11 September 2012
Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV), has received funding from anti-Islam groups in the United States, Reuters reports. Daniel Pipes, director of the Philadelphia based think tank The Middle East Forum, admitted to funding Wilders’ legal defense against charges of inciting racial hatred. Pipes declined to reveal the quantity of his contributions. David Horowitz also reported paying Wilders “a good fee” for two speeches, as well as to covering a security fee to the Philadelphia police department incurred for protests surrounding Wilders’ public appearance. Both Pipes and Horowitz denied funding Wilders’ political activities in the Netherlands, and Wilders responded that he never requests a fee for speaking engagements, though travel and accommodation expenses may be paid. Legislation is currently in process in the Dutch parliament to force parties to reveal their donation sources.
According to an investigative report by The Tennessean’s Bob Smietana, anti-Muslim groups are making millions selling fear of Islam to ultra-conservative Christian audiences across the country. Smietana reports on the emergence of “a multimillion-dollar industry of self-proclaimed experts who spread hate toward Muslims in books and movies, on websites and through speaking appearances.”
The report focuses much of its attention on Washington D.C.-based SAE Productions, which according to tax documents collected nearly $4 million in revenue in 2008 for “researching alleged ties between American Muslims and overseas terrorism.”
The report includes tax documents on five other “anti-Jihad” organizations, including the Californi-based David Horowitz Freedom Center, which raised more than $1 million in 2008 from its “Terrorism Awareness Project” and its Web-based “Jihad Watch.”
A question and answer session by Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders at a college in the United States was cut short on Tuesday after “the tone of the event began to turn ‘nasty’ and some of the several hundred students ‘began jeering’”.
Wilders visited Temple University in Philadelphia in order to screen his movie Fitna. Associated Press reports that Wilders’ “remarks were met by a mixture of applause and boos, and occasionally gasps — particularly when he stated that ‘our Western culture is far better than the Islamic culture and we should defend it.’” Wilders’ visit was supported by a student group identified as Temple University Purpose.
Hussein Ibish, founder of for Arab-American leadership in Washington DC told an audience at Tulane University that America’s cultural view of Islam and American Muslims is steadily deteriorating under an onslaught of bigotry in news programming, op-ed pieces, and in the blogosphere. Since 9/11, he said that commentators such as Malkin, Ann Coulter, Charles Krauthammer, Daniel Pipes and David Horowitz have transferred old anti-Arab stereotypes to Islam in “incredibly bigoted commentary” that would not have been tolerated before September 11th, 2001. “This is what explains the collapse of the good name of Islam,” said Ibish, who also believes that with this context, the West sees Islam as constantly suspicious, which thenceforth only further legitimizes the calls for ethnic and religious profiling.