Canadian National Arts Centre questions Geert Wilders event

News Agencies – May 10, 2011

The federally-funded National Arts Centre was surprised to learn it was hosting a talk by a Dutch politician facing charges of inciting hatred for making anti-Islamic statements in his own country. Geert Wilders, who is taking part in a cross-Canada speaking tour hosted by the International Free Press Society and the Canada Christian College, is infamous for his descriptions of Islam as a fascist religion, his declaration that Muslim youth are violent and his calls for a ban of the Koran.

Mr. Wilders, the leader of Holland’s Freedom Party, spoke to about 150 people at the invitation-only event at the National Arts Centre along with Sun News Network host Ezra Levant and two other speakers. The Toronto speech was held at the Canada Christian College, a private institution. The Ottawa speech was held at the Arts Centre, which receives nearly half of its funding from the federal government.
NAC spokeswoman Rosemary Thompson said that the International Free Press Society called the catering department about a month ago and said that they had a Dutch MP coming to Canada for a speaking tour and that it was part of the Tulip Festival. The Canadian Tulip Festival – an annual event in Ottawa – had nothing to do with the event involving Mr. Wilders.

Home Secretary talks to youth at Luton’s Central Mosque

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith visited Luton’s Central Mosque on Monday meeting young Muslims whom she said were playing an integral part in the fight extremism. “They were proud to be Muslims and proud to be British,” she said. Her visit to Luton came in the wake of a fatal stabbing of a young man in Bedford last Saturday evening. Asked about the prevalence of knife crime, she said: “Any knife crime is a tragedy and we need to do everything we can to counter it. “Of course people are upset and worried when something like this happens. But they’re part of the answer as well as the police.” She also spoke to Luton residents and promised more resources were being pumped into fighting crime in Bedfordshire. She visited the High Town Community Sports and Arts Centre in Concorde Street, where she took questions from police officers and residents and launched the new ‘police pledge’, a document outlining the commitments of the police to the public. After the meeting she reportedly said that extra cash was being provided to help Bedfordshire Police cut crime in the county.

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