Monday, November 21, 2005

Muslim fanatics terrorise a nation

The Australian reported Islamist murders and threats have transformed the once-tolerant Netherlands into a place of armed bodyguards and fear, writes Anthony Browne. A film about gay rights should hardly raise an eyebrow in The Netherlands, which for centuries has prided itself as a beacon of freedom of expression and was the first country to legalise gay marriage. But when Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali refugee turned Dutch MP, started making a new film about the oppression of homosexuals under Islam, the threat to everyone taking part was deemed so great that she decided there would be no faces shown on screen and no end credits and that the entire production team would remain anonymous. Ali, a "lapsed Muslim" who revealed this week that she had finished the script, lives in a safe house under 24-hour protection. The precaution is as wise as the courage is extraordinary: Theo van Gogh, the director of Ali's previous film, about domestic violence under Islam, was killed -- repeatedly shot and almost decapitated in broad daylight in the streets of Amsterdam by an Islamic extremist. Impaled on a knife in van Gogh's chest was a five-page note declaring holy war on The Netherlands and threatening death to other public figures deemed "enemies of Islam".

If a person chooses to move to Israel, he should expect that the country will be very Jewish, and that he might or might not feel free to practice his religion if he is not a Jew. (Actually in Israel Christians and Muslims are free to practice their faith, but they might be somewhat uncomfortable when the country celebrates Jewish holidays). If a person chooses to move to an Arab country, he should expect that the country will be very Muslim, and he may find either severe restrictions or even (depending on the country) outright inability to practice his own religion. This is something he should consider before deciding to move there.

A muslim moving to The Netherlands should be aware of the liberal nature of that country, and if he finds that sexual liberation uncomfortable, he should move to a country more attuned to his sensibilities. He should not kill, or threaten to kill, someone that says something, or even makes a movie about something, that offends him.

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