Friday, May 19, 2006

Not our fight

From the Wall Street Journal, a very good summary of the Ayaan Hirsi Ali story.

As she packs her bags to head across the Atlantic, others have done, or are about to do the same.

Across Europe, dozens of people are now in hiding or under police protection because of threats from Muslim extremists. Dutch police say politicians reported 121 death threats last year. The number this year will likely be much higher. Geert Wilders, a right-wing member of parliament who also lives in a high-security apartment owned by the state, says he has received 120 menacing emails and letters since January. One of the latest reads: "Oh you cursed infidel! Don't think you are safe from our mighty organization....It is our wish to kill you by decapitation. Your infidel blood will flow freely on cursed Dutch streets!"

In Germany, several researchers, journalists and members of Parliament receive police protection because of threats by radical Muslims. Hans-Peter Raddatz, an Islamic-studies expert under police protection, recently moved to the U.S.

Flemming Rose, the culture editor of the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, is also mulling a move to America, at the urging of friends and security contacts. He set off a global storm by publishing cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. Twelve Danish cartoonists who drew the caricatures are staying out of public for fear of attack.
While the best go west, the rest ... hunker down in their bunkers. This is the kind of victory the Jihadists dream of. She's been cast out by the very culture she was seeking to defend. This next is the worst story I've come across in this affair.
News of Ms. Hirsi Ali's arrival [in the apartment] spread. Dick van Tetterode, a retired doctor who lives in an adjacent building, says he worried briefly about bombs, but decided he'd probably lose only his windows.

During a slow afternoon stroll outside Ms. Hirsi Ali's building, the 84-year-old doctor reflected on her predicament and on his own flight from the Nazis during World War II. A student at the time, he spent two years hiding on a Dutch farm. Two of the three people he credits with saving his life were killed by the Germans. Struggling to hold back tears, he says he regrets never thanking their children properly for their fathers' bravery.

But Ms. Hirsi Ali's case is different, he says. He admires her conviction, he says, but thinks her rage at Islam belongs in the Middle East and Africa, not the Netherlands. "This is not our fight," he says.

Who did what and why during World War II are still touchy questions here. Holland deported 78% of its Jews -- the highest proportion in Western Europe.
"This is not our fight"; "he regrets never thanking their children properly". When I told my wife the story of the eviction, she just said, "Ann Frank". Hirsi Ali was undiplomatic enough to evoke the same memories:
"My neighbors seem to confirm the critical view that very few Dutch people were brave enough" during the Nazi occupation.
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