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Dutch filmmaker murdered for movie criticizing Islam

Culture

Issue: "Yasser Arafat: In memoriam," Nov. 20, 2004

Michael Moore is called a "courageous filmmaker" for making movies that criticize Republicans. The price he pays is to be feted by celebrities and to win awards. Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh made a movie that criticized Islam. The price he paid was to be murdered by an Islamic extremist.

Mr. Van Gogh, the great-grandson of the brother of the great artist with that name, made a TV movie titled Submission that dramatized the plight of women under Islamic rule. The script was written by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born woman and ex-Muslim who is a member of the Dutch parliament.

Mr. Van Gogh was shot while he was riding his bicycle in Amsterdam on Nov. 2. His attacker, one of the hundreds of thousands of Arab immigrants who have dual Dutch citizenship, then cut his throat and spiked a statement onto his body with the knife, promising to kill Ms. Hirsi Ali and to overthrow the Netherlands, Europe, and the United States. The attacker was wounded and arrested by police.

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Leftist reporters describe Ms. Hirsi Ali and Mr. Van Gogh as "right wing," just as they did Dutch leader Pim Fortuyn, who was murdered in 2002 because of his anti-immigration views. Actually, neither Mr. Fortuyn, a militant homosexual, nor Mr. Van Gogh, who also criticized Judaism and Christianity, were conservatives. They were defenders of contemporary, permissive Dutch culture, which they see as threatened by Islamic moralism.

The murders are causing the Dutch to see limits to their vaunted toleration. Hedonism and Islam are two extremes that cannot coexist within a society. Perhaps it is time for the Dutch to rediscover their Christian heritage, which provides a framework for both order and freedom.

Gene Edward Veith
Gene Edward Veith

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