WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Anti-Defamation League and Jewish Democrats criticized two Republican congressmen for inviting Geert Wilders, a Dutch politician the groups decried as anti-Muslim, to speak on Capitol Hill.
Wilders, who leads the Freedom Party, has said he will be a guest of Reps. Steve King, R-Iowa, and Louis Gohmert, R-Texas, on Wednesday. Think Progress, a liberal website, confirmed the invitation with Gohmert’s office.
“Mr. Wilders is entitled to express his opinions, but for an elected member of the House of Representatives to provide a platform for a man who is practically an international symbol of anti-Muslim hatred not only lends him credibility, it ill-serves the goal of having a Congress that lives up to America’s ideals of tolerance,” Abraham Foxman, the ADL’s national director, said Tuesday in a statement.
Dutch Jews have distanced themselves from Wilders, despite his pro-Israel statements. He has compared the Koran to Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” and called the Prophet Muhammad the devil.
The National Jewish Democratic Council also slammed the lawmakers.
“Geert Wilders has shown himself to be an unapologetic bigot who has demonized millions for no other reason than their religion,” the group said in a statement.
Separately, the two Muslim lawmakers in Congress, Reps. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., and Andre Carson, D-Ind., called on the Obama administration to deny Wilders entry based on laws banning foreign leaders who practice religious discrimination, Foreign Policy reported.