Thursday, April 17, 2008

Ayaan's opinion of Dutch politicians fits some US politicians

I am reading this book, The Caged Virgin - An Emancipation Proclamation for Women and Islam, written by Ayaan Hirsi Ali in 2004. I am halfway through it, and I recommend it hightly. I got excited just reading the preface, especially this passage
Some Western critics disapprove of United States policies and attitudes but do not criticize the Islamic world, just as, in the first part of the twentieth century, Western socialist apologists did not dare criticize the Soviet labor camps. Along the same lines, some Western intellectuals criticize Israel, but they will not criticize Palestine because Israel belongs to the West, which they consider fair game, but they feel sorry for the Palestinians, and for the Islamic world in general, which is not as powerful as the West. They are critical of the native whiter majority in Western countries but not of Islamic minorities. Criticism of the Islamic world, of Palestinians, and of Islamic minorities is regarded as Islamophobic and xenophobia.

I cannot emphasize enough how wrongheaded this is. Witholding criticism and ignoring differences are racism in its purest form. Yet these cultural experts fail to notice that, through their anxious avoidance of criticising non-Western countries, they trap the people who represent these cultures in a state of backwardness.

My own criticism of Islamic religion and culture is felt by some to "harsh," "offensive," and "hurtful." But the attitude of the cultural experts is, in fact, harsher, and more offensive and hurtful. They feel superior and do not regard Muslims as equal discussion partners, but as the "others" who should be shielded. And they think that criticism of Islam should be avoided because they are afraid that Muslims can only respond to criticism with anger and violence.

Now let's flash forward from 2004 to March 31, 2008 when AEI resident and scholar Ayaan Hirsi Ali wrote this article, Fitna Is an Embarrassment for the Dutch Cabinet. I also recommend that you read this article in its entirety. She makes 3 major points in the article.

1. The Dutch Cabinet is embarrassed because the majority of publicity for the movie originated from the Cabinet. If, when PM Wilders made known his intention to release this movie they had not spoke out against him there would not have been a worldwide festering controversy.

2. The Dutch cabinet is is suffering a severe loss of face because it has shown that freedom of speech is not safe in its hands. By acting as if it was a worthwhile endeavor to investigate whether the movie should be banned (either before or after its release), the cabinet improperly reversed its constitutional position with regard to the Second Chamber of Parliament.

In the Netherlands, the cabinet governs, and Parliament controls the cabinet. In relation to MP Wilders, however, the cabinet has improperly set itself up as the controller. The Dutch cabinet has actively sought to silence an elected member of parliament. That the parliamentary opposition did not intervene against this appalling attempt at censorship, is more distressing than any possible movie about Islam could be.

3. This is the most major point of all, which I quote from the article
Fitna laid bare just what a distrustful image this Social-Christian cabinet has of Muslims. It considers Muslims as half-savage beasts, [a bit like Bokito, Holland's most famous gorilla] who will jump over the fence of reason at the slightest provocation and who in a collective frenzy disrupt the public peace.

They can only be kept in check by not engaging them as mature reasonable adults, by not contradicting them, not presenting them with difficult questions about their religion, by talking positively about it; all the while creating myriad emergency response plans through full crisis scenarios, because a film happens to be made about their holy book. It is just as in the case of Bokito the gorilla, who was put behind high bars in a zoo but was feverishly petted. This attitude is called "respect", towards Muslims. I wonder what Muslims think of being regarded in this way?

I wonder too what Muslims think of being regarded this way. I also think this hypocritical respect is noticed by folks in the US who hear their elected officials speaking about the ignorant unwashed hicks from small towns that end up in Iraq because they can't go to college. These folks that are bitter from not being wealthy so they turn to guns and God. These people that Sen. Maj. Leader Harry Reid thinks stink. This kind of "hypocritical respect" deserves no place in the government.

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