NETHERLANDS - 2007 Country Report on Islamisation
The most prominent victim of jihad in the Netherlands is, up to now, the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh. In the summer of 2004 he made the short film Submission, together with Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Van Gogh was assassinated November 2, 2004.
The assassin, a certain Mohammed Bouyeri, left a long written statement with the body of his victim. This statement was written in Dutch, but much of it consisted of Islamic jargon that was hard to understand. Nevertheless, the text of the statement leaves open only one conclusion. The murderer had killed his victim in order to stifle the free discussion about Islam in the Netherlands. It is needless to say that the wishes of the assassin have been fulfilled – but not in their entirety.
A small group of Dutch writers and journalists has kept the debate alive. Since they were encouraged, if not inspired, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Dutch press referred to these people as ‘the friends of Ayaan’. Members of the progressive political parties are practically absent from this group.
In the Netherlands, three political parties compete for the favor of the enlightened voter: the Labor Party, Socialist Party and the Green-Left Party. However, these three parties have all undergone a process of almost total dhimmification. Nevertheless, one of the three, the Socialist Party, every now and then still shows weak signs of resistance.
An independent member of parliament, Geert Wilders, often attacks Islam in his speeches and statements. The polls have rewarded him liberally. If there would be elections today, he would get roughly 20 percent of the national vote. In September 2007, Mr Wilders proposed a ban on the Koran. The ruling parties indignantly rejected this proposal. While doing so, they declared that in the debate on the proposal to ban the Koran, the contents of the Koran should not be a point of consideration. A better way to convince the Dutch public that there is something wrong with the Koran could not have been devised.
In spite of the condemnations by the political elite of the Netherlands, Mr Wilders keeps repeating that to a number of Muslims the Koran is nothing but a license to kill, a formula that seems to be ironclad. His political opponents try to portray him as half a Nazi, and consequently this is what large parts of the Dutch public believe.
In the story of Islam and the Netherlands, Ayaan Hirsi Ali deserves a chapter of her own. She arrived in the Netherlands in 1992, got citizenship in 1997, and in the same year she started to work for the Bureau of the Labor Party. However, in 2002 she committed a crime that cannot be forgiven. She went over to the Liberal-Conservative Party. This has conditioned the members of the influential Labor Party to see her as someone worse than Judas, the New Testament figure who betrayed his Lord. Now Judas had the decency to kill himself, but Ayaan is still alive. Her life is seriously threatened by radical Muslims, but the Dutch parliamentary establishment is happy to have got rid of her. The rest is part of the international news.
In the spring of 2007, a student of Iranian origin, Ehsan Jami (Meshhed 1985) became the self-appointed founding father of a Dutch Committee for Ex-Muslims. In August 2007, leaving a supermarket, he was attacked by a group of Muslim young men, but he only got wounded. A few days later the Dutch authorities started to protect his life professionally. Ehsan now lives in extreme isolation under government protection. He considers plans to make a movie about the life of the Prophet of Islam. Before his rise to fame, he was member of a municipal council for the Dutch Labor party. Needless to say, this party did not support his activities, although, at least in theory, the Labor party recognizes the right of an individual to leave the religion he is born into.
Almost all Muslims in the Netherlands originate from the most desolate parts of Eastern Turkey and Northern Morocco. They easily fall prey to Wahhabi and Salafi recruiters. A report from October 2007 by the Dutch equivalent of a secret service points out that at the moment the Salafi and Wahhabi recruiters in the Netherlands present their message as non-violent. Thousands of Muslim young men are fascinated by these recruiters, and it is widely known from experience in other countries that the creation of such a broad base of non-violent supporters of the introduction of Islamic law only serves as a breeding ground for the recruitment of non-peaceful supporters of the introduction of the sharia.
Especially the family of the Imam of the provincial town of Tilburg, a certain Ahmad Salam, is skilled at making the headlines in the Dutch media. The head of the family very publicly refused to shake hands with a female government minister. In another incident, a female member of the family made the front-pages by suddenly appearing at her job in strict Islamic dress, and then being fired, going to court, etc., etc. The Salam dynasty teaches special classes all over the country, in Dutch, spreading the Wahhabi Salafi Takfiri message. Hundreds of young Muslims follow these classes.
The curse of the Dutch is that they do not know what war is. Their only experience with war is the short, rather mild German occupation form 1940 till 1945. This period of occupation has become the Dutch alpha and omega of what democracy is not. The German occupation of the Netherlands was characterized by the occasional execution of hostages, and by the deportation of the only minority the country knew: the Jews. No rape or gang rape, no mass executions or destructions of whole villages or towns on a regular basis, no acts of violence of the type we are so familiar with in Darfour, Afghanistan or Iraq. The Dutch nevertheless measure all political and social trouble by their own limited experiences during these years of occupation.
In the Dutch debate about Islam, references to the Second World War and these five years of occupation abound. When the authorities try to expel foreigners that stay illegally in the country, the Dutch associate this with the deportation of the Jews. Any measure that goes against the perceived interest of the Muslim minority may be widely opposed by the general public that associates such measures with the anti-Jewish measures of the Second World War.
Of course it is pointed out that the differences are larger than the similarities. A sociologist recently pointed out that the Germans, to mention just one thing, did not instigate heavily subsidized projects that helped the Jews to integrate into Dutch society. All this, however, is to no avail. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is right: the Dutch are naive, or worse.
On the whole, the situation is bad. The new Center-Left Dutch Government refuses to protect Ayaan Hirsi Ali. It has, moreover, the intention to sharpen the laws against hate speech and blasphemy. These government plans are an outright attack on the freedom of discussion and a stern warning to critics of Islam.
Johannes J.G. Jansen, Utrecht University
October 18, 2007