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.
National Post – May 5, 2011
Geert Wilders has made his name as one of the world’s most outspoken opponents of Islam. The controversial Dutch parliamentarian does not hate Muslims, he’s famously said, but he does hate Islam. Mr. Wilders will bring his message to Canada, a country he says faces the same prospects of being Islamicized as his own. He is the marquee speaker at an invitation-only event hosted by the International Free Press Society and the Canada Christian College.
“Geert Wilders has a warning for Canada, and his warning is about a lack of free speech here and the threat of demographic jihad,” said Charles McVety, president of the Canada Christian College. “Islam is not just a religion, it’s a political and cultural system and we know that Christians, Jews and Hindus don’t have the same mandate for a hostile takeover. Here in Canada there is a real, clear and present danger. And we’re not even allowed to say anything about it. That’s what Geert Wilders is going to talk about.”
Members of the Toronto Muslim community say they were unaware of any planned hostile takeover and dismiss Mr. Wilders as racist and illinformed. Dr Liyakat Takim, Sharjah Chair in Global Islam at McMaster University, said if discussions over radical Islam and multiculturalism in Canada are worth having, a closed presentation by Mr. Wilders is not the way to go about that. Farooq Khan, executive director of the North American Muslim Foundation, said Mr. Wilders and his allies only make religious and cultural tensions worse.