Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Tolerance for the Intolerant Can Be Suicide
What was most upsetting to the Dutch public and Dutch politicians was the fact that this would-be martyr—Bouyeri expected to be killed by the police and had a rambling suicide note on his person when he was wounded and apprehended—was not a lone lunatic but part of an international terrorist network with links to Spain, Germany, Iraq, and Morocco. Indeed, according to Spanish counterterrorist judge Baltasar Garzón, one of the leaders of Bouyeri’s cell, 36-year-old Moroccan Abdeladim Akoudad, played "a leading role" in the Dutch terrorist organization known as the Hofstad Group. After the plot to attack the Dutch Parliament was uncovered, he provided logistical support for the Dutch cell. Meanwhile, one of Akoudad's contacts, Mouhsen Khaybar, has been active in supporting mujahedeen insurgents in Iraq, and appears to be linked to the infamous leader of the “al Qaeda Organization in Mesopotamia,” al Zarkawi. As for Samir Azzouz, he has been linked to Abdelaziz Benyaich, now jailed in Spain for his role in the Casablanca bombings of May 2003 and the March 11, 2004 Madrid bombings.
So Bouyeri was a little cog in a network covering three continents and some five countries. And that was just the Islamist angle; the shock of van Gogh’s assassination also pushed the Dutch authorities to decide to “discover” a training camp (yes, a “secret” training camp in an overcrowded country) operated by the Marxist/separatist Kurdish Workers Party (PKK, now renamed KONGRA-GEL). As the New York Times recently reported, “Turkey has long complained that the Netherlands and other European countries have been reluctant to crack down on PKK members operating on the Continent. Earlier this week, a Dutch court blocked the extradition of Nuriye Kesbir, a leader of the group, whom Turkey accuses of organizing and taking part in attacks from 1993 to 1995.”
The fallout from the Van Gogh murder continues. The leftist opposition and media are now accusing the center-right government of negligence (forgetting that, until two years ago, and for decades, they themselves were in power). Across most of the political spectrum, demands are being made for a further crackdown on (especially Muslim) immigration, an increase in the intelligence budget, the expulsion of radical imams, and the requirement that all citizens, imams included, learn Dutch. Common sense now seems to have become popular throughout the country.
Some practical steps taken earlier are already beginning to show results. Immigration reforms in the 1990s made it more difficult for settled Moroccan and Turkish men to bring "traditional" brides into the Netherlands by raising the minimum age of entry and requiring newcomers to learn Dutch. As a result, the national asylum centers organization, COA, plans to close 37 shelters due to the sharp drop in asylum applicants. In 2000, some 34,000 people applied for asylum in the Netherlands; in 2001, 25,000; and in 2002, 13,000.
As the Dutch seem now to realize, tolerance for the intolerant is suicide. The post-van Gogh Dutch awakening may be the beginning of a more general awakening in Europe and Canada, because what has suffered is not some “fascistic, right-wing conspiracy” to create a “xenophobic, racist, Islamophobic” state, but a way of life tailored by and for the “progressives.” There are some encouraging signs already, especially in neighboring Germany, where the left-wing government exhibits a new awareness of the problems raised by its 3.5 million Muslims and—a new development—admits that such problems are not the result of German “racism” but may have something to do with the immigrants themselves.
I have a vague memory of a saying that says if you hold a snake to your bosom, don't be surprised if it bites you. Europe is full of enclaves of people who hate the European way of life, who recruit, preach hate, and terrorize the local populations by crime. They have embraced the snake. Now it's time to decide what to do with it.