Braving daily death threats and sacrificing the security that his critics take for granted, he has opted for the often-thankless task of saving Western civilization from its Islamist discontents – beginning with the valuable reminder that the demands of Islamic zealots are not only not congruent with Western values but are, in fact, in direct conflict with them.
The truth is that Wilders is a liberal in a uniquely European sense. What he champions are quintessentially Western values: separation of church and state; equality of the sexes; free expression; the right to provoke and even, yes, to offend. His proposal to ban the all-covering burqa owes more to the ideals of gender equality than to religious discrimination. Even his more controversial measure to stop the Islamisation of Europe – an end to all Muslim immigration – is more about safeguarding Western traditions than locking out foreigners. That is why he has always stressed that Europe should remain a place of refuge, including, for instance, for gay Muslims fleeing persecution. True, Wilders is an unabashed believer in the superiority of Western culture. But the fact that this is now considered a thought crime is more of an indictment of the contemporary Western world than it is of Wilders.