The Moral Divide Between Westerners and Muslims in Europe

The trial of Mohammed Bouyeri, the man accused of November 2004 murder of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, will commence today in a Amsterdam courtroom. Bouyeri, who is of Dutch-Morrocan nationality, is accussed of killing Van Gogh because of a film he made about the ill-treatment of women within Islam. Van Gogh's murder sent shock waves through the generally liberal Netherlands.

This trial along with the London tube bombings last Thursday only further widens to divide between the West and Muslim Immigrants to Europe.

A note spiked into Van Gogh's body carried threats against his co-author, Somali-born Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali. An outspoken critic of Islam, she wrote the script for his short film Submission, which offended many Muslims.

Last night on the US program 60 Minutes Hirsi Ali explained that she warned Van Gogh about doing a film of this nature.

"Before we talked about making the film I said, 'Do you realize the danger?' " says Ali. "But he was adamant about making it. He was adamant about putting his name on the title."

Critics say that Van Gogh was specifically trying to offend Muslims. However Van Gogh is known for doing films that challenges everyone, no matter what race or religion. Furthermore, Van Gogh didn't feel that his life was threaten in a country where marijuana, prostitution and gay marriage were legal. But he was wrong.

Hirsi Ali has seen the wrath of the Muslim immigrant community first hand. She is seen as a traitor to Islam, the faith she rejected as a very young woman. She says her rejection of Islam started at an early age: "From the time I started reading novels of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys, I wanted to be like Nancy Drew." Her beliefs estranged her from her parents, who remain devout believers. She is under 24 hour security and she got out of the country while the people of Holland dealed with the murder's immediate aftermath.

Hirsi Ali got into politics because she felt the need to point out the blindspots in Holland's so-called tolerant society.

"My accusation towards the Dutch society was, 'You think you are tolerant, but if you look behind those curtains in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, there are women who are abused. There are women who are taken to Morocco and Turkey and are killed there. They're murdered. And there are no records of those murders,' " says Hirsi Ali.

"I suppose some people would say we can't impose our alien laws on these new citizens," said Morley Safer, 60 Minutes interviewer.

"That was the definition of tolerance before I came," says Hirsi Ali. "And now we are redefining that by saying, freeing these women, giving them a chance at life is not imposing Dutch will, or let’s say Dutch values, on others. But it's protecting these individuals."

According to 60 Minutes, "out of a Dutch population of 16 million, there are 1 million Muslims, mostly Moroccans and Turks, who are now Dutch citizens. With high unemployment, and with huge numbers who never learned the language, most Muslims live in a separate world, in barren suburbs known as "dish cities," named for the satellite dishes beaming sometimes inflammatory Arab television into homes, and fostering a militant Islam. The man charged with killing Van Gogh grew up in such a place."

This same trend is seen all over Europe today. But Hirsi Ali will not give up. She plans to make a sequel to Submission.

By not making 'Submission Part II,' I would only be helping terrorists believe that if they use violence, they're rewarded with what they want," said Hirsi Ali.

Will she submit to the threats? "Not me," she said.


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