Americans may be accustomed to images of angry bearded men setting their flag alight. The Dutch aren't. In response, the government raised the national terrorist threat level to "substantial" while Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende distanced himself from the movie. Until the last moment, he urged Mr. Wilders not to show the film.They'll become accustomed soon enough, if things keep going as they are.
The message of "Fitna" is that the Quran is the living inspiration for jihadists. Without the Quran's violent passages, the film suggests, Islamic terrorism would not exist. (Muslims Against Sharia has latched on to this idea.) Mr. Wilders shows verses from the Quran alongside hate speeches by imams and graphic images of Islamic terrorism...
Ah, but then the response would be that he's taking things out of context! Yet, as can be easily discerned, the Quran is not organized by topic. One may find ayah (verses) about stories about Moses adjacent to ayah concerning the fires of hell.
The Western world long ago learned to criticize, even mock, religion.
That, I believe, is a taproot of the problem - Muslims taking their religion extremely seriously, while even most Christians in this country today don't know what they believe.
When Ms. Hirsi Ali went to live in the U.S. in 2006, Geert Wilders picked up the baton....Some of his arguments are pure polemic. For instance, he says the Quran is a "fascist" book. Since it is illegal in the Netherlands to publish Hitler's "Mein Kampf," he argues, so it should be illegal to publish the Quran.
Hmmm...an intriguing argument, to say the least.
Yet his outrageous remarks have stirred a constructive discussion about the Quran and Islam in the Netherlands that is more vigorous than in any Western or, for that matter, Muslim country. And uncomfortable as they may be for Dutch Muslims, they help them view their religion in a more critical light.
Now that's heartening! Lastly comes the clarion call of indictment:
A strand in Western society -- a combination of European nihilism, self-loathing and timidity -- favors appeasement. It is not the strength of our enemies but our weakness that might be our ruin....Any weakness in the resolve to defend our democratic legal order should be seen for what it is: Betrayal and cowardice.