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 .