Jihad Watch Director Robert Spencer (left) with Douglas Murray at the Pim Fortuyn Memorial Conference in The Hague last week
The English writer Douglas Murray reports in The Times of London about the Pim Fortuyn Memorial Conference in The Hague, where I had the pleasure of meeting him and hearing his superb address last week. I stayed in the hotel under an assumed name also. Security was indeed very tight; how ironic that a conference on the defense of freedom had to be held under fortress-like conditions.
“˜Would you write the name you”d like to use here, and your real name there?” asked the girl at reception. I had just been driven to a hotel in the Hague. An hour earlier I’d been greeted at Amsterdam airport by a man holding a sign with a pre-agreed cipher. I hadn’t known where I would be staying, or where I would be speaking. The secrecy was necessary: I had come to Holland to talk about Islam.
Last weekend, four years after his murder, Pim Fortuyn’s political party, Lijst Pim Fortuyn, held a conference in his memory on Islam and Europe. The organisers had assembled nearly all the writers most critical of Islam’s current manifestation in the West. The American scholars Daniel Pipes and Robert Spencer were present, as were the Egyptian-Jewish exile and scholar of dhimmitude, Bat Ye”or, and the great Muslim apostate Ibn Warraq.
Both Ye”or and Warraq write and speak under pseudonyms. Standing at the hotel desk I confessed to the girl that I didn’t have any other name, couldn’t think of a good one fast. I was given my key and made aware that the other person in the lobby, a tall figure in a dark suit, was my security detail. I was taken up to my room where I changed, unpacked and headed back out “” the security guard now positioned outside my bedroom door.
I had been invited to deliver the closing speech to the memorial conference on what would have been Fortuyn’s 58th birthday. I said I would talk on the effects of Europe’s increasingly Islamicised population and advocate a tougher European counterterror strategy. There was no overriding political agenda to the occasion, simply a desire for frank discussion.
The event was scholarly, incisive and wide-ranging. There were no ranters or rabble-rousers, just an invited audience of academics, writers, politicians and sombre party members. As yet another example of Islam’s violent confrontation with the West (this time caused by cartoons) swept across the globe, we tried to discuss Islam as openly as we could. The Dutch security service in the Hague was among those who considered the threat to us for doing this as particularly high. The security status of the event was put at just one level below “national emergency”.
This may seem fantastic to people in Britain. But the story of Holland “” which I have been charting for some years “” should be noted by her allies. Where Holland has gone, Britain and the rest of Europe are following. The silencing happens bit by bit. A student paper in Britain that ran the Danish cartoons got pulped. A London magazine withdrew the cartoons from its website after the British police informed the editor they could not protect him, his staff, or his offices from attack. This happened only days before the police provided 500 officers to protect a “peaceful” Muslim protest in Trafalgar Square.
Read it all.