Monday, July 18, 2005

“I do not feel your pain”


As murders go, the brutal butchery of Theo Van Gogh in a busy Amsterdam street was particularly grisly. On the morning of November 2, 2004 the 47 year old great-grand-nephew of the Dutch master and controversial filmmaker was riding his bicycle to work when he was ambushed by Mohammed Bouyeri. Bouyeri, a Dutch Moroccan and Islamic fanatic then pulled a gun and shot Van Gogh several times.

According to witnesses, Van Gogh hit the street and then struggled across the street to collapse in front of a shop. Bouyeri, dressed in a traditional Arab cloak known as djellaba, crossed the street to where Van Gogh lay, firing several more 9 mm rounds into his helpless victim. Eight bullets were to be found in his body.

Bouyeri heeded neither the pleas for mercy from the heavily bleeding Van Gogh or from some of the bystanders who had cowered for safety behind cars and doorways. One witness described the young man as behaving with the methodical detachment of 'a butcher' as he produced a long sharpened knife and proceeded to slit Van Gogh’s throat so deeply he nearly decapitated him. With a second knife, he pinned a five-page letter written in Dutch to Van Gogh’s chest addressed to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Dutch MP from Somalia who had collaborated with van Gogh on Submission, a film suggesting the Koran sanctioned domestic violence.

Refering to Hirsi Ali as an "infidel fundamentalist" who "terrorizes Islam" and "marches with the soldiers of evil." With her "hostilities," she "unleashed a boomerang and it's just a matter of time before this boomerang will seal your destiny." To emphasize his point by writing in capital letters it said: "AYAAN HIRSI ALI, YOU WILL SMASH YOURSELF ON ISLAM!" Bouyeri ended his screed with a sinister litany: "I know for sure that you, O America, are going to meet with disaster. I know for sure that you, O Europe, are going to meet with disaster. I know for sure that you, O Holland, are going to meet with disaster."

His business finished, he briefly spoke to someone in the street and then quietly walked away.

Dutch police a short time later captured him, after a shootout resulting in one police officer being wounded and Bouyeri himself was shot in the leg and taken to a police hospital.

Theo Van Gogh (1957-2004) Posted by Picasa

"The Voice of Jihadism"

Mohammed Bouyeri made his first appearance in an Amsterdam high-security courtroom last Monday. Initially, he refused to speak claiming the court had no authority over him.

On Tuesday, he addressed the court and Van Gogh’s mother, Anneke, in particular; bearded, dressed in a black robe and white headscarf, clutching a Koran he praised Allah and the Prophet Mohammad before admitting to the killing. Arguing that he did not kill her son out of hate, ``I did what I did purely out my beliefs,'' the 27-year-old Muslim told judges, ``I want you to know that I acted out of conviction and not that I took his life because he was Dutch or because I was Moroccan and felt insulted.''

Bouyeri continued his chilling confession, "but I have chopped off his head according to the law that orders me to do so to everyone who offends Allah. I do not feel your pain as I do not know what it is to suffer the loss of a child"

The man who Andrew Sullivan has dubbed the “voice of jihadism” addressed the judges and stated, "If I ever get free, I would do it again."

Facing a life sentence, Bouyeri, allegedly a member of a terrorist cell known as the Hofstad Network, is said to have attended private prayer sessions with a Syrian spiritual leader, Redouan al-Issar, who disappeared shortly before the Van Gogh killing.

Twelve other suspected group members are awaiting trial on separate terrorism charges.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Marching Season

For those of my readers who are not familiar with the peculiar tribal customs of the north of Ireland, today is the “Glorious 12th.”

It is the high holy day of the Loyal Orange Lodges (L.O.L.) celebrating the victory of the Protestant William of Orange (William III) over the Catholic forces of James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. Triumphalist and anti-Catholic in its creed, the Orange Order sends incendiary parades through Nationalist neighborhoods throughout Northern Ireland often provoking rioting while marching to tunes such as “Croppy Lie Down” (“croppy” is a derogatory term for Irish Catholics) and “Kick the Pope” while waving banners and British flags.

The closest analogy one could make for an American audience is that this akin to allowing the Klu Klux Klan march through the streets of Harlem.

While the organization claims to practice religious tolerance, Taigs (another derogatory for Catholics) are strictly forbidden to join (as if any wanted to) and its members suffer expulsion for attending “Papist” ceremonies. When in 1998 Ulster Unionist Party leader and Northern Ireland First Minister-designate, David Trimble representing Northern Ireland attended the funeral Mass for a child murdered in a Real IRA bombing, there were demands that he be expelled by the Orange Order for attending a "Papist ceremony". Members are forbidden to marry Catholics, as the Catholic Church requires its adherents to make all reasonable efforts to raise all their children in the same religion, regardless of the other parent's faith.

Bigotry on Parade Posted by Picasa

American Connection

In fact, this year there is an American connection: an Orange Lodge from Alabama (where else?) has traveled to Tobermore, Co. Derry to participate in one of the 19 rallies being held today. This misbegotten cultural exchange allows the boys to slip out of their hoods and don the sash and bowler, the traditional costume of Unionist bigots.

Ian Paisley, the arch-bigot and political leader, is a prominent member of the LOL and has more than a few unsavory American connections himself.

He styles himself "Dr Paisley", on the basis of the award of an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Bob Jones University, Greenville, South Carolina. Bob Jones Jr., was a close personal friend and a co-leader with Ian Paisley in the international Fundamentalist movement. At the time of the award of this degree, Bob Jones University was a segregationist, unaccredited Christian college which banned African-American students from its campus. This policy was later reversed by stealth, completed in 2000 when the college abandoned its policy banning inter-racial dating following a national debate in the US which was occasioned by George W. Bush's decision to speak from the college's pulpit during his presidential campaign. Bob Jones University remains an unaccredited college.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Did you miss me?

I’m returning tomorrow from a much needed sabbatical.