The rise of the far-right across Europe is disturbing enough, but attention must surely be given when oceans are being crossed, and international connections are being deepened. On Saturday June 30th, the far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders, leader of the populist Freedom Party that is seeking to rid the Netherlands of all Muslims, spoke at the Western Conservative Summit 2012 in Denver, CO.
“There is only one Islam and it is a dangerous ideology. It is intolerant, it is violent. It should not be tolerated, but should be contained. In Europe, we are experiencing that if Islam becomes stronger in a society – even when the majority of Muslims are moderates – a society becomes less free and more intolerant of non- Muslims. Former congressman Tom Tancredo, a native and inhabitant of this great city, whom I visited in his office in Washington in late 2008, once said referring to Miami: ‘Look at what has happened to Miami. It has become a Third World country. You would never know you’re in the United States of America. You would certainly say you’re in a Third World country’.”
Wilders and his party are recognized — along with Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, Brigette Gabriel, and their groups here in America — as an inspiration to Anders Behring Breivik, the far-right Norwegian mass murderer who mentions Wilders by name 15 times throughout his manifesto. The band of neo-Nazis/football hooligans known as the English Defence League (EDL) are big fans of Wilders, too (Breivik also drew significant inspiration from the EDL).
Wilders spoke this past weekend alongside Frank Gaffney, whose anti-Islam group, the Center for Security Policy, co-sponsored the event. Gaffney was just recently profiled as one of “30 to Watch: 30 Activists Heading Up the Radical Right” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Gaffney is so far-right/anti-Islam that he even was barred from this year’s more mainstream CPAC Conference. Gaffney has also hosted Wilders and a huge clump of the far-right on his radio show, Secure Freedom Radio.
More than a few stalwarts of the anti-immigrant movement have also been hosted by Gaffney: Mark Krikorian and Rosemary Jenks of the Center for Immigration Studies, Brian Bilbray of the House Immigriton Reform Caucus, etc.
We’ll default to a warning issued by Marc Sageman, a former CIA officer and consultant on terrorism, concerning what happens when these folks get together: “This rhetoric is not cost-free.”