Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders got a rough ride when he spoke at Temple University in Philadelphia this evening. After being loudly jeered during the Q & A session, his security detail escorted him away from the premises.
But the thing I found most interesting was his criticism of President Obama. Wilders characterized Obama's gestures to the Muslim world as "the beginning of the end."
The reason I find this interesting is because when Wilders visited the Boston area last February I had the opportunity to speak with him after his talk and asked him what he thought about Obama. He refused point blank to criticize Obama. Wilders told me that he was a guest in our country and that our politics were up to us. At the time we spoke, Obama had been in office for just over a month.
Well, Wilders has obviously changed his tune in the intervening eight months. I wonder what Obama did specifically to raise Wilders' ire sufficiently that he is now prepared to criticize Obama on American soil. Obama's proclamation last April in Turkey that we are not at war with Islam? The Cairo Speech last June? The "elections" in Iran?
I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Wilders was finally allowed into Britain last week after having been denied entry there last February by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith because he "would threaten community harmony and therefore public security." Wilders appealed to Britain's Asylum & Immigration Tribunal and got the decision overturned. There is but a flicker of sunlight in what's left of the British Empire.
Of course, the Labour government doesn't like it one bit. The Home Office stated " his presence could have inflamed tensions between our communities and have led to inter-faith violence. We still maintain this view.” Of course, this is the same government that re-established ties with Hezbollah's political wing less than a month after banning Wilders from their soil. Even the Obama Administraton was annoyed with that development. So apparently criticizing violence committed in the name of Islam will inflame tensions in Britain but calling for Israel to wiped off the map raises not a ripple in Finsbury Park.