Wilders at Ground Zero: No New Mecca
Anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders has added his voice to protests against plans to build an Islamic cultural centre in the vicinity from Ground Zero in New York. The Dutch politician was speaking at a ceremony marking the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in the US. He had been invited by a group called Stop Islamization Of America.
Mr Wilders said the WTC buildings, know as the Twin Towers, were chosen as terrorist targets because of their symbolic significance. “No place on earth had a more multi-ethnic, multi-racial, and multi-lingual workforce than New York’s proud towers. That is exactly why they were targeted.”
“We who have come to speak today, object to this mosque project because its promoter and his wealthy sponsors have never suggested building a centre to promote tolerance and interfaith understanding where it is really needed: In Mecca – a town where non-Muslims are not even allowed to enter, let alone build churches, synagogues, temples or community centres.”
Nations of tolerance Building a mosque close to Ground Zero would betray those who were killed on 11 September 2001, Mr Wilders added. “For their sakes we cannot tolerate a mosque on or near Ground Zero. For their sakes loud and clear we say: No mosque here! For their sakes, we must draw the line. So that New York, rooted in Dutch tolerance, will never become New Mecca.”
Frequently interrupted by applause and chanting, Mr Wilders continued his milder-than-usual speech by praising New York for the freedom and tolerance which it is famed for. But "a tolerant society is not a suicidal society. It must defend itself against the powers of darkness, the force of hatred and the blight of ignorance. It cannot tolerate the intolerant – and survive," he warned.
Mr Wilders noted that a poll conducted in the immediate wake of 9/11 showed that "two thirds of the Muslim immigrants in the Netherlands expressed partial or full understanding for the terrorists. If a mosque were built here on Ground Zero such people would feel triumphant."
Full text of Geert Wilders’ speech at www.geertwilders.nl
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide