This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at

Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh gets police protection after he makes film about wife beating in Islam

September 2, 2004

MIM: It should be noted that Muslims living in Holland have been offending and provoking traditional Dutch "live and let live" sensibilities by calling for homosexuals to be thrown from buildings and for be be stoned to death if they don't die as a result,advocating the same punishment for adulterous wives.

The closure of the Al Tawheed mosque in Amsterdam ,(which shared an address with the Al Qaeda charity front Al Haramain )was debated in the Dutch parliament .The controversy centered around booklets being sold by the mosque calling for the above Shari'a punishments to be enacted and for Muslim women to circumcise their daughters.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an ex Muslim Somalian refugee who became a Dutch parliamentarian, called upon the Dutch authorities to close the Al Tawheed mosque on grounds of incitement . She has received death threats and requires a body guard . The Dutch director with whom she recently made a film depicting wife beating in Islam, Theo Van Gogh, was given police protection after the film was shown on Dutch television .


Theo Van Gogh

Theo van Gogh is a Dutch writer and filmaker who runs the website "De Gezonde Roker" (The Healthy Smoker) .

His most recent boek "Allah Weet Het Beter" (Allah Knows Best) is being translated into english.

For more on the Al Tawheed mosque and the work of Theo van Gogh see :


Director of 'insulting' Islamic film gets protection

30 August 2004

AMSTERDAM — Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was given police protection on Monday following the screening of a controversial and "insulting" film about the abuse suffered by women in Islamic societies.

The writer of the film, Liberal VVD politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali, is already under police protection following earlier threats to her life.

Van Gogh said despite the shocking content of the film — which casts an accusing eye on the treatment of women in the Islamic faith — no threats were made against him, news agency ANP reported.

The English-language film Submission features four abused women in see through clothing who tell of their mistreatment by male members of their families. They say the abuse they suffer is sanctioned by the Koran. The women's' breasts are visible and anti-women texts from the Koran are written on their bodies.

The 10-minute film was broadcast for the first time on the VPRO programme Zomergasten on Sunday night.

The idea for the film originated with Hirsi Ali, who has been strident in her criticism of the way in which the Koran sanctions physical violence against women. The MP has previously been forced into hiding after receiving death threats and is accompanied everywhere by armed bodyguards.

The film is a fierce condemnation of the abuses of women in the Islamic faith, allegedly incited by verses in the Koran. Hirsi Ali said she wanted to demonstrate that the Koran itself advocates the beating of women and other abuses.

The outspoken Somali-born Dutch MP also said in the VPRO programme that she did not want to provoke anyone. Instead, she wished to stimulate thought and discussion.

The chairman of the Islam and Citizenship foundation, M. Sini., said he respected the right of the filmmakers to express their opinion, but he also said the film was an offensive provocation that was insulting for Muslims.

"You must place the equality of men and women up for discussion, but not in this manner," he said.

Amsterdam University academic, Thijl Sunier — who has done research on the Muslim community — also claimed that Hirsi Ali had missed her target.

The academic said most Muslims will react in a resigned manner to the film, asserting that the discussion about the position of women has been taking place among the Dutch Islamic community for years.

"It is pure nonsense to suggest that a majority of Muslims don't want that discussion," Sunier said.


'Imam' Theo van Gogh : "The right to give (women) a disiplinary slap appeals to me "

The film Submission features a semi-naked Muslim woman


MIM:Excerpt from "Europe's Imam's - Black Dutchwoman's Fight" describes how Dutch tolerance for Islam has waned as a result of having to monitor more then 10,000 Muslims as potential terrorists.

There was a time when the liberal Dutch cheerfully welcomed Muslim immigrants. Protestant churches sold scores of disused sanctuaries to Islamic congregations, which then converted them into mosques, setting an example the state-related Protestant church in neighboring Germany has proposed emulating.

But in the Netherlands the mood is shifting in the light of prognostications that big cities such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht will have Muslim majorities by the year 2010.

Already the Netherlands is Europe's most densely populated country; hence the popularity of politicians claiming that "the boat is full," as did right-wing politician Pim Fortuyn, who would probably have been elected prime minister had he not been murdered in May 2002.

Now Hirsi Ali, albeit a member of a different and more moderate party, has picked up Fortuyn's thread. As a result, a poll taken in 2003 showed her to be the Netherlands' second-most popular citizen.

This proves that the animosity of the Dutch is not directed against people of different color but specifically against Muslim immigrants who, they believe, are taking their generous welfare state for a ride. Unemployment among those immigrants is almost four times as high as among the general population.

Moreover, police sources report that up to 10,000 Muslims are being observed as potential terrorists -- almost five times as many as in France, a much larger nation.

What scares the Dutch most is the violent rhetoric of immigrant Muslim clerics, such as Sheikh Abu Bakr Jabir al-Jasairi. His book, "The Muslim Way," is reported to be selling like hotcakes in Amsterdam's Tawheed Mosque.

In this volume, Jasairi rails against emancipated women and propagates the right of husbands to beat their disobedient wives. He also proposes throwing homosexuals off rooftops and, should they survive, stoning them to death.


MIM: The Islamist "Islamonline" reports that Dutch Muslims are expressing "outrage" over the film. The inclusion of "human rights activists" with angry Muslims is more proof that these left wing groups share the Islamist agenda. Instead of criticising the abuse of women in Islam the 'human rights' groups are protesting a perceived insult to Muslim sensibilities.The article quotes the head of the Islamo facist Arab European League, Nabil Marouch. Last year the Belgian wing of the AEL , warned Jews to leave Belgian or risk being targeted for their support of Israel.

For Muslims living in Holland tolerance is a one way street. They are demanding Ali's resignation for expressing her opinion of Islam, while they openly preach and distribute tracts calling for the killing of homosexuals and errant wives.The fact that both Ali and Van Gogh now require police protection is a testament to the miltant Islamist agenda of the Muslim community in Holland . The Dutch police themselves have declared that 10,000 members of the country's Muslim community are being monitored as potential terrorists.


"Extremely Insulting" Film Outrages Dutch Muslims

Dutch Muslims have been calling for stripping Hirsi of her parliamentary membership

AMSTERDAM, August 31 ( & News Agencies) – Dutch Muslims and human rights activists expressed Tuesday, August 31, their deep disgust and outrage at a film broadcast on national television tarnishing Islam's stance on women's rights, saying they found the hatred-inciting 11-minute clip "extremely insulting".

They hit out at the film's scriptwriter right-wing anti-Islam MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali, pointing out that she depended on stereotypes and hoary-old traditions that had nothing to do with Islam.

Ayyoub Mohammad Ajoeb of the Muslim Information Center said the film "is yet another attempt at provocation by Hirsi Ali".

"She is the most frustrated politician in our country. She creates a culture of fear around Islam by trying to portray it as a backward culture," he told

Ceylan Weber of the Al Nisa Foundation for Muslim Women said Hirsi's "irrational, insensitive approach will only drive the issue [of domestic violence] further underground".

"She has absolutely no clue about the complexity of domestic violence," said Weber, who has worked for years with abused women.

Submission, the name of the English-language film broadcast Sunday night, August 29, tells the fictional story of a young Muslim woman forced into an arranged marriage with a man who beats her.

She is ordered to keep silent about being raped by her uncle to protect his honor. She is later punished for having an adulterous relationship with a man she falls in love with at a market.

The almost naked body of the actress on which Hirsi Ali painted verses from the Noble Qur'an, is shown with inflamed lacerations to the sound of a cracking whip.

Steven Huismans, the director of Holland's Institute for Multicultural Development, told British daily Telegraph: "What she is doing is really provocative."

Nabil Marouch, head of the Dutch wing of the Arabic European League, added: "If the public keeps listening to Ayaan Hirsi, it will do great damage to integration."

Penniless Somali Refugee

Hirsi arrived in Holland as a penniless refugee in 1992 after sneaking across the German border, escaping an arranged marriage as she claimed.

She did not speak a word of Dutch. Finding jobs as a cleaner, she went on to study political science at Leiden University.

She was catapulted into the limelight for her incessant verbal assault against Islam, making use of the anti-Muslim seismic waves stirred by the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington. She prefers to call herself an "ex-Muslim".

In an interview with the Dutch daily Trouw on January 25 last year, Hirsi shocked as many as one million Muslims living in the Netherlands by branding Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) with some abhorrent, repugnant descriptions, stirring up feelings of anger and antagonism towards her.

Having no inkling about Islam or Shari'ah (Islamic law) as it appears in her curriculum vitae, Ayaan said the Prophet (PBUH) was a "despotic, narrow-minded and violent" man, who killed whoever stood in his way.

Muslim organizations, as well as the Dutch Liberal Party (VVD), which has some 28 seats in the parliament, had called for stripping Hirsi of her parliamentary membership and to pressure her into backtracking on her degrading remarks.

As far as Islam is concerned, a father cannot force his daughter to get married to someone she does not approve of. If forced by threats to show consent, she can complain to a judge, who, in turn, annuls the marriage contract.


The Al Tawheed Mosque in Amsterdam provokes the Dutch by condemning their tolerance

Hirsi Ali: shut anti-woman, anti-gay Dutch mosque

22 April 2004

AMSTERDAM — Somali-born MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali demanded on Thursday the closure of an Amsterdam mosque that sells books supporting female circumcision, beating wives and the murder of gay people.

The Dutch Parliament is to hold an emergency debate about the El Tawheed mosque next week. MPs want Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner and Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk to explain what they intend to do about the book "De weg van de moslim".

Mosque: girls must be circumcised

France deports imam who incited wife-beating

The publication — translated as The Way of the Muslim in English — is said to advocate violence against women and killing gay people.

Gay people should be thrown head first off high buildings. If not killed on hitting the ground, they should then be stoned to death, the book allegedly suggests.

In her column in newspaper Algemeen Dagblad, Hirsi Ali — who was raised as a Muslim — went one step further and called on the government to close the mosque. The MP has been a strident opponent of Islamic teachings on women and gay people.

The Liberal VVD party MP said it was time for the Justice Ministry to indicate whether it intended to go to court to have the mosque banned.

Hirsi Ali said the latest revelations about the book advocating beating women and killing gay people was the last straw. Closure of the mosque was a question of "political will", she wrote.

"This mosque has been warned repeatedly by the authorities that intolerance against non-Muslims and undermining the law is unacceptable in the Netherlands," Hirsi Ali said.

"The Way of the Muslim" is one of the publications on sale at the El Tawheed mosque. Earlier this month the mosque was at the centre of a storm about another book available at its open day organised to help combat the mosque's negative public image.

That book "Fatwas of Muslim Women" says that women who lie deserve 100 blows and the husband's duty of care for his wife is negated if she refuses him sex or leaves the home without his permission. One of its most controversial aspects is the call for Muslim girls to be circumcised.

A fatwa is an official statement or order from an Islamic religious leader.

MPs in the Dutch Parliament have indicated they want the second book, "The Way of the Muslim", banned if it supports violence towards women and killing gay people.

VVD parliamentarian Geert Wilders has called for the emergency debate next week.

Another MP, Mirjam Sterk of the Christian Democrat CDA, said imams (Islamic religious leaders) must distance themselves from the book's content. If not, the imams must be prosecuted or deported.

An Islamic cleric was deported from France to his native Algeria on Wednesday after he caused uproar by his endorsement of wife-beating and polygamy.

Clerics at El Tawheed feel they have been unfairly singled out in the media as part of a wider campaign against Islamic institutions in Europe.

MPs and media commentators attacked the Amsterdam mosque previously when one of the imams referred to non-Muslims as "firewood for hell". He also forbade Islamic women from leaving the family home without the permission of their husbands.

RTL Television reported on Thursday a cameraman was assaulted when a news team attempted to buy "The Way of the Muslim" at the mosque.

Eventually RTL's female reporter managed to buy the book, albeit while accompanied by police protection.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004 and Novum Nieuws]

Subject: Dutch news + Muslims in the Netherlands


Amsterdam mosque strikes back at critics

29 April 2004

AMSTERDAM — The directors of El Tawheed mosque in Amsterdam have hit back at politicians who have called for it to face sanctions for selling a book that advocates the murder of gay people.

Verhagen: ban 'Islamic' incitement

Parliamentarians debated on Wednesday whether the book - De weg van de moslim, or the way of the Muslim – should be banned or whether the mosque should be closed down and its officials prosecuted for distributing the book.

In response, El Tawheed foundation said the criticism levelled against it by politicians and the media was "totally baseless".

Officials at the mosque pointed out the book is available from many outlets in the Netherlands and that several educational institutions, including Hogeschool van Amsterdam, use the book as study material.

"El Tawheed has done nothing more that sell the book as a bookshop. It is for sale everywhere, so why is it only El Tawheed that is committing a crime by selling this book," the foundation asked in a press release.

The foundation asserted that if the book was so offensive, it and not the mosque should be banned.

The Islamic foundation accused politicians and the media of stigmatising the mosque unfairly.

"When it comes to El Tawheed, there is no question of an even-handed approach, and incorrect characterisations are unhelpful and contribute to a discordant world view," the foundation said.

The mosque denied its clerics preached hate and instead spread a message of peace and forbade oppression.

"El Tawheed therefore does not call for extremism, violence or violation of Dutch law," it said.

Subject: Dutch news + Islam in the Netherlands


MIM: An article about Al Tawheed mosque shows it has links to the Saudi Al Qaeda 'charity ' funding front Al Haramain. The link below this article goes to Al Tawheed mosque website which issued a press release in response to the charges . The title of the press release is "Al Tawheed no longer has Al Haramain listed at it's address "



AMSTERDAM — The Dutch government faces questions on why it did not act earlier against a Muslim charity which has been accused of supporting terrorism.

On Wednesday, US and Saudi Arabian officials announced a joint crackdown on Muslim charities they accuse of aiding Islamic terrorists.

One of the groups singled out, al-Haramain, is active in the Netherlands, Afghanistan, Albania, Bangladesh and Ethiopia. The US media has reported that al-Haramain is suspected of supporting terrorism, newspaper De Telegraaf reported.

Perhaps it is because religion and politics are entwined in jihad ideology.

Al-Haramain shares a postal address in Amsterdam with the El Tawheed mosque.

The mosque has been at the centre of a controversy for some time and Shershaby has been accused of preaching hate against the west and claiming non-Muslims will burn in hell.

There was a media storm in April this year when it was reported the mosque was selling books advocating female circumcision and husbands beating their wives.

Mosque board member Farid Zaari has confirmed a member of the El Tawheed board is also a spokesperson for the charity al-Haramain. The building of the mosque was partly funded by a loan from the charity.


Amsterdam, 5 juni 2004

Bij stichting El Tawheed te Amsterdam is het op geen enkele wijze bekend dat stichting Al Haramain te Amsterdam contacten onderhoudt met criminele organisaties. Te meer omdat stichting Al Haramain te Amsterdam vanaf haar oprichting nog op geen enkele wijze actief is geweest. De stichting bestond in wezen alleen op papier. Desalniettemin heeft het bestuur van stichting El Tawheed besloten om stichting Al Haramain, te Amsterdam, bij de Kamer van Koophandel uit te laten schrijven van haar adres, de Jan Hanzenstraat 114.

Ook werd besloten om het als contactpersoon voor Al Haramain optredende bestuurslid uit te laten schrijven bij de stichting Al Haramain. En zo is geschied op vrijdag 4 juni 2004. Het besluit is genomen om te voorkomen dat stichting El Tawheed verder onnodig negatief in de publiciteit komt. Het bestuur van stichting El Tawheed heeft stichting Al Haramain te Amsterdam geadviseerd zich op te heffen.

Het bestuur van Stichting El Tawheed te Amsterdam.


MIM: The newspaper "Het NRC Handelsblad" is the Dutch equivalent of the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. The movie 'Submission' made the front page under the headline

"New Provocation by Hirsi Ali"

Translation by MIM :(original article below)

Dutch politician Hirsi Ali has made a short film together with the filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, in which severely criticises Koran texts . It's about verses in the Koran which approve of violence against women .The film is called "Submission",'meaning 'total surrender to Allah '.

The main character wears a transparent veil . Actresses are shown with battered bodies covered with Koranic tests written in Arabic script describing corporal punishments for women.

The movie made in English and secretly filmed in Amsterdam , will be aired tomorrow on the television program ‘Summer Guests" where Hirsi Ali will appear .

"Submission" will be distributed internationally, and according to Hirsi Ali. this will lead to great consternation, "The whole Muslim world will be after me".

The main character is a young woman who sings a prayer about love in a mosque. She shows Allah( the bruises), which were the result of the verses in the Koran . The Koran mandates that any woman who is disobedient to her husband can be beaten.

The actors were filmed in a way that made unrecognizable for reasons of their own personal safety .Their names and those of the other people who worked on the film are not publicised .

The VVD fraction leader Aartsen and vice premier Zalm found something could be said about the film."The nudity, eh, commented Zalm.

" Whether this is a successful cinematic exercise is besides the point". Aartsen said ."Submission" was financed by Theo VanGogh and cost 18,000 Euros, ( MIM : $16,000), it was bought by the VPRO broadcasting station.

This is not the first time that Hirsi Ali exposes what she terms :"the cruelty of Islam" She regularly receives death threats from Islamic groups and need bodyguards."

"Sometimes I am afraid she said about the provocations. But the only thing that helpe is resistance from inside to the outside. I am literally exposing the cruelty of Islam ."


In "Submission," a Dutch film, the Koran's declaration that a man may take his wife at any time appears on a bride's back

Ex-Muslim turns her lens on a taboo
by Marlise Simons

As she begins to pray, the woman looks heavily veiled, showing her eyes only, but her long black chador turns out to be transparent. Beneath it, painted on her chest and stomach, there are verses from the Koran.
More women appear. A bride is dressed in white lace, but her back is naked. The Koranic verse that says a man may take his woman in any manner, time or place ordained by God is written on her skin.
The images roll on, now showing a woman lying on the ground, her back and legs marked by red traces of a whip. The Koranic verses on her wounded flesh say that those guilty of adultery or sex outside marriage shall be punished with 100 lashes. There are chilling sounds of a cracking whip; there is the haunting beauty of the Arabic calligraphy and soft music.
These are scenes from "Submission," a 10-minute film shown on Dutch prime-time television and written by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-bom refugee,now a member of the Dutch Pariiament. Since the English-language film was shown in late August, it has been at the centre of a national uproar, which is exactly what its creator wanted.
Hirsi Ali, 34, who grew up as a Muslim but has abandoned her faith, said her purpose was not to give offense but to draw attention to what she contends is widespread but bidden violence against Muslim women, even those living in Europe.
She turned to the power of images, she said, to focus attention on abuse, incest, forced marriages and the suicides of young immigrant women. Despite her writing and speaking on the subject for several years, she felt the subject has remained a public taboo "Muslims deny it," she said, "and many Dutch are afraid of taking it on, of causing religious tension, of being called racists,"
The stories of the tour women in the film are composites, she says. Critics have called them simplistic, even caricatures. But die images fired up a new debate in the Netherlands on how to modernize or to adapt Islam as it expands across Europe.
In this nation of 16 million people, a million of them Muslim immigrants or their descendants, Hirsi Ali is part of a small but growing group of women who say they want to spread the message that the Muslim faith can be practised without what she calls "savage medieval customs" like genital cutting, beatings or confining women to their homes. Some of those advocates contend that the modernization of Islam must come from women, particularly European Muslim women.
The film and photographs taken from it have appeared in Dutch newspapers, magazines and television shows, drawing an outpouring of both praise and outrage.
"Of course it's a political pamphlet; that's undeniable," said Theo van Gogh, who directed the film and insisted that he does not see why many Muslims are so shocked. He said he was deliberately cautious, adding that if he had really wanted to shock, the film would have been different. It opens with a prayer, and then the narrator tells stones of four women who ask for God's help to lighten their suffering. According to the narrative, one was forced to marry a man she hates, one was raped and made pregnant by her uncle, one was whipped after she had sexual relations with her boyfriend and one is repeatedly beaten by her husband. The women feel abandoned by God, despite their devotion to him.
As a close-up shot of a battered and bruised face appears, the narrator says: "Oh, Allah, most high. You say that men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because you have given one more strength than the other. Yet I feel at least once a week the strength of my husband's fist on my face."
The woman who was raped says she has always turned to "you, Allah, covering my self as you wish it. And now that I pray for salvation, you remain silent as the grave I long for."
Critics argue that it is not the spoken text, but the writing of Koranic verses on the women's flesh that makes the film blasphemous. "There's nothing wrong with what is said. This is reality," said Loubna Berrada. whose family is Moroccan and who is an advocate for women's rights. "But the nudity is wrong. It's too confrontational."
But then, she went on to say, talking has not changed anything. It's the whole system, in which women participate, that must change. "The women pass on the oppression to their daughters; they educate their sons," Berrada said.
The avalanche of published letters and articles reacting to the film includes one from Fadoua Bouali, a nurse in an Amsterdam hospital, who said she had been shocked by the number of fearful young Muslim women who have surgery to conceal the fact that they are not virgins.
"Already men on their wedding days are getting a virgin, stitched up by Jewish, Christian or atheοst hands," she told the magazine De Tijd. "Is that what they want?"
Caria Rus, a Dutch psychiatrist, said she had worked for 20 years with abused women in shelters, where more than half were Muslims. "Suicide attempts among foreign young women are five times higher than among local women," she said, citing studies.

While the debate goes on, so do attacks on Hirsi Ali. A rap song, played on some local radio stations, calls for her death. Chat rooms and e-mail messages announce death threats. The police in Rotterdam have arrested a young Moroccan man and charged him with sending a death threat to Hirsi Ali.
She already has two round-the-clock government bodyguards, and she says she intends to continue her campaign. She recently spoke before Parliament and demanded that the interior minister order the police to review their definition of murder in cases involving young women. She contends that every year at least a dozen young Muslim girls in the Netherlands are the victims of revenge killings by brothers, fathers or relatives. The police record them as family conflicts, she said.
"Police say they want to avoid stigmatizing a group," Hirsi Ali said. "I say, we have to know the truth."
In addition to the film, Hirsi Ali has already published two books of essays on the plight of Muslim women, "The Son Factory" and "The Cage of Virgins."
Her next project is another short film: "Submission — Part Two." She said it will feature the men's point of view.

The New York Times

Nieuwe provocatie Hirsi Ali

ROTTERDAM, 28 AUG. VVD-politica Ayaan Hirsi Ali heeft samen met cineast Theo van Gogh een korte film gemaakt waarin zij teksten uit de koran ernstig bekritiseert. Het gaat om verzen die geweld tegen vrouwen goedkeuren. De titel van de film luidt Submission, bedoeld als 'overgave aan Allah'. De hoofdrolspeelster is gekleed in een doorzichtige sluier. Op de toegetakelde lichamen van de figuranten zijn in het Arabisch koranteksten gekalligrafeerd die onder meer betrekking hebben op het lijfelijk straffen van vrouwen.

De Engelstalige film, afgelopen maand in het geheim in Amsterdam opgenomen, wordt morgen uitgezonden in het televisieprogramma Zomergasten, waarin Hirsi Ali optreedt. Daarna zal Submission internationaal worden verspreid. Volgens Hirsi Ali zal dit leiden tot grote consternatie: ,,De hele moslimwereld zal over me heenvallen."

De hoofdrolspeelster, een jonge vrouw, bezingt in haar gebed in een moskee de liefde. Ze toont Allah de gevolgen van zijn voorschriften in de koran. Zo staat de islamitische heilige schrift toe dat vrouwen die ontrouw of ongehoorzaam zijn aan hun man mogen worden geslagen.

In verband met de veiligheid van de acteurs zijn zij onherkenbaar in beeld gebracht. Hun namen en die van de overige medewerkers zijn niet bekendgemaakt.

VVD-fractieleider Van Aartsen en vice-premier Zalm kunnen zich vinden in de inhoud van de film. ,,Dat blote lijf hθ?", zegt Zalm. ,,Of deze exercitie cinematografisch geslaagd is, lijkt me secundair", zegt Van Aartsen. Submission is voorgefinancierd door Van Gogh (kosten 18.000 euro) en door de VPRO aangekocht.

Het is niet de eerste keer dat Hirsi Ali de aanval opent op wat zij noemt 'de wreedheden van de islam'. Ze ontvangt regelmatig doodsbedreigingen van islamitische groepen en wordt beveiligd. ,,Soms ben ik bang", zegt ze vandaag in deze krant over haar provocaties. ,,Maar alleen verzet van binnenuit helpt. Ik leg de wreedheid van de islam letterlijk bloot." 28 augustus 2004 -Jutta Chorus

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Unmasking Islamic domestic violence

The central message claimed in the 10-minute film "Submission, part 1", is that the Koran preaches Muslim women should submit to Allah in all things — and that their men should beat them when they are judged to have stepped out of line. Cormac Mac Ruairi reports on the controversy the short film has provoked in the Netherlands.

MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali has
shown herself to be
an excellent pamphleteer
A woman in dark robes places a prayer mat on the floor and she begins to pray to Allah. She is surrendering to her God and Allah's wishes as expressed in the holy Koran.

When the camera moves closer, we see all is not as it first appears: her garments are transparent and her breasts are clearly visible. The Koran forbids all Muslims — men and women — to show themselves naked in public.

And though it is probably not strictly banned, we can only imagine the quotes from the Koran written in calligraphy on her body must also breach the spirit of Islamic religious law. The depicted texts from the Koran deal with the perscribed punishments for women who "misbehave".

As the film continues, we hear four tragic stories of women being forced into arranged marriages, being whipped, beaten and raped. We see images of backs marked by a whip and a woman's face reduced to a bloody pulp by her man's fists.

All the time these women, we are told, are meant to surrender themselves to Allah and accept their fate.

Hirsi Ali denies Muslim film is plagiarism

The film has provoked a lot of controversy since it was shown on Sunday when its writer, Somali-born MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali, was interviewed on the "Zomergasten", or Summer Guests, programme.

But the film Submission has little new to say that Hirsi Ali has not said before.

Since her election to the Dutch Parliament one and a half years ago, she has doggedly criticised the treatment of women under Islam, both in immigrant communities in the Netherlands and overseas.

She has made headlines for describing Islam as backward and its prophet Mohammed as a pervert because he married a 12-year-old girl.

Remarks like that have drawn the wrath of fundamentalists: her life has been threatened more than once and she is accompanied everywhere by armed security officers.

Her criticism of Islam has been very heavy-handed and even some liberal thinkers have tended to dismiss her as an embittered crank. (She fled, aged 22, to the Netherlands when her father tried to force her into an arranged marriage in Kenya in 1991.)

But with Submission, part 1, Hirsi Ali is continuing her campaign, no matter how uncomfortable her message might be to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Her message remains as uncompromising as ever and the semi-nudity provides the necessary dose of shock value that always seem to accompany her public statements.

But this time round she has teamed up with Theo van Gogh, one of the most brilliant, if controversial, directors in the Netherlands to make her case through art.

One reviewer has described the movie as a monologue, but it is more in the tradition of the political pamphlets of the 17th and 18th centuries. The arguments are drawn with broad strokes and there is no room for equivocation or even-handedness. If the form veers towards the sensational or caricature, all the better to get attention and stimulate debate.

Van Gogh is not one to censure out a naked body when the script demands it — and Hirsi Ali says it does. The woman's nakedness strips away the cloak of the veil and reveals Muslim woman are just like everyone else; flesh and blood humans, she claims.

The Koran tells women to cover themselves up and submit to Allah in all things
At first glance, Hirsi Ali and director Van Gogh are a bit of an odd couple. She is slim and immaculately turned out, he is rotund, dresses "casually" with braces, and chain-smokes.

What they have in common is a drive to state their point of view forcibly, sometimes to the point of enraging their audiences and alienating people. And neither seems to care.

Hirsi Ali was a member of the Labour PvdA party, but she left spectacularly in 2002. Having had to flee to the US following death threats in the Netherlands, she claimed the social democrats in the PvdA were only paying lip-service to women's rights, particularly when it comes to rights for women in immigrant and Muslim communities.

She joined the right-wing Liberal VVD which welcomed her call for Muslims to integrate into Dutch society. But even there, some of her pointed condemnations of Islam have sent her party colleagues running for cover.

VVD leaders Gerrit Zalm and Jozias van Aartsen have come out this week to express support for the central message of the film, but Zalm spoke for many would-be supporters when he added: "That naked body, eh...".

Writer and director Van Gogh is used to stirring things up too and could be described as the Netherlands' Michael Moore.

He has been hired and fired many times as a columnist, he publishes his own internet page — entitled "De Gezonde Roker", or The Healthy Smoker — featuring his thoughts on Islam (negative), hypocrisy (negative) and a lot of other subjects (usually negative).

Van Gogh is an artist with a passion for commenting on current events. He has published a compilation of his columns in book form entitled Allah weet het beter, or Allah knows best.

'That naked body' from Submission © Theo van Gogh

His remarks can sometimes be very offensive and totally unfounded. Van Gogh once said "Muslims are goatf***ers", accuses Dutch-Moroocan website

He is currently making a movie about Pim Fortuyn, the populist politician and critic of Islam who was murdered in Hilversum in May 2001. Earlier this month, cinema giant Pathe refused to show Van Gogh's movie Cool!, a story about a group of Moroccan criminals.

Van Gogh paid the EUR 18,000 price tag for Submission which was filmed in secret in a month. The dialogue is in English and Van Gogh says he wants to sell it everywhere.

"I am going to send it to Arabic news channel Aljazeera. They broadcast (Osama) bin Laden's little films so they won't have a problem with this," he quipped.

Given its subject matter though, Submission might never make top billing in cinemas in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran or Afghanistan. He has been given bodyguards as a result of the controversy.

And "that naked body…".

Theo van Gogh: a joker with a serious message?
"That naked body" has created quite a stir in the media and on a multitude of internet forums, from a chat room on Dutch politics to one for gay Turkish men. A correspondent on the latter saying Hirsi Ali and Van Gogh will do anything for attention.

Mohammed Sini of the Dutch foundation Islam and Citizenship told the Dutch media that Submission had gone too far and insulted many Muslims.

At the same time, he said many Muslims in the Netherlands felt their identity was under siege and, as a result, clung too rigidly to the Koran. He said Muslims should not accept everything in the Koran too literally.

Other mainstream political parties have been broadly positive about the film, but the Christian Democrat CDA has so far stonewalled and refused to express an opinion.

The leader of the green-left GroenLinks party, Femke Halsema, said the film could have been slightly more refined and Hirsi Ali came across as a bit triumphant.

"I grew up with the film 'Turks Fruit' so I am fairly used (to the nudity)... but I really enjoyed the evening's viewing," she said.

Not everyone will react in the same way, but like the pamphleteers of old, Hirsi Ali and Van Gogh have certainly stoked up a lively debate.

The zomergasten programme featuring the interview with Hirsi Ali and the screening of Submission will be repeated on Ned 3 on Saturday 4 September 2004 at 1.08pm.

31 August 2004

Subject: Islam in the Netherlands, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Theo van Gogh

I won't be intimidated for expressing my views

People who object to her criticism of Islam should take her to court rather than take the law into their own hands, Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali tells Abi Daruvalla.


Hirsi Ali has been moved to a safe house following new death threats and the publication of her private address on an Islamic website just four days after her controversial film 'Submission' was screened on Dutch TV.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali was always irritated at the lack of freedom under Islam

Somali-born Hirsi Ali, 34, is herself a former Muslim and an outspoken critic of Islam's treatment of women. Her film 'Submission' which depicts the text of the Koran on the naked flesh of Muslim women, is provoking a furore in the Netherlands.

With the assassination of right-wing political leader Pim Fortuyn in May 2002 still horribly fresh in people's minds, the Dutch security services are clearly taking no chances and have mounted round-the-clock protection.

But Hirsi Ali is undaunted: "Reactions to my film have been varied and I accept some people are offended, that's legitimate, but in a democracy it is not legitimate to intimidate and threaten someone for expressing her views. I made the film to publicise an injustice that is being ignored not only in Holland but throughout the world."

Hirsi Ali reflects the spirit of today's Dutch society with her conviction that 'tolerance' means Muslims in the Netherlands – almost one million in a total population of 16 million – must accept Western values.

"That means people from non-Western countries need to be educated about democratic values which include the freedom of expression," said Hirsi Ali. If people feel she has gone too far with her film they must take her to court and not take the law into their own hands, she said defiantly. "Otherwise the rule of the jungle will prevail," she added.

Veteran Dutch feminist Cisca Dresselhuys

In 2002, Hirsi Ali left the country and went into hiding in the US for a few weeks following death threats after she accused Islam of being a "backward religion". It was not the first time Hirsi Ali has had to flee persecution. The daughter of a leading Somali opposition leader, she was forced into exile when she was just 10 and was brought up in Kenya.

Even as a child, Hirsi Ali said she had trouble in submitting her will to Allah and her irritation at the lack of freedom imposed on her by her religion became stronger as the years past and she became integrated into Dutch society (she sought refuge in Holland in 1991 to avoid an arranged marriage). "I wanted to be part of Dutch society, to be financially independent, take off my headscarf and drink alcohol." She finally gave up her faith two years ago.

Hirsi Ali constantly seeks confrontation with her outspoken views against Islam and has written two books on its harsh treatment of women: The Son Factory in 2003, and The Virgin Cage, which was published at the end of August (both in Dutch).

An actress reveals the naked truth of domestic violence in 'Submission'

'Submission' is written and narrated in English by Hirsi Ali. The 11-minute film takes the form of four monologues by women praying to Allah: one has been whipped for having an illicit love affair; another faces an arranged marriage to a man she finds sexually repulsive, a third was beaten by her husband and the last is pregnant after being raped by her uncle. Their injuries are clearly visible through their transparent chador.

Hirsi Ali claims more than 60 percent of those fleeing domestic violence in Dutch women's shelters are Muslim. But Muslim organisations say 'Submission' contributes nothing towards a solution.

Canan Ujar of the women's federation of Holland's biggest Muslim organisation, Milli Gφrόs: "This film is worthless and the nudity unnecessary. Emancipation has to come from within the Muslim community itself and we are already working on this by encouraging women to talk about domestic violence, organizing workshops to educate women on their rights and teaching them how to handle threatening situations."

To others, the film resembles more an 'erotic' art film than a political statement. Cisca Dresselhuys, Holland's veteran feminist, concedes that the carefully choreographed scenes conjure up erotic associations for her but said this doesn't detract her from the central message of the film: "It is a very beautiful, poetic film but it is shocking. I don't think it would have been any stronger by making it full of blood and gore."

Unmasking Islamic domestic violence

Hirsi Ali said the actresses are nude – she insisted that pubic hair and nipples were not visible – because she wants to show the "naked truth" that domestic violence committed against Muslim women is condoned by the Koran.

The film also has supporters among Muslim women. Fadoua Bouali, a 33-year-old nurse in Amsterdam who has lived in Holland since she was seven, said she and many other Moroccan women are grateful that she is giving them a voice. "The conversations the women [in the film] have with God touched me as a Muslim woman enormously because they symbolize 'real' prayers." The fact that the women are naked does not disturb Bouali.

Hirsi Ali says her aim is to reach out to Muslim women who live in fear so that they could see themselves reflected in the film and find the strength to break out of their situation. She also wants to provoke western liberals into taking a stand against violence against Muslim women: "People don't want to insult other cultures, but they should not close their eyes to the violence."

This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at