Thursday, October 7, 2010

Joining the Blog Bomb for Geert Wilders

Geert Wilders is currently on trial in the Netherlands for his short film Fitna. The film can be viewed in its entirety here. Please be advised that it contains graphic scenes of violence.

The film depicts Islam in a very bad light. By interspersing verses from the Koran with scenes of Islamic violence and hatred, it creates the impression that they are related. (I suspect there is something to this, by the way. But that is a question I have dealt with in other blog posts.) One of the most damning indictments in the film is its videos of Muslim clerics speaking in Arabic, subtitled in English. As the invaluable Middle Eastern Media Research Institute (MEMRI) has illustrated time and again, it's a common terrorist tactic to say one thing to Western audiences and quite another to Arabic ones. Fitna provides a similar service.

The Netherlands is prosecuting Wilders under its hate speech code. Does the film fall under the purview of the code? Perhaps: I am not an expert on Dutch law, needless to say. But if you believe in freedom of speech (as the Dutch government clearly does not), this film is exactly the sort of thing that must be protected. It is political speech, protest speech. Note that the film has not been attacked as libelous. Inaccuracy is not part of the complaint.

Furthermore, its message is merely that Islam is dangerous and to "stop Islamization". There is no call to answer violence with violence. This is not hatred. It may be wrong; you may disagree with the message. But silencing the messenger is an offense against one of the basic freedoms of Western civilization.


  1. I'm against the whole concept of "hate crimes" and "bias crimes" in the first place. A crime is a crime, and it's not worse when done to a member of a "protected group" (another concept I abhor). The corallary to that would be that a crime done to me is "okay", because I'm not a member of any protected group (although I'm lobbying to have left-handed red-heads become a recognized minority group ;) )

    I'm also not very fond of Islam (and that's on a good day). I think their religion and culture are very intolerant of anyone of any other group, and I believe they see violence against others as a legitimate thing.

    In my personal experience overseas, I've found their ethics questionable, and I've found them both ignorant and arrogant about their ignorance. Quote: "Our scientists have discovered parasites in pork that your scientists cannot detect."

    So, I have a pretty low tolerance for Islam. If Islamic people want my respect, they might get it when I hear more outrage from them about innocent westerners murdered by their fellow Muslims, than the outrage and death threats I hear from them over the treatment of a book or a comedic portrayal of a historical figure. Until then, they haven't earned any respect.

    Just my opinion. Sorry for being blunt.

  2. @Gary: I should write a blog about hate crime laws. I'm against them, too, but I think there are a few nuances to consider.

    As for Islam: I know and trust plenty of Muslims. We have neighbors from Algeria who I would (and have) literally entrust with my son. The problem, as I see it, is that there are basically three classes of Muslim: first, ones, like my neighbors, who are not particularly religious, basically Western in thought, and assimilate readily into Western culture; second, that small fraction who are radicalized and willing to kill in defense of their beliefs; and third, the vast majority, relatively unsophisticated but unradicalized, who tacitly enable the radicals because they are the loudest and most prominent voices they hear. What's missing is a significant reform movement within Islam.

    Compare this to Christianity: no doubt there is a small cadre that is also radicalized (this is certainly not as widespread or dangerous as in Islam, but the existence of, say, abortion clinic bombings and shootings demonstrates that it exists *to some degree*). But the vast middle ground is completely intolerant of such radical beliefs and people who act on them are punished immediately.

  3. The issue is not whether this or that Muslim individual is dangerous or not. That will vary in accordance with the degree to which each individual takes Muslim doctrine to heart.

    The issue is whether Islamic DOCTRINE is dangerous. A critical examination of the Koran (which is available on many of the counterjihad websites and blogs) will demonstrate that it is. Islam is actually a political ideology rather than a religion in the ordinary sense of the term. It not only condones, but requires, the use of violence and deception to spread Islamic rule and shari'a law over the entire world. In a nutshell, Islam, as a doctrine, seeks to rid the world of everything but itself.

  4. @1389 (and is that a reference to the Battle of Kosovo in 1389?): I don't think that's quite right (and I also *hope* it's not right). I agree that the Koran is a bloodier, more violent text than, say, the New Testament of the Bible. And I agree that sharia is a politico-theological amalgam, not merely a religious doctrine.

    But Islam is not unitary. There is really not a single Islamic doctrine that all adhere to. That's both good news and bad news. The good news is what I wrote in my previous comment: it really does matter what each individual Muslim believes, and swaying the bulk to Western mentality would make a huge difference (not that it'll be easy). The bad news is that there is no Pope who can reform the place with a stroke of his pen.

    I certainly hope you're not right, because if you are, it's us or them, clash of civilizations and all that, and seriously bumpy times ahead.

  5. I've had arguments with my wife about this (radical Islamics vs radical Christians), and she always brings up two things: the Crusades, and the individuals who murder abortion doctors.

    As far as the Crusades go, that's comparing the behavior of Christians several hundred years ago vs the behavior of Muslims TODAY. Not relevant.

    As far as the murder of abortion doctors, it's like comparing an ice cube to an iceberg. A few disturbed individuals, operating alone, murder an innocent (or relatively innocent) individual, an somehow link it to Christianity.

    In comparison: Islamic terrorists murder 3,000 innocent victims in a single incident. I took a recent course on terrorism. of the 36 terrorist incidents profiled, 21 were the actions of Islamic terrorist groups. 3 others were the action of (American) individuals motivated at least in part by Islam -- the Fort Hood murderer, the DC snipers, and the scumbag (he should never have been a soldier) who threw a couple grenades in a command tent in Kuwait.

    The big difference? Christian extremists seem to be rare, and are forced to operate alone, because they cannot find like-minded individuals to team up with, and the general population will not tolerate their plans and would turn them in. In comparison, Islamic extremists operate in groups, because they CAN find plenty of like-minded individuals with the same reprehensible goals and lack of morality, and because their general population will at least turn a blind eye to their activities