Theodore's World: Some Thoughts On Holland's Silence

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March 03, 2006

Some Thoughts On Holland's Silence

"We should fear Holland’s silence"
February 26, 2006
Times Online
Islamists are stifling debate in what was Europe’s freest country, says Douglas Murray

"Would you write the name you’d like to use here, and your real name there?” asked the girl at reception. I had just been driven to a hotel in the Hague. An hour earlier I’d been greeted at Amsterdam airport by a man holding a sign with a pre-agreed cipher. I hadn’t known where I would be staying, or where I would be speaking. The secrecy was necessary: I had come to Holland to talk about Islam.

Last weekend, four years after his murder, Pim Fortuyn’s political party, Lijst Pim Fortuyn, held a conference in his memory on Islam and Europe. The organisers had assembled nearly all the writers most critical of Islam’s current manifestation in the West. The American scholars Daniel Pipes and Robert Spencer were present, as were the Egyptian-Jewish exile and scholar of dhimmitude, Bat Ye’or, and the great Muslim apostate Ibn Warraq.

Both Ye’or and Warraq write and speak under pseudonyms. Standing at the hotel desk I confessed to the girl that I didn’t have any other name, couldn’t think of a good one fast. I was given my key and made aware that the other person in the lobby, a tall figure in a dark suit, was my security detail. I was taken up to my room where I changed, unpacked and headed back out — the security guard now positioned outside my bedroom door.

I had been invited to deliver the closing speech to the memorial conference on what would have been Fortuyn’s 58th birthday. I said I would talk on the effects of Europe’s increasingly Islamicised population and advocate a tougher European counterterror strategy. There was no overriding political agenda to the occasion, simply a desire for frank discussion.

The event was scholarly, incisive and wide-ranging. There were no ranters or rabble-rousers, just an invited audience of academics, writers, politicians and sombre party members. As yet another example of Islam’s violent confrontation with the West (this time caused by cartoons) swept across the globe, we tried to discuss Islam as openly as we could. The Dutch security service in the Hague was among those who considered the threat to us for doing this as particularly high. The security status of the event was put at just one level below “national emergency”.

This may seem fantastic to people in Britain. But the story of Holland — which I have been charting for some years — should be noted by her allies. Where Holland has gone, Britain and the rest of Europe are following. The silencing happens bit by bit. A student paper in Britain that ran the Danish cartoons got pulped. A London magazine withdrew the cartoons from its website after the British police informed the editor they could not protect him, his staff, or his offices from attack. This happened only days before the police provided 500 officers to protect a “peaceful” Muslim protest in Trafalgar Square.

It seems the British police — who regularly provide protection for mosques (as they did after the 7/7 bombs) — were unable to send even one policeman to protect an organ of free speech. At the notorious London protests, Islamists were allowed to incite murder and bloodshed on the streets, but a passer-by objecting to these displays was threatened with detention for making trouble.

Holland — with its disproportionately high Muslim population — is the canary in the mine. Its once open society is closing, and Europe is closing slowly behind it. It looks, from Holland, like the twilight of liberalism — not the “liberalism” that is actually libertarianism, but the liberalism that is freedom. Not least freedom of expression.

All across Europe, debate on Islam is being stopped. Italy’s greatest living writer, Oriana Fallaci, soon comes up for trial in her home country, and in Britain the government seems intent on pushing through laws that would make truths about Islam and the conduct of its followers impossible to voice.

Those of us who write and talk on Islam thus get caught between those on our own side who are increasingly keen to prosecute and increasing numbers of militants threatening murder. In this situation, not only is free speech being shut down, but our nation’s security is being compromised.

Since the assassinations of Fortuyn and, in 2004, the film maker Theo van Gogh, numerous public figures in Holland have received death threats and routine intimidation. The heroic Somali-born Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali and her equally outspoken colleague Geert Wilders live under constant police protection, often forced to sleep on army bases. Even university professors are under protection.

Europe is shuffling into darkness. It is proving incapable of standing up to its enemies, and in an effort to accommodate the peripheral rights of a minority is failing to protect the most basic rights of its own people.

The governments of Europe have been tricked into believing that criticism of a belief is the same thing as criticism of a race. And so it is becoming increasingly difficult and dangerous to criticise a growing and powerful ideology within our midst. It may soon, in addition, be made illegal.

I had planned — the morning after my speech — to see Geert Wilders, but instead spent the time catching up with his staff. Their leader had been called in by the police to discuss more than 40 new death threats he had received over the previous days.

As I left the Netherlands I once again felt terrible sorrow for a country that is slowly being lost. A society which should be carefree and inspiring has become dark and worried. The jihad in Europe is winning. And Holland, and our continent, takes one step further into a dark and menacing future.

Posted by Wild Thing at March 3, 2006 01:07 AM

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Holland is the country that tried legalizing drugs and found out that the number of dysfunctional people skyrocketed as they went on permanent highs, and deaths also skyrocketed. Libertarian freedom has it's merits, but a really free society still needs regulations and restrictions to keep people responsible.

Freedom of religion is one of the greatest feedoms in the West, but cults, like islam, have to be restricted and watched.

Posted by: TomR at March 3, 2006 12:50 PM

Hi Tom, one time I was visiting Amsterdam, it was my first and only time to visit there. I was very naive and had no idea how they were. I cannot tell you how shocked I was at what I saw going on right the street corners. I about died. OMG

Drugs everywhere and since I have never been into them at all it sickened me when I saw that kind of thing.

I agree with you 100% about Libertarian freedom.I have never been in favor of it. One of are our laws. I agree with you so much Tom.

Posted by: Wild Thing at March 3, 2006 02:05 PM

Some random musings:

At current immigration and birth rates, by 2020, 50% of the male population between the ages of 18 and 24 in Holland will be Muslim arrivals or born in Holland. No sane calculation could envision that this group, in fifteen years, will be more Western than their older brothers. Holland is doomed.

Right now, almost half of the young male populations of Amsterdam and Rotterdam are of this demographic. Probably most of them are unassmilable, and like their Car-B-Cue cousins in France, under no compulsion to think of themselves as Dutch. Holland is doomed.

Christian church attendance in thirty years in Holland has declined from about 70% of the population to about 6%. Liberal secularism took root there very quickly. Maybe the old expression describing wine-fueled bravery as "Dutch Courage" has some basis in fact. Holland is doomed.

The Low Country mentality has for a century been one of resignation to the politics of the assertive across their borders; it didn't take very long to become resigned to the politics of the assertive down the street. Holland is doomed.

It's hard to recall the exact figures, so I may be off a bit...but about 100,000 people protested the murder of Theo Van Gogh. Within weeks 750,00 protested some trivial change in the compulsory retirement age (or some other social benefit). This says it all. Those T-Shirts on Muslims that say "By 2030 It Will All be Ours" are on the pessimistic side. I give them ten years.

Posted by: Rhod at March 3, 2006 02:42 PM

Rhod oh my gosh it sure does say it all. I thank you for this information and input Rhod.
And also what you said about the protesting difference between the Theo Van Gogh murder and some social benefit, speaks volumes.

What alamed me about the article I posted was this happening in America. We already have the mosques here, Saudi schools so many things and the vast populations of Muslims like in Michigan etc.....well it concerns me a lot.

Rhod thank you so much for your comments on this.

Posted by: Wild Thing at March 3, 2006 04:22 PM


There's a sea-change underway about the WOT, I think. The Cartoon Intifada was a recon mission, a probe of Western willingness to fight, and we failed the test here and abroad. Also filtering into Western thinking is a widening conviction that Islam, in any form, is incompatible with liberty as we understand it. If this results in defeatism and fatalism concealed as good sense, the future is very grim.

The enemy is ramping up the offensive Iraq, along the Iranian/Afghan border, against Israel and in the media. The results aren't encouraging. As usual, the American military is now the point of a spear with a broken shaft. I've been here myself, long ago, and so was Eddie and lots of other guys.

One recent estimate is that we have at least 12 million enemies...ten percent of the Islamic population across the globe is willing to fight us to the death. Even Allan Dershowitz, in his new book, is arguing for a change of perception of our enemies, and advocating a new policy of pre-emption EVERYWHERE.

The one hope I have is that The West is still imaginative, open and brave where it matters. Totalitarians of all kinds have penetrated our defenses, but they all end up dead or worse than dead. So be it to all the enemies of America. No quarter, no mercy and no retreat.

Posted by: Rhod at March 3, 2006 05:07 PM

Rhod you make me feel better about all of this. Thank you.

Posted by: Wild Thing at March 9, 2006 04:40 PM

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