Islam debate polarises further

Searchlight - September 2011

Norwegian killer Anders Breivik strongly admires Geert Wilders´ Freedom Party (PVV) in the Netherlands. Even before his 1,500-page so-called manifesto was sent out over the internet, Breivik had written on a Swedish web forum that "Geert Wilders´...can rightly call himself a true conservative..." while the manifesto itself contains numerous references to the Netherlands, mentioning Wilders around 30 times. Breivik sees the Netherlands, in his eyes once an outstanding example of freedom of speech, turning more and more into a totalitarian state as a direct consequence of mass immigration and, especially, the influx of Muslims. Indeed, he thought that he would see The Netherlands as the first country where a civil war might erupt over Muslim immigration, commenting: "The Dutch will have to fight, or they have to leave their country and watch it dying from a distance". He also thought the Dutch government was, in fact, implementing Sharia law and favourably quotes Wilders. Breivik probably got his twisted idea of the situation in the Netherlands from the PVV´s civil warmongering about the situation back in 2008, when Wilders called for the return of the Dutch army from Afghanistan to restore order in an area of the city of Gouda. Wilders, of course, condemned Breivik´s killing spree and distanced himself and his party from "this violent, sick psychopath" and all that he stands for in a tweet. If these sentiments were really true, Wilders and his PVV would have to distance themselves from half their own election programme and from numerous remarks they have made in the past. In the Dutch media following Breivik´s murders there were calls by "opinion formers", from right to left, for Wilders take some sort of responsibility and, at least, explain how he sees his "battle against Islam´" developing, what his ideal outcome would be and what is going to happen to Muslims in the Netherlands who continue to observe their faith. In an interview in the newspaper De Telegraaf, Wilders lashed out against the left political parties for trying to blame him. In the same interview with De Telegraaf, Wilders also calls mosques "hate palaces". On the anti-Islam web forums and blogosphere, where many PVV supporters are active, the same war rhetoric is still rampant. Keyboard warriors on these sites do not understand the supposedly non-violent way that Wilders wants to combat Islam. They believe in the twisted image of society and the apocalyptic worldview that Wilders and his party spit into the world and repeat again and again. "The social democrats (always called `Party of the Arabs´ by Wilders) are responsible for the decades long influx of their Islamic voting cattle", and "Moroccans come to the Netherlands not to integrate, but to colonise and dominate the Dutch" are some of the statements made by Wilders and his PVV supporters.

Wilders says a "warm war" (instead of a cold war) has to be fought with the Islam, referring to the battle against the Moors at Poitiers and to the battle against the Turks at Vienna. Equally, his comparisons with national socialism are well known: the Koran is the same as Mein Kampf, Islam is a fascist ideology and "Liberation from the Islam is the target and who doesn´t fight for that is a cowardly Chamberlain" To win this fight, "millions of Muslims have to be deported from Europe," according to Wilders. This right-wing populist rhetoric can easily poison the unstable minds that infest the online anti-Islam community, causing numerous Dutch keyboard warriors to applaud and understand Breivik´s actions or, if they condemned them, to share his analysis. Whether the viscerally anti-Muslim keyboard warriors will remain at their terminal or take up weapons in the Netherlands remains to be seen. The Dutch secret service AIVD warned in 2010 that right-wing extremists have a fascination for weapons and glorify violence. Stating that gun possession has a huge symbolic value, it went on to say that "it is not excluded that loners from a right-wing or ultra-right perspective can resort to violence."

Jeroen Bosch for Alert! and Antifa-Net in Amsterdam

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