Death Threats Greet Dutch Lawmaker’s Call to Ban the KoranBy Patrick GoodenoughCNSNews.com International EditorAugust 10, 2007
(CNSNews.com) - A Dutch lawmaker under fire for urging that the Koranbebanned in his country says he will press ahead with the proposal, andsubmitit in the form of a parliamentary resolution next month.
Geert Wilders of the right-wing Freedom Party told Cybercast NewsServicethat since calling for a ban — in a letter published Wednesday in thenewspaper De Volkskrant — he had received death threats and criticism,“butfortunately also many positive responses from voters.”
In his letter, published under the headline “Enough is enough: Ban theKoran,” Wilders called the Koran a “fascist” text that has “no place inourconstitutional state.” He said some verses instruct Muslims “tooppress,persecute or kill Christians, Jews, dissidents and non-believers, tobeatand rape women and to establish an Islamic state by force.”
The Koran, like Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, should be banned in theNetherlands, he said.
The letter drew a swift response from the Dutch government. ElleVogelaar,the minister for integration and housing, called it “an insult to themajority of Muslims in the Netherlands and abroad who reject calls tohateand violence.”
“It has to be perfectly clear that banning the Holy Koran in theNetherlandsis not up for discussion for this government and will not be up fordiscussion in future,” she said.
Two lawyers have filed complaints against Wilders, accusing him of violatingDutch law with his statements.
The Iranian embassy in The Hague issued a statement urging Dutchpoliticiansto take a stand against forces threatening to divide society, and Egypt’s foreign ministry said in a statement that Wilders’ comments “reflect total ignorance of the substance of Islam and its precepts, applied by an overwhelming majority of Muslims around the world.”
Wilders, whose new party holds nine of the 150 seats in the country’s Second Chamber, the lower house of parliament, acknowledged that it would beanuphill battle to win majority support.
Even so, he told Cybercast News Service, “it is my duty as aparliamentarianto put forward ideas as I see them, both inside and outside parliament.Infact, we will have a parliamentary debate with the government in thebeginning of September and I will put forward my proposal in parliamentthanas well [in the form of a resolution].”
The Netherlands is believed to have the second-largest per-capitaMuslimpopulation in western Europe, after France. About six percent of thepopulation - one million out 16 million total - is Muslim, mostly ofTurkishand Moroccan origin.
The country, long renown for its liberalism, has grappled increasinglyinrecent years with radical Islam, and inter-communal tensions worsenedwhen aDutch-Moroccan extremist in 2004 shot and stabbed to death Theo VanGogh, acontroversial filmmaker critical of Islamism.
Other critics of Islam threatened with death include Somalia-born Dutchlawmaker Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who ultimately moved to the United States,andWilders himself.
Last weekend an Iranian-born Dutch politician who recently set up asupportgroup for people who have renounced Islam was violently attacked bythreeMuslims, although he was not hurt.
Ehsan Jami, whose advisor said itwas thethird such incident, is now under police protection. Apostasy ispunishableby death in some Muslim societies.
Wilders said it was the attack on Jami that prompted him to write hisletter.
“It’s terrible to see how naive and silent and politically correct theotherpolitical parties are about the biggest problem I believe theNetherlands,Europe and the West faces today, [Islamization],” he said.
Wilders expressed optimism, however, that the message was gettingthrough.He noted that his party won nine seats in parliament last November, butthatopinion polls today give it enough support to hold between 12 and 17seats.
“The battle certainly is not lost. I am sure many, many Dutch voterssharemy views,” Wilders said. “I will continue to fight.
Wilders’ Freedom Party is known for favoring restriction onimmigration,particularly from non-Western countries.
He has tried on several occasionsto have the wearing of the burqa outlawed, but without success.
Last month, integration minister Vogelaar caused a stir when she saidtheNetherlands should in the future be home to a “Judeo-Christian-Islamictradition.”
A Dutch-Moroccan group praised her for her “courage,” but otherpoliticiansobjected, and Wilders said the minister should resign.
In an opinion survey
last week, 56 percent of Dutch adult respondents rejected Vogelaar’s remark.
The chairman of the country’s largest Muslim group, the Contact BodyforMuslims and Government, did not respond to invitations to comment forthisstory.
This is not the first time critics of Islam have called for the Koranto bebanned.
In 1985, a Hindu in India petitioned the Calcutta High Court to have the book banned in that country, arguing that it incited violence, promotedenmity between different religious communities, and denigrated thebeliefsof non-Muslim religions in India.
A footnote to the petition provided lists of Koranic suras that the applicant said insulted other religions, promoted hatred and incitedviolence. The court threw out the petition on a technicality, accordingtopublished accounts.