I was near Washington, D.C. interviewing the visiting Geert Wilders, leader of the Netherlands' Party for Freedom, when the news flashed that Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the Canadian convert to Islam who terrorized Ottawa on Wednesday, had previously had his passport lifted by the Canadian government as an officially designated "high-risk traveler."
That means that before Zehaf-Bibeau put a bullet through the chest of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, a young reservist standing guard with an unloaded rifle at the Canadian National War Memorial, and before Zehaf-Bibeau rushed into the nation's Parliament building, where, thankfully, he was gunned down by security before he could murder again, Canadian authorities had already identified him as someone likely to join the jihad abroad. In fact, so likely was Zehaf-Bibeau to join a group such as ISIS, Canadian authorities did what many Western governments are doing in the name of counter-terrorism: They took Zehaf-Bideau's passport away.
"That's the same as the other one!" Wilders notes energetically, referring to Martin Couture-Rouleau, also an Islamic convert and "high-risk traveler," who drove his car into two Canadian soldiers in Quebec earlier in the week, killing Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent. Couture-Rouleau, who was shot dead at the scene of his crime, had had his passport taken from him in July when he was arrested at the airport before he could travel to Turkey.
In other words, but for good Canadian police work, it looks as if both of these murderers would have left Canada and disappeared into the bloody maw of the Islamic State. Phew -- that was close?
No, that was insane. Such a policy, which the Dutch government also follows, frustrates Wilders to no end.
"Let them leave," says Wilders. "Let them leave, or detain them. I find it incomprehensible that Western governments stop people who want to leave to fight for jihad in Syria or Iraq." Let them go and never let them return, he says, or with sufficient evidence, detain them. While the West combats the Islamic State, he points out, "nothing is being done to make our own countries safe."
Wilders supports the U.S.-led bombing campaign against the Islamic State, and is proud that Dutch F-16s are flying combat missions. He points out, however, that military action in the Middle East is "not an excuse not to do anything domestically."
But not doing anything domestically -- anything, that is, that protects our liberties at home from the encroachments of Islam and its body of repressive, discriminatory and misogynistic laws known as sharia -- perfectly describes the Western response in the post-9/11 era. It is such policies of appeasement that Wilders has been combating for more than a decade as a member of the Dutch Parliament and also leader of the Party for Freedom. Wilders is subject to continuing Islamic death threats, requiring him to live in a 24/7 security bubble.
It is these same policies of appeasement that have made the Netherlands and other European nations havens for supporters of even the most bloodthirsty factions in Islam, including the Islamic State, whose supporters now boldly wave their black flags of jihad in the middle of Amsterdam, menacing Jews and Christians alike.
In a recent speech to parliament, Wilders cited a study showing that nearly three-quarters of ethnic Turks and Moroccans in the Netherlands consider that those who leave to fight in Syria are "heroes." This isn't much different from 13 years ago, when, Wilders pointed out, roughly the same percentage of Dutch Muslims condoned the 9/11 attacks. These are shocking figures. They provide more evidence of the failure of Muslim immigrants to assimilate into Dutch culture -- a failure repeated throughout Europe, where de facto Islamic sharia colonies have obliterated indigenous cultures. Little wonder a large percentage of Dutch -- two-thirds, according to a June poll Wilders cites -- now believe Islamic culture does not belong in the Netherlands.
What to do?
Wilders offers a basic program to begin reversing the Islamization of the Netherlands and the wider West: 1) Halt immigration from Islamic countries; 2) Close every Salafist mosque receiving money from Gulf countries; 3) Stimulate voluntary re-emigration; 4) Expel criminals with dual nationality to the country of their other nationality; 5) Demand that resident passport-holders from Islamic countries renounce sharia law and the violent commands of the Koran; 6) Bar those returning from jihad from re-entry. They can take up residence in the Islamic State, Wilders says.
Later, I watched Wilders on television with Sun TV's Michael Coren, who asked him how to manage the Islamic threat within Western societies without also impinging on civil liberties.
"Listen, war has been declared on us," Wilders replied, "on Canada, by the Islamic state, by Muslim fundamentalists, (on) Europe, on the United States, on us, so we have to fight them as if it was a war. It is a war. I am very much in favor of civil liberties, but I believe that in a time of war, we should have one, first priority -- and that is to protect our people -- the Canadian people, the Dutch people, the American people." He mentioned the ISIS flags that now come out on the streets in the Netherlands -- a ticket out of the country, in his view -- and concluded: "If you have the intention to rob our society of our rule of law, them you don't deserve the rights that come with that rule of law."