Chuck Ross, Daily Caller, April 28, 2015
The two Muslim members of Congress have called on two U.S. Cabinet members to block Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders from entering the U.S. because they believe he is “Islamophobic.”
Minnesota Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison and Indiana Democratic Rep. Andre Carson penned a joint letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson last Thursday. Foreign Policy reported it on Tuesday.
“We write to raise our deep concern regarding the visit of Mr. Geert Wilders, a Dutch lawmaker known for perpetuating Islamophobia,” the Democratic lawmakers wrote, citing a 1998 law, the International Religious Freedom Act. The law allows the State Department to deny foreign leaders guilty of “severe violations of religious freedom” from entering the U.S.
The law has only been enforced once before, in 2005, to ban Narendra Modi, India’s current prime minister. He was accused of failing to protect Muslims during riots in 2002 in which more than 1,000 people died.
Wilders, the leader of the Party for Freedom, is slated to appear at several events during his trip to the U.S. On Wednesday, he will appear at two events in Washington D.C. at the invitation of Iowa U.S. Rep. Steve King. One is hosted by the Conservative Opportunity Society. Texas U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert has also helped facilitate Wilders’ appearences.
But Ellison and Carson believe that Wilders’ past criticism of Islam–and he has indeed been critical–is hate speech and that it warrants him being kept out of the U.S.
“We respectfully request that the U.S. government deny Mr. Wilders’s entry due to his participation in inciting anti-Muslim aggression and violence,” wrote Ellison and Carson, the first and second Muslims to be elected to national public office, respectively. “Mr. Wilders’s policy agenda is centered on the principle that Christian culture is superior to other cultures.”
“We should not be importing hate speech.”
While noting that freedom of speech is “a bedrock principle” that distinguishes free societies from oppressive regimes, “free speech . . . is not absolute,” the letter reads.
Geller called Ellison’s and Carson’s evidence of “sharia,” or Islamic law.
“It is revealing that these Muslim congressmen would show themselves to be enemies of free speech and free discourse,” Geller told The Daily Caller. “They cannot refute Wilders and don’t dare debate him. All these little authoritarians can do is try to prevent people from hearing his message.”