Dutch Anti-Islam Politician Creates Stir In UK

March 5, 2010

Author: Raphael G. Satter and Arthur Max

Source: Google News

Wire Service: AP


Dutch anti-Islam maverick Geert Wilders took his cinematic assault on the Quran to Britain's House of Lords on Friday, sparking heated debate inside the building and angry protests outside.

The invitation to Parliament, and Wilders' stunning political gains in the Netherlands this week, highlight a growing dichotomy in Europe: concern at the increasing number of Muslims who reject long-cherished liberal values, against the liberal tradition of welcoming the world's unfortunates and embracing multiculturalism.

Wilders screened his 15-minute film "Fitna" to about 60 people, including a half-dozen peers, in a wood-paneled committee room in Parliament. The film associates the Quran with terrorism, homophobia and repression of women.

Outside, about 200 protesters jeered and chanted "Fascist thugs off our streets." Police scuffled with several demonstrators who tried to block a street to prevent a demonstration of pro-Wilders activists from the English Defense League from approaching Parliament.

The bleach-blond politician later held court for the British media, replete with quotes from Thomas Jefferson, George Orwell and references to the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.