Geert Wilders is a Dutch far-right politician whose views on Islam have attracted controversy in the Netherlands and around the world. Wilders has a history of openly criticising Islam with comments such as ‘I don’t hate Muslims, I hate Islam’.
He planned to share these views in Australia during a series of talks entitled ‘Freedom, Islam and the West’, and announced well in advance that he didn’t want to see any ‘racist idiots’ seeking to abuse his visit.
The tour sponsors – Q Society of Australia – also distanced themselves from any violence that might happen during the visit. Q Society of Australia describes itself as ‘an educational based organisation’ seeking to provide Australians with independent and critical information on Islam. Their public call for all Australians to refrain from any display of ‘violence, racism or intimidation’ during the tour seems in keeping with their mandate.
With both speaker and sponsor calling for a non-violent exchange of knowledge, it was perplexing to read media reports indicating that some ‘white supremacists’ have chosen to ignore these pleas and were priming their members for violence.
For example, a 10 minute broadcast from Radio Free Australia – the so-called voice of white revolution in Australia – warns all ‘patriots’ to:
expect an Islamic rent-a-crowd outside screaming and foaming at the mouth like the evil bastards they are; and encourages them to exercise their legal right of self defence if any ragheads try to prevent them accessing the venue, or threaten, or use violence against their person.
This is clearly contrary to the wishes of people whose views these groups are supposed to share.
It also disregards reports that some Islamic leaders are actively encouraging their community to ignore Wilder’s visit and not draw attention to his views by protesting.
Why would some members of the white nationalist movement be so determined to incite violence where it’s not wanted or needed? Two possible reasons come to mind.
1. They want to create a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’.
If you’re expecting someone to act towards you in a certain way, and you treat them as if you expect them to act in that way, eventually the other person reacts the way you expect. Some white nationalists have made it clear that they expect Muslims to be ‘savage animals’. Therefore, they blatantly incite violence (but call it self defence), and when some members of the Islam community react to their taunts, the white nationalists can say ‘I told you so’.
2. They want to create a group of reactionaries.
Proving this point in turn keeps white nationalist members motivated and dedicated – and importantly, makes sure the fight against multiculturalism is alive and exciting. In fact, white nationalist group solidarity could increase dramatically because group members have proof of the ‘enemy out there’ and permission from their immediate leaders to go to any lengths to ‘protect’ one of their own, Geert Wilders. It’s like a misdirected team-building exercise to make sure members don’t think, they just react.
This makes more sense when you look at what it means to be a white nationalist. Members are told they must be the ‘friend of our friends and the foe of our foes’ (which is anyone who doesn’t meet the strict ‘white’ criteria). What better way to keep both existing members and new recruits motivated than to ‘prove’ there are real enemies out there, and a real battle to be fought? Even if it’s a battle that some of their own people fabricated!