The Williamson County Republican Party in Tennessee hosted Dutch politician Geert Wilders Thursday afternoon, alongside a free barbecue lunch hosted by the Tennessee Freedom Coalition. The official announcement described Wilders as "a member of the House of Representatives in the Netherlands since 1998 and has been outspoken in his warnings to the West about the dangers of 'Islamization' creeping across the continent."
Wilders later spoke at the Cornerstone Church in Madison, at an event hosted by the Tennessee Freedom Coalition. "What is today looks innocent, is tomorrow different and if you don't believe me you can come to Europe and you can see it by yourselfs [sic]," he said.
"I was happy to visit the state of Tennessee, where I know a lot of people -- certainly a lot of Christians -- feel the same threat as we do, and know when you talk about values, when you talk about who you are and who you are not, and that Christianity is for certain not the same as Islam," Wilders said, according to the Tennesseean. "I compare Islam not with Christianity and Judaism. I compare Islam with fascism and communism."
Wilders, who is on trial in the Netherlands for inciting violence against Muslims through inflammatory rhetoric, appeared at last year's rally to oppose the Park51 Islamic Center, near ground zero in Manhattan. The event was hosted by anti-Islam Atlas Shrugs blogger Pamela Geller, who called Wilders "a modern-day Churchill." And (just like Churchill) Wilders called the proposed Islamic center "a mosque, a house of sharia," that is "not only a provocation. It's humiliation." He also warned that "we must draw the line so that New York, rooted in Dutch tolerance, will never become 'New Mecca.'"
Wilders has also previously said that Islam is "not a religion, it's an ideology." The "ideology of a retarded culture," and that he supports a ban on the Qu'ran, which he has compared to Adolph Hitler's Mein Kampf.
CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper condemned the event in a statement Thursday. "It is time for mainstream leaders in Tennessee to stem the anti-Muslim tide that is emerging in their state," he said. "Hatred directed toward a minority should never be given a chance to go mainstream."