Anti Racist Action (ARA) and the First Nations Solidarity Working Group (FNSWG) are calling on all anti-racist allies and activists in London, Toronto and Ottawa to mobilize opposition and respond to the racist and anti-Muslim/Islamophobic Dutch politician and leader of the Anti-Islamic Party for Freedom, Geert Wilders, who will be speaking on May 8th in London, May 9th in Toronto and May 10th in Ottawa.
According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations Canada’s action alert released yesterday,May 6, 2011:
Wilders is well-known internationally for saying ‘Islam is not a religion’ and that constitutional religious freedom should not be accorded to Muslims and Islam in the West. Wilders compares the Qur’an to Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf and has demanded the Qur’an be banned in his home country, the Netherlands. Wilders has also called for the “voluntary repatriation” of Muslims from Western countries and the end to the construction of mosques. (See http://www.caircan.ca/aa_more.php?id=3119_0_3_0_C)
As Muslims, racialized people and/or anti-racist allies, we are alarmed at this invitation extended to Wilders by the Canada Christian College (CCC) and International Free Press Society Canada (IFPS). While Charles McVety, President of the CCCwas quoted as saying, “Geert Wilders has a warning for Canada, and his warning is about a lack of free speech here and the threat of demographic jihad,” in National Post, the most Islamophobic and racist newspaper in the Country, IFPS has legitimized their invite to Wilders in the name of “freedom of speech and multiculturalism” (IFPS – http://www.ifpscanadaevents.com/index.html & NP- news.nationalpost.com/2011/05/05/anti-islamic-political-leader-geert-wilders-comes-to-canada/).
IFPS-Canada’s website features not only Geert Wilders, but also other anti-Muslim racists such as Ezra Levant who reprinted the racist ‘Muhammad cartoons’ Western Standard after a controversy broke out in Denmark over the initial printing of these very racist cartoons of the Prophet of Islam. Levant is also the author of Ethical Oil which glorifies the tar sands as a humane, environmentally-friendly oil source. The site also features Sam Solomon who is the co-author of the anti-Muslim racist book, The Mosque Exposed and a consultant to the British parliament for matters regarding Islam. The fourth person to be hosted in the name of freedom of speech and multiculturalism is Rabbi Jonathan Hausman, who has hosted several anti-Muslim and Islamophobic speakers in the past, and known for making statements such as, “Islam is a triumphalism, supersessionist and supremacist way of life” (http://www.newenglishreview.org/custpage.cfm/frm/34041/sec_id/34041).
In addition, IFPS was founded by Lars Hedegaard, a Danish citizen who was recently charged with anti Muslim/Islamophobic hate crimes. Wilders is also being supported by the English Defense League, a white supremacist anti-Muslim organization known for its violently racist actions towards Muslims in Europe. Moreover, notorious anti-Native activists such as Gary McHale and Mark Vandermaas are increasingly making ties with IFPS, thus making the connections between Islamophobia, anti-Native colonial activities and anti-Palestinian movements in Canadaeven clearer. Vandermaas’ blog also features a speech given by Wilders. Both McHale and Vandermaas also released a statement in support of Hedegaard’s right to “freedom of speech” in Denmark. (http://voiceofcanada.wordpress.com/2011/01/27/mchale-vandermaas-stmt-re-confronting-danish-thought-crime-prosecutions-featured-on-websites-of-international-free-press-society/)
It is also very clear that after all the hysteria about free speech, the event has been organized so as to deter any dissenting voices or protest. All events have been made invitation-only and cost $20 pre-registered, requiring a credit card and full name to even find out the locations of the speaking events.
We Indigenous solidarity and anti-racist activists will confront and challenge their racism, just as we resist daily acts of racism by us and others which make the ongoing colonization of stolen native land an acceptable form of genocide in the Canadian society, and which divides poor and exploited peoples. Racism and white supremacy define Canada, built on the theft of Indigenous territory and genocide, and on the backs of slaves and other exploited labor of racialized people, which continues today via the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the SPP. We understand that all colonial and racial violences are intimately tied and that an attack on one group of marginalized people is always an attack on ALL marginalized peoples. Wilders is a high profile example of a racist, heteropatriarchal reality which is reflected a thousand times in Canadian institutions and systems: courts, police, jails, borders, immigration systems, education, foster care and CAS, the band council and reserve system, the Indian Act areALL designed to uphold racism and white supremacy.
We will keep you informed on the location and time of the event. Please join us as we stand outside the venue and hold signs to express our condemnation of the Islamophobia of Wilders, IFPS, CCC and their friends. We will be there not only to say NO to Islamophobia, but also to say that colonial violence is the first and founding violence upon which other white supremacists are able to build their hatreds of Indigenous peoples and other racialized peoples in Canada.
Add “Anti Racist Action Network Toronto” (FB Group) to keep updated on how you can help chase the scourge of intolerance and hatred from our streets!!
Anti Racist Action
First Nations Solidarity Working Group
TIME OF THE Toronto PROTEST: 5:30 pm.
CANADIAN CHRISTIAN COLLEGE
50 GERVAIS DR., TORONTO, Ontario, M3C1Z3
(Doors will open at 6:30) WE WILL BE THERE BY 5:30 PM. PLEASE COME OUT AND SUPPORT THIS PROTEST AND SAY NO TO COLONIALISM, RACISM AND ISLAMOPHOBIA.