Geert Wilders is a member of the Dutch Parliament and head of the Freedom Party. In 2008 he released "Fitna," a controversial film about the Koran and jihadist violence. Wilders was condemned as an anti-Muslim agitator but also hailed as a defender of Western values and free speech. In January, a Dutch court ordered Wilders prosecuted for allegedly inciting hatred against Islam. Last month he was invited to screen "Fitna" at Westminster, but the British government barred him from entering the country. He was recently interviewed by Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby, who prepared the following edited excerpts:
Q: You've said that England today is more Chamberlain than Churchill. Explain what you mean.
A: Well, Chamberlain was the biggest appeaser to a totalitarian ideology called fascism. Now we face the threat of another totalitarian ideology called Islam, at least according to me. And instead of defending our freedom, defending our values, when I was invited a few weeks ago to show "Fitna" in the House of Lords, they denied me entry to the United Kingdom.
Q: The letter from the British home secretary said: "Your statements about Muslims and their beliefs . . . would threaten community harmony, and therefore public security, in the UK."
A: What really happened is that she was pressured. In the English press, there was a lot of news that Lord Ahmed [Nazir Ahmed, a British peer] threatened to have 10,000 Muslims demonstrating in front of Westminster.