Dutch MP Geert Wilders jets off to Washington DC today. The controversial leader of the Party for Freedom was invited by Republican senator Jon Kyl of Iowa to show his anti-jihadist film Fitna in a chamber of the US Senate.
Wilders, who left from Schiphol in Amsterdam for the USA on Sunday-morning, says he does not expect to be barred there, as the Dutch parliamentarian had been stopped from entering the UK. He was invited by Senator Jon Kyle, the Republican Whip in the US Senate.
Last week, he was also received very cordially in Rome, Italy, where he was given the Oriana Fallaci Free Speech Award on February 19. See the speech he would have given in the UK here
"I received no message that I would not be welcome in the USA," he said before his departure Sunday-morning from Amsterdam. See
The showing of his controversial film Fitna in the US Senate is planned for Thursday. The US senator has also invited all his colleagues and staffers to the showing and to meet Wilders afterwards - and discuss the issue of free speech in Europe. see
Wilders said the American invitation was a boon to him personally, especially after he had been so rudely barred from the UK. He expects no problems with the United States ' customs officials upon his arrival, after his rude treatment at the hands of UK customs officials. "I am not certain of course, but I simply presume that I will be allowed in,' he said.
Jon Kyl (R), Iowa, Senator US
Senator Jon Kyl of Iowa
Senator Kyl refers in his invitation to his colleagues to the 'immense controversy' which has grown up around Fitna in Europe; and that Wilders had flown to the United Kingdom upon the invitation of two members of the House of Lords, and was then denied entry.
Fundraiser to pay his legal costs:
Wilders also plans to visit New York City and Boston, where he has also been invited to speaking engagements. However, it's also becoming a fundraiser: his party is in deep financial trouble because of the legal costs he is forced to incur to defend himself against the criminal charges lodged against him by an Amsterdam court over his publication of Fitna.
The Dutch cabinet adamantly refuses to provide him with any legal aid: foreign affairs minister Verhagen said recently that there would be 'no way' in which the government will ever help pay his legal expenses.
His advocate Bram Moszkowicz, who is one of the Netherlands' top criminal experts, has meanwhile, already lodged formal objections on Wilders' behalf at the High Council of the Dutch justice ministry against the constitutional legality of the criminal prosecution charges which were lodged against Wilders by an Amsterdam law court. see
Gates of Vienna: When in Rome…