Amsterdam Gets a Harsh Lesson in Islam 101

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In January 2009 a Dutch court ordered Geert Wilders to be prosecuted for offending Muslims and inciting anti-Muslim hatred.  The complaint was based not on slurs, as such, but on factual statements made by Wilders, in his film Fitna and in various public venues, about Islamic beliefs and about actions inspired by those beliefs.  In June 2011, after a prolonged legal ordeal that cost Wilders greatly in time, money, and emotion, and that represented a disgrace to the tradition of Dutch liberty, he was finally acquitted.

In February of this year, the Islamic Students Association at the Vrije Universiteit (VU) in Amsterdam invited Haitham al-Haddad, a British sharia scholar, to participate in a symposium, but when some of al-Haddad’s sophisticated theological statements about Jews (the usual “pigs and dogs” business) and about other topics came to light, members of the Dutch Parliament spoke out against the invitation, a media storm erupted, and VU canceled its plans.  Whereupon a venue in Amsterdam called De Balie, which sponsors debates, talks, plays, and sundry cultural and artistic events (and whose café is a good spot to grab a late-morning coffee), stepped in and offered al-Haddad their stage.

At the event that ensued, al-Haddad spelled out, and defended, many aspects of Islamic law, including the death penalty for apostates.  Because of this specific statement about executing apostates, al-Haddad was reported to Dutch officials for having broken the same laws that Wilders had been put on trial for violating.  The other day, however, judicial authorities announced their determination that al-Haddad had not committed any offense and would therefore not be prosecuted for his remarks.  Why?  Supposedly because he had placed conditions on the death penalty for apostates.  I was curious to know exactly what he had said, so I searched for the debate on You Tube.  Lucky me, there it was, all 76 minutes of it.  I will recount it in some detail here because I think it provides a window on one or two bemusing aspects of the European mentality in our time.

As the event began, Yoeri Albrecht, director of De Balie and the evening’s host, explained that he’d decided to invite al-Haddad because it’s “important to discuss the position of Islam in the West.”  He told the cleric that he was “very happy that you agreed” to come and wished him “a warm welcome.”  Albrecht had invited two other men to join him and al-Haddad onstage.  One was Kustaw Bessems, a journalist; the other was Tofik Dibi, a young Dutch-Moroccan Marxist, university student, and member of Parliament for the Green Left Party who has publicly protested against Wilders and who represents himself as an advocate for a modern, progressive Islam.  Neither Wilders nor anyone else from his Freedom Party was asked to join the debate.  Bessems noted early on that while he finds al-Haddad’s views “despicable,” it was he who had personally taken the initiative to find an alternate venue after VU’s cancellation, because he believes in free speech (as if free speech means that fanatics have an automatic right to a platform).

Dibi’s questions for al-Haddad were a tad challenging, but his manner was respectful, even deferential.  The imam, for his part, didn’t beat around the bush.  Dibi: “Do you have more right to speak about Islam than other Muslims?”  Al-Haddad: “Yeah, of course.”  Dibi: “Do you allow yourself to doubt?”  Al-Haddad: “There are certain things in Islam that are clear.  No one can doubt them.”

Albrecht, for his part, sounded almost astonished when, having finally grasped al-Haddad’s key point, he said: “Outside of Islam, there is no truth?”  Al-Haddad: “No.”  Albrecht: “Could you understand that a lot of people would be afraid of this kind of thinking?”  Al-Haddad: “There is something called truth.  There is right and wrong.”  When al-Haddad admitted that he supported stoning for crimes like adultery and apostasy, Albrecht exclaimed: “You can’t be serious!”  The host seemed to be genuinely gobsmacked.  (Incidentally, the “conditions” al-Haddad had reportedly placed on the death penalty for apostates, and that had purportedly saved him from prosecution by the Dutch judiciary, were as follows: an apostate could not be executed until his case was handled in a Muslim country by a sharia judge.)

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  • Jim

    They are not Islamic terrorists. They are just terrorists who murder in the name of Islam.

    The Dutch court sounds like the real terrorists. They are the enemy with in

    • richard sherman

      Wakeup…Mohammad had nine hundred unarmed Jews decapitated at Quarazah…THAT IS ISLAM..Muslims love everything Mohammad did…Wakeup!

    • Kufar Dawg

      The real question is whether "Jim" is a lying muslim, or a drug addled libtard.

    • David, Thailand

      Of course they are not Islamic terrorists. There is no such tihng as Islamic terrorism, and for the record terrorism is specifically outlawed in Sharia.

      They are Jihadists, but our clueless and incompetent leaders with complicit media in tow prefer to keep us ignorant.

      • Laine

        The biggest killers of Muslim civilians around the world are other Muslims, most in terrorist attacks. So if terrorism is specifically outlawed in Sharia, then terrorist Muslims are not abiding by this law, yet the vast majority of Muslims make no objection. Something stinks to high heaven here.

  • Kustaw Bessems

    Dear Mr. Bawer,

    Interesting article on Al-Haddad.

    Aside from you spelling my name in three different ways, which does nothing for my google score, I am ever so curious: how am I 'associated with the Labor Party', even a 'member of a leftist establishment party'? This is news to me and I would like to learn about the underlying information you used so that I myself can get adjusted to this next stage in my life and start behaving, from now on, according to my apparent political affiliation.

    Thanks so much for your troubles.

    Kindest regards,

    Kustaw Bessems

    • Adam

      Throughout the entire article, that was the one thing that jumped out at you that needed correcting?

      • Kustaw Bessems


    • Drakken

      You might want to address what that jihadist muslim cleric said instead of getting your liberal panties in a wad.

      • Kustaw Bessems

        I did, as is stated in this article. I doubt you know much about the state of my panties.

    • RUI

      So typical of leftards to split hairs and not to see the forest for the trees. I read the article… you probably only read your name and didn't bother anymore after the first few paragraphs. I think the gist is not to comment on your political affiliations but on the islampandering that's so pervasive in the intelligentsia, that pretends to be shocked at what islam really is, but then resumes it's tired multiculti platitudes without skipping a heartbeat.

      • Kustaw Bessems

        I read the whole article, of course. How about you? Did you have my articles, all in Dutch, translated and did you read them before you made your judgement?

  • Ben Kok

    Our country is lost because we have a big majority of political correct leaders in politics as well as in churches, synagogue's .
    I am warning them for years, but they love to be engaged in Eurabie, NWO and go on as traitors of our country and our personal freedom.
    Two years ago we made the DVD "Islam and Truth", with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Afshin Ellian, Hans Jansen and two imams, Fawaz Jneid and Salah Soltan.
    Ask for this DVD (it is free, you can help us with a free gift as you wish), see
    Ben Kok (jewish-christian pastor)

    • stern

      While I like your post, I do wish you'd make up your mind. You cannot be a "jewish-christian pastor"). You're either Jewish or Christian. Which one is it?

      • Robbert L

        Oh no Ben can be both.
        And he sure is.
        You might not know but Jewish you can be by birth, Christian by faith.
        So unlike being muslim I might ad.

        He is a very very brave man. Quite a celebrity also

        • Adam

          "You might not know but Jewish you can be by birth, Christian by faith."

          Jewish isn't an ethnicity it is a religion. You either follow the religion or you don't but there is no such thing as "Jewish by birth". If he chose to follow Christianity, fine. But what you describe is that his parents are/were Jewish and he is a Christian.

          • mike

            Jewish is both a religion and a ethnicity, we even have our own DNA haplogroup, and there is such a thing a Jewish by birth, you are Jewish if your mother is Jewish

            you can be a Jew and not follow all it’s teachings, it’s all in how you behave

          • stern

            But if you choose to believe that Jesus Christ is/was the messiah, you are no longer Jewish. He did not fulfill the Jewish prophesies for the true Moshiach (no second chances, no second coming to take care of unfinished business). So believe in Christ and you are a Christian. You cannot be Jewish at the same time. It's really as simple as that.

          • intrcptr2

            Like Paul, right? He stopped being Jewish?

            I am asuming you are the same Stern I've chatted with on PJMedia. You are simply wrong about this. The son of Joseph IS the Son of David; there is but one Messiah who comes twice, not two who come once.

            Allow me to ask, what IS the Messiah's business, as told in the Scriptures?

      • southwood

        OK, so Jesus wasn’t a Jew ? That would certainly have been news to him. In fact Jesus is the Messiah prophesied by Isaiah, Daniel, Moses etc. So a Christian, even a gentile Christian, is in reality a Jew, having taken on board all the aspects of the Jews’ religion as well as accepting Christ, unlike the blind, intransigent children of Israel who had him crucified.

        • Kufar Dawg

          I believe Yeshua and all his disciples were denied the right to pray in the temple — at least according to the N.T. I'd think this qualifies as excommunication.

          • cjk

            You're wrong there at least according to the New Testament. Jesus and the first believers were always around the Temple. The high priests and rulers of the Jews never laid a finger on him in the daylight until he finally allowed them to on the day of his sacrifice for their sins.

          • intrcptr2

            Being excommunicated by false teachers is a self-contradiction.

      • hajid

        According to Wikipedia "The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation.[2][3][4] Converts to Judaism, whose status as Jews within the Jewish ethnos is equal to those born into it, have been absorbed into the Jewish people throughout the millennia."

      • Kufar Dawg

        Considering the threat that islamofascism poses to EVERYONE not muslim, does it really matter? What if he called himself a jewish-buddhist? Or jewish-hindu? It seems a trivial concern in light of the topic being discussed.

      • cjk

        Yeah sure. Guys like you are just fine with atheist Jews.

  • kafir4life

    It's just islam folks!! The most supreme gutter cult of moon god worshippers. Their pedophilic "prophet" wrote the most disgusting "book" (the koran), known to man. It's a terror guide used today by faithful muslims.
    You start here:
    Don't hire muslims. We don't. Don't shop in their stores. We won't. Don't shop in stores that hires muslims, and for the sake of courtesy, explain to management why you won't shop there.

    • Indioviejo

      Thank you Kafir4life, this is the same boycott I practice in my community, as well as spreading the word to clueless infidels.

      • Kufar Dawg

        I ask businesses if they're muslim owned, if they reply in the affirmative I hang up or walk out. Treat the muslo-fascists the way they would treat the kafir in ANY of their islamo-fascist states.

    • Ahmed

      You don't exist kafir4life, you just don't know it.

      • Abelard

        So, Ahmed, you're threatening "kafir4life"'s own life, eh?!?? Well then, know that there are PLENTY of us PROUD "INFIDELS" who hate Islam and everything it stands for, and sooner or later we'll run you OUT OF THE WEST!!!! You already have 57 Islamic countries: make something out of them and stop coming to the West to force OUR nations to be like yours!!!! GET OUT of the West and NEVER COME BACK!!!!

  • Rune Fardal

    When a christians criticize islam and its inhumanity, its racism "
    When muslims want to kill everybody not agree with them, its free speech !

    In the west we have freedom of religion, in Islam they kill you if you have another religion!
    Muslim run away from their dictators to a free west, just with demands of introducing the same dictaorschip here!

    Naive politicians are a danger for the freedom in the west!

  • Adam

    "Two members, in short, of leftist establishment parties; neither Wilders nor anyone else from his Freedom Party was asked to join the debate"

    How do like minded bigots debate each other? Are they going to debate the best way to kill Jews? Will they debate weather Jews are dogs or pigs?

    I think symposium of hate would be a more apt description.

    • Drakken

      You are either for Western Civilization or you are with the islamic savages, there is no longer any middle ground. So put your man pants on and pick a side. By the way, your an ifidel to the muslims so you will not be spared.

      • Kufar Dawg

        I think Adam was indicting the symposium for being islamic! He is indicting islam's pervasive, rabid Jew hatred in his 2nd sentence. I think you're both on the same side of the debate.

  • Adam

    cowed young man: “Are you slowly, step by step, trying to implement sharia as a scholar?” “Yes,” the scholar replied, “if the people request it.”

    By the “people” he essentially means those non infidel non apostates who have not been “brainwashed” by the west. And to Hell with the rest of them.

  • Drakken

    I am just wondering how these goofy leftist and their wishful thinking are "shocked" by this muslims thinking. It would be funny if it wasn't so deadly.

    • Indioviejo

      It is a mistake to consider leftist innocent in anything. Everything is done with a purpose.

  • jvdheuvel

    I have a harsh lesson about Islam for you:

    • hajid

      Wise people learn from other people's mistakes but arrogant one learn from their own mistakes, and often times can't even learn.

    • Abelard

      Even ONE Moslem "in partibus infidelium" is one Moslem TOO MANY!!!! And 3% is more than enough for them to make all sorts of mischief (colonies where we Westerners are as unwelcome as if we were in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, &c.; terroristic activities; pressure upon us to submit to them…)!!!

      They're ALWAYS out to wage war against us by all possible means and tricks!! Not one of them can EVER be trusted – ALL Moslems MUST be evicted from the ENTIRE West, and AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!!!!! They're very much like a cancer!!! [Native-born Moslem converts should be dumped into Iran if Shi'a, Saudi Arabia otherwise. Furthermore, any Moslem who has any form of Western citizenship must be promptly disenfranchised!!!]

  • marios

    To stop European nightmare way in our country we must elected out BHO and demand Congress and Conservative's government to STOP MUSLIM IMMIGRATION. Islam is in war with us. Can we imagine that FDR permitted Germans and Japanese's immigration during the WWII. Barbarians must live in their barbarians countries.

    • warpmine

      No and that's what's so damn aggravating

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Hopefully within the next year Islamists will all be deported and our government cleansed of
    traitors without slowly slipping into a bloody conflict, well one can wish. It seems that the only
    probable path will be war and the only cure victory over evil………………William

  • johan

    They will never wakeup, only when it is to late when they have lost their own head.

    • Abelard

      In fact, MANY of these "leftist intellectuals" are secret COMMUNISTS who're all too glad to ally themselves with the Moslem cut-throats as they have the same mutual goal of destroying our Western civilisation and everything it and we Westerners stand for. Don't get me wrong, they hate each other; however, they'll fight it out only when we've been exterminated or at least prostrated upon the ground and unable to do a thing to save ourselves!!!

      When the civil war against Moslems erupts (as sooner or later it will UNLESS we stop ALL Moslem immigration into the West IMMEDIATELY, RIGHT NOW!!!!), we must remember all those Commies and crypto-Commies who have pushed us into this fix. When we win, those TRAITORS and SEDITIONISTS will need to be tried the same way the Nazis were tried in Nürnberg, with them all however facing the death penalty!!!

  • jiz

    Bruce you are a true warrior and scholar!

  • fmobler

    The main reason lefties are clueless about Islam is that they are too intellectually lazy to learn what it actually means. On those rare occasions when their own naivety puts them in direct contact with a monster/respected Moslem scholar, they finally can't avoid the truth. Let's hope more of these events are scheduled in the future. Free and open speech, about Islam and by Moslems themselves, is the only way Islam will be defeated.

  • Rose

    I agree with jiz, Bruce is a hero. Thank you for all you do Bruce! Keep it up!