Emerson Vermaat: The Dutch Labor Party and Islam: The Limits of Multiculturalism
July 31, 2007
The Dutch Labor Party and Islam: The Limits of Multiculturalism
By Emerson Vermaat
"Islamic culture is so deeply entrenching itself in Dutch society, that in the long run one would speak of a land that is based on a Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition," Ella Vogelaar, the Dutch Minister for Housing, Neighborhoods and Integration, told the Dutch daily newspaper Trouw.[1 She claims that Islam will contribute to Dutch culture and society in a similar way as Jews and Christians have done in past centuries. "I want to help Muslims feel at home here, Islam and Muslims must take roots here." "Our society has been formed by Jewish-Christian traditions. These are our roots. Centuries ago, the Jewish community came to the Netherlands and now we can say: The Netherlands is a land formed by Judeo-Christian traditions. I can imagine we will see a similar process with Islam." According to the Minister of Integration, there is a "mutual process" in which cultures influence and stimulate each other.
Ella Vogelaar is a prominent member of the Dutch Labor Party (PvdA) and an outspoken leftist. She is also a feminist, and this is rather strange: How can a leftist feminist applaud a conservative religion like Islam which suppresses women? But there are new alliances between conservative Muslims and leftists. One of Vogelaar's more vocal critics is Nahed Selim, a female Muslim writer in the Netherlands who writes that multiculturalism has become the religion of the left.[2 And Ayaan Hirsi Ali sees parallels between Islamic fundamentalism and the totalitarian temptation of Nazism.[3 These two women know quite well what they are talking about.
Vogelaar's views on Islam reflect a dominant trend within the Labor Party to accomodate Islam and Islamic militancy. Wouter Bos, the Dutch Labor Party leader and Finance Minister, recently indicated that a ban on Islamic banking would be counterproductive. Instead, the Netherlands should evolve into center for Islamic banking and finance, like Dubai and London, he said.[4 This kind of banking is based on the strict Islamic "Sharia" law and very popular among Islamic militants and terrorists from the Middle East, Pakistan and Europe. Most Pakistani immigrants in Spain and Britain use this system and some of these immigrants were linked to terrorist and criminal networks. Sharia banking and "Halal (=clean) financing" is quickly making inroads into European societies. Islamic law and the Koran stictly forbid the giving or receiving of interest, so here is where the advocates of Islamic banking step in.
Both Vogelaar and Bos should be aware of the fact that Islam does not recognize the principle of separation between Church (Mosque) and State, or the separation between religion and policitics. For the sake of the ideology of multiculturalism, the Dutch Labor Party is now in danger of renouncing its own principles.
There is also a growing trend within the Labor Party and other leftist parties to accept Hamas as a legitimate partner in the peace process. During a recent visit of a Dutch parliamentary delegation to Syria, Labor MP Martijn van Dam and his colleagues Harry van Bommel (Socialist Party) and Mariko Peters (Green Party) talked to a Osama Hamdam, a representative of Hamas in Damascus. Harry van Bommel is a known apologist for radical causes in the Middle East and Martijn van Dam is a young and outspoken parliamentarian. Prime Minister Jan-Peter Balkenende, a Christian-Democrat, as well as other members of the parliamentary delegation criticized the talks with Hamas, but van Dam said he had not done anything wrong.[5
Who is Osama Hamdan? He is the representative of Hamas in Lebanon. In conversations with Western journalists and politicians he usually poses as a moderate,[6 but as soon as he addresses Arab audiences he is very outspoken.
In February 2007, Hamdan told his viewers on Al-Manar TV (Lebanon):
"The (Zionist) entity is incapable of making peace. This entity is based on plundering and aggression. Seeking peace with it is a waste of time. What should be sought is a true solution, which will restore all the Palestinian rights, and will lead to an end to the existence of this entity in the region."[7
After having met Hamdan the controversial Dutch activist Gretta Duisenberg said: "What a friendly man! You hear that he means what he says. The Israelis are always lying. They are bastards."[8
Wim Kortenhoeven, a Dutch expert on the Middle East, recently published a thorough study on Hamas. He shows that Hamas's real agenda is killing Jews. Hamas leaders glorify suicide bombers who kill Jews. Article 7 of the Hamas Charter gives the following quote attributed to the Muslim prophet Mohammed: "Every tree and rock shall say: ‘O Muslim, there is Jew behind me; come and kill him."'[9
Such studies and quotes are usually ignored by those in the Dutch Labor Party who espouse multiculturalism and bend over backwards accomodating radicals. These multiculturalists were not happy when Ehsan Jami, another Labor Party member, established a "Committee of former Muslims." They feared this could antagonize Muslim voters. In the crucial election year of 2006, the Labor Party lost a lot of Moroccan voters.[EV1[10 Ehsan Jami was born in Iran in 1985. He, his sister and his parents arrived in the Netherlands in 1996, he later joined the Dutch Labor Party and became a member of the city coucil of Leidschendam. He lost his Muslim faith and founded his "Committee of Former Muslims" in May 2007. Other members of the Labor Party accused him of "stigmatizing" Muslims, widening the gap between Muslims and non-Muslims. "But I say: We must call a spade a spade. Why do we have to protect our grassroots support? We must take into account what is good for the Netherlands."[11 A Eddy Terstal, a promiment party member, "advised" Jami to moderater his tone, be more careful in choosing his words when he criticized Islam and take into account the views of Muslim members of the party. This was done in consultation with two members of parliament.[12
What some people in the Labor Party fear most is that Ehsan Jami will evolve into a new Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Muslim asylum seeker from Somalia who first joined the Labor Party and then became a vocal atheist and dire critic of Islam, especially after she had joined the conservative Liberal Party VVD and became a member of parliament.
One of Jami's closest friends and advisors is Dr. Afshin Ellian, also a Muslim from Iran who lost his faith after arriving in the Netherlands. Ellian, Professor of Social Cohesion, Citizenship and Multicultural Studies at the prestigious University of Leiden, has received numerous death threats from radical Muslims who believe that "apostates" must be killed. One of the most recent threats was issued by the firebrand cleric Sheikh Fawaz Jneid who called a Ellian tumorous cancer.[13
Nebahat Albayrak and the Armenian genocide
The influence exerted by Muslim voters on the Dutch Labor Party is substantial. The current Deputy Minister for Justice Nebahat Albayrak is in charge of immigration policies, but she has both a Dutch and a Turkish passport. She refused to give up her Turkish nationality when she became deputy minister. She now plans the "regularization" of 30,000 illegal immigrants, something the multiculturalists in the Labor Party have wanted for a long time.
In the election year of 2006, when she was still a member of parliament for the Labor Party, she was suddenly confronted with the question of the Armenian genocide. Initially, she said that the number of those killed was not so important and that "all" sources on the Armenian question have become tainted.[14 The Turkish claim that the Armenians collaborated with the Russians should also be investigated, Albayrak indicated.[15 She did not want to take sides on the issue. After a lot of pressure she recognized that there had been "masacres in that period." But the term "genocide," is a matter of legal debate, she said. Turks both in Turkey and Europe must start a debate on these massacres.[16 But in the Turkish newspaper Aksam she said that she would never recognize the Armenian genocide.[17 This is a very typical attitude: In interviews with Western medi one says or writes something different than what is presented in the media of the country of origin.
The Labor Party removed Erdinc Sacan, a Dutch-Turkish candidate for the Dutch parliament, from its list of candidates because he publicly refused to recognize the Armenian genocide.[18 This was an embarrassment. But Sacan and many Dutch-Turkish voters were upset and threatened to vote for other parties. Mr. Bulent Arinc, the Turkish parliament Speaker, sent Sacan a letter of support.[19 The Turkish government also began to meddle into Dutch politics. A key advisor to the Turkish Minister of Religious Affairs sent e-mails to Turkish organizations in the Netherlands advising them to call on local Turks to vote for Fatima Koser Kaya, a parliamentary candidate for the leftist D66 party. The e-mails said that this party had never referred to the "Armenian question" as "genocide." These controversial mails had been sent by Ali Alaybeyoglu, advisor to Religious Affairs Minister Mehmet Aydin. Aydin is also in charge of relations with Turkish immigrants in Europe.[20 Thanks to a massive Turkish campaign on her behalf, Fatima Kosher Kaya was indeed elected into Parliament. Strong pressure was put on Dutch-Turkish politicians not to recognize the Armenian genocide. Some of these politicians were threatened and intimidated by local
Turkish immigrants.[21 (I still remember an intimidating demonstration of 3000 Turks waving Turkish flags and banners in front of the EO Radio and Television building in Hilversum when EO wanted to air a film on the Armenian genocide, I never saw so many angry faces.)
In October 2006, Labor Party leader Wouter Bos met Turkish pupils in a school in the city of Amersfoort. They told him to take into account that the Labor Party was the Party of the immigrants (Partij van de Allochtonen). Bos did not quite share this point of view but it is a fact that the bulk of Turkish and Moroccan immigrants in the Netherlands vote for the Labor Party.[22 Prof. Dr. Paul Scheffer, a Dutch specialist on immigration issues and a prominent member of Labor Party himself, expressed concern about this trend towards "ethnicization of voting behavior." He is afraid his party will return to its pre-2002 policy of avoiding to speak on the negative sides of massive immigration.[23
Ethnicization of voting behavior creates opportunities for corrupt politicians (clientalism, conflict of interest, etc.), a recent Harvard University study found.[24 This is the case, for example, in Amsterdam South-East where African and Surinamese immigrants are in the majority and where some of the politicians they voted for became corrupt.[25
Clientalism occurs when dubious projects are subsidized by local politicians who have a vested interest in staying on good terms with immigrant communities. Ella Vogelaar, the Dutch Minister for Housing, Neigborhoods and Integration, said she was not against decisions taken by local authorities to subsidize religious institutions of immigrants. "As long as you subsidize social activities and not religious ones," she added.[26 She did not clarify how you can keep these two things apart. For many Muslims there is no clear distinction between religion, politics and social affairs. Allah is the supreme ruler.
Milli Gorus and the "Wester Mosque"
Things went terribly wrong in Amsterdam when the Turkish group "Milli Gorus" wanted to build a huge mosque in Amsterdam-West. Once again, local politicians from the Dutch Labor Part played a dubious role.
Milli Gorus ("National View") is a Turkist Islamist movement founded and inspired by the Turkish politician Necmettin Erbakan, a former prime minister. It was closely linked to Erbakan's Welfare or Refah which was banned in 1998. The Islamic Society of Milli Gorus (IGMG) was founded in Germany in 1985. Their headquarters are in the city of Cologne, near the Dutch border. (I once visited these headquarters and it struck me how unfriendly and hostile the atmosphere was.) They have some 27,000 members and 323 mosques. The Dutch branch has more than 30,000 members and 23 mosques. European-wide the total membership is 87,000.
Erbakan was the key speaker at a European "Brotherhood and Solidarity Day" in Arnheim, the Netherlands, in June 2002. He told his 23,000 mainly Turkish friends: "The whole of Europe will become Islamic. Like the army of the sultan we will conquer Rome."[27
Two years later, Erbakan warned against "the Zionists who are humanity's greatest scourge, they exploit the earth to control the world."
An article published in the Turkish online edition Milli Gazete referred to "the legend of the Jewish genocide," expressing similar views as anti-Semitic Holocaust deniers.[29
Milli Gorus is against the separation of Church and State and advocates the introduction of Sharia law instead.[30 Milli Gorus Germany is closely monitored by the German domestic security service (BfV).
These extremist views are not shared by everyone. For many years, the Dutch Milli Gorus branch was led by two young and moderate men named Haci Karacaer and Uzeyir Kabaktepe who opposed Sharia law and accepted the principle of separation of Church and State. Both Karacaer and Kabaktepe clashed with members belonging to the older generation and the headquarters in Cologne which pursued a much more conservative line.
In 1994, the Dutch Milli Gorus branch bought a piece of land in Amsterdam-West and opened a mosque in a garage. They wanted to build a new mosque, a huge one. According to the plans, this so-called "Wester Mosque" was not going to be just a mosque but also a cultural and social center, a shopping center and a sports complex. Initially, local authorities in Amsterdam-West (district "De Baarsjes") led by Papineau Salm (Dutch Labor Party) were opposed. Salm received serious threats which he reported to the police but few people in the Labor Party supported him. Angry Turks then took to the streets. Kabaktepe addressed the demonstrators suggesting there could violent riots if their demands were not met.[31 Kabaktepe was a local businessman and the Wester Mosque was his idea. Kabaktepe was supported by the influential Amsterdam Center for Immigrants (ACB). They advised Kabaktepe to engage the builders corporation "Het Oosten" (The East). Salm's successor Henk van Waveren then gave Milli Gorus and "Het Oosten" permission to build the Wester Mosque. Local authorities in Amsterdam-West believed and hoped that the new mosque would a symbol of integration, tolerance and dialogue. They believed Kabaktepe was a moderate Turkish Muslim. The previous threats issued by the same man seemed to have been forgotten. Kabaktepe was indeed not as conservative as the Milli Gorus leadership in Cologne. The Dutch branch preferred to be more autonomous and decided in 1999 that the Dutch chairman of Milli Gorus was to be appointed by the local branch and not by the leaders in Cologne. Kabaktepe's friend Haci Karacaer, the son of a Turkish-Kurdish guestworker, became "director of Milli Gorus Netherlands." He once said that Europe's roots are Islamic. "We gave you the Jewish-Christian roots."[32 This is turning history upside down. But compared to the people in Cologne Karacaer was a moderate, too. Yet, there was a small problem in 2005 when people living in Amsterdam-West objected to plans to build a 42 meter high minaret. Kabaktepe and Karacaer maintained that this was in line with "Ottoman architectural prescriptions." Arbiters decided in 2006 in favor of the 42 meter high minaret.[33 Another problem was money. Milli Gorus needed an extra two million Euros and Labor Party leaders in Amsterdam, the mayor included, was willing to help and gave the money.[34 The Wester Mosque now was a prestige project, a dear symbol of tolerance and multiculturalism. The agreement between Milli Gorus and local city authorities from "De Baarsjes" stipulated that Milli Gorus and their Wester Mosque would pursue a moderate course.
Dutch Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner was present at a special celebration in April 2006 to mark the beginning of the construction work.
But the hard-liners in Cologne did not like the idea that a Dutch Minister, a Christian-Democrat that is, played such an important role that day. They were opposed to dialogue and mutual understanding. And they wanted to get rid of both Kabaktepe and Karacaer who were, in their view, too independent minded and too "liberal." They demanded already in 2003 that Karacaer would leave. They said it was not allowed for Milli Gorus people to have contacts with Jews, Christians and gays. They also did not like Karacaer's strong condemnation of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America. Karacaer really hated Mohammed Atta and his ilk who represented a demonic perversion of Islam, the face of evil.
The people in Cologne also demanded to have full control over the Wester Mosque project. Kabaktepe was so alarmed that he decided to inform the Dutch Security and Intelligence Service AIVD about the pressure put on him by the movement's headquartes in Cologne. (The AIVD produced several internal reports on the infighting in Milli Gorus, the tone of these reports was not optimistic.) One year later, the Cologne leadership sent a new Turkish imam to Amsterdam. Osman Pakoz was a hard-liner who had received theologial training in Pakistan. Young men wearing beards and dressed in jellabas (conservative Islamic dress) began to visit Milli Gorus' Aya Sofia Mosque. Kabaktepe had never seen such types in the mosque before and he was highly worried. "They must be gassed just like the Jews," the youngsters dressed in their jellabas said when a city official visited the mosque in 2006.[35By that time Kabaktepe and Karacaer had already been removed by the leadership in Cologne (May 2006). The new Milli Gorus director in Amsterdam was Fatih Dag, a fanatic who made socially acceptable statements for public consumption while promoting a fundamentalist line.
City officials in Amsterdam-West were flabbergasted. They did not like the new man from Cologne at all. It was against their idea of tolerance and understanding and against the agreement with the previous leaders that the Wester Mosque leadership would pursue a moderate course.
Henk van Waveren felt betrayed. "They have deceived us," he said in an interview. "Something radically changed inside Milli Gorus." Frank Blijdendijk, director of the builders corporation "Het Oosten" said: "We were naive."[36 He fears there will be pepetual lawsuits.
Fatih Dag has already threatened "that we Turks will build the mosque ourselves," otherwise it could have dire consequences. He predicted that a "beautiful Wester Mosque" will be ready by 2012. In case the building permit is withdrawn, Dag said he will immediately organize a demonstration:
"There will be busses from every Milli Gorus mosque in Europe, there will be quite a lot of people. I did not tell Al Jazeera about it yet, but I am sure they will soon know about it and I will be on TV. This interview will be seen throughout the Arab world. I don't know what the consequences will be. All Muslims have satellite disks, so they'll see that a beautful Muslim project is being prohibited here. Do not forget, it all began here with a few Turks, but now it has become the project of many Muslims in the Netherlands. I expect a revolt among them within the limits of the law, of course, no violence, but keep in mind: our people are more emotional than you Europeans are."[37
This is brazen intimidation. To announce that the Muslim masses will rise up against the peaceful nation of the Netherlands, is a real threat. It happened before. It happened in equally peaceful Denmark when a conservative imam mobilized the Arab world against cartoons published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten showing the Muslim prophet Mohammed.
But this is not very surprising. Many conservative Muslims in Europe behave as if they are already in control of politics and society. They protest when male doctors investigate their wives and ask for female doctors. Some male doctors in the Netherlands have even been intimidated by bearded men in jellabas.[38(One wonders what a Taliban commander would do if his wife or daughter would suddenly fall ill; when they ruled Afghanistan the Taliban prohibited women from going to univeristies, so there were no practicing female doctors in Afghanistan between 1996 and December 2001.)
The Amsterdam City Council decided in May 2007 to break off all contact with Milli Gorus. Milli Gorus, meanwhile, is involved in a number of huge financial scandals (embezzlement of funds, Islamic banking, etc.). There are indications that Turkish government ministers are involved as well.[39
Multiculturalism is fine but within limits. When militant Muslims are beginning to threaten and intimidate us and act as if they are in the majority here, something has gone terribly wrong. This is not just a problem in a country like the Netherlands. Unfortunately, there is a much wider problem with Islam itself.
The problem with Islam
Islam is a missionary and politically assertive religion and it is not as peaceful as many Muslims claim. From its inception the religion of Islam spread through violence. The Muslim prophet Mohammed himself was a warrior, ruler and conquerer, a man who declared holy war ("jihad") on infidels. Those who opposed his rule had to be killed:
"Those that make war against God and His apostle (=Mohammed) and spread disorder in the land shall be put to death or crucified or have their hands and feet cut off on alternate sides, or be banished from the land." (Koran, Sura 5 verse 33 translated by N.J. Dawood).
Mohammed's first biographer Ibn Ishaq (704-768) relates how "the apostle" (Mohammed) once said: "Kill any Jew who falls into your power."[40The same apostle approved of killing more than 600 Jewish males in the market place of Medina. They "were led out tied together in groups, and beheaded, one by one, on the edge of the trenches and thrown in." The women and children were sold into slavery, the prophet took a concubine for himself, the pretty Rayhana, the widow of one of those who had been executed.[41
There is a sharp contrast between the life and message of Mohammed and the life and message of Jesus Christ as related in the four Gospels of the Bible. According to the Biblical account the devil once took Jesus to a very high mountain showing him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. "All these," he said, "I will give you, if you only fall down and do me hommage." (Matthew 4 verses 8, 9, New English Bible). It was Jesus who once said (John 18 verse 36): "My kingdom does not belong to this world" (literally: "My kingdom is not of this world"). He explicitly rejected the use of violence to spread his message.
But the religion of Islam Islam spread through the following means:
-emigration to non-Muslim lands.
Those who emigrate to non-Muslim lands to spread the message of Islam follow the prophet's example. Mohammed and his followers emigrated or fled from Mecca to Medina in 622. They were persecuted in Mecca and then found refuge in Medina. Those who followed Mohammed to Medina were called Muhajir(o)un (the emgigrants).[42 According to the Koran, those who leave their homeland will receive special rewards:
"He that flies his homeland for the cause of God (Allah) shall find numerous places of refuge in the land and great abundance. He that leaves his dwelling to fight for God (Allah) and His apostle and is then overtaken by death, shalll be rewarded by God." (Koran, Sura 4:100).
In his A Guide to the Contents of the Qur'an, Faruq Sherif writes:
"Thus the paramount commandment was that believers must migrate from places where Islam was persecuted and proceed to places where they could join and strengthen the Moslem community. Those who failed in this duty would have to answer to the angels of death for their neglect, and when they would plead that they were oppressed in their homeland, the angels would reject their excuse, saying: ‘Was not God's earth wide enough for you to migrate in it?" Reduced to silence, they would be consigned to Hell for not having emigrated when they could have done so."[43
Muslims in non-Arab countries must become a majority by making as many converts as possible. Once their country is a Muslim country, the changes will be dramatic. As Sir Vidia Naipaul, the Nobel prize-winning author, points out:
"Islam is in its origins an Arab religion. Everyone not an Arab who is a Muslim is a convert. Islam is not simply a matter of conscience or private belief. It makes imperial demands. A convert's world view alters. His holy places are in Arab lands; his sacred language is Arabic. His idea of history alters. He rejects his own; he becomes, whether he likes it or not, a part of Arab history. The convert has to turn away from everything that he is. The disturbance for societes is immense, and even after a thousand years can remain unresolved; the turning away has to be done again and again. People develop fantasies about who and what they are; and in the Islam of converted countries there is an element of neurosis and nihilism. These countries can be easily set on the boil."[44
Honor crimes and arranged marriages
A good example of a volatile and explosive country is Pakistan, one of the countries Naipaul decribes in his book as a violent society dominated by revenge, honor and hot-temperedness.[45He met a Pakistani who was proud of the Pathan idea of honor. This man told him a story about a Pathan girl who had run away with a male servant of the family. "The couple had been hunted down – no place for them to hide – and tied to a tree and shot; the police had stood by and done nothing."[46 There are many Pakistani immigrants in Britain who stick to their ancestral and tribal traditions of honor and arranged marriages. This is the reason why Naipaul, who was born in Trinidad to Indian parents but who now lives in Britain, is highly critical of "multiculturalism," and the "benefits society," arguing that immigrants must seek to assimilate into their host country. A man who comes to another country "can't say: ‘I want the laws and the protection, but I want to live in my own way.' It's wrong. It has become a kind of a racket, this multiculturalism."[47
Whereas honor crimes and arranged marriages are not restricted to Muslim cultures, Muslims are involved in these evil practices only too often. Sue Lloyd Roberts interviewed a number of victims for BBC television. She claims that "hundreds of young Asian girls in Britain are living in hiding, some at secret addresses for fear of being traced by ‘bounty hunters' and returned to vengeful husbands and fathers." One of these terrified girls, 18 year old Neesha, told her:
"When I was 16, my parents took me to Pakistan to get married. They locked me up and starved me until I agreed. My husband beat me, starved me and raped me. So when I got back to England I refused to get him over. And so my family here started to beat me and kept me throwing me out of the house. Even when it was snowing, they would leave me crying on the doorstep. They threatened me, I feared for my life as I ran away."[48
So-called bounty hunters are employed by the families to trace girls and return them. A bounty hunter told Sue Lloyd Roberts:
"I have a lot of ways of finding the girls. I talk to shopkeepers and I use taxi drivers a lot. They normally know where they are and what they are doing. No I won't tell you how I'm paid and although people call me a bounty hunter, I call myself a community mediator. For example, I once found a girl and her father said he would kill her when she got home so I made sure he didn't. I don't approve of forced marriages and I know that the parents are prepared to kill girls who don't obey. I've been involved in many cases which ended tragically."[49
Honor crimes and arranged marriages still pose a huge problem in British immigrant society. These practices contribute to the formation of ghettos and parallel societies.[50 Is multiculturalism bad for women? It is indeed, says Susan Moller Okin who points to widespread practices of rape in some societies.
"But worse fates do exist in some cultures – notably in Pakistan and parts of the Arab Middle East, where women who bring rape charges quite frequently are charged with the serious Muslim offense of zina, or sex outside of marriage. Law allows for the whipping or imprisonment of such women, and culture condones the killing or pressuring into suicide of a raped woman by relatives intent on restoring the family's honor."[51
Honor crimes also pose a serious problem in a pro-Western nation like Jordan where there are no safe havens for women threatened by their relatives. Women are even placed in prison for their own protection, because the government failed to create shelters for them.[52
In the Netherlands, Muslim immigrants from Turkey and Morocco have introduced barbaric practices of wife beatings, domestic violence and honor killings. Muslim immigrants from Somalia imported the cruel custom of female genitital mutilation. Between October 2004 and January 2005, there were more than 150 cases of honor related crimes in the city of The Hague and surroundings. In eleven cases these crimes resulted in the death of the victims.[53 In most cases the perpetrators do not show any regret. They regard these killings as restoration of their family honor, a holy duty. Other family members often support them. In many cases the husband beats his wife who then decides to leave him. The husband does not accept this and subsequently kills his wife.
Women often flee to a so-called "Blijf-van-mijn-lijf-huis" or shelter for victims of domestic violence. These shelters are in secret locations. In June 1999, a 29-year old Turkish woman named Kezban Vural was shot dead by her former Turkish husband in the city of Zwijndrecht. Her children witnessed the killing. Kezban had taken refuge in a shelter for domestic violence but her former husband was able to trace her there and killed her subsequently. In court, defense lawyers argued that the Kezban's husband was a primitive Turkish man who was not integrated into Dutch society. He simply did not know better than to kill his "unfaithful" wife. His honor had to be revenged. Such was the age old custom in the land where he had his roots (Turkey). The court did not accept this kind of "cultural defense" and condemned the Turkish killer to 15 years inprisonment. The court said that he had shot his wife in the presence of their children. This was, in the court's view, "a dispicable act."[54
In Germany, too, most of the victims and perpretators of honor crimes have a Turkish background.[55
A number of lawyers and criminologists attach much value to the cultural background of suspects. This should be taken into account by judges when they pass a verdict. Recognizing a suspect's cultural background could lead to mitigation or even annulment of punishment, they say. The right to culture is a fundamental right and non-native suspects can refer to their cultural background. "Pronouncing heavy sentences against the perpetrators of cultural offenses is based on a wrong interpretation of the role of penal law in the multicultural society," write Mirjam Siesling and Jeroen ten Voorde in the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad. [56
This is a highly questionably view. Multiculturalism is a kind of ideology which should never dictate judges how to rule in the courtroom. Any social rule or ideology which is used to influence the rulings of independent judges is dangerous. Moreover, how can one ever "culturally" justify plain murder, wife beatings or female genital mutilation?
Honor and revenge play an important role in both Turkish and Arab cultures. Many honor crimes are also committed by immigrants from Iraq. In the past five years, a growing number of Iraqis, Iraqi and Turkish Kurds have settled in Sweden and introduced the problem of honor crimes to Swedish society.[57 And in Spain a young Iraqi woman named Ghufran was told by her parents to end her relationship with her Spanish boyfriend Luis, an infidel. Her father Omar wanted her to marry a 25-year old nephew in Iraq but she refused to comply with his wishes. She was beaten several times. When she and Luis fled to another city, Omar began to target Luis' family, threatening to abduct a son of his sister Miramar.[58
Moroccan immigrants in Europe are involved in migrant trafficking and drugs smuggling. Thousands of minors from Morocco are smuggled into Europe and it is extremeny difficult to send these minors back to their home country. In the last six months some 900 Moroccan minors arrived in southern Spain alone and local refugee centers no longer have the capacity to take in additional immigrants.[59 These youngsters are often frustrated and angry. They pose a serious security risk. Monair Mahmoud Ali El Messery, the imam of the Islamic Cultural Center in Madrid, recently issued a strong warning that these immigrant minors are "a bomb ready to explode somewhere." "These youngstes are ready to accept any idea, they are a breeding ground for those who are sowing any type of extremism." It is not restricted to Spain. "Young muslims in Europe are like the blind led by one eye man, they lack any frame of reference," El Messery said. A very dangerous situation arises when they meet poorly qualified imams who brainwash them.[60
Moroccan youths in the Netherlands are over-represented in the criminal justice system.[61 When they are arrested or appear in court they usually deny everything, even in the face of unrefutable evidence that they committed a crime.[62Denying is a matter of honor, so why admit that you are guilty?
Emerson Vermaat is a Dutch investigative reporter specialized in crime and terrorism. His website is: emersonvermaat.com
[1 Trouw (Amsterdam based daily newspaper), 14 July 2007, p. 1, Trouw/De Verdieping, 14 July 2007, p. 4, 5 ("Vogelaar: Islam Wordt Deel van Onze Cultuur")
[2 Trouw/Letter&Geest, 28 april 2007, p. 2, 3 (Slaapwandelend Naar de Segretatie").
[3Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Persvrijheidlezing 2005 (Het Persmuseum, Amsterdam, 2005), p. 15. The author was present at this meeting.
[4NRC Handelsblad, 18 July 2007, p. 1, 16 ("Londen Pionier in Islamitisch Bankieren"; "Wouter Bos: Nederland Moet Spil van Islamitisch Bankieren Worden"); De Telegraaf, 16 July 2007, p. 3 ("Bos Zet Deur op Kier Voor Shariabankieren").
[5 De Volkskrant, 16 July 2007, p. 3 ("Gesprek Hamas Splijt Kamerdelegatie"); De Telegraaf, 14 July 2007, p. 1 ("Rel Bezoek Hamas").
[6 Harold Doornbos, Mijn Interview met Hamasleider Osama Hamdan, 14 July 2007; De Zeldzame Olijftak van een Hamasleider, 24 November 2004. (Harryzzz.blogspot.com/2007/07/mijn-interview-met-hamas-leider-osama.html)
[7 Al-Manar TV (Lebanese Hezbollah), 4 February 2007, MEMRI TV Monitor Project, clip 1441.
[8 Controversiële Uitspraken Gretta Duisenberg, 6 September 2006 (http://www.revu.nl/2246).
[9 Wim Kortenhoeven, Hamas. Portret en Achtergronden (Soesterberg: Uitgeverij Aspekt, 2007), p. 28, 29.
[10 Metro, 6 October 2006, p. 1 ("PvdA Verliest Allochtoon").
[11 NRC Handelsblad, 9 June 2007, p. 37 ("Afvallige Moslims").
[12NRC Handelsblad, 2 June 2007, p. 3 ("Oprichter Ex-Moslim Comité Wordt Begeleid").
[13Elsiever.nl, 21 juli 2007 ("Moskee – Afshin Ellian is Kwaadaardig Gezwel")
[14 Trouw, 26 September 2006 ("Bronnen in Armeense Kwestie Bevuild").
[15Ibid. Albayrak was later severely criticized in the same newspaper, see: Trouw/De Verdieping/Podium, 3 October 2006, p. 7 ("Armeense Kwestie: Ook Albayrak heeft Boter op haar Hoofd").
[16 Trouw/De Verdieping/Podium, 4 October 2006, p. 7 ("Armeense Genocide: Zie de Fouten uit het Verleden Onder Ogen"). An excellent and well documented study on the Armenian genocide is the following book: Taner Akcam, A Shameful Act (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2006).
[17 Trouw/De Verdieping), 9 November 2006, p. 2 ("Armeense Genocide: Een Wilde Tango met de Waarheid").
[18 Trouw, 29 September 2006, p. 4 ("Armeense Kwestie: Sacan Vindt dat PvdA met Twee Maten Meet").
[19 NRC Handelsblad, 12 November 2006, p. 39 ("Wat Nou Genocide?").
[20 Nova TV, 7 December 2006; see also: Trouw, 8 December 2006, p. 1 ("Turkije Gaf Stemadvies D66").
[21 De Telegraaf, 30 September 2006, p. 1 ("Turken Belagen Politici").
[22 NRC Handelsblad, 11 November 2006, p. 41 ("Het Allochtone Boodschappenlijstje"). See also: NRC Handelsblad, 6 March 2003, p. 1 ("Allochtonen Kiezen PvdA").
[23Het Parool, 16 March 2006, p. 7 ("De Partij van de Allochtonen").
[24Abhijit V. Banerjee and Rohini Pando, Parochial Politics: Ethnic Preferences and Politician Corruption (Harvard University: Faculty Research Working Paper Series, July 2007), p. 29.
[25 Rekenkamer Stadsdelen Amsterdam, Subsidieverstrekking Zuidoost, p. 10, 48-53 (June 2007); De Telegraaf, 29 June 2007, p. 3 ("Stadsdeelvoorziter Bohla Stak Geld in Eigen Zak. Frauduleuze PvdA'er Weigert op te Stappen").
[26 Trouw, 14 July 2007, p. 1 ("Vogelaar: Islam Wordt Deel van Onze Cultuur").
[27 Necmettin Erbakan, Arnhem, "Dag van Broederschap en Solidariteit" (Milli Gorus), 15 June 2002, quoted in Trouw/De Verdieping, 6 June 2007, p. 6 ("Gesprek met Kopstuk Kabaktepe Over ‘Milli Gorus' Januskop").
[28 Verfassungsschutzbericht 2004 (Cologne: Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, May 2005), p. 217
[29 Milli Gazete, Online version (Turkey), 28 August 2006, quoted in: Verfassungsschutzbericht 2006 (Cologne: Bundesamt für Verfassungschutz, May 2007), p. 235.
[30 Verfassungsschutzbericht 2003 (Cologne: Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, May 2004), p. 191; Verfassungschutzbericht 2005 (Cologne: Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, May 2006), p. 217.
[31 Trouw/De Verdieping, 26 May 2007, p. 10 ("Een Lange Historie van Dreigementen"); Het Parool, 16 May 2007, p. 16 ("13 Jaar Ruziën Over een Moskee").
[32 Haci Karacaer, http://www.mtnl/read/4392.
[33 Het Parool, 16 May 2007, p. 16 ("13 Jaar Ruziën Over een Moskee").
[34 NRC Handelsblad, 2 June 2007, p. 37 ("Westermoskee had Symbool van Integratie Moeten Worden: De Eerste Steen zal de Laatste zijn").
[35Trouw/De Verdieping, 6 June 2007, p. 7 ("Gesprek met Kopstuk Kabaktepe over Milli Gorus' Januskop").
[36 NRC Handelsblad, 2 June 2007, p. 38 ("Amsterdam is Naïef Geweest")
[37Trouw/De Verdieping, 19 May 2007, p. 11 ("Turken gaan Zelf Bouwen")
[38 NRC.nl, 26 July 2007, ("Moslims Hinderen Artsen bij Zorg Voor Vrouw"). Several radio and TV broadcasts, 26-29 July 2007.
[39 De Volkskrant, 21 March 2007, p. 1 "(Groene Fondsen Voor Turkse Rechter"); Trouw/De Verdieping, 31 May 2007, p. 6, 7 ("De Imam Zei: Stap in Groene Fondsen"); De Volkskrant, 5 March 2007, p. 1 ("Volop Zwart Geld bij Milli Gorus"); De Volkskrant, 24 March 2007, p. 26 ("Zwendel in Naam van Allah").
[40John Bagot Glubb, The Life and Times of Muhammed (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1970), p. 199.
[41 Maxine Rodinson, Muhammed (London: Penguin Books, 1996), p. 213.
[42Koran, Sura 59 verse 8 (Translated by N.J. Dawood).
[43 Faruq Sherif, A Guide to the Contents of the Qur'an (Reading: Ithaca Press/Garnett Publishing, 1995), p. 169.
[44 V.S. Naipaul, Beyond Belief. Islamic Excursions Among the Converted Peoples (London: Arbacus, 2002; first published in 1998), p. 1 (Prologue).
[45 Ibid., p. 344, 350, 358, 373-379.
[46 Ibid., p. 344.
[47The Sunday Times, 5 September 2004, p. 7 ("Naipaul lashes out at ‘multi-culti' Britain").
[48 Fax from Sue Lloyd Roberts to the author, 20 July 1999 ("Forced Marriages"). Sue Lloyd Roberts' shocking report was first aired on BBC's television's Newsnight program on 12 July 1999 ("Fighting arranged marriage abuse").
[50 Transnational Marriage and the Formation of Ghettoes, Briefing Paper Migration Watch UK, 22 September 2005.
[51 Susan Moller Okin, Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women? (Princeton: Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1999), p. 15, 16.
[52 Human Rights Watch, Honoring the Killers: Justice denied for "Honor" crimes in Jordan, p. 12 (April 2004).
[53 Mirjam Siesling, Multiculturaliteit en Verdediging in Strafzaken (The Hague: Boom Juridische Uitgevers, 2006), p. 30.
[54 Ibid., p. 204, 205. An excellent study on honor crimes committed by Turkish immigrants is: Clementine van Eck, Door Bloed Gezuiverd. Eerwraak bij Turken in Nederland (Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Bert Bakker, 2001). See also: Emerson Vermaat, Misdaad, Migratie en Cultuur (Soesterberg: Uitgeverij Aspekt, 2004), p. 85-96 and: Renate van der Zee, Eerwraak in Nederland (Antwerpen: Uitgeverij Houtekiet, 2006).
[55 Bundeskriminalamt, Presseinformation zu den Ergebnissen einer Bund-Länderabfrage zum Phänomenbereich "Ehrenmorde in Deutschland," p.12, 14.
[56 Mirjam Siesling and Jeroen ten Voorde, Eerwraak en het Strafrecht: Het Individu is Strafbaar, Niet Zijn Cultuur, NRC Handelsblad, 2 and 3 June 2007, p. 15.
[57 Shahrzad Mojab, "Honor Killing": Culture, Politics, Theory, MEWS Review, Vol. XVII, Nos. 1/2, Spring/Summer 2002 (Association for Middle East Women's Studies).
[58 El Mundo, Sunday 24 June 2007, p. 7, Chronica ("Perseguida por Amar a un ‘Infiel'").
[59 El Mundo, 10 July 2007, p. 15 ("Las Mitad de los ‘Sin Papeles' que Llegua al Estrecho son Menores").
[60 El País, 19 July 2007, p. 20 ("Un Imán Afirma que los Menores Inmigrantes son ‘una Bomba Lista Para Explotar'").
[61 R.O.W. Jennissen and M. Blom, Allochtone en Autochtone Verdachten van Verschillende Delicttypen Nader Bekeken (The Hague: Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek/Ministerie van Justitie, WODC, 2007), p. 16.
[62 Mirjam Siesling, op. cit., p. 87-91; Rosan Coppes, Flora de Groot and Alex Sherazi, Politie en Criminaliteit van Marokkaanse Jongens (Utrecht: Willem Pompe Instituut, 1997), p. 60-64.