|The Essalaam Mosque in Rotterdam, the largest of Western Europe|
“Listen up, crazy freaks, we're here to stay. You’re the foreigners here, with Allah on my side I'm not afraid of anything. Take my advice: convert to Islam, and you will find peace.”
One year ago, when the newspapers published the letter containing such a friendly message, sent to his non-Muslim fellow-citizens by Bouchra Ismaili, a Rotterdam city councilman, the city was buzzing. Yet, just a walk through the streets of the city is enough to realize that, at least in many neighborhoods, you are no longer in Holland or in any other European country, but somewhere in the Middle East.
The Netherlands is an extraordinary test case. It is the country in which, as everybody knows, individual license is the most extensive. See for instance the attitude towards euthanasia on children. It is a country in which, while the Christian identity is most faded, the Muslim presence is growing most boldly. It is also a country in which multiculturalism is rule. And Rotterdam— Holland’s second largest city by population, and the largest port in Europe by cargo volume—is the city where this new reality can be seen with the naked eye, more than anywhere else. Here stand the largest mosques in Europe, here parts of sharia law are applied in the courts and theaters, here many of the women go around veiled, here the mayor is a Muslim, the son of an imam.
This long and highly informative report on Rotterdam, published in the Italian newspaper Il Foglio on May 14, 2009 and made available today in English translation by Sandro Magister in his www.Chiesa website, gives an idea of what Dutch-style multiculturalism is all about. Here are some excerpts (if you are short of time), but I encourage you to take the time to read the full article.
Muslim lawyers in Rotterdam also want to change the rules of the courtroom, asking to be allowed to remain seated when the judge enters. They recognize Allah alone. The lawyer Mohammed Enait recently refused to stand when the magistrates enter the courtroom, saying that "Islam teaches that all men are equal." The court of Rotterdam has recognized Enait's right to remain seated: "There is no legal obligation requiring Muslim lawyers to stand in front of the court, insofar as this action is in contrast with the dictates of the Islamic faith." Enait, the head of the legal office Jairam Advocaten, has explained that "he considers all men equal, and does not acknowledge any form of deference toward anyone." All men, but not all women. Enait is well known for his refusal to shake hands with women, and has repeatedly said he would prefer them to wear the burqa. And there are many burqas on the streets of Rotterdam.
In some schools, there is a "room of silence" where Muslim students, who are in the majority, can pray five times a day, with a poster of Mecca, the Qur'an, and a ritual washing before the prayers. Another Muslim city councilman, Brahim Bourzik, wants signs placed in various parts of the city showing the direction to Mecca.
Sylvain Ephimenco is a Franco-Dutch journalist who has been living in Rotterdam for twelve years. For twenty years, he was the "Libération" correspondent in Holland, and is proud of his leftist credentials. "Even though I don't believe in that anymore," he says. […] "It is not at all true that Wilders gets his votes from the fringes, everyone knows that, even though they don't say it," he tells us. "Today educated people vote for Wilders, although at first it was the lower class Dutch, the tattoo crowd. Many academics and people on the left vote for him. The problem is all of these Islamic headscarves. There's a supermarket behind my house. When I arrived, there wasn't a single headscarf. Now it's all Muslim women with the chador at the register. Wilders is not Haider. His positions are on the right, but also on the left, he's a typical Dutchman. Here there are even hours at the swimming pool set aside for Muslim women. This is the origin of the vote for Wilders. Islamization, this foolishness with the theater, has to be stopped. In Utrecht, there is a mosque where they provide separate city services for men and women. The Dutch are afraid. Wilders is against the Frankenstein of multiculturalism. I, who used to be on the left but am no longer anything, I say we've reached the limit. I feel the ideals of the Enlightenment have been betrayed with this voluntary apartheid, in my heart I feel the death of the ideals of the equality of men and women, and freedom of expression. Here the left is conformist, and the right has the better answer to insane multiculturalism."
Somewhere else in the report you can read :
This is not happening in Pakistan or in Saudi Arabia, but in the city from which the Founding Fathers set out for the United States. It was from here that the Puritans disembarked in the Speedwell, which they later exchanged for the Mayflower. This is where the American adventure began. Today, it has legalized sharia.