Cause and Consequence: Deathblow in the Netherlands
From the desk of Paul Belien on Wed, 2008-05-21 07:52
Last week, the Dutch police raided the home of Gregorius Nekschot (a pseudonym meaning “Gregory Deathblow”). Mr. Nekschot makes rude and often sexually explicit cartoons that poke fun at the multicultural society and at religious people, especially Muslims. The police confiscated his computer and a number of drawings. The cartoonist was also arrested and jailed for 36 hours but has meanwhile been released until his court case is due.
“Gregory Deathblow” – the first name refers to Pope Gregory IX who established the Papal Inquisition – hides behind an alias. The cartoonist was a collaborator of the late Dutch film director Theo van Gogh. He made drawings for Mr. van Gogh’s website until it ceased publication in 2004, after its owner was assassinated by a fanatic Muslim.
The police harrassment of Mr. Nekschot follows a 2005 “islamophobia” complaint by Abdul Jabbar van de Ven, a Dutchman who converted to Islam and subsequently became an imam. This was the same Abdul Jabbar van de Ven who, three weeks after Mr. van Gogh’s assassination, told Dutch television that he had felt happiness when he heard of the murder and that he hoped that anti-immigration politician Geert Wilders would soon die, too. Mr. Nekschot subsequently made a cartoon of the imam, depicting him with sticks pricking out his eyes.
It is indicative of the current situation in the Netherlands that the authorities have not pursued the threatening imam, but arrested the cartoonist following a complaint from that same imam. It took them three years to do so because, as Ernst Hirsch Ballin, the Dutch minister of Justice, a Christian-Democrat, explained last week, it took the police three years to discover the cartoonist’s real identity. He will now be charged with the hate speech crime of drawing cartoons of “an insulting and/or discriminating nature.”
Mr. Nekschot’s reaction to his arrest, however, was equally indicative. He attacked… the Christians. In an interview in Monday’s newspaper Sp!ts he said: “I think it is urgent that we democratically limit the influence of parties such as the Christian Democrat Party, the Christian Union and other religiously inspired parties. These parties are disastrous in all respects.”
Europe is in the middle of a three-way culture war between Christians, secularists and Muslims. Both the secularists and the Christians feel threatened by radical Islam. Anti-religious secularists hold that Islam is dangerous for one reason only, namely that, like Christianity, it is a religion. They fail to grasp that Islam, rather than being a transcendental religion, resembles a totalitarian political ideology in the guise of a religion. It aims to impose Islamic law on everyone, including non-Muslims. Christian values, on the contrary, have long ceased to define society in the Netherlands. Unlike America, Western Europe is a post-Christian society with secularism as its state ideology. The secularists have created a religious vacuum in the heart of European society – which Islam is filling.
Most European secularists consider Islam a useful ally in their attempt to eradicate Christianity. Hence, they facilitate islamization, confident that they will be able to secularize the Muslims in due course. Some, however, like Mr. Nekschot, recognize the danger of Islam but still regard Christianity as equally dangerous. Europe’s ruling establishment has criminalized every criticism of Islam, though not of Christianity or other religions. Perhaps Mr. Nekschot is hoping for some leniency if he can argue that he was so harsh on Islam because he failed to distinguish it from Christianity – that other “disastrous religion.”
Interestingly, last week, Human Rights Watch, an international rights organization adhering to the politically correct secularist mindset, criticized the Dutch authorities for the “integration test” which was introduced in 2006 for immigrants and which they must pass before being allowed to settle in the country.
Human Rights Watch considers the test to be discriminatory because immigrants from Western countries, like the United States, are exempt from taking it. The test includes a film which exposes the would-be immigrants to scenes of kissing homosexual men and topless women. The message, as the Associated Press pointedly summarized two years ago, is that “If you can’t tolerate gay lifestyle and public nudity, you can’t come.” Human Rights Watch wants the Dutch authorities to abolish the test for everyone or to impose its message on Christian Westerners as well.
The dire state Europe is currently in, however, is not caused by the fact that there are so many Muslims, but that there so few Christians left. Islamization is not the cause but the consequence of Europe’s collapse. As Michael Nazir-Ali, the Anglican bishop of Rochester (UK), and himself of Muslim descent, recently said: “The real danger […] is the spiritual and moral vacuum that has occurred for the last 40 or 50 years. […] If people are not given a fresh way of understanding what it means to be a Christian and what it means to be a Christian-based society then something else may well take the place of all that we’re used to and that could be Islam.”
This piece was originally published in The Washington Times on May 21, 2008 .
Submitted by Johan B on Tue, 2008-06-10 22:23.
"Which secularist has written against the mounting influence of Islam in Europe?"
Theo Van Gogh, Koenraad Elst, Pat Condell, Ibn Warraq, Christopher Hitchens, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Richard Dawkins, W.G. Van Dorian, Afshin Ellian, Pamela Hemelrijk, Oriana Fallaci, Ehsan Jami, Flemming Rose, etc, ...
The difference between these secularists and Paul Belien is that they won't blame Nekschot for being arrested, of course.
"Paul states correctly that it is the weakness of the christians in Europe which creates the vacuum for the muslims to come in. This is 200% true."
Nonsense. Belien argues that in Europe Muslims are sucked in because of a religious vacuum. There are two errors in this assertion. Firstly, there is no religious vacuum in Europe. Secondly, Muslims come to Europe because of economic reasons. Whether Beliens false assertion is due to dishonesty or stupididy I don't know. I think the first, but I'm not sure.
Submitted by Johan B on Sat, 2008-06-07 11:38.
"So the initial and subsequent reports describing alleged wrongdoing (...)"
I don't understand what freedom of speech has to do with "wrongdoing". Can you enlighten me on this subject?
"(...) and the issue is in fact to do with blasphemy..?
Maybe you should learn to read? The issue is that Christians (like Piet Hein Donner, Ernst Hirsch Ballin and Paul Belien) are teaming up with Muslims against secularists. If you don't believe me, read the last paragraph of Belien's article. Muslims are not to blame, he says.
"I may have missed something else reported (...)"
Yes, you did.
@ Johan B
Submitted by traveller on Sat, 2008-06-07 16:08.
Which secularist has written against the mounting influence of Islam in Europe?
You tell Pankukas to read but you yourself do not understand what Paul is saying.
Paul states correctly that it is the weakness of the christians in Europe which creates the vacuum for the muslims to come in. This is 200% true.
The secularists in Belgium, lead by the freemasons, have created and still create today a fertile ground for the spread of an uneducated muslim population. This is a fact and your standpoint that the christians cooperate with the muslims against the secularists has no shred of reality. There is one person who stupidly has done this, "our" cardinal Danneels, because he is too stupid to realize that his anti-Flemish and pro-Belgium reflex is harming the Catholic Church, but he ha becomes a Belgian politician, not a man of the church anymore.
Belien is wrong again
Submitted by Johan B on Thu, 2008-05-22 18:08.
It seems that Belien is incapable of making the simplest logical argument whenever Christianity is involved.
In his wining about this "3-way culture war" he only speaks of 2 ways: Christians and secularists against Muslims and Muslims and secularists against Christians. What about Christians and Muslims against secularists, Paul?
Belien says: "Most European secularists consider Islam a useful ally in their attempt to eradicate Christianity." It is exactly the other way around: Islam and Christianity are teaming up against secularism.
And what does Belien do? He blames the victim because Nekschot dares to advise us not to vote for the Christian bigots who are destroying our freedoms in order to appease Muslims.
Submitted by Pankukas on Thu, 2008-05-22 19:23.
So the initial and subsequent reports describing alleged wrongdoing as:
"Eight cartoons have been singled out as potentially insulting to Muslims and 'people with dark skins' or encouraging racial hatred."
are wrong, and the issue is in fact to do with blasphemy..?
The linked article also reports this:
"Justice minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin has asked the public prosecution department to explain why cartoonist Gregorious Nekschot was held at a police station for 30 hours after his arrest on charges of inciting racial hatred.
The minister told MPs he wanted more information during an emergency debate on the arrest on Tuesday night. The debate was postponed pending Hirsch Ballin's report."
I may have missed something else reported, but the above would not indicate agreeing or disagreeing with something - it's rather trying to stay neutral and clarify the issue.
Why is it that some secularists come across as quite ill-tempered in their denunciations of what they deem to be "Christian bigots" :)
Submitted by JFP on Thu, 2008-05-22 15:37.
"It is true that a certain section of the hard left is in cahoots with Islamists against what they see as the imperialist/capitalist enemy. However, they are a minority. If you have evidence that they make up the majority of European secularists, please present it now."
If you have evidence that these secularists who are in cahoots with Islamists are in the minority, please present it now.
Submitted by Atlanticist911 on Wed, 2008-05-21 15:22.
"Thanks for the invitation, but I'd rather stay on the point".
Fine. It's just a pity you weren't thinking like that when you deviated from the point you were attempting to make by making that pointless, inaccurate statement concerning Christianity and Islam.
Open All Hours
Submitted by Atlanticist911 on Wed, 2008-05-21 14:55.
We, here in the UK, have tried that and guess what? It STILL failed to stop the jihad.
Any other bright ideas?
Submitted by MWW on Wed, 2008-05-21 14:51.
@Atlanticist, thanks for the invitation, but I'd rather stay on the point - which is that Belien is using an attack on a secular satirist by Christians on behalf of Muslims as a basis for arguing that secularists and Muslims are ganging up on Christians.
@Cogito, we are in complete agreement
@traveller, your post is provocative, but your point is unclear
@Amsterdamsky according to NIS the PvdA are among the coalition calling for a debate. The only parties not bothered are the CDA and ChristonUnie
Submitted by Pankukas on Wed, 2008-05-21 16:38.
MWW: "Belien is using an attack on a secular satirist by Christians on behalf of Muslims as a basis for arguing that secularists and Muslims are ganging up on Christians."
That is rather odd interpretation. Attack by Christians? On behalf of Muslims? If you want an example of "ganging up", at the local level, here is a quote from Mr. Belien again:
"Almost half the elected PvdA politicians in major Dutch cities where the PvdA is the largest party, such as Amsterdam and Rotterdam, are now Muslims."
I guess, they are those pioneering "secularist Muslims" :)
I think the argument is:
1) secularists consider religion -- any religion -- bad, equally bad:
"Anti-religious secularists hold that Islam is dangerous for one reason only, namely that, like Christianity, it is a religion."
2) by trying to "eradicate" Christianity, secularists facilitate islamization:
"Most European secularists consider Islam a useful ally in their attempt to eradicate Christianity. Hence, they facilitate islamization, confident that they will be able to secularize the Muslims in due course."
Argument can be made that pornography and explicitly sexual content can and has to be regulated (not prohibited - regulated). Absolutizing freedom of expression simply does disservice here. Take, for example, Mr. Nekschot's cartoon with that bearded guy getting oral sex from a child, with the choice of four answers what is depicted. It does not necessarily need to be explicit to make the point. Or to put it bluntly - work those angles; the genitals need not always be "in your face" :)
That said, it was reported cartoonist is not prosecuted for obscene but rather for discriminatory cartoons, and Christians (Christian parties) could try to do a balancing: defend the principle of free expression, while categorically distancing themselves from obscene content.
Submitted by MWW on Wed, 2008-05-21 18:44.
The fact that there are a lot of Muslim PvdA politicians does not in any way detract from the fact that the anti-satirist action was prosecuted on a CDA Justice Minister's watch, and that the only parties not represented in the outraged calls for a debate on the issue are both Christian parties. So for Belien to use this case as an example of the secular/Islam alliance against Christianity is absurd.
Just as his groundless claims that secularists 1) consider all religions equally bad, and 2) are allying themselves with Muslims to eradicate Christianity, are false. Neither of these statements are "arguments" in any meaningful sense of the word.
Belien clearly has no understanding of secularism. And his belief that Christianity is the answer to Europe's problems is actually gainsaid by the Nekschot case, which he cites in its support. That latest story about the Belgian bishop is another case in point (credit to the BJ for publishing stories which contradict its editorial line)
No, I don't think that's
Submitted by Pankukas on Wed, 2008-05-21 21:19.
a fair characterization of argument made, for the reasons stated earlier.
I don't read Dutch so my information is rather limited. The article you quoted says: "The Christian democrats (CDA) and small Christian party ChristenUnie are much less critical than the Lower House majority", it does not indicate they tried to hinder the debate in any way.
I'm also not very familiar with what's customary and acceptable for Dutch cabinet member, but is it appropriate for a minister, while on his or her watch, to intervene in any way, including publicly commenting on an ongoing investigation?
English Wikipedia claims that Home Affairs ministry (PvdA) shares much of the responsibilities of Justice ministry, and is charged with the following specifically:
"# uphold the Constitution of the Netherlands;
# guarantee the democratic rule of law;
# promote public order and safety and provide centralised management of the country's police forces;"
so why is it seemingly let off the hook? Just trying to understand...
Anyway, unless the Christian parties, too, were wholly invested in setting up the legislation, which enables anti-discrimination agency (or whatever they are called) to go after cartoonists, I don't see how they are to blame here. I'd think ministers would at least be expected to refrain from making comments prejudicial to the outcome of case.
The claim was that: "Some [secularists], however, like Mr. Nekschot, recognize the danger of Islam but still regard Christianity as equally dangerous", I omitted that qualifier. I'm not religious, never have been, and do not plan ever to be, but I also do not want to identify with modern days European secularism, and think Mr. Belien's outline of its attitudes to both religions, although necessarily generalized, are on target.
Submitted by traveller on Wed, 2008-05-21 15:32.
1)You mentally compare the islam of today with christianity of the past. Mistake one
2)Christianity was defanged by "enlightment". Mistake two
3)Islamic crimes will be stopped by a new type of "enlightment". Mistake three
The christian scholars of the past were searchers for the truth, even if they erred many times, their intentions were pure. Give me the islamic examples of today with the same numbers and the same impact of the christian scholars of the past. I am the biggest defender of the minority of islamic scholars who do exist today, but they have no impact.
Christianity was defanged by "enlightment". Crap, it was defanged by massexecutions during the French revolution and by Napoleon afterwards. If you consider the murder of countless priests during the revolution as enlightment, you are right.
Islam must be brought to task for the crimes of its adherents. Those crimes are gangster crimes, nothing else. Enlightment has no place here.
MWW "It is hardly surprising
Submitted by Amsterdamsky on Wed, 2008-05-21 14:21.
MWW "It is hardly surprising that Nekschot attack the CDA - they are the only party in the Netherlands who appear unperturbed by this gross attack on freedom of expression. Fat lot of good they are!"
PvDA didn't seem very bothered by it either. I think the Christians have more power than people give them credit for. Try to get a permit to open your store on Sunday for example.
So Islam is now nastier than christianity
Submitted by Cogito on Wed, 2008-05-21 12:50.
"Christianity was once as nasty and totalitarian as Islam".
This logically implies the fact that christianity is now less nasty than Islam AND that Islam is nasty now.
On top of that, your adversary having been nasty in the past does not give you the right to be as nasty as he was today.
Submitted by traveller on Wed, 2008-05-21 13:02.
It is exactly this kind of drivel which creates the problem.
Gangster practices are gangster practices and should be punished. Full stop.
The fact that somebody else has done something criminal is totally irrelevant and besides the point.
Jesus said vs Muhammed said
Submitted by Atlanticist911 on Wed, 2008-05-21 12:04.
another inaccurate statement (2):
"Christianity was once as nasty and totalitarian as Islam".
Kindly provide ONE example from history where "Christianity" acted, in your words, as "nast(il)y and totalitarian as Islam", then, provide a NT reference to justify the example cited.
another inaccurate statement
Submitted by MWW on Wed, 2008-05-21 11:42.
Without evidence to back up your dressed-up-as-fact statements, it is inadvisable and journalistically unethical make them. Here is another wild one:
"Anti-religious secularists hold that Islam is dangerous for one reason only, namely that, like Christianity, it is a religion."
I am an anti-religious secularist who is perfectly aware of the uniquely toxic nature of Islam. But that doesn't mean Christianity should be given a free pass - as the Nekschot case demonstrates. It is the Christian parties who are pursuing the satirist, the Christian Democrat Justice Minister who is defending the Public Prosecutor.
Christianity was once as nasty and totalitarian as Islam, but it was defanged by the Enlightenment. Islam has yet to have its incisors removed.
Death by a Thousand Cuts
Submitted by B. English on Wed, 2008-05-21 11:27.
Here are a few factors causing rifts in the Western world:
• Its Christian tolerance of an intolerant faith (islam).
• Its multiculturalism: west = bad, non west third world = good.
• Its political correctness-- you can't ever point out what is there for all to see.
• Its a sickness infecting much of the western world's governments: social engineering.
• Its lazy thinking on our part-- depending on others to think on our behalf. Many buy into the religion of peace TM without a second thought.
• Its hateful, self loathing of our western values-- common amongst the liberal left.
• Its moral equivalence, nothing is bad, or evil. How can we base a decision, if our society is tossing founding values out the window?
• Smugness and, or naiveness of youth to reject traditional values, and settle for the radical. Witness the popularity of communism, Che prints (Cuban terrorism), kaffiyeh scarf (Palestinian terrorism).
Submitted by Pankukas on Wed, 2008-05-21 10:39.
Well, it would be difficult if not impossible to convincingly demonstrate prevailing attitudes of European secularists, but Mr. Belien certainly has a point. Perhaps the debate over EU Constitution/Lisbon treaty preamble illustrates best, because two themes figured prominently among secularist’s arguments against mentioning Christianity:
- concerns over "alienating" Islamic immigrant population;
- complicating prospective accession of Turkey (do we want the Europe as "Christian Club" demagoguery).
Just one quote to illustrate:
"Critics of a more specific EU endorsement of Christian values point to over 200-years of the European ‘enlightenment’, changing demographics and plans for Islamic Turkey to join Europe’s club." (from here)
Also, pointing to certain supposed similarities in Christian fundamentalists (I mean the word in a good sense – as those who believe in the fundamental tenets of their faith, and are unwilling to reinterpret them for the sake of “modernity”) and Islamists positions regarding certain social policies, and rhetorically equating both (all) faiths because of such supposed similarities, is IMO one of secularist’s staple arguments.
Christian democrats are useless
Submitted by MWW on Wed, 2008-05-21 09:26.
It is hardly surprising that Nekschot attack the CDA - they are the only party in the Netherlands who appear unperturbed by this gross attack on freedom of expression. Fat lot of good they are!
You state "Most European secularists consider Islam a useful ally in their attempt to eradicate Christianity." Yet you provide no evidence for this. Indeed, the situation in Holland indicates that it is Christians who are courting Islam in their attempt to protect religious sentiments (any is better than none) from negative secular attention.
It is true that a certain section of the hard left is in cahoots with Islamists against what they see as the imperialist/capitalist enemy. However, they are a minority. If you have evidence that they make up the majority of European secularists, please present it now. Otherwise I will have to put this perception down to the persecution complex in which Christians and Muslims alike love to indulge themselves.