Saturday :: Nov 6, 2004

It CAN Happen Here!

by pessimist

Buried amid all of the blather about morals-based voters being the reason Bu$hCo won a 'legitimate' electoral victory was this story about the murder of a right-wing Dutch filmaker. This murder isn't your usual crime of passion, but appears to be an effort by a small group of Muslims in the Netherlands to spread the jihad unleashed internationally by the rash and incompetent mismanagement of the 'War on Terra' by George 'War is now your way of life' Bu$h.

I make this claim because Muslims the world over see several things - the attacks by Bu$hCo against Afghanistan and Iraq; the threats of military attack against Iran, Syria, Libya, and the Darfur region of Sudan; the brazen and unchallenged statements of Christian Fundamentalists like Pat Robertson Franklin Graham, and nutcase columnist Ann Coulter against Islam; continued US support of Israel against the Palestinians; and the backing of the al-Saud family's reign of terror over Saudi Arabia - as being a new Crusade against their beliefs and way of life. Certainly, such charges are leveled at fundamentalist Muslims by the American fascist Christian right-wing, so this isn't much of a stretch for the Muslims who believe this.

The point I try to raise with these articles is this: The Dutch reaction and response to this attack certainly will look very familiar when such an attack - whether really an act performed by real Muslims or a set-up job intended to look like it was - does occur in America, it won't make any difference. At that point, Muslims in America will face the same dangers as the Muslims in the Netherlands now do.

Film-maker is killed in street

The maker of a film criticising Islam's treatment of women was murdered in an Amsterdam street yesterday, stoking Holland's vexed debate about immigration and reviving memories of the murder of the politician Pim Fortuyn.

Theo van Gogh, a distant descendant of the 19th-century artist, was shot and stabbed in daylight in the heart of Amsterdam. Eyewitnesses said Van Gogh, 47, was shot and stabbed at the front door of the city council office on the Linnaeusstraat in Amsterdam at around 9am local time. He managed to get to the other side of the street where he was shot and stabbed again, dying at the scene. A witness told Dutch Radio 1 the killer arrived by bicycle and shot Van Gogh as he got out of a car. "He fell backwards on the bicycle path and just lay there. The shooter stayed next to him and waited - waited to make sure he was dead."

In August van Gogh produced his most controversial film, entitled Submission, with a right-wing Dutch politician, Somali-born Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who wrote the script. A member of the Dutch Parliament, Ayaan Hirsi Ali has renounced the Islamic faith into which she was born, and outraged Muslims by criticising Islamic customs and highlighting immigrants' lack of assimilation into Dutch society.

Submission told the fictional story of a Muslim woman forced into a violent marriage, raped by a relative and brutally punished for adultery. The work proved explosive enough to produce death threats for Van Gogh, though in a recent radio interview he dismissed them and called the film "the best protection I could have. It's not something I worry about".

Balkenende praised Van Gogh as a proponent of free speech who had "outspoken opinions", adding: "It would be unacceptable if a difference of opinion led to this brutal murder."

The attack was condemned by Muslim groups, and by Dutch Prime Minister Jan-Peter Balkenende, who appealed for the public not to jump to conclusions about the motive. But he added that the killing reminded the public of the assassination of Pim Fortuyn, an anti-immigration campaigner whose murder plunged the Netherlands into a political crisis in March 2002. "On a day like this we are reminded of the murder of Fortuyn. We cannot resign ourselves to such a climate," Balkenende said.

Atzo Nicolai, the Dutch minister for Europe, described the killing as "really terrible", adding: "It reminds everybody of what happened to Pim Fortuyn."

The place of Muslim immigrants in Dutch society has long been a contentious issue, and Fortuyn campaigned under the slogan that his native land was "full". The country is home to nearly 1 million Muslims or 5.5 per cent of the population, and the Dutch centre-right Government has pushed for greater integration of immigrants through language tests and citizenship classes. It also sparked controversy with plans to repatriate up to 26,000 failed asylum-seekers.

There are some portents of America's future in this next article should a similar crime occur here.

'I feel terribly guilty'
November 4, 2004

Ayaan Hirsi Ali has called the prophet Muhammad a 'lecherous tyrant', Islam a 'backward religion', and the Koran 'in part a licence for oppression'. Theo van Gogh dubbed Muslims 'goat-fuckers', a radical Islamic leader 'Allah's pimp', and Islam a 'retrograde and aggressive' faith.

Van Gogh, the 47-year-old great-grandson of Vincent's brother and a talented if wildly provocative film-maker, columnist and TV interviewer, died on a street in eastern Amsterdam on Tuesday morning, slain by a suspect whom police yesterday described as an Islamic fundamentalist with terrorist ties.

"I feel terribly guilty," a shocked Hirsi Ali told Dutch media yesterday, adding that she was "very much afraid" that Submission, an 11-minute film about Islamic violence against women that she wrote and the film-maker produced, was the direct cause of his death. Unlike van Gogh, Hirsi Ali lives under 24-hour police protection.

The elegant 34-year-old MP for the free-market VVD party, a Somalian refugee who 12 years ago fled an arranged marriage and now calls herself an "ex-Muslim", has every reason to be distressed: the manner of Van Gogh's death was brutal - and, it emerged yesterday, depressingly familiar.

The film-maker was shot several times as he rode on his bicycle down the Linnaeusstraat to his office, but still managed to stagger some distance - 30 or 40 metres, witnesses said - before being caught in a second hail of gunfire by his attacker, a 26-year-old man with joint Dutch and Moroccan nationality. On his knees, the eyewitnesses said, Van Gogh twice begged for mercy. But the suspect, described as having a beard and wearing a long jellaba, fired again and then drew two butcher's knives, slitting his victim's throat before driving the blades into his chest.

The Dutch justice minister, Piet Hein Donner, said yesterday that the suspect, captured after a shootout with police and currently in a prison hospital with gunshot wounds, "acted out of radical Islamic fundamentalist convictions" and had contacts with a fundamentalist group that was under surveillance by the Dutch secret service. Dutch media also reported that the suspect was a close friend of Samir Azzouz, an 18-year-old Muslim of Moroccan origin who is awaiting trial on charges of planning terrorist attacks on targets including a nuclear reactor and Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport.

Here are some of the specific reactions, easily exploited by the Republican fascists, that Americans will share with the Dutch should something like this happen in America:

The assassination has sparked a heartfelt national outcry in the traditionally tolerant Netherlands, sparking fears of a dangerous rise in racial tension in a country whose population of 16 million includes some one million Muslims, mainly of Turkish or North African origin. Fanning fears further, a recent government estimated that by 2010, several large Dutch cities like Rotterdam, Amsterdam, the Hague and Utrecht would have Muslim majorities.

Recent opinion polls show the Dutch to be increasingly hostile towards immigrants and fearful of Muslim extremism. Islam, immigration and integration have shot to the top of the political agenda since the rise of Pim Fortuyn, the populist anti-immigrant politician who was himself shot dead in May 2002, and whose party finished second in general elections just days later.

Expect out one-party government to take steps similar to these:

The centre-right Dutch government has only succeeded in fanning the flames by calling for greater integration of immigrants through language tests and citizenship classes, and recently fuelled even more controversy with plans to repatriate up to 26,000 failed asylum seekers.

In the midst of this tinderbox, insisting on their right to speak freely and with the support of many Dutch people, Hirsi Ali and Van Gogh scattered their sparks - a blistering critique of Islam - with magnificent disregard for the feelings they might be offending. The slender, couture-clad Hirsi Ali has had several fatwas issued against her and spends her life in the company of a brace of six-foot bodyguards. Van Gogh also received death threats, but refused protection, saying the bullets would surely never come for him. "No one can seriously want to shoot the village idiot," he said recently.

Their film was broadcast on Dutch national television in August. It depicts, among other scenes, a beautiful young Muslim girl addressing Allah in a mosque. She wears a veil that covers her face, but her naked body is clearly visible through a transparent gown. "All praise to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds," says the text that scrolls across the actress's throat and down her breasts: the fatiha, or opening of the Koran.

Other scenes portray a Muslim woman who is forced into an arranged marriage, abused by her husband, raped by her uncle and then brutally punished for adultery.

In a third, a woman's bruised and beaten shoulders are covered with lines from verse 34, chapter 4 of the Koran. "Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made them excel ... " it reads. "The good women are therefore obedient. Those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places, and beat them."

The film was a potent, if undeniably provocative, interpretation of Hirsi Ali's thesis.

Who Is Ayaan Hirsi Ali And Why Is She So Mad At Islam?

Brought up as a Muslim in Somalia, Ayaan Hirsi Ali suffered female circumcision at the age of five and, sent to Germany to meet her intended Somali partner in an arranged marriage, fled across the border to the Netherlands in 1992. Penniless, speaking no Dutch, she worked as a cleaner, in a biscuit factory and as a translator before studying political science at Leiden University.

In 2001, after graduating, she wrote a report on 'honour killings' of Muslim women that also served as a savage indictment of Holland's 30-year experiment with multiculturalism, describing it as a 'disastrous error' born of 'misplaced guilt'. The report embarrassed the Dutch Labour party, which comissioned it, but the VVD - which has a tough 'boat is full' stance on immigration - welcomed her with open arms, first as a researcher, then as a candidate. She has sat in The Hague as an MP since January 2003.

On TV talk shows and in newspaper columns, Hirsi Ali has denounced the 'cruelty and abuse' meted out to many Muslim women living in western societies.

Damning Islam as a 'backward, 12th-century religion', a 'medieval, misogynist cult incapable of self-criticism and blind to modern science', Hirsi Ali says orthodox Muslim men routinely indulge in domestic violence against women, as well as incest and child abuse. To make matters worse, she argues, their behaviour is invariably hushed up. "The Netherlands is a country that worships consensus and peace, but here you have newcomers who are not integrated into this system," she said last year. "They exploit an open, liberal society to reach illiberal ends. Everyone knows the position of women in Islamic countries is horrendous, but the Dutch like to think it doesn't happen here. They don't want to believe Muslim women in the Netherlands are beaten and locked up in their homes, or that girls are murdered for holding hands with a non-Muslim boy."

Similar things have already happened here in the US. Expect all of these incidents to be brought up when the anti-Muslim pogrom begins in America. Also expect similar measures as these next to be implemented by our government - and not just against Muslims:

The solution, Hirsi Ali argues, is for fundamentalist Islamic books to be banned, Mullahs to be banished, and for western societies "not to bend over backwards to accommodate a culture that advocates the degradation of women ... but to ensure that the Muslim men who perpetrate such barbarity are brought to justice".

The 'lapsed Muslim' last year found an effective and articulate artistic partner in Van Gogh who, as well as having made a dozen feature films in his 25-year career, was also a much-loved, deliberately provocative and often obscene columnist and pamphleteer who published numerous indictments of an over-radical Islam in an over-tolerant Netherlands. Fired over the years by almost every Dutch newspaper and magazine for offending its readers, he wrote most recently for the daily freesheet Metro and ran his own highly popular website.

But in the no-longer-tolerant-Netherlands, he paid the price. Fraught Dutch commentators had no hesitation yesterday in saying that Holland had become a 'front-line state' in a brutal collision between two cultures. "In France or Belgium, you don't have this same kind of very Dutch cabaret-like figure who rages about goat-fuckers," one commentator, Rene Cuperus, told De Volkskrant. "They must know that they've landed up in the most liberal country in the world, the land of abortions and gays and all that - but Muslims don't see it. There's just no way to bridge that gulf in a politically correct way."

Sociologist, Herman Vuisje, described Van Gogh's murder as "not a turning point, but the after-effect of a historical failure". And an academic, Norbert Both, posed the question that, one imagines, is now troubling Ayaan Hirsi Ali - as well as a great many less outspoken Dutch people.

"The great dilemma, in confronting intolerance, is that you cannot reply with tolerance," he said. "If you do ... you lose your own identity. Can we, despite the emotion, remain ourselves? That's the question."

Here's how the Dutch are acting on that 'great dilemma':

Terrorists behind murder of film-maker
06 November , 2004

The first results of an investigation into the murder of controversial Dutch film-maker Theo van Gogh, whose suspected assailant has ties to radical Islamists, point to a "terrorist conspiracy," prosecutors said Friday. Van Gogh was widely known for his criticism of Islam and recently caused an uproar with a short film made together with Hirsi Ali linking domestic abuse with the perceived subservient position of women in the Islamic faith.

The alleged killer, identifed by Dutch media as Mohammed B., was remanded in custody for 10 days together with four men of Moroccan and Algerian descent. Mohammed B., is a 26-year-old with dual Moroccan and Dutch nationality. Police said he was arrested shortly after he allegedly shot and stabbed Van Gogh while the film-maker was cycling in Amsterdam Tuesday. The suspect has so far refused to speak to investigators.

Prosecutor's working on Van Gogh's murder are investigating whether the men arrested were part of a larger network. According to the Dutch intelligence service there are between 100 and 200 Islamic extremists active in the country who try to recruit immigrant youths for a jihad.

Dutch deputy prime minister Gerrit Zalm vowed after a meeting of all cabinet ministers Friday to fight Muslim extremism. Zalm said the government saw new developments in Muslim extremism "where thoughts are translated into blood and murder". The government has decided to set aside extra funds for the intelligence services. They will also see if current legislation needs to be changed to make it easier to crack down on radical Muslims who use violence.

Here comes their version of the USA Patriot Act!

A letter left on the body of Van Gogh threatened Somalian-born Dutch liberal politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali because it said she had turned away from Islam, as well as Amsterdam's mayor Job Cohen - whom it said had pitted Jews against non-Jews. Mayor Cohen of Amsterdam called on the intelligence services to work together with local authorities to fight Muslim extremists. "As mayor I want to know what goes on in my city. I want to know who is engaged in recruiting for jihad," he said. The mayor stressed that he would not hesitate to close down mosques if evidence showed they were inciting hatred.

America will do similar things as well. After all, we have the USA Patriot Act to protect us! We will see it applied as we hear similar calls to action as these next:

Dutch political leader cites 'arrival of jihad'
November 6, 2004

The government vowed tough measures yesterday against what a leading politician called 'the arrival of jihad in the Netherlands' after a death threat against a Dutch lawmaker was found in a letter pinned with a knife to the body of a slain filmmaker. The five-page letter, signed by a suspected terrorist group, was released Thursday by the justice minister, and forced political leaders to take on bodyguards. Titled 'An open Letter to [Aayan] Hirsi Ali', it referred to a Somali-born member of parliament who scripted Van Gogh's film, Submission, which criticized women's treatment under Islam. Hirsi Ali, who says she is a former Muslim, is now in hiding.

"We are not going to tolerate this," Deputy Prime Minister Gerrit Zalm said. "We are going to ratchet up the fight against this sort of terrorism. The increase in radicalization is worse than we had thought."

Jozias van Aartsen, parliamentary speaker for the right-wing free market VVD party, said: "The jihad has come to the Netherlands and a small group of jihadist terrorists is attacking the principles of our country. I hope the Netherlands will now move beyond denial and do what is fitting in a democracy: take action. These people don't want to change our society, they want to destroy it," he said.

Here's a sample of what the assassin's letter had to say - and a look at what will happen in America when this happens here:

Dutch defy 'jihad' threat

The government vowed tough measures yesterday against what a leading politician called 'the arrival of jihad in the Netherlands' after a death threat to a Dutch politician was found pinned with a knife to the body of a slain filmmaker by his radical Islamic attacker. A five-page letter released Thursday night by the justice minister forced political leaders -- including Amsterdam's Jewish mayor and members of parliament -- to take on bodyguards.

The document, pinned to the body of filmmaker Theo van Gogh, was titled 'An open Letter to (Aayan) Hirsi Ali', referring to a Somali-born member of parliament. She had scripted van Gogh's latest film, Submission, which criticized the treatment of women under Islam. Hirsi Ali, who calls herself an ex-Muslim, has gone into hiding.

"Since your arrival in the political arena in the Netherlands you have been constantly busy terrorizing Muslims with your statements," the letter read. "You are not the first and not the last who has joined the crusade against Islam." The letter also asserted: "It is a fact that Dutch politics is dominated by many Jews. What do you think of the fact that there is a Jew in power in Amsterdam?" it said, referring to Amsterdam's Mayor Job Cohen.

The murder is testing already strained relations between the ethnic Dutch population and the Muslim community. Arsonists are believed to have set fire to a mosque in the central Dutch city of Utrecht.

Here's a snapshot of what the Netherlands are going through. Keep this scenarioi in mind when similar events unfold here in America.

Many fear Dutch society has lost its famed tolerance after film-maker's murder

A day after the brutal killing of controversial Dutch film-maker Theo van Gogh by a suspect linked to Islamic extremists, many were left wondering what happened to the Netherlands' famed tolerance and fear a society deeply divided. "The murder could be the start of a spiral in which different communities come to view each other as enemies," the Christian Trouw daily warned Wednesday.

Theo van Gogh, who had received threats over a controversial film he made about Islam, was shot and stabbed to death Tuesday while cycling on an Amsterdam street. His alleged assailant, identified as having dual Dutch and Moroccan nationality, was arrested shortly after the attack.

Public prosecutor Leo de Wit told a news conference in Amsterdam that the motive was believed to have been his radical Islamic views, basing the assumption on the content of two papers, one stuck on the dagger used to attack the director, the other found on the suspected killer during a search. The judicial authorities declined to give further information on the content of the papers, with the prosecutor declining to confirm a report that the one found on the suspect's body was a farewell letter.

Van Gogh, 47, was widely known for his outspoken criticism of Islam and recently caused uproar with a short film linking domestic abuse with the perceived subservient position of women in the Islamic faith. Van Gogh, the great great nephew of 19th-century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, was a staunch critic of multicultural society as a whole. Many Jewish organisation branded him an anti-Semite and he was generally known as a arch provocateur.

Late Tuesday Dutch Interior Minister Johan Remkes said the suspect had ties with Islamic extremists in the Netherlands but did not belong to the hard core group of some 150 extremists being monitored by the intelligence services.

Amsterdam police chief Bernard Welten said late Wednesday that a total of eight men aged between 19 and 27 had been arrested in connection with the murder. They were six Moroccans, one Algerian and a man having dual Moroccan and Spanish citizenship. The arrests were made after police searched five apartments and seized computer equipment and fundamentalist writings. All eight people had already been arrested for suspected terrorist activities in October 2003 but were later released. Van Gogh's killer was said to have had contacts with the group and allegedly stayed at each of the five homes searched.

Out of a population of 16 million the Netherlands has some 900,000 Muslims and of those some 300,000 are of Moroccan descent. In the Moroccan community there is a growing fear that they will be singled out for revenge. After it became known that van Gogh's alleged killer was of Moroccan descent, politicians and commentators feared ethnic tensions and called for calm. Later Wednesday an Internet condolence register set up for van Gogh was closed down because it was flooded with racist remarks.

At a short memorial gathering for Van Gogh in Amsterdam, attended by some 20,000 people, many Muslims showed up especially to demonstrate that they condemned the killing. Ikram, a 31-year-old mother, came to the rally with a sign saying 'Muslims against violence'. "I was debating whether or not to come, but I decided that as a Muslim and as a Moroccan I should take up my responsibility to show that we do not support this act," she told AFP.

"Everybody is shocked by the murder. On the other hand ... there are people who wonder if there will be a war against Moroccans," Abdou Menabi, chairman of the Urban Assembly of Moroccans in Amsterdam said, voicing the concerns of many.

On Wednesday many papers compared the killing of van Gogh to the assassination of rightwing populist politician Pim Fortuyn on May 6, 2002. Both men had outspoken views on Islam and many other issues and were always trying passionately to stir public debate. "After Pim Fortuyn, another person has been killed who held strong views on controversial issues and did not hide them," the popular daily Algemeen Dagblad said. "A mass demonstration of Dutch Muslims could be the symbolic start of a necessary cleansing," it suggested.

In Amsterdam several Moroccan organisations held a protest rally.

For all the good it might have done them!

Take heed, dear readers. This is one path that America will likely travel in our near-future. There are far too many signs pointing in that direction: intolerance of - and violent acts directed at - foreigners, non-Christians, liberals, Democrats, ...

It CAN happen here. It's already underway.

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pessimist :: 11:22 AM :: Comments (10) :: Digg It!