I am writing this from a stagecoach station in the Midwest, waiting for my connecting coach back to Secure Undisclosed Locationville; I’ve just arrived back in the United States by express transatlantic kayak from the Netherlands, where I have been for the last four days. I had the honor of being one of the speakers at the Pim Fortuyn Memorial Conference in The Hague, which was organized by the Dutch political party Lijst Pim Fortuyn, along with Ibn Warraq, Bat Ye’or, Daniel Pipes, Lars Hedegaard, David Littman, Douglas Murray, and others. The topic of my address, which will be published along with the others in a book, was “Do Moderate Muslims Exist?”
It was delightful to be in Holland in the company of so many interesting people, and I believe the Conference was a wonderful success. (I have a few photos and will post them upon return to the Jihad Watch Towers in Secure Undisclosed Locationville.) I arrived in The Hague on a misty and overcast Thursday morning and, as the activities connected to the Conference were not set to begin until that evening, I started off down the street to see what there was to see. As it happened, before too long I ran into Bat Ye’or, Ibn Warraq and David Littman. Ibn Warraq, with a keen eye for the street signs, presently led us to the Mauritshuis, a charming little museum full of works by Rubens, Rembrandt and other masters. The Mauritshaus houses Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” and “View of Delft,” which Ibn Warraq particularly wanted to see — he noted its mention by Proust, who had called it “the most beautiful picture in the world.”
I am not in the habit of telling personal anecdotes at Jihad Watch, but this is one with a point. The experience in the museum — brief as it was as we had to hurry back for a reception at the American Embassy — was overwhelming to me personally. For here was a part of our patrimony, our culture, our heritage, that is in imminent peril as Eurabia advances. I couldn’t help but notice that while hijabbed women were common on the streets of The Hague — I’d guess that one out of every 5 or so women I saw in the center of the city was wearing one — there were absolutely none inside the museum. Of course, for a pious Muslim the works of the masters are so much jahiliyya — the products of the society of unbelievers — and hence worthless.
Of course, everyone is free not to go to a museum, but there is more to it than that. The ideological kin of those who blew up the Buddhas of Bamiyan have entered the Netherlands in large numbers. Ibn Warraq’s Proust reference may before too long become sadly apposite; remembrance of things past indeed. But did the people moving through the Mauritshuis with Ibn Warraq, Bat Ye’or, David Littman and me realize how much that ideology imperils the paintings they were so coolly admiring, and the museum in which we were admiring them? I do not think they did. That ignorance, of course, was what our Conference was trying to address. There is a great deal more work that must be done on this. And about the Conference itself — more to come. Watch this space.