The Washington Post (thanks to P.G.) awakens to something we have covered here for months: the personal risk that Dutch public figures take if they say something that offends the warriors of jihad.
LEIDEN, Netherlands — As Prof. Afshin Ellian arrived at Leiden University law school one day recently, two bodyguards hustled him through the entrance and past the electronically locked doors leading to his office. For the rest of the day, the men stood sentry outside those doors, scanning the hallways for any sign of the people who want him dead.
Ellian is one of a soaring number of Dutch academics, lawmakers and other public figures who have been forced to accept 24-hour protection or go into hiding after receiving death threats from Islamic extremists. In a country with a tradition of robust public debate and an anything-goes culture, the fear of assassination has rattled society and forced people such as Ellian to reassess whether it’s worth it to express opinions that could endanger their lives.
Yes, Ellian. Of course it is. I am aware that I am somewhat eccentric in this opinion. More’s the pity. As fewer and fewer people in the West are willing to take the risks involved in telling the truth about Islamic terrorism — whether those risks manifest themselves as death threats or as ostracism from all the trendiest and/or most powerful circles in Washington or as repeated snubs from even from the most “cutting-edge,” “anti-PC” talk shows — the worse off we all are. If people value their lives more than the truth, they will die anyway, and their children will live in an environment where lies reign supreme and everyone is too terrified to confront them.
Today the chattering classes tell themselves lies about the multiculturalist paradise of tolerance that was Muslim Spain, or the Ottoman Empire. Those who challenge these lies are vilified and ignored. What will happen? The next generation of chatterers will grow up in a new version of Muslim Spain or the Ottoman Empire, and far too late they will find out the truth: that those places were not Dantescan Paradisos in which Jews, Christians, and Muslims stood equal and gazed upon the glorious visage of the Great God Tolerance. Rather, they were hellholes of dhimmitude, oppression and subjugation — just like the one they’re living in. But everyone will be afraid to say so.
I’d rather die at the hands of some righteous jihadist maniac than will that for my children.
“The extremists are afraid that if Dutch society becomes a safe haven for an intellectual discussion of political Islam, it will be very dangerous for them,” said Ellian, an Iranian-born professor of social cohesion who escaped to the Netherlands two decades ago from Afghanistan after receiving death threats from communists there. “This is normal behavior in the Middle East, but not in Europe. They think it’s their obligation to kill people they consider to be enemies of Islam.”
Here in the United States things have not yet progressed so far. Here, some Muslims think it’s their obligation to defame and smear people they consider to be enemies of Islam. It works well enough among those ignorant enough to allow themselves to be manipulated.
In other European countries and in the United States, Islamic extremists have generally sought to spread terror with indiscriminate attacks — bombing trains and hijacking airliners. In the Netherlands, however, radicals have embraced a different strategy: singling out individuals for assassination.
The fear in the Netherlands erupted one year ago when Theo van Gogh, a filmmaker and renowned social provocateur, was fatally shot and slashed around the throat while walking on a busy street in Amsterdam. His assailant, a Dutch man of Moroccan descent, pinned a five-page note to the body with a knife explaining that van Gogh — as well as a number of Dutch politicians and other “unbelievers” — deserved to die for insulting Islam.
Since then, the Dutch security services have reported uncovering several bombing and assassination attempts organized by Islamic extremists, fueling the public sense of alarm.
In late October, police arrested seven young Muslims on suspicion of planning to murder unidentified lawmakers and blow up the headquarters of the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service….
But on that day, an unknown gunman opened fire on the office of Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk, who has threatened to expel radical Muslim clerics. Windows were shattered, but no one was injured.
Now, many prominent people don’t go out in public alone. In Amsterdam, Mayor Job Cohen, who is Jewish, and a Dutch Moroccan alderman, Ahmed Aboutaleb, have bodyguards after receiving death threats from Islamic extremists. In The Hague, the national seat of government, security has been stepped up.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somalian-born member of parliament who was a friend and colleague of van Gogh, fled the country and sought refuge on a U.S. military base after van Gogh’s killer wrote that she was next on the hit list. Another legislator, Geert Wilders, has been taken into protective custody since radicals vowed to behead him as “an enemy of Islam.”
Dutch authorities acknowledged that they don’t yet understand the roots of the problem. “This is a very fundamental question, and we don’t have a very good answer,” said Vincent van Steen, a spokesman for the Dutch intelligence agency, known by the abbreviation AIVD. “We haven’t seen this in the Netherlands since the 17th century, where a politician was murdered.”
Well, they can read all about the roots of the problem in The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), but their politically correct blinders would no doubt preclude their picking up such a book.