PLEASE NOTE: The content of this blog and opinions expressed here or pointed to are all my choice and mine alone. In particular, the controversial postings on the present Wilders/Islam issues imply NO reference whatsoever to Tony Blair’s opinions on Islam. (This note is a result of an e-mail I received from a well-respected online friend and commenter, expressing concern that the title of my blog [Tony Blair] might lead some to incorrect conclusions, or even to weaken Mr Blair’s position on interfaith dialogue. That is NOT, repeat NOT my intention or desire.)
Comment at end
16th February, 2009
R.I.P. THEO VAN GOGH
[Pic: Dutch film-maker Theo Van Gogh was shot eight times, stabbed three times, his throat was cut almost to the point of decapitation, and he was left with a dagger in his chest attaching a 6 page note threatening others, including Geert Wilders with the same fate for criticising the “religion of peace”. Amsterdam, 2004]
If you have been following the Geert Wilders fiasco, you will know that Theo Van Gogh, descendant of the world-renowned artist Vincent, was murdered for being as outspoken on his thoughts on Islam as is his fellow Dutchman Geert Wilders today. Mr Wilders is living dangerously.
ARTISTS ARE SPECIAL PEOPLE
It is the artist, painter or writer, sculptor or film-maker, musician or photographer who passes down the generations the beauty, horror, love, hate, glory and desecration of the times in which we live.
It is they whose painstaking works inform our societies and our lives. It is they who inspire us with their message. They are special people. And today, faced with some whose beliefs do not allow for interpretation or artistic endeavour, are under particular threat.
Theo Van Gogh was an artist too; a film-maker. And for making the video below, he ended up dead on the streets of Amsterdam at the hands of an Islamicist fundamentalist.
He was not the first to be killed for speaking freely in his own free land. Pym Fortuyn, a high-profile Dutch politician, likely to have been elected as an MP nine days after his murder, was shot in 2002 at the hands of a militant animal rights activist Volkert van der Graaf, who claimed in court he had murdered Fortuyn to stop him from exploiting Muslims as “scapegoats” and targeting “the weak parts of society to score points” in seeking political power.
Note that Fortuyn was not assassinated by an Islamicist fundamentalist, but by a sympathiser who took exception to Fortuyn’s outspoken remarks on Islam. The PC Brigade going madder than mad.
Update: The YouTube video of “Submission” which I linked to originally has now been removed by YouTube (due to “violation”).
Let’s try this Google version:
Submission Part 1- What Theo van Gogh was murdered for
AND WE PASSED BY ON THE OTHER SIDE
And what did we civilised peoples of all religions and none DO about this? We stuck sticking plaster over the wounds. We locked up the perpetrators and said to ourselves, more in sorrow than despair – “that’ll teach him/them. That’s what’ll happen to him/them if they mess with us.”
Oh, Mr & Mrs Nice European – I have news for you. It is NOT enough. It wasn’t enough then and it isn’t now.
This is a different sort of enemy from anything we have dealt with in the past. It is more dangerous than the enemies of old in far-off lands, identifiable and able to be targeted by geographical borders. This is the enemy within.
In the same way that I believe we were right to tackle radical Islamicist fundamentalism in Iraq, despite arguments about the legitimacy of the action, we needed to do more, FAR more than slap wrists when people are killed for their work and art and for speaking freely in FREE Europe.
It is clear we cannot and should not attack whole nations for the attacks of a few disparately spread radicals. It is impractical anyway, as no one or even several nations contain these people.
Most Muslims, even if you believe their religion to be medieval, do NOT wish harm to the rest of us. Equally, MOST Muslims are abhorred by this sort of act done in the name of their religion.
WHAT IS THE ANSWER?
For me the answer is clear, if difficult to enact.
Islamic leaders themselves must meet regularly, monthly, even weekly until they hammer out how they deal with these people and the issues.
It is THEY who must de-radicalise their own. It will not do for them to stay at arms length from the fray, as though it has nothing to do with them or their religion. It is not enough for them to leave it to all the hosts’ countries to deal with as they see fit. And it is no longer viable for the majority in western lands to constantly bow to the minority, even as they hold knives to our throats.
I realise that this is difficult. It is said to be forbidden to question the Koran. It is said that Islam has no overall leader. It is said that each Muslim can interpret the Koran as it suits him. All of those are incompatible to modern liberal co-existence.
It is time to stop saying and start doing.
MULLAH/IMAMS/ISLAM’S LEADERS MUST STAND UP
Let the Mullahs stand up to be counted. Let THEM put their lives on the line. Let THEM be the ones to take the bullet for the rest of us.
For instance, I have yet to hear of a prominent Muslim starting an interfaith organisation to complement that of the well-known Christian, Tony Blair. Why not?
It is clear his mission is to bring closer together Christianity, Judaism and Islam. He is highly motivated in this task by his faith and likely, by unfinished business.
And yet Mr Blair does NOT belong to a religion which today kills people for their beliefs or lack of belief. In this noble pursuit, he could also be putting his own life in danger for some insoluble task, while fundamental issues of this unquestionable doctrine remain untackled and unresolved.
TIME TO LOOK FORWARD WITH COURAGE
Islam owes both itself and the rest of us a show of courage. We need to move on from this dead-end.
I am not denying that ALL religions have had their bloodthirsty pasts. We all know that they have. But constant re-visiting of the past does not begin to repair the present, much less fix the future.
It is today’s religious issues surrounding Islam that Islamic leaders need to tackle. They need to tackle it seriously, and soon.
THE WORLD IS TOLERANT BUT ITS PATIENCE IS NOT UNLIMITED
Are more deaths on European streets awaiting us? More artists? Is THIS what we Europeans can all expect for exercising our rights of free speech in our own lands? For welcoming others and their cultures into our countries? For providing them with all the rights (and more) they would have had in their original homelands? For willingly handing to them all the benefits of our modern societies … free health care, social and education services, including their own schools? Is this our reward for allowing them to vent their spleen, abusing their hosts and our Police at so-called demonstrations?
Have we been cowed into submission?
Is this why our cowardly Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his hatchet woman the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, banned Wilders from entering Britain a few days ago, dropping FREE SPEECH and EU convention?
Is this what they are afraid of? The awakening Brits finally noticing what’s happening to OUR country?
We might even rise up and politely whisper –
“Erm … excuse me, kind Mr Radi Fundamentalist. If you don’t mind me saying so … would you might awfully not being quite so rude?”
Background to “SUBMISSION” and Theo Van Gogh’s cold-blooded murder (as on YouTube, January 2008)
Working from a script written by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, van Gogh created the 10-minute movie Submission. The movie deals with the topic of violence against women in Islamic societies; telling the stories of four abused Muslim women. The title itself, “Submission”, is a translation of the word “Islam” into English. In the film, telling their stories as if they are speaking to Allah. Qur’anic verses unfavourable to women are projected onto their bodies in Arabic.
After the broadcast of Submission, Van Gogh and Hirsi Ali also received death threats. Van Gogh did not take these very seriously and refused any protection, reportedly telling Ayaan Hirsi Ali: “Who would want to kill the village idiot?
Van Gogh was shot 8 times by Mohammed Bouyeri, a Dutch- Moroccan Muslim.
Ayaan fled Netherland and is now in USA under severe protection. Recently a member of Netherland parliament named Geert Wilders has decided to release a 10 minute movie regarding the truth about violence in Quran. Guess what! The movie hasn’t been released yet and he has received so many death threats that he is under police protection and is constantly changing safe houses.
However he’s stayed firm in his decision regarding the release of the movie. So let’s support freedom of speech and not be intimidated by bunch of savages who are stuck in the 7th century and want to impose their throwback religion on the rest of the civilized world.
Wikipedia Entry on Van Gogh’s murder
Mohammed Bouyeri murdered Van Gogh in the early morning of Tuesday 2 November 2004, in Amsterdam, in front of the Amsterdam East borough office (stadsdeelkantoor) on the corner of the Linnaeusstraat and Tweede Oosterparkstraat ( ), while he was bicycling to work. He shot him eight times with an HS 2000 handgun, and Van Gogh died on the spot. Bouyeri then cut Van Gogh’s throat, nearly decapitating him, and stabbed him in the chest. Two knives were left implanted in his torso, one attaching a five-page note to his body. The note (Text) threatened Western governments, Jews and Ayaan Hirsi Ali (who went into hiding). The note also contained references to the ideologies of the Egyptian organization Takfir wal-Hijra.
The killer, Mohammed Bouyeri, a 26-year-old Dutch citizen, was apprehended by the police after being shot in the leg. Bouyeri has alleged terrorist ties with the Dutch Hofstad Network. He was also charged with the attempted murder of a police officer and bystander, illegal possession of a firearm, and conspiring to murder others, including Hirsi Ali. He was convicted on July 26, 2005 and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole.
- Geert Wilders Latest News Roundup
- The radical loony left/anti-free-speech ‘civil-righters’, on censorship after Dutch murder. They are evidently confused when it comes to the murder of someone of whom they do not approve. How many in the British press would react like this if something similar were to happen here? I dread to think. Perhaps the present government does too.