Is this true? A reader writes:
Asne Seierstad is the Norwegian journalist who wrote a best-selling book called The Bookseller of Kabul, in which she narrates her observations about the restricted lives that Afghan women are forced to lead. She spent 3 months in hte house of an Afghan anti-Taliban bookseller. Recently, she was interviewed by the Brazilian magazine Veja:
Veja - The filmmaker Theo van Gogh was killed in the NL because of a film in which he denounced the oppression of Muslim women. In Denmark, the publication of cartoons about Mohammed caused an explosion of violence. Do you feel threatened?
Seirstadt - No. The fundamentalists won't come after you if you criticize their treatment of women. What really irritates is them is disrespect for their sacred symbols. Making an image of the Prophet is sacrilege. As to Theo van Gogh's film, the cause of the fury of the fanatics was not the image of an ill-treated women but sacred verses painted on her nude body.
I don't recall the Pope painting any sacred verses on nude bodies, but there might be something to this.
That reminds me of the Mozart opera case in Germany, where the opera house received death threats over a scene displaying severed heads of Mohammed, Jesus, and other important personages. Now, I'm willing to go to the barricades to defend Mozart, but, jeez, that severed head business sure doesn't sound like old Wolfgang. (Richard Strauss, maybe, but not Mozart.) And sure enough it turned out it wasn't in the opera at all, it was just tacked on by some "transgressive" avant-garde opera director.
That also reminds me that, unlike all the respectable voices, I've always been even more upset by the murder of Pym Fortuyn, a potential Prime Minister of the Netherlands, in 2002 than by the murder of Theo van Gogh in 2004. The van Gogh murder was the obvious result of letting a whole bunch of Muslims into the country, a problem that can be solved (granted, at vast expense) by paying them to leave and other sensible reforms. The only solution to the West's Muslim problem is to disconnect.
But Fortuyn's assassination was carried out by a well-educated Dutch-born white leftist the day after the climax of the "Two-Week Hate" against immigration-restrictionists that swept Europe when Le Pen won a spot in the French Presidential final. When Fortuyn was murdered, respectable voices across Europe opined that Fortuyn more or less had it coming. The European Establishment excused themselves from any responsibility by blaming it all on animal rights craziness.
For example, the Dutch-born Ian Buruma asserted in The New Yorker in 2005 that Fortuyn was "assassinated in 2002 by a deranged animal-rights activist." Nothing to look at here, folks, just move along. Just a random lunatic. Didn't have nuthin' to do with immigration.
Yet, more than year before Buruma wrote that, the murderer had made clear at his trial that Fortuyn had to die because of his anti-Muslim immigration restrictionist views. CNN reported in 2003:
The man accused of assassinating Dutch anti-immigration politician Pim Fortuyn has told judges he acted on behalf of the country's Muslims.
Volkert Van der Graaf, 33, said during his first court appearance in Amsterdam on Thursday that Fortuyn was using "the weakest parts of society to score points" and gain political power...
"(The idea) was never concrete until the last moment, the day before the attack," the news agency reported Van der Graaf as saying. "I saw it as a danger, but what should you do about it?" he said. "I hoped that I could solve it myself."
The "day before the attack," by the way, was the day of the French runoff election between Le Pen and Chirac.
The question of whether the killer was "deranged," as Buruma asserted in 2005 he was, was a major question of investigation for the Dutch authorities, who subjected him to seven weeks of psychiatric observation. According to Wikipedia:
The report from the PBC was complete by about March 21 . It found that Van der Graaf could be held completely accountable for the killing. The report also stated that Van der Graaf had an obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, which explains his rigid moral judgements. Menno Oosterhoff, a child psychiatrist from Groningen, publicly suggested that the Pieter Baan Centrum may have overlooked the possibility that Van der Graaf has Asperger's syndrome. Oosterhoff later withdrew his theory. The PBC report stated that nothing could be said about the chance of another similar crime occurring, since the disorder had nothing to do with the murder. Van der Graaf agreed that he was accountable and that he had compulsive urges. The outcome of the investigation ensured that he would receive a prison sentence and not "TBS treatment".
So, not for the first time, the vaunted New Yorker fact-checking department surrendered in the face of political correctness.
The European Establishment has Fortuyn's blood on their hands, which is why we don't hear much about him.