Richard Dawkins On Fitna and Wilders

Regular readers 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 full post. He kindly RT last night my posts on Dawkins tweets that he mentioned, 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 Wilders and his film Fitna. So in this post will address that given Dawkins tweets about yesterday. 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 in 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:

75. Comment #453475 by Richard Dawkins on January 22, 2010 at 12:52 pm

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.


Further Dawkins comment replying to:

“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.

As The Economist noted this month:

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.

Far right wing – is that not enough for you to denounce Wilders now Richard?

[Update 5:35PM]: It seems on twitter some are prepared to google Geert Wilders and see what he stands for, while others cannot be bothered to read the links in the post above let alone watch the video, and want me to go further.

As if banning the Koran in Holland, preventing all migration from Muslim countries, let alone working with far right parties across Europe, is still not enough to convince Wilders is a far right wing politician.

Google is your friend, and the thread linked to above has plenty of well written points on Wilders.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

Follow @JPSargeant78

My Huffington Post Blog


Filed under Dawkins, Religion, Richard Dawkins, World

6 responses to “Richard Dawkins On Fitna and Wilders

  1. I feel like generally, and in both the cases of Pat Condell and Geert Wilders, the time to find out whether someone is racist/imperialist/far-right/xenophobic is BEFORE you offer you praise and support.

    Dawkins is claiming that my blog post assigns “guilt by association”, but it seems to me perfectly legitimate to make conclusions about him based on his associations with (and public – in Condell’s case, financial) support for them. If he doesn’t want people to evaluate him based on this associations, or at least interpret his comments on Islam within that context, all he needs to do is publicly end the association by saying he no longer endorses Condell/withdraws his praise of Wilders. That’s it. That’s all.

    • What nonsense Alex. You have yet to show why Fitna is racist.

      Are you one of those half-wits who mistakenly believes Islam is a race? You should disabuse yourself.

      Criticizing Islam and Mohammad is squarely in the tradition of the enlightenment. Leftist totalitarians object to criticism of Islam and Mohammad because of the historic counter-enlightenment role that they need to play.

      My advise to your is get a life. I am a Muslim (or ex-Muslim), and I say bigots like you who condone Islamic fascism are no less reactionary than an Islamist.

  2. Charles

    Fitna Remade does nothing to counter the basic premise in the original film that the source of political Islam lies in Islamic scriptures. The answer in the remake of being a secular adherent of a faith is just plainly absurd. In essence, that means they reject the doctrines of the faith but still provide support for those same doctrines by their continued adherence to that faith. In the case of Islam and the brutal apostasy laws, I realise that it may be easier said than done to renounce that faith in many areas of the world. That is most certianly not true in the West so it must be assumed that those in the West who continue to identify themselves as Muslims believe in the doctrines that compose Islam. That being the case and accepting that the premise of the original is correct then Islam here represents a significant danger to the body politic as we know it today. I agree that treating non-Muslims and those that wish to renounce Islam who are fleeing these brutal regimes should be the norm but we should make our help conditional on their total and sincere rejection of Islam. Otherwise we are just storing up further trouble for ourselves because when we do find the nerve to drive political Islam from our shores the linkage with the Islamic scriptures will mean we cannot rely on the loyalties of any Muslim in that battle.

  3. Pingback: When Atheists Attack Each Other | Homo economicus' Weblog

  4. Pingback: When Atheists Fall Out | Speaker's Corner

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s