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November 18, 2004

"Why Theo Van Gogh Was Murdered"

Topics: International News

The Dutch blogger Gunzilla discusses the reasons for Theo Van Gogh's murder:

Like most people in Western democracies, Van Gogh, by all accounts a brash and combative man, took his freedom of expression for granted. Most of us most of the time do not reflect much on the fact that such freedom is an historical exception rather than an historical rule, a reversible achievement rather than a free gift of God. There are still many who would rather kill than brook any contradiction of their opinions or beliefs, even while they live in the most tolerant of societies.

But why kill Theo Van Gogh, of all the people who have expressed hostility to radical Islam? Perhaps it was mere chance, but more likely it resulted from his work's exposure of a very raw nerve of Muslim identity in Western Europe: the abuse of women. This abuse is now essential for people of Muslim descent for maintaining any sense of separate cultural identity in the homogenizing solution of modern mass society.

In fact, Islam is as vulnerable in Europe to the forces of secularization as Christianity has proved to be. The majority of Muslims in Europe, particularly the young, have a weak and tenuous connection to their ancestral religion. Their level and intensity of belief is low; pop music interests them more. Far from being fanatics, they are lukewarm believers at best. Were it not for the abuse of women, Islam would go the way of the Church of England.
Posted in Binninland by gunzilla.

The abuse of women in Muslim society is legend. But so is the intolerance of fundamentalist Islam for all things not Muslim. Non-Muslims may find it ever-increasingly difficult to tolerate the tendency of Muslims to not speak-out against the abuse of women by fellow Muslims, and also to fail to speak-out against all forms of religious  violence...... and let not anyone be fooled, the abuse of women in Muslim society is religious violence, the Islamic man feels it is his religious 'right' to abuse women. Perhaps Europe will awaken from it's sleep on the Islamic issue soon. From the events over the last few weeks in Europe, particularly as a result of the van Gogh murder, it appears that the europeans are experiencing the results of having been living in a dreamworld over their tolerance of Muslim extremists for all too long. Even Chirac may be opening one eye!

Posted by Hyscience at November 18, 2004 11:04 AM

"This abuse is now essential for people of Muslim descent for maintaining any sense of separate cultural identity in the homogenizing solution of modern mass society."

I'm not disagreeing with your overall analysis of domestic abuse in Muslim culture, but I have to disagree with your theory of its motivation.

I don't think there's been any evidence that this behavior is an attempt to distinguish culture. A group that wished to distinguish itself would make its uniqueness public. But, you never see Muslims walking around saying, "Dude, I beat the everloving s*** outta my wife yesterday." Do you?

If anything, I think the estern Muslims who distinguish themselves do so by putting a positive Western spin on the religion: early adopters of democracy, developers of science, etc.

Posted by: Mansoor at November 18, 2004 10:32 PM

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