Geert Wilders goes global

An international message
Jane Switzer

Controversial Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders last week announced his intention to spread his “stop Islam, defend freedom” message across the West via international alliances in an effort to ban sharia law and immigration from Islamic countries. Wilders told reporters on July 15 the movement would initially launch in the U.S., Canada, Britain, France and Germany later this year. Though it is starting at a grassroots level, Wilders said he hopes the initiative will eventually influence legislators, or spawn its own lawmakers.

An advocate for gay and women’s rights, Wilders is best known for his criticism of Islam, and receives around-the-clock protection because of death threats. His anti-Islamic rhetoric landed him in hot water in 2008 when he was charged by a prosecutor in Jordan with blasphemy and contempt for Muslims for making Fitna, a film that claims the Quran is Fascist and inspires terrorism (the case is ongoing). He is calling his new organization the Geert Wilders International Freedom Alliance, and said he would hold speeches in the coming months in the five countries where the alliance is launching to drum up support.