News ID: 8739
Publish Date: 09 July 2012 - 16:57
Taking his Islamophobic message to the US state of Colorado, far-right Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders has called on American legislator to ban the construction of mosques for helping stop what he says the ‘Islamization’ of the West.

"If we do not stop the Islamization, we will lose everything: our identity, our culture, our democratic constitutional state, our freedom, and our civilization,” Wilders told the Western Conservative Summit in Colorado cited by The Colorado Statesman.

Wilders, the leader of the far-right Freedom Party, said that banning mosques would help stop the Islamization of Europe and the United States. "We should forbid the construction of new mosques. There is enough Islam in the West already.”

Wilders is notorious for his rants against Islam and Muslims. He has called for banning the Noble Qur’an, describing the Muslim holy book as "fascist”. In 2008, Wilders released a 15-minute documentary accusing the Qur'an of inciting violence.

His party’s anti-Islam campaigns, however, have helped it make its biggest gains since Wilders has founded it in 2006. "My view, in a nutshell, is that Islam, rather than a religion, is predominantly a totalitarian ideology striving for world dominance,” the far-right MP said.

"I believe that Islam and freedom are incompatible.” Wilders, however, insisted that he has no problem with Muslims. "I always make a distinction between the people and the ideology. There are indeed many moderate Muslims,” he said.

"But believe me, there is no such thing as a moderate Islam — there is only one Islam, and that is a dangerous, totalitarian ideology that is intolerant, that is violent, that should not be tolerated by us but that should be contained.”

The far-right lawmaker’s call for banning mosque construction has won mixed reactions from US legislators. "You know, we’d have to hear more on that, because, as he said, mosques are not churches like we would think of churches,” State Senator Kevin Grantham told The Colorado Statesman.

"They (Muslims) think of mosques more as a foothold into a society, as a foothold into a community, more in the cultural and in the nationalistic sense. "Our churches — we don’t feel that way, they’re places of worship, and mosques are simply not that, and we need to take that into account when approving construction of those,” he said.

Mosques have been facing fierce opposition across the United States recently. At least 35 mosque projects — from Mississippi to Wisconsin — have found foes who battle to stop them from seeing light citing different pretexts, including traffic concerns and fear of terrorism.

Even more, some mosques were vandalized including a 2011 Wichita mosque arson case for which a $5,000 reward is being offered. In multicultural New York, a proposed mosque near Ground Zero site has snowballed into a national public and political debate, with opponents arguing that the Muslim building would be an insult to the memory of the 9/11 victims.

Advocates, however, say that the mosque would send a message of tolerance in 9/11-post America. But Colorado Senator Kevin Lundberg criticized Wilders’ call for banning mosques in the United States.

Wilders "showed some concern for some issues that have happened in this country, and there are some issues we need to be aware of here, but I’m not ready to endorse what he said,” he said.

Sen. Lundberg said that all Americans should have the full freedom of build their places of worship. "We’re a free society, and there are risks with freedom,” Lundberg said.

"In my mind, we need to give every citizen the opportunity to succeed or fail on their merits, and there are limits we have to put in place for certain public safety issues, but I am much more a stronger defender of the First Amendment than I am of immediately restricting people because of a perceived concern.”

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