Written by Geert Wilders - FrontPageMag.com
(Editor's note: the new site MuslimsDebate.com asked Geert Wilders why he became anti-Islam and what his message would be to Muslims. Below is his response.)
I first visited an Islamic country in 1982.
I was 18 years old and had traveled with a Dutch friend from Eilat in Israel to the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm-el-Sheikh.
We were two almost penniless backpacking students.
We slept on the beaches and found hospitality with Egyptians, who spontaneously invited us to tea.
I clearly recall my very first impression of Egypt: I was overwhelmed by the kindness, friendliness and helpfulness of its people.
I also remember my second strong impression of Egypt: It struck me how frightened these friendly and kind people were.
While we were in Sharm el-Sheikh, President Mubarak happened to visit the place.
I remember the fear which suddenly engulfed the town when it was announced that Mubarak was coming on an unexpected visit; I can still see the cavalcade of black cars on the day of his visit and feel the almost physical awareness of fear, like a cold chill on that very hot day in Summer.
It was a weird experience; Mubarak is not considered the worst of the Islamic tyrants and yet, the fear of the ordinary Egyptians for their leader could be felt even by me. I wonder how Saudis feel when their King is in town, how Libyans feel when Gaddafi announces his coming, how Iraqis must have felt when Saddam Hussein was near. A few years later, I read in the Koran how the 7th century Arabs felt in the presence of Muhammad, who, as several verses describe, "cast terror into their hearts" (suras 8:12, 8:60, 33:26, 59:12).
From Sharm el-Sheikh, my friend and I went to Cairo. It was poor and incredibly dirty. My friend and I were amazed that such a poor and filthy place could be a neighbor of Israel, which was so clean. The explanation of the Arabs, with whom we discussed their poverty, was that they were not in any way to blame for this affliction: They said they were the victims of a global conspiracy of "imperialists" and "Zionists", aimed at keeping Muslims poor and subservient. I found that explanation unconvincing. My instinct told me it had something to do with the different cultures of Israel and Egypt.
I made a mistake in Cairo. We had almost no money and I was thirsty. One could buy a glass of water at public water collectors. It did not look clean, but I drank it. I got a terrible diarrhea. I went to a hostel where one could rent a spot on the floor for two dollars a day. There I lay for several days, a heap of misery in a crowded, stinking room, with ten other guys. Once Egypt had been the most advanced civilization on earth. Why had it not progressed along with the rest of the world?
In the late 1890s, Winston Churchill was a soldier and a war correspondent in British India (contemporary Pakistan) and the Sudan. Churchill was a perceptive young man, whose months in Pakistan and the Sudan allowed him to grasp with amazing clarity what the problem is with Islam and "the curses it lays on its votaries."
"Besides the fanatical frenzy, ..., there is this fearful fatalistic apathy," he wrote. "The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist where the followers of the Prophet rule or live. ... The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to a sole man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. ... Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities - but the influence of the religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it." And Churchill concluded: "No stronger retrograde force exists in the world."
There are people who say that I hate Muslims. I do not hate Muslims. It saddens me how Islam has robbed them of their dignity.What Islam does to Muslims is visible in the way they treat their daughters. On March 11, 2002, fifteen Saudi schoolgirls died as they attempted to flee from their school in the holy city of Mecca. A fire had set the building ablaze. The girls ran to the school gates but these were locked. The keys were in the possession of a male guard, who refused to open the gates because the girls were not wearing the correct Islamic dress imposed on women by Saudi law: face veils and overgarments.
The "indecently" dressed girls frantically tried to save their young lives. The Saudi police beat them back into the burning building. Officers of the Mutaween, the "Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice," as the Police are known in Saudi Arabia, also beat passers-by and firemen who tried to help the girls. "It is sinful to approach them," the policemen warned bystanders. It is not only sinful, it is also a criminal offence.
Girls are not valued highly in Islam; the Koran says that the birth of a daughter makes a father's "face darken and he is filled with gloom" (sura 43:15). Nevertheless, the incident at the Mecca school drew angry reactions. Islam is inhumane; but Muslims are humans, hence capable of Love - that powerful force which Muhammad despised. Humanity prevailed in the Meccan fathers who were incensed over the deaths of their daughters; it also prevailed in the firemen who confronted the Mutaween when the latter were beating the girls back inside, and in the journalists of the Saudi paper which, for the first time in Saudi history, criticized the much feared and powerful "Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice."
However, Muslim protests against Islamic inhumanity are rare. Most Muslims, even in Western countries, visit mosques and listen to shocking Koranic verses and to repulsive sermons without revolting against them.
I am an agnosticus myself. But Christians and Jews hold that God created man in His image. They believe that by observing themselves, as free and rational beings capable of love, they can come to know Him. They can even reason with Him, as the Jews have done throughout their history. The Koran, on the contrary, states that "Nothing can be compared with Allah" (sura 16:74, 42:11). He has absolutely nothing in common with us. It is preposterous to suppose that Allah created man in his image. The biblical concept that God is our father is not found in Islam. There is no personal relationship between man and Allah, either. The purpose of Islam is the total submission of oneself and others to the unknowable Allah, whom we must serve through total obedience to Muhammad as leader of the Islamic state (suras 3:31, 4:80, 24:62, 48:10, 57:28). And history has taught us that Muhammad was not at all a prophet of love and compassion, but a mass murderer, a tyrant and a pedophile. Muslims could not have a more deplorable role model.
Without individual freedom, it is not surprising that the notion of man as a responsible agent is not much developed in Islam. Muslims tend to be very fatalistic. Perhaps - let us certainly hope so - only a few radicals take the Koranic admonition to wage jihad on the unbelievers seriously. Nevertheless, most Muslims never raise their voice against the radicals. This is the "fearful fatalistic apathy" Churchill referred to.
The author Aldous Huxley, who lived in North Africa in the 1920s, made the following observation: "About the immediate causes of things - precisely how they happen - they seem to feel not the slightest interest. Indeed, it is not even admitted that there are such things as immediate causes: God is directly responsible for everything. 'Do you think it will rain?' you ask pointing to menacing clouds overhead. 'If God wills,' is the answer. You pass the native hospital. 'Are the doctors good?' 'In our country,' the Arab gravely replies, in the tone of Solomon, 'we say that doctors are of no avail. If Allah wills that a man die, he will die. If not, he will recover.' All of which is profoundly true, so true, indeed, that is not worth saying. To the Arab, however, it seems the last word in human wisdom. ... They have relapsed - all except those who are educated according to Western methods - into pre-scientific fatalism, with its attendant incuriosity and apathy."
Islam deprives Muslims of their freedom. That is a shame, because free people are capable of great things, as history has shown. The Arab, Turkish, Iranian, Indian, Indonesian peoples have tremendous potential. It they were not captives of Islam, if they could liberate themselves from the yoke of Islam, if they would cease to take Muhammad as a role model and if they got rid of the evil Koran, they would be able to achieve great things which would benefit not only them but the entire world.
As a Dutch, a European and a Western politician, my responsibility is primarily to the Dutch people, to the Europeans and the West. However, since the liberation of the Muslims from Islam, will benefit all of us, I wholeheartedly support Muslims who love freedom. My message to them is clear: "Fatalism is no option; 'Inch' Allah' is a curse;
Submission is a disgrace.
Free yourselves. It is up to you.