Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly both had Geert Wilders on their Fox shows last night. Here is a link to both segments. It was Beck's second interview; O'Reilly's first. Both men were respectful.
That's not to say that Beck didn't balk at condeming Islam based on his own friendships with individual Muslims--failing to appreciate that any such personal experiences in no way alter the immutable and animating laws of Islam that Wilders and other critics (including yours truly) oppose. Wilders was nonetheless able to make good points, and introduce the notion that what the Free World needs is a kind of international First Amendment to protect speech, an initiative co-sponsored by the International Free Press Society. Meanwhile, O'Reilly must have cut off the end of every sentence Wilders spoke. But the interview went off quite well, with Wilders making good arguments against O'Reilly's two bone-headed contentions: that "everybody knows" what O'Reilly called "Islamic fascism" is behind world terrorism, so why make a film about it; and why couldn't you make a similar film about Christianity and other religions? (No, "everybody doesn't know" about "Islamic fascism" because our elites are too frightened to mention it; and gee, Bill, there just isn't sufficent news footage of Christian terrorism and Christian ministers preaching terrorism to match with those fiery verses from the Bible...) Noteworthy is the fact that O'Reilly didn't bridle a bit when Wilders called for a halt to Muslim immigration; indeed, O'Reilly later repeated the point in a neutral, non-derisive way.
Kudos to Wilders, whose USA travels continues through the week, and includes a visit to Capitol Hill where Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) is hosting him for a showing of Fitna. (While we're at it, kudos to Jon Kyl.)
What a difference a year makes. At the end of January last year, Wilders gave what I think was his first American TV interview to Fox's Greg Palkot, who obviously couldn't believe his ears when Wilders spoke about the Islamic threat. Unfortunately, the video is no longer accessible; but I reprint my comments on that interview below as a marker of distance covered. One year later, Wilders is getting a respectful hearing in US media and has been invited, at least, into the House of Lords; and more important, soon in the US Capitol. The fight against Islamization is making political inroads.
From my blog of January 30, 2008:
Before viewing the Geert Wilders interview linked below [NB: not available], I had neither seen nor read much from the Dutch parliamentarian. The interview reveals him to be serious, certainly forthright, and articulately non-apologetic in his defense of Dutch culture and identity (and by extension Western culture and identity) against the Islamization process well underway in his country and the wider West.
Fox interviewer Greg Palkot, on the other hand, comes across as what you might call the Nolo Contendere Westerner whose idea of coexistence is based on self-censorship: never, ever mentioning what makes Islam in Wilders’ choice of English “retarded,” a belief system that fails to accept, let alone uphold, freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, equality before the law, and other basic precepts of Western-style liberty. Palkot practically begs Wilders’ to soften, i.e. censor, his views so as not to inflame the Islamic world, including those “moderates” whose so-called moderation morphs into radicalism at the first barb of criticism. (In my book, I discuss at some length this phenomenon of the “Hair-Trigger Moderate.”) Wilders explains he cannot do this because such self-censorship would concede victory to those who would impose Islamic law on him and his country.
I thought of Wilders’ defiant act of plain speaking (yes, it’s gotten so bad that plain speaking is an act of defiance) in the face of political correctness and Islam (the world's two great religions) on reading a comparison of President Bush’s recent State of the Union addresses prepared by Andrew Cochran at the Counterterrorism Blog. Contrary to past SOTUs, Cochran notes, President Bush gave no indication that the “extremism” out there is in any way Islamic (or even “Islamist”). In 2007, the president mentioned “Sunni extremists” and “Shia extremists.” In 2006, he spoke of “radical Islam.” In 2008, nothing. This, no doubt, is a souce of great inspiration to the Greg Palkots of the world.
But what of the rest of us? At Dhimmiwatch, Robert Spencer comments on the president's reticence: "That suggests that [the president’s] words from his 2006 speech can now be applied to their speaker: `By allowing radical Islam to work its will -- by leaving an assaulted world to fend for itself -- we would signal to all that we no longer believe in our own ideals, or even in our own courage.' "
Well, never say never.