Marked for Death: One Man's 10-Year War with Islam
Hated by millions and marked for death, Dutch parliament member Geert Wilders is one of the most controversial politicians in the world.
Wilders believes the religion of Islam is violent and dangerous, and because he has said so, publicly and persistently, he has had to forfeit a normal life. November 4 marks exactly 10 years Wilders has lived under police protection.
It began with the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, who had made a film attacking Islam. Van Gogh was murdered by a Moroccan Muslim on the streets of Amsterdam after the film was made.
Dutch police believed Wilders might be in the next victim and showed up at his door.
Geert Wilders: They were wearing machine guns and bullet proof vests and I said, "Hey, what is happening?" And they said, "We don't know what is happening but you have to leave now, in three minutes."
I just took some shirts and we went away and I didn't know where we went, where we would go. The police didn't even know. We changed cars and we ended up in an army barrack. And since then, 10 years ago, I have not been home.
It's something you don't wish your worst enemy to experience. It's not only the threats. It's the fact that you lose your freedom, your privacy. My wife and I lived for a few months in a prison cell, a prison cell in Zeist where the Lockerbie suspects used to be imprisoned. Nowadays we have safe houses. I live in a safe house provided by the state.
Dale Hurd: Do you every wonder if you made a mistake? Has this been worth it?
Wilders: I am sure I made no mistake. I make mistakes every day. I'm just human. I am full of mistakes. But to speak the truth about Islam, as I see it, and as the reality, is not a mistake. I wish many people did it.
I understand why few people do it because the price is very high. Besides the death threats you get from average people, from Islamic dissent, from organizations like al Qaeda or the Taliban, also a lot of people label as a "bigot" or a "racist" or an "extremist" - they try to hurt you in any possible way.
You are sued as I have been, and will be again, by a criminal court or by another court. They will sue you, they will threaten you, and they will label you.
So, I understand, it's not very attractive to speak out against the dark forces of Islam, to be proud of our own values and identity, which I believe are based on Christianity and Judaism and humanism and not about Islam. And you pay a very high price, so I understand why people don't do it.
But people should do it and what has happened with the Islamic State nowadays in the last few months has opened the eyes of so many people, so I hope it will change.
Hurd: You never wished you had done something else to have a normal life?
Wilders: No. I wish I had a normal life, yes. I would be lying to you if I didn't say that my most important wish is to lead a normal life. But even more important than that is to fight Islam, to fight for our freedom, the freedom of our society, to be proud of who we are.
And I really strongly believe that Islam is dangerous, Islam is violent, Islam wants to dominate and not assimilate in our societies. And our countries, our free societies will change. And Christians, Jews, apostates - we will be the first ones to pay a price if Islam gets its way in our free societies.
Hurd: Is it unnecessary provocation for you to say, "Mohammed is a criminal, the Quran is poison, Islam is a lie?
Wilders: Well, how can the truth be something you are not allowed to say? I mean, look what is happening today in the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq? I mean, they are copying the life of Mohammed.
As you know, Mohammed, 1,400 years ago when he went from Mecca to Medina, he did exactly the things that the Muslims from the Islamic State are doing today. They are beheading people: Americans, U.K. citizens.
According to what is written down in the Quran, Sura 47, verse 4, "Whenever you meet the unbeliever, smite their necks." They are living according to the rules of Sharia law, of the life of Muhammad, of the Hadith of the Quran, and it's not pretty.
They have declared war on us, on the United States, on Canada, on Holland, on Europe, and we should see it as a war. How unfortunate it is that they declared war on us. So, to speak the truth is something that is a duty for me to do and to show people what the real face of Islam.
And let me tell you, all those prime ministers around the world - my own Prime Minister Mr Rutte, the prime minister of the United Kingdom, Mr. Cameron, but also your own President, Mr. Obama - is really fooling the people after every atrocity, after every beheading (saying), "It has nothing to do with Islam."
It is Islam. It's the core business of Islam. And we should be able to get rid of the political correctness and see it for what it is, and that is a violent, dangerous religion that we are importing into our free societies.
So, we have to stand up and fight against it. I see it as a mission; it's my personal mission. And whether you're a judge, a court, a Muslim who wants to threaten me or a politician from another party, I would rather die than not be able to speak freely.
Hurd: Speaking of dying, some believe you will not die a natural death, that sooner or later terrorists will get to you, and that they're planning to kill you at some point in the future.
Wilders: Yes. You know, it's better not to think about that every day, about what might happen to me and my family. It would be impossible to live by. I don't, but you're right. It can happen. It can happen.
Hurd: Are you willing to spend the rest of your life in police protection?
Wilders: If it has to be like that, then I will have no choice. It's better to have police protection than to be dead.