Is the Netherlands becoming a netherworld of Islamic extremism? If a new poll can be believed, this very well may be the case.
The research, conducted by the Motivaction group in Amsterdam, concerns the attitude of Dutch Turks between the ages of 18 and 34 about the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) and found that "80% saw nothing wrong in jihad, or holy war, against non-believers," writes DutchNews.nl. The website also reports, "The survey found 90% of young Turks think those fighting against Syrian president Assad's troops are 'heroes' and half thought it would be a good thing if Dutch Muslims went to join the fight."
The reaction by Dutch politicians has been swift and unsure. During a Wednesday debate on integration, Dutch members of parliament (MPs) "from across the political spectrum," writes Dutch News, "called for more research ... to investigate why youths have such radical views."
But one MP who will be neither shocked by the poll nor unsure about its meaning is the founder and leader of the Party for Freedom, Geert Wilders. The most colorful and controversial Dutch politician in recent memory, the blonde-haired Wilders has long inveighed against the inroads Islam has made into his nation and Western Europe in general. He bluntly states that Islam -- not just "Islamism" -- poses a clear and present danger to the West. And he is currently making this case while on a tour of the United States.
For instance, Wilders said in a Palm Beach, Florida, "Restoration Weekend" speech just yesterday, "Of course, there are many moderate Muslims. I believe in moderate people, but I do not believe in a moderate Islam. There is only one Islam -- the Islam of the Koran, the Hadith and the life of Muhammad, who was a terrorist and a warlord."
Wilders refers to the fact that, unlike Jesus, known as the "Prince of Peace," Muhammad launched exactly 100 military campaigns, 27 of which he participated in himself. And much as how Christians would ask, "What would Jesus do?" when seeking guidance, Muslims view Muhammad as "the perfect man" and a role model. Speaking on Saturday of how this influences believers today, Wilders said, "Last Summer, my home town, The Hague, witnessed scenes which brought back memories of the darkest period in our history, the Nazi era. Sympathizers of the Islamic State paraded in our streets. They carried swastikas; they carried the black flags of the Islamic State. They shouted 'Death to the Jews' and 'Oh Jews, the army of Mohammed is coming for you.'"
Citing another example in a Nashville, Tennessee, speech on October 21, Wilders said:
In Britain, Australia and Canada, soldiers wearing their uniform in public have been attacked and even murdered by jihadis.
In Germany, the authorities fear for an Islamic "holy war" in the streets of the German towns. Earlier this month, Kurds were attacked by ISIS sympathizers in Hamburg, Bremen, Hannover and other German cities.
In Belgium, a non-Muslim shopkeeper has been threatened with decapitation if he does not pay 50,000 euros to the Syria fighters.
65 percent of [Dutch] Moroccans between 12 and 23 are suspected of a crime.
After mentioning in a September 2008 speech at the Hudson Institute that non-Muslim women in Holland routinely have the pejorative "whore, whore" hurled at them by Muslim men, Wilders also pointed out:
The Pew Research Center reported that half of French Muslims see their loyalty to Islam as greater than their loyalty to France. One-third of French Muslims do not object to suicide attacks. The British Centre for Social Cohesion reported that one-third of British Muslim students are in favour of a worldwide caliphate. A Dutch study reported that half of Dutch Muslims admit they "understand" the 9/11 attacks.
And the inroads Islam has made into Europe are striking. Illustrating this phenomenon in his 2008 talk, Wilders said:
Many European cities are already one-quarter Muslim.... In many cities the majority of the under-18 population is Muslim.
In some elementary schools in Amsterdam the farm can no longer be mentioned, because that would also mean mentioning the pig, and that would be an insult to Muslims. Many state schools in Belgium and Denmark only serve halal food to all pupils.
Satellite dishes are not pointed to local TV stations, but to stations in the country of origin. In France school teachers are advised to avoid authors deemed offensive to Muslims.... The history of the Holocaust can in many cases no longer be taught because of Muslim sensitivity. In England Sharia courts are now officially part of the British legal system. Many neighbourhoods in France are no-go areas for women without head scarves.
A total of fifty-four million Muslims now live in Europe. San Diego University recently calculated that a staggering 25 percent of the population in Europe will be Muslim just 12 years from now. [Historian] Bernard Lewis has predicted a Muslim majority by the end of this century.
Wilders contends that the immigration driving these demographic trends is part of the process of establishing a worldwide caliphate (Muslim realm). It's not just through "terror and violence" that this is achieved, he told the American Spectator last month. "There are other methods, such as conquest by hijra (immigration). Muhammad himself gave this example of hijra when he conquered Medina." It should also be noted that late Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi made mention of this, saying in 2006, "There are signs that Allah will grant Islam victory in Europe -- without swords, without guns, without conquests. The 50 million Muslims of Europe will turn it into a Muslim continent within a few decades."
Wilders' outspoken opposition to Islam comes with a price. Under constant police protection and living in a safe house in the Netherlands, Wilders fears suffering the same fate as countrymen and Islam critic Theo van Gogh, a descendent of famed painter Vincent van Gogh, who 10 years ago this November 2 was murdered by 26-year-old Moroccan Dutchman Mohammed Bouyeri.
Wilders is also targeted by his own government. After being acquitted of 2009 "hate speech" charges two years later, he now faces a trial for "incitement" to hate speech for merely asking a question at a campaign rally. The politician points out that this reflects a wider surrender to Islam by a Western Europe "in the grip of cultural relativism" and that "no longer believes in the superiority of its own Western Judeo-Christian" culture.
Yet opposition to Wilders by the elite may not reflect feeling on the street. Already one of Holland's biggest parties, Wilders' Party of Freedom is rising in the polls, as its policy of ending all Muslim immigration and reversing the nation's Islamization resonates with the electorate. One survey indicates, says Wilders, that "two thirds of the Dutch are of the opinion that the Islamic culture does not belong to the Netherlands."
And hate-speech charges or not, Wilders certainly isn't tempering his message. Speaking in the Netherlands Parliament just two months ago, he called the Koran "the hunting permit for millions of Muslims, a license to kill," and "the Constitution of the Islamic State." "Recognize that Islam is the problem. Start the de-Islamization of the Netherlands," he said. "It is not a clash of civilizations that is going on, but a clash between barbarism and civilization."