Personal Liberty and Freedoms On Trial in The Netherlands or
The Limits of Islamist Intimidation
by Rabbi Jonathan Hausman (February 2010)
Remarks delivered at the Zionist House – Toronto
20 January 2010
As this is a Jewish sponsored event, I suppose that I should begin by saying Erev Tov l’kulam. We just watched a film which contains much Arabic, perhaps I should say ahlan wa’sahlan ya ashabi. We find ourselves in Toronto . Therefore, I will say Good Evening and Bonsoir e merci d’etre venu!
A couple of housekeeping details before I begin. Thank you to Meir Weinstein and the Jewish Defense League of Canada for sponsoring this evening’s event. Thank you to my dear friend Bjorn Larsen. Bjorn, your trust and sage counsel are invaluable and the confidence that you place in me is surely greater than I warrant or deserve. My thanks also to the Zionist Centre of Toronto for having the courage not only to stand up for the sake of liberty and freedom of speech, but for the requisite fortitude to not be cowed or bullied as some institutions have vis a vis the discussion that we must conduct this evening.
John Peter Zenger, a German immigrant to the colony of New York , wrote the following upon his acquittal from the charge of sedition and libel, a trial brought as a consequence of Zenger’s criticism of the Royal Governor William Cosby. His two-prong defense was simple, yet effective. First, Zenger did not advocate the overthrow of the Crown so there could be no sedition; and, second, free speech. Zenger was acquitted by a jury of his peers. His words are instructive for us this evening and speak to the work of my good friend Geert Wilders.
“No nation, ancient or modern, ever lost the liberty of speaking freely, writing or publishing their sentiments, but forthwith lost their liberty in general and became slaves.”
As some of you may know, my dear friends Wafa Sultan and Nonie Darwish have been hounded amidst attempts to prevent each from delivering their own particular messages by way of their own books, articles and postings regarding the issues contained in Fitna. Nonie’s presentation in at Boston University scarcely took place, at the local Hillel Center rather than on campus, due to a suspicious bathroom fire minutes prior to her presentation in the very building in which she was supposed to speak this past December. What does freedom mean for either of these two brave souls, colleagues of Geert Wilders, if the values of free expression and debate are withheld due to outside politically correct agitation? As a son of New England, I correctly hold that we must resolutely stand on the side of free expression of ideas as embodied by Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island who believed that the open market place of ideas would determine the worth and value of that which is expressed without worry as to who would be offended.
My friends, we just watched Fitna, a film produced by my dear friend The Honorable Geert Wilders. This film deals with the clear, present and continuing danger posed to Western civilization by a religio-political onslaught, a war that burst onto the scene of history from the Arabian Peninsula in 621/622 CE and continues in declared doctrinal fashion to this very day, though its supporters try to hide it from public view. Its doctrinal underpinnings are supercessionist and seek nothing less than the imposition of Sharia, Islamic legal dictates, upon an entire world that it seeks to conquer. We who are American, Canadian, Dutch and European, indeed, all who are freedom-loving people must mobilize and steel ourselves for the sacrifices ahead.
In the United States, we are bombarded with arrests of Najibullah Zazi, David Headley, 5 young Pakistani-Americans arrested overseas, Nidal Malik Hassan (all US citizens, some US born) arrested in separate plots against America, along with irrefutable evidence that each was spurred to engage in such acts due to the doctrinal and theological underpinnings of Islam, to conduct Jihad against the Dar al-Harb so that the Dar al-Islam will expand, so that Sharia will be imposed as a way of life upon those of us in the civilizational West. Most recently, the onslaught continues with the failed attempt by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to blow up Northwest Airline Flight 253 over Detroit on Christmas Day (a date chosen for its specific resonance for Christians). Cells abound, Jama’at al-Fuqra, Lashkar e-Taibeh, Hezbollah and Hamas cells to name a few, along with their odious presence and message disseminated by way of the internet. The warning signs are extant and real, but ignored.
We must understand that the Islamist danger is amorphous and moveable…The Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the mullocracy of Iran… and we must understand that it is theologically, teleologically, and irrefragably rooted within larger Islamic civilization. Nidal Hasan, Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab, the Fort Dix Five, the Arkansas Recruiting Station shooting, threats to the lives of Kurt Westergaard/Nonie Darwish/Wafa Sultan/Geert Wilders, 9/11 for the US, 7/7 for the UK, 3/11 for Spain…we must determine the causal connection between all of these acts if we are to change our outlook. As my 14 year old would say when trying to solve a math problem “Okay, Dad, but how do I connect the dots if the information is under my nose?”
She is correct. We must articulate the proper goal to defeat the enemy, to understand that evil exists and that it is amorphous. Most important, let’s articulate the name of the enemy (an enemy that is often embedded amongst civilians and in positions of influence), for in naming the enemy, we can create the necessary alliances to win, we can inspire those who would support us and we can look toward a leader in this war who can give inspiration, raise hopes, and articulate the dreams of Western values of pluralism, women’s rights, liberal education in its classic sense, democracy, and personal liberty for one and all. These are not principles which dictate that disloyalty results in beheadings or that the enemy should so be beheaded. These are also not principles that require that free speech by curtailed due to perceived insults, for when did the corollary to free speech become the freedom not to be insulted.
My friends, the enemy is the Islamist who wants to spread his religion by way of sword and other manifestations of duress as his strategy, by religiously sanctioned dissimulation, by using our own liberal sensibilities and laws against us…and by requiring us to act as dhimmi in our own countries. Dhimmitude, the neologism denoting an attitude of concession, surrender and appeasement towards Islamic demands, which includes surrender even in our home countries which have minority Muslim populations. Instead of these immigrants acculturating and assimilating American, Canadian, Australian or Dutch values, we become dhimma which represents a behavior dictated by fear (perhaps, due to terrorism), pacifism when aggressed, rather than resistance, and servility because of cowardice and vulnerability. By our peaceful surrender to the Islamic army, we obtain the security for our lives, property and religion, but we concomitantly accept a condition of inferiority, spoliation and humiliation. We would become subdued, according to the Qur’an 9:29.
Is this the future that we want for ourselves, our children and grandchildren? Is this the Jewish life that our forebearers saw as they immigrated in droves to these shores? Is this the kind of professional leadership that we desire from those who, elected or self-appointed, represent our needs, wishes and desires from the Jewish communal perspective? Will we tolerate those leaders who dialogue, but have no background or interest in accessing the appropriate resources to distinguish with whom it is appropriate to conduct dialogue? Or, will we bow to the the excresence of political correctness and accept those who maintain the attitude that “at least, we are talking?” Talking, sure. But, talking toward what end?
My friends, I do not want to accommodate the doctrinally and religiously intolerant and no Jewish leader represents me who does so. Further, I prefer to fight for and to protect my rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Much is written in the press of Americans being weary… Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen . How can one gain strength with regard to the challenges ahead, how can courage be provided for the battle that lays in the immediate and distant future if our leaders do not properly frame the nature of the threat? How can clarity overcome weariness if the nature of the threat is not identified properly?
My friends, President Bush mischaracterized the enemy in his declaration of “a war on terror” as terror is only a tactic. President Obama mislabeled the battle ahead as one against ‘violent extremists” as did Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano with her phrase ‘man-caused disasters.’ A leader must identify the danger clearly, succinctly, and with courage.. My friends, the enemy is Islamism. The operational tactic is global jihad along with the bi-fold subtactics of terror and dissimulation (taqiyyah). Jihad and taqiyyah are doctrinally sanctioned by the Qur’an and the Sunna. Someone is needed to provide the clarity that so many of our leaders are reticent to articulate.
This is why Geert Wilders is so important, why this event matters and why his trial (begun today) is critical. Geert Wilders is one of the leaders, if not the preeminent political leader who speaks with clarity regarding the host of battle issues facing us. He is currently under prosecution because he will not bend to the multicultural or Islamist ethic that he sees tearing his country asunder. He sees the requirement that those who move to The Netherlands must make a conscious choice…to become Dutch in culture and outlook. This is no more than we would expect of immigrants who arrive in the US or Canada. But, unlike the current American or European leadership, Geert Wilders has the courage to not only state it rightfully, but to proclaim it forcefully. He is a social libertarian, and manifests conservative governing principles. He is unique…spend some time with him. You will find that he is far from the extreme right European parties in which the most facile, yet obdurate, critics place him. He is not nativist, fascist or dictatorial. He is not an anti-Semite.
He is a true friend of Israel, advocates moving the Dutch Embassy to Jerusalem, lived in Israel for 2½ years and has visited over 20 times since. He sees Israel as a sister democracy which must be able to live in peace and security and speaks openly of Israel as the proverbial canary in the coal mine, the first front in the battle for the world’s soul against Islamism. As Israel goes, so goes the free world … according to my friend Geert. The alliances and formative influences from the extremes attributed to Wilders eschew any connection to him…due to his love of freedom, democracy for all, and his abiding love and passion for the Jewish people, Israel and the United States. Our leaders reject this at their peril and the peril of Jewish political existence.
Wilders stands for the principle of freedom of speech and thought. The lawsuit begun today, politically motivated by those who call him an extremist, xenophobe and hate-mongerer, has gained traction due to the fractious and relativist nature of Dutch coalition politics. Interestingly, it is the Muslim population of The Netherlands that has threatened Wilders life, such that Wilders must travel with a full security detail. It is his freedom of movement that has been curtailed and necessitates the variety of safe houses that he must inhabit. At least, Wilders lives. Not so his friend Pim Fortuyn (a communist and homosexual who saw his lifestyle impacted by the growing Islamist threat in Holland) or Theo Van Gogh, both of whom were brutally murdered by Islamists for the “crime of defaming Islam.” As many have stated, one wonders who is really in danger…Wilders or those who threaten the likes of Wilders. It is his freedom of speech and expression that is now under assault in the Dutch court system due to the excesses of multicultural hate speech laws promulgated by Holland and the EU and the chill of political correctness.
Fitna, my friends, is more than the simple definition of the word (struggle, usually with the denotation of chaos). It is the chaos that we’ve seen on the screen this evening, chaos with the goal of subjugating the majority indigenous non-Muslim population in our home countries and the imposition of increasingly limited speech, and personal and societal freedoms. It is the challenge to a struggling indigenous Christian society in Europe (indeed, in many countries around the world) to a growing, restless and agitating Muslim population that sees the religiously inspired and doctrinally mandated necessity of imposing Islam on the world versus the person of Wilders’ stature who wants to maintain Europe’s and Holland’s historical identity.
My friends, I leave you with a charge tonight from a simple Rabbi who hails from Boston, the cradle of liberty in North America.
We must affirm that our Western political life practices perfectly and fully the freedom of speech and those other freedoms enshrined in America’s First Amendment, so there is nothing to discuss any longer.
We must insist that our leaders discuss how we defend our freedom and the people’s democracy against oppression and tyranny, against a political-religious ideology that blatantly advocates for the extermination of Jews, Christians, Hindus…any one who is outside the confines of the Dar al-Islam, as this is the cornerstone of Wilders platform.
The solution is not dialogue with anti-democratic political movements, which try to win footholds in the Western democracies, hidden behind the façade of religion as its protective shield. What compromise should the dialogue lead to? Where is the middle ground between tyranny and freedom? The solution is not the elastic retreat, which ends with the exact compromise that political Islam wants “I respect your taboos, if you respect mine”. It is a bad bargain for us. A democracy has got no taboos and Islamism, political Islam is all about taboos.
Therefore, it is democracy’s task and responsibility to assure that international society understands and accepts that we will never permit Islamic totalitarian political dogmas — with or without belief — to take root in our free and democratic society.
This is our mission.
This is our task.
This is our mantra.
This is our calling.
May we be worthy of the challenge.
I can’t thank you enough for your warmth, hospitality and time.
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