Both Wilders and Islamist extremists have lost all sense of reality

10 August 2007

Both Wilders and Islamist extremists have lost all sense of reality

Right wing MP Geert Wilders' intolerance, as much as Islamic extremism, represents a threat to democratic values, argues SP leader Jan Marijnissen.

In an article in leading Dutch daily De Volkskrant, the right wing MP Geert Wilders argues that the Koran should be banished from our country, calling it a Fascist book comparable to Mein Kampf. This is the latest step in his fight against everything that Islam is, or with which it has affinity. He says he's had enough of headscarves, mosques and immigrants who believe in the Koran.

Wilders has been shouting himself hoarse for a while, but now seems to have abandoned all restraint and is confiding to us his deepest convictions. The million Muslims in our country are considered suspect by him because they see the Koran as a holy book. This is a stupid and horrible opinion.

The Koran does include hateful passages. When extremist Muslims claim to find justification for violence in these, it makes many people distrustful. And anyone who believes that apostates, unbelievers, Jews and Christians deserve death represents a danger to our democracy and the rule of law. Intimidation and democracy cannot tolerate each other.

The Bible also includes hateful passages, for example a great number of stonings. People who think that they can stone others, for whatever reason, citing the Bible, have got it all wrong. Happily there are no longer any examples of this in the here and now. In the past, however, many crimes were committed with the Bible in one hand and a sword in the other.

Labour Party member Ehsan Jami wants a committee established to help people who turn their backs on their beliefs, particularly on Islam. It's bad enough that there are clear reasons why such a committee should exist. The person who took this initiative was violently attacked last Saturday, and there is probably a link between this attack and the initiative. If that is the case, then this was not only an abject deed, but also a form of political intimidation. Without having seen everything that Jami said, I support him in his efforts in favour of the right to security of people who want openly to practice, and to demonstrate, freedom of conscience.

Both Wilders and Islamist extremists appear to have gradually lost every nuance and sense of reality. Meanwhile they dominate and thereby frustrate the debate around an integration which is bitterly needed. By their intolerance, generalisations and lack of empathy and respect for the other they represent a danger to our country's democratic values.

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