Assalamu ‘Alaikum Warahmat Allah Wabarakatuh,
My beloved Hudur (ayyadahu Allah ta’ala bi-nasrihi al-‘aziz) delivered last week’s Friday sermon from the idyllic dutch town Nunspeet. I recall spending a few happy days there some fifteen or so years ago and thinking to myself: what a magnificently beautiful country Holland is (I fell asleep during the journey to Holland and completely missed Belgium!). While the scenery has since maintained its pristine beauty, the political tensions within Holland have been drawing a dark cloud over a historically great nation.
During the 60s and 70s Holland suffered from a shortfall in its labour force. Just like the United Kingdom with India and Pakistan, Holland signed worker agreements with Morocco and Turkey which in turn allowed its economy to be propped up and flourish with the influx of a new labour force. After the trade agreement came to an end in 1973, the Moroccan and Turkish laborers, who had now established lives for themselves in Holland over a period of nearly a decade and a half in some cases, legally brought their families across to settle with them. One would have to concede that these settlers had earned the right to live in a country that they had added so much value to during a period of economic uncertainty.
The other significant influx of Muslims that settled in Holland came from Suriname which had, up until 1975, been subjected to the colonial rule of Holland. In fact, they, along with significant parts of the neighbouring African continent, were assigned as the human ”slave” commodity of the Dutch West Indian Company (VOC). The same Company that spent many decades selling sugar, gold and ivory out of Suriname, one of its primary settlements and trade outposts. After the abolition of slave trade, the Dutch inhabitants left the Suriname and surrounding islands with little source of income or assets. And last but not least, although the number of Indonesian immigrants living in Holland is relatively low, the Netherlands, in its various historical forms, held modern day Indonesia as part of the Dutch Empire for close to 350 years up until 1942. Thereafter Holland looked upon their colonial past with a sense of regret. Unfortunately, the then Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende called upon his fellow politicians during a now infamous 2006 speech to reignite the VOC mentality.
Fast forward to the new millenium and the Dutch government began to implement strict tests and restrictions on immigrants wanting to settle in Holland. The impact of these laws saw the rate of immigration from both Morocco and Turkey, the countries with the highest Dutch Muslim populations, reduce by more than 50% from over 11,000 in 2003 to just over 5,000 in 2006. The Dutch Muslim population thus stands in the region of 850,000 people which is just 5% of the total population. The Netherlands contains about 400 Mosques and 47 Islamic primary and secondary schools.
Eight Muslims have served as elected MPs with one Muslim lady of Turkish descent serving as the State Secretary of Justice and a Muslim man of Moroccan descent serving as the Secretary for Social Affairs and Employment.
In 2004 Theo Van Gogh, a film producer who produced an utterly reprehensible and hate filled film called ”Submission,” was murdered by a young Muslim man called Mohammed Bouyeri. This criminal and un-Islamic act of Bouyeri, who is now serving life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, ignited Muslim-Native Dutch tensions across Holland. As is often the case with anti-Muslim sentiment, the actions of a single person, who happened to be a Muslim, led to the whole Muslim population and their religious ideologies being called into question. In the six months that followed, the Dutch Police Services Agency recorded 106 incidents of anti-Muslim violence with 47 incidents of violence against Mosques and Muslim schools. Several of these incidents involved serious arson attacks with the most extreme case seeing a Mosque burnt to the ground. Commenting on this period, the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia commented:
”Alongside violent racist incidents and arson attacks, the murder stimulated more ‘moderate’ racist sentiments. According to NGOs and media reports, migrants were confronted with name-calling in the streets, on public transport and during sports events. Leaflets bearing anti-Muslim sentiments were distributed in Rotterdam, Den Bosch and in the northwest of the country, and were also seen in Amsterdam, and graffiti was targeted at mosques, Islamic schools, and Muslim-owned shops.”
An opinion poll carried out in 2004, reported by the Institute for Migration and Ethical Studies, showed that of those questioned:
- 68% were threatened by ”immigrants of Muslim young people”; and
- 53% feared a terrorist attack by Muslim terrorists in Holland;
A later poll carried out in 2006 found that
- 71% believed Islam was “unfriendly to women”;
- 55.9% felt that there was “no room for humour in Islam”; and
- 54% believed that Islam and democracy were incompatible.
To be perfectly honest, when I consider the recent history of Islam and the Nethrlands I am left with mix feelings. No doubt there are obviously dutch people who have a clear disdain for Muslims and Islam, but is that really the majority opinion – I’m not sure? Let me draw a parallel. I know lots of Saudi Arabians and the vast majority rarely ever mention Christianity or Christians. In fact, they generally offer Christian guests a warm welcome and some good Arab hospitality. Yet, the Saudi Government’s recent record regarding Christians and the building of Churches is atrocious. The same could be said regarding the relatively peaceful attitude of the ordinary Egyptians towards Coptic Christians vis-a-vis the State’s suppression of the Copts for decades. Even in Europe one could pluck out statistics to show that any number of EU states are Islamaphobic. The reality, in my experience, is that the socio-political factors of a country is what generally generates enmity between people. The fact that some of those people are Muslims is often incidental.
There is a significant exception here though. A few well funded and hate consumed individuals have made it their mission to seek any and every opportunity to find fault with Islam. These individuals have played a large part in stirring and cultivating feelings of of negativity towards Islam and Muslims. Across the Atlantic such people include Robert Spencer and his side-kick Pamela Geller who reached fame earlier this year for being named as one of the ”Intellectual Influences” of the anti-Islam mass murderer Anders Breivik. Though, I am sure, they would never accept any intellectual responsibility, or might even put an anti-Islam slant on it. Equal in her disdain for Islam is the Canadian feminist author Irshad Manji. Oh, and I almost forgot the infamous Daniel Pipes. A good indication of the degree of Pipe’s prejudice can be well appreciated when even the likes of Christopher Hitchen’s offers the following critique, writing that Pipe’s:
“employs the fears and insecurities created by Islamic extremism to slander or misrepresent those who disagree with him,”
I only mention the next person because she neetly leads me onto the main subject of this post – Ayaan Ali Hursi. Despite her fame, she is more an opportunist than a person of any conviction or substance – I am yet to see any remnants of either substance or conviction in her writings and talks (but her book did help my BBQ along a couple of years back, for that much I am thankful). Interestingly, she recently married the ”Great” British historian, Niall Ferguson – famous for his thirst for imperialism (Eurabia), dislike of the apparent Islamicization of Europe, and an apparent intellectual allergy for the words ”peer reviewed.” Reminiscing on Edward Gibbon, the Oxonian famous for writing the classic ”The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire,” Ferguson wrote:
Still, it is hard not to be reminded of Gibbon — especially now that his old university’s Center for Islamic Studies has almost completed work on its new premises. In addition to the traditional Oxford quadrangle, the building is expected to feature ”a prayer hall with traditional dome and minaret tower.”
When I first glimpsed a model of that minaret, I confess, the phrase that sprang to mind was indeed ”decline and fall.”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a Somali-Dutch national who famously wrote the insanely outrageous film ”Submission”, directed by the murdered Theo Van Gogh. As we have travelled full circle and are now back in Holland, I will move on to the subject of this post – Geert Wilders. Wilders is a Dutch Right-wing politician and leader of the third largest Dutch party – the ”Party for Freedom (PVV).” Born a Roman Catholic, Wilders is one of the most outspoken opponents of Islam today. A BBC documentary aired at the beginning of 2011 highlighted how some of Wilder’s deep routed anti-Islam prejudice was shaped during his time spent living on Israeli settlements as a young man. His subsequent hate for Islam is perhaps only equaled for his love of the State of Israel. In Wilder’s infamous open letter, headed ”Enough is Enough: Ban the Qur’an” (”Genoeg is genoeg: verbied de Koran”), he supports the following radical views:
- ”…a moderate Islam does not exist…”
- “A moderate Islam does not exist. It does not exist, because there is no distinction between Good Islam and Bad Islam.”
- ”…the Koran is the Mein Kampf of a religion that seeks to eliminate others, those others – non-Muslims – called infidel dogs, inferior beings.”
- ”Read the Koran, that Mein Kampf again. In whatever version, you’ll see that all the evil that the sons of Allah commit against us and themselves…”
- ”The core of the problem is fascist Islam, the sick ideology of Allah and Mohammed as laid down in the Islamic Mein Kampf: the Koran. The texts from the Koran leave little to the imagination.”
- Death death penalty for apostasy is appropriate.
- ”Muslim men who refuse to allow their sick woman to be treated by male doctors.”
I’ve had enough of Islam in the Netherlands: no more Muslim immigrants anymore. I’m tired of the worship of Allah and Mohammed in the Netherlands: no more mosques. I’ve had enough of the Koran in the Netherlands: forbid that fascist book. Enough is enough.
Wilders also said that the Israel-Palestine problem should be solved by renaming Jordan ”Palestine.” Continuing his verbal crusade, Wilders added and that Israel should enjoy a special status in Holland as it is fighting for Jerusalem in Holland’s name. He concludes:
If Jerusalem falls into the hands of the Muslims, Athens and Rome will be next. Thus, Jerusalem is the main front protecting the West. It is not a conflict over territory but rather an ideological battle, between the mentality of the liberated West and the ideology of Islamic barbarism… There has been an independent Palestinian state since 1946, and it is the kingdom of Jordan.”
Perhaps his Israeli friends would be best to recall the kindness and compassion that the Jewish peoples enjoyed under the Imperial rule of Europe and North America…! Wilders also said that he would like to see the Dutch constitution changed so that its Art. 1 makes explicit that the Nethrlands has a dominating culture which is based on Christianity, Judaism, and Humanism.
Given the deep seated nature of Wilder’s pure hate, it is no wonder that addressing Wilders in one of his Friday Sermons, my beloved Hudur (ayyadahu Allah ta’ala bi-nasirhi al-‘aziz) stated:
The unfortunate person who has been using unrestrained, brazen stance against Islam and the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) to further his political life is indeed also from Holland. So much so that he froths at the mouth at the name of Islam. Recently when a Muslim organisation strongly condemned terrorism, this cruel person, Geert Wilders, said it was not sufficient. It was not acceptable for him until it was said that Islam is a religion that incites violence and extremism, is false and is not from God and it should be wiped off the face of the earth.
Addressing Geert Wilders Hudhur said, ‘O’ cruel person, let it be known that you, your [political] party and every person like you will perish but the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and Islam came to be in this world until the Day of Judgement. Any worldly power, no matter how Pharaoh-like in its enmity against Islam it may be, cannot erase Islam.’
Hudhur added that God has commissioned that person in this age whose task is, in spite of the animosity of people like Wilders, to make Islam triumph in the world with God’s help. Each Ahmadi has taken the Bai’at of the one commissioned by God and is aware of and pledges to sacrifice life, property and time to attain the objective. Thus is the message, Hudhur said, that the Jama’at in Holland and Ahmadis all over the world needs to take to others. Even if this politician [Wilders], worst enemy of Islam, is gaining further seats in the parliament, the world should be informed that his antics will lead to destruction by the hand of God. God has always protected and honoured His Prophets and will InshaAllah do so today. We neither possess any power, nor will we employ any worldly ploy. However, prayers of those whose hearts are injured shake the heavens. Here, the matter is to do with the beloved of God, (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). Here, God’s sense of honour will demonstrate that even the dust particles of such petty people will not be found.
Hudhur said there are many decent people in Holland who do not accept his views and that is the reason this wretched person was taken to court but it appears that court case became a casualty of politics. Hudhur said decent people should be searched and the message of Islam should be taken to them. People who are sensitive about others’ feelings should be gathered and a peace campaign should be launched. The world should be told that Islam teaches to even care for the feelings of idolaters and teaches against abuse of their idols lest they are abusive about God and as a result disorder is created.
This is, of course, not the first time that the Commander of the Faithful, Hadrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (ayyadahu Allah bi-nasrihi al-‘aziz) has discussed Wilders. Four years ago in 2007 my beloved Hudur (ayyadahu Allah bi-nasrihi al-‘aziz) this time from Baitul Noor Mosque in Holland, stated:
As most of you must already know, a politician from here (Holland) called Geert Wilders has gone to the extent of calling for the ban of the Holy Qur’an. He has maintained that the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) acquired an extremist personality with the passing of age, especially during his time in Medina. He also maintains that verse 5 of Surah Taubah (9:5) incites to violence against the Jews and Christians adding that the Qur’an does not have any concept of separation between religion and politics and that Qur’an itself is based on aggression and extremism. He said he is fed up with worship of God in Holland.
Huzur said Geert Wilder’s objection that the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) was inclined to extremism with age is simply a reflection of his extreme bias. Clearly he has not read the Qur’an and is defacing history based on hearsay. Explaining, Huzur said, what is the teaching in Surah Al Maidah (Chapter V); a Surah revealed after Hijrah, and which all traditions indicate to have been revealed in the last year of the life of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). Indeed the Surah says “…And let not the enmity of a people…incite you to transgress…” (5:3). Those who are blind cannot see the light.
As regards verse 5 of Surah Taubah, Huzur said if it is seen abandoing the obvious bias and prejudice it will be clear that here permission to fight those hypocrites is being given who would not desist and who continued to create disorder. [The verse] refers to the fact that as the Islamic rule was established and the hypocrites continued to flame the fan of hostility, Muslims should fight them.
Huzur said if according to [Geert Wilders] there should be a free reign in a situation such as described above then maybe he ought to introduce legislation in his country of unbridled liberty.
Huzur said time to time an upsurge against Islam emerges in Holland, however, it does not signify that the entire Dutch people. Indeed many prominent Dutch people responded against Mr. Wilders’ statement. Huzur enumerated a few statements from political figures which denounced Mr. Wilders and added that a foreign affairs minister had said that Holland had no plans to ban the Holy Qur’an.
Huzur said it is the obligation of each Ahmadi to not only respond and refute the objections raised by the opponents but also to thank those who still uphold high moral values. Huzur said the message of God should be taken to people and the reasons of the chaos in the world explained to them; it should be explained to them that peace of mind is not in the bedazzlement of this world, or in intoxicants, it is only to be found in turning to God. Those who exceed all limits and in particular show aggression to Islam should also be reached and told not to provoke the sense of honour of God. Explain to them the natural disasters occurring around the world are a warning that no one is safe in the world. Huzur said most of Holland is below sea-level any way. Following a massive flood in 1953 the government launched a vast construction designed against the threat of flood. It is known as Delta Works.
Huzur said that he went to visit Delta Works where the engineer/guide told him that they have protected their country against floods to which Huzur responded that indeed they had but only made the best attempt to protect against flooding and that complete protection is only with God. Huzur said he agreed and all his subsequent talk referred to Delta Works as an ‘attempt’ and he thus affirmed the existence of God four or five times. Huzur said his remarks in the visitor’s book were that the Delta Works is indeed a good human endeavour and a tremendous plan, however, it should always be borne in mind that the real planning is God’s and in order to be really protected remembrance of God is required
Realising the current length of this post, I am going to call it a day on Part 1. Now that some of the background has been set out, in the second part I will directly refute the above mentioned accusations leveled against Islam by Wilders and his infamous documentary ”Fitna.” In the meantime, please pray that Almighty Allah opens the heart of even this this deeply hateful man – a true enemy of Islam and embodiment of Pharaoh in this age.
Lastly, I have added below a three part BBC HardTalk interview with Wilders. As my beloved Hudur (ayyadahu Allah ta’ala bi-nasrihi al-‘aziz) has said on many occassions, it is upon the adherents (mubayi’in) of the Imam al-Mahdi (‘alayhi al-salam) to step forward with their pens in the defence of Islam. We should never allow the enemies of Islam to form a single argument against Islam without thoroughly putting their argument down through reasoned and evidenced argument!
Jazak Allah Khayr al-Jazaa’