Holland Hounds Hirsi Ali

Holland has for decades been celebrated, or notorious, as a land where anything goes, but now the Dutch have finally discovered that there are limits. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the courageous Dutch Parliamentarian who has drawn death threats for her outspoken criticism of women’s rights in Islam and unrestricted Muslim immigration into Europe, has resigned from Parliament and will leave the Netherlands. Dutch immigration minister Rita Verdonk has brought this about by suddenly deciding to press the fact that the Somalia-born Hirsi Ali lied in her request for asylum in the Netherlands was grounds to strip her of her Dutch citizenship.

But why now? Hirsi Ali admitted that she lied in 2002, before she became a candidate for Parliament. That Verdonk suddenly decided four years later that the lies were intolerable bespeaks her zeal not for stringent immigration policies but for a way to rule Hirsi Ali’s politics out of the Dutch public discourse. One might think that, while no one can condone the lies she told, the death threats she has received since then could and would become the occasion for granting her refuge and citizenship on a firmer basis. For Hirsi Ali has paid an immense price for speaking out, as she put it in her resignation speech on Tuesday, about “issues related to Islam—such as impediments to free speech; refusal of the separation of Church and State; widespread domestic violence; honor killings; the repudiation of wives; and Islam’s failure to condemn genital mutilation.”

The fact that an adjusted granting of asylum is not under consideration unmasks Verdonk and her allies as craven, short-sighted political opportunists bent only on the destruction of a Cassandra who has told them too many unpleasant truths. Nasr Joemman of the Contact Organization for Muslims and Government (CMO) stated this plainly: “I celebrate that she is leaving the Netherlands. I hope that by her departure we can move forward with building a harmonious society.”

It is impossible to determine how many Muslims remain in Holland who believe that speech critical of Islam or Muhammad should be outlawed; or who hope to see the Netherlands become a Sharia state sometime in the future; or who believe that the Qur’an’s mandate to husbands to beat their disobedient wives (4:34) is perfectly reasonable; or who even believe that honor killings or genital mutilation can be justified. No one is asking, or answering, such questions of Muslim immigrants in Holland or anywhere else in the West. But what the Hirsi Ali debacle has shown is that to hold such sentiments in Holland today is not as bad as the act of calling attention to them and protesting against them. Such protests interfere with the harmonious society Nasr Joemman and Rita Verdonk are trying to build.

What kind of a harmonious society will they build? The hounding and persecution of Hirsi Ali do not bode well. They indicate, at very least, that it will be a society that is not critical of the outrages against women’s rights about which she has spoken, that are encouraged by Islamic doctrine and practice. Those outrages, therefore, will continue. The harmonious Verdonk/Joemman society will likewise eschew the debate Hirsi Ali encouraged about the advance of the Sharia imperative in the Netherlands. Will those who want to set up an Islamic state in The Hague therefore be able to operate unhindered?

Certainly there will be no more Cassandra voice in the Dutch Parliament warning of the threat Sharia poses to human rights and the equality of dignity of all people. And so much the worse for the Dutch Parliament and Dutch society. Hirsi Ali’s foes will find that the crocodile to which they have thrown their most prominent politician will come for them next. Hirsi Ali herself, meanwhile, has announced her intention to come to the United States. Europe’s loss is America’s gain, but this is no occasion for rejoicing; Hirsi Ali’s ejection from Holland will before too long be seen as one significant step closer to the extinguishing of the light not only in that country, but in all of Europe.