As I reported yesterday, Geert Wilders has proposed that the Netherlands ban the Koran. Our Dutch correspondent Mr. Resident has translated another news story about the kerfuffle, this one from the AD news service.
I’m not in favor of banning books — being somewhat of a freedom-of-the-press zealot, I agree with the commenters who want the Koran to remain available, so that everyone can see how stupid, violent, and hateful it is.
But the rules in Europe are different, and if the Koran weren’t the holy screed of a protected minority, it would have been banned long ago.
Anyway, here’s the latest:
The Hague — The call from Geert Wilders to ban the Koran is insulting and damaging for the relationship within the society. Wilders unravels the climate of tolerance1 and compassion by blaming all Muslims.
In a harsh condemnation the cabinet rejected the proposal of the leader of the Party for Liberty to ban possession and usage of the Koran. “Such a ban is not planned,” according to minister Vogelaar2 (Integration) on behalf of the cabinet. According to minister Verhagen (Foreign Affairs) Wilders has, with his judgments, passed the boundaries of decency.
Most parliamentary factions condemn Wilder’s plea for the ban. A Koran ban according to them is diametrically opposed to freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Many parties consider that Wilders has gone much too far. “Geert has lost the way”, said Zijlstra, a VVD member of the house.
Wilders wants to ban the Koran, as this book would encourage hatred and violence. As an example he stated the maltreatment last Saturday of Eshan Jami, the chairman of the committee for apostate Muslims. He might have been molested for his harsh criticism about the Koran and the prophet Mohammed3.
Wilders compares the Koran with Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler, which has been banned from sale in the Netherlands since the end of WW2. Lawyers in Lelystad and Rotterdam filed a legal complaint against Wilders for inciting hatred.
Representatives of Dutch Muslims reacted negatively to the attack on their faith by Wilders. Chairman Abdeljamid Khairoun of the Dutch Council for Muslims said that Wilders suffers from a ‘religion syndrome’ and misquoted parts of the Koran. According to the “Contact Group of Muslims and Government” Wilders is merely trying to get more attention focused on his party and enlarge his group of supporters.
Cardinal Simonis4 said the proposed ban of the Koran was “too crazy to consider”.
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Even Filip Dewinter, chairman of the Flemish Vlaams Belang Party, is not in favor of a Koran ban, because of freedom of speech.
Also, Dewinter predicted this proposed ban would have the opposite effect of what it should achieve. “This works as a boomerang. Muslims will radicalize because of it,” he thinks.
The TV program “EenVandaag” polled a 65% support of Wilders in his own party.
1 Tolerance? On Amsterdam Gay Pride Day, eight gays were beaten up in Amsterdam and two in The Hague. The eight gays were beaten up in separate parts of the city, more or less in the same time frame. The Amsterdam Police do not see this as a possible organized gay bashing, and thinks these were ordinary robberies.
The two gays beaten up in The Hague were maltreated in a gay cruising area at night. The police in The Hague find this no reason to consider it a gay bashing.
Earlier this year a man was severely injured in a knife attack, after he was approached by a gang of (Moroccan) youths who first called him ‘filthy faggot, we’re gonna get you!’, threw beer bottles at him, and finally knifed him. The youths were arrested later, and brought to trial. The judge did not consider this intentional gay bashing, and did not hand out severe judgment. The sentence was 6 months, the time the defendants had spent already in confinement.
Tolerance exists. But not for Dutch citizens.
2 Minister Vogelaar (PvdA = socialist party) created an outcry immediately after her appointment by stating ‘there is nothing wrong in wearing a burka’, refusing to proceed with a proposed law on banning the burka. She was utterly surprised at the nationwide criticism. Later she made the news by publicly stating that our society will be based on Jewish/Christian/Muslim values. Now she has made the news by having a member of the Muslim Brotherhood as an advisor. This person is wanted for terrorism in several countries, Muslim countries among them. 3 Eshan Jami is a naturalized citizen from Iran, who rejected the Muslim faith. He is a city councilman in Voorburg for the PvdA. He started a committee for apostates from the Muslim faith. Within his party, he was indirectly sabotaged and asked to stop his initiative. Last Saturday he was attacked after leaving a supermarket. Three assailants were waiting for him, and beat him up. They called him a Jew, a gay and a traitor of his country. He is now under permanent police protection. His own party, the PvdA has not send him a word of support after his maltreatment. 4 Cardinal Simonis publicly said that Allah and God are one and the same; thus, there is no real difference between Roman Catholics and Muslims.