Dhimmitude in the Netherlands: Jihad Watch reader Willem has kindly sent in this English translation of a news item in the Dutch newspaper Trouw, published yesterday.
It concerns a case of censorship of a Dutch professor for daring to criticize Islam. To my knowledge this has not happened before in the Netherlands, and I think it deserves the widest possible publicity.
I think this is a deeply worrying development, the more so as it comes on the heels of a report commissioned by the Dutch government and published last Wednesday in which it is recommended to deal in a more “flexible” manner with “secularism” in order to provide Muslims with more space. Which is, of course, a coded way of saying that criticism of Islam should be off limits.
The subject of Dr. Van der Horst’s lecture was “The Myth of Jewish Cannibalism,” a reference, of course, to the so-called Jewish Blood Libel myth. As far as I can see the other Dutch national newspapers have virtually ignored this news. An exception is NRC-Handelsblad which printed a few lines on page 3 that will only be clear to the initiated.
And here is the translation:
“Islamic antisemitism / Censorship of professors farewell lecture”
Trouw, 18 June 2006
Prof. dr. Pieter W. van der Horst has deleted passages on modern Islamic Antisemitism from his farewell lecture, which he gave yesterday in Utrecht.
The University Board had urged Van der Horst to adjust his farewell lecture, according to Van der Horst out of fear for negative responses from Muslims.
The profesor of New Testament Studies, who is since 1969 a member of Utrecht Universitys Faculty of Theology, is very indignant about the affair, calling it an outrageous infringement of my academic liberty.
The text of the lecture landed quite some time ago on the desk of Prof. Dr. W.H. Gispen, rector magnificus of Utrecht University. Van der Horst was called to justify himself before a commision of four. In the Nieuw Israelitisch Weekblad he says: The Muslim students might make trouble, the rector could not even guarantee my safety, the lecture was below scholarly standards.
In his farewell lecture The Myth of Jewish Cannibalism Van der Horst wanted to call attention among other things to a great global problem, namely that part of the Islamic world has taken over the torch of hatred for the Jews from the nazis and is carrying it forward enthusiastically. The Islamisation of European Antisemitism is one of the most horrendous developments of the last decades.
In the incriminated passage the professor foresaw he would be accused of islamophobia. But one should never close ones eyes to matters one does not like to see or which dont fit a picture of the world that is often determined by ideological blinkers.
In a written response, the University Board confirms the interview with the departing professor. In that interview Van de Horst was urged (not forbidden) not to pronounce certain passages because they did not form part of a scholarly discourse and by their nature should not form part of of an academic farewell lecture.
The University Board says it regrets Van der Horst views the advice as a restriction of academic liberty.