The Blog

Richard Dawkins On Fitna and Geert Wilders

Regular readers of Homo economicus' Weblog know how I have read Dawkins' tweets and said - wait for the spin, why did he write it like that etc. Knowing that he opens himself up to attacks he never thought possible because he did not mean it like that. Largely because he never thought it would be taken that way by critics or supporters alike.

Having discussed with Alex Gabriel his post Yes, Richard Dawkins, your statements on Islam are racist I decided to take up his offer to write a reply. He retweeted my posts on Dawkins tweets to give more context and a different point of view that Dawkins tweets are not racist regarding Mein Kampf and Koran and the "Hasan a serious journalist?" tweet by Dawkins.

The strongest argument in Alex's post is Dawkins support of Geert Wilders and his film Fitna. So in this post will address that as he briefly mentions. Come back with me five years ago ...

Regarding Fitna the Council of Ex Muslims in Britain agreed the film had huge issues. When I attended the inaugural meeting in 2008 at Conway Hall they featured "Fitna Remade" which dubbed over the original commentary. I said Fitna Remade "outlines the case rather well (without the Islamophoba immigration bashing of the original documentary)."

Talking about the panel that day notice the point raised regarding race and religion:

Ahadi made the point though that how the left and the right of politics deal with this issue is wrong. The right that it is a threat to the British way of life, while on the left that different cultures need to be accommodated. In practise the question is do we want a European ideal or a human rights ideal? The dutch politician Ehsan Jami seemed to be of the former notion, requiring an end to dual citizenship with an Islamic country. As Ahadi mentioned, the debate had changed since 9/11 from foreigners as they were called to being called Muslim - even though she had renounced Islam and many refugees were escaping political Islam. [Source]

I should point out Richard Dawkins was in attendance at the inaugural meeting of Council of Ex Muslims in 2008 where issues with Fitna were discussed. In 2010 having for the first time watched the original Fitna, sadly he had forgotten the talk about Fitna and Wilders to do with showing "Fitna Remade" which we all watched and discussed two years previously.

The full comment of Dawkins on Fitna and Wilders being put on trial:

have just watched Fitna. I don't know whether it is the original version, but it is the one linked by Jerry Coyne. Maybe Geert Wilders has done or said other things that justify epithets such as 'disgusting', or 'racist'. But as far as this film is concerned, I can see nothing in it to substantiate such extreme vilification. There is much that is disgusting in the film, but it is all contained in the quotations, which I presume to be accurate, from the Koran and from various Muslim preachers and orators, and the clips of atrocities such as beheadings and public executions. At least as far as Fitna is concerned, to call Wilders 'disgusting' is surely no more sensible than shooting the messenger. If it is complained that these disgusting Koranic verses, or these disgusting Muslim speeches, or the more than disgusting Muslim executions, are 'taken out of context', I should like to be told what the proper context would look like, and how it could possibly make any difference.

To repeat, Wilders may have said and done other things of which I am unaware, which deserve condemnation, but I can see nothing reprehensible in his making of Fitna, and certainly nothing for which he should go on trial. Like the film of Theo van Gogh and Ayaan Hirsi-Ali, the style of Fitna is restrained, the music, by Tchaikowski and Grieg, is excellently chosen and contributes to the restrained atmosphere of the film. The horrendous execution scenes are faded out before the coup-de-grace; all the stridency, and almost the only expressions of opinion, come from Muslims, not from Wilders.

Why is this man on trial, unless it is, yet again, pandering to the ludicrous convention that religious opinion must not be 'offended'? Geert Wilders, if it should turn out that you are a racist or a gratuitous stirrer and provocateur I withdraw my respect, but on the strength of Fitna alone I salute you as a man of courage, who has the balls to stand up to a monstrous enemy.


"You seem to think that the enemies of your enemies are your friends. Maybe that is not a very rational thing to do."

I did no such thing. I explicitly stated that my endorsement of Wilders should be withdrawn if he turned out to have made racist or otherwise objectionable statements. I asked for examples and you replied, not by giving them to me but by inviting me to read all the way through the entire thread. I look forward to doing so when I get time. Meanwhile, I simply repudiate the 'enemy's enemy' charge. That would be valid only if I continued to praise Wilders after being convincingly told something bad about him. In Fitna, taken on its own, I have found no cause to put Wilders on trial or even to censure him in any substantial way.

The comments thread contain comments about Wilders anti immigration stance, however these are the only comments by Dawkins on this thread. A crucial point - Wilders discriminates on the basis of the dominant religion of a country when it comes to religion. Semantics whether racist or not? Thing is how would people like Ahadi be allowed to escape political Islam? A religious test or a persecution test or blanket no to all immigration from an Islamic theocratic state?

Fast forward to 2013:

Has Dawkins really not had the time to find out more about Wilders? In 2008 we found out from our friends in the Council of Ex Muslims the problems with Wilders' politics. The comments thread in 2010 makes clear the issues and I invite Dawkins to read them again especially beyond his last comment.

I hope Dawkins does and quickly regarding finding out about the politician Wilders and not the film maker Wilders. But to save time here is an up to date critique of Wilders.

in July Geert Wilders, a far-right politician known for calling on the Netherlands to ban the Koran and exit the euro, wrote them a piquant epitaph. Mr Wilders announced he would hold talks with right-wing parties in other countries about forming an anti-Europe bloc in the European Parliament elections this autumn. He has since spoken with Marine Le Pen's National Front in France, a party similar to Mr Wilders's Freedom Party in many ways, and with the Lega Nord in Italy. Having shattered the multi-cultural Netherlands, which once brokered the integration of Europe, Mr Wilders is now proposing to undertake Europe's dismantling.

Banning the Koran in Holland, preventing all migration from Muslim countries, let alone working with far right parties across Europe - Wilders is a far right wing politician. Is that enough for you to denounce him Richard?

There is no excuse for Dawkins continued ignorance about Wilders, unless he does not want to disagree with him.