NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A controversial Dutch political figure is in the Mid-State for two separate speaking events.
Geert Wilders spoke at a gathering at the Williamson County GOP headquarters on Thursday and is scheduled to speak at Cornerstone Church in the Madison Thursday night.
The controversial politician was first elected into office in 1998 is always under protection by Dutch government security.
He was invited to speak at the Williamson County GOP headquarters by Tennessee Freedom Coalition, a group led by Lou Ann Zelenik, who narrowly lost the Republican primary last summer for the 6th congressional district.
"Geerts represents one point two million people but in 2004 because he chose to stand up, stand strong against the Islamification of Europe," said Zelenik, adding, "He has been ostracized and his life has changed."
Wilder leads the third most powerful political party in the Netherlands, but is best known for speaking out about what he calls "Islamisation creeping across the western world."
"Everybody is equal but Islam is something totally different from Christianity or Judaism, Islam wants to dominate with whatever means," Wilder explained.
He continued, "If Muslims adhere to our values, our constitution, they are welcome. If they do not we should send them packing. [They] should adjust to our values not the other way around and this is happening all over Europe," he said.
Geerts comparisons of the Koran to Adolph Hitler's Mein Kampf and his movie about Islamisation led to charges of hate speech.
The Netherlands, unlike the United States does not have a First Amendment clause guaranteeing free speech.
"Every American always says how is this possible? People complained to the police about what I said and the movie I made," Geerts said during a news conference.
Across the street from the event, there was a small protest led by the chair of the Williamson County Democratic Party.
"I was astonished Republican party allowed permitted them to use their headquarters here," said Peter Burr.
"Only a small portion of Muslims like only a small portion of any group like Hindus, Christians, have radical ideas or present a true threat to society or our way of life," he said.
When asked about the protestors, Wilders responded, "I am very happy they are there, this is exactly the difference between Saudi Arabia or Iran and United States of America or for that matter the Netherlands."