Monday, October 08, 2007

The West's Challenge

The case of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Dutch-Somali politician and writer, poses a very serious, immediate challenge to the Dutch people. And all of us in the West who value freedom have a stake in how the Dutch respond to the challenge. Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum explains:

Hirsi Ali has been under Dutch police protection since 2002, when her public comments about mistreatment of women in the Dutch Muslim community and references to herself as "secular" led to death threats in Holland.

Though encouraged to remain in the country -- and promised security protection -- by the government then in power, the mood in Holland changed in 2004.

That year, a fanatic named Mohammed Bouyeri infamously murdered Theo Van Gogh, the director of a film about the oppression of Muslim women -- and then thrust a knife bearing a note threatening Hirsi Ali, who wrote the film's script, into the victim's chest.

Dutch society became, and remains, bitterly divided in the wake of the Van Gogh murder.

Some of Hirsi Ali's compatriots decided it was time to address the issues of women, Islam and integration head on.

The Dutch writer Leon de Winter, a defender of Hirsi Ali, talks openly about his country's failure to integrate Muslim immigrants, attributing the problem to the Dutch "guilt complex": "As soon as we let people from the Third World come here to work in our rich country, we . . . somehow saw them as sacred victims."

Others simply want Hirsi Ali and her ilk to go away forever, thereby keeping Holland out of the headlines and Amsterdam off terrorists' hit lists. Unlike the British, who have gotten used to the idea that faraway events can affect them, the Dutch, at least in this century, are more insular.

That helps explain why, in 2006, the Dutch government tried to revoke Hirsi Ali's citizenship over an old immigration controversy, and why her neighbors went to court that year to have her evicted from her home (they claimed the security threat posed by her presence impinged upon their human rights).

But although she did finally move to the United States, the argument continued in her absence. Last week, the Dutch government abruptly cut off her security funding, forcing her to return briefly to Holland.

The reasons given were financial, but there was clearly more to it. To put it bluntly, many in Holland find her too loud, too public in her condemnation of radical Islam. She doesn't sound conciliatory, in the modern continental fashion.

Compare her description of Islam as "brutal, bigoted, fixated on controlling women" with the German judge who, citing the Koran, in January told a Muslim woman trying to obtain a divorce from her violent husband that she should have "expected" her husband to deploy the corporal punishment his religion approves.

Hirsi Ali herself says she is often told, in so many words, that she's "brought her problems on herself." Now the Dutch prime minister openly says he wants her to deal with them alone.

Fortunately, Hirsi Ali is already back in the United States, under professional, full-time, well-resourced and for the moment privately organized protection. But this week, the Dutch parliament is due to debate her status once again.

And once again, the Dutch will be confronted with the facts that Hirsi Ali remains a Dutch citizen; that the threat to her life comes at least in part from groups based in Holland; that she lives abroad because the Dutch political situation forced her to; and that when she speaks out, she does so in defense of what she believes to be Dutch values.

Whether or not the Dutch like it -- and I'm sure most of them don't -- revoking her police protection will send a clear message to the world: that the Dutch are no longer willing to protect their own traditions of free speech. Resources will be found, and she will recover. But will Holland?
Do you remember the book Winning By Intimidation?

That title is a good description of the strategy many Muslims are using to destroy Western civilization and replace it with a fundamentalist form of their religion in which it’s OK, even good, for a husband to beat his wife.

Threats, assassinations, riots and bombings are all part of the intimidation strategy which works hand-in-hand with “the false promises” strategy.

The “false promises” strategy comes into play when “Muslim spokesmen” assure Western governments if they’ll just give in now, there won’t be any more intimidation acts.

Many Western governments, already intimidated, go the Munich route and “buy” the false promises.

So the Muslim extremists and their moderate Muslim enablers “win” with “the false promises” and then start another round of intimidation.

It’s been going on in the West for decades. Hirsi is a recent and notable victim of those Muslims who would destroy what the West stands for. So are the Dutch and the rest of us in the West who value our freedoms.

Hirsi knows she’s in a desperate fight. Too many in the West, including America, don’t.

Anne Applebaum’s entire column is here. I hope you read it.

Applebaum is someone with whom I often disagree, but I respect her as a thoughtful writer and genuine human rights advocate.

Hat tip:


Jim in San Diego said...

The radical islam strategy is another form of the "divide and conquer" strategy used so effectively by other despostisms. We use "Munich" as the template of what not to do (surrender slice by slice until you are finally backed into a corner and have to fight - at a time your enemies are at maximum strength and you are at maximum weakness.) Another terrible example was the German management of the holocaust. Some Jews harmed other Jews in an attempt to save their own lives, or improve their own treatment by the Nazis.

A policy to consider is the one adopted by Israel in judging the behavior of jews under terrible duress during the holocaust, who may have done things to harm other Jews in order to save themselves. Your behavior is judged in the context of what your behavior would mean if everyone adopted it. (This is a rough statement of the idea - I hope it is understandable)

As applied to the Dutch, if every nation refused to protect women who protested the abuse of women by radical muslims, the result would be a catastrophe for human rights. Therefore, NO nation may adopt such a policy.

This would defeat the "divide and conquer" strategy. There would be no "divide", and therefore, nothing to conquer.