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Friday, May 16, 2008

Another Cartoon Controversy

posted by on May 16 at 13:05 PM

The land of pot, functional socialism, and cultural tolerance continues its immigration freakout. From the International Herald Tribune:

A Dutch political cartoonist was arrested this week on suspicion of insulting people because of their race or religion through his work, authorities said Friday.

The cartoonist, who works under the pseudonym Gregorius Nekschot, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of violating hate speech laws and held overnight before being released, a spokeswoman for his publisher Uitgeverij Xtra said.

“He was arrested with a great show of force, by around 10 policemen,” the spokeswoman said.

Some NSFW examples of Nekschot’s cartoons: Mohammed getting a blowjob
from a child (with the caption, “an inconvenient truth”) and Mohammed fucking (an apparently consenting) Anne Frank.

And a SFW one:


All of Europe is doing a lousy job of integrating its immigrants, but the Netherlands is doing an extra-lousy job, with a resurgence of neo-fascism on the right, attacks on free speech by the left, a culture-and-language test that may violate international law, etc.

Last month, author Ian Buruma (who wrote an excellent book a couple of years ago about immigrants, Pim Fortyn, and the murder of Theo van Gogh) gave a good interview to Der Spiegel about the Netherlands and its Muslims. He’s against the impulse to censor criticism of immigrants, but recognizes, as the Dutch right doesn’t, that

… you need to convince European Muslims that they have a stake in liberal democracy and that the freedoms that one tries to protect against radicalism are also theirs. If you start to tell these people the problem is not just violent ideology inside Islam but that the Muslim religion itself is the source of all evil, then you alienate the very people you need to have on your side.

Read the rest of it here.

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No one has the right to be an immigrant to another country.

If the Dutch want to ensure immigrants have Dutchness in 'em, like Dutch tolerant attitudes, like democracy and the freedom to speak and smoke pot and have sex with lots of people, if they want to ensure they aren't going to have nonor killings or mutiliate their teenage daughters, what's wrong with that?

Posted by PC | May 16, 2008 1:21 PM

Wow, that's just...nuts.

See, I'm all for hate speech and hate crimes laws to protect minority/vulnerable populations, but there's always the worry that society will take things too far and you'll end up with a situation in which an irreverent cartoonist gets arrested by 10 cops.

At some point you have to acknowledge that it is not government's job to make sure that no one ever gets their feelings hurt or has their sensibilities offended. The Dutch, it would seem, don't want to make that acknowledgement.

Posted by Hernandez | May 16, 2008 1:25 PM

Read this:

I'm tooting my own horn.

Posted by Sage | May 16, 2008 1:32 PM

All of Europe is doing a lousy job of integrating its immigrants, but the Netherlands is doing an extra-lousy job, with a resurgence of neo-fascism on the right, attacks on free speech by the left, a culture-and-language test that may violate international law,

Sounds like everyone's to blame for the poor integration of immigrants, except the immigrants themselves.

Posted by JMR | May 16, 2008 1:39 PM

If I was on the Dutch jury, I'd jail his sorry ass, and let him write a cartoon book about his travails in prison.

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 16, 2008 1:53 PM

Fareed Zakaria, I think, keeps touting how well the United States handles our immigrants. Which is strange because it seems like our primary way of handling immigrants is to leave them the fuck alone.

Posted by keshmeshi | May 16, 2008 1:57 PM

If we're going to make a case out of discrminatory cartoons, why can't we make it a decent cartoonist instead of this untalented douchebag?

Posted by MK | May 16, 2008 2:06 PM

@7. Agreed. I am not offended by the two Mohammed sex cartoons, just annoyed that he would choose to make a point in such an obvious way. It's not exactly a subtle metaphor. He seems like a hack.

Posted by Julie | May 16, 2008 2:24 PM

On a side note: Thanks for putting the NSfW images behind links.  Very much appreciated.

Posted by lostboy | May 16, 2008 2:30 PM

7&8 Exactly. Why make more out of it than it is? Trashy ignorance. Once you start arresting people you make them more than they are. Martyrs.

Posted by Vince | May 16, 2008 2:53 PM

4: A society has to welcome and tolerate its immigrants if it wants them to intergrate. Harassing immigrant groups doesn't give them an incentive to intergrate; if anything, it makes them militant. Which is exactly what this jackass cartoonist was trying to do. He wants Muslim immigrants to get pissed off and riot. Why? Because he's a xenophobe who wants a pretext for State oppression, social conflict, and eventual expulsion or forced assimilation of the people he so clearly hates. People can scream about freedom of the speech until they turn red in the face, but this guy is clearly a bigoted asshole.

Posted by Jay | May 16, 2008 2:56 PM

1: Really. Maybe the lazy fucking Europeans should stop relying on immigrant labor. It's not a privilege they're extending to immigrant groups; they want/need the labor.

It's just like how in the States people say immigrants steal their jobs, and yet no fat ass American is actually willing to work in the fields with the other migrants.

Posted by Jay | May 16, 2008 2:59 PM

So, telling Muslims that their religion is the problem doesn't help? Color me shocked.

Posted by Greg | May 16, 2008 3:24 PM

These cartoons are perhaps overly provocative, but only an extremist maniac would react with violence to it. Locking him up is a victory for radical Islam.

Ian Buruma is the guy who called Hirsi Ali an "Enlightenment fundamentalist". She's a fundamentalist because she openly defends freedom and secularism and is critical of Islam? What we need is more criticism of Islam, not less. More cartoons, more films like Submission. Multiculturalism doesn't work. Non-Western immigrants should be treated like anyone else, as opposed to being babied. Everyone has the capacity to be a part of a modern, secular, free society.

Posted by Chris | May 16, 2008 3:58 PM

People opposed to pluralism and multiculturalismt are not doing democracy any favors.

Posted by Jay | May 16, 2008 4:07 PM

I'm calling BS on the whole "the Netherlands is doing an extra-lousy job of integrating its immigrants".

Especially with the culture and language test thing. I'm an expat American currently living in Holland. First of all, in my medium-sized city I don't feel any animosity between the Muslims and the Dutch or either towards me. (I was a little afraid of that since I'm American and our foreign poicies under Bush). Second of all, I am enrolled in the Dutch language and culture course the government makes available for free or for a meager price depending on your income. Man, I wish they had this in the States for immigrants. They even pay for childcare for my daughter while I'm at school. My class is like being in the United Nations. There is myself, an American, an Iraqi (who was a translator for Bremer and denied a visa to the States because we won't help our friends. Thank God the Dutch took him and his family in), an Iranian, 2 Turks, 3 out of the former Soviet Union, a Mexican, a man from China, and 2 Africans. Not only are we learning the language and interesting things about the culture, but even practical things like how to call emergency services. And far from being a burden, this course, in my opinion, helps connect us to each other and to our new land.

I'm not saying there are no problems. Perhaps in the larger cities like Amsterdam or Rotterdam, where the poorer sections are a little more entrenched. It's just that I haven't experienced any. And the resurgence of Neo-fascism. Dude, they have like 8 million political parties here. You could as well say there is a resurgence of any of them. I just think the Dutch are trying their best in a tough situation that doesn't have easy answers.

And finally, I think my Dutch neighbors would just laugh reading an American criticizing them a "test that may violate iternational law." Now that's chutzpah.

Posted by Debbie B | May 16, 2008 4:17 PM

I LOL'd.

Posted by Sirkowski | May 16, 2008 4:20 PM

Debbie: Yeah, I think most of the hell in a handbasket rhetoric is coming from American editorialists who want to believe there's a real clash of civilizations going on in Europe in order to make their own lame points about Islam and immigration in the United States, or editorialists who are trying to demonize the European governments for carrying out practical immigration policies.

Posted by Jay | May 16, 2008 4:23 PM

@9 - seconded.

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 16, 2008 5:42 PM

#16: Umm, unless the article is lying, the reason the culture & language test is horribly racist is because only people from certain countries (mostly Muslim countries) have to take it.

A large survey in the netherlands in 2006 showed 50% of native dutch admitted to being "afraid" of muslims, and 58% said they wouldn't want to live in a neighborhood with "too many minorities." I don't see any way to interpret that except that it's a country inhabited mostly by white supremacists. As a non-white, I don't want to visit the Netherlands ever again.

I don't know if the Netherlands is the worst country, since other European countries like France and Italy are generally very xenophobic, but many people in the Netherlands are pretty awful. I had fewer problems even in Japan, a much more homogeneous country where racial discrimination is completely legal and xenophobia is supposedly rampant.

Posted by yuck | May 16, 2008 8:08 PM

A few weeks ago there was a rather heated discussion on Slog about making distinctions between moderate, non-bigoted intelligent Christians versus whack-job fundamentalist assholes like Ken Hutcherson, Pat Robertson, etc. Where are the voices of moderate, intelligent European Muslims? I can't believe they don't exist. Criticism of Islamic fundamentalism must come from within the Islamic community by those who believe that one can be true to one's faith while still living peacefully with neighbors who are of another or no religious persuasion. While I firmly believe in freedom of the press, cartoons such as these aren't helpful in encouraging Muslims and non-Muslims to get along.

Posted by RainMan | May 16, 2008 9:12 PM

Perhaps he was just too socially maladjusted to know otherwise, but a Dutch (I think maybe 3rd generation, certainly not first, but maybe second) descended friend of mine was possibly the most racist bastard I've ever met.

We had a rowdy high school, but when I said "Meh, what can we do about it" his response was "well, the black kids could just go to another school."

He creeped me the hell out.

Now it's your turn to call me a stereotyping asshat for somehow linking his attitude to his descent, but my exposure to Dutch sentiment has been: (1) His family (all siblings were pretty much the same in this regard), and (2) surveys such as those mentioned by 20.

I don't know if the media has it overblown, but I DO believe there be some problems with the Dutch.

Posted by Jason Petersen | May 16, 2008 11:17 PM

16: I'm also an American expat living in Holland. I see signs of a lack of integration by Dutch Muslims all the time. You don't usually see Muslim women at bars or beaches. When many women walk down the street they are stared at and sometimes verbally assaulted by men from Islamic backgrounds. As far as I know, there was no widespread condemnation from the Muslim community after van Gogh's murder. Maybe a couple intellectuals on tv shows, but that's about it. I agree that to say that those integration tests are a violation of international law is fucking hilarious.

Posted by Chris | May 17, 2008 4:30 AM

thanx for the balanced articel, although i cant see why this non-news should reach the states.

i'm non-decided on this, nekschot is racist but since he is not more of a racist than most of our politicians i dont see why the cops haul his ass to jail and not some of our politians.

although, on second thought, maybe society needs protecting............. against someone so unfunny.

@ 5, we dont have a jury system over here (thank god)

@ 23, wy should there be a widespread condemnation from the muslim comunity after the murder of van gogh? did we seek/ask/expect widespread condemnation from the vegetarian comunity after the murder of pim fortuijn?
piss of...

Posted by dutchie regular reader | May 17, 2008 8:05 AM

The Buruma line of thinking allows for radicals and barbarians from outside of the West to come in and move us off of liberal democracy, in their direction, because it's somehow more reasonable to split it down the middle.

We are supposed to be tolerant of these people, and (mistakenly) therefore the ideas that come along with them.

Maybe that's the difference between Buruma-ites and my view. We are all about liberal democracy, the principles behind it and that flow forth from it. You can't be parasitic on our assumption of good faith and tolerance, create your own impenetrable tribal hive in the middle of our great cities, and then expect us to "understand".

Assimilation does not mean Muslims become white Dutch people. The outcome of effective assimilation is some sort of slight blending. What we mean by assimilation in the west, though, is you put secular humanism, liberalism, pluralism, egalitarianism, and other hallmarks of the Enlightenment first, above your tribal values. Everything else is up for discussion.

Buruma and friends want to challenge this view of assimilation, arguing some sort of wobbly realism. They are wrong, and doing harm to both sides.

Posted by Steve C | May 17, 2008 8:53 AM

24: Muslims should condemn van Gogh's murder because it was done in the name of Islam, just like Christians should distance themselves as much as possible from people like Hagee and Robertson (or preferably abandon religion altogether). Was Fortuyn killed, as you say, in the name of vegetarianism? No, van der Graaf killed him because the press vilified him as the next Hitler.

Posted by Chris | May 18, 2008 6:31 AM

#20... I'm a white non-muslim immigrant and I have to take the test,too. As far as the polls you cite... well, we all know that polls can be skewed based on how a question is asked. Depends on the poll and who's asking the questions.

#23, maybe my town is better in these regards, because that is just not the experience I'm having.

Are there no problems? Well, obviously not. But to declare that the entire Dutch culture is racist is just stupid. I could say the same thing about all of the States based on the way West Virginia voted, you know?

All I can tell you is my very unsensationalistic everyday experiences. It's not what gets the headlines.

Posted by Debbie B | May 18, 2008 7:19 AM

@26, if you read van der graaf's statements very carefuly you'll notice that he nowhere specifeis for whose live's he feared, in matter off fact, he goes out off his way to avoid mentioning if he wanted to protect humans or animals. it is not unreasonble to asume he whas mostly consernd about the furtrade and didn't give a rats donkeys about immigrant rights.
so yes, i think foryuijn was killed by an animal right fundamentalist, just as van gogh was killed by an salafist extremist.
and i don't agree with neither of them but i expect no more apolegy's from the muslim comunity than from the vegeterians.

Posted by dutchie regular reader | May 18, 2008 9:11 AM

28: Not an apology, but widespread condemnation by the Islamic community isn't too much to ask. Van der Graaf's motive was seen at first to have something to do with animal rights but he later confessed in court to murdering Fortuyn to stop him from targeting "the weak parts of society to score points" in seeking political power. And when he was asked how he felt about his victim being a democratically elected politician he replied that Hitler was as well. He probably got this idea of him being the next Hitler from the leftist press. Even if he had done it for the animals, vegetarianism would have nothing to do with it, because it's not a potentially violent ideology in the way that Islam is. You have serious holes in your logic.

Posted by Chris | May 19, 2008 4:50 AM

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