Kyl is sponsoring the event for Wilders. The parliamentarian from the Netherlands had been denied entry to the UK's House of Lords earlier this month because British authorities said he 'posed a threat to public order.' see
Meanwhile back in the United Kingdom, Lord Nazir Ahmed, 51 -- the British peer who had threatened to mount a violent mass-protest by muslim supporters against the House of Lords if Wilders was granted access -- this week was kicked out of his Labour Party after he was jailed for three months.
Lord Ahmed was found guilty of culpible homicide and dangerous driving. He had been driving his Jaguar on the M1 highway at 70mph when he crashed into a stationary car next to the M1 highway killing Martyn Gombar, 28, a Slovakian father of two on Christmas Day 2007. He had just been exchanging a series of texts with a journalist two minutes earlier. See
Wilders’ 15-minute film juxtaposes verses from the Q'uran with images of violent speeches and violence carried out by Muslims, targetting Westerners. Wilders refers to the Q'uran as a "fascist book and a dangerous handbook for jihadist warfare " and said it should be banned because it incited terrorist violence in modern, Western societies.
Kyl agreed to facilitate the event because "all too often, people who have the courage to point out the dangers of militant Islamists find themselves vilified and endangered," said spokesman Ryan Patmintra.
Thursday’s event was being sponsored by the International Free Press Society
, headed by activist Lars Hedegaard of Denmark and the Center for Security Policy
, a think tank in Washington, DC led by Republican Frank Gaffney.
Because Wilders has been under constant guard over the past four years because a a Fatwa, -- an order for all Muslims to kill him whenever able -- was pronounced against him.
That's why this event is closed to the public and press, but the film is being shown to members of Congress and their staff in the ornate "LBJ room," a Senate office once used by late president Lyndon B. Johnson as majority leader and later vice president.
Worldwide debate on Freedom of Speech
Wilders’ film has inspired a worldwide debate on the freedom of speech. Last week, Wilders was awarded the Oriana Fallaci Free Speech award in Rome, Italy. see
Hedegaard, who helped sponsor Wilders’ visit to the U.S., said Europe’s hate speech and blasphemy laws do not make any sense. "The way to deal with controversial, offensive or even hateful statements — unless they are directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action — is to expose them to public debate and criticism," Hedegaard said in a statement advertising Thursday’s event.
While it is unusual for United States lawmakers to grant Capitol access to such a controversial figure, it was unlikely Wilders’ appearance would produce the same outcry as it did in Britain.
Several leading senators, including Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, declined to comment.