Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Muslims and leftists demand funding be cut citing 'Islamophobia' remark after leader of Belgian nationalist party interview in Jewish magazine
Muslims and leftists demand funding be cut citing 'Islamophobia' remark after leader of Belgian nationalist party interview in Jewish magazine
December 1, 2005
MIM: This Filip de Winter interview was used by Muslim groups to try and close down the new Vlaamse Belang (Flemish Interest) party which was started after the previous party Vlaamse Blok (The Flemish Block ) was declared illegal. See: http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/1188 The article below from the Brussels journal shows how Filip de Winter is being demonised and vilifed.
( One left wing paper compared him to the killer and rapist Paul Dutroux who held several girls captive that starved to death in a basement, in an effort to demonise De Winter the paper trivialised Dutroux's crimes by pointing out that his was not so terrible since it was but an isolated case of 'perversion' whereas De Winter has a following).
De Winter is opposed to the Islamisation of Belgium, and his arguments regarding the threat of militant Islam were borne recently borne It was reported yesterday that the female suicide bomber who blew herself up in a Baghdad police station was a white middle class Belgian born Christian convert to Islam married to a Muslim. Americans recovered her passport and the investigation led Belgian police to a network of recruiters for suicide bombing missions. Out of the 14 people arrested - half were Belgian Christian converts. http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/1336
Two government-subsidized Brussels organisations, the "intercultural youth platform" Kif Kif and the "movement against racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia" MRAX, have lodged a complaint before the Belgian judicial authorities against Filip Dewinter, a member of the Flemish regional parliament and one of the leaders of the Flemish-secessionistVlaams Belang, which is the largest party in Belgium. They demand that Dewinter be convicted for "incitement to racist hatred" and that his party be deprived of its funding. In Belgium, political parties are almost entirely government-funded, as accepting private donations is mostly illegal.
The reason for the complaint is an interview which Dewinter says he recently gave to the New York magazine Jewish Week (and which he put on his website). When asked whether he espoused xenophobia, Dewinter replied:
"Xenophobia" is not the word I would use. If it absolutely must be a "phobia" let it be "islamophobia". Yes, we're afraid of Islam. The islamisation of Europe is a frightening thing. Even distinguished Jewish scholars as Bat Ye'or and Bernard Lewis warned for this. If this historical process continues, the Jews will be the first victims. Europe will become as dangerous for them as Egypt or Algeria.
The fact that Dewinter used the word "islamophobia" has outraged the Belgian media, since xenophobia (and islamophobia) is a criminal offense. Under Belgium's very broad Anti-Racism Act of 1981, racial discrimination is defined as "each form of distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference, which has or may have as its aim or consequence that the recognition, the enjoyment or exercise on an equal footing of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social or cultural sphere or in other areas of social life, is destroyed, affected or restricted."
Contrary to the European anti-discrimination treaties, the Belgian bill not only prohibits distinctions that have restrictions as their aim or consequence, but also distinctions that may have these restrictions – or even simply effects – as their consequence. Anyone who describes himself as an "islamophobe" is pronouncing a preference which may have as its consequence that the enjoyment of a freedom in an area of social life be affected. Moreover, the Belgian Anti-Discrimination Act of 2003 reversed the onus of proof. The complainant does not need to prove that the accused "discriminates" or propagates "discrimination," but it is up to the latter to prove that he does not.
Last year, the Belgian courts convicted the country's largest party, the Vlaams Blok, as a criminal organisation on the basis of these bills. This forced the party to disband, whereupon its members, including Mr. Dewinter, established a new party, the Vlaams Belang. In the same JW interview, Dewinter says:
Indeed, we were convicted. But the conviction was a sham. It was a political process [trial], aimed at curtailing an opposition party. In the United States, judges are independent. Even the president himself could not influence a judge, let alone the Supreme Court. But in Belgium the judiciary is a tool in the hands of the government. All judges are appointed by the three political parties that govern the country since World War I. Some judges are strong enough to shrug off the political pressure, but that's exceptional. The separation of powers is just fiction. The laws used in this conviction were specially concocted to eliminate our party.
Meanwhile, the readers of the left-wing Belgian monthly Deng have elected Dewinter as the "worst Belgian ever." Of almost 10,000 votes 27.3% went to Dewinter. Marc Dutroux, the convicted Belgian pervert who abducted children and locked them up in dungeons where he raped and murdered them, is second with 20%. The third "worst Belgian ever" (11.4%) is the country's former king, Leopold II, who in the late 19th and early 20th century decimated the population of his personal Congo colony, killing an estimated 10 million people.
Deng has placed a portrait of Dewinter, the winner of its contest, on its December cover, but is selling this issue at a discount. "Owing to our disgusting cover Deng will be sold at half the usual price this month," Deng editor Dany Ilegems says. The editor says he is proud of Deng's readers for having chosen Dewinter: "Dutroux has raped and murdered children, but according to the court, unlike Dewinter, he is an ‘isolated' pervert."
There are those who fear that first you will go after the Moroccans and then the Jews. How do you respond? A: This is ridiculous. You could say the same about president Bush or Tony Blair: "First they are going after radical Islam, then they will go after the Jews." As if Judaïsm were an extension of Islam. In our view, Judaïsm and Islam are absolute not two of the same kind. On the contrary, they are foes. One has to choose sides. Which side are you on in the "war on terror"? The side of western democracy and western civilization, with its Judeo-Christian roots, or the side of radical Islam? The side of Great-Britain, America and Israel, or the side of Iran, Sudan and the Taliban?
Q: There are those who say Jews should not be voting for a party that espouses xenophobia. Your reaction? A: "Xenophobia" is not the word a would use. If it absolutely must be a "phobia" let it be "islamophobia". Yes, we're afraid of Islam. The islamisation of Europe is a frightening thing. Even distinguished Jewish scholars as Bat Ye'or and Bernard Lewis warned for this. If this historical process continues, the Jews will be the first victims. Europe will became as dangerous for them as Egypt or Algeria. So, I return your question. Should Jews vote for a party that wants to stop the spread of Islam in Europe?
Q: Last year your former party was banned by the Supreme Court for racism. People say that you have just changed the name of your party, that little else has been changed and that many of the same people are in it. Is that true? A: Yes, that is true. We have not changed so much since our conviction. Indeed, we were convicted. But the conviction was a sham. It was a political process, aimed at curtailing an opposition party. In the United States, judges are independent. Even the president himself could not influence a judge, let alone the Supreme Court. But in Belgium the judiciary is a tool in the hands of the government. All judges are appointed by the three political parties that govern the country since World War I. Some judges are strong enough to shrug off the political pressure, but that's exceptional. The separation of powers is just fiction. The laws used in this conviction were specially concocted to eliminate our party. In the United States, we would have been acquitted under the First Amendment protecting free speech. Stephan Pollard, one of Tony Blair's Jewish advisors wrote a very good column about this juridical sham: "I've seen the future, it's scary and it's Belgium." In the Cour the Cassation the judiciary discovered the dossier with the indictment had disappeared. Not just one document, but the whole indictment. Hundreds of pages. They had lost it… In a constitutional state, the conviction should have been reversed for matters of procedure. In Belgium, there was no problem. This conviction proves another thing: the plaintiffs had gone over all our publications with a fine-tooth comb: each article in our party magazine, each political flyer, each book, each essay, looking for forbidden opinions. They accused us of inciting hatred towards Muslims, Arabs, Turks… Of course, these accusations were unfair. But even such biased opponents couldn't find a single word that could be interpreted as anti-Semitic. A so-called neo nazi-party that in twenty years never utters one bad word against Jews… Is that possible? Yes, we are right-wingers. Just as Ariel Sharon, Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher are right-wingers. But this doesn't mean they – or we - are anti-Semites.
Q: It is said that your party was founded by Nazi collaborators and Holocaust deniers and that it still attracts Holocaust deniers. What is your reaction to them in your party and the fact that it was founded by Nazi collaborators? A: Do we attract Holocaust deniers or nazi's? Well, sometimes a decent women attracts evil men, not because of her own deeds, but because her good name has been blackened by slander. This is our problem too: all Belgium governments have depicted us as nazi's in their propaganda. Of course some people believe this propaganda. And of course some youths with nazi sympathies think we are their allies. But we are not. They are not welcome. Such propaganda can be self fulfilling. There are some very small nazi groups in Belgium, but they hate us. They say we are the accomplices of international jewry and that we betrayed nationalism in return for jewish money, that we kowtow for international Zionism, and so on. You certainly know that kind of slander.
Our party was founded in 1978. It originated from the Volksunie. This was a respectable party: in 1978 it took part in a Belgium government coalition. Would our mainstream parties (social democrats and Christian democrats) make coalitions with a party founded by Nazi collaborators? Many political heavyweights in the liberal party and the Christian democrats began their careers in the Volksunie. Not one of our "founding fathers" has collaborated with nazism. Our founder, Karel Dillen was just seventeen when WWII ended. He had not collaborated. As a political party, we have clean hands.
It's is true however, that before WWII, all political movements in Belgium – including the Flemish patriotic movement - have made fatal mistakes in dealing with nazism. But before the war, before the truth about the shoah became clearly visible, this was a mistake many people made. Before the war, Flemish nationalism was politically divided. There were two parties, the VNV and the Verdinaso. In hindsight, it's easy to see that they made many mistakes. Their most fatal mistake was their inability to discern the ugly, totalitarian face of national-socialism. Another shameful weakness was their indulgence towards the omnipresent anti-Semitism of the interbellum. This was not the murderous, hateful anti-Semitisme of Goebbels and Hitler, but is was bad enough. It was not typical for the Flemish movement either. That low-level anti-Semitism was omnipresent. In France it was even worse. All political parties in Belgium were more or less infected. Even the royal family, even the socialists, even many of the resistance movements who fought the German occupation. They were no Eichmans, but they didn't like the Jews. We are not glorifying the VNV or the Verdinaso. But we can't deny history. They were our historical ancestors. Not our fathers, but still our grandfathers. That doesn't mean we will repeat their mistakes. When the Germans invaded Belgium in May 1940, the Verdinaso leadership asked all party members to volunteer in the Belgium army, and to fight the invaders tooth and nail. Those men are our political ancestors too. Yes, it's true the VNV leadership collaborated with the Germans. But it's also true the Verdinaso leadership didn't. The first truth is often used to discredit us. The second truth is almost forgotten. We can't change the past. We can't deny the dark spots in our history. But we are not prisoners of that history. This bitter experience has been a sobering lesson. We will never ever again believe the false promises of totalitarism. One could only wish the left-wingers had learned that lesson too.
In 2002, the Democratic Party celebrated the hundred-year old Strom Thurmond and Trent Lott came under fire for having made some positive remarks about Thurmonds political views. An evil interpretation could be that the Democratic Party hasn't changed a bit, that it's still secretly supporting segregation, and the Jim Crow-laws. Every American knows such allegations are nonsense. Every American knows the Democratic Party has tremendously changed since Strom Thurmond's days. But that's just the way mr. Marinower, the left-wingers and the Muslims are making stupid allegations about us, using seventy-year-old quotations to "proof" we are racists, anti-Semites or even national-socialists. For this people, everyone who's not a left-winger is a fascist or a national-socialist. In their perverted view of history, there's no distinction between Eichman, president Bush, general Schwartzkopf and Ariel Sharon. All damned nazi's. Haven't you Americans experienced the same thing? Haven't the Israeli's experienced the same thing? The Democratic Party in the South has changed. Well, the Flemish movement has changed too. Even more so. The Democratic Party still exists. The old Flemish political parties that became entangled in collaboration in WWII have ceased to exist. Their Strom Thurmonds are dead. We are not even their political children. We are their grandchildren at most. But for mr. Marinower, that makes no difference. This is as stupid as identifying the Democratic Party with Strom Thurmond.
Q: Mr. Marinower compares your party to the Ku Klux Klan and says your party's quest for votes based on protecting the Jews is comparable to the KKK defending the Jews in America. A: In the past the KKK was responsible for the killing of Afro-Americans, and for inciting hatred towards Jews and even roman-catholics. If such people would pretend to be "protecting" their former victims, this would be in stark contradiction with their deeds and words in the past. No one would believe this, and with good reason. Blood is thicker than water, and deeds are stronger than words. If the deeds contradict the words, believe the deeds, don't believe the words. You can apply this to Arafat, the PLO, the Palestinian Autority or the KKK. Look at their terrible deeds. But we haven't such a criminal record. We have never written anti-Semitic texts. You may examine all our publications since the day our party was founded. You won't find any attacks against Jews or Judaism. On the contrary. Very often we were the only political group defending Israel, both in publications and in parliament.
Q: Your party proposed naming a street in Antwerp for one of the worst nazi collaborators. Who was that and why do it? A: It was not "my party" that took this initiative. It was a personal, individual initiative of one of our local councillors. He withdrew his proposal when he came to the conclusion that it was too provocative.
Q: You are said to have on your desk two pictures in which you are shaking hands with Le Pen and Haider. Why display those two photos? What does it say about you that you have selected those two pictures to highlight on your desk? A: Such photo's exist of course. But they are not on display in my office. We have contacts with Haiders en Le Pens parties. On issues as immigration, we even have common ground. But we don't like Haiders kowtowing for dictators as Saddam Hoessein or Khadaffi. We don't like Le Pens typically French views of centralisation, we don't like his anti-Americanism and we absolutely don't like his anti-Jewish provocations. Just as almost all French politicians, he has this disastrous illusion that it's France's destiny to have a special, privileged relation with the Islamic world. This explains the French's biased political position against Israel. This explains their alliance with Saddam Hoessein, their support of Khomeiny when he was preparing to topple the shah… Le Pen shares this views, and we don't like that at all. He is not the monster the leftists say he is. But I am not identifying with him. We are certainly no holocaust deniers. In Belgian parliament we supported the law who punishes holocaust denial. Recently we even published an article in our party magazine about Raoul Wallenberg, who saved ten of thousands of Hungarian Jews. In our party magazine, we repeatedly denounced arsons against synagogues and violence and racist insults against Jewish people, even when most of the mainstream press kept silent about this, because the perpetrators were Muslim youths. That's an indication too: our party is very strong in Antwerp. We have more than 100 000 voters there. There were many attacks against Jews in Antwerp: a car bomb, a grenade attack on a school bus with Jewish children, some murders and attempted murders, and many, many cases of harassing, insult and intimidation. But the perpetrators were invariably Muslim youths or foreign Muslim terrorists. In thirty years, not one of our militants ever committed even one anti-Semitic act. These are not empty words. These are facts. You can check them. Ask the Jews in Antwerp. This is at least a strong indication that we are no anti-Semites. Mr. Marinower says we are evil guys, just pretending to be decent right-wingers. People can play a misleading role for some years. But is it possible that tens of thousands of people play a misleading role for almost thirty years?
Q:You referred during a debate with Claude Marinower to Ariel Sharon and said he was Mr. Marinower's prime minister. He is not Israeli, why call him Mr. Marinower's prime minister? A: I admit I was wrong. This was a slip of the tongue. I said "your prime minister". I should have said "Israel's prime minister". This hasn't any political relevance. Of course I know the difference between "Jews" and "Israeli's". I will defend both of them: the Jews in the Diaspora in Europe, and the Jews in Israel. Both are under siege. Both have the same enemy: militant islam, with it's anti-Semitic core.
A: Mr. Marinower says he will follow you wherever you go and tell people who you really are. Your reaction? Q: Well, he has the right to do so. Of course he will not tell who I really am. He will depict me as a anti-Semite and a notorious nazi. Mr. Marinower views are distorted by hate. But he directs his hate towards the wrong people. The Jews have enough real enemies. Mr. Marinower would better fight the real anti-Semites. Now he's spending all his energy in a war against an imaginary foe. He could use some of that energy to fight Israel's enemies in his own party. Vincent Van Quickenborne, now secretary of state for mr. Marinower's VLD, a few years ago had a friendly encounter with sheik Yassin, the Hamas chief. Van Quickenborne wished the sheik "good luck". Good luck in killing more Israeli children? Mr. Marinower never protested, at least not in public. And a VLD-senator said about the Israeli "occupation" of Samaria and Judea: "If a new holocaust would occur, the Jews have to blame it on themselves." Could Mr. Marinower clean up his own house first?
A: What do you think of Europe's pro-Palestinian tilt? Q: It frightens me. Europe pays lip service to the great principles of human rights, democracy, and rule of law. Israel is the only democracy in that part of the world, the only constitutional state. It's the only nation that respect the freedom of religion, even for the Arab Muslim within it's borders. Every decent person, every dedicated democrat should defend Israel tooth and nail. But the Europeans do the opposite. They betray all their principles. The European politicians are kowtowing for the Arab dictators, for leaders of rogue states, for terrorists. The European Union subsidizes the Palestinian Authority with billions of euros and big chunks of that money are directly transferred to terrorist groups. And it's not the Palestinians alone. If the European Union had had his way, Saddam Hoessein and maybe even the Taliban would still be in power. The European Union repeats the mistakes Chamberlain and Daladier made in dealing with Hitler: they permanently try to appease dictators. They don't use that damned word "appeasement" but that's the bottom line of their politics towards radical Islam. Appeasement towards Iran. Appeasement towards Hamas, Hezbollah and the Al Aqsa Brigades. And finally appeasement towards the rise of Islam in Europe itself.