385.The Man in Blue – Dutch Islamophobia (II)

008.SMS Camp Bristol

Man in Blue at the Sikh Missionary Camp in Bristol

Pim Fortuyn was the first Dutch politician who made the minorities and their ‘alien’ cultures and/or religions his main campaigning point. He was killed by a left-wing green activist.

The event that was a real bonus to anti-immigrant politicians going for the popular vote was the killing of Theo van Gogh, a relative of the great Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh.

Theo van Gogh made a film called Submission about a Muslim woman forced into an arranged marriage, who is abused by her husband and raped by her uncle. A scene in the film showed an actress in see-through garments with a text from Al Qur’an written on her body, which also bore whip marks.

There is a parallel with the Bezhti case, where the playwright confused the ante-diluvium attitudes of many Panjabis with the teachings of the Guru Granth. In the case of Al Qur’an, whatever it teaches about the role of women, it cannot be blamed for the sort of behaviour depicted in the film.

The ‘Muslim’ who killed Theo van Gogh seems to follow Karl Marx’s Verelendung theory : if you make things worse for your community they will rise up and change the Netherlands into some kind of European Iran. Of course neither the majority of the Muslims nor of the other people living in the country want such a state, but that does not stop this kind of idiot.

Theo van Gogh had a good point, but made it badly. His killer had a valid argument against Theo van Gogh’s film, but by killing Theo van Gogh he made things worse for everybody in the Netherlands, and especially for the Muslims, who form about 5.5% of the population.

As a result Geert Wilders, ex member of the right wing ‘liberal’ VVD and now the Leader of the Partij voor de Vrijheid (Party for Freedom) scored about 30% of the vote in the recent European elections. Note that Geert Wilders’ party does not stand for freedom for all, like Guru Gobind Singh or the Dutch ‘Father of the Fatherland’ Willem the Silent, but only the freedom of those he sees as ‘proper’ Dutchmen.

The worst ‘sin’ of movements like this is that they force Muslims on a heap. They are asked to choose between ‘Dutch values’ and Osama Bin Laden, and of course they might not like either of these choices.  

Living together with people of different cultures and religions causes problems. These problems can be solved through dialogue and better understanding. Slogan shouting does no good and thinking that you can close your borders is an illusion in the world-village. Worldwide justice and better prices for commodities are the only viable anti-emigration policies.

Published in: on September 13, 2009 at 9:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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384.The Man in Blue – Dutch Islamophobia (I)

The Islamophobic Dutch MP Geert Wilders is obviously not quite right in the head. He cannot have read Al Qur’an, as its values are no more anti-western than those of the Old Testament of the Bible.

The story of the Netherlands and its minorities is rather sad. When I lived in the Netherlands (I left in 1996) there were three main groups of post 1945 immigrants : Moroccans, Turks and Afro-Caribbeans from Suriname (‘Dutch’ Guyana) and the 6 ‘Dutch’ Caribbean Islands.

For the purpose of this article the Moroccans and Turks and other more recent Muslim immigrants like the Somalis are the most relevant.

On the whole the Netherlands was a liberal and tolerant country, much more open minded than the UK. That liberalism included respect for homosexuals. Amsterdam was full of refugees from homophobic Britain, as especially in the western cities like Amsterdam, Den Haag, Utrecht and Rotterdam, you can be openly homosexual without there being a stigma.

What many Dutch people thought, including politicians and bureaucrats dealing with minorities, was that immigrants would gradually imbibe this wonderful liberal culture, and become like the rest of us. Many Dutch people, for the Netherlands is a very secular country, also thought that Muslims would gradually become less Muslim, just like Dutch Christians gradually became less Christian.

The man who started the Dutch Islamophobic movement was not some deeply conservative person from the Dutch ‘back-of-beyond’. Pim Fortuijn was a homosexual from the liberal urban west.

Of course the Dutch Islamophobes do not all oppose Islam because they are opposed to the discrimination of homosexuals. But it does demonstrate the clash between the liberal culture of many of the Dutch and the extreme conservatism of many of the Muslims in the Netherlands. Most Dutch people will far prefer the company of homosexuals of whatever ethnic background to that of conservative homophobes.

Just like most Sikhs in the UK do not come from towns and cities but from Panjab villages, most Turks and Moroccans come from Turkish and Moroccan  villages.

The Dutch authorities for too long thought that the immigrants would go back home or spontaneously would absorb ‘Dutch values’. There was less engagement with the minorities, there was no CRE.

Next week I will further discuss the present situation and possible remedies.