So Geert Wilders' party second biggest in polls now - because he speaks for free men.
Looks like Bret Stephens over at the Wall Street Journal just doesn't get it. Robert Spencer writes here:
Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal calls for liberals and conservatives to defend Geert Wilders and freedom of speech. The WSJ has not always been this understanding of what is at stake in the Wilders case -- this piece is a welcome departure from the paper's previous stance. Still, this Stephens piece is thoroughly wrongheaded in several ways, and the WSJ has more ground to cover to be consistent in its defense of free speech: explanations below.
If Rushdie should be defended, why not the Dutch pol?
Twenty years ago, Andres Serrano put a plastic crucifix in a glass of urine, photographed it and called it art. Conservatives in particular weren't pleased: not with Mr. Serrano, not with his picture, and not with the National Endowment for the Arts, which had forked over $15,000 in taxpayer money to support this uretic gesture.
Also 20 years ago: On Valentine's Day, 1989, the Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against Salman Rushdie, condemning him to death for supposedly blaspheming Islam in his novel, "The Satanic Verses." Iran later upped the ante by severing diplomatic ties with Britain and putting a bounty on Mr. Rushdie's head. The fatwa remains in effect today by order of Iran's Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei.
These twin anniversaries come to mind following the British government's decision last week to ban Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders from British soil as an "undesirable person." Mr. Wilders is also being prosecuted for hate speech in his native Holland, where he faces up to 16 months in prison if convicted. His alleged crime involves making a short film called "Fitna," which draws a straight line between Quranic verses and acts of Islamist terror. Mr. Wilders has also called for banning the Quran, which he labels a "fascist book" on a par with Hitler's "Mein Kampf."
Here Spencer points out: "Here again: as Fitna itself shows, it is not Wilders who 'draws a straight line between Quranic verses and acts of Islamist terror,' it is the jihad terrorists themselves. This crucial and all-important distinction continues, for some reason, to elude most commentators."
Whatever else might be said about Mr. Wilders's travel ban and prosecution, it helps put into context the events of 1989. In the case of Mr. Serrano, liberal Americans went into a lather about defending his rights to artistic expression and freedom of speech against the parochial leaders of the religious right, men like Jesse Helms and Pat Robertson. Never mind that the worst of their threats involved withholding public funding; fundamental things were said to be at stake.
Read all of the fisk here.