Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The Price of Multiculturalism

Yet another incident shows that The Netherlands has become Europe’s unwitting frontline in the clash between Western liberal democratic society and radical Islamism. Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh has paid the price for daring to criticize Islam.

Van Gogh, who had made a controversial film about Islamic culture, was shot and stabbed in Amsterdam on Tuesday.

Van Gogh was shot and stabbed to death as he cycled in broad daylight through an Amsterdam street.

He had received death threats after his film Submission was shown on Dutch TV. It triggered an outcry from Dutch Muslims.

Dutch police have taken into custody a suspect in Mr. Van Gogh’s murder.

The man, aged 26, with dual Dutch and Moroccan citizenship, had "radical Islamic fundamentalist convictions," Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner said.

Not surprisingly, the suspect turns out to have some interesting affiliations.

The 26-year-old suspect was allegedly a friend of a detained Moroccan terror suspect.

Samir Azzouz, 18, is awaiting trial on charges of planning a terrorist attack on targets including a nuclear reactor and Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport.

How nice to see that at the ripe old age of eighteen Mr. Azzouz is building such a fine resume for himself. According to the BBC, eight other men have been arrested in connection with Mr. Van Gogh’s murder, though the BBC assured it readers that:

…the suspected killer of Theo van Gogh did not belong to the hardcore group of around 150 suspected militants under surveillance by the intelligence services.

Yet, the arrest of eight men in addition to the suspected killer does seem to hint at some sort of conspiracy. One wonders exactly how many Islamist groups are currently operating in the Netherlands. The one that killed Mr. Van Gogh was apparently not under police surveillance before the murder. How many others continue to work under the government’s radar?

After having so generously allowed tens of thousands of Muslims to migrate to their country, the Dutch are discovering that a sizable percentage of those Muslims wants no part of the socially tolerant lifestyle they have cultivated. Now, clearly not all Muslims are Islamists, but abundant evidence is emerging that considerable numbers of Muslims resist assimilation into Western societies. This seems particularly true in Europe, where economic policies and conditions often ghettoize Muslim immigrants into their own ethnic enclaves, cut off from any hope of economic advancement.

But the sad experience of the Netherlands demonstrates that multiculturalism will not work when a significant number of individuals from a particular group oppose the very concept. Societies that will not defend their culture, don’t last very long.


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