Muslim Reps. Keith Ellison and André Carson sought to bar outspoken counterjihadist Dutch MP Geert Wilders from entering America before his appearance on Capitol Hill today, Apr. 29.
Free speech issues aside, interestingly, in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson advocating their position, Reps. Ellison and Carson sought to discredit the Dutch politician by linking him to a Nordic terrorist -- a link that based on our reporting from February 2014 appears to have been debunked.
Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., during testimony before the House Homeland Security Committee on the extent of the radicalization of American Muslims, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
The relevant portion of the House members' Apr. 23 letter reads:
Reports indicate that Anders Breivik, the Norwegian terrorist responsible for the murder of 77 people in Oslo, was inspired by Mr. Wilders’ hateful message.
The congressmen cite several articles noting an ideological kinship between Breivik and Wilders, as indicated in part based upon the appearance of Wilders' name in the manifesto Breivik published before carrying out his attack.
But was Mr. Breivik really incited by Mr. Wilders?
According to a letter that Breivik penned from prison in January 2014, Breivik stated that in effect he had duped the public in his manifesto by citing his political foes -- among them counterjihadists including Mr. Wilders -- as inspiration, in order to damage them and protect the neo-Nazi movement of which he was a part. Breivik wrote:
When dealing with media psychopaths, a good way to counter their tactics is to use double-psychology, or at least so I thought. The compendium [i.e. Breivik's manifesto] was, among other things, of a calculated and quite cynical gateway-design (the 2+?+?=6-approach), created to strengthen the ethnocentrist wing in the contra-jihad movement, by pinning the whole thing on the anti-ethnocentrist wing (many of the leaders are pro-multiculti social democrats or liberalists), while at the same time protecting and strengthening the ethnocentrist-factions. The idea was to manipulate the MSM and others so that they would launch a witchhunt and send their media-rape-squads against our opponents. It worked quite well. [Emphasis added and formatting fixed]
Key to Breivik's strategy was his effort to explicitly disavow his ties to neo-Nazis. He continued:
I could have easily avoided excessive pathologisation by keeping the message short and by clinging to the already established ideological cliff of national socialism (its important to remember that this was at a time when all right wing radicals were labeled as nazis), but if they had been allowed to label me as a nazi, the ideological considerations and discussions would be over, and my court-speeches and propaganda performance would never be broadcasted world wide, during the trial. [Emphasis added]
Wilders for his part strongly denounced Breivik's attack, though Reps. Carson and Ellison did not acknowledge it in their letter. A July 2011 release from Radio Netherlands Worldwide reads:
Geert Wilders has issued a statement denouncing Anders Behring Breivik, the man behind Friday’s massacre in Norway, as a psychopath and a madman.
The Dutch anti-Islam politician says the fact he and his Freedom Party are mentioned repeatedly in Breivik’s 1,500-page manifesto "fills him with revulsion". [sic]
Since Breivik’s bombing and shooting spree, some commentators have pointed out that some of the ideas expressed by the Norwegian are not so far removed from those promoted by Geert Wilders and his party.
Mr Wilders refutes any suggestion of a link between his own political goals and the Norwegian’s actions "We are democrats through and through. The Freedom Party has never called for violence, nor will it ever do so. We believe in the power of the ballot box and the wisdom of the voter.'"
The statement by the Freedom Party leader goes on to condemn Friday’s attacks as "a slap in the face for the worldwide anti-Islam movement" and to describe Breivik’s manifesto as the work of a madman. "He wants to work with al-Qaeda... He longs to blow up cities, dreams of knights who mutilate themselves and of meeting his hero Karadzic."
We reached out to spokespeople for both congressmen, asking if in light of Breivik's 2014 letter, the congressmen still stand by the section of their letter tying Wilders to Breivik, but have not yet received comment.
Reps. Ellison and Carson sought to justify their opposition to Wilders' appearance on American soil under the International Religious Freedom Act. In their letter, they argue that Wilders' anti-Islamization rhetoric qualifies as a "severe" violation of religious freedom, due to his "inciting anti-Muslim aggression and violence."
Wilders, the founder and leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom, is a staunch opponent of European Islamization, arguing against the mass immigration of individuals from Muslim countries and encouraging jihadists currently living in Europe to leave. He is highly critical of the Koran and Islamic ideology more broadly.
For his rhetoric, Wilders has stood trial in Europe, and was most recently interrogated by the Dutch State Police for asking his constituents whether they would prefer more or fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands. You can read his statement on the interrogation here.
The letter from Reps. Ellison and Carson can be found below:
While on Capitol Hill, Wilders spoke in front of the Conservative Opportunity Society. PJMedia transcribed some of his remarks, which you can find below:
"I have nothing against Muslims. Before the death threats started I have visited almost every Islamic country and I met many friendly people. I know there are many moderate Muslims who do not live according to the violent commands of the Quran. Muslims can be moderates. But there is no moderate Islam. Islam has changed Europe beyond recognition," Wilders said.
"…Our duty is clear. In order to solve the problem, we have to stop mass immigration to the West from Islamic countries. And we have to get rid of the cultural relativism."
Wilders added that it’s "sheer stupidity" to stop would-be jihadis from running off to join the Islamic State: "This is wrong. Let them leave if they want to leave. But let them never return."
"In my country and the other EU member states, which signed the so-called Schengen Treaty, we have abolished all border controls between the 26 member states of the Schengen zone. This means that jihadis from one of these states can freely travel to the others and commit their crimes there. And it has already happened. Last year a jihadi from France, who had just returned from Syria, went to Belgium and murdered four people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels," he said.
‘Without borders a nation-cannot guarantee the security of its citizens. Neither can it preserve its national identity and culture. I believe that one of the most vital things which we Europeans must do is to leave Schengen and reinstate national border control."