The murder of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, who made a movie critical of the treatment of women in the Islamic faith, has touched off fear that Dutch politicians may also be targeted:
Dutch police now believe that the muder of film maker Theo van Gogh is part of a larger and coordinated action by radical Muslims to public figures that they feel are ‘enemies of Islam.’ As a result, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Geert Wilders, two politicians critical of Muslims, have been taken to a safe house by Dutch police.
Death threats were made by terrorists against Ms. Hirsi Ali, a former Muslim from Somalia who has been critical of Islam and Mr. Wilders who is a vocal opponent of Turkey’s proposed membership in the European Union. The threats were made via telephone calls and on a five page letter attached to van Gogh’s body by a knife.
The note claimed that Holland was controlled by Jews and called for Muslims to make jihad or holy war against infidels such as the Neatherlands, the United States and specifically against Ms. Hirsi Ali. To her, it read, ‘Since you stepped into the political arena in the Netherlands you have been constantly busy terrorising Muslims and Islam with your remarks. With your apostasy you have turned your back on truth and you are marching with the ranks of evil.’
We wrote about Ayaan Hirsi Ali here. Ms. Hirsi Ali was in hiding for a time in 2002 after receiving death threats from radical Muslims. In January 2003, the BBC interviewed her; at that time, she had come out of hiding but was attended by bodyguards. What we wrote then bears repeating:
The [BBC] interview concludes with Ms. Hirsi Ali saying: “And I think that is also another horrible side of Islam – the fact that there is absolutely no toleration.” Which prompted the following editorialising by the BBC:
“Tolerance was a key issue for the Netherlands in 2002.
“The murdered populist politician Pim Fortuyn, who was killed nine days before elections in May, also called Islam a backward religion.
“He did not want to tolerate immigrants. His self-confessed assassin, an animal rights activist, could not stand his intolerance.
“A cornerstone value of Dutch society, tolerance is bound to be central to the January election campaign.”
It seems like the more central tolerance is, the more politicians get shot. Apparently Ms. Hirsi Ali’s bodyguards are there to protect her from those who can’t stand her intolerance. No indication, however, that the Muslims have to hire bodyguards to protect themselves from her. It’s hard to say whether the BBC’s correspondent is an intentional or unintentional ironist.
In the immediate term, hiding Dutch politicians in safe houses to protect them from assassination is probably necessary. But we hope authorities in the Netherlands have figured out that they need to go on the offensive against the killers who want to terrorize their citizens into submission. Assuming, of course, that they have the means to do so.