THE HAGUE, The Netherlands -- Having run the polite-but-grim gauntlet of Dutch government security to gain access to Geert Wilders, I finally understood what the 24-hour security requirements of the man's continued existence really mean: To make the survival of Western-style liberty in the Netherlands his political cause, this Dutch parliamentarian has to live under high-tech lock and key.
This stunning paradox, with no end in sight, illustrates how far political freedom in the West has already eroded. Think of it: For writing about the repressive ideology of Islam, for arguing against the inequities of Sharia (Islamic law), for making a video ("Fitna") to warn about Islamic jihad, Wilders lives in his own non-Islamic country under a specifically Islamic death threat.
If it is politically incorrect to notice this, it is also indisputably true. True, too, is that, sans state security, this death threat could conceivably be carried out anytime, anywhere -- from the picturesque streets outside the Dutch parliament, to the house Wilders hasn't slept in since 2004. That, of course, was when, on an Amsterdam street, a Muslim assassin plunged a knife into Theo van Gogh's corpse, thus attaching the Islamic manifesto threatening both Wilders and his then-parliamentary colleague, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, with death.
Not long ago, political debate in the Netherlands met with, well, more political debate. Now, however, with a growing Muslim minority -- and it's politically incorrect to notice this, too -- political debate sometimes meets with Islam-inspired political assassination. At least it has, traumatically, twice in recent years: once, with the 2002 murder of the anti-Islamic-immigration politician Pim Fortuyn by an animal rights activist who claimed Fortuyn was scapegoating Muslims; and the following year with the ritualistic Islamic murder of Van Gogh, director of "Submission," a short video made with Hirsi Ali about Islamic mistreatment of women. In all, such Islam-inspired violence has been enough to chill Islam-inspired debate.
And that's just the situation at home. This week, even as Amsterdam's chief public prosecutor, Leo de Wit, announced that no charges would be brought against Wilders for "discrimination" or "incitement to hatred" related to Wilders' writings or video ("We find Mr. Wilders' remarks were limited to Islam as a religious movement," De Wit said), Jordan announced it is bringing a "Fitna"-related criminal case against the Dutch parliamentarian.
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