THE HAGUE, 09/01/08 - The politically-correct elite in the Netherlands is no longer able to neutralise dissident views, according to Ayaan Hirsi Ai. "A chasm between the elite and the people has really emerged," she said yesterday in an interview with De Volkskrant.
The Somali-born apostate of Islam, who left the Dutch parliament in 2006 and now lives in the US, signals that since the rise and fall of politician Pim Fortuyn - murdered in 2002 - it is no longer taboo in the Netherlands to be critical of immigrants. At the same time, this criticism does not lead to a change in policy. And to try to halt this criticism, even the monarchy is deployed by the elite, Hirsi Ali suggests.
"The Queen gave the impression in her Christmas speech of choosing one side. This she should not do, she must remain above the parties. (...) Calling for respect and tolerance is fine, but the significance of these concepts in this debate is that people with a different view should keep their mouths shut. But going back in time, that is impossible."
"Today you are allowed to say that the majority of prisoners are immigrants - that is simply so - and you can say that there are Muslims who make use of their faith to hurt others." But the debate leads to nothing. "In 2003, all the parties had their integration plans. Practically nothing of this has been put into practice."
Hirsi Ali concludes that the elite is not succeeding in taking the wind out of the sails of Party for Freedom (PVV) leader Geert Wilders and independent MP Rita Verdonk, who scores strongly in the polls with her new TON party. "Although Wilders and Verdonk are demonised there has been no success in marginalising them. A chasm has really emerged between the elite and the people. You see that the old elite wants to exclude these dissident views. (...) But this does not succeed any more."
Hirsi Ali also criticises the call for more tolerance recently made by a group around prominent Christian democrat (CDA) Doekle Terpstra via an advertisement on the front page of Trouw newspaper. "I see in the call (...) a certain desperation. They are on the defensive. They have paralysed the immigration debate. Anyone who does not agree with them they find intolerant and lacking in respect. (...) The majority of the people however know how things really are. They are no longer dependent on political parties or the newspapers; they just go on the Internet."
In 2004, Hirsi Ali made the short film Submission on the oppression of women in Islam, which led to the terrorist murder of the director, Theo van Gogh, two months after it was shown on TV. PVV leader Wilders now wants to show an apparently comparable film in a few weeks. But Hirsi Ali does not support Wilders, the interview suggests.
"The film (of Wilders) comes under freedom of speech. He can and may do it," even if he is "of course provocative." (...) But "I do not believe in his answers."
Hirsi Ali believes there is a need for someone like former conservative (VVD) leader Frits Bolkestein, who put the problem of immigration and Islam on the agenda at the start of the 1990s. "Verdonk and Wilders do not have the right solutions for the Netherlands. It must come from the big parties, but there is a lack of leadership there. (...) If a Bolkestein should arise, the protest voters for Wilders will return to the big parties."
Former VVD MP Hirsi Ali has lived for the past year and a half in the US, where the Netherlands has refused to provide her protection any more. The Dutch government has sought no contact with her at all in recent months, she says.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali sheds her light on the same territory we covered earlier. From NIS news: Hirsi Ali: People and Politicians Sharply Divided in Netherlands (emphases mine - KV)