Irshad Manji and Tofik Dibi on Dutch TV

Earlier today (or, strictly speaking, yesterday) the reform-minded Muslims Irshad Manji and Tofik Dibi were heckled and assaulted during a public debate in the Netherlands. Below is a discussion about the incident from the Dutch television program Pauw & Witteman. Ms. Manji and Mr. Dibi were interviewed in both Dutch and English, and the Dutch portions have been subtitled.

Many thanks to H. Numan for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

H. Numan has also written an essay about Tofik Dibi and the dilemma he faces in the Netherlands. It will be published here sometime tomorrow (or, strictly speaking, later today).

Below is an article about the events described in the video:

Netherlands: Radicals Disrupt Islam Debate in Amsterdam

The Islamists threatened and spat on Ms Manji. Tofik Dibi, who accompanied Ms Manji to the police station where she filed a report, said that “the disruption of the debate shows that even in the Netherlands it is necessary to continue the debate on a free and moderate Islam.” Eventually, the police were called in to remove the protestors. A police spokesperson later said that two of the 22 men involved were arrested, one for making threats and one for insulting police. Irshad Manji, a known critic of Islam, is the author of The Islam Dilemma. On the current affairs programme Pauw en Witteman she said she had experienced her share of fierce opposition but that she had never before seen anything like this.

The Islamists, who also threw raw eggs, demanded that the debate participants leave the stage; the debaters refused. Mr Dibi later tweeted that the debate “about a promising new generation of Muslims” was later continued at the request of Ms Manji. Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders tweeted: “Dibi does not deserve eggs from radical Muslims or disruption of the meeting. He must be able to say what he wants.”

Hat tip for the RNW article: JP.

12 thoughts on “Irshad Manji and Tofik Dibi on Dutch TV

  1. ChristianInfidel says:

    Thank you for yet another informative posting.

    On I could only find Manji’s book, “The Trouble With Islam Today.” Perhaps that is the U.S. title?

    I applaud Ms. Manji’s desire to reform Islam, as I do Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser’s, but I doubt that it can be done in any intellectually coherent way.

    From reading’s “Look inside this book,” “Surprise me” excerpt, it appears that Ms. Manji subscribes to glowing visions of Muhammad and of Islam’s early era which, as far as I can tell, are seriously unrealistic, and these are her basis for reform. I do not think they can withstand scrutiny but, to the extent that her views become popular in the Muslim world, Islam’s threat to human rights should diminish. This could be a first step toward the collapse of Islam which seems to me inevitable if real freedom of thought and expression ever are allowed in Islam.

  2. Lesson to take home: whenever there’s trouble and uproar because of Islam, what do we get? More Islam.

    This whole thing works like a good cop/bad cop routine, and I find it especially nauseating, to see how the two “moderate Muslims” use the occasion to promote their idiosyncratic version of “peaches and cream” Islam.

    That Manji woman, with her, “I’m laughing with you”.. Yikes.

    Can’t wait to read what Mr Numan has to say about Tofik Dibi, this disingenuous Humpty Dumpty* of progressive Islam.

    Kind regs from Amsterdam,

    * “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean..”

  3. I would not criticize Ms. Manji herself, as I would not criticize Dr. Jasser.
    I think their efforts can be critiqued, but any Western critique of their efforts must take a back seat to the Muslim resistance to their efforts.
    Manji and Jasser, Westerners will critique your efforts.
    But Muslims will resist them.
    Westerners will critique ideas.
    But Muslims tend to threaten persons; and if they see fit, they will silence you through the use of force.
    But I’m sure both have been so advised before.

  4. GCM –

    “But I’m sure both have been so advised before.”

    Yes, countless times, to absolutely no avail though, as was to be expected.

    These people (Manji and Dibi) are not in the game to engage in honest debate about Islam. Their mission is to sanitize Islam before a Western audience. They represent “denialist Islam”.

    Tofik Dibi knows perfectly well that ordinary Muslims don’t really care about his views, they don’t even bother to resist him. That’s just the self-serving image (of the brave “reformer”) he succeeds in exploiting here with these Belgian activists.
    Both denialist “moderates” even go so far that when in this particular case, when Islamic activists stand in front of their faces, intimidating them with the black flag of jihad, what do we get? A lesson in downplaying and denial that the hate-beards represent Islam (they’re extremists, you know), immediately followed by the to be expected attack on “Islamophobes”, like Geert Wilders.

    Instead of acknowledging that there’s something fundamentally and inherently wrong with Islam, they present their denialism as reform-mindedness. The media audience in and outside the P&W studio, is expected to join them in denial, and sure thing, they eagerly oblige.

    Shameful exhibition.

    Take care,

  5. One could call Irshad Manji a “Islamic reformer” (although intellectually dishonest). However, the Dutch politician Tofik Dibi (of “GroenLinks”, literally translated “GreenLeft”) is a notorious islam-apologist. He called critics of Islam “racists”, “Breiviks”, and “islamophobes”. In 2008, he was a speaker at the Marxism Festival, organized by the International Socialists (this extreme-Left organization sympathizes with Hamas and Hezbollah and started a campaign against Dutch apostates of Islam). Although Dibi is loved by the politically incorrect mainstream media, he is a disgusting figure.

  6. I watched the video, and I am quite annoyed by several items:

    1. The radical Muslim group came from Belgium – but said that they came from Holland. Pondering Breivik and the possibility of a false flag operation, where are the EU administrators located?! Hmmm.

    2. The radical Muslim group brought eggs to throw at the ‘reformist’ Muslims. How come these Muslim hypocrites (Muslims who try to reform Islam) who would presumably be under a Muslim death sentence merely fear that a few eggs ‘might’ be lobbed at them whereas true Muslim apostates and infidel anti-jihad cartoonists and politicians are violently murdered?

    Does anyone here get the sense that either of these ‘reformist’ Muslims are truly afraid for their lives? If not, why not?

    Hint: Faith is Allah seems to me to be the wrong answer.

    3. The ‘reformist’ Muslim speaker outright LIES about the meaning black jihad flag. If little old infidel me knows what that flag means, then so does he! 🙁

    Quoth he: “wave a flag” and “a black flag with Islamic texts” and “Something like Allah is great was written on it.”

    Quoth me: Yeah buddy. You know EXACTLY what that black flag means – Saudi Arabian Muslim supremacism – and My God is greater than your God.

  7. Sagunto: “…they present their denialism as reform-mindedness.”

    Yes. Yes. Yes. And, if the extremists only comprise a tiny minority of Muslims, then WHY precisely would the main of the religion need to be reformed – when surely it would be so much easier just to incarcerate the tiny minority of troublesome radical Islamists in each country?

    Unless, of course, the mainstream Muslim adherents agree with – and are – ‘radical’ Islamists….

    Muslim wolves meet infidel sheep.

    Wolf: I’d never eat you. I only eat other wolves.

    Sheep: OK. You seem nice, but are your brother wolves eating my brother sheep?

    Wolf: Well, yes, but only because your brother sheep are afraid of my brother wolves. If sheep would stop discriminating against wolves – and treat wolves fairly – and trust wolves, then wolves would be much happier.

    Besides, I would NEVER eat you. I feel that you MUST give me a fair chance – and judge me on my own wolf actions.

    Sheep: OK. I’m so depressed that your brother wolves are eating my brother sheep.

    Wolf: Just look deeply into my eyes, and I will protect you from my brother wolves.

    Sheep: OK. You seem nice.

    Wolf: Thank you. I am a very nice wolf, and I’m also hungry. Do you have any wolf food around here?!

    Sheep: Yes, but please eat the other sheep first.

  8. The statement that more and more Muslims are dressing in western attire seems incorrect to me. Look at photo histories of the 50’s and 60’s of Cairo, Tehran, Kabul, Tripoli and Islamobad and you will see a small percentage of people dressed in Muslim attire. Take photos of the same locations today and you will see a very small percentage of people dressed in Western attire.
    I have never seen photos of Muslim communities in the west during the same time frame; say that of a gathering of one of the few mosques in the west during the 50’s and 60’s but, I would be willing to bet that the majority wore western garb.
    This is all part of the propaganda/sanitizing that a Western person who has not sought out the near term development of Islam has no way of filtering as untrue.
    And that is why I read and contribute to GOV!

  9. “If the extremists only comprise a tiny minority of Muslims, then WHY precisely would the main of the religion need to be reformed – when surely it would be so much easier just to incarcerate the tiny minority of troublesome radical Islamists in each country?”

    That’s brilliant @Eggy, simply brilliant.. and so very true!

    And yes, the whole thing could have been staged (see below). Certainly felt that way.

    But here’s the point: it doesn’t have to be, to work exactly as if it were staged, and probably better, since cooperation isn’t exactly the forte among Muslims with their fragile and extremely brittle ego’s.

    Islam works like a self-organizing “good cop/bad cop” routine, dialectical Islamic autopoiesis, so to speak 😉 that’s how it operates when it has infected a gullible and compromised host. If not removed from society, it always leads to more Islam.

    Take care,

    P.s.: we’ve had comparable things going on here at the time of the 2006 Danish cartoons upheaval. There were these AFA’s (“anti” fascists) going after their “opponents”, the skinheaded “right-wing extremists”. [I saw this happening, since I was there on Dam square, demonstrating solidarity with the Danish cartoonists].
    Only distinguishing feature between them were the hoods and masks worn by the AFA’s (have a few pictures). These confrontations were clearly staged (skins exposed as belonging to AFA) and photographed up close in beautiful, dramatic poses, by what later appeared to be the house photographer of AFA. It is also commonly known that the AFA’s are indirectly funded through orgs that receive redistributed tax payers’ money from the state. Nice..

  10. @Segunto and Egghead: I’m not sure if calling Manji and Didi “denialist Muslims” is quite fair.

    I am a Christian, but I am at odds with the conservative branch of my faith. As a liberal Christian I do not stand in agreement with my conservative brothers and sisters on many issues. It is my desire that, through dialogue, a more informed light can be shown on some contentious issues (e.g. homosexuality and abortion rights).

    But just because I take a more liberal approach than many Christians, it doesn’t mean I want to — or should be required to — abandon my faith. My faith is extremely important to me. How can I say that it is any different for Manji and Didi? I cannot. They are Muslim and their faith is important to them, yet they have disagreements with their more conservative Muslim brothers and sisters. They’re no more denialist Muslims than I am a denialist Christian.

    I think that what they mean when they say that their religion needs to be reformed, is in the same regard with which I say the same about Christianity. A majority of Muslims believe, for example, that homosexuality is a grave sin, but certainly wouldn’t go out and thrown acid on gay people or attempt to lynch them. Only extremists do such things. Nevertheless most Muslims do voice their disapproval of being gay and of gay marriage, and would certainly vote against it if given a chance in a referendum. That doesn’t make them extremists, it just makes them conservative and in need of an updated course in biology and sexuality.

    Manji and Didi are progressive Muslims trying to reform Islam. It’s an uphill battle to be sure, but not impossible. We should stand by them rather than call them denialists. They know full well there are crazies in their faith.

  11. Erik –

    “Christian” can mean a lot of things, and moreover, I’m not exactly clear as to which inter-Christian discussion you refer to. Let me take a wild guess and say that it’s probably among the protestant denominations and sects.

    But let my try to provide you with an answer, in a nutshell, so it might come off a little ehm.. blunt, which, I assure you, is not my intention, but here goes:

    The inability to critically discuss Islam and Islamic doctrine without recourse or reference to Christian analogies, is part of the problem.

    The extended reply would entail a three line attack on the supposition that: (a) historically, “reformation” in a Christian setting was by and large a good thing; (b) that “reformation”, i.e. going back to the foundations of a particular religion, isn’t what’s already ongoing in Muslim culture. Going back to one’s alleged “roots” within an Islamic context, leads to the kind of Islamic activism we have with the Al Qaeda’s of this world; and finally (c) that obviously, entertaining the fantasy of reform-Islam within the context of the Western welfare state means, for it to be effective, an enormous extension of welfare state power and social engineering. I’m very much opposed to that.

    Take care Erik, and thank you for your reasoned contribution,

  12. Thank you for your reply, Sagunto. I agree with you that “Christian” can mean a lot of things, and I maintain my assertion that “Muslim” can also mean a lot things depending on whom supplies the definition.

    I wasn’t entertaining the thought of reformation in the sense of going back to the foundations of a given religion, but rather in the sense of pushing a given religion’s ideas in a forward (progressive) direction. I certainly wouldn’t want to see Islam go backward, but if there are groups within the religion that wish to reform it in a forward direction, though a minority they may be, I think we should be supportive of them.

    Having said that, you have given me some things to think about. May you have a Merry Christmas.

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