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Saturday, January 16, 2010


On August 10, 2009 I posted a profile of a Dutch parliamentarian named Geert Wilders. It seems that old Geert's outspokenness has since created a bit of a problem for him. Freedom of speech is apparently being attacked on a worldwide scale. There are very few places in the world that enjoy the level of freedom that we in the United States do, but, in the past, the Netherlands has roughly approximated our freedoms.

Geert Wilders is what we in the USA would call a "maverick". As the parliamentary "herd" moves along in lock-step, Geert tends to drift away from the main body and "do his own thing". This is not necessarily a bad thing. The world needs more mavericks to keep things in balance... especially in a socialist nation such as the Netherlands, where their "liberalism" is applicable only to those things with which they agree.

But then, that is true of any liberal, socialist government. Basically the philosophy is one of, "We will support your right to kill unborn children, but not the right of another to speak out against such acts." Then that philosophy is "broad-brushed" across the entire spectrum of political and social issues. The Dutch government has demonstrated an attitude such that it is acceptable to speak of Islam in glowing terms, but not to find fault with it. Wilders produced a video entitled "Fitna" (I found it for rent at my local video store) which means "strife", a 17-minute anti-Qur'an movie, which features quotations from the Qur'an interspersed with footage of terrorist atrocities and speeches by Muslim preachers.

The controversial MP has also been criticized for writing anti-Islamic articles and letters which were later published in a mainstream Dutch newspaper. As this case progresses through the Dutch court system we will see that it is more than one man that is on trial... it is the entire concept of FREEDOM OF SPEECH (and thought, and self-expression), and - when one loses that freedom - the other freedoms are in danger of perishing as well!

There is no nation on this planet which can, or does, guarantee it's residents the right to never be upset, disappointed, or offended by something somebody else may say or do. Life isn't easy, and human beings are not perfect, so we have to learn to just suck it up and get on with whatever we were doing.

The Qur'an, as with most religious texts, is subject to the interpretation of man. And there is much discussion over the seemingly conflicted instructions given to Muhammad by Allah. There are those verses that council conversion to Islam through beautiful preaching, persuasion, kindness, understanding and forgiveness. Then there are the "Sword Verses" (Qur'an 9:5-9:29), which are believed by the majority of non-Muslims to essentially say, kill the non-believer. These verses are probably the leaders among those sparking controversy. For example, three well-respected Islamic scholars (two Muslims, one western scholar) translate Qur'an 5:29 as:

1. "Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful."

2. "But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful."

3. "Do not wait until you find them. Rather, seek and besiege them in their areas and forts, gather intelligence about them in the various roads and fairways so that what is made wide looks ever smaller to them. This way, they will have no choice, but to die or embrace Islam."

With the exception of the final thought in each translation, the interpretations are quite similar. I can see where the Muslim extremists could believe that acts of terrorism are, if not demanded, at least encouraged by 9:5. Which brings us to another problem - the Muslim extremists do not wear signs that allow the rest of the world to differentiate between them and the "moderate" Muslims. Instead they hide themselves among the populations of those (assumed to be) peaceful, moderate Muslims. Another Islamic scholar even said this - "The later verses, known as the “Sword Verses” (9:5 and 9:29), were considered by Muslim scholars to have canceled the previous verses mandating kindness and persuasion. Expansionist jihad became the explicit norm."

Personally, I agree with Wilders' evaluation of the Islamic threat. The goal of Islam is to rule the world. Islam brings with it the draconian Sharia "law" - made in the 7th century and has stayed in the 7th century. Sharia is the antithesis of our constitution and it is the enemy of freedom - especially for women. Sharia is the equivalent of a rules book for social lynch mobs.

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