I refrained from posting about it when it happened, because the reactions were all very predictable and I didn't have anything to add about it. For those of you playing along at home: Theo van Gogh was a Dutch director who was very critical of the Islam. He made some movies about it (that were, in the view of the islam, blasphemous), and he seemed to have pissed off some nutcase with a gun. His murder caused an outrage: basically, consensus seems to be that you are allowed to think and say anything in the Netherlands -- people shouldn't be killed or even prosecuted for their opinion. The pinnacle of free speech.
Now, we're almost a week further along, and people are calling for better measures to combat islamic fundamentalism. The odd thing is, that the people who praised Van Gogh for his courage to stand up for his ideas are the same ones shouting for better control of religious fundamentalism.
This just doesn't make sense. If you say that everyone should be able to have and voice their opinion, you will have to admit that religious fundamentalism is also an opinion -- an opinion people should be able to have and voice! If there is no such thing as a 'thought police' in the Netherlands, and that fact makes you proud, why would you want to install one?
People tend to forget that we have our own brand of religious fundamentalists: the 'black stockings'-churches on the Veluwe. OK, so they are christian fundamentalists, but that doesn't make any difference. Given the chance, they would forbid you to use a bicycle on sundays. Children get told their mother will burn in hell because she wears trousers. These are not cuddly fundamentalists, these are people who would gladly dictate others what they can and can not do, how to behave and what to think. A few years back, a village on the Veluwe was about to get a christian fundamentalist majority in the city council. It was widely understood that if that happened, they would pass a law making it illegal to practice sports on a sunday.
We tend to dismiss them, but they are there, in plain view. They participate in the political process (via the SGP, just don't try to reach that website on a sunday!). They think a woman's place is at home. They want their women to wear skirts, not trousers. They are still living in the middle ages.
Apparently we think that religious fundamentalism is actually OK -- because hey, everyone is entitled their opinion, right? So why is muslim fundamentalism scary while christian fundamentalism is OK? I don't see the difference much: given half the chance, these people will dictate your way of life to you. And that's OK, because that is their opinion. And, like everyone has been shouting in the past week, opinions are free, there is no thought-police in the Netherlands.