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Holland's Cassandra By: Robert Spencer
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, May 18, 2006

Holland has for some time now been celebrated, or notorious, as a land where anything goes, but now the Dutch have finally discovered that there are limits. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the courageous Dutch Parliamentarian who has drawn death threats for her outspoken criticism of women’s rights in Islam and unrestricted Muslim immigration into Europe, has resigned from Parliament and will leave the Netherlands. Dutch immigration minister Rita Verdonk has brought this about by suddenly deciding to press the fact -- which has actually been public knowledge for years, and has never caused controversy before -- that the Somalia-born Hirsi Ali lied in her request for asylum in the Netherlands was grounds to strip her of her Dutch citizenship.


Hirsi Ali has been at the center of controversy both in Holland and internationally for years. She rose to national prominence in Holland after writing a critique of the Islamic family structure and mistreatment of women, De Zoontjesfabriek (“The Son Factory”). She was elected to the Dutch Parliament in January 2003. Most notoriously, she worked with Theo Van Gogh on the film Submission, which graphically documented the status of women in Muslim societies, and the Qur’anic roots of their mistreatment. Van Gogh, of course, was subsequently murdered by a jihad terrorist for this film, and Hirsi Ali’s life was threatened (as it had been before). She has since then lived in hiding, moving frequently and accompanied by guards at all times. At the same time, her international stature has increased, as she has continued to stand up both within the Dutch Parliament for the Western principles of freedom and equality of dignity that are threatened by the global jihad.


Why is Verdonk acting against her now? Hirsi Ali admitted that she lied in 2002, before she became a candidate for Parliament. Her party, of which Verdonk is a member, had no problem with it at the time. That Verdonk suddenly decided four years later that the lies were intolerable bespeaks her zeal not for stringent immigration policies but for a way to rule Hirsi Ali’s politics out of the Dutch public discourse. One might think that, while no one can condone the lies she told to gain asylum, the death threats she has received since then could and would become the occasion for granting her refuge and citizenship on a firmer basis. For Hirsi Ali has paid an immense personal price for speaking out, as she put it in her resignation speech on Tuesday, about “issues related to Islam -- such as impediments to free speech; refusal of the separation of Church and State; widespread domestic violence; honor killings; the repudiation of wives; and Islam’s failure to condemn genital mutilation.” She expressed satisfaction that “these subjects can no longer be swept under the carpet in our country’s capital. Some of the measures that this government has begun taking give me satisfaction.”


Some are still trying to sweep them under the carpet. The fact that an adjusted granting of asylum is not under consideration unmasks Verdonk and her allies as craven, short-sighted political opportunists bent only on the destruction of a Cassandra who has told them too many unpleasant truths. Nasr Joemman of the Contact Organization for Muslims and Government (CMO) stated this plainly: “I celebrate that she is leaving the Netherlands. I hope that by her departure we can move forward with building a harmonious society.”


A noble sentiment; but it is interesting in light of it to note some of those who will remain in the Netherlands when Hirsi Ali leaves. Sheikh Fawaz, an imam at the As Soennah mosque in The Hague, openly admitted that he meant to threaten Hirsi Ali when he said that she was under the “curse of Allah” and would be “blown away by the wind of the changing times.” Nevertheless, the Public Prosecutor’s Office declined to take action against Sheikh Fawaz, finding his avowed threats non-threatening. The mayor of The Hague, Wim Deetman, soon afterward told Fawaz to “moderate his views or leave the country,” but as of yet Verdonk’s immigration officials seem to have made no move against the imam, and evidently no apparatus is in place to make sure he does in fact moderate his views. While some imams who openly advocated violent jihad and Sharia rule have been deported, Fawaz remains in the Netherlands.


Also likely to be still in the Netherlands are the Moroccan attackers of Ebru Umar, a writer who had taken over Theo Van Gogh’s newspaper column after Van Gogh was murdered.


It is impossible to determine how many Muslims remain in Holland who believe that speech critical of Islam or Muhammad should be outlawed; or who hope to see the Netherlands become a Sharia state sometime in the future; or who believe that the Qur’an’s mandate to husbands to beat their disobedient wives (4:34) is perfectly reasonable; or who even believe that honor killings or genital mutilation can be justified. No one is asking, or answering, such questions of Muslim immigrants in Holland or anywhere else in the West. But what the Hirsi Ali debacle has shown is that to hold such sentiments in Holland today is not as bad as the act of calling attention to them and protesting against them. Such protests interfere with the harmonious society Nasr Joemman and Rita Verdonk are trying to build.


On Wednesday morning many Dutch MP’s forced Verdonk to reconsider her decision, but it is unlikely in any case that Hirsi Ali will remain in the Netherlands. Verdonk and Joemman will be free to build their “harmonious society.” What kind of a society will it be? The hounding and persecution of Hirsi Ali do not bode well. They indicate, at very least, that it will be a society that is not critical of the outrages against women’s rights about which she has spoken, that are encouraged by Islamic doctrine and practice. Those outrages, therefore, will continue. The harmonious Verdonk/Joemman society will likewise eschew the debate Hirsi Ali encouraged about the advance of the Sharia imperative in the Netherlands. Will those who want to set up an Islamic state in The Hague therefore be able to operate unhindered?


Certainly there will be no more Cassandra voice in the Dutch Parliament warning of the threat Sharia poses to human rights and the equality of dignity of all people. And so much the worse for the Dutch Parliament and Dutch society. Hirsi Ali’s foes will find that the crocodile to which they have thrown their most prominent politician will come for them next. Hirsi Ali herself, meanwhile, has announced her intention to come to the United States to work with the American Enterprise Institute. Europe’s loss is America’s gain, but this is no occasion for rejoicing by Americans; Hirsi Ali’s ejection from Holland will before too long be seen as one significant step closer to the extinguishing of the light not only in that country, but in all of Europe.


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Robert Spencer is a scholar of Islamic history, theology, and law and the director of Jihad Watch. He is the author of eight books, eleven monographs, and hundreds of articles about jihad and Islamic terrorism, including the New York Times Bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book, Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam is Subverting America without Guns or Bombs, is available now from Regnery Publishing.

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