Review of Geert Wilders’ 2012 book: Marked for Death. Islam’s War Against the West and Me
The free world has an issue with Islam. We have an issue with Islam. Geert Wilders, too, has an Issue with Islam, and since he is one of the few to openly call Islam a problem, the Dutchman lives under constant police protection. Numerous Muslims would rather see Wilders dead than alive, and a few of Europe’s do-gooders would probably as well. Wilders, until recently the supporter of the Netherlands’ minority government with his Freedom Party (PVV), just wrote a book about the problem with Islam.
The result is less of a political manifesto than a non-fiction book about Islam, combined with his own experiences. Large portions of Marked for Death oscillate from Islamic (im-)moralities and mislead developments of current integration politics to the history of the alleged Prophet’s life (which serves as its grounds) and back again to the author’s autobiographical fragments of the present. One literally feels taken by the hand and led through Wilders’ library; so numerous are the quotes of relatively well-known ex-Muslims, Islam critics, historians and politicians. The Dutchman takes a particular liking to US Presidents (especially Ronald Reagan) and (of course) Winston Churchill. Churchill was notably the first (at least the first celebrity) to draw a comparison between the Quran and Hitler’s Mein Kampf, a notion for which Wilders is often attacked, particularly by German journalists.
Especially interesting in all this are Wilders’ comparisons between Islam and communism and socialism respectively: not because this would be a new concept – the similar collective structures of both ideologies are sufficiently infamous. It is the detailed description of the mutual influence of both totalitarianisms during the French Revolution, in whose thinkers Islam met soul mates. “Some argued this thinking became a model for Islamic modernists, but in fact these ideas merely encouraged Islam to return to its own totalitarian roots,” says Wilders.
The consequence of these insights again is – at least for Libertarians – a logical one, simultaneously showing how illogical of all those do-gooders are who defame every critic of Islam in their “Fight against the Right” (meaning right-wing Nazism): “We should not treat Islam more leniently than other political ideologies like communism and fascism just because it claims to be a religion. We must treat Islam as we do every other despotic creed that calls for the submission of those who do not adhere to it.”
Comparing communism/socialism with Islam leads Wilders to his central strategy for solving the problem. As Aldous Huxley and Winston Churchill foresaw, Islam cannot survive without the West. Only the vast transfers of money (mostly for oil), technology and expertise protect the Middle East from withering away like a flower deprived of water. To speed up the end of Islam, Wilders proposes to expel all states from the UN who refuse to sign the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (in favour of the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam) and until their expulsion, stop all financial transfers of the West to the UN.
If at the same time, the West stood fast for the truth (“Free men and women everywhere must resist this violent intimidation at all costs. Armed only with our pens, we must defy Islam’s axes and knives. We must continue to speak our minds, knowing there is nothing more powerful than the truth.”), these measures would lead to more and more people in the Islamic world turning against the injustice of this ideology – just as people did in the communist part of the world a few decades ago: “As with communism, a Western campaign of constant pressure could expedite the collapse of Islam through its own contradictions.”
Naturally, Wilders does not appreciate the so-called Arab Spring, where the unrest simply changes one regime and dictator for another: “If only they could liberate themselves from Islam, they, too, could become prosperous and free nations.” But this is not what the events in the Middle East seem to be promising. Indeed, 55% of the Egyptians want democracy, but far more support central Islamic principles (which contradict democracy and the rule of law), and 85% approve of Islamic influence on politics: “The bottom line, unfortunately, is this: there can be no freedom in countries where Islam is dominant.”
So the main responsibility for solving the problem with Islam lies with the Muslims themselves. But men and women of the free world are equally committed to resist, Wilders writes. His four-point plan for doing so seems to be irresistibly simple:
- Defending free speech, the most important among the liberties. Because only when we are allowed to speak (inconvenient) truths, we can explain to others what’s at stake. “The truth is our only weapon – we must use it,” Wilders repeats and demands the abolition of hate-speech laws, which mainly serve for silencing Islam critics.
- Dismissing cultural relativism, for our western culture is by far superior to the barbarian culture of Islam. Only if we dare to say this, only if we become aware of our values and only if we teach our children not only our history but also our pride for our achievements, can we defend our civilization.
- Stopping Islamization by understanding migration as the primary historical means for spreading Islam, and that historically, “more Islam has meant less freedom.” For Wilders, from this understanding results a cessation of all immigration from Islamic countries and instead a focus on integration of those Muslims already present. Any means of Islamic totalitarianism (sharia law, halal food, Islamic banking, burkhas, Islam schools, new mosques) are to be prevented and criminal immigrants are to be expelled.
- Cherishing our national identities, especially by reinstating the full sovereignty of the National States vis-à-vis the EU: “The peoples of the free world can defend their liberties only if they can rally around a flag with which they identify. This flag, symbolizing ancient loyalties, can only be the flag of our nation.”
Regrettably, it takes Wilders over 200 pages to reach these concrete suggestions to solve the problem with Islam. And even more regrettably, after five pages he has already solved the problem. The proposed program is consistent, promising and tough to implement. Because of this, it would have been more desirable if Wilders had written fewer pages of explanations and justifications and put more effort into expounding upon the key factors of his political success. While socialist thinking is rising to new heights in the face of the Euro- and debt crisis, the libertarian political spectrum lies in ruins.
The most important message of the book is found in the preface provided by Canadian journalist Mark Steyn (America Alone), who quotes Ayaan Hirsi Ali: “Share the risk.” Next time an author or artist provokes a fatwa (Islamic legal rule), says Steyn, we will publish it worldwide and send a clear message to the Islamic executors: “Killing one of us won’t do it. You’d better have a great credit line at the Bank of Jihad because you’ll have to kill us all.”
Geert Wilders (2012): Marked for Death. Islam’s War Against the West and Me. Washington: Regnery Publishing, 286 pages.
Translation of original German review by Monti Arendt.