We talked several weeks ago about the controversial--or so we expected--list of speakers at this year's Western Conservative Summit, held this past weekend in downtown Denver. Most interesting to us was a Dutch politician named Geert Wilders, who has gained international notoriety by calling for a ban on mosque construction and immigration from Muslim countries to the Netherlands. We were disappointed to see that, although the Summit itself received some light coverage, very little about Mr. Wilders ever made it beyond the pages of this blog.
So we're both happy and a bit frustrated to see this belated report from the Colorado Statesman's Ernest Luning today:
Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders brought his crusade against the Islamic religion to Denver last weekend, warning an audience at the Western Conservative Summit that Europe and the United States are vulnerable to an insidious takeover by what he termed a "dangerous, totalitarian ideology" masquerading as a religion...
CCU president and former U.S. Sen. Bill Armstrong launched the summit on Friday by proclaiming it open to members of all faiths.
"Of course, those of us at CCU are followers of Jesus, but in the room tonight are men and women of not only the New Testament but the Old Testament, and of other religious and philosophical traditions as well. You're all welcome, we're delighted you're here," Armstrong said.
But by the time Wilders commanded the same stage the next afternoon, the welcome mat might have been less firmly in place for at least one religion...
In order to keep the United States from succumbing, Wilders said, politicians have to ignore what he promised would be derision from the liberal media and other quarters and firmly deliver strong medicine. First, he said, Americans have to stop putting up with "multiculturalism," even as free-speech proponents cry foul. In addition, he said American courtrooms must bar Sharia law and "stop the immigration from Islamic countries." [Pols emphasis]
Most critically, he said, "We should forbid the construction of new mosques. There is enough Islam in the West already."
State Sen. Kevin Grantham, R-Cañon City, said it's worth paying attention to Wilders and the alarms he was raising. [Pols emphasis]
To be fair, reaction in the crowd was somewhat mixed according to Luning--though many joined in standing ovations for Wilders, some did not. Sen. Kevin Lundberg, the famously hard-right GOP candidate for Congress in CD-2, couldn't quite bring himself to endorse Wilders' call for a halt to mosque construction, or to "stop putting up with multiculturalism"--something about the First Amendment. Speaking of which, Wilders included a few lines about how individual Muslims aren't the problem, just their "dangerous, totalitarian ideology." This gave Sen. Kevin Grantham something to to respond to those pesky "religious freedom" questions with. Heck, we'd bet Sen. Grantham even has himself some Muslim friends!
Like we said, we're pleased to see some local coverage of this event that occurred right here in Denver with hundreds of local GOP politicians and activists in attendance. We're frustrated to see this coverage only in the Colorado Statesman, which has a dishearteningly small readership--and mostly political insiders whom nothing seems to faze anymore.
People should know this is going on, with some of our own elected officials cheering it on.