Geert Wilders, the Dutch anti-Muslim politician. Photo: Cynthia Boll/AP
That Geert Wilders, the virulent anti-Muslim Dutch politician, has links with American Islamophobes is well known. But a report in Reuters fills in some previously unknown details, like which people and organizations have given money to Wilders for legal and security costs.
Reuters’ Anthony Deutsch and Mark Hosenball report that David Horowitz and Daniel Pipes, two leading anti-Muslim figures in the U.S., have sent Wilders money. Pipes’ Middle East Forum “funded Wilders’ legal defense in 2010 and 2011 against Dutch charges of inciting racial hatred.” The charges were eventually dropped. Horowitz “paid Wilders fees for making two speeches, security costs during student protests and overnight accommodation for his Dutch bodyguards during a 2009 U.S. trip.”
Wilders’ far-right positions on Islam include calling the Koran a “fascist” book and advocating for a ban on Muslim headscarves and the construction of mosques. He has also said he “hates Islam,” which is the “ideology of a retarded culture.”
Horowitz said he paid Wilders for one speech in Los Angeles and one at Temple University in Philadelphia. He declined to specify the amounts, but said that Wilders had received “a good fee.” When Wilders’ Philadelphia appearance sparked student protests, Horowitz said, he paid a special security fee of about $1,500 to the Philadelphia police department. Horowitz said he also paid for overnight accommodation for four or five Dutch government bodyguards accompanying Wilders on the trip.
Wilders said in response: “I am frequently asked to speak abroad. Whenever possible I accept these invitations. I never ask for a fee. However, sometimes the travel and accommodation expenses are paid. My personal security is always paid for by the Dutch government.”
Pipes and Horowitz denied funding Wilders’ political activities in Holland. Both run non-profit, tax exempt research and policy organizations which, under U.S. tax laws, are forbidden from giving direct financial backing to any political candidate or party. U.S. law does allow such groups to support policy debates financially.
Pipes is a leading neoconservative activist and a main player in the US Islamophobic network. He helped lead the fight against the Khalil Gibran International Academy, the Brooklyn dual-language Arabic public school. Pipes has written that “Muslim customs are more troublesome than most” and that “West European societies are unprepared for the massive immigration of brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and not exactly maintaining Germanic standards of hygiene.” (After that quote made the rounds and generated controversy, Pipes clarified on his website: “My goal in it was to characterize the thinking of Western Europeans, not give my own views.”)
Horowitz is another prominent anti-Muslim figure. He is the man behind FrontPag Magazine and Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch, sites that routinely publish Islamophobic material. Horowitz is also fond of smearing Muslim student groups by claiming they are actually fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood.
In turn, these anti-Muslim activists are funded by a small group of wealthy right-wing donors. For instance, as Max Blumenthal reported for The Nation, Nina Rosenwald, a former AIPAC board member, has given enormous amounts of cash to Pipes; the philanthropic organization bearing her family’s name gave Pipes “$2.3 million over the past ten years.” Rosenwald has also funded Horowitz.