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Afraid of Religion
Or rather, afraid of muslim extremism. That's what Dutch politics seems to be dominated by in the past few weeks. Extreme right-wing politician Wilders (or "that man with that hair" as me and my friends call him) is making a movie about "the fascist islam" as he calls it. Of course, most broadcasters wouldn't touch this kind of controversial stuff with a ten foot pole so the current plan seems to be to distribute it via the internet. For months Dutch politicians have been squirming about the prospect of this movie, wetting themselves in fear of what this will do to international relations and Dutch foreign interests.
Time and again they're appearing on television to call for Wilders to reconsider releasing this movie. They've looked at legal ways to stop the release and apparently the declaration of martial law is just a tiny bit too far so they have no choice but to appear on TV, looking worried and fearful like the chickens they are. They're running into legal walls and there's a good reason for that, we have this odd concept in the Netherlands called "freedom of speech". This means that anyone can say whatever the hell they like. Well, more or less. There's a few things that are illegal like incitement to hatred (which doesn't seem to count if an imam says gays should be hanged), holocaust denial and the like. There's nothing in the constitution about having to lie to save the face of religions.
This, apparently, has our elected politicians scared to death. Really, every time I see them on tv I almost get the feeling they're about to burst into tears with frustration and fear. Poor guys. I truly feel for them. (Oh wait! Nope, I am wrong. I do not feel sorry for them, I pity them.) Faced with the prospect of an unknown future.
- A movie they know nothing about yet, except for the fact that it's almost finished and about islam, made by a right wing politician/islamophobe and certain to stir up some sentiments.
- Unspecified threats and rumblings about repercussions that will make (or rather, might make) the furore around the mohammed cartoons seem like a storm in a glass of water.

Instead of constantly reiterating to the whole world that we have this so called "freedom of speech" thingy here, they keep falling over themselves to appeal to Wilders' "sense of duty" and general goodwill to call off his movie. A waste of time of course.

I might see this movie, I might not, this is not the issue here. I support Wilders' right to make it and say whatever the heck he likes about a religion. This is what freedom is all about. It is not always comfortable to live in freedom but the alternative is as close to Soylent Green or Logan's Run as to make no difference.

I despise Wilders and the ideology he stands for. Yes, Islam is a threat. More specifically: extremism is a threat, but extremism does not stand alone, it is part of organised religions everywhere, and there is no way to absolve mainstream religion of this fact. Every religion has its extremists, and there are many more than you might at first suspect, which makes it such a widespread problem. Not that Wilders would ever mention this of course, because he knows he'd lose the christian (and probably many secular) voters faster than you can say "what's under that burka miss?".
Internationally well-known Ayaan Hirshi Ali does the same thing of course. Which is why I do not like these people. In a way they're too extreme. Too focussed on one branch of organised religion, Islam, because they know it plays well with the western crowd. This viewpoint is skewed and narrow.
Playing to the fear of the unknown. Hating "the other". A well-known trick of course, used by demagogues and politicians over the ages. Create a sense of us-versus-them and people will follow you. Political double talk. You get the picture.

This is all too small-minded for me. Being an atheist means you do not pick and choose which religion you're against. You're against all of them. At the same time. You're standing alone to brave the winds of stupidity and organised lying, screaming into it with all your might. There is a grandeur in rejecting religion, living your life on a basis of rationality. Seeing the lies for what they are is a liberating experience.

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