The Dutch authorities fear that “Submission 2,” Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s soon to be released new movie, might make the Netherlands a target of angry Muslims worldwide. The movie criticizes Muslims for their intolerance of gays. In a report published last Wednesday the country’s National Anti-Terrorism Coordinator (Nationaal Coördinator Terrorismebestrijding, NCTb) warns that one must seriously take into account the possibility of an international Muslim boycott of the Netherlands, similar to the boycott of Denmark by the Islamic world earlier this year over the Muhammad cartoons.
The NCTb writes that “Submission 2” has already attracted attention in the Arab world and in Iran. The Dutch authorities are working on a plan about what to do if the movie does, indeed, stir up international Muslim indignation. “Controversial debates or artistic quotes about Islam in the Netherlands can be abused by radical Muslims abroad to agitate against the Netherlands,” the NCTb report says. It states that the Danish cartoon affair shows how minor local incidents can rapidly escalate into violent tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims. “Not only political interests but also economic interests as well as the safety of embassies and Dutch troops abroad can be in jeopardy.”
The NCTb also warns for possible repercussions within the Netherlands. The report says that Dutch Muslims, including soldiers in the Dutch army, are growing ever more radical. An increasing number is said to visit radical mosques controlled by the Salafi, a Saudi dominated sect which advocates a return to the strict rules of 7th century Islam.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali has announced that her new movie will be released later this year. “Submission 2” criticizes the “lack of sexual liberty” of homosexuals in Muslim societies. Hirsi Ali’s first movie, “Submission,” which was released in 2004, criticized the discrimination of women in Muslim societies. The script of the movie was written by Hirsi Ali. The movie depicted verses from the Koran written on the naked backs of battered women. Theo van Gogh, the Amsterdam film maker who directed Hirsi Ali’s movie, was assassinated in November 2004 by a Muslim fanatic. Van Gogh’s murderer pinned a letter to his corpse, threatening to kill Hirsi Ali as well.
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Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a Somali-born immigrant who moved to the Netherlands in 1992 to escape a forced marriage arranged by her family. She has become one of the country’s most outspoken critics of Islam (and of religious conservatism in general). She began her political career by working for the Wiardi Beckman Foundation, the think tank of the Dutch Socialist Party. In 2002 she joined the Liberal Party VVD, for which she was elected in the Dutch Parliament the following year. Last month however, Rita Verdonk, the Dutch minister for Immigration (who also belongs to the VVD), stripped Hirsi Ali of her Dutch nationality because she had not revealed her real identity when she requested political asylum in the Netherlands in 1992. Next September Hirsi Ali will move to the United States, where she has been offered a job at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a conservative think tank that has asked her to help in “furthering the reconciliation of Muslim teachings with the ideals of individual freedom and responsibility and the ‘open society.’”
The way in which the Dutch threw Hirsi Ali out in an attempt to appease Muslim fanatics has attracted worldwide attention. The famous Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa criticized the Netherlands this week in an op-ed piece in the Lima newspaper El Comercio. He wrote that he had “applauded the Netherlands in the past when it was a pioneer in allowing euthanasia, legalising drugs and institutionalising gay marriage. Now I am disillusioned by the disgraceful surrendering of a government and the public opinion of a democratic country to the blackmail of terrorist fanaticism.”
Perhaps Vargas Llosa should ask himself whether the moral relativism of the Dutch, which led to the euthanasia, free drug consumption and gay marriage he applauds, might not have caused the disgraceful attitude of appeasement towards fanatics.
Meanwhile there was a political row in the Dutch Parliament earlier this week, concerning a visit by Queen Beatrix to the Mobarak Mosque in The Hague. The Mobarak Mosque is the oldest mosque in the Netherlands. It was established 50 years ago. Like all visitors the Queen took off her shoes before entering the mosque. However, she also agreed not to shake hands with the imams and radical religious leaders running the mosque. According to the imams, who belong to a radical group, Islam forbids them to touch women other than their wives. Jan-Peter Balkenende, the Dutch Prime Minister, praised the Queen for the “example of religious tolerance” that she had given by not shaking hands. The conservative politician Geert Wilders, however, told Parliament on Wednesday that he had been “greatly irritated” by the Queen and the Prime Minister, who “under the pretext of tolerance are selling out Dutch values such as the equality between men and women.”
In truth this “tolerance” of Beatrix is a sham, which is proved by the fact that in 1982 she refused to visit a group of radical Orthodox Jews because they… refuse to shake hands with women. And there are others whose hands the Dutch Queen will not shake. Politicians from Belgium’s largest party, the Vlaams Belang, learned today that they will not get to see the Dutch Queen during her official state visit to Belgium next month. While in Brussels Beatrix will meet members from all the parties represented in the Belgian Parliament except the VB. This allegedly “far right” party aims for the independence of Flanders, the Dutch-speaking northern half of the country, and many of its members feel Dutch rather than Belgian. However, the VB also opposes the “islamization” of the country and voted against bills legalising abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage and other legislation which the Belgians copied from the Dutch. Earlier this year, during a visit to Belgium, Ayaan Hirsi Ali told a Belgian newspaper that the VB should be banned because, she said, “On many issues they have exactly the same opinions as the Muslim extremists: on the position of women, on the suppression of gays, on abortion. This way of thinking will lead straight to genocide.”
Paul Belien is the editor of The Brussels Journal.