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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Forced Out

I was motivated by the law that commands me to cut off the head of anyone who insults Allah and his prophet.
- Mohammed Bouyeri

 

Anthony McIntyre • 30 April 2006

In an ominous judgement a Dutch court has ruled that it is unsafe for people to live near Ayaan Hirshi Ali, the dissident from Islam who is now a MP in the Dutch parliament. She has been under armed guard since the theocratic fascist murder of Theo Van Gogh on an Amsterdam street in 2004. She had collaborated with him on the film Submission which depicted misogyny and violence against women in Islamic society. His killer, Mohammed Bouyeri, used a knife to pin a notice to Van Gogh, whom he impaled, which carried a threat to the life of Hirsi Ali.

Interviewed by the BBC's Zubeida Malik, Hirsi Ali revealed that in the aftermath of the murder she had been living in Netherlands army bases and hotels until the government placed her in a flat close to the Dutch parliament. Malik described her as the most important politician in Europe who is under threat from Fatwa. Nevertheless the judge ruled against her and she now faces the prospect of moving out from the one area she felt a sense of safety in.

Her neighbours had earlier sued the government. That failed but an appeal to a higher court resulted in the latest decision. They expressed satisfaction at the outcome:

We are relieved. We just didn't feel safe any longer in our own homes. Of course, we consider it to be terrible for Hirsi Ali to have to leave her house. The case was not directed at her personally. The point was that the State should not open us to so much danger.

They were not without a point when it came to having their lives constantly disrupted. Security cameras were everywhere in the apartment complex and the neighbours were exasperated. One said:

It is crack-pot. The security guards drive out of the parking garage with squealing tyres - in the middle of a residential area. The guards walk around day and night, and a car with the engine running is constantly stationed outside our window. I've had enough.

Asked how she felt about the court ruling Hirsi Ali said, 'I think this is dreadful, horrible to have to move. I am happy living here and I feel safe.' She now feels a sense of powerlessness. This has led to feelings of despair. It is 'at these moments that it kind of feels, goodness what have I got myself into?'

When the fatwa was issued against her fellow signatory to the Manifesto Against Totalitarianism, Salman Rushdie, he found that he gained rather than lost friends. 'People, for principled reasons, will move closer to the point of danger, not further away from it.' Hirsi Ali experienced isolation, leaving her to feel she has had to carry the banner alone. It angers her that people should give into those theocrats demanding silence at a time when they should be vigorously defending secular freedoms. While arguing that her neighbours have a responsibility to wider Dutch society she can appreciate their fears. She made the choice to confront political Islam and does not want others to suffer for it. However, at the same time, she feels that those who have not yet confronted the menace will at some point in the future be faced with its effects. Despite the court having stated that the situation of her neighbours amounts to a violation of their private life as underwritten by Article 8 of the European Treaty for Human Rights, the minister of justice has professed shock at the judgement. Despite appealing the decision the fact that she has to move within four months means any court proceedings will come too late to allow her to remain at her current residence.

The Dutch court has set a dangerous precedent. Nothing is more crystalline than the need to ensure that people live free from fear. Yet, conversely, the court judgement is likely to encourage the theocrats to intensify the application of fear in the sure knowledge that if the target of their anger cannot be intimidated then the knife need only be run ever so lightly across the soft underbelly of bystanders in order to achieve the same egregious result. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is hardly misjudged in her assessment that the judgement of the court can only lead to an outcome where those who oppose political Islam will fail and the killers of those brave enough to speak out will triumph. Nevertheless, she insists that the experience has not put her off and she promises to continue speaking out in the confrontationist manner that has come to be her hallmark.


 





 

 

 

 

 

 


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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



 

 

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Index: Current Articles



10 October 2006

Other Articles From This Issue:

Hail The Messiah
Anthony McIntyre

HET: History of Whitewash Continues
Martin Galvin

To Deal or Not
Martin Ingram

One Small Step for Paisley, One Giant Step for Ireland?
Dr John Coulter

The Haunting
John Kennedy

Subversion of an Irish Peace Plan
Brian Wardlow

Working Class Hero
Mick Hall

Federal Unionism—Early Sinn Fein: Article 15 - 22
Michael Gillespie

Ryanair
John Kennedy

Racism: The Social Cancer
Dr John Coulter

Forced Out
Anthony McIntyre

The Letters Page Has Been Updated.


2 October 2006

Delusions
Anthony McIntyre

Reply to Andytown News on Republican Family Meeting
Martin Galvin

Lights Out
John Kennedy

Creating A Viable Alternative
Dr John Coulter

Teflon Kid
John Kennedy

When Fear Trumps Reason
David Adams

Stay Out of Neo-Con Mire
Mick Hall

Who really is the Biblical Anti Christ?
Dr John Coulter

Serving Judas, Not Justice
Anthony McIntyre

 

 

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