' words and urgency inevitably blur the line that separates the extremists from the mainstream.

Wilders and company's overgeneralization of extremists -- reinforced by cherry-picked, and rightly horrendous, images and videos of violence -- to the total Muslim population consequently tug at the emotional vulnerabilities of the public. It is important to note that extremists such as Wilders propagate hatred, and freedom is subsequently abused when it is utilized to spread religious and racial bigotry.




Opinions expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors and they may not represent