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U.S. Anti-Immigrant Groups Meet with Belgian Racists

The Robert A. Taft Club, a right-wing organization linked to The American Cause, founded by Patrick Buchanan in 1993, hosted a speech on February 23, 2007 by Filip Dewinter and Frank Vanhecke, leaders of the racist and xenophobic far-right Belgian party, Flemish Interest (Vlaams Belang), in Arlington, Virginia.

In their speech, titled "Immigration, Multiculturalism, and the End of Free Speech in Europe," the Flemish Interest leaders claimed that the large influx of Muslim immigrants in Flanders and Europe present a danger to Western culture.   The event at the Robert A. Taft Club was widely promoted on the Internet by American racists and anti-Semites, who lauded the Flemish Interest's platform.

According to news accounts, Buchanan met with Dewinter and Vanhecke and reportedly gave each of them a copy of his anti-immigrant book, State of Emergency.  The two Flemish Interest leaders also claimed to have had a series of meetings with American leaders and organizations supportive of their views.

On February 22, Dewinter appeared as a guest on "The Political Cesspool," a Tennessee-based radio show that often features white supremacists and anti-Semites as guests. During the interview, Dewinter mentioned several times that representatives of the Flemish Interest were here in America "looking for support for [our] cause."

Flemish Interest was formed in 2004 after a ruling in Belgium's highest court declared its precursor, the Flemish Bloc, a racist organization and cut off its state funding, causing the group to disband.  Flemish Interest is deeply hostile to immigrants and minorities, and its members have a history of espousing racist and anti-Semitic views.  It has made headlines in Europe as one of the founding members of a new racist and anti-Semitic political group in the European Parliament called "Identity, Tradition and Sovereignty" (ITS).

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