08 November 2004

Muslims and extremists

Last week a film director was shot for making a film that is very critical of the Islam. It cost him his life. I admit to being one of those people who has always said that people were overstating the threat of radical Islamists in The Netherlands or in Western Europe. Why did I think that? Because The Netherlands is a tolerant society. Or so I thought.
Because maybe we are not.

In the past weekend, 1 mosque had its doors blown out by a small bomb, a number were plastered over with pictures of pigs and profanity aimed at Muslims, and a few had threats painted on their walls with red paint.

On the other side, more threatening letters were found that promised death and serious harm to a number of politicians who are critical of Islamic extremists.
I think The Netherlands are at a crossroads. Tolerance can go too far when it turns into: everyone can do what they want because it is politically incorrect to tell people to confirm to the laws and culture in this country. On the other hand, it can not be that we tell people they should all become Christian Dutch people and denounce their own faith and language when they come here.

But when people can not accept that in The Netherlands, there is, as much as possible, a separation of Church and State, people should ask themselves why they want to move here in the first place.

I am shocked at the way people simply equate Islam with terrorism. I am sort of aware of what it feels like to be tarred with the same brush as a bunch of extreme idiots. I always get asked why all gay people (read: men) have sex with many people and are so feminine. I spend a lot of time explaining that is simply not the case and that most of 'us' are pretty boring people, leading normal boring lives. Day after day I see gays being ridiculed in the media by people who think it is fun and we are an easy target. And it angers me and makes me feel excluded from society. Straight people say 'it is only a joke, don't be such a bad sport'.

I can understand young Muslims being angry and annoyed to always be equated with murder and terrorism. I can also understand that they feel they have no future in a country that treats them like murderers and terrorists. Most of the extreme Muslim youngsters are actually born in The Netherlands and see this as their home. But they are not accepted here. Nor are they accepted in Morocco, where most of them come from They have no place to go. Only to the Mosque.

We should understand these young men and try to help them. But I think the time has come to see that helping someone can sometimes be giving them a good kick up the arse. After all, when your kids refuse to listen after asking them nicely a million times, you smack them. And usually they get the message after that.

We should not react against Muslims and vilify all if them. We should react against those who are placing themselves so far out of society by following extreme religious paths. We should act against those who plan and commit crimes. Just like we would with other people who plan and commit crimes. Not mollycoddle them because they are poor boys without a chance in society. Fuck that.

If you don't like the place you live, go and live somewhere else where you do like it. I did.

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