Young people of Moroccan descent living in Holland are full of admiration for Mohammed Bouyeri, Theo van Gogh's confessed murderer, according to quotes in today's Volkskrant.
"Theo van Gogh went too far," says Mohammed.
"What Mohammed B. did is good," says Achmed. "He is my model."
"If Islam is insulted, then freedom of speech no longer counts," says Chapi (23). "Dutch democracy has gone too far."
Some of this might be ascribed to the bravado of youth. At the same time, it shows how much even well-integrated, well-educated young Muslims can despise Western freedom of expression. Given the subject of Theo van Gogh's "offending" film, Submission, moreover, which was about Islam's repressive treatment of women, it also shows how little they respect the Western belief that women are equal to men.
The question is how such attitudes harden from generalised feelings of contempt into an actual hunger to kill.
Islam expert Peters has read Mohammed Bouyeri's writings and discerns four stages in the "radicalisation" of the murderer. The progression holds no surprises, and is, indeed, somewhat bathetic:
1. Rejection of Western values and norms, January 2003.
2. Rejection of the Western legal system.
3. Call to global jihad, March 2004.
4. Specific calls to violence against those who insult Islam; threats to the entire Dutch people, who may no longer feel safe anywhere, July 2004.
The key, of course, is that "the entire Dutch people" - merely by virtue of existing within a Western society - "insult Islam," in the eyes of the radicalised Islamist. The mere fact that Westerners live in Western societies means that they "insult Islam" and deserve to die. And devotion to Islam releases one of the legal obligations which apply to one's fellow citizens.
That Islamist terrorists believe this is no surprise. But that so many apparently well-assimilated, second-generation Islamic citizens are happy to echo it in the streets of Amsterdam - where they fully participate in all the benefits of a wealthy modern welfare state - remains mortifying.
It isn't new, of course. Back in February, when a girl in Berlin was killed for being "too German", some of her classmates celebrated her murder, and agreed she paid the right price for her Westernisation. But it is a standing rebuke to our society that we are doing so little to counter it, still preferring to kowtow to the sick communities amongst us, nurturing the seedbeds of our deadliest enemies.
Link to Volkskrant (Dutch):de Volkskrant - Op straat overheerst de bewondering