Controversial Dutch Politician Brings Warning To America - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Controversial Dutch Politician Brings Warning To America

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By Rodney Dunigan & Chris Cannon

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A controversial political leader from Western Europe brought a warning for Americans to the mid-state on Thursday night.

Geert Wilders spoke to a group in Madison about what he sees as the encroachment of radical Islam around the world. He is the leader of the third-largest political party in the Netherlands, and he's best known for his criticism of Islam.

His only appearance in the United States was sponsored by the Tennessee Freedom Coalition.  Wilders has been outspoken in his warnings to the West about what he calls the dangers of Islam creeping across Europe. 

"What is today looks innocent, is tomorrow different and if you don't believe me you can come to Europe and you can see it by yourselfs," said Wilders.

His presentation to several thousand people at Cornerstone Church in Madison was simply titled "A Warning To Americans."  Wilders spoke about how he fought to stop Muslim immigration into the Netherlands.

Some have described him as a hate-monger, fear-monger and anti-Muslim...

However, Wilders says those characterizations are not true.  Wilders says he want to "warn America" from what he calls the "Islamization" of our country's culture. It's also something he claims is happening in Europe. 

Many of the people in the audience said they will definitely take something away from Wilders' speech.

"That I want to be more bold in what I believe, stand up for what I believe and just be more educated to what's going on in our country," said Nashville resident Pat Hale.

Security was very heavy inside and outside the auditorium. The event took place at Cornerstone Church in Madison. Organizers said they merely rented the facility from the church, and that it was not an official church function.

Earlier in the day, the Tennessee Freedom Coalition held a meet and greet at the Williamson County Republican Headquarters for the controversial Dutch parliamentarian.

"Our focus is to educate people, inform them and bring the truth," said Lou Ann Zelenik with the Tennessee Freedom Coalition.

There were also quite a few people who protested his visit to Tennessee.

"We think that the richness of different cultures adds tremendously to our society, our economy and we think this is basically a hate campaign," said protestor Peter Burr.

For a time, Wilders was banned from Great Britain for some of the messages that he conveys.

He has also released a short film called Fitna which has stirred plenty of controversy. The film explores motivations for terrorism.

Wilders is currently facing charges in his country under anti-hate speech laws.

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