Cheat-Seeking Missles

Monday, December 20, 2004

The Netherlands and Muslims

Spain's awful terrorist attack on its train commuters notwithstanding, the Netherlands has become the lens through which Europe's increasing struggle with "Islamification" should be viewed.

Theo Van Gogh's execution and the many other death threats by Islamofascists first turned our attention to Holland's increasingly hot confrontation between European tradition, Islamic immigration and European jihad and job fears. (Pym Fortuyn, the populist anti-immigration politician who was killed two years ago, was assassinated by an animal rights extremist of ethnic Dutch origin.)

Now, anti-immigration rhetoric, specifically directed at Muslim immigation, is a growing force in Holland's politics. The Washington Times reports today (here) that Parliamentarian Geert Wilders is heating up the rhetoric big-time, going to a universe far, far away from President Bush's drumbeat that Islam is "a religion of peace." Here's a sample:

Mr. Wilders calls mosques "houses of terror and recruitment" for jihad. He describes Islam as "dangerous" and "fascist," articulating the fears of many.

He says that Muslims beat their wives and children, and occasionally kill a daughter who wishes to marry outside the faith. He says that imams preach that homosexuals -- even in a society where same-sex "marriage" is legal -- should be executed.

Unpleasant rhetoric to say the least. Wilders' party, the deceivingly named but conservative People's Party for Freedom and Democracy, didn't care much for it and booted him from the party earlier this year. Still, events propelled Wilders forward:

But [the negative effects of being expelled from his party] changed with the Nov. 2 slaying of Theo van Gogh, the anti-Islamist crusader and social provocateur, gunned down and then slashed with a knife by a Dutch citizen of Moroccan descent in broad daylight on an Amsterdam street.

Within days, at least 19 other members of the Netherlands parliament were supporting Mr. Wilders -- at least on immigration issues.

Wilders is playing a dangerous game, not just because he's now a target for beheading by Islamofascists, but also because he uses wordplay to make people think Islam's extremes are the norm. So now we have growing support for hot heads on the right and intense fear of heartless murderers on the left, all swirled together in a typically European low-birth-rate/high-social-spending society.

We'll be keeping our eye on how the Dutch respond to all this.