Who Really Ought to be Banned? Geert Wilders or Terror Supporters?

Representatives Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Andre Carson (D-IN) have called for Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders to be banned from the country, in a recent letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Secretary of State John Kerry. The two Muslim lawmakers allege that Geert Wilder’s strong stance against the immigration influx of primarily Muslim migrants to Holland and his opposition to Islamization equates to a violation of the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act.

On its face the assertion is patently absurd. As Freedom House reports, the Netherlands maintains nearly perfect scores for political and civil liberties. Wilders is a lawmaker in his native Netherlands, and can be expected to weigh in on issues of importance to his constituents, which is exactly what the Dutch court found in 2011 when he was acquitted on charges that his comments regarding Islamic immigration rose to the level of criminal hate speech.

In fact in the Netherlands the violence has been directed almost solely in the opposite direction, with the assassinations of Pim Fortuyn and Theo Van Gogh for their speech deemed critical of Islam. Wilders himself lives under constant threat of death. In 2009, the Dutch security services reported that Wilders personally received two-thirds of the 428 death threats against all Dutch politicians.

In comparison, Carson and Ellison both wrote letters in praise of the Hamas-linked Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) for their 16th annual dinner, which featured attendees from such repressive states as Sudan, Qatar, UAE and Oman, all of whom rank as “Not Free” on Freedom Houses’ reports. Sudan in particular is ruled by an indicted war criminal, Omar Bashir, known for its genocidal campaign against the predominately christian South Sudanese and against ethnic minorities throughout Sudan including Darfur. There’s no indication Carson or Ellison complained to CAIR about these states’ representatives.

Indeed, Reps. Ellison and Carson are more likely to be sharing the stage with the kinds of individuals who really ought to be banned from the United States.

For example, the Department of Homeland Security was ordered to place Canadian Muslim Brotherhood leader and vocal Hamas and Hezbollah supporter Jamal Badawi on a hands off list, despite the urging of DHS officers who called for him to be blocked from entry. Badawi has publically expressed support for Hamas and Hezbollah, and sat on the board of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) that issued a 2004 fatwa permitting the murder of Americans in Iraq. Badawi was listed as an unindicted Co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism finance trial which provided funds to the terrorist group Hamas, whose charter calls for the extermination of the Jewish people.

In 2014, Jamal Badawi and Rep. Andre Carson shared a stage at the 39th joint convention of the Muslim American Society (MAS) and the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA). MAS is recognized by federal prosecutors as the “overt arm” of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States, and ICNA is considered to be a front for the Pakistani Islamist organization Jamaat-e-Islami. The Muslim American Society has been listed as a terrorist organization in the U.A.E.

Also on the stage was Tariq Ramadan, a key European Muslim Brotherhood leader who was banned from the United States for his financial support for charities tied to Hamas until the Obama Administration reversed the decision. In 2013 Carson’s office also arranged for a room on Capitol Hill for an event by the Egyptian Freedom Foundation, a group close to the Muslim Brotherhood which was attended by convicted Palestinian Islamic Jihad organizer Sami Al-Arian. Al-Arian was deported from the United States two years later.

Rep. Keith Ellison has similar associations. Ellision also shared a stage with Badawi, in 2011 in Minnesota, and the two were both highlight speakers at the 50th Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) convention in 2013. ISNA was also listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the HLF funding trial and in that case Federal Judge Jorge Solis wrote that the government provided “ample evidence” for connecting ISNA to Hamas. Ellison has also shared the stage with Tariq Ramadan which he did during a Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) event in 2010. Ellison also expressed support for Sami Al-Arian, urging listeners of a Tampa Bay radio station to support al-Arian during the PIJ organizer’s terrorism trial.

Ellison and Carson are pretending that open and honest debate by an elected official about the role of Islamic immigration to the Netherlands is on par with incitement to commit violence.

Yet, when it comes to those who actually incite violence, or provide material support for terrorism, they are far more likely to be in the United States at Ellison and Carson’s invitation than against their objections.

About Kyle Shideler

Kyle Shideler is the Director and Senior Analyst for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism at the Center for Security Policy. Mr. Shideler specializes in Islamist groups operating in the United States, having spent over a decade researching and writing on their history, doctrine, and impact. Read his complete bio here. Follow Shideler on Twitter at @ShidelerK.