Monday, November 24, 2008
In 1987 Ellian, who then belonged to a group of left-wing anti-totalitarian dissidents, was faced by continuing threats from Iranian Stalinists in Afghanistan. Because of these threats Ellian and other dissidents were forced to flee for the second time and received the legal status of refugee from the UNHCR and were consequently given refuge in different countries. During 1989 at the invention of the Dutch government moved Ellian to Holland. Ellian arrived in the Netherlands and he was granted the option to study at the University of Tilburg as a refugee. In the following years Ellian was granted Dutch citizenship. He graduated in Criminal Law, Public Law (International Law) and Philosophy. He continued working at the Amsterdam Center for International Law (ACIL) and completed his PhD, about Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2002, after which he joined the faculty of Law in the University of Leiden as full professor by Department of Jurisprudence, where he teaches to this day. Sins 2003 is Ellian the columnist of the leading Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad.
Intellectually rigorous and frequently humorous, Ellian's writings of criticism, advocacy of human rights and democracy are considered to be a part of both the European and Middle Eastern debates.
Ellian’s works include two books of poetry, “Human Autumn” and “Resurrection of Words” written in Dutch and Farsi; a Ph.D. Dissertation on South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission; two books of his collected columns and essays was published in the Netherlands under the title “On Islamic and Dutch Cannibalism (2003);” and “Allah doesn’t know better” (2008). He published several academic articles about Islamic terrorism, Integration, social cohesion and The relationship between politics and religion.
He is currently working on a book “Monotheism as a political problem ”, which will be a philosophic account of the foundation of Islam and a comparative study on the political theology of Christianity (Medieval) and the political theology of Islam (from its foundation by prophet Mohammad).
Saturday, January 21, 2006
Stop Capitulating to Threats – A Manifesto
Dutch/Iranian poet and Professor of Law Afshin Ellian:
Stop self-censorship - stop the ban on the film 'Submission'
On Friday afternoon 20 January, Afshin Ellian, the Dutch/Iranian poet and professor at the Faculty of Law of Leiden University, has opened the international literature festival Winternachten in The Hague by reading his manifesto 'Stop capitulating for threats'.
It has been the start of the panel-discussion "I capitulate - a debate about threats, solidarity and self-censorship in art and journalism", with poet Breyten Breytenbach (South-Africa), filosopher and writer Marjolijn Februari (the Netherlands), Sybrand van Haersma Buma (member of the Dutch House of Commons), Bas Heijne (writer, journalist, the Netherlands) and Joesoef Isak (publisher and journalist from Indonesia). The discussion will be chaired by Michaël Zeeman (journalist and literary critic, the Netherlands).
Below you find the text of the manifesto, and biographical data on Afshin Ellian.
Stop Capitulating to Threats – A Manifesto
Preserving freedom of expression is the cheapest and most sustainable way to govern a country and keep it stable. This was the unsolicited advice of Akbar Gandji to the Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Khamenei. The Iranian journalist and political philosopher Gandji was jailed over six years ago. For how long, would be the obvious question in a state subject to the rule of law, where the government acts in accordance with previously published statutes. But the possible date of Gandji's release is as arbitrary as were his prosecution and sentencing. The tragic story of freedom of expression as a human right has a special place in the worldwide picture of the infringement of human rights. The reason is obvious: suppression of freedom of expression is often a prelude to other human rights abuses.
In most Islamic countries and cultures freedom of expression is unknown. And that is nothing new. Chauvinism, ethnic nationalism and religious fanaticism often generate an aggressive attitude to dissidents.
Recently, like other countries, the Netherlands has been confronted with these phenomena. It may not yet have impinged on everyone, but it is true. Before I deal with it more fully, I would first like to discuss a manifestation of it in the Islamic world: the murder of the intellectual Kasrawi.
Whenever intellectuals in an Islamic country wish to engage in critical debates, they will face serious problems. A notorious example is what happened to Ahmad Kasrawi (1891-1946). This jurist, historian and journalist is unknown in the Western world, but had a great reputation in Iran as a champion of human rights and liberal constitutional principles. Kasrawi had also researched the political theology of Islam, and in his work had criticised the Shiite concept of the imam. A number of ayatollahs accused him of kuffer (disbelief), and his books were publicly burnt. While the Allied troops in Iran (the Americans based in Teheran), excitedly watched the collapse of Nazism in Europe, a strange event took place in Teheran. A talib (the singular form of taliban = religious pupil) called Nawab Safawie had set up a secret organisation to fight “the enemies of Islam” by force, the Islamic Fedayin. Safawie went to an ayatollah and asked for a fatwa against Kasrawi. His request was granted, that is, a fatwa requiring the death penalty. On 28 April 1945 Safawie carried out an assassination attempt on Kasrawi in broad daylight. Kasrawi survived the attack. The culprit was arrested, but subsequently managed to escape to Najaf (Iraq), where he headed a terrorist group for a while.
March 1946. The continent of Europe was free once more. But in Teheran the struggle over freedom of expression erupted again. On the basis of charges by a number of Taliban, Kasrawi was summonsed to appear before the public prosecutor in Teheran on a charge of sacrilegious blasphemy. Initially the Iranian legal system was reluctant to prosecute him. At first they hoped to be able to refer the case to the Allied forces, appealing to the Allied treaty guaranteeing freedom of expression to all Iranians. However, the Allies considered the case an internal matter. It has since emerged that the Americans persuaded the Iranian police to guard Kasrawi’s house. The High Court, Teheran, 11 March 1946, the day on which Kasrawi was to be tried. Through the press eight members of the Fedayin of Islam knew the time and place of the hearing. They stormed the court, killing Kasrawi and his secretary. The perpetrators used both firearms to kill the writer and a knife to mutilate his body.
The parallel with the Netherlands may be gradually becoming clear. Because this dangerous tradition has unfortunately been exported to Europe. On 2 November 2004 the film-maker and columnist Theo van Gogh was murdered. Europeans were deeply shocked by his assassination. The culprit, Mohammed Bouyeri stated in court that he had acted from religious conviction. Mohammed Bouyeri’s concluding, almost magical words were bewildering, for the average Dutch citizen at least:
‘Another thing about your criticism. Perhaps by Moroccans you mean Muslims. I don’t blame you, because the same law that calls on me to behead all those who denigrate Allah and his Prophet, that same law calls on me not to settle in this country. Or at least not in a country where freedom of speech, as described by the public prosecutor, is proclaimed. (…) And I think that those police officers who were confronted with me on 2 November, have the right to know: I did not shoot to spare you, I shot to kill and to be killed.’
In 1989 the Berlin Wall fell. It was a symbol of the totalitarian Marxism that had held the Eastern-bloc states and part of Western Europe in its grip for almost a century. In the Soviet Union and its satellite states countless writers were subjugated and had their freedom restricted. But that same year a new form of totalitarianism reared its head: the fatwa against Salman Rushdie issued by Ayatollah Khomeiny which – very much in the tradition of the murder of Kasrawi – also called for the murder of a writer, this time a British one. The attack on Rushdie’s Satanic Verses could perhaps be seen as the as the birth of Talibanism in Europe: book burnings, threats and terrorist attacks on the publishers and translators ensued. The European states and their intelligentsia refused to give in to these terrorist threats. The International Writers’ Parliament also had the courage to resist supra-national forms of terror. But Europe seems to have lost that resilience. Unfortunately after the murder of Van Gogh there was a change of heart on freedom of expression. This concerns film Submission, made by Theo van Gogh and the Dutch member of parliament Ayaan Hrisi Ali about the oppression of women in Islamic culture.
The film Submission has not been shown since 2 November 2004.
In fact, the film is under an informal screening ban. This ban has been decreed not by any authority but by criminal groups threatening terrorist acts. In 2005 in the Netherlands the producers do not dare show a ten-minute film to the public because the safety of their production company cannot be guaranteed. We are beginning to regard this as normal in the Netherlands as elsewhere. Actually, why are we fighting for freedom of expression for artists and journalists in autocratic countries like Iran when the situation in the Netherlands is starting to look suspiciously similar?
Fortunately the Satanic Verses are being republished here, but is that really still feasible? Hasn’t the book become like a lighted cigarette in a powder keg? Free speech is in danger of being increasingly restricted by invoking “Islamophobia” and “racism”. And some intellectuals have already capitulated. For example, the opera Aisha was called off in Rotterdam in 2001, because the wife of the Prophet was depicted on stage. The production had to be cancelled because a number of actresses felt threatened. Recently a columnist on the national daily NRC Handelsblad, Hasna el Maroudi was forced to abandon her column because of threats of violence from the Moroccan community. What has happened to civil courage? Why do we hear nothing from the publishers, artists, media and colleagues of people who have capitulated about the consequences of this voluntary capitulation?
We should expect civil courage not only from those who are threatened, but also from those around them, their publishers, producers, colleagues, etc.
I have encountered political-religious intolerance before. I know how it begins, how it develops. Let no one say that we are in the grip of Islamophobia or racism. Believe me – they are very different. Luther was not a Catholicophobe. He was critical of the church. Voltaire was not a religiophobe. He was simply critical of the intolerant manifestations of religion. Should the Reformation have been warded off on the grounds that Luther “must not stigmatise all Catholics”?
Intellectuals themselves are increasingly calling for self-censorship and politically correct reporting of intolerant tendencies. Has this country lost its appetite for freedom? Has the country where Pierre Bayle and John Locke published their books become a land of veiled opinions?
No one is trying stigmatise or lump together all the adherents of a particular faith. To repeat that constantly that is a malicious allegation. But what must be maintained is the opportunity to criticise religion freely, even if that upsets the radicals.
In the Netherlands of all places we have tradition to uphold. We would have found it unacceptable in bookshops had refused to sell the Satanic Verses. This matter is no longer a local affair. We must overcome our fears through a form of international solidarity. Now it is the Netherlands that needs such solidarity. Therefore I believe that the matter should be internationalised.
An international committee must be set up to administer the film Submission and make it available to everyone (who wishes to show it). In this way the ban on showings can be circumvented. A democratic culture cannot function without civil courage. So let us show courage and lift the ban on the film Submission.
Professor Afshin Ellian
Professor of Social Cohesion, Citizenship and Multicultural Studies
Leiden University - Faculty of Law
On Afshin Ellian
Afshin Ellian was born in 1966 in Tehran, Iran, to an intellectual, liberal and politically engaged family. When he was young, he joined a left wing movement that initially fought side by side with Islamists resisting the rule of the Shah; and after the Islamic revolution, he turned against the rule of Ayatollah Khomeiny. At the age of seventeen in 1983, after he had been threatened with execution by the regime, he fled on camelback to Pakistan with help from smugglers. After a few months, he moved to Afghanistan, studied medicine in Kabul for two years and met his wife there.
In 1989, when the Afghani authorities had agreed to turn over dissident intellectuals to Iran, Ellian and approximately seventy other intellectuals were chartered to European countries on an invitation that was mediated by a United Nations representative. Ellian arrived in the Netherlands and he was granted the option to study at the University of Tilburg as a refugee. He graduated in Criminal Law, Public Law (International Law) and Philosophy. He continued working at the Amsterdam Center for International Law (ACIL) and completed his PhD in 2003, after which he joined the faculty of Law in the University of Leiden, where he teaches to this day.
Ellian's works include two books of poetry, "Human Autumn", (Mensenherfst" 2001) and "Resurrection of Words" (Verrijzenis van woorden, 1997) written in Dutch and Farsi. He wrote his Ph.D. Dissertation on South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. A book of his collected columns from NRC Handelsblad newspaper was published in the Netherlands in 2005, under the title "On Islamic and Dutch Cannibalism". Currently he is working on "Dialogue with Mohammed", which will be a literary and philosophic account of the foundations of Islam, to be released in 2006
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Douglas Murray introduces Afshin Ellian
On 2nd November 2004 the Dutch film-maker Theo van Gogh was slaughtered on the streets of Amsterdam. His murder – the second killing in Holland of an outspoken critic of Islam – horrified Dutch society.
Many of those who have criticised Islam now live in hiding or under armed guard. Others have stopped writing or speaking on the subject of Islam and extremism - understandably terrified into silence. No one wants to be the next Pim Fortuyn or van Gogh.
But if people do not speak out, and if writers do not write then the terrorists have won. If the freedoms – foremost among them the freedom of speech - which our societies hold so dear are just given up, or simply not exercised, then the terrorists win a victory far beyond the imagination of their disgusting jihad.
Fortunately, the West still has people like Afshin Ellian - one of our most erudite, brilliant and wise minds. Along with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, he remains, at considerable personal risk, one of the few brave individuals still willing to tell truths to our society and to those within our society who stay here, yet despise us so much.
Ellian's work - rightly famed in Holland - has not so far reached a wider audience, largely because there have been no published translations in English of his vital and forthright columns. What follows is a selection of those columns, translated by Benjamin Bilski - a colleague of Ellian's at the University of Leiden – principally relating to the murder of van Gogh.
And Ellian's writing shares something with van Gogh's work. Foremost is the belief that freedom of speech includes asserting the right to criticise, rage and laugh at the absurdities and evil of a group whose intent it is to close debate down, and whose wishes for precisely that reason, we must not only not gratify – but go out of our way not to gratify.
After van Gogh's murder many people who should have spoken out stayed silent. It is a pleasure to honour van Gogh's memory by bringing to the notice of an English-speaking audience, one of the few who saw that that barbaric act was a reason not to become quiet, but to speak up louder than ever, and with an abundance of the humour, intelligence and humanity which our opponents so conspicuously lack.
If the battle against Islamic extremism is to be won it will be won to a great extent by the pen – and there are few pens wiser or mightier than Ellian's.
Douglas Murray is a bestselling author and freelance journalist. His forthcoming book - Neoconservatism: Why We Need It - will be published later this month by the Social Affairs Unit. To read Douglas Murray's own essay on the van Gogh murder, see The Murder of Theo van Gogh, Reaction to the Killing and the Threat of Radical Islam.
A brave respons from Holland
Posted by Benjamin Bilski, November 12, 2005
A selection of Afshin Ellian's writings in the Dutch press on the murder in the Netherlands of Theo van Gogh - and its aftermath - are translated, by Benjamin Bilski, below. Bilski also outlines the life story of Afshin Ellian and puts Ellian's writings in the context of events in the Netherlands. The views expressed in the translated articles are those of Afshin Ellian, not those of the Social Affairs Unit, its Trustees, Advisors or Director. The Social Affairs Unit offers them in translation to help an English-speaking audience better understand the current situation in the Netherlands.
Afshin Ellian was born in 1966 in Tehran, Iran, to an intellectual, liberal and politically engaged family. When he was young, he joined a left wing movement that initially fought side by side with Islamists resisting the rule of the Shah; and after the Islamic revolution, he turned against the rule of Ayatollah Khomeini. At the age of seventeen in 1983, after he had been threatened with execution by the regime, he fled on camelback to Pakistan with help from smugglers. After a few months, he moved to Afghanistan, studied medicine in Kabul for two years and met his wife there.
In 1989, when the Afghani authorities had agreed to turn over dissident intellectuals to Iran, Ellian and approximately seventy other intellectuals were chartered to European countries on an invitation that was mediated by a United Nations representative. Ellian arrived in the Netherlands and he was granted the option to study at the University of Tilburg as a refugee. He graduated in Criminal Law, International Public Law and Philosophy. He continued working at the Amsterdam Center for International Law (ACIL) and completed his PhD in 2002, after which he joined the faculty of Law in the University of Leiden, where he teaches to this day.
Ellian's works include: two books of poetry, Human Autumn and Resurrection of Words written in Dutch and Farsi; a Ph.D. Dissertation on South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission; and Letters from a Press, a book of his collected columns that was published in the Netherlands in 2005. Ellian is currently working on Dialogue with Mohammed, which will be a literary and philosophic account of the foundations of Islam.
What follows are Afshin Ellian's journalistic responses to the murder of the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh over the past year, from the immediate aftermath to his commentary on the trial, and closes with two anniversary articles in which he describes the shortcomings in the responses and soul-searching of both the political and journalistic climates. I offer a short introduction placing each article in its proper context.
A call to all intellectuals: "Make Jokes about Islam!"
("Maak grappen over Islam!")
Volkskrant, 6th November 2004
The author and film director Theo van Gogh had made a film about Muslim women's rights called Submission Part 1 together with member of parliament Ayaan Hirsi Ali. He was murdered on 2nd November by a Moroccan-Dutch Islamist Mohammed Bouyeri, who is referred to in the Dutch media as "Mohammed B." and recently received a life sentence. A few days after the murder, Afshin Ellian called upon all intellectuals and lawmakers to discuss Islam more openly, arguing that genuine tolerance has its origins in the possibility to criticize religion.
The first poet whom Mohammed A. (ibn Abdollah) had declared the enemy of Islam was called K'ab ibn al-Ashraf. The prophet gave the order to murder the poet with a knife. (…)
The prophet Mohammed A. was an example to Mohammed B, who slaughtered Theo van Gogh as the enemy of Islam. Welcome to the Middle East. But aren't we in Europe? The artistic, philosophic and judicial critique of religion is an essential aspect of European culture. (…) Yet here there seems to be a kind of self-censorship when it comes to Islam. (…) Dutch Muslims have learnt that no one is permitted to express critical thoughts about their religion. For this reason Islam is being strongly discriminated against. Dutch culture treats Islam as forbidden territory for critical inquiry, and in this respect, the Netherlands resembles the backward cultures of the Middle East. (…)
Hereby I call upon all artists, writers and academics to stop discriminating against Islam. When on television and in hundreds of theatres jokes are being made about Islam, and when academics will start treating Islam more critically, then Muslims will learn tolerance. The terrorists can intimidate and eliminate a handful of critics of Islam, but they can never kill hundreds of critical minds.
Come on friends, and enter the brothels and torture chambers of Mohammed A. and Allah, you will find great inspiration there. Come on, fellow academics, put Islam on the operating table of philosophy. Otherwise it will remain a question of how many murders our society can deal with.
Koranic Verses are a Mental Drug for Jihadists
["Koranverzen zijn een geestelijke drug voor jihadisten"]
NRC Handelsbad, 13th November 2004
Below are excerpts from an article for the Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad in the week following the murder of Theo van Gogh. Arguing against Dutch pundits who rushed into the public debate denying a relationship between the murder and "true" Islam, Ellian points out that violence has been a part of Islam since its formative period.
It is a cold November and on a bicycle path a dead body, without remorse, is being inscribed with much love for death. Deeply from within the bicycle path, words were called out:
Don't do it, don't do it, mercy, mercy.(…) The scribe had already been prepared for the begging of mercy: There will be no mercy for the committers of injustice, only the sword will be raised against them. No discussion, no demonstrations, no marches, no petitions, only death shall separate Truth from the Lie.
Month long preparations, trainings, through prayer, fasting and the permanent recitation of the Koran, started to bear fruit: (…) The scribe was in a trance, he didn't hear anything, he didn't see, he only felt the sacrificial flesh. (…) The scribe was Mohammed, Mohammed was an instrument. The Submission to the highest will had been accomplished. (…) While reciting, Mohammed prepared himself for his journey to the gardens of Truth, where according to Allah, there are companions with large telling eyes that are like well-kept pearls. These companions are Allah's houris who have been made to eternal virgins. Mohammed had become weary of the impure hookers of Amsterdam, which is why he wanted to move on to Allah's houris. (…)
The Islamic ecstasy is not a phenomenon that was invented after the death of Mohammed. It started with the Koran. The way in which the Koran is read is called recitation. The irrational force of the Koran lies in recitation. In the repetition, without paying attention to the meaning, the Koran becomes a supernatural book. The Koranic verses are exceptionally suited to be recited loudly and musically on Jihadist battlefields. It promoted morale, because contrary to ordinary Arabic poetry, the Koranic verses are not without engagement. The Koranic verses claim an immediate realisation. And because a successful Jihad will lead to immediate material gain and political domination, the Koranic verses take on the function of mental drugs. With the Koranic verses Mohammed gave his Jihadists an effective drug that could briefly knock out the realities of the surrounding world. (…)
During the various wars, many Koran reciters were killed, and this worried a Caliph, who therefore ordered the Koran to be assembled. The Koran became a book, but it is still a book for recitation. (…) Amongst other things, the Koran is a book for the Jihad. Allah's only book is born from a will to political domination in the midst of wars and marauding. Hallucination, courage, hope and cruelty characterise a book that places political domination first, not just over a specific people, but over all peoples. This Koranic hallucination is usually very successful in combination with other factors. This way thousands of young men were prepared for martyrdom during the Iran-Iraq war with religious elegies and Koranic verses. (…)
Has Mohammed B, the Jihadist marauder, murdered merely in a condition of Koranic hallucination, in hope of fulfilling his fantasies with the eternal houri Does his crime have any roots in the tradition of Islam? Or is it far removed from the original Islamic tradition? If we are speaking here about tradition, then we have to examine the actions of the prophet Mohammed.
The prophet Mohammed ibn Abdollah, whose name we will shorten according to the legal tradition to Mohammed A, had, to put it at its mildest, a very critical relationship with poets and mockers. There was once a poet called K'ab ibn Al-Ahraf. This poet lived in Medina where Mohammed A. had not yet consolidated all power, which is why he was neither capable nor qualified to kill him legally. This poet was also, like all other poets in the world, very cheeky. He wrote poetry about the Meccans who were killed by Mohammed A. during the Jihad. On one day Mohammed A. asked his friends: who will release me of Ka'b? This request was accepted by several volunteers:
O prophet, we will kill him for you.
They tempted him to come outside and after a short walk they killed him as an enemy of Islam. He was murdered with a knife. According to Ibn Ishaak the terrorists had driven the knife so deeply into the body of the poet that it protruded from his backside. Mohammed A. committed many terrorist attacks on the enemies of Islam. Many thinkers and artists in Persia and in other Islamic countries were killed in more or less the same way, in the past 1500 years, on the basis of fatwas issued by spiritual leaders. (…)
Mohammed B. has acted in agreement with this authentic tradition. The prophet Mohammed A. can be considered an example to Mohammed B, who slaughtered Theo van Gogh as the enemy of Allah. Thankfully there is still a great majority of Muslims that does not or barely lives in this tradition and does not want to imitate all aspects of Mohammed's life. This majority is still trapped in fear of hell and damnation, and because of this, not quite capable of saying "no" to terror and tyranny.
The revival of the traditional authentic Islam is always coupled with brutal acts of violence. (…) History teaches us that terror and Islamic culture are deeply related to each other. The fact that Islamic kings and caliphs are frequently killed, is also not new: the prophet Mohammed had fled from Mecca to Yathrib because a terror attack had been plotted against him; Umar, the second holy Caliph was killed by a frustrated Persian; Osthman, the third holy Caliph, is subsequently killed by a rival political group; Ali, the fourth Caliph, yet again, is killed by a more radical political sect during prayers in a mosque. Islam thus starts with terrorist attacks against its opponents. (…)
On the eve of legal proceedings
When Mohammed B was held in custody awaiting legal proceedings, Ellian participated in the debates about the implications of dealing with extremists or terrorists. While the Openbaar Ministerie –the Dutch Department of Public Prosecution, wants to examine Mohammed Bouyeri’s accountability and sanity, Ellian argued that he acted out of a conviction that does not accept rule of law, and is completely accountable.
Below are excerpted citations from an article in the Dutch daily Volkskrant.
[Samenleving moet extremisten serieus nemen]
De Volkskrant, 6th January 2005
It is a routine in the Dutch criminal law system [to subject suspects to psychological accountability]. But Mohammed B is no Volkert van der G [who killed the Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn], who decided to play God in his attic room and decided to remove the danger of Pim Fortuyn singlehandedly. He is a part of an international jihad. He was convinced he was acting out of Allah's instruction.
Whether Mohammed B. cooperates or not is of no importance. Dutch criminal law operates out of prevention, retribution and resocialisation. It is absurd to think that people who want to overthrow the Western legal order and rule of law can be resocialised.
Be precise and No time for nonsense
NRC Handelsblad, 19th February 2005
Geen tijd voor goedkoop geklets
NRC Handelsblad, 6th February 2005
In two columns further discussing legal implications, Ellian argues that terrorism cannot be understood in the frame of reference of Dutch or European history, and discusses the measures democracies need to take to protect themselves. Below are excerpts of both articles.
The mass terrorism that is trying to cause as many human casualties as possible should not be confused with the left-wing terrorism of the seventies. We should not try to explain why in the Netherlands Mohammed B is a mass-terrorist (if he had the chance, he would have killed many and not only van Gogh), but to see him as a product of a culture of human rights violations. After all, whoever is looking for the spiritual origins of Mohammed B will land in the Afghanistan of the Taliban or the Iran of the Ayatollahs.
Now that the jihadist mass-terrorism has moved to the West, governments have the duty to protect the democratic rule of law. (…)
Consider the following proposed law:
He who abuses freedom of expression, specifically freedom of press, freedom of education, freedom of gathering, privacy of correspondence, freedom to property, and rights to asylum, against the free democratic legal order, will lose the said basic rights.(…)In reality this is not a Dutch proposed law, but a clause from the German constitution: article 18. This rule is applied against any type of attempt to overthrow the democratic legal order, whether it is by the extreme left, the extreme right, or Muslims. It has to do with the experiences of the Weimar Republic and the Nazi era. And it is, according to the Bundesverfassungsgericht, an expression of streitbaren Demokratie und Selbsverteidigung [self-defense of democracy]. In any case this is not a means of state-tyranny but precisely the means of the self-defense mechanism of the German post-war democracy.
Towards a New Enlightenment
On an optimistic note, Ellian believes that the contradictions between Islamic law and Western constitutional laws can be resolved. Below are excerpts from an interview with the German daily Die Welt that took place in the week after the murder of van Gogh.
[Freiheit nuetzt mir nichts, wenn ich nicht sicher bin, Die Welt, 10th November 2004]
Die Welt: After the murder of Theo van Gogh the state of security in the Netherlands has been problematic. (…) Why are you in danger?
Afshin Ellian: Because I have said that we need to joke about Islam. We need to talk more about Islam. We have criticised Christianity and joked about it. Islam is in a position to develop itself just like Christianity, when it's capaple, to stand criticism. Up until now only very few talk about Islam, but hundreds need to take up the theme.
Die Welt: Why is Islam discussed so little?
Ellian: That's because of the exaggerated political correctness that has dominated the Netherlands since the 80s. They think that every political debate about minorities immediately implies fascism. For some time they have been speaking in the Netherlands about integration, by which they do not mean assimilation, but knowledge of the language. The new citizens ought to accept that the state of our development and our constitution are the holiest things we have.
Die Welt: Is it fair to call it "holy"?
Ellian: Of course I meant that provocatively. All rules about living together are defined in the constitution. If it states in the Koran that you may beat your wife, then you are violating a clause of the constitution. This is something Muslims must accept.
Die Welt: Why do Muslims cause so many problems?
Ellian: It's very simple. We have a large Chinese minority, but the Chinese barely make any claims to state-support. Most Muslims receive money from the state. This is the beginning of discontent. Lately we have brought these problems upon ourselves. We have brought in Moroccans to work, and we should have made clear to them that they either return or give up their native land. A real rapprochement will probably come only when Europe and the Islamic world seal a friendship. And that will happen only when Islam has gone through an Enlightenment.
Allah knows best
[Allah weet het beter]
NRC Handelsblad, 23rd July 2005
Below are excerpts of a recent column following the trial of Mohammed Bouyeri, in which Ellian praised the justice system and emphasized that Bouyeri's behavior could not be explained away. The title of this column also refers to a book by Theo van Gogh.
Well, Mohammed B. has made the Islam-lovers, Hamas-lovers, foreigner-lovers, "anti-racists", "anti-fascists", all blush. He didn't act because he was discriminated against, not because he was unemployed, and not because he considered Theo a terrible man. He acted according to the rules and tradition of political Islam. . [An] observer of the op-ed page of this newspaper, was deeply disappointed in Mohammed B. [He] had hoped (…) that the murderer of Theo van Gogh was moved to act out of discrimination, racism, or after reading the texts of Ellian or Hirsi Ali.
Has Mohammed B. won? No. Because most Muslims are still revolted by him and his friends. But they are still insufficiently active in the battle against terrorism. The Muslim communities could provide valuable information about terrorists.
Which measure of punishment? Mohammed B. will receive a life-sentence and be stored away forever in a high-security facility. This is also inevitable, given the nature and the scope of the committed offences. In this way the rule of law has issued a stark warning to Islamic terrorists. It has to be admitted that guarding Mohammed B. will be a very difficult task. Mohammed will not want to sit still, he wants to wage jihad, to kill and be killed.
Islam as the source of inspiration for political Islam must, just like Christianity, be placed on the operating table of philosophy. (…) In the footsteps of Feuerbach, Nietzsche and Freud, Islam will also be dissected.
A Battle between freedom and the mercantile spirit
[Strijd tussen handelsgeest en vrijheid]
De Journalist, 21st October 2005
In a recent article written for the biweekly magazine De Journalist, Ellian outlines the dynamics and behaviour of the media surrounding the murder.
The Netherlands has a peculiar self-image: innocence. The Netherlands did not lose her innocence on November 2nd 2004, but on 6th of May 2002. On that day Volkert van der G., in name of the weak, shot Pim Fortuyn. And on November 2nd the Netherlands was harshly awoken by extreme violence, by terror in name of the divine. The legitimacy of which lies in the political theology of Islam. In any case it is clear that both Muslims as well as non-Muslims were very worried in the November days of 2004 about the future of their country and to the acute threat to social cohesion and the rule of law. Mindful of the seriousness and cruelty of the terrorist act we can say now that the negative consequences of the murder of Theo van Gogh were very limited. Not a single noteworthy incident against Moroccans has been observed in Amsterdam. There had been a few cases of arson by youths in other parts of the country, but these crimes had led to a collective solidarity such as thousands of citizens of Uden, who had formed a human wall as a symbol of solidarity with the children of the burnt elementary school. Has this also been emphasized by our media?
I had followed the written and non-written press rather closely in this time. With exceptions, journalists generally presented a truthful, complete and thorough account of the events. No one acted out of fear, except those who wished to prove that the Dutch were at core a racist people. To my regret the talk show Buitenhof succeeded in presenting the Netherlands as a racist country. For this they acquired help from Belgium. This way the Belgian writer Tom Lanoye had to make clear to us that we are a depraved people. Or did we have to become convinced, with the subtle input of Filip Dewinter, that we're not so far off from Vlaams Blok [A Flemish extreme-right party]? These kinds of shows had little interest in the murder of Theo van Gogh, let alone the theological legitimacy thereof. Even the fact that the film Submission, could not be broadcast anymore was not a worrisome development. This type of journalism misses the multiform approach and possesses a nonnegotiable point of view about the course of history. These journalists know exactly where journalism is headed. And what does not correspond to that view, must not be discussed. For this reason there cannot be conversations about the deeply held religious motives of Islamic terrorism.
And freedom? Ah, according to them Theo van Gogh should never have made that film. He had it coming.
It gets worse. [Justice Minister] Donner after all announced broader and more active applications of the blasphemy laws from the Statute of Criminal Law. By this the impression was made that Theo van Gogh went too far. And to prevent murders in the future, freedom of speech has to be limited to the benefit of the ultra-religious. While fierce debates are being held about this in parliament, there weren't all too many critical sounds emanating from the media. Out of discontent with this anti-freedom climate [I filed a complaint with the court registry] with the writer Leon de Winter against God/Allah. We discovered that only Trouw was willing to publish our suit. In this way, I learnt in those difficult days that a paper with quite a number of religious readers is more willing to stand up for freedom than all those other, atheist, left-wing, secular, liberal, enlightened papers. And radio and TV had absolutely no desire to discuss this.
Moreover, we were right: Mohammed B. acted in agreement with Allah.
And this way it went with the disappearance of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Dutch journalism was not concerned that a parliamentarian has disappeared and that no one could, in any way, reach her. Until the undersigned with Leon de Winter took upon themselves the unpleasant task to ask several probing questions about the disappearance of a parliamentarian. After this the Volkskrant, NRC Handelsblad, Nova and Twee Vandaag started to show interest for this unprecedented parliamentary affair. Why did everyone have such sedated reactions? Why did most columnists rage against Ayaan Hirsi Ali and other critical minds? These critics and not the murderer, with his political-religious background, were questioned mercilessly by most columnists. Suddenly a perverse procedure set in motion: the Netherlands as a racist country, with the critics as the source of all misery. Behold here how the Dutch journalistic elite lets a quiet mercantile climate prevail above freedom and democracy. (…)
After November 2nd no hordes of Nazis appeared in the media. The basements did open for the false saints and the Islamo-fascists who have thus far murdered thousands of Muslims and non-Muslims.
And Submission? I consider it really disgraceful that in the Netherlands in the year 2005 not a single producer dares to show the short film to the public. This too, we consider normal by now. Why are we actually fighting for freedom of speech of artists and journalists in tyrannised countries such as Iran? (…)
Perhaps we should establish an international committee for this film, that will take over the management of the film and will make it available to everyone who wants to show it. This film is essentially a forbidden film now. A democratic society cannot function without courage from its citizens. Let us therefore show courage and lift the ban on Submission. Does anyone have the courage to broadcast it on November 2nd?
Benjamin Bilski is a Fellow in the Department of Jurisprudence in the Law Faculty of the University of Leiden.
Source: Social Affairs Unit
Saturday, November 12, 2005
Afshin Ellian in The Washington Post
By Craig WhitlockWashington Post Foreign ServiceFriday, November 11, 2005; Page A14
LEIDEN, Netherlands -- As Prof. Afshin Ellian arrived at Leiden University law school one day recently, two bodyguards hustled him through the entrance and past the electronically locked doors leading to his office. For the rest of the day, the men stood sentry outside those doors, scanning the hallways for any sign of the people who want him dead.
Ellian is one of a soaring number of Dutch academics, lawmakers and other public figures who have been forced to accept 24-hour protection or go into hiding after receiving death threats from Islamic extremists. In a country with a tradition of robust public debate and an anything-goes culture, the fear of assassination has rattled society and forced people such as Ellian to reassess whether it's worth it to express opinions that could endanger their lives.
"The extremists are afraid that if Dutch society becomes a safe haven for an intellectual discussion of political Islam, it will be very dangerous for them," said Ellian, an Iranian-born professor of social cohesion who escaped to the Netherlands two decades ago from Afghanistan after receiving death threats from communists there. "This is normal behavior in the Middle East, but not in Europe. They think it's their obligation to kill people they consider to be enemies of Islam."
In other European countries and in the United States, Islamic extremists have generally sought to spread terror with indiscriminate attacks -- bombing trains and hijacking airliners. In the Netherlands, however, radicals have embraced a different strategy: singling out individuals for assassination.
The fear in the Netherlands erupted one year ago when Theo van Gogh, a filmmaker and renowned social provocateur, was fatally shot and slashed around the throat while walking on a busy street in Amsterdam. His assailant, a Dutch man of Moroccan descent, pinned a five-page note to the body with a knife explaining that van Gogh -- as well as a number of Dutch politicians and other "unbelievers" -- deserved to die for insulting Islam.
Since then, the Dutch security services have reported uncovering several bombing and assassination attempts organized by Islamic extremists, fueling the public sense of alarm.
In late October, police arrested seven young Muslims on suspicion of planning to murder unidentified lawmakers and blow up the headquarters of the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service.
On Nov. 2, the nation marked the one-year anniversary of van Gogh's slaying. "We must not allow ourselves to be set against each other by people who inscribe their message in blood," Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said at a memorial service. He quoted Franklin D. Roosevelt: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
But on that day, an unknown gunman opened fire on the office of Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk, who has threatened to expel radical Muslim clerics. Windows were shattered, but no one was injured.
Now, many prominent people don't go out in public alone. In Amsterdam, Mayor Job Cohen, who is Jewish, and a Dutch Moroccan alderman, Ahmed Aboutaleb, have bodyguards after receiving death threats from Islamic extremists. In The Hague, the national seat of government, security has been stepped up.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somalian-born member of parliament who was a friend and colleague of van Gogh, fled the country and sought refuge on a U.S. military base after van Gogh's killer wrote that she was next on the hit list. Another legislator, Geert Wilders, has been taken into protective custody since radicals vowed to behead him as "an enemy of Islam."
Dutch authorities acknowledged that they don't yet understand the roots of the problem. "This is a very fundamental question, and we don't have a very good answer," said Vincent van Steen, a spokesman for the Dutch intelligence agency, known by the abbreviation AIVD. "We haven't seen this in the Netherlands since the 17th century, where a politician was murdered."
The wave of political violence began in May 2002, when Pim Fortuyn, an anti-immigration populist and biting social critic, was assassinated by an animal rights activist. While the crime shocked the Dutch, many people dismissed it as a freak occurrence, not a sign of overheating in the passionate rhetoric and vigorous debate that the country has always cherished.
But those illusions disappeared with the van Gogh slaying. Afterward, Dutch intelligence and police agencies were criticized for not taking death threats seriously and doing more to protect controversial public figures.
Frank Bovenkerk, a criminologist at Utrecht University, released a study last month suggesting that the number of violent threats received by politicians and journalists had been skyrocketing for years, well before van Gogh's killing. He said Dutch police asked him to examine the issue because they had been swamped by reports from people who had received threatening e-mails and phone calls, and even bullets in the mail. His research showed that neighboring countries had not experienced a similar increase in threats. "There is something special going on in Holland that cannot simply be explained," he said.
Dutch investigators have traced many of the threats to a local network of young Muslim radicals that police and news media have dubbed the Hofstad Group. Authorities estimate that the network has about 30 followers, primarily Dutch-born teenagers and men in their twenties who are of Moroccan descent. Analysts and investigators said the network appears to be a home grown. Many of its members became radicalized in local mosques or by viewing extremist material on the Internet.
The most famous member is 19-year-old Samir Azzouz of Amsterdam, who was arrested last year after police said they found plans on his home computer to attack a nuclear installation. Azzouz was released after a judge ruled that there was not enough evidence to convict him. He was rearrested last month, along with six other suspects in three cities, as part of a continuing investigation.
Edwin Bakker, a senior policy analyst at the Netherlands Institute for International Relations in The Hague, said members of the Hofstad Group lacked the sophistication of other terrorist networks and had little or no experience as fighters in Afghanistan, Chechnya or Iraq. But he said they were still dangerous.
"Samir Azzouz is not a professional, but he is a threat," Bakker said. "In this way, these kids with the Hofstad group are very much a product of the Netherlands. I think about half of them are in it for the thrill."
Dutch investigators warn against underestimating the group. One of its founders was Mohammed Bouyeri, the 27-year-old who confessed to killing van Gogh and said he wouldn't hesitate to do it again.
When Bouyeri was sentenced in July, he waved a copy of the Koran in the courtroom and told the judge: "The law compels me to chop off the head of anyone who insults Allah and the prophet."
Dutch counterterrorism officials have said 10 to 15 other less-publicized networks of Islamic militants are active in the country.
Sunday, July 24, 2005
Allah knows best
NRC Handelsblad 23-7-05
“Mohammed B., the self-declared murderer of Theo van Gogh, has spoken. While the Londoners were looking for their missing loved ones, the Western rule of law triumphed in Amsterdam. Because our rule of law showed its worth through a fair trial, to which the jihadist Mohammed was subjected. A criminal trial, with or without a terrorist, is a normal legal procedure conforming to the rules of our justice system. It states that the violator of the [Wetboek van Strafrecht] should account for himself in front of the judge and the public. The judge has to determine what the precise, individual motives of the suspect were and how dangerous this suspect is. Appropriately the judge has ordered the the suspect to appear in trial.
Some claim that Mohammed B., had suddenly been given the opportunity to misuse the hearing for his propaganda. And because of that, Mohammed would suddenly have become a hero. This reasoning is mistaken, because the criminal judge has nothing to do with the propaganda of Mohammed B., let alone his heroism. The criminal judge is not a politician, not the AIVD [Dutch Intelligence Agency], not a columnist, not a strategist, and not a saviour of the fatherland. The criminal judge is the institution who determines, after investigating in a hearing, the guilt or innocence of the citizen accused by the government. Mohammed hates this stuff. He hates our way of life: the freedom, equality and rule of law. Praise to the judges of Amsterdam.
Well, Mohammed B. has made the Islam-lovers, Hamas-lovers, foreigner-lovers, ‘anti-racists’, ‘anti-fascists’, all blush. He didn’t act because he was discriminated against, not because he was unemployed, and not because he considered Theo a terrible man. He acted according to the rules and tradition of political Islam. Frits Abrahams, observer of the op-ed page of this newspaper, was in this way deeply disappointed in Mohammed B. Abrahams hoped, given his way of thinking, that the murderer of Theo van Gogh was moved to act out of discrimination, racism, or after reading the texts of Ellian or Hirsi Ali.
After the second day or hearing, in which Mohammed frightened the Netherlands candidly for a duration of ten minutes, the great anti-racist, anti-fascist of the editorial page chose the dramatic explanation that Filip Dewinter [head of a far-right Flemish party] would get orgasmic feelings from Mohammed’s declaration: “Mohammed, have you gotten your way now?”
This is really hilarious, because Abrahams apparently assumed that Mohammed and his friends would be different (better) than Filip Dewinter. What self-delusion! Mohammed B. belongs to the army of islamo-fascism, that is responsible for thousands of murdered and maimed people. Mohammed confirms our healthy judgement about the dangerous aspects of Islam that have formed Political Islam. Clearly people like Abrahams are not real anti-fascists or heroes of free speech: that was and is Theo van Gogh. Abrahams needs Dewinter to be able to criminalise the critics of Islam. In the mean time the Islamic fascists want to sever your head if you critically engage Allah and the prophet Mohammed. Mohammed knows best!
Now, slowly but surely, several Muslims are beginning to acknowledge that State Secretary Rutte is right when he says that we should keep an eye on Muslim students because of the increasing radicalisation. If Rutte would have said that three months ago, then he would have been accused by the same people of polarisation. Even Ruud Peters, professor at the University of Amsterdam, who seemed to want to acquit the likeminded companions of Mohammed B in fair trials with his expertise advice, has been sketching exactly that which he has kept denying: namely the stages of development of islamo-fascism in a Muslim: conversion to an extreme religiosity, renunciation of democracy, renunciation of society as a whole and use of violence against society and those who think differently.
Has Mohammed B. won? No. Because most Muslims are still revolted by him and his friends. But they are still insufficiently active in the battle against terrorism. The Muslim communities could provide valuable information about terrorists.
Which measure of punishment? Mohammed B. will receive a life-sentence and be stored away forever in a high-security facility. This is also inevitable, given the nature and the scope of the committed offences. In this way the rule of law has issued a stark warning to Islamic terrorists.
It has to be admitted that guarding Mohammed B. will be a very difficult task. Mohammed will not want to sit still, he wants to wage jihad, to kill and be killed.
Islam as the source of inspiration for Political Islam must, just like Christianity, be placed on the operating table of philosophy. I have emphasised many times that the prophet Mohammed was not a vegetarian prophet. And because of this Islam is not a vegetarian religion. In this way Mozes (Mousa) was taught by Allah by switch off his reason to submit to the will of Allah. A confidant of Allah killed, according to the Koran (Sura 18: 74-80), a young man, about which Mousa said: “How could you kill an innocent man and not even out of retaliation for someone else’s life? Now you have done something repulsive.” The murdered told Mousa: “… His parents were believing people and we feared that he would torment them too much with his impudence and unbelief.” In his place, Allah would provide them a “purer and friendlier” son.
This is school of Mohammed B: Allah knows best. He is not crazy, we are crazy not to have wanted to criticise a book with quite a few murderous elements. This cowardice you may hold me to as well. We always had to find a balancing act between the moral terror à la Abrahams en the physical terror of Mohammeds. In the footsteps of Feuerbach, Nietzsche and Freud, will Islam also be dissected.”
Saturday, July 23, 2005
Some people are simply unlucky. They are born in the wrong country, and despite their burning desire to be authentic, they are rather narrow minded. Mohammed B. should actually be called Mohammed P. (of ‘pech’ [bad luck]). Mohammed wanted to enter paradise as a polder-mujahedeen. But an officer shot him in the leg and thus Mohammed appeared on crutches in the polder-court of Osdorp Amsterdam.
The unlucky namesake of the prophet must have asked himself the question: “Oh, Prophet Mohammed A. (ibn Abdollah) ! You are amongst those cute plump houris (the eternal virgins) while I have to be content with these prison guards. Why this injustice? We, the Muslim immigrants are always and everywhere being discriminated against.”
Despite the threats by people such as Mohammed B, has Ayaan Hirsi Ali been declared by Time magazine as one of the hundred most influential people in the world. Yes, Mohammed; you have immortalised Theo and Ayaan. The account in Time was written by the author Irshad Manji, and your name does not appear in it: “Her film incited a fanatic to kill Hirsi Ali’s co-producer, Theo van Gogh.” You, Mohammed, you are the anonymous; the killer amongst thousands of others in the world. While Ayaan and Theo are considered to be special people. Mohammed, I pity you. We live in a hard world.
You were and still are an anonymous young Muslim, there are after all a billion Muslims on this earth. And you’re neither a Khomeini or a Bin Laden. Not even a Sheik Yassin or Al-Zarqawi, because they have many more murders on their conscience. But I will try to cheer you up in these dark times. To that end I will take the time to translate a few lines from a Middle Eastern support movement.
Indeed, Mohammed, in the Pax Islamica there is no distinction between a Shiite and a Sunni. Your likeminded Shiite friends wrote on http://www.tardid.com/ about you, about Theo van Gogh, Hirsi Ali and Pim Fortuyn. The article was called ‘The holy anger of a young Muslim. A warning to Salman Rushdie.’
A Shiite Mohammed wrote the following about you:
“Aban 12 (2 November 2004) of this year was a day full of pride for Dutch Muslims. There was a filmmaker who openly insulted the Koran and damaged Muslim teachings. Though, after the death of the Great Khomeini there has been no spiritual leader who can match his courage.” After a description of the way in which the murder was carried out: bullets and knife. “After a fire fight with the police, while he was wounded, not far from the place where Allah’s judgement was carried out, he was arrested. In this way Mohammed Bouyeri, an anonymous brave young man who carried out Allah’s judgement, has made the holy anger of Muslims toward the insulters of Islam visible. This is comparable to what the shahid Mostafa Mazeh wanted to do to Rushdie years ago. Mazeh was in the hotel where Rushdie was staying, but before he could do anything, the dynamite belt exploded. The brave execution of Theo van Gogh has unfortunately not found resonance in the national media of Iran. Nor was the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs willing to issue an appropriate response of support to this young brave anonymous Mohammed Bouyeri.”
The rest of the text looks a lot like the streams of consciousness of the folk storyteller Geert Mak. In his pamphlet ‘Condemned to Vulnerability’ he also claims that Submission is made with propagandistic, manipulative techniques to evoke many emotions. Of course, these people, the authors of the above website, do not know who Goebbels was, otherwise they would have related the film, as Mak does, to Goebbelsian methods.
Probably there are also imams, dear Mohammed, who have prayed for you. And you may of course count on the sympathy of the jihadists inside and outside of Iran. Nonetheless, you are still slightly confusing your audience. Are you really a jihadist or merely one of the many second-generation failures of immigrants? Note the points of doubt:
Your first performance in court about your family-honour and your younger brother. A kafar (unbelieving) prosecutor could never be honest and nuanced. What an effeminate pre-jihadist charade! Should not everyone, including your family, commit themselves to jihad? This is not about personal honour. The honour of Islam is at stake.
Shouldn’t you be reciting the whole of the Koran? It may take a few months. And if you are interrupted by the judge, you can immediately appeal because of the smug blasphemous attitude of the judge. This way you will appear on the Iranian news: who after all dares to interrupt the Koran?
The live broadcast of the trial. You are not ashamed of your act. Keep your chin up Mohammed!
Tell the judge which political-theological problems your Islam and that of Mohammed A. have with the Jews, and how the prophet Mohammed has solved these in Medina. Then the judge will understand that your hatred for Job Cohen [the mayor of Amsterdam] is in no way personal.
Explain to the judge why the Taghot (symbol of political evil)VVD [the center conservative party] and its leader Jozias van Aartsen must be eliminated.
And Submission? That short film does not at all cover the nature and range of your declaration of Jihad to the Dutch people. How should we tell this history to our children?
I do not mean to insult you, but if you cannot handle all of this, then you will look a lot like Volkert van der G. [who murdered politician Pim Fortuyn], who also failed to defend himself politically. In this case you should be humble. The rule of law is more merciful than the compassionate Allah carrying the Sharia in his pocket. You underestimate the difficulty of the political drama. Murdering is much easier than carrying out a jihadist act during a trial. I can hear your voice: we are doomed to bad luck and vulnerability.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
On trial for film maker's slaying, Muslim extremist says: 'I would do it again' Mohammed Bouyeri, shown here in a file photo, expressed no remorse over the killing of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh.
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - A Dutch-Moroccan man confessed in court on Tuesday to murdering a filmmaker critical of Islam last year, breaking his silence over a killing that fanned religious and racial tension in the Netherlands.
Mohammed Bouyeri was accused of killing Theo van Gogh as he cycled to work in Amsterdam on Nov. 2, 2004. He was charged with shooting and stabbing Van Gogh before slashing his throat and pinning a note to his body with a knife in broad daylight.
Van Gogh, a descendent of the brother of the 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, was known for his outspoken criticism of Islam and angered many Muslims by making a film which accused Islam of condoning violence against women.
“I did what I did purely out my beliefs,” the 27-year-old Muslim told judges after entering court clutching a Quran. “I want you to know that I acted out of conviction and not that I took his life because he was Dutch or because I was Moroccan and felt insulted.”
The bearded suspect, dressed in a black robe and black and white headscarf, praised Allah and the Prophet Mohammed before admitting to the killing on the second day of his trial in Amsterdam’s high-security court.
Van Gogh’s murder sparked a wave of attacks on mosques, religious schools and churches in a country once renowned for its tolerance, and raised questions about the integration of the almost 1 million Muslims living in the Netherlands.
Memories of Pim FotuynVan Gogh’s slaying prompted memories of the murder of anti-immigration politician Pim Fortuyn by an animal rights activist in 2002 in a country grappling with fears of terrorist attacks after its support for the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
Bouyeri told judges he had acted according to his convictions. Unrepentant, he told the victim’s mother — who was in court — that he did not sympathize with her loss and would be prepared to do the same again.
“If I ever get free, I would do it again," he said.
Bouyeri could face up to life in prison if found guilty of the murder. He faces other charges including the attempted murder of police officers and illegal possession of weapons. A verdict is due in two weeks.
Prosecutors say his acts had a terrorist intent and called for him to be jailed for life. They described Van Gogh’s killing as a cowardly attack on a defenseless man.
“I take full responsibility upon myself,” Bouyeri told the court. “It would be cowardly if I hid here behind the rules of the game by saying nothing and to avoid the chance of receiving the maximum sentence.”
Holy war Prosecutors say Bouyeri, who waived the right to mount a defense, was a radical Muslim dedicated to a holy war against the enemies of Islam and had murdered Van Gogh to spread terror in the Netherlands.
“The cutting of Van Gogh’s throat evokes beheadings in the Middle East, the wars in Chechnya, Afghanistan and Iraq,” prosecutor Frits van Straelen told judges. The prosecutor earlier read out detailed reports from witnesses to the killing.
Prosecutors have said the accused believed he was doing God’s will and wanted to die a “martyr” at the hands of police. The suspect was injured in a gun battle with police before he was arrested in eastern Amsterdam shortly after the murder.
Bouyeri, who was born and grew up in Amsterdam, was accused of a premeditated attack. Prosecutors say he ignored Van Gogh’s pleas for mercy.
The five-page note left pinned to Van Gogh’s body quoted the Quran and was addressed to Somali-born Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who wrote the script for Van Gogh’s film “Submission” about violence against women. She went into hiding for weeks after the murder.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
Monday, July 11, 2005
Islamist radical on trial for killing film-maker
A radical Islamist accused of the ritualistic murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh will not present any defence to the charge at his trial which opened in Amsterdam today.
Mohammed Bouyeri, a Moroccan Dutch national, was forced to attend at the high-security court but Peter Plasman, his lawyer, said he would offer no evidence throughout the proceedings, expected to last for two days.
Mr Bouyeri, 27, bearded and dressed in a long black shirt and a black-and-white chequered headscarf, was carrying a green leather-bound book embossed with gold Arabic script.
Mr Plasman said: “It is my client’s wish that there will be no defence, not by him but also not on his behalf... He will use his right to remain silent."
When Judge Udo Willem Bentinck asked Mr Plasman whether Bouyeri’s refusal was connected to his beliefs the lawyer would not answer, but Mr Bentinck said "I see your client nodding".
Mr Plasman repeated that Mr Bouyeri “takes complete responsibility for his actions - and that specifically means his actions - on November 2, 2004,” the day Van Gogh was killed.
Prosecutors are expected to present pictures found at Mr Bouyeri’s home which show executions, beheadings, hangings and killings by stoning.
They have said that Mr Bouyeri believed he was doing God’s will and wanted to die a 'martyr'.
Born and raised in Amsterdam, the 27-year-old Mr Bouyeri is a radical Islamist who hoped to die a martyr after killing the controversial filmmaker, distant relative of 19th century painter Vincent van Gogh, police said.
Van Gogh, who was also a well-known columnist noted for his virulent attacks on the multi-cultural society and Islam, was shot and stabbed while he cycled through Amsterdam. Several months before the murder he directed a short film called Submission, critical of abuses against women under Islam.
A letter was left on his body that included quotations from the Koran and threats to several Dutch politicians, including Somali-born lawyer Ayaan Hirsi Ali who wrote the script for Submission.
Mr Bouyeri was arrested as he was attempting to flee the murder scene, according to police.
The assassination caused a surge in ethnic tension in the Netherlands and triggered a wave of attacks on mosques, Islamic schools and churches.
Mr Bouyeri is charged with murdering Van Gogh, attempted murder of several police officers and bystanders and obstructing the work of Hirsi Ali as a member of parliament. If convicted he could be sentenced to a maximum of life in prison. Under Dutch law, life means life.
Security was tight around the courtroom with a sniffer dog checking the building and its surroundings for bombs and all visitors and media thoroughly searched.
The court has set two days for the trial, with the possibility of extending into Wednesday.
Van Gogh’s mother, his ex-wife and two police officers are planning to give special so-called victim statements to the court.
Suspected killer of Theo van Gogh on trial
The trial of Mohammed Bouyeri, who has confessed to killing filmmaker Theo van Gogh on 2 November 2004, begins today in Amsterdam. The 27-year-old suspect, who holds both Moroccan and Dutch nationality, has refused to cooperate with the authorities.
He will be brought to the trial by force if necessary. The suspect has requested that his lawyer, Peter Plasman, not speak on his behalf. Mr Bouyeri faces a sentence of life imprisonment.
He is believed to have killed Theo van Gogh because of his film Submission, which he made together with the MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali. The film, which showed naked women with koran texts written on their bodies, was a protest against the oppression of women in the name of Islam. The killing of Theo van Gogh further exacerbated ethnic tensions in the Netherlands.
Wednesday, May 4, 2005
Bravo, Mr. Afshin Ellian
Mr. Afshin Ellian, a refugee from Iran and currently a university professor of law in Leiden, has condemned Mr. Donner's attempt to reinstitute the ban on religious insults: 'What Mr. Donner is actually saying to Muslim fundamentalists is: you have a point when you are killing people. (...)
Donner should have said: keep your hands off our writers and thinkers, we will defend our freedom. Donner should make terrorists fear him, rather than writers and thinkers.'
Ellian also agreed with immigration secretary Mrs. Verdonk, who yesterday said that Muslims generally have a lower level of tolerance towards criticism. 'If you look at the list of people who've been killed in the Muslim world you can say that the level of tolerance is very low.
Muslims who can't deal with the fact that people are debating their religion, should adapt to the Dutch justice system and the Dutch level of tolerance. And not the other way around.
'An interesting bit of trivia: it turns out that a certain Jan Donner created the law against religious insults. Jan Donner is the grandfather of Piet-Hein Donner, the current minister of Justice, who wants to revitalize the law.
Tuesday, May 3, 2005
Koranic Verses are a Mental Drug for Jihadists [iv]
"November. Netherlands is in fog. It is a cold November and on a [v]bicycle path a dead body, without remorse, is being inscribed with much love for death. Deeply from within the bicycle path, words were called out: "Don't do it, don't do it, mercy, mercy.' In the eyes of the scribe, in the spirit of a sacrificial festival, it was written: Labaik, Allahuma Labaik (At your service, oh Allah). The scribe had already been prepared for the begging of mercy: "There will be no mercy for the committers of injustice, only the sword will be raised against them. No discussion, no demonstrations, no marches, no petitions, only death shall separated Truth from the Lie."
Month long preparations, trainings, through prayer, fasting and the permanent recitation of the Koran, started to bear fruit: the scribe was surrounded by angels who have been pleading Allah for weeks and said: "O, our Master, most exalted, honor the plea of this scribe, since in this holiest month have You let the Koran, the most perfect book, come down to your laughing killer Mohammed Rasulu Allah." Allah looked at the bicycle path and thought about a few verses of the Surat An-Nissa. The operation was allowed to proceed. The angels descended to the bicycle path, singing: "They would love for you to become an unbeliever, just as they are; then you would be equal. So don't take any of them as companion as long as they do not drift unto Allah's way. If they turn away, grab them and kill them wherever you can find them."
The angels formed a shield around the scribe. The scribe was in a [trance], he didn't hear anything, he didn't see, he only felt the sacrificial flesh. The knife, flesh and blood. Together they sang: Labaik, Allahuma Labaik. The scribe was Mohammed, Mohammed was a tool. The Submission to the highest will had been accomplished. Only the verses about Shahid, the martyr, from Surat Al-Bakara had to be realised: "And don't say that those who are killed on Allah's path have been killed; they are alive, but you don't realise it."
While reciting, Mohammed prepared himself for his journey to the garderns of Truth, where according to Allah, there are companions with large telling eyes that are like well-kept pearls. These companions are Allah's houris who have been made to eternal virgins. The wise Satan told Mohammed: "O unlucky namesake of the prophet, whores are nevertheless whores." Suddenly Mohammed noticed that the angels had already departed. Everything was in vain. Allah broke his promise with Mohammed yet again. It was and remains a cold and merciless November day.[vi]
How must we understand this autumn of murder and loneliness? Omar Khayam (1048-?), a medieval precursor to Nietzsche, wrote poetry centuries ago about the misery of Mohammed and especially Mohammed-lovers:
Everything that there is, does not appear to be in the world
Imagination of everything that there isn't, is there in the world.
The Islamic ecstasy is not a phenomenon that was invented after the death of Mohammed. It started with the Koran. The way in which the Koran is read is called recitation. The irrational force of the Koran lies in recitation. In the repetition, without paying attention to the meaning, the Koran becomes a supernatural book. The Koranic verses are exceptionally suited to be recited loudly and musically on Jihadist battlefields. It promoted morale, because contrary to ordinary Arabic poetry, the Koranic verses are not without engagement. The Koranic verses claim an immediate realisation. And because a successful Jihad will lead to immediate material gain and political domination, the Koranic verses take on the function of mental drugs. With the Koranic verses Mohammed gave his Jihadists an effective drug that could briefly knock out the realities of the surrounding world. What happens if reality imposes itself? Then the terrifying verses about hell and damnation have to do their work.
During the various wars, many Koran reciters were killed, and this worried a Caliph, who therefore ordered the Koran to be assembled. The Koran became a book, but it is still a book for recitation.
The authenticity of the Koran is of course an open question. Amongst other things, the Koran is a book for the Jihad. Allah's only book is born from a will to political domination in the midst of wars and marauding. Hallucination, courage, hope and cruelty characterise a book that places political domination first, not just over a specific people, but over all peoples. This Koranic hallucination is usually very successful in combination with other factors. This way thousands of young men were prepared for martyrdom during the Iran-Iraq war with religious elegies and Koranic verses. The Koran also promises much to the Jihadists and Mohammed was smart enough to make them share the profits after every successful marauding (ghazu): wealth and women of the murdered enemy.
Has Mohammed B., the Jihadist marauder, murdered merely in a condition of Koranic hallucination, in hope of fulfilling his fantasies with the eternal houri? Does his crime have any roots in the tradition of Islam? Or is it far removed from the original Islamic tradition? If we are speaking here about tradition, then we have to examine the actions of the prophet Mohammed.
The prophet Mohammed ibn Abdollah, whose name we will shorten according to the legal tradition to Mohammed A, had one, to put it at its mildest, a very critical relationship with poets and mockers. There was once a poet called K'ab ibn Al-Ahraf. This poet lived in Medina where Mohammed A. had not yet consolidated all power, which is why he was neither capable nor qualified to kill him legally. This poet was also, like all other poets in the world, very cheeky. He wrote poetry about the Meccans who were killed by Mohammed A. during the Jihad. On one day Mohammed A. asked his friends: who will release me of Ka'b? This request was accepted by several volunteers: "O prophet, we will kill him for you." They tempted him to come outside and after a short walk they killed him as an enemy of Islam. He was murdered with a knife. According to Ibn Ishaak the terrorists had driven the knife so deeply into the body of the poet that it protruded from his backside. Mohammed A. committed many terrorist attacks on the enemies of Islam. Many thinkers and artists in Persia and in other Islamic countries were killed in more or less the same way, in the past 1500, on the basis of fatwas issued by spiritual leaders. I'll restrict myself to two names in Persia: the historian Kasrawi and the poet Mokhtari.
Mohammed B. has acted in agreement with this authentic tradition. The prophet Mohammed A. can be considered an example to Mohammed B., who slaughtered Theo van Gogh as the enemy of Allah. Thankfully there is still a great majority of Muslims that does not or barely lives in this tradition and does not want to imitate all aspects of Mohammed's life. This majority is still trapped in fear of hell and damnation and because of this, not quite capable of saying 'no' to terror and tyranny.
The revival of the traditional authentic Islam is always coupled with brutal acts of violence. In Iran I have seen with my own eyes how the supporters of Hezbollah attack dissident with knives and bayonets. It is a strange situation for me. I once fled the terror of political Islam. In the Middle East dissidents are stabbed in broad daylight, shot, in short, publicly executed, but I did not expect that here. The Netherlands offered people like me security and freedom. The Netherlands is unfortunately looking like a Middle Eastern country. This tragedy persecutes us as a curse.
I never wanted to write about this. I would have preferred to forget.
History teaches us that terror and Islamic culture are deeply related to each other. The fact that Islamic kings and caliphs are frequently killed, is also not new: the prophet Mohammed had fled from Mecca to Yathrib because a terror attack had been plotted against him; Umar, the second holy Caliph was killed by a frustrated Persian; Osthman de third holy Caliph is subsequently killed by a rival political group; Ali, the fourth Caliph, yet again, is killed by a more radical political sect during prayers in a mosque. Islam therefore starts with terrorist attacks against its opponents.
In the Philosophy of History, Hegel commented about Islam that what counted for Robespierre as la liberté et la terreur, was la religion et la terreur for Mohammedans. Also Alexis de Tocqueville opined that the French Revolution contained a satanic element. To point out the murderousness of the French Revolution, he compared this revolution with Islam, with its martyrs, apostles and warriors. My whole life had been determined by terror and religion and now it is tragical that I have become a citizen of a state, that is barely prepared to protect its own dissidents from terror. The essence of the state is the preservation of freedom and security. Or does the Dutch government want to gradually adjust their rule of law to the intolerant desires of Islam?
In these sad November days, I have to speak courage to myself and my family, that the Taliban who is aiming for us, the critical minds, will never win. The horizon of freedom, humanitas and human rights calls for us not to break our pens, not to bow our necks. Melancholically, I have once written:
under the low sun
runs in the pleated valleys of your face
an old dew
for the lost world
and the past friends
in the passing of these passed
the autumn rages
and the winter sleeps. "
[i] "Mensenherfst" (2001) and "Verrijzenis van woorden" (1997), Vidya / Wolff publishers.
[ii] PhD Dissertation, written for the University of Tilburg: "An Inquiry into the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa", Wolf Legal Publishers, pp. 703.
[iii] "On Dutch and Islamic Cannibalism" Over Nederlands en Islamitisch Kannibalisme will be published in December of this year in the Netherlands by Meulenhoff Publishers.
[iv] "Koranverzen zijn een geestelijke drug voor de jihadisten" NRC Handelsblad 13 November 2004
[v] The 'inscribing' refers to the way in which Theo van Gogh was murdered. After shooting him and slitting his throat, Mohammed B. impaled a letter to van Gogh's body with two knives. Ellian quotes a fragment here from the letter, which he considers to be a declaration of jihad against the Netherlands.
The full letter, in Dutch, has been published by the Dutch Ministry of Justice and can be found at http://www.justitie.nl/Images/11_59707.pdf
[vi] When fleeing the scene of the murder, Mohammed B was shot in the leg by the police and taken into custody. Apparently he expected to die a martyr in this operation, because he had a suicide note in his pocket.
A call to all Intellectuals: "Please joke about Islam!"
"The first poet whom Mohammed A. (ibn Abdollah) had declared the enemy of Islam was called K'ab ibn al-Ashraf. The prophet gave the order to murder the poet with a knife. According to Ibn Ishaak the terrorists had driven the knife so deeply into his body that it emerged from his backside.
The prophet Mohammed A. was an example to Mohammed B., who slaughtered Theo van Gogh as the enemy of Islam. Welcome to the Middle East. But aren't we in Europe? The artistic, philosophic and judicial critique of religion is an essential aspect of European culture. W.F. Hermans and other writers often used sharp and sometimes crass words about Christianity. Christ in an erotic movie, laughable aspects of the reformed faith are taken to be acceptable.
Yet here there seems to be a kind of self-censorship when it comes to Islam. Who would dare to make a film about Mohammed's erotic appetites? Would Youp van 't Hek [a Dutch comedian] ever make piercing jokes about Allah? Would Jan Mulder [writer and columnist] dare to declare Mohammed a lunatic? The Dutch Muslims have been taught that it is not allowed to express critical thoughts about their religion. For this reason Islam is being strongly discriminated against. Dutch culture treats Islam as forbidden territory for critical thought, and in this respect, the Netherlands appears like the backward cultures of the Middle East. When Muslims are treated separately, it becomes understandable that a great part of Muslims had a deadly hatred for Theo van Gogh.
Hereby I call upon all artists, writers and academics to stop discriminating against Islam. When on television and in hundreds of theatres jokes are being made about Islam, and when academics will start treating Islam more critically, then Muslims will learn tolerance. The terrorists can intimidate and eliminate a handful of critics of Islam, but they can never kill hundreds of critical minds.
Come on friends, and enter the brothels and torture chambers of Mohammed A. and Allah, you will find great inspiration there. Come on, fellow academics, put Islam on the operating table of philosophy. Otherwise it will remain a question how many murders our society can deal with."
Muslim women are also entitled to aldultery
"Without compassion the Muslim woman, the subdued, will rebel. The rebellious Muslim woman confuses western intellectuals. They demand from an eastern person never to change their world view or their identity. Of course these western intellectuals would never want to live in the regions of these primitives, other than as aid worker, researcher, novelist or journalist. The third-world-lover wouldn't dream for a second of giving up his comfortable life for such a grim recreation.
The Muslim woman rises up in rebellion, despite the well-thinking westerner, but thanks to western culture. Submission[viii] is already on its way.
It all started with the Satanic Verses of Salman Rushdie, the book that has now been translated to Farsi, the language in which the fatwa (which included a death sentence) was written. After that a Bengali writer appeared in the footsteps of Rushdie, and suddenly almost every country had a Rushdie. Those who labeled this process as a hatred for Islam are the neocolonialists. After all it is they who impede, at least for others, the process by which they themselves had once achieved freedom and prosperity. They do not grant the eastern world the difficult and painful process that eventually led to the establishment of a state with a liberal rule of law and the emergence of a humane Christianity. They do not grant the Islamic world their Nietzsche, Voltaire, Victor Hugo (also a parliamentarian) and their de Sade. Because it is especially these stubborn personalities, with their diverging submissions, that have moved the defenders of tradition and religion to reflection and reform. And no one ever asked themselves if they would ever achieve their goal, in the way they acted, which is to influence the believer. Because Submission ultimately creates doubt and raises questions.
The Muslim-women-brigade in parliament -an apolitical, talentless extension of Dutch welfarism -came with a distraught reaction that the Submission of Hirsi Ali would not reach Muslim women. What self-delusion! Submission, has, after all, reached this Muslim-women-brigade, just as the prior submissions of Voltaire had reached the priests and their women-mercenaries. The Persian department of Radio Free Europe, Radio Farda, heard by millions of Iranians, has also spread the news about Submission and Hirsi Ali.
The Muslima-brigade envies the woman who dares to tell Allah: here I am with my entire body as an autonomous subject that decides herself how, when and with how many men she sleeps. And if Allah is any kind of a man, he would have to adjust all his ways to belong to the lucky ones allowed to sleep with a Muslim woman. Ah, that Allah, that Allah is an impotent fool who created men for this reason.(...)
Adultery, being sovereign over your own body, the possibility for seduction, and not being punished for it with violence, mark the border between the Koran-barbarism and human rights. Fatma obeys the Koran and the Koran commands her to obey her husband almost unconditionally. (...)
Now that Europeans have finally conquered Christian barbarism, we should not allow the adventurous to pull us into Islamic barbarism. [The mayor of Amsterdam] ought to tell his imams and imamas that adultery (without violent reprisal) is a consequence of human rights.
Freedom of religion should not be interpreted as a freedom to abuse others. The fact that a parliamentarian such as Hirsi Ali strongly challenges the sources of human rights by any means necessary is a blessing for a liberal democracy. For this reason the liberal leaders (...) acted very correctly by creating space for debating an unacceptable phenomemon: the abuse of human rights in a liberal society.
Liberalism should not be confused with indifference; liberals have the political and constitutional obligation to protect the foundations and borders of society. Muslim women are entitled to adultery and if this calls for violence with some Muslims they should buzz off to the deserts of Allah, with Bin Laden and the other crooks."
The Golden Crown for Backwardness
Islam and the Muslims had to be protected from the dangerous European. As a consequence, no one dared to criticize the far-reaching Islamification of our cities and schools. By this moral terror of the political establishment, the Islamic communities really started feeling at home here. Why? Is Europe a Muslim country? Muslims got the feeling that the Netherlands is as uncritical, patriarchal and feudal as their Islamic homeland. The Muslims were allowed to co-exist with their own culture (suppression of women, abuse of children, religious intolerance and cultural backwardness) as a separate community in Dutch society. The fortress of Muslims became the prison of backwardness. (...)"
The Nihilism of Europe
The genocide in Hallabja -this night of death- is now, after sixteen years, remembered for the first time without the omnipresent watch of the murderer. In the mean time the culture of terror is keeping up with the times: New York, Kabul, Bali, Casablanca, Istanbul and now also Madrid.
The Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca was a famous victim of such a culture of terror; he was executed in 1936 by Spanish fascists. The suspected reasons for this execution were the accusations that Lorca was a republican democrat, and also a homosexual with liberal tendencies. In Impressions of Spain Lorca describes what the night of death looks like and this passage brings us back to Hallabja and the recent bombings in Madrid: "All the blood had already crystallized when the lanterns started dimming. Never will there be another night like this one on the wall. A night full of windows and frozen hands. The breasts filled with useless milk. The mother's milk and the moon kept the battle against the triumphant blood going. But the blood had already conquered the marble and spread therein its maddened roots."
Now, after the arrest of Saddam, Iraq is definitively in a politically transitional period towards democracy. Various European countries have gone through a similar democratization process in the past few decades. They succeeded. Unfortunately, at this moment there are still large parts of this planet that are in pre-democratic and rather violent states. It is a question whether democratization would succeed in the Middle East. And a broader question is how this century will eventually be known. As the century of the great transition towards a culture of democracy and human rights? Or as the century of terror, anarchy, civil wars and crude large-scale human rights violations?
In both cases Europe will not be spared. To put it more clearly: Europe is an extremely vulnerable continent, because it's too decadent and nihilistic to believe in its own democratic ideals. Or at least, it's not willing to pay the price for these ideals. The average European would like to defend Europe's acquisitions, as long as the price is not too high. Europe is always edging towards capitulation. With that the Europeans hope, secretly of course, that others will undo this capitulation. If after the Second World War there had been no physical and ideological presence of the Americans, in all likelihood the west-Europeans would have surrendered a few European countries as a gift to the 'Empire of Evil'. Even then there were European intellectuals who were apologists for the cruelty of Soviet policy. Was that caused then by an unbridled self-hatred? And how does it compare to the self-hatred of the Europeans of today?
After reading the next quote you might feel that Al-Qaeda must be very cruel: Shooting a European means to kill two birds with one stone...one dead and one free man remain. But this quote does not originate from Bin Laden, but from a French philosopher: Jean Paul-Satre. It was referred to by Hannah Arendt and thoroughly criticized in her book On Violence and is to be interpreted as follows: the first and foremost enemy of Europe is her own decadent soul (the British form an exception to this).
The Islamic world with its own specifically nihilistic roots recognizes its European nihilistic brothers all too well. That's why Al-Qaeda reasoned that an attack in Europe would result in policy changes only driven by the opportunism of its politicians.
It looks more that Al Qaeda has indeed won. The Spanish and Dutch social democracy would prefer to hand over Iraq and the Iraqi people to Al-Qaeda, Shiite fundamentalists or Saddam's people. And Hallabja? Ah, that was just a long time ago and it's not in [Holland] anyway! But Madrid is in Europe!
The Iraqi transition to democracy has to be supported by the international community by all possible means. Why should Europe support this transition? This was, after all, the war of Bush and Blair and it's their problem to solve. This argument is mistaken, because the war is over. The concern now are security, democracy and human rights.
Why do the Netherlands and the other countries of the EU have an interest in a stable Iraq? There are three simple reasons: (1) If Iraq disintegrates into civil war, the consequences will be felt, through Turkey, in every capital of Europe. (2) The complete collapse of Iraq would spread to other, important oil producing countries and endanger the world economy. (3) The collapse of Iraq would be considered a victory for Islamists; they would become harsher and more pervasive in their battle against the West.
It is therefore in the national and the European interest to stay in Iraq. It will remain a dangerous place for the time being, but don't we have military forces to act in times of danger?
It is inevitable that any transition in Iraq that came with or without Anglo-American war, would have happened with chaos and violence. The Iraqi Kurds, the Left (the communist party), liberals and other democrats in the Governing Council were able to offer enough resistance against the immense pressure from Shiite fundamentalists. The Iraqi Women's Movement succeeded, under the leadership of Iman Abdel-Djebar, to undo the so-called Article 137 (a law on the validity of Sharia and tradition in family jurisdiction), which had passed in the Governing Council with a slim majority.
All of this is possible, because there are foreign troops present.. Still we hear, about our troops in Iraq, from Wouter Bos:[vi] it's been enough already with the Dutch presence in Iraq. Bos' declaration is a cruel slap in the face of the survivors of Hallabja and Saddam's other victims."
The Spoken Column
"(...) Calling for violence, inciting to hatred are the limits to our freedom. The jihadists, salafists, in short, the islamists, are the enemies of a free society. And still, the AIVD[v] claims that it is the influence of critical pundits that is creating a favorable climate for jihad.
Do you remember: the affair surrounding Salman Rushdie, about whom Ayatollah Khomeini has issued a fatwa, containing a death sentence? Across the world attacks were made on the translators and publishers of Rushdie's book. To this day England has spent millions to protect Rushdie. And remember: there were Muslims who used this book as an alibi to join a terrorist organization. But the MI5, Britain's secret service, still sees it as their duty to protect Rushdie and to consider the enemies of Rushdie as the enemies of England. Freedom is not negotiable and the armed jihad is a form of organized crime. Not freedom, but the criminals have to be warned.
(...) Nonetheless, I am glad that Rushdie is not Dutch, because then, for the sake of safety and with the approval of the minister of foreign affairs, the AIVD and several columnists, he might have been turned over to the beard-men a long time ago. As a thinker you can sometimes go mad and weary of the tyrannical tendencies of the Dutch bazaar of opinions."
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