A Dutch Politician. A Sharia-Compliant Court. Assassination by Trial
By A. Millar
Created 2010-02-05 10:46
A few years ago Britain’s Channel 4 TV broadcast a documentary exposing a number of hate preachers. These were shown variously praising Osama bin Laden, denouncing non-Muslims, or “kuffar,” calling women “deficient,” and inciting violence, including the murder of Jews and homosexuals. Much of what was said, and broadcast in Undercover Mosque, was patently illegal under British law. Instead of acting against the preachers, the police filed a complaint against the filmmakers, who they accused of taking things “out of context” – it’s just that easy to do, when imams call for murder, apparently.
The filmmakers were later vindicated. But the message had been sent loud and clear: Shine a light on the growth of radical Islam, expose the extremists, and you – not they – will be prosecuted.
Britain’s police weren’t the only ones to defend the fanatics. Equally surreal, when he interviewed David Henshaw, the producer of the documentary, MP George Galloway refused to even mention the Koran by name, even though it was he who introduced it in defense of the hate preachers. When Henshaw brought up preachers inciting the murder of gays, exposed in Undercover Mosque, Galloway barked :
“Were they calling for killing or were they referring to a text – a remarkably similar text to that that you would find in the Old Testament.”
Which one? Galloway wouldn’t say, but continued: “The mere reading of the Old Testament [or “a remarkably similar text”] would be to make a pronouncement about the impermissibility of homosexuality, for example.” Galloway’s point, of course, was that that would be hate speech, at least, that is, if it wasn’t now protected speech in Britain and continental Europe.
Ironically, if Galloway had have used the word “Koran,” while suggesting that “the mere reading” of it might inspire the kind of hate on display in Undercover Mosque, he himself might well have stepped over the line into the realm of hate crime. Galloway, though, a friend of Islamic extremists everywhere, is perfectly happy to use this kind of Newspeak. And plenty of mainstream British and European politicians are only slightly less craven.
Dutch parliamentarian, and head of the Party for Freedom (PVV), Geert Wilders is one of those who is not. As you can imagine, this gets him into all kinds of trouble, from media trashing to death threats. This week he was back in court in Amsterdam to answer charges of violating articles 137c and 137d of the Dutch Penal Code, which prohibit “inciting hatred” or “discrimination” against anyone because of their religion, race, gender, etc., and carry up to a two-year prison sentence.
Wilders has repeated ad nauseam that he has nothing against Muslims, but only against the ideology of Islam, and in the pre-hearing, once again reiterated that he was not “out to offend people. I have nothing against Muslims. I have a problem with Islam and the Islamization of our country because Islam is at odds with freedom.”
The transformation of Amsterdam from the world’s most liberal city to one where gays are now frequently attacked, is just one of the aspects of “Islamization” that Wilders has a problem with. And for this, the court apparently has a problem with Wilders. His statement, “Those Moroccan boys are really violent. They beat up people because of their sexual orientation,” is included in the summons, despite the fact that the rise in the number of attacks on gays, perpetrated largely by Moroccan youths, is well known to the Dutch, and has been widely reported, not least of all by Radio Netherlands and American author Bruce Bawer.
The summons also documents Wilders statements against Islam, including his call to ban the Koran, which he has described as a “fascist book.” Whatever one thinks of Wilders’ position here – and I’m no fan of banning – it’s worth remarking that his accusations are in line with Galloway’s defense of Islam, i.e., that “the mere reading” of the Koran – or “text,” to use the euphemism – should, or would, be a hate crime. If so, we might wonder why that would be protected speech under Dutch or any other law, while criticizing or even condemning it means running the risk of being dragged into court?
Then there’s the summons’ scene-by-scene breakdown of Wilders’ 17-minute movie Fitna. Similar to Undercover Mosque, Fitna is largely a compilation of documentary footage – again of hate preachers inciting violence against non-Muslims, Jews, and so on, as well as scenes of actual violence committed by Islamic militants and terrorists, and extracts of the Koran.
The suras shown in writing throughout the film are those such as surah 8, verse 60 (“Prepare for them whatever force and cavalry ye are able of gathering, to strike terror, to strike terror into the hearts of the enemies, of Allah and your enemies”) which are used by Islamic militants to justify, and indeed to inspire, terrorist attacks and other atrocities.
This is obvious to anyone who has spent even a few hours perusing extremist Muslim chat rooms (including those run by and for those living in the West), has the slightest knowledge of al-Qaeda or other terrorist networks, or has read the Hamas charter, which so neatly sums up the Jihadist’s raison d’etre in article eight:
“Allah is its target, the Prophet is its model, the Koran its constitution: Jihad is its path and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of its wishes.”
Because of the death threats he received for claiming that Islam was a violent, intolerant religion, Wilders has been forced to have 24-hour protection, and to sleep each night in a different location, including occasionally in prison cells. When he visited Britain recently to meet with Lord Pearson, head of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), inside the House of Lords, extremists gathered outside with placards proclaiming “Geert Wilders deserves Islamic punishment – sharia is coming.” In an interview with the press one protestor even said that they were there to “warn him,” and that, “obviously he knows that in Islam the punishment for the one who insults the prophet is capital punishment, and he should take lessons from people like Theo van Gogh.”
Van Gogh was the Dutch filmmaker behind Submission , a movie critical of Islam’s treatment of women, released in 2004 and starring Aayan Hirsi Ali. He was murdered later in the year by Islamist Mohammed Bouyeri, who shot him eight times, slit his throat, and pinned a letter, threatening Hirsi Ali, to his chest with a dagger. She left for the US. Wilders carried on, with protection.
Wilders has so far escaped “Islamic punishment,” yet he is now forced to answer to a court in a supposedly liberal democracy for criticizing Islam. The court itself seems determined to stack the deck against Wilders, allowing him only three of the 18 witnesses he had requested.
The Dutch authorities, however, like those of other European states, appear almost to have sided with the terrorists and extremists – not merely over non-Muslims, but over moderate and reformists Muslims as well. As Salim Mansur said in the Toronto Sun, “the Amsterdam Court of Appeal has conceded space to the Islamists by accommodating, in practical terms, their demand for acceptance of Shariah (Islamic law) within secular society.” Filip Dewinter, a leader of the Flemish political party Vlaams Belang put it rather more pithily, calling the trial, “an assassination attempt on a democratic party” – and, by extension, on democracy itself.