By all accounts, Theo van Gogh, 47, the great-great-grandson of the brother of the Dutch master, was a repulsive character.
Foul of mouth, given to anti-Semitic outbursts, the film director was described thus by the Wall Street Journal:
In writings and speeches he made crude jokes about Jews and riled Moslems with scatological insults. A few months before his murder, he attended a debate called “Happy Chaos” organized by students and a leftist magazine. It descended into rancorous chaos when Mr. van Gogh called a Moslem leader the “prophet’s pimp.”
In August, van Gogh, known as the Michael Moore of Holland, aired on Dutch television a 10-minute English-language film titled, “Submission.” The movie, writes the BBC, “caused an uproar.”
The outcry centered on the stories of four Moslem women who were beaten, raped and forced into marriage, and were asking for Allah’s help. It becomes apparent that their chadors and gowns are transparent and their half-naked bodies are visible through their dress. On their bodies are written Koranic verses describing the permitted physical punishments for women who “misbehave.”
“Submission” was to be the first of three installments. Someone else will have to direct the other two. For as Slate’s Ronald Rovers describes in detail, Theo is no longer with us:
On the morning of Nov. 2 in a busy street in east Amsterdam, a 26-year-old Dutch Moroccan named Mohammed Bouyeri pulled out a gun and shot … Theo van Gogh, who was riding a bike to his office. Van Gogh hit the ground and stumbled across the street to a nearby building. He didn’t make it. As the Moroccan strode toward him, van Gogh shouted: “We can still talk about it! Don’t do it! Don’t do it.”
But the Moroccan didn’t stop. He shot him again, slit Van Gogh’s throat and stuck a letter to his chest with a knife. He was slaughtered like an animal, witnesses said. “Cut like a tire,” said one.
As the Journal describes it, the letter fulminated against “infidels” and warned, “Hair-raising screams will be squeezed from the lungs of the non-believers.” It ended in:
… a Dutch incantation in the style of an Islamic verse: “I know for sure that you, O America, are going to meet with disaster. I know for sure that you, O Europe, are going to meet with disaster. I know for sure that you, O Netherlands, are going to meet with disaster.”
What stunned Holland is that Bouyeri was born and educated in that most tolerant of countries, where drugs are done in public and all manner of sex is on sale. Nor was Bouyeri destitute.
When police went to arrest his friends, they put up a fight. Mosques have since been torched, churches burned, and Dutch leaders who have denounced Islamic fanatics have been threatened with ritual slaughter and beheadings. Dutch police now believe Holland has a sizable nest of homegrown terrorists among its million Moslems.
Welcome to the New Europe. Twenty million Muslims now reside there and are the fastest-growing minority on a continent where the native-born populations of every country save Muslim Albania are failing to reproduce themselves or have begun to die out.
Europe faces the dilemma of a post-Christian civilization that has lost all moral certitude – to worship at the altars of diversity and tolerance. As Slate writes: “The Dutch filmmaker believed that insulting people was his right as a free citizen. The Moslem fanatic who slaughtered him didn’t agree.”
How does Holland, how does Europe deal with a militant faith that preaches that to do your own thing means to do God’s will and punish insulters of that faith – be they a van Gogh or Salman Rushdie?
As Muslims move toward majority status, why should they not use Europe’s democratic procedures to establish Islamic law and make theirs the faith of Europe, as Christians did and secularists have now done?
To devout Muslims, what Europe offers is godless materialism and hedonism, a life devoid of meaning and purpose, save pleasure and self-indulgence. They prefer to do Allah’s bidding in this world to ensure they share his paradise in the next.
Undeniably, Islam is rising. And, like all rising faiths, it is intolerant. Disbelieving that all religions are equal – “There is one God, Allah, and Mohammed is his Prophet” – Islam does not believe all faiths should be treated equally. Why should they be? If one has God’s revealed truth, why should one tolerate lies that lead to the damnation of the faithful?
In its new constitution, the European Union has declared Christianity a dead relic. What Islam is saying – with its militancy, its soaring birth rate, it steady replacement of dying Europeans with young Muslim immigrants – is: “Christianity may be your past, but we are your future.”
My money’s on the true believers.